The Most Disappointing Films of 2019: Nate’s List

Last year, I made a list of the 10 worst films I had seen in 2018. Fortunately, 2019 was such a strong year for the medium that I was too busy trying to catch all of the movies that received critical acclaim, awards buzz and or strongly positive reactions from audiences to see many flat out bad movies. Consequently, I liked or loved the majority of movies I watched this year, but there were still several that I’ll be happy to never watch again. There were some critical and box office darlings that I didn’t care for. Other inclusions on this list received more mixed receptions but left me thinking they were flat out bad. Here are the movies from 2019 that just didn’t work for me.

Velvet Buzzsaw

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This one looked iffy from the trailer, but I couldn’t resist the re-teaming of Jake Gyllenhaal and Dan Gilroy. Their previous collaboration, 2014’s Nightcrawler, is a masterpiece. Velvet Buzzsaw, not so much. I hope Gyllenhaal and Gilroy work together again sometime, but only if the final product is a much better movie than this.

Ma

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This one had an intriguing premise but the finished film is full of underdeveloped ideas and lazy pacing. I can’t imagine sitting through Ma again. Once was torture enough.

Late Night

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Late Night had many ingredients of a film that should work, particularly a great cast and a talented writer. Maybe this would have worked better as a straight up drama, because Kaling and Thompson never quite find the funny. Thompson’s character basically goes from telling very lame Leno-esque jokes to slightly less lame Leno-esque jokes with the help of Kaling’s character. There’s a lot of personal drama too, but none of it adds up to a memorable experience.

Midsommar 

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It’s a beautifully shot film but the metaphor the plot serves becomes obvious early on. Every scene drags on and zaps all energy and tension out of the narrative.  I haven’t seen the extended cut, and I have no desire to.

Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood

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I’ll admit, aside from the dumb bit featuring a washed-up stunt man beating up Bruce Lee, I enjoyed the first two hours of Tarantino’s latest. Then the whole thing took a stupid, poorly conceived revisionist history turn in the last half hour and made me want all of my time and money back. If this is the best Tarantino can do, I hope he’ll follow through on his threats to retire.

Joker:

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It’s a film that’s too technically interesting to ignore, but too thematically obtuse to be worthy of anyone’s time.  It’s a shameful bit of toxic masculinity and self-pity masquerading as a thought-provoking statement on mental illness. There isn’t one coherent thought anywhere in the screenplay. It’s a sad statement on society that so many audiences failed to see through this shallow, offensive exercise.

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