Liz’s Top Five
1. Won’t You be My Neighbor
There is no need to explain in detail the impact that Mr. Rogers had on most of us. We all went to this movie for comfort in a time of chaos and darkness. Mr. Rogers brought back the light and the feeling of kindness deep in our cold hearts. If you weren’t crying–no, uncontrollably sobbing—by the end, you are a monster. My favorite part of the movie wasn’t necessarily the movie itself, but walking out of the theater and witnessing multiple groups of people standing there, embracing each other. That is the kind of impact Mr. Rogers has.
2. Leave No Trace
While on the topic of kindness and compassion, in a world where we are in a constant state of self guard and distrust, came this. A veteran with mental health issues who lives in a park with his teenage daughter—by choice—in order to separate themselves from modern living and distraction run into trouble after being spotted. The struggle to assimilate back into society is surprisingly met with unending kindness. Mental health and homelessness take a very different light in this film and shows that is isn’t always what it looks like from a view of privilege and judgement, but rather what happens when we as humans act with kindness and only meet someone else’s struggles with understanding and a helping hand.
3. First Man
Confirming that getting to space is one scary motherf*cking task. A solid Justin Hurwitz soundtrack. Equally intense acting from both Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy (I’d like to see them in a staring contest). Anything that has Coach Taylor. This movie about Neil Armstrong and his race to space checks all the boxes for a compelling story that mixes the emotions of what it took both personally and professionally to reach the moon. Apart from the mild nausea I got from the shaking camera effects, everything else was solid as a rock.
4. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
I could seriously watch Tom Cruise run all day. Just put it on a loop and bring me food and water for at least 3 days because I’m not budging. As he gets more impressive in his later years, so does the stunt work. I also love Rebecca Ferguson as his sprinting/gun slinging/stunt fighting equal even more. The villain (Sean Harris) makes his return as well, who isn’t my favorite, but I did enjoy having Henry Cavill mixed in with this bunch, especially since he wanted to get in on the stunt work too. It made me respect Tom Cruise just a little more when he wouldn’t allow Cavill to skydive because it meant risking everyone’s lives if he couldn’t do it perfectly. He’s that serious about entertainment vs. risk factor.
5. A Star is Born
Lady Gaga and her talent for moving mountains with her voice deserves some recognition. There are very few singers that can bring me to tears with their performance, but she is definitely one of them. If there were any doubts about her as an entertainer, they can be put to rest after watching this. Bradley Cooper is impressive himself for learning how to sing for the role, but also the dynamic the two have together to tell this story is both endearing and heartbreaking, along with the relationships they have with their family and friends throughout the story and how they evolve both together and apart.
Hearts Beat Loud: Nick Offerman is always a pleasure to watch, pair him with a newcomer Kiersey Clemons and you get a warm and fuzzy film. Extra points for Ted Danson being what I imagine to be himself.
Dawn Wall: I didn’t know much about Tommy Caldwell before seeing this, but the storytelling was just as amazing as the climb itself.
Black Panther: The only superhero movie this year I will applaud, because it went above and beyond what needed to be on screen in this genre.
Crazy Rich Asians: A lot of people hated this movie, but back off. Read the books first then have an opinion. Also, an all-Asian cast … can we just take that as a win?
Creed 2: Michael B. Jordan flipping tires in the middle of the desert and taking a sledgehammer to the dirt. Training montage of the year. Plus, Tessa Thompson can be my hypewoman any day.
Eric Sweeney’s Top Ten: (Eric’s traveling in Asia, so his list is sans blurbs. We’ll get his expanded thoughts and an updated top ten list in January when we do our end of the year review Podcast)
2. MI Fallout
3. Spider-Man – Into The Spiderverse
4. Game Night
5. A Quiet Place
7. Incredibles 2
10. Isle of Dogs
Death of Stalin