For a movie that’s almost as old as I am and features many a flat tops and pastel vests, “House Party” is a movie that’s barely aged. In fact, it’s a movie that so many studios have tried to duplicate but never quite have captured the same magic and enthusiasm. There’s just something about “House Party” that’s kept it a vessel of pop culture, hip hop, and comedy that was shifting from the eighties and in to the nineties. Not even the sequels lived up to what is basically the perfect party movie when all is said and done. The movie advertises itself in the title, but while the movie is centered almost completely on a party, it’s also a pretty excellent coming of age comedy.
2019 was a surprisingly very good (and busy!) year for pop culture and film. Everything was so breakneck and speedily delivered that it was impossible to keep up. I wish I could have watched all the films I had planned for this list, That said, I did manage to see so much that I had a tough time compiling a definitive top ten. 2019 had so many surprises for movie fans of all kinds and these are ten films from 2019 that made the cut of the top ten for me.
What were some of your favorites? Let us know.
It’s hard to find many good zombie apocalypse Christmas musical comedies out there, but when you do, it’s a treat. John McPhall’s wonderful “Anna and the Apocalypse” is a great film teeming with massive cult potential that I think will big momentum soon. It’s that kind of movie warranting a big Broadway production a la “Rocky Horror.” On its own though, the Scottish born “Anna and the Apocalypse” is a great reprieve from the massive holiday rush. While the holiday season is filled with an overflow of maudlin movies, “Anna and the Apocalypse” is that right dose of holiday glee with some great zombie carnage to boot.
Gurinder Chadha is a very unique voice in the film world who always manages to lend a much needed voice to cultures we don’t usually see too much of in mainstream film. “Bend it Like Beckham” was a crowd pleasing comedy drama about cultural conformity and societal pressures, and “Blinded By the Light” follows the same basic platform. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but at the end of Chadha’s comedy drama musical, I found it to be a pleasant diversion with one hell of a great soundtrack. I admit while the film didn’t stick with me, I spent the rest of the night humming Springsteen’s songs in my head.
I’m no misanthrope, but it’s tough to find great new Christmas movies, even though Hollywood does keep trying no matter what. I went in with low expectations with “Let It Snow” but took the chance thanks to the great cast, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s hard to remember a Christmas movie that feels so down to Earth and unassuming than “Let It Snow.” It has every chance to be so saccharine and cloying, but it instead insists on a very sweet and engaging tone with some genuinely engaging characters.
Nelson McCormick’s “Prom Night” is not even technically a remake, at all. In fact most of the film doesn’t even take place during prom night. After drudging through an endless array of teen melodrama that was obviously only a lead up to the killing, director Nelson McCormack’s thriller seems to actively work at not being scary. Perhaps it’s to keep from offending the young audience to which this PG-13 snooze fest was touted to, but “Prom Night 2008” lacks any of the inherent terror the original film possessed, however minimal it is.
It’s not many directors or studios willing to display what twelve years olds do when adults aren’t looking, and “Good Boys” thankfully doesn’t waste the opportunity. “Good Boys” has every chance to be just a crude one note gag that involves just a bunch of foul mouthed tweens, but “Good Boys” is a fun and very funny peek I to a new generation of young adults, all of whom have different problems than we did, but also surprisingly face the same hurdles including growing up, moving on without our childhood friends, and learning to accept what we are.
Nickelodeon has been in a tricky scenario over the last five years, in where the audience that once watched their hit shows is now becoming adults. Now they’ve scrambled for ways to appeal to a new generation, even aging their banner characters a bit. With “Dora the Explorer,” Nickelodeon has taken great pains in allowing her to blossom with her audience, and then revert back to the original formula that made her such a hit. With this feature film adaptation, they manage to pull off what is a loving tribute, a fun action adventure film, an adaptation that is never afraid to poke fun at itself every now and then, and a spotlight for latinx movie heroes we can root for.