The 50 Greatest Movie Moments Of 2019

We don't always remember entire movies – we remember the moments. We recall that one glorious shot. We think of that telling glance, that hilarious one-liner, that shocking action scene. Heck, we sometimes remember a great moment from a bad movie more often than an entire competent movie. And with another year in cinema behind us, it's time to look back. We're finally and officially closing the book on 2019 with our look at the most moving, most funny, most thrilling, and most baffling moments from the previous year in cinema.

Note: This post contains major spoilers for dozens of movies released in 2019. Proceed with caution.

50. The Umbrella is Made Out of Daggers in Shadow

Hollywood has been trying to capture that special quality of anime on the big screen for years, but all they needed to do was give Zhang Yimou a bunch of umbrellas made out of daggers. Yimou makes a glorious return to the wuxia movie with Shadow, a stunning monochromatic epic. But the subdued color palette only unleashed Yimou's most violent and over-the-top action yet, that culminates in a brutal battle between unlikely warrior Jingzhou (Deng Chao) and the infamously unbeatable general Yang Cang (Hu Jun). The two engage in a dignified duel, Yang armed with a spear and Jingzhou armed with an umbrella that slowly unfolds to be revealed to be made entirely of giant razor-sharp daggers. It would make for an epic enough fight scene if it wasn't soon revealed that an invading army armed with these exact umbrellas were sneaking into the city, using the umbrellas to slide through the paved streets to avoid the onslaught of arrows. It's hard to describe this moment without resorting to screams of, "It's awesome!!" but it truly is flat-out awesome. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

49. It's All a Video Game in Serenity

There is a before the twist in Serenity, and there's an after. And after, you are thoroughly changed. Perhaps it's because of the sheer audacity to turn a hammy neo-noir into a sci-fi thriller, or perhaps it's because of the way that director Steven Knight fundamentally misunderstands how video games work. Either way, Serenity offered one of the most truly bizarre and unexpected things to happen on the big screen, and something has to be said for that. The twist takes place midway through the movie as Matthew McConaughey's fishing boat captain Baker Dill is being chased by a strange suited man (Jeremy Strong). The man finally catches up to him to reveal that Baker is not a human being with a weird fixation on a giant tuna, but a character in a computer game designed by his son after the real-life Baker (actually named John Mason) died in Iraq. Even crazier: the son was using the game to act out the murder of his abusive step-father. In a fishing video game. Yes, this is a movie that really happened. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

48. Glasgow (No Place Like Home) in Wild Rose

"I should have said 'thank you' a thousand miles ago." That's just one of the lines which shoot straight to the audience's hearts in the final, cathartic song of Wild Rose. Jessie Buckley's Scottish country singer Rose-Lynn has spent the entire film constructing emotional barriers and making excuses for her behavior, but she takes a sledgehammer to all of that in one last moving, redemptive, emotional song – one which serves as an apology to her long-suffering mother and beautifully completes Rose-Lynn's character arc. (Ben Pearson)

47. The Lightsaber Pass in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

In a movie that left most of the SlashFilm staff (with the exception of Peter Sciretta) underwhelmed, frustrated, and disappointed, this one particular moment we agreed was simply too cool to ignore. With a set-up that began brewing in The Last Jedi and pays off her spectacularly here, Rey stealthily passes a lightsaber to Ben Solo when he's outnumbered by the Knights of Ren, but she does it through the Force. Aside from how cool it is to see Rey and Ben use their Force connection in this way, it's the quick little shrug that Ben Solo does before he starts swinging that lightsaber that really makes this scene that much more awesome. (Ethan Anderton)

46. Keanu Reeves in Always Be My Maybe

The year of Keanu Reeves peaked with his hilariously meta appearance as himself in the Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe. The John Wick actor makes a sudden unexpected appearance midway through Always Be My Maybe, and every minute that he's onscreen is some of the funniest cinema made in 2019. Introduced as Sasha's (Ali Wong) celebrity date, Reeves is pretentious, his oblivious, and he's completely, hilariously self-centered — the kind of star who will sincerely whisper "I miss your thighs" one minute and cry at the sound of time another, before later picking a fight just for the thrill of the rush. The whole thing is made even more hilarious by the well-known fact that Reeves is one of the nicest and humblest celebrities out there, so seeing him play a hipster asshole is comedy gold. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

45. The Moviemaking Montage in Dolemite is My Name

Eddie Murphy's big comeback arrived courtesy of Dolemite Is My Name. And along with a wonderful story about following dreams and giving the underrepresented a voice in cinema, this movie is also a love letter to cinema. There's magic that comes from the big screen, and that magic is even more captivating when it comes from a bunch of people connecting and collaborating because they want to make something great, even if it ends up being something as silly as Dolemite. Nowhere is that more clear than in an extensive montage of the making of Dolemite, and it's a sequence that's full of laughs, a true independent spirit, and a love of filmmaking in its most raw form. (Ethan Anderton)

44. The Final Showdown With Sensei in The Art of Self-Defense

The Art of Self-Defense is a film about how toxic, idiotic and powerful people seize control of young, vulnerable men. And late Riley Stearns' pitch-black, mesmerizing comedy, Jesse Eisenberg's Casey has had enough. His karate instructor, the gun-hating Sensei (Alessandro Nivola) has burned his life to the ground, fundamentally destroying him as a person in the name of his nebulous plan to reshape others in his monstrous mold. So Casey does the only thing he can do: he challenges Sensei to a fight to the death. Seeing no challenge coming from his weak pupil, Sensei obliges...only for Casey to pull a pistol and shoot his tormenter to death. It's simultaneously a crowd-pleasing victory, the bleakest joke possible (its seeds are planted from the opening scenes), and an act of horrifying violence. It's perfect. (Jacob Hall)

43. The Nymphomaniac Joke in Good Boys

"She's a nymphomaniac...Someone who has sex on land and sea." The perfect juxtaposition of youthful innocence and youthful ignorance. The perfect representation of a kid who knows a little too much and nothing at all. I did not laugh harder at a single joke in 2019. (Jacob Hall)

42. The Shazam Family Assembles in Shazam!

Billy Batson has a hard time accepting his place in the world, and as an orphan, he never really lets himself get close to anybody. But his life changes dramatically when he's endowed with the powers of a wizard, allowing him to transform into an adult superhero called Shazam. Soon he realizes that his new makeshift family is better than the one that chose to abandon him, and their connection becomes even stronger when he transfers some of his magical superhero power to all of his adopted brothers and sisters, giving us an entire Shazam family. It's a moment that feels straight out of the nostalgic family adventure movies of the 1980s and even 1990s, and the cast pulls it off remarkably. Plus, when's the last time we saw a proper family of superheroes dealing with some nasty monsters? It's just good clean blockbuster fun. (Ethan Anderton)

41. Mr. Rogers Plays Piano in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 

In A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Tom Hanks' Mr. Rogers spends the bulk of the film seeming saintly, calm, and all together wonderful. Time and time again, people close to Fred Rogers remind cynical reporter Lloyd Vogel that Fred isn't a saint. But Lloyd, and by the extension, the audience, don't believe it. At one point, Lloyd asks Fred if he ever gets angry – and what does he do about it. Fred replies that he does, and adds that there are many things you can do when you're angry – like play all the low notes of a piano at once. Lloyd shrugs Fred's explanation off, but at the very end of the film, in the final frame, we check in with Fred. He's alone in a dark studio, sitting at a piano. The camera pans up, pointing down on him. After a beat, he slams all those low notes at once. No one is around to hear it, but he's human after all. (Chris Evangelista)

40. The Farewell and Reunion in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World brings the DreamWorks Animation franchise to an end. It also brings the end of the beautiful friendship between a boy and his dragon. The viking leader Hiccup and his Night Fury dragon Toothless say goodbye when each of them realize that all of the once-feared dragons will be much safer in the newly discovered hidden paradise. But it's not goodbye forever, because years later, after Hiccup and Toothless have started families of their own, they reunite, and their kids get to meet each other too. These two will never truly say farewell, and the movie serves as the perfect lesson for kids and adults alike that no matter how much we grow or how much time we spend apart, there always be friends that never leave our hearts. (Ethan Anderton)

39. Taking One for the Team in Fyre

"I got to his office fully prepared to suck his dick." It was a line uttered by a real person in Netflix's Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, a documentary on the infamously failed Fyre Festival, which proved to be the forerunner of this year's "eat the rich" stories. Fyre Festival event producer Andy King was the poor employee who spoke this viral anecdote about his willingness to give sexual favors to a Bahamian customs officer in order to get enough Evian water for the festival, becoming an internet sensation for weeks after the Netflix documentary dropped and a baffling example of the lengths people go to for their jobs. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

38. Time Runs Out for the Family in Ready or Not

In a movie that was already filled with ruthless deaths and plenty of blood, the ending of Ready or Not makes good on the promise of the batshit crazy Le Domas family being destroyed if they don't complete a sacrificial wedding ritual as mandated by their ancestor in exchange for their little family empire. They need to kill their family's new bride before the sun rises the next morning. After a night of bloodshed, when the family's time is up to complete the ritual, and the bride is still alive, it seems like the curse wasn't actually real. But then suddenly, each of the family members begins to explode in a spectacularly grusesome and bloody fashion. (Ethan Anderton)

37. Opening Dance Number from Climax

A dance through hell, Gaspar Noé's utterly insane Climax begins with an overture of sorts – a seemingly never-ending dance number where all the characters in the film strut, and spin, and spiral, and crawl, and kick, and flail. It goes on, and on, and on, to the point where you begin to feel almost feverish – as if your mind might break at any moment. No other opening scene of the year so perfectly sets the audience up for the experience to come.  (Chris Evangelista)

36. Time Rewinds in The Perfection

Richard Shepard's The Perfection is not the film you think it is. Just when you think it's an erotic thriller about two musicians who hook-up halfway around the world, those two young women go on a road trip through rural China where one contracts a seemingly deadly parasite that starts to destroy her body and brain...and then her companion tells her to the only way to save her life is to chop her arm off. What?! The movie knows that's exactly what you're thinking, because the action then rewinds, revealing how this entire experience was faked by Allison Williams' Charlotte for reasons yet unknown. It's the moment where you realize that this film isn't playing around and it sets the stage for some of the craziest and gnarliest twists we've seen in recent memory. (Jacob Hall)

35. Dan Torrance Reunites With Jack Torrance in Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep takes its sweet time returning to the haunted Overlook Hotel from The Shining, but the wait is worth it. The grown Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) wanders the halls that defined and destroyed his youth, eventually coming to a familiar bar with a familiar bartender. While the specter refuses to acknowledge it, Dan and the audience knows this is the ghost of Jack Torrance. So father and son have a chat, with Dan cradling a glass of whiskey and thinking hard on the sins and addictions of his family. He eventually puts the drink down, at peace with his illness and his father's crimes. It's a powerful scene, made all the better by Henry Thomas' choice to not do a Jack Nicholson caricature as Jack. (Jacob Hall)

34. How Dick Died in The Death of Dick Long

The Death of Dick Long is one of the most overlooked movies of 2019. It's about a bunch of Southern-fried morons with lots of time to kill, and when one of their own dies in a freak accident, a cover-up kicks in that lasts for most of the movie. But when one of Dick Long's pals finally has to explain the circumstances of Dick's death to one of his loved ones in an emotional speech (I don't even want to spoil it here in case you end up watching it – and I hope you do), the movie takes what could easily be a dumb joke and plays it fully straight. It's reflective of the film's entire approach and its treatment of its characters, never taking the opportunity to mock its characters for an easy laugh and instead affording its lovable idiots some genuine, human respect. (Ben Pearson)

33. The Gunfight in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has worn his Western influences on his sleeve for years, but the shootout in El Camino between Jesse Pinkman and one of the Nazi sympathizers who treated him so brutally during his captivity is where Gilligan leans into those influences the most. In the tension-building and framing, it's pure Sergio Leone. But in the creative and explosive culmination of the shootout, with Pinkman shooting his opponent through a gun hidden in his jacket pocket, the execution is pure Gilligan. (Ben Pearson)

32. The Ending Run From 1917

As 1917 progresses, we watch Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) endure overwhelming obstacles in his attempt to deliver a message that will save hundreds of British lives. But as the clock ticks down, he has to think outside the box if he's going to save them in time. Instead of shoving his way through the trenches to reach his final destination, Schofield does the unthinkable: he climbs up on the battlefield and runs perpendicular to waves of soldiers charging toward the front lines, desperately trying to dodge explosions and collisions with his fellow soldiers to cross his metaphorical finish line before all those doomed men walk into a trap. The camera pulls back, capturing the scope of the run in its full, terrible, jaw-dropping glory, all as the score swells and sound effects blast away in surround sound. It's a moment tailor-made for the big screen, and one of the most indelible cinematic images of 2019. (Ben Pearson)

31. A Flare Reveals the Monster in Sweetheart

J.D. Dillard's indie horror survival film Sweetheart was unceremoniously dumped in 2019, but I'm hopeful that it will find its audience now that it's streaming on Netflix. Even though I wasn't head over heels for the film, there's one moment in it that's so objectively brilliant that it had to make this list. A few nights after Jenn (Kiersey Clemons) washes up on a deserted island, she's surprised when a plane flies by overhead. She scrambles for a flare gun, runs down to the beach, and fires, desperate for the plane to notice and come rescue her. Instead, the flare slowly falls into the ocean – and just before it hits the water, it illuminates the gangly silhouette of a two-legged sea monster. It's a shocking, terrifying reveal, and a perfect visual introduction to a force of nature that becomes the movie's primary antagonist. (Ben Pearson)

30. Charlie Sings in Marriage Story

Marriage Story is a hard movie to sit through. It can be funny, but it's also painfully raw. And after all the horrible fights and bitter divorce battles have seemingly come to an end, Noah Bambach does something interesting: he lets Adam Driver sing. Driver's Charlie, still reeling but resigned to his divorce from wife Scarlett Johansson, is out with some friends when a piano player starts tinkling Being Alive" is from the Stephen Sondheim comedy "Company." Charlie knows the song – he's a theatre kid, of course he does – and he immediately begins crooning it. His singing seems sarcastic at first, but he gets more and more into the song, his voice rising. His relationship has ended, and he knows it – and he knows he's lost it all. In a year full of great Adam Driver acting moments, this might be the best. (Chris Evangelista)

29. Romona's Pole Dance in Hustlers

Hustlers waits a tick before bringing Jennifer Lopez as super-stripper Romona. But boy oh boy does she make an entrance. Lopez's character takes the stage at the strip club and works that pole – and the room – with vigor, all as Fiona Apple's "Criminal" blasts over the soundtrack. Lopez is sleek and sexy, and most of all, entirely commanding. We can't take our eyes off her as she swings about and makes every poor sap in that room howl like a werewolf. And when it's all over she struts off stage and has perhaps the best first line of the year: "Doesn't money make you horny?" (Chris Evangelista)

28. Dani's Group Cry in Midsommar

This is the scene that sold Midsommar for me as being not simply a horror film, but a horror film with a happy ending. It boils down to the idea of shared trauma — something that Dani (Florence Pugh) had been sorely lacking in her life in the aftermath of her entire family's death. Stumbling upon her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) having sex with another woman in a strange, freaky orgy of bodies, she begins to cry, the sobs rolling through her body like a tidal wave that can't be contained. It's the breaking point for Dani as she loses the last person she thought she loved, until a group of women from the commune join her in her feral, outraged sobs, heaving in time with her and sharing in her grief. It's a bizarre and beautiful moment that echoes real life: in the trauma we share and the communities we form through it. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

27. The Final Shot in Knives Out

In the end, Rian Johnson's whoddunit doesn't care so much about who did it (though the reveal is a treat), but who deserves it. At the end of Knives Out, it's revealed that the deceased Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) bestowed his entire estate to his beloved nurse Marta (Ana de Armas), the one genuinely good person in the film. When Benoit Blanc's (Daniel Craig) investigation turns up a ruse to rob Marta of this inheritance, he exposes it all, leaving the wealthy members of the Thrombey family quite literally kicked to the curb as Marta stands above them on a balcony, sipping coffee from a mug with the cheesy text, "My house, my rules." The twists and turns of Knives Out leaves us with the most satisfying possible ending in this year of "eat the rich." (Hoai-Tran Bui)

26. The Crane Shot in One Cut of the Dead

The first half hour of One Cut of the Dead is an intentionally shoddy, low-budget horror movie filmed in one chaotic take. The middle half hour flashes back in time to reveal the harried development of this ambitious project. The final half hour lets us watch the actual filming from a distance, as everything goes hilariously wrong before going wonderfully right. The shaky, amateur hour crane shot that concludes the original film is revealed to be a last-minute improvisation after the actual breaks. The only solution: the cast and crew must build a human pyramid, passing the camera up to the highest person to nail the shot. Watching everyone come together to get this done is a hilarious pay-off to a gag set up so early in the film and a beautiful tribute to the literal blood, sweat and tears shed during production of a film. (Jacob Hall)

25. The Fish Scene From The Irishman

A moment of levity before one of the tensest scenes in the film, the fish conversation is Martin Scorsese's The Irishman is an enigma. It has some basis in fact: the real Chuckie O'Brien (Jesse Plemons' character) claims he really did transport a fish in his car the day Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. But Martin Scorsese uses this factoid to let his actors riff on the absurdity of it all. Does it have any bearing to the plot? No, but these wonderful esoteric moments are what make The Irishman so special. (Chris Evangelista)

24. A Curse Over Bad Cooking in The Lighthouse

If you set aside the gothic horror, the allusions to ancient myth, and the overwhelming sense of cosmic dread director Robert Eggers soaks into every frame of his follow-up to The Witch, you're left with one of the best movies ever made about having a shitty roommate. The taciturn Thomas Howard (Robert Pattinson) and the grizzled Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) have little love for each other when they're assigned to care for an isolated lighthouse for one month and their resentment only grows over long days, uneven work duties, and many, many farts. Eventually, Howard makes it clear that he doesn't enjoy Wake's cooking, leading the older man to curse his young comrade with a monologue – filmed in one unbroken extreme close-up on Dafoe's face – full of fury and scorn, demanding that the gods of the sea strike the younger man down. It's the film in a nutshell: hilarious and weird and creepy and unlike anything else.  (Jacob Hall)

23. John Gets His Ass Kicked in John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum

The great thing about Keanu Reeves' John Wick is not that he's the most skilled hitman on the planet – it's that he's the most skilled hitman on the planet who faces increasingly stacked odds, gets his butt kicked and his nose bloodied, and keeps on getting back up. Late in his third adventure, an already battered and exhausted John faces off against two assassins played by The Raid franchise veterans Yayan Ruhian and Cepep Arif Rahman, who proceed to hand his ass straight to him, tossing him through one glass window after another. But they always pause, letting John stand back up, making it clear that they're downright honored to be fighting him. Eventually, John turns the tables and lets them live out of respect, but it's a long, bloody, hilarious road to that point. It's the appeal of these films in a nutshell. (Jacob Hall)

22. Tai-Chi in The Farewell

Amid the big questions that The Farewell poses about ethics and its depiction of the growing cultural divide between East and West are small moments of quiet sentimentality that make Lulu Wang's semi-autobiographical drama feel so real and tactile. One such moment is when Billi (Awkwafina) joins her grandmother Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) as she practices tai chi outside. Nai Nai attempts to coach her granddaughter through the movements, which Billi halfheartedly does, affectionately calling her "stupid child" — a term of endearment in Chinese. Nai Nai preaches the benefit of tai chi, beaming as sheconfidently declares her practicing of the martial art as the reason for her continuing good health. A flicker of sadness passes through Billi's face and she practices the movements with a renewed energy, yelling out an awkward "Hai!" It's a wonderfully quiet moment that puts on display the real love that Billi and her Nai Nai share for each other, and embodies the film's thesis of gaining a fuller understanding of cultural differences through grief: at the end of the film, Billi is back in the streets of Brooklyn and still in turmoil over the secret of her grandmother's cancer. She stops, takes a deep breath, and yells out a loud, ringing "Hai!" (Hoai-Tran Bui)

21. Every Scene with Billie Lourd as Gigi in Booksmart

Carrie Fisher may have left us a few years ago, but she left behind her daughter Billie Lourd to keep us company. Thankfully, Booksmart let her break out in a big way as Gigi, the wild eccentric high school student who inexplicably keeps running into Amy (Kaitlyn Deaver) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) throughout their night of debauchery. Gigi is the epitome of cool, is never short on good drugs, and is truly the life of the party. She's like a fairy godmother, and Billie Lourd was so outstanding while shooting the movie that new scenes were written for her throughout production. (Ethan Anderton)

sharon movie

20. Sharon Tate Goes to the Movies In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is ultimate a hang-out film, and while most of that hanging-out involves Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, there's also Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. Quentin Tarantino turns the doomed actress into the heart and soul of the film – a free-spirit who drifts through Los Angeles like she's walking on air. Most important of all: Tarantino brings Sharon Tate back to life and makes her something more than a "Manson family victim." She's not a victim at all here – she's a living, breathing person. After a delightful sequence in which she effecitvely charms herself into a movie theater for free by revealing she's one of the stars of the movie currently playing, Sharon ends up dancing her way to a seat, excited to see herself larger than life. And there's something magical about having Sharon Tate alone at the movies, watching herself on the screen. To make the moment extra meta, Tarantino has the footage Robbie's Sharon is watching feature the real Sharon Tate. This could've backfired – sure, Robbie and Tate look somewhat similar, but not that similar. But it works. And it works primarily because of Robbie. She sells the moment, looking both overjoyed at her performance, and at the reaction of the rest of the audience. They laugh at her jokes, they cheer when she kicks ass. Up on the screen, she's alive. And in the world of this film, she has her whole life in front of her. (Chris Evangelista)the farewell awkwafina

19. Billi Remembers Her Childhood in The Farewell

Awkwafina proves she's more than just a comedian with her work in The Farewell. While she gets to do some drolly funny work in Lulu Wang's film, it's her dramatic moments that shine. Particularly a moment near the end, where her character, Billi, emotionally recounts her childhood – specifically how her family moved from China to America, and how everything she thought she knew was just gone. Wang slowly pushes in on Awkwafina's face during the speech, and the performer has such raw emotion and heartache that it will leave you speechless. (Chris Evangelista)

18. "I Am Iron Man" in Avengers: Endgame

The end of Avengers: Endgame is about more than just taking down Thanos. It's about putting an exclamation point on an entire era in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – a universe which didn't exist until after Robert Downey Jr. first stepped into the role of Tony Stark in the original Iron Man. Tony's act of sacrifice completes his transformation from a selfish billionaire playboy philanthropist into a man who's willing to lay down his life for the greater good, and his final, triumphant words to his most dangerous villain carry the weight of 20+ other movies in them. That guy's always been great with a quick comeback, and this one meant the most of all. (Ben Pearson)

17. The Second Home Invasion in Us

Jordan Peele continually pull the rug from underneath our expectations in Us, his magnificent and somewhat messy follow-up to Get Out. But none of those rug-pulls makes us fall harder than the second home invasion in Us, when the shallow and vapid Tyler family are attacked by their Tethered. It's a scene filled with even more blood and gore than the first eerie scene, and rife with sly satirical nods too — when Kitty screams at her virtual assistant to call the police, it instead starts playing N.W.A's "Fuck tha Police," an angry rap anthem against racially motivated aggression, while blood is splattered all over it. But the most horrifying revelation of this scene is that Us is not about an isolated incident like we thought, but a mass attack happening across the nation. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

16. Captain America Leads the Charge in Avengers: Endgame

Captain America is undoubtedly the MVP of the final battle of Avengers: Endgame, and there are two key moments that we've combined here to represent this incredible sequence. The first, seen above, is when Cap summons Thor's hammer Mjolnir into his hand and starts beating the crap out of Thanos. He knocks Thanos to the ground, brings down lightning, throws the hammer at his shield to create a shockwave, and generally kicks ass. Unfortunately, his victory is short-lived, and it seems like all hope is lost. But then reinforcements come in, and everyone who Thanos snapped away five years ago comes back ready for battle. And then we finally get that moment fans have been wanting to see for years: Avengers, assemble. (Ethan Anderton)

15. The Big Fight Scene in Marriage Story

A marriage isn't just a legal method to commit to a relationship – it's you giving someone permission and the necessary weapons to break your heart. After spending much of the film following Charlie and Nicole carefully maintaining their civility during an increasingly ugly divorce, Marriage Story breaks out the knives late in the game. A measured conversation slowly ramps into a screaming match, with both former partners targeting hidden weak points, targeting one another with low blows that cannot ever be taken back. Although the sequence has inspired a popular (and very funny) meme, no amount of internet comedy can dull what is one of the most devastating and well-acted scenes of the year. (Jacob Hall)

14. The Ending of Portrait of a Lady on Fire

I wrote about this scene in detail for /Film's Best of the Decade coverage, and since the film hasn't opened in wide release yet, I'll keep this description short and spoiler-free. But suffice it to say that Portrait of a Lady on Fire's lingering final shot is one of the most powerful images of the year, a poignant culmination of the movie's swooning romance, and a wonderfully realized microcosm of one of the film's key ideas – how the act of looking at another person, of really seeing them, can feel vital and even revolutionary. I bow down before actress Adèle Haenel and writer/director Céline Sciamma. (Ben Pearson)

13. The Final Moments of Parasite

Bong Joon-ho's darkly comic thriller is a tightly wound ball of a movie, like a spring coil set to explode. Which makes it more surprising (in a film filled with surprises) when Parasite doesn't explode at the end so much as let out a long, sad, deeply cynical sigh. After the birthday bloodbath that leads to Kim Ki-jeong's death (Park So-dam) and her father Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) on the run as a fugitive from the law, Parasite becomes a slower and more aimless movie than it was before, the Kim family defeated by their ambitions and forced back into their impoverished lives. But when the son Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) finds returns to observe the wealthy house at the center of their misfortunes, he sees the lights flickering on and off in what is revealed to be a Morse code message from his father, now living in the underground cellar. Overjoyed to see his father safe, Ki-woo writes back an optimistic message to him, promising that he will make enough money to buy back the house so all Ki-taek needs to do is walk upstairs into the sun. But as Ki-woo writes the message and dreams of the wealthy future he knows he will have, the camera pans down from the window of the semi-basement down to Ki-woo, in an echo of the opening shot and a bleak visual statement that these dreams all reside above ground, where the poor don't belong. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

12. Jo Negotiates Her Happy Ending in Little Women

When Louisa May Alcott first published Little Women in 1868, she was pressured by her publisher to change her ending so that her heroine, Jo March, would end up married by the end. It's a real-life situation that Greta Gerwig's adaptation cheekily reflects, in an Inception-style ending that is left ambiguous as to whether Jo (Saoirse Ronan) gets the romantic ending she writes in her book. The final 10 minutes of the film are bookended by Jo negotiating with her publisher Mr. Dashwood (Tracy Letts), who is rankled when she insists that her heroine end the book married to no one, keeping in line with her frequent declarations that she will never marry. But Mr. Dashwood insists that the character must be married, or else the book won't sell. Jo acquiesces as long as she gets to own the copyright to her book, and the scene cuts back to her running in the rain to reunite with Friedrich Bhaer (Louis Garrel), the handsome French professor who she had fallen in love with in New York. "I love it," Mr. Dashwood remarks after the scene plays out, swooning violins and all. "It's romantic." In the film's final minutes, a sunny future is envisioned in which a married, blissfully domestic Jo walks through her crowded school with her sisters, cutting back and forth between that and a joyful Jo watching her book get printed through a window (in a scene not unlike a woman watching her newborn in a hospital). Little Women presents two options: the life of domestic bliss or the life of a writer? It could be one or the other, or both. Whatever the ending you prefer, both are valid, and both are just as joyous. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

11. Jo Walks Down the Stairs Twice in Little Women

Greta Gerwig's screenplay for Little Women breaks the classic novel into two separate timelines, with past events running parallel to the present. However, this is not just a stylistic choice, but an emotional one. Late in the film, Jo (Saoirse Ronan) runs down the stairs of her home to see that her extremely ill younger sister has made a remarkable recovery. Years later, but only moments later in the film, Jo slowly steps down those same stairs, only to learn that poor Beth has finally passed on. The juxtaposition of similar imagery is powerful and reinforces what so much of the film is about: the past and the present, our happiest moments and our saddest, all coexist within us at the same time. (Jacob Hall)

10. Daniel Craig Realizes His Case is a Donut Hole in Knives Out

At one point in Knives Out, detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) compares the enigmatic case of Harlan Thrombey's death to a donut – a case with a hole at the center. But the better moment comes later in the story, when things get a even more complicated. For some hilarious reason, Blanc decides to return to that same metaphor, even though it doesn't work quite as well anymore. "I thought your story would be the donut hole in the donut's hole," he says, "but now I see that there is a hole in the middle of the donut hole!" Craig plays it straight, with the character deep in his own head as he tries to put all the pieces of this mystery together. It's a silly, fun bit of dialogue, but as to be expected from writer/director Rian Johnson, it's also instructive about Blanc himself. He's not an untouchable super sleuth who always has the perfect line locked and loaded for any situation – he's just a guy, equally capable of belaboring goofy metaphors as he is making keen observations that everyone else misses. (Ben Pearson)

9. The Door Won't Open in Uncut Gems

The Safdie brothers make films that feel like feature-length anxiety attacks. Even when things aren't going wrong on screen, you're left with the constant impression that things are about to go wrong. About halfway through Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler's Howard Ratner finds himself beset on all sides by friends, enemies and family alike. He owes everyone something, and every bill is coming due. This is made literal when NBA star Kevin Garnett tries to gain entry to his jewelry shop, but finds himself a prisoner of a security door that won't open. As Howard scrambles to let his celebrity client into his store, everything around him continues to fall apart in glorious, stomach-churning slow-motion. It's a perfect storm of everything going wrong at once and it leaves us seasick, even as Howard himself braves the waves with a sleazy candor. (Jacob Hall)

8. Jojo Ties His Mother’s Shoes in Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit is downright hilarious. But many times throughout, the tone suddenly shifts drastically and gives us some powerful drama. But there's no scene more heart-breaking than the one when Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) gleefully follows a beautiful butterfly through his town square, only to suddenly find himself staring at his mother's shoes on her lifeless feet hanging in mid-air. She's been executed by hanging for spreading word of revolt against the Nazis. It's a gutpunch that comes out of nowhere, and it's extremely effective and affecting. It was this moment that solidified this as one of the best movies of the year. (Ethan Anderton)midsommar bear

7. A Bad Boyfriend in a Bear Suit in Midsommar

Ari Aster's "apocalyptic break-up film" Midsommar builds towards the inevitable, and perfect, ending. After spending an entire movie being gaslit by her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor), emotionally distraught Dani (Florence Pugh), newly crowned May Queen, gets to watch over his demise. Poor Christian is rendered immobile, but conscious, and stuffed into the carcass of a bear (poor bear) before being set aflame in ritual sacrifice. At first glance, Dani looks completely out of it – seemingly unaware of what's happening. Is she in a trance? Is she catatonic? Aster answers the question by cutting back to Pugh's face as Christian goes up in flames – a wide, wonderful smile. As Aster writes in his script: "A SMILE finally breaks onto Dani's face. She has surrendered to a joy known only by the insane. She has lost herself completely, and she is finally free. It is horrible and it is beautiful."  (Chris Evangelista)


6. Rick and Cliff vs the Manson Family in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

A balance between horrifying and macabrely hilarious, the climactic moments of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood finally clue you into what Quentin Tarantino has been building toward. The filmmaker is once again playing around with changing history, and in his world, Sharon Tate and her friends are no longer the victims of a brutal murder. Instead, the members of the Manson Family go to a completely different house: that of Sharon Tate's neighbor, Rick Dalton. And who should be there but Cliff's stunt double pal Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who just happens to be tripping on acid. After some hilarious banter Cliff calls in his trusty sidekick – a pitbull Brandy, who proceeds to chomp down on the testicles of Manson member Tex – before Cliff eventually stomps his face in. Brandy then turns her attentions toward Manson member Katie while Cliff then proceeds to bash a woman name Sadie against a wall. It's unrelatedly brutal, and anyone who wants to criticize Tarantino for this brutality is justified – more than a few people have pointed out that the female members of the Manson fam are treated far worse here than the sole male, Tex. In the chaos, Katie ends up out in the swimming pool – where Rick (Leonardo DiCaprio) just happens to be chilling. His solution: grab a flamethrower from one of his movies (that he still happens to have, and that still works), and proceed to set the screaming woman aflame. The violence here goes beyond anything Tarantino has done before, and I'd argue that that's the point. The filmmaker is surpassing brutality and tipping into the world of the absurd – why the hell would Rick still have a working flamethrower in his shed? However you interpret this moment, the results are clear: Sharon Tate lives on, and the Manson Family become a footnote in history. Who knows, maybe in this world, they've all been forgotten, and the world at large never even learned the name Charles Manson. (Chris Evangelista)

5. Rick and Cliff Watch F.B.I. in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Even though Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has some extremely tense moments, there are infinitely more amusing scenes to enjoy. But the best one is undoubtedly when Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) sit down to watch an episode of the classic procedural TV series F.B.I., in which Rick guest starred. It's like watching an old movie with your buddies, each of them offering hilarious commentary, especially the insights from Rick's time spent shooting the episode. It's just one of several scenes that shows how good of friends these two are, throwing back some beer and shooting the breeze. It'll remind you of all the times you sat down in the living room with your best friends and continuously commented what you were watching. (Ethan Anderton)

4. Under the Coffee Table in Parasite

The delirious beauty of Parasite is how it manages to deftly leap between genres and tones within a given scene without feeling artificial in any way. Late in Bong Joon-ho's modern masterpiece, the Kim family's plan to infiltrate the wealthy Park family has gone hideously awry and they hide beneath the coffee table in the mansion's living room as the Parks return early from a trip. What begins as a scene of Hitchcockian suspense – will they get caught? – slowly develops into tragedy. No, they don't get caught. But they do get to overhear the Parks, their employers, talk about them. And be honest about them. The look on Song Kang-ho's face when he hears them talk about his odor is one of the most gut-wrenching moments of cinema I have seen in recent memory. The pain and humiliation quickly overpowers the delicious suspense from moments earlier. (Jacob Hall)

3. A Hidden Passage is Revealed in Parasite

Once the premise of Parasite becomes apparent, you settle into a groove as you watch the poor Kim family scheme their way into the home of the wealthy Park family through a series of creative cons. But one rainy night during an impromptu celebration while the Parks are away, the Kims are interrupted by the Parks' former housekeeper, who explains that she accidentally left something in the basement. The Kims let her go downstairs, but when she doesn't immediately return from below, they follow her down to see what's happening. That's when Bong Joon-ho unleashes one of the movie's most surprising visuals: the former housekeeper, several feet up and parallel to the ground, lodged between the wall and a shelf that she's desperately trying to shove aside. What the hell...? What lies behind that shelf in a hidden basement bunker fuels the entire rest of Bong's brilliant film, but this moment jolted us out of that aforementioned groove and made us lean forward in our seats, eager to see whatever came next. (Ben Pearson)

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2. The Final Shot of The Irishman 

After all the killing has stopped, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman concludes with a whisper. Hitman and mob stooge Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is somehow the only one left standing – everyone he's known (that he hasn't killed) has either up and died on him, or, in the case of his own family, abandoned him. He's alone in his nursing home, left with memories of things that once seemed important to him but clearly are utterly pointless. No one really knows what he's done, save for a priest, who asks Frank if he's sorry for his many crimes. Frank's answer: not really. He's learned nothing. And all he has left now are those memories, and the silence that surrounds them. It's Christmas as the film ends, but as Frank says, he's going nowhere. He just wants the door to be left open a little bit as we leave him. It is what it is.  (Chris Evangelista)

1. Brawl in the Knife Room in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Early in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, assassins track our injured hero to an abandoned antique shop, where – wouldn't you know it – a fight breaks out. But this is not just any fight. After a few hand-to-hand exchanges, there's a comical moment where John Wick and his opponents seem to suddenly realize they're standing in a room that's lousy with knives. Thus begins a hilarious and action-packed sequence in which John and every person who enters the room continually shatter glass panels, grab as many knives as possible, and fling them into each other with abandon. John happens to be a bit more precise with his throws, and he ultimately walks away the victor...but only after he stabs a dude directly in the freaking eyeball and, in true world-weary fashion, slowly picks up an axe and sluggishly hurls it across the room, where it squishes right into the skull of his final opponent. It's all incredibly hyper-violent and over-the-top, but despite the surface-level carnage, there's a tangible sense of lightheartedness at play – an acknowledgement that this is all ridiculous, but it's also fun. It's one of the best distillations of the John Wick franchise, and one of the most inventive, memorable moments of any movie in 2019. (Ben Pearson)