By Ken Chanko
With everything else going on in the country right now it’s gratifying to report that 2019 turned out to be an unimpeachably good year for discerning movie-goers.
Before getting to this year’s remarkably robust ten-best list, it must be noted that 2019 saw the full impact of Netflix, for better and for worse. Quality mid-range films are getting squeezed between a rock — Hollywood’s reliance on Marvel-style formulaic franchise fare — and a hard place — the popularity of Netflix, which keeps folks increasingly on their sofas, in turn making studio execs even less willing to green-light more box-office risky (i.e., non-sequel superhero) films in the first place.
Then there was the dispute between the nation’s movie theater chains and officials at Netflix over Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” the year’s best film. On the one hand, the movie’s shortened window in theaters before Netflix streamed it bodes ill for those still wanting to see worthy films get vigorous distribution at their local theaters; on the other hand, Netflix, as opposed to studios like Paramount or Universal, was the only “distributor” willing to pony-up the $150 million Scorsese needed to make his classic mob epic in the first place.
So, there you have it. And here are my best films of the year: