You voted and finally the results are here! You the audience have chosen from every film released in 2019 (UK release date) and have chosen your top ten films of the year. It was very close for much of the voting period; at one point it could have been any of the top six. However, one film came out on top with a lead that was almost double the amount of votes received by the second place film. And so here are the films that you, the listeners, readers, consumers, visitors, general audience, etc of Just A Little Bit Random, said were the best of 2019!
Reports said that Booksmart wasn’t a huge box office success. However, when earning over $24 million worldwide on a $6 million budget the numbers were still pretty solid. The critically acclaimed high-school comedy, marking the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde, was clearly equally received by audiences, especially amongst big-budget blockbusters such as Aladdin and Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, and big films such as Rocketman and The Secret Life Of Pets 2 released around the same time. It’s likely that many connected with Booksmart’s exaggerated characters. While being exaggerated and somewhat hyperbolic most of the characters remain somewhat realistic, recognisable as people that we may very well know, or once knew during schooldays. Booksmart has clearly had strong word of mouth, and this might be part of why the numbers were solid against initially poor speculation of poor box office predictions. It’s very likely that this will soon become a high-school movie classic, shared between friends of a similar age to the characters, and likely audiences of all kinds. And judging by the fact that you’ve made it your 10th best film of the year that may very well be the case.
Bait is one of those rare small independent British films that’s given a highly limited release and absolutely storms the box office! In fact it was one of the most successful films of the year in the UK, playing at some locations for over two months, an even bigger rarity for a film such as this. Audiences were just as impressed by critics by this unique gem. Filmed on 16mm film with a monochrome look and with sound re-recorded over the footage this is a film like no other released in 2019. In fact at a number of locations this was one of the biggest and most popular films of the year – including Watershed in Bristol where the film was brought back in December for another run due to its immense popularity and acclaim. Something which has clearly been echoed across the country with it becoming the most successful Cornish film ever grossing almost £600,000 at the UK box office. Not only were you taken in by the atmosphere and the style of Bait it seems you were equally hooked (pun intended) by its plot surrounding Cornish fishermen and locals putting up with the stresses of increased tourism and gentrification in the area. As a whole the film was praised by many as an artistic masterpiece in almost every respect, and it seems this has been agreed with by the voting audience; having made it the 9th best film of the year.
8. Apollo 11
Apollo 11 was another unique film from the last year. A documentary with no interviews, no talking heads, no narration or voiceover, simply restored footage from 50 years ago put into the correct order of events to tell a narrative story. That story being the one of the moon landing. Showing never before seen footage from inside the shuttle and the space centre – giving insight into the tensions of both those going to the moon and making sure things went right back on Earth – audiences were taken in by this film and felt as if they were actually in the same situation as the people who went to the moon 50 years ago. Carrying on the proof that films like Free Solo provided that documentaries can work on the big screen Apollo 11 also went on to earn over £1,000,000 at the UK box office, a rarity for a documentary. Although a number of recent films have made this less so and are showing the popularity of non-fiction features on the big screen. Apollo 11 especially as it stuck around in cinemas for a number of weeks, and eventually gained a gradually wider release due to the high demand from audiences who embraced and showed love for the film, making it something of a word of mouth success.
7. Fisherman’s Friends
It appears that Cornish tales were popular amongst those who voted as another Cornish tale finds its way into the audiences top ten films of the year. This one being the shanty-singing underdog story Fisherman’s Friends. Based on the story of the Port Isaac singing group of the same name and the man who got them signed up for a record deal despite a lack of interest or people taking them seriously the group went on to have chart success, as many people will know. Audiences seemed to enjoy this tale of traditional shanty singers and their attempt to get an album in the charts through a seemingly impossible record deal – after all they only enjoy singing in the local port on the side of fishing, who wants to hear dirty old-fashioned shanties on popular radio? With its friendly ‘laughing with them’ style of humour and heart the film brought in large audiences who welcomed it making it a steady hit over the weeks that it was in cinemas. Drawing in large audiences in multiple screens and lasting a healthy amount of weeks to go on to gross almost £10,000,000. Heart and humour were clearly what people were looking for, and was appreciated by audiences, evident from its placement on this list.
6. Spider-Man: Far From Home
Where were Marvel to go after the huge events of Avengers: Endgame? What could they do after the impact that it had? And how could they bring in people who were worried about Marvel fatigue, especially after Endgame? Well apparently Spider-Man: Far From Home was the answer. With it’s spectacular and creative use of CGI during a number of key scenes, and equally great action to match it Far From Home wasn’t quite a palate cleanser like the Ant-Man films have been after large Avengers outing, but it did help to bring Marvel’s Infinity Saga to a fine close. Audiences were brought in with intrigue to see how Marvel were going to deal with the close of Endgame, where they were going to go and what would happen next after such a monumental cinematic storyline, how could it come to an even finer close? By focusing on Spider-Man of course. Already a fan-favourite character Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, arguably the best iteration of the character, was seemingly the best way to have an emotional send-off and review of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we’ve known it. Being it’s own film while also a slight victory lap of the previous 11 years and 22 films audiences were taken in by it. Both for the continuing and individual story but also for the action, character, look-back and atmosphere of what might be to come in the next phase, and potentially saga of Marvel’s grand plan. And it looks as if things will be just fine seeing as many of you placed this above Avengers: Endgame as your best film of the year, leading it to be the audience’s sixth best film of the year.
In 2018 you named Bohemian Rhapsody your film of the year, this year you place fellow musical biopic Rocketman as the fifth best. However, Rocketman is a very, very different film to Bohemian Rhapsody. First of all Rocketman is a full-on musical, using the songs of Elton John to progress the narrative and highlight character’s feelings as they casually burst into song to express them. The label of “a true fantasy” was taken and ran with in this wonderfully creative biopic. Showing John in rehab looking back at his life, delve into drug and alcohol addiction, and discovering his sexuality amongst tense and distant relationships with his family and manager, Taron Egerton is superb in the leading role. He might not look or sound exactly like the figure he’s playing but that adds to the element of fantasy, showing John looking back at a more ideal version of himself, perhaps, amongst an honest portrayal of his life. An honest portrayal that was certainly not watered down, showed the facts, the impacts and the extent of the struggles with addiction. Cinemagoers were evidently transported and transfixed by this unique depiction, through the fantastical musical format and enjoyed this take on the musical biopic – director Dexter Fletcher has previous experience with crowd-pleasing musical Sunshine On Leith, and also worked on the reshoots and final work on Bohemian Rhapsody (although uncredited). And so it seems you continue your enjoyment of his work by placing it high on your list of the best films of 2019.
4. Frozen II
Frozen was a global hit, there’s no denying that, the soundtrack even more so. With many of the songs being blared on repeat, especially Let It Go which went from earworm to infectious repeating pain for many people, especially for those with kids, or living near kids, or fans of the soundtrack, or anywhere really. It’s rare for Disney to make a cinematically released sequel, especially one to a Disney Princess film, however with the success that Frozen had (having been the most successful animated film of all time) there’s no surprise that Disney decided to make a theatrically released sequel. Making a cinematically released follow-up to a Disney Princess film is, in fact, something that the studio has never done before, so in many ways they were venturing into the unknown (again, pun intended). And it appears that they didn’t disappoint. Taking a look more at the past and mythology of the characters and the kingdom that they live in viewers were transported to an even more fantastical world than they witnessed in the first film, and it appears that the writers and creators didn’t overdo it with this sequel which a number of you have held just as close as the first film. The soundtrack seems to have also been well-received, with Into The Unknown being labelled as this film’s Let It Go anthem, although Show Yourself is arguably the better song, and the best song on the soundtrack. And with a well-received original soundtrack often comes an equally happily embraced film, and with the success that Frozen II has experienced so far, breaking records and at time of writing coming close to potentially outdoing the first film’s box office, the reception has clearly been rather warm from viewers young and old, enjoying the further development of some of their favourite characters of the last few years. With the love going as far as you putting it just outside your top three films of the year.
3. Knives Out
If there’s one thing to take away from this list it’s the clear love and demand for original films. And Knives Out is about as original as they can come. All across the world audiences have been captivated by Rian Johnson’s deliciously clever and original murder-mystery filled with an A-list cast who are all clearly having great fun making this film. None more so than Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc, a fittingly Agatha Christie style name for a story that appears to be very much inspired by her and many other classic crime writers, alongside films such as Clue. People love a guessing game like this, one that keeps them on their toes with edge-of-your-seat tension throughout as the answer never quite becomes clearer until the phenomenally clever reveal. Knives Out holds all of this, the viewer constantly guessing and double-guessing themselves and the film, thoughts rushing through their minds while still being able to enjoy the pure entertainment factor of the film, and the occasional laughs that it provides; helped by the overflowing amount of detail that it holds. All these elements creating a deeply unique, original and irresistible murder-mystery guessing game of the best kind. Something which voters have agreed with, showing a further appreciation of 2019’s range of original films by placing this as their third best film of the year.
Every generation has its Fight Club. Or perhaps in the case of Joker the better comparison would be every generation has its Taxi Driver. The influences of Martin Scorsese are heavily evident within Joker, Scorsese himself was at one point a producer on the film before dropping out shortly after the announcement. A film that receives large amounts of praise despite fear that it could cause violence, or somehow be dangerous, alongside a number of negative views. However, the mass consensus of Joker seems to be that it’s one of the best films of the year, and it even seems to be on the way to a potential Best Picture nomination. Not just a conventional comic-book adaptation many have praised the film for its depiction of the madness of the central character, as he gradually becomes the clown prince of crime known as The Joker. The central character, Arthur Fleck, being portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, who is being heavily tipped for a considerable amount of awards nominations for his role in this film, with a performance that many have praised for all its twisted glory. Joker is bold, unique and another step forward in the world of comic-book adaptations, offering a new alternative to the standard big-budget superhero blockbuster that we’ve become accustomed to. It’s financial success and broken records agrees with this, being one of the most profitable films not just of the year but of all time, and also becoming the first R (America’s loose and somewhat questionable 15 rating – something for another time) rated film to gross a billion dollars at the box office. And with it’s unique style, look at insane mentality and what some see as references to modern society the film was praised and loved by many, being a huge box office and reception-wise success, and one of the biggest films of the year in many different respects. Reflected by the fact that you’ve given in the silver award in this year’s poll.
1 . Avengers: Endgame
The biggest film of the year is also your best film of the year. That’s right Marvel’s landscape-changing Avengers: Endgame is the Just A Little Bit Random audience’s best film of 2019! After 11 years and 22 films Endgame not only worked as part of a wider franchise, completing a long fan-invested story, but also worked as it’s own fantastic standalone feature. Marking not only a cinematic first but possibly a unique moment that may not be witnessed for a number of years, and potentially not even to the extent of Endgame. Possibly the best comparison is to Return Of The King. What makes Endgame work so well is the way that it continues the trend of realistic superhero characters. Characters who are flawed and have imperfections. In fact Empire Magazines Editor-In-Chief Terri White perhaps put it best during an interview on Radio 4’s Today Programme, saying that these characters demonstrated “incredible spectacle, incredible characterisation. Emotional beats. Comedic beats… They’re complex, they’re flawed, and that’s what makes them so brilliant, and that’s what makes their stories really, really interesting”. This connection proved by the success of Endgame. We wanted to see what happened to our favourite characters that we’ve grown to love and recognise over the previous 11 years. With the stakes higher than ever before and great uncertainty as to the fate of such figures audiences were immersed in a tense, epic, action-packed, tragicomedy of the greatest of proportions. And it did not let us down. Evidently so, as you’ve overwhelmingly made it your best film of 2019, with more than double the votes of the second place film! Rather fitting for a cinematic spectacle like no other.