I’m rooting for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood to win ALL the awards this winter. Not because I think it’s the best movie of the year, even if it is. I personally don’t care that the dated taste of the Academy rarely lines up with Rated Greg’s exceptional palate. No, I’m rooting for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood because it came out in July. If Tarantino’s latest can win the Oscar’s highest praises, maybe, just maybe movie studios will consider releasing their Oscar hopefuls in windows outside of the last 6 weeks of the year.
On one hand, it’s AWESOME that on Christmas Day you can go to the theater and have the option of seeing Knives Out, Ford v Ferrari, Parasite, Little Women, Bombshell, Richard Jewell, Uncut Gems, or 1917, not too mention the straight to home streaming releases of The Irishman, Marriage Story, and The Report. But on the other hand, why can’t we spread this out a little more? That’s eleven movies that are supposedly awards contenders released all in the same time frame whereas throughout the rest of the year it’s hard to find more than one movie for adults on the slate at the same time. It’s not like The Emmy’s care at all about when certain TV series air, same goes for the Grammy’s (sike I know nothing about that Grammy’s), so why the fuck are Academy voters so susceptible to recency bias? If this is truly their craft, shouldn’t they be able to see past that? Anyways, lets go Leo, Brad, Quentin, and Margot.
That’s Year Four of Rated Greg in the books. I had a lot less time to write about movies this year, but still plenty of time to see them. Here are the Rated Greg superlatives on the year, along with a 2019 report card at the bottom.
*Apologies to Bombshell, Honey Boy, and The Lighthouse. Three movies that I expect great things from but haven’t yet had the opportunity to see.
Best Lead Actor*
- Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
- Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems
- Brad Pitt – Ad Astra
- Kelvin Harrison Jr. – Waves**
- Adam Driver – Marriage Story
*Last year was an incredibly deep field for Best Actress, but in 2019 it’s the men that are gonna have to leave some very qualified players on the bench. Apologies to Robert De Niro (Irishman), Timothee Chalamet (The King), Andrew Garfield (Under The Silver Lake), Daniel Craig (Knives Out), Andre Holland (High Flying Bird), Matthew McConaughey (The Beach Bum), and most notably Joaquin Phoenix for Joker. I swear leaving him off of this list isn’t some sort of a troll. He’s incredible in Joker, I just found the top 5 performances above more interesting.
**I’m really excited to see what Kelvin does next. He was the best part of Waves and Luce this year, but he plays a high school golden boy with a dark side in both movies. One can only hope that a superhero franchise doesn’t lock him into some 7 picture deal that takes up the rest of his 20’s like Tom Holland, even though he may prefer that for his bank account.
Best Lead Actress*
- Florence Pugh – Midsommer
- Lupita Nyong’o – Us
- Samara Weaving – Ready Or Not
- Kaitlyn Dever – Booksmart
- Charlize Theron – Long Shot
*The top 3 shows that the best roles available to adult women continue to be in the horror genre. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s certainly a thing.
Best Supporting Actor
- Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
- Sterling K. Brown – Waves
- Ben Affleck – Triple Frontier*
- Al Pacino – The Irishman
- Bill Hader – IT Chapter 2**
**Hader has developed some serious acting chops. It saddens me that he won’t be recognized for IT 2, but mark my words he will get an Oscar nomination in the next 3 years.
Best Supporting Actress
- Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers*
- Laura Dern – Marriage Story*
- Taylor Russell – Waves
- Julia Fox – Uncut Gems**
- Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell
*It’s going to be a heavy weight fight for the Oscar between these two. Both performances are absolutely electric and I honestly don’t know who’s going to win. I’ll give the slight nod to J-Lo due to more screen time.
**insert heart eyes emoji
- The Dummies – Toy Story 4*
- Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) – Doctor Sleep**
- The Dauphin of France (Robert Pattinson) – The King
- Todd (Jesse Plemons) – El Camino
- Umbrae (Shahadi Wright Joseph) – Us
*At a Sunday afternoon viewing of Toy Story 4, there was an audible gasp of terror by the adult woman sitting behind me the moment these creepy dudes show up. And honestly, it was warranted.
** Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, is probably the most average movie of the year. But Ferguson by far is the best part about it. Love her.
Best Ridiculous Performance
- Martin Lawrence (Captain Wack) – The Beach Bum*
- Keanu Reaves (as himself) – Always Be My Maybe
- Daniel Craig (Benoit Blanc) – Knives Out
- Jake Gyllenhaal (Mysterio) – Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Taika Waititi (Imaginary Hitler) – Jojo Rabbit
*You could technically put the entire cast of The Beach Bum as the top 5 in this category, but that’s against Rated Greg rules.
- Mark (Will Poulter) – Midsommar
- Madison (Zoey Deutch) – Zombieland: Double Tap
- Amy (Florence Pugh) – Little Women
- Tony Pro (Stephen Graham) – The Irishman
- Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans) – Knives Out
- Brandy the dog – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
- Mr. Mime – Detective Pikachu*
- Babu Frik – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
- Michael J Fox Lookin’ [REDACTED] the cat – Waves
- The donkey – Triple Frontier
Worst Character, Performance, or Scene
- Noah Centineo (Brooks Radigan) – The Perfect Date
- John Boyega (Finn) – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker***
- The sex scene/protest scene mashup – Queen & Slim*
- The grocer confrontation scene – The Irishman**
- Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) – Avengers: Endgame
*This scene is truly BEWILDERING. I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten more attention, however I guess no one saw this movie.
**Now this is something that has gotten attention, the internet calling out it’s shittiness. Everyone is talking about how bad the choreography of the curb stomping is, but what I thought was even weirder is the way the grocer gets thrown through the glass. He just doesn’t get pushed with close to enough force one would think that it would take to go through glass. I noticed this immediately and felt compelled to rewind the scene 3 times while watching the movie because something looked so “off” about it.
***I just don’t give a fuck about any of these new Star Wars characters. Except for Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren rules.
Best Volume Year
- Keanu Reeves (Wick 3, Toy Story 4, Between Two Ferns, Always Be My Maybe)
- Brad Pitt (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Ad Astra)
- Florence Pugh (Midsommar, Little Women, Fighting With My Family)
- Adam Driver (Marriage Story, The Report, Star Wars)
- Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit, Avengers: Endgame)
- Good Boys
- Knives Out
- Between Two Ferns
- Fyre Fraud
- The Biggest Little Farm
- Ad Astra
- Marriage Story
- The Last Black Man In San Francisco
- Uncut Gems
- Doctor Sleep***
*This award used to be Most Scares, but I’ve seen so many horror movies the past decade that it’s extremely rare for me to find something truly scary. But luckily there’s still a surplus films that came make you squirm with uneasiness.
**Jawline is a documentary that follows a 16 year old aspiring Instagram/YouTube influencer. I think it was initially meant to be hopeful and uplifting but ends up exposing the most insidious aspects of the business and is quite sad. It would make an excellent double feature with Fyre Fraud (both on Hulu).
***This really just for one scene involving a baseball boy that is fairly fucked up.
- Ford v Ferrari
- Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
- The Beach Bum
Best Stunt/Action Sequence
- “Dog-Fu” – John Wick 3
- The Le Mans – Ford v Ferrari
- 1917 – The whole movie
- The Opening Car Chase – 6 Underground
- The Lunar Chase – Ad Astra
- The Knife Fight – John Wick 3
- The Bruce Lee scene – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
- The Fight – Marriage Story
- The Hallway Henchmen – Polar
- The Battle of Agincourt – The King
Best Non-Action Scene
- The Cold Open – Midsommar*
- Leo’s Trailer Meltdown – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
- Pitt’s Message – Ad Astra
- Fishing – Waves
- Becky Plays A Song For Her Daughter – Her Smell**
*I can’t stress enough that this isn’t something I want to experience over and over again. But the opening scene of Midsommar will put a chill down your spine unlike anything you’ve seen before. I have to give props for it.
**I wouldn’t recommend Her Smell to most people, a drama about a fictional Courtney Love type rock singer that can’t get her act together. It’s a really tough watch, but does have one scene towards the end that is undeniably sweet and made me tear up on an airplane.
Best Use of a Song
- It Must Have Been Love (Roxanne) – Long Shot
- Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys) – Us
- I Am A God (Kanye West) – Waves
- 2000 Miles (The Pretenders) – Cold Pursuit
- Can’t Touch This (MC Hammer) – The Inventor
Five Random Quotes
- “I heard you paint houses” – The Irishman
- “Wait a minute. I read a tweet about a New Yorker article about you” – Knives Out
- “I’m a white man and I’m straight and I deserve it” – Between Two Ferns
- “Dick me dead and bury me pregnant” – Fighting With My Family
- “And away….we….go” – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Twenty Other Things That Made Me Feel Some Type of Way (in no particular order)
- The piano in Under The Silver lake
- Leaving rehab in The Beach Bum
- Gotham City Guys in The Lego Movie 2
- The drug scene in Long Shot
- The pool in Booksmart
- The double date in Always Be My Maybe
- Bunny & Ducky’s plan in Toy Story 4
- The mushrooms in Midsommar
- The talk show in Joker
- The ending of Ready Or Not
- The opening dance sequence of Climax
- The pivots of Parasite
- J Lo’s pole dance in Hustlers
- The vacuum cleaner store in El Camino
- Arnold’s home life in Terminator: Dark Fate
- The frat house in Good Boys
- The inspection in Jojo Rabbit
- The fish conversation in The Irishman
- Dancing outside in Little Women
- The very end of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
The Best Of The Decade*
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- The Town
- Get Out
- The Wolf Of Wall Street
- Manchester By The Sea
- Everybody Wants Some
- The Place Beyond The Pines
*Not having anything from 2018 or 2019 on this list isn’t a detriment to those years, I just haven’t had the chance to rewatch any of those yet. With the influx of new content by Netflix, Amazon, etc, every single week, I wonder if the rewatches of movies going forward will go way down. Every single one of these movies got better the second time I saw them.
Ten Movies To Be Excited About in 2020
- Top Gun: Maverick
- The Last Duel*
- The Many Saints of Newark
- The Woman In The Window
- Without Remorse
- Last Night In Soho
- The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
- Deep Water
*Damon & Affleck alert
2019 MOVIE REPORT CARD