If I had time to see this movie before the end of 2019, my top movie list would look quite different. Most war films are a highlight reel; full of blood, glory, and noble sacrifice for the greater good. There’s even a love story or two involved to help ground the audience (not that we don’t already have enough doing that). 1917 isn’t a new tale being told by director Sam Mendes – an impossible-mission drama, like Dunkirk and Saving Private Ryan before it – but it was how the story is told that made all the difference.
2020 is now a full week in. The confetti and streamers have been cleaned up and we’ve all gotten adjusted to the new year and a new decade. The year where our patience finally pays off has arrived. The movies offered in 2020 have been some that we’ve waited to land on the movie screen for some time. Long awaited follow-ups to Bad Boys and Coming to America arrive while the Wyld Stallyns reunite in Bill & Ted Face the Music. It’s not all sequels and reboots though, we’re getting a new musical with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights coming to the big screen, courtesy of Crazy Rich Asians’ director Jon M. Chu. There’s a new slew of thrillers, horror films, colorful animated treats, action-adventures, and more. It’s never too early to get excited about movies so start marking these titles on your calendar.
What another year for movies! As we close out this year (and decade!), I wanted to take a look back and rank the films that captivated my mind, heart, and emotions. Like every year, this year’s list wasn’t how I thought it would turn out at the start of 2019. But that’s the wonderful surprises of the business.
Without any further ado, here we go!
9 movies. 42 years.
The Star Wars saga (affectionately known as The Skywalker Saga) was delighted audiences for generations. After the fan base dividing Last Jedi, the final chapter was approached with reservations by fans and critics. Despite this, the enduring story of the Skywalker Saga didn’t disappoint me once I sat down to board the Millennium Falcon for one last adventure.
Netflix changed the game of television programming with its original programming with shows like House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. Last year, Netflix changed the game again, this time with original films, with the Oscar-nominated, slice of life film Roma. Those who thought the Alfonso Cuaron film was a one-off film for Netflix entering the awards game, you were wrong as Marriage Story aims to devastate your heart.
When it comes to murder mysteries, I haven’t run into many that I’ve overall liked in the last few years, most falling into the category of one and done viewings. Thank God for Rian Johnson using his writing and directorial talents to Knives Out, a silly, stabby, brilliant whodunit.
I think we can all agree that Nazis are bad, right? In this world where ignorance still lives in the dark corners of today’s world, we all seek moments of positivity to shine through. Light, laughter, and love helps us get through those times when hate enters the scene. The genre of Holocaust and World War II humor has been largely, and thankfully, sparse.
Taika Waititi takes a huge swing with Jojo Rabbit – a bold piece of Third Reich playfulness that shouldn’t have worked as well as it did; especially since it’s about a boy whose imaginary friend is Hitler. I’m here to say that the swing paid off.
Comedy is a genre that needs to evolve with the times. What was funny in one generation might not be in the next. Funny men of yesterday struggle to stay current and fade out. But every once in a while, some make a return that you’ve been waiting to celebrate.
Eddie Murphy has done just that.
As a comic book and movie fan, I enjoy when source material is stretched; attacked from different angles to give a fresh perspective on a story. Upon hearing that a super-villain would be getting his own film, I was intrigued. Especially considering he is one of the most iconic villains and fictional characters ever created.
Unfortunately, Joker is anything but a laughing matter.
With the upcoming launch of the Disney+ streaming network on November 12, the Mouse House put out trailers and news for upcoming original content that can only be found on their service. One trailer that debuted is the upcoming retelling of Disney’s classic, Lady and the Tramp.
With Disney banking on the success of modern retelling of their animated classics, what’s the next animated film to get a fresh paint of live-action?
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The official synopsis: “This timeless retelling of the 1955 classic about a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.”
Out of all the movies of my Disney collection, I still view this one as an underrated success. The fifteenth Disney animated feature film was released in 1955, nestled between other classics such as Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty. However, not a lot of people talk about it as one of the studios’ all-time greats. That doesn’t mean that this tale about home, friendship, and unexpected love should be forgotten.
I would have thought this live-action movie would have been made for the big screen and, considering the cast, it should be; Tessa Thompson voicing Lady, Justin Theroux as Tramp, along with Sam Elliott, Janelle Monae, and Benedict Wong is enough to get an audience into seats. Since launching your own streaming service needs to have a big opener, it makes more sense to have Lady and the Tramp be a headliner.
I’ve enjoyed Disney’s current run of live-action remakes. They all haven’t been classics, but I appreciate that they want these stories retold for a new time and generation to enjoy. They have cranked out their greatest hits with Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, and recently, Aladdin and The Lion King. There has even been an updated retelling of Winnie the Pooh that relates to children and adults with Christopher Robin! With Mulan scheduled for next year and The Little Mermaid currently in the works, it looks like the remake train will continue to roll. My only concern now is that Disney might have painted themselves into a corner as far as what other stories to retell from their deep vault.
Here’s my short list of what could possibly be next to hit theaters or Disney+.
The Fox and The Hound
Another underrated classic could find its path laid out, depending on the success of Lady and The Tramp. While I like this movie, I found it to be average; I’ll watch it if it’s on but I’m not going to go out of my way to put it on. Despite its charm, The characters and story felt too formulaic to me as I look back on it. Maybe a CGI-adaptation is what this movie needs to reclaim some Disney magic.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
One of my absolute favorites from the dark corners of the Disney Renaissance, this animated version of Victor Hugo’s novel was one of Disney’s first films to explore mature themes such as lust, damnation, sin. Despite the changes to the original source material to give it a G rating in the late 90’s, one can guess that the story of Quasimodo and his quest for acceptance will have a modern touch on the Disney+ streaming service or theatrical release, still addressing those mature themes and being family-friendly.
The Great Mouse Detective
Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a CGI-animated re-telling of this lost gem. Before the time of the Disney Reniassance, Walt Disney studios struggled to find its footing in 1986 after the under-performance of The Black Cauldron a year prior. Based on the book series, Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus, Basil consciously emulates Sherlock Holmes in this caper film that doesn’t get enough respect. If it’s not getting a theatrical release, put this film on Disney+!
From mice to to their larger rivals, The Arisocats have been LONG overdue for a re-telling. The musical romantic film about a family of aristocratic cats crossing paths with an alley cat after their butler kidnaps them for a fortune is fun and energetic, filled with great music and adorable characters. Despite not being one of the films frequently talked about in casual Disney circles, these cats deserve their time to roam and dance around in the digital age.
Oliver and Company
I don’t think I could champion this story any better. The adaptation of Oliver Twist with dogs was brilliant and has aged well enough to deserve a re-telling. The classic story of the orphan child is one that has withstood the test of time, getting re-telling after re-telling over the years. I think we’re overdue for another, but Disney should get the nod this time around to tell the story. Despite mixed reviews during its initial release (Seriously, it went against The Land Before Time), it remains beloved among the adults who grew up in the early days of the Disney Renaissance.
Even though Disney would be adapting B, or even C, level animated movies, and dusting off lost gems, these films should be up for remake consideration after the A-List films have their time in the sun. These movies might not be totally well-known, but deserve to be shown to a new generation of film-viewers.
Thanks for reading, everyone!
What are your thoughts about Disney’s live-action remakes? Is there a movie I missed that should be on this short list?
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