This was an odd year for film. Even though I saw more contemporary films than any other year (more than 30), I had a hard time compiling a list of ten films that deserved the title “Best of the Year.” There were plenty of good films, but a surprising small number of great ones. Here’s what made my cut:
1. Fighting with my Family: The best film of the year is, in some ways, a standard sports narrative where a young wrestler comes into her own. Yet it is incredibly entertaining, with a strong affirmation of traditional family values, even if the family must occasionally mediate disagreements through a head lock.
2. Unplanned: This film was understandably hard to get through, but the filmmakers handled an incredibly sad and difficult human rights issue with poise, tact, and grace.
3. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: This movie is high adrenaline fun, with two of the best movie songs of the decade.
4. Love and Mercy: Faustina: Docudrama is one of the hardest cinema styles to get right, and this one succeeds wildly; it’s a perfect film for a high school theology class on Church history or the Saints.
5. Marriage Story: In case you didn’t know, divorce is Hell.
6. Overcomer: Yes, Alex Kendrick is cheesy, but he’s getting better, and Overcomer might be his best yet.
7. Hobbs and Shaw: The Fast and Furious franchise has matured in its sense of ethics while simultaneously becoming sillier in its action. This has both fun and great heart.
8. Godzilla: King of Monsters: Yes, this is mostly because of a personal love for the big G. So what? It’s my list and Godzilla is awesome.
9. Frozen II: The pantheistic elements are stronger in this sequel, but the writing and acting are still great, with plenty of Christian love to go around.
10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: There’s one scene in this homage to Hollywood that goes way over the top, but most of it is a joyful celebration of an era long gone.
God bless and have a great year!
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