I tried getting this down to a Top 10, then 15, then 20, and have settled on 30. There were just too many movies that I wanted to write about and highlight. There are a few ‘cheats’ where two movies are conjoined as they are thematically similar and I feel they deserve to be together.
There are a few movies I missed, so if THAT movie isn’t mentioned it’s either because I missed it, it hasn’t come out in the UK yet, or I don’t think it is good to be in the Top 30.
These are my favourite movies. Which means there are a couple of great, award-winning movies that, whilst being brilliant, aren’t a part of what I would consider my favourite.
Here is 20 to 11.
20. SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
In a post-ENDGAME world it was a genuine curiousity to wonder where Kevin Fiege and his Marvel machine would go. With SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, they decided to lean into the strangeness that the villian of Mysterio provided. The cross Europe trip of the plot is a little kitschy but fun, and the final sequences are all time comic book greatness.
19. HUSTLERS / SUPPORT THE GIRLS
Another tie. This time, both HUSTLERS and SUPPORT THE GIRLS tackle the same themes. The struggle for women to fight for themselves, the togetherness that a group of women can thrive. Both films look great (the neon pinks and blues in HUSTLERS are georgeous), and both have a great supporting cast. Jennifer Lopez has never been this good, and Haley Lu Richardson has the most joyous energy of any actress. Both films are infectious.
18. JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM
Keanu Reeves just tears it up as John Wick. The third installment just raises the stakes even further, deepens the mythology of the Continental and all that surrounds it. The fight sequences get better as the series goes on. The knife(knives) fight is breathless, and without giving too much away, the final action set-piece is one of the best of the year. Bring on Chapter Four.
Grief consumes all that surround it. But unlike the darkness of HERIDETARY, Ari Aster drowns MIDSOMMAR in sunlight. The film is one long cathartic release for Dani (Florence Pugh), going to Sweden and finding a way to purge herself of all that she has suffered from. MIDSOMMAR is a long film, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It is also one of the funniest films of the year. Not bad for a horror film.
16. ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
This has been a movie on my radar since, well, as far back as I can remember. It was always a film that James Cameron was set to direct, but then he went and travelled to Pandora, never to be seen again. In the meantime, Robert Rodriguez picked the film up, decided to use the all the technology available from Cameron, picked a relatively unknown Latina star, Rosa Salazar, and create his best film since SIN CITY. When is the sequel?
What BOOKSMART does is take the well-worn trope of teenage boys being, well, teenage boys (SUPERBAD), and updates it with two female leads. But this does more than update. This is smartly written, funnier than most other movies this year, touching, and features the best supporting performance in any comedy in forever from Billie Lourd. BOOKSMART didn’t do well at the box-office, hopefully over the years that wrong will be righted.
14. ONE CUT OF THE DEAD
Every few years a zombie film is released that shakes up the genre. In ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, the first half is a one-shot amateur zombie movie. And it is pretty fun in a cheap, how did they do that way. And then there were the credits. 45 minutes in, theres the credits. To say anymore would spoil the rest of the film. And I assure you there is a reason this is in the Top 20.
13. 6 UNDERGROUND
The Bayhiest Bay Movie thats ever been Bayed. Bayhem. Ryan Reynolds in a Bay movie doing the Ryan Reynolds shtick. Magnets. Something to do with killing the worst of the worst. Dead people. Nuns. Dogs. Explosions. The first 20 minutes is the most unhinged Michael Bay has ever been, and then it goes further, and further. Some would argue that this is for the worst, I on the other hand think that Netflix giving him $180 million to do whatever he wants is a gift to be savoured.
Jordan Peele basically became a household name with GET OUT, and had the luxury to pretty much do whatever he wanted as a follow-up. And what a follow-up US was. As the first Trump-era horror film, this is a social satire that bring the racial undercurrents of modern day United States to the fore. This is a fantastic horror film, darkly funny, great performances, and a chilling ending.
11. MADELINE’S MADELINE
The burden of creativity, the effects of mental health, and the impact of those around you. MADELINE’S MADELINE puts us in the shoes of Madeline (Helena Howard), who is encouraged by her theater teacher Evangeline (Molly Parker) to delve deeper into herself. The experimental visuals, improvisational performances and towering acting from Howard and Parker makes this a must-see.