Between 2010 and 2019 MCU movies brought in a combined $21,738,254,556. (That’s all MCU movies except the first Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, both of which came out in 2008.)
According to the Peeps — people who do Peetimes for RunPee — we had a pretty decent crop of movies in 2019. Here’s a breakdown of the grades our Peeps gave to all the movies this year.
We really appreciate all the comments we get about our movie reviews and grades. We’re not anything like professional movie reviewers, but we do our best. Our goal is to give you our honest feelings about a movie, without spoiling it.
Each of the Peeps likes to think that we’ve suffered the most by watching the worst movies, but numbers don’t lie. Looks like I (Dan) win The RunPee Award for watching the most crap movies in 2019. I had 4 movies I rated below a C-, Sis and Jill both had 2, and Mom just 1. RunPee Mom really likes to think she’s the martyr, and to be fair, she has watched a number of really bad movies, but not this year. 🙂
As I look over my list of movies for 2019, I’m struck by the fact I enjoyed almost all of them. Almost being the key word in that sentence. I gave out only one F this year, and it was totally earned. Hands down, the worst of the worst for me was The Lighthouse. Before I shred this movie apart again, I have to include my favorite movie of the year, JoJo Rabbit. I wish there was a better grade than A+, because it deserves the highest of all praise.
This is where I noticed something very interesting. My expectation going into each of these movies were polar opposites. Seeing the trailers for The Lighthouse had me instantly enthralled. It contained all of my favorite things. I love both Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. I’ve always been entranced by anything water and storm related, so my expectation was at an all time high. I knew I’d love it, and waited months on pins and needles to be blown away.
I was 100% wrong on so many levels with both of my expectations. Where the movie I was waiting for, The Lighthouse, had me seeing red and wanting throw my popcorn at the screen, JoJo Rabbit was as refreshing as the spring after an unusually hard winter. There is a quote from Bill Watterson that says, “I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations.” He’s absolutely right. My high expectations for The Lighthouse and low expectations for JoJo Rabbit demonstrated that philosophy perfectly.
Peanut Butter Falcon: A+
The absolute best movie of 2019. And this isn’t even the kind of film I usually like, so you should take my word for it. I lean towards fantasy/Sci-fi/Superhero stuff. This is none of the above. It’s just a gorgeous drama, beautifully written, with superb dialog, amazing characters, lovely on-location scenery, meaningful connections, consistent humor, a rollicking tale, and a satisfying ending. The audience laughed and clapped and walked away happy. It’s just crazy good. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll conclude by saying SEE THIS. You don’t even need your tissue box. What are you waiting for? It’s out on DVD right now. Definitely going on my annual rewatch list. Really, shoo, shoo: go watch it.
Avengers: Endgame: A+
Okay, this was a phenomenal feat. How to wrap up 20+ movies in a way that people will universally be happy? I would have said that’s impossible. We’ve all been burned by franchises that falter at some point, or have a “Chris Carter ending” (ie – X-Files) that make you feel stupid for believing things will be resolved. I don’t know who sold whose soul to do it, but Avengers: Endgame pulled off a cinematic miracle. Are there any MCU fans that were let down? As a Browncoat in Firefly would say, “We’ve done the impossible. And that makes us mighty.” I’m not bothering to explain anything from Endgame, because you’re either an MCU fan that doesn’t need a synopsis, or you’re not the target audience. This was a once in a lifetime event. I don’t even care what happens in the MCU after, because I am replete. [Contented sigh.]
Escape Room: A+
I have no real clue why I gave this such a high grade at the time. I think I was surprised by liking it. It’s probably just worth a B+, thinking about it now. It was cute and mildly clever, and I had a nice time watching it. Sometimes things just shift in your mind over time, and an A+ is totally off in this case. So do I go back in and change the grade?
Rise of Skywalker: A-
I’m…pleased. I could end this blurb here, but I should probably explain. I was 12 when A NEW HOPE (just Stars Wars, back then) premiered. I waited, like many others, for 6-8 hours in line to see this film in the theater. Not even Lucas’s later futzing could ruin Star Wars for me… Until the frakking Ewoks — and the prequel Force retcons — came along to make my faith in the Force falter. The Force Awakens gave me new “hope” and although the newer movies were hit and miss, I was satisfied with the saga finale in Rise of Skywalker. I’m just glad it didn’t suck. And you know what? Grading Star Wars on a curve, I have to admit I more than liked how things concluded. Please, Lucasfilm, stop making these movies. We’re done and it was good. Thank you.
Downton Abbey: A-
When I first watched Downton Abbey on TV, I was captivated. I’m not sure why. There weren’t any spaceships. I just enjoyed the story, even if some subplots totally failed (hello, Anna and Bates). Before the film came out, I was excited, and rewatched the entire six seasons to get ready. The series rewatch was still pretty good the second time around. The movie is just like that: pretty good. And they dropped the Bates’ endless blahs, so yay! I can’t say this is a great film, but if you are a Downton Abbey fan, you’ll be pleased with how the story continues. So pretty, so fun, and everyone we liked is back for seconds, on top of their game.
Knives Out: A-
What a surprise! After royally messing up The Last Jedi, Rian does us proud in an amusing and coherent mystery story about a family of awful people that we’re fascinated to watch. It works, even on several viewings. I was glad to do the Peetimes for it, because it’s a ton of fun and never cheats. Perfect casting, BTW.
The Lion King: A-
I am not entirely on-board with Disney making “live” versions of their classics, but this made me laugh, made me cry, and ultimately moved my soul. I think it was the casting and beautiful visuals. It’s not an A+ like the animated original, but I can’t help but feel reminded that adopting the Hakuna Matata motto is more important as you grow older and life gets more complicated. This is the best version of the animated updates in my opinion, and I think it’s largely due to some stirring and amusing scenes that just made me…happy. There were a few parts that actually improved on the original, and I can’t say that often.
Terminator: Dark Fate: B+
I liked it. Didn’t love it, but I’m okay with that. Not sucking is a great feat these days in a franchise revival. I don’t even care that the otherwise decent T3 was tossed out of continuity. I would have felt better about this film except for three things: 1. The Tar Terminator was trash compared to the T2 liquid metal effects (and awesome acting by Robert Patrick), and 2. the new Chosen One was completely forgettable. I don’t even remember her name or what she did in the movie. Truth. And 3. The unceremonious death of someone. ARG. I am not going to forgive this. I can’t. I’m mad as a hornet.
Dark Fate good things: Grace Mackenzie. Linda Hamilton. Arnold. Carl selling draperies. The subplot about immigration. Eating chips. And, of course, sacrifice for the greater good. This is a fine entry in Terminator canon, but I need time to get comfortable with some of it.
Jumani 3 – The Next Level: B
I admit, I was disappointed. I adored Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It was one of my favorite movies of that year. This one was….IDK. Passable. Maybe I was expecting too much from a threequel. I liked it, but have no real desire to watch it over and over like I did with the previous film. I didn’t laugh as much. The plot was….um…what was the plot? Something about yet another jewel. The body swaps weren’t as fun. There were some weird set pieces. But since I was so looking forward to this film, it sticks out in my mind as something worth discussing. I think a B grade is just about right.
Happy Death Day 2U: B
I loved the original Death Day film with it’s comedic, horror-lite, tight mystery story. This was a good follow-up that I did — admittedly — enjoy, but it didn’t approach the delight of the first. What stands out: genre hopping! Instead of horror/mystery/comedy, we got something like a Back to the Future sci-fi flick. It was a good follow up. Recommended, but not wonderful.
Spider-Man Far From Home: B
Not my favorite MCU film, but a decent coda to the MCU Infinity Saga. I wish it had been as fun as Spiderman: Homecoming, but it did a nice job concluding the long and winding road of Marvel storytelling. I’m worried, though. Phase Four needs to be better than this.
Ad Astra: B
I have such mixed feelings on this Brad Pitt almost-solo wonder. There are other characters, briefly, but none of them matter. We get some super interesting set-pieces and quite a bit of philosophical interpersonal conception. Yet…it’s often deadly dull. This movie stands out by being great occasionally, and frequently bad. I look forward to seeing how this stands up to time. I mean, space movies are my thing. But this is more 2001 than Guardians of the Galaxy. Fair warning: I didn’t like Gravity, which this is sort of like. “Brad” Astra (Ha, get it?) is more serious and contemplative than adventurous, with a few short but memorable set pieces on various objects in our solar system. You tell me: I just didn’t know what to do with this film.
First Man: B
I wanted to love this, the same way I loved Apollo 13 and The Martian. Perhaps focusing on an emotionless man was the root of the evil. How could the first lunar walk be so boring? I love space. I used to work at AstroCamp, and adore space films. I think Tom Hank’s Jim Lovell said it best in Apollo 13: “Armstrong? Really?” How could such a momentous occasion be so miserable an experience? The man is on the MOON. Try to enjoy the moment. If you can’t appreciate being the first man, give the chance to someone else, who would feel the wonder and joy. For comparison, Second Man Buzz Aldrin was bounding around in excitement. As would I. And probably you. Honestly, thinking about this makes me just mad. First Man gets a B from being competently filmed and well acted, but don’t expect to like anything on screen. What a mirthless excursion.
The Hustle: C-
I don’t want to discuss this. It was bad. Just go see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels again.
Beach Bum: D+
I love Jimmy Buffet — who was in this trainwreck — and I want to be a professional beach bum someday in my own version of Margaritaville. I was excited to see it! Too bad Beach Bum was garbage. I think this is a film to watch absolutely stoned out of your gourd. You tell me if that improves it.
47 Meters Down: D-
Singularly the worst movie I saw all year, and I am pretty forgiving of shark films. So much wasted opportunity. They could have made a fabulous undersea sunken “lost city” adventure, patrolled by blind cave sharks. Instead, it was just another jump scare movie where we don’t know who will survive by the end. Keep in mind, sharks are — in reality — animals, not monsters. The original 47 Meters Down was a fine film that did right by the genre.
This was just a jumbled, murky, messy, pointless opportunity to exploit shark mania.
Seriously, this could have been a fascinating and exciting story along the lines of, say, “Indiana Jones and the Lost City of Sharks“. I suppose I’m asking too much. Don’t pay any money to see this on any level. It barely misses an F, because there were occasional moments that didn’t totally bomb. The movie has zero connective tissue to the sensible story in the first film. Pass.
RunPee Mom (Ginger Gardner)
They Shall Not Grow Old: A+
Superior to any other war movie ever made. There’s a Russian proverb that says, “A wide road leads to war; a narrow path leads home.” No other movie has exemplified this more than TSNGO. This should be included in every course on military history.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: A
This movie was perfect in every way, right down to the fact that Tom Hanks and Fred Rogers are actually related.
The Art of Racing in the Rain: B+
For all animal lovers. I applaud the fact that this movie was from the dog’s point of view, and Kevin Costner was the perfect voice for Enzo.
Stan & Ollie: A
As a kid, I never really enjoyed the Stan & Ollie act. I didn’t like the fat guy constantly yelling at the skinny guy. This movie wasn’t so much about the act, as it was about the men behind the act. I believe that John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan both deserve an Oscar nod for their performances.
Blinded by the Light: A
I love Bruce Springsteen, but this movie was so much more than a great soundtrack. The overlying story of a culture clash between the father and son was intense and well played out by Viveik Kalra, as the son, and Kulvinder Ghir as the father. In this year of some really great music bio’s, Blinded by the Light took an entirely different approach to spotlighting the music of the The Boss.
Dan Gardner (RunPee CEO)
Ford v Ferrari: A+
What a surprisingly delightful movie. Of course the partnership of Matt Damon and Christian Bale packed a powerful one-two punch. I expected that and wasn’t disappointed. But everything about the movie just cruises. It’s movie making at its finest.
Knives Out: A
This is my sleeper of the year. On the surface, this movie is funny and enjoyable. But the subtext of this movie is brilliant. The message that immigrants are the real moral backbone of this country — while entitled white boomers are responsible for its decline — is so subtle that it seems like no one noticed. But once you see it, you can’t help but see anything else.
The screenplay is written by Richard Curti: Love Actually, About Time, War Horse, The Boat that Rocked, etc. That’s all I needed to know.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: B- and falling.
RoS had many enjoyable moments, and that’s about it. The more I think about the story, the more I get annoyed. JJ Abrams doesn’t deserve to be piloting this franchise. There are so many errors in storytelling in this movie that it could serve as the exemplar in a class on how not to tell a story.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix: D-
At least Rise of Skywalker had enjoyable moments. Dark Phoenix was so bad as to be cringe worthy.
Even if Hellboy came out 25 years ago, it would have been criticized for lackluster special effects. And as bad as the effects were here, it will only be remembered for being so forgettable.