Top 10 Movies No One Saw in 2019

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Top 10 Movies No One Saw in 2019

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
None of these movies have the words “Endgame,” “Skywalker,” or “Joker” in the title. For this list, we're taking a look at movies that received wide releases in 2019 (even if they premiered at film festivals the year before), yet flew under the radar and deserve to be discovered heading into 2020. Our countdown will include films such as “High Flying Bird” (2019), #8: “High Life” (2018) & “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019). What film do YOU think no one saw in 2019? Let us know in the comments!
Transcript
Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Movies No One Saw in 2019


None of these movies have the words “Endgame,” “Skywalker,” or “Joker” in the title.
For this list, we’re taking a look at movies that received wide releases in 2019 (even if they premiered at film festivals the year before), yet flew under the radar and deserve to be discovered heading into 2020. Our countdown will include films such as “High Flying Bird” (2019), #8: “High Life” (2018) & “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019). What film do YOU think no one saw in 2019? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “High Flying Bird” (2019)

How is it possible that Steven Soderbergh, one of our greatest directors, and Tarell Alvin McCraney, the co-writer of “Moonlight,” made a movie that seemingly nobody has heard of? Released on Netflix in February, “High Flying Bird” is one of the most unconventional basketball movies ever made. In the spirit of “Moneyball,” it’s less about the action that takes place on the court and more about the game that happens behind closed doors. André Holland plays a sports agent who plans to radically change the game during an NBA lockout. Deals are made, promises are broken, and it’s rarely clear who has the upper hand. Playing out like an intense chess tournament, the film demonstrates that no game is more strategic or savage than business.

#9: “Blinded by the Light” (2019)

Director Gurinder Chadha made a name for herself with indie films like “Bend It Like Beckham” and “Bride and Prejudice.” She delivers yet another feel-good treasure with “Blinded by the Light.” Like some of her previous films, this joyous coming-of-age story tackles themes of family, culture clash, and embracing change. It’s also something of a throwback to ‘80s dance movies, with the songs of Bruce Springsteen driving the narrative forward. Viveik Kalra shines in his debut film role as Javed, the son of two Pakistani immigrants who’s expected to follow in their footsteps. Through Bruce’s music and lyrics, though, Javed is inspired to become his own boss. It’s humorous, heartfelt, and harmonious, and we implore you to check out this overlooked gem and finally see the light.

#8: “High Life” (2018)

Robert Pattinson starred in two of 2019’s strangest and most claustrophobic films. While you might’ve heard of “The Lighthouse,” “High Life” was almost entirely disregarded by audiences. Claire Denis’ film is surreal, shocking, and occasionally slow, but the experience will stick with you nonetheless. Pattinson plays Monte, one of several convicts who have been sent to live out the remainder of their lives on a spacecraft. Jumping between different time periods with an overarching sense of mystery, it has drawn comparison to the works of Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, and Andrei Tarkovsky. Like many of their films, “High Life” invites endless analysis and will leave you thinking long after the credits roll.

#7: “Under the Silver Lake” (2018)

Premiering at Cannes in 2018, the American release of “Under the Silver Lake” almost a year later received relatively little fanfare. Like director David Robert Mitchell’s previous film, “It Follows,” this neo-noir thriller isn’t for everyone. For cinephiles who are always on the lookout for originality, however, this is one of those movies where you never know what’s going to happen next. Andrew Garfield stars as a slacker who uncovers a conspiracy involving his missing neighbor and subliminal messages. As more clues pile up, the mystery only gets weirder, funnier, and more convoluted. In the vein of David Lynch, you may not be sure what you’re watching, but that only makes you want to venture further down the rabbit hole.

#6: “Late Night” (2019)

If you blended “The Devil Wears Prada,” “The Late Shift,” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” together, you’d get this insightful and criminally underrated dramedy. Writer/co-star Mindy Kaling draws from her own experiences as a woman and a person of color in the world of comedy. Kaling plays an aspiring comedy writer who strikes up an unlikely partnership with television’s only female late-night talk show host, played by Emma Thompson. Despite coming from opposite sides of the tracks, the two women find that they share many of the same struggles and – as a team – can change the landscape of comedy forever. The film is wise and relevant without ever coming off as preachy, making audiences laugh while also making them think.

#5: “Her Smell” (2018)

In pretty much every movie about a musical group, there comes a point where one band member goes off the deep end. From the very beginning of “Her Smell,” however, lead singer Becky Something has already spiraled out of control and she only plunges deeper towards rock bottom as the plot unfolds. Elisabeth Moss dominates the screen as a punk rock goddess who’s simultaneously full of life and knocking on death’s door. Through director Alex Ross Perry’s lens, the audience feels as if they’re backstage at a concert, watching a trainwreck unfold. And “Her Smell” isn’t easy to sit through. As the film approaches its final curtain, though, we’re given a glimmer of hope at the end of a dark tunnel.

#4: “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019)

Modernizing the story of “Huck Finn,” “The Peanut Butter Falcon” follows Tyler, a fisherman on the run, and Zak, a wannabe wrestler with Down syndrome, who take off down the river together. Shia LaBeouf and newcomer Zack Gottsagen share a natural chemistry as two social outcasts who slowly but surely become as thick as thieves. Dakota Johnson is equally wonderful as Zak’s caretaker, who comes to realize that he’s ready to leave the nest. It might not have been a blockbuster, but there’s a reason why this little movie earned an A+ CinemaScore and even had its fair share of sold out screenings. Within the first few minutes, it puts a smile on your face that will stay there.

#3: “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (2019)

This deeply poignant drama earned Joe Talbot a Directing award at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as a Special Jury Award. The critical reception was just as glowing when the film released later in June. For whatever season, though, people aren’t talking about “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” nearly as much as they should. Jimmie Fails not only stars in the film, but also contributed to the semi-autobiographical screenplay. As the city he grew up in continues to change, Jimmie attempts to salvage his childhood home. Turning San Francisco into a veritable character itself, the film is an eye-opening exploration of what makes a house a home and the trials that come with finding one’s place in the world.

#2: “The Farewell” (2019)

2019 has been another great year for Asian performers and “The Farewell” is a key example. We already know that Awkwafina can be a laugh riot, but she demonstrates untapped dramatic potential here. As Billi, she plays a young woman who was born in China and grew up in the States. Billi revisits her roots upon learning that her grandmother is dying from lung cancer. Rather than telling grandma, the family decides to uphold tradition and spare her the bad news. Torn between cultural customs, Billi realizes that she’s missed out on a major part of her life. Not everyone gets to make up for lost time, but you can definitely catch up with this earnest family film if you missed it in theaters.

Before we get to our topic pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Brittany Runs a Marathon” (2019)

“Fast Color” (2018)

“The Souvenir” (2019)

“The Kid Who Would Be King” (2019)

“Wild Rose” (2018)

#1: “Booksmart” (2019)

“Booksmart” is proof that intelligent, hilarious comedies are still being made today. The problem is that audiences aren’t really seeing them and studios aren’t marketing them correctly. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever couldn’t be more genuine as two best friends who decide to live a little at the tail end of their high school careers. What follows is a wild night full of surprises, disappointments, and epiphanies. Feldstein and Dever are accompanied by an uproarious supporting cast, with Billie Lourd stealing the show as a party animal who never burns out. While the film deserved to make a much larger dent at the box office, “Booksmart” has cult classic written all over it and will hopefully be the first of many features from director Olivia Wilde.
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