By Nick Maylor
2019 has been jam-packed with a ton of great movie moments in films that have been years and decades in the making. Avengers: Endgame, The Irishman and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, were massive culminating events in and of themselves. Those films and several others inspired me to compile this list of my favourite 2019 movie moments. Needless to say, there are MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD.
10. SARAH CONNOR (TERMINATOR: DARK FATE)
While the film didn’t fare too well at the box office, I was actually a fan. It felt like the real third installment of the franchise James Cameron created with The Terminator (1984) and T2: Judgement Day (1991) and one of the most satisfying parts of the film was the return of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. She enters the movie like a bat out of hell and spends most of it kicking ass and taking names. Her first scene is purely, simply, awesome.
9. THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT (THE LION KING)
Jon Favreau’s remake of The Lion King (1994) was a picturesque, faithfull retelling of the story we all love. The songs were well-executed across the board but only one of them clearly improved on the rendition in the original animated film. The acapella version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” sees a group of jungle animals come together as Timon and Pumba trot to the rhythm. Pharrell Williams produced the song and his presence can be heard. Layered, catchy and wonderful.
8. BEING ALIVE (MARRIAGE STORY)
In this powerful story about family and divorce, Adam Driver delivers a magnificent performance that could well earn him a Best Actor Oscar. Near the end of the film, in a restaurant, Driver delivers an emotional rendition of “Being Alive” from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company. It should come as no surprise that this exceptionally talented actor also has the pipes to sing the theatrical number. Emotional and resonating. A great moment.
7. STAN LEE (CAPTAIN MARVEL)
While Captain Marvel ranks as my least-favourite entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it does contain my favourite cameo from Marvel Comics legend, Stan Lee. The opening Marvel Studios logo was changed to feature a slew of images of Lee as opposed to the comic book characters but when his on-screen cameo finally happens, it contains a nod to geek legend Kevin Smith. Lee appeared in Smith’s sophomoric directing effort Mallrats (1995) and as the film takes place in the 90s, Lee is seen on a bus rehearsing his lines while reading the script for Mallrats. A wonderful reference to one of my favourite filmmakers and a good friend of Stan Lee’s, Mr. Kevin Smith. Simply awesome.
6. JUDY SINGS (JUDY)
Delivering a powerful performance that could earn her a Best Actress Oscar, Renee Zelwegger shines brilliantly as Judy Garland in this film focusing on the final months of the actress and singer’s tragic life. Aside from knocking her performance out of the park, Zelwegger also does her own singing and when she finally shows off those pipes, it is truly spectacular to behold.
5. CROCODILE ROCK (ROCKETMAN)
It is my contention that the most deserving candidate for the forthcoming Best Actor Oscar is Taron Egerton for his masterful performance as Elton John in the biopic Rocketman (2019). Egerton is simply brilliant throughout the masterful film and his singing performances of Elton’s music are brilliant in their own right. During a scene at the famous Troubador, Egerton performs John’s “Crocodile Rock”. During the song, everyone in the room becomes lighter than air, floating in the midst of the magic they are witnessing. Recreating a famous photo of Elton John leaping from behind his piano, the scene is pure magic.
4. I’M GOING TO PRISON (THE IRISHMAN)
Martin Scorsese’s crime epic contains enough great moments for its own list but here I am going to focus on one that made me burst out in hysterical laughter. The master of yelling, Al Pacino (as Jimmy Hoffa) berates a room full of union underlings in a rant for the ages. Screaming at the top of his lungs to the point where you think his head is going to literally pop off, Pacino’s insults and projection are the stuff of legend. An absolutely uproarious scene of comedic genius.
3. J. JONAH JAMESON (SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) was a great Spider-Man movie featuring one of the hero’s most beloved adversaries but aside from the movie itself, it featured a mid-credits sequence that was the best kind of fan service. Although taking place in a completely separate fiction universe, the film ties into the Sam Rami-directed Spider-Man Trilogy (2002-2007) by featuring J.K Simmons reprising his role as J. Jonah Jameson. Simmons was so beloved in the role in the Rami films that many fans thought the character could not be appropriately re-cast. The filmmakers at Marvel Studios seemed to agree as they brought back Simmons to play the character he so wonderfully embodied and defined. This version is more of an Alex Jones-inspired pundit than newspaper CEO but all the trademarks are there: his bravado, his moustache and his hatred for Spider-Man. The theatre gleefully cheered.
2. HAN SOLO (STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER)
While I seem to have liked Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) more than many critics, it isn’t one of the year’s best films. However, it does contain one moment that gleefully made me feel like a ten-year-old kid again. In a very surprising cameo, Harrison Ford returns as Han Solo to share one final scene with his son, Ben Solo (Adam Driver). Reversing the tide from their previous encounter in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Kylo Ren is redeemed by the presence of his father. The scene is emotionally resonant as anything else in the movie and was a wonderful surprise.
1. ASSEMBLE (AVENGERS: ENDGAME)
In a beloved film filled with enough kick-ass moments for its own list, Avengers: Endgame brought spectacle to a whole new level this year. The culmination of over twenty films that preceded it, Endgame was satisfying in a way that can scarcely be described by a true fan like myself. The moment when Captain America shouts out the team’s battle cry as every Marvel character unites to face down Thanos’ army was fan service to the ultimate degree. Not just that, it was also earned. I felt something in my gut so powerful during that moment that it reminded me why we watch movies in the first place. The film even made a jaded superhero cynic like our own John H. Foote become a believer. A masterfully executed moment in a great film. The single most resonating moment in cinema this year.
Happy New Year from all of us at Foote & Friends On Film!
Nick is an actor/writer/comedian/musician from Hamilton, ON Canada. Having been a film nut since the early days of his life, Nick has had an obsession with cinema and popular entertainment. Nick has written for thecinemaholic.com and is the current Foote & Friends “expert” on all things geek/superhero/comic-book related. Nick met John when studying acting at the Toronto Film School, for which John H. Foote was director and Film History professor. The two have been arguing ever since.
Follow Nick on Twitter @NickMaylor