(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: here’s the problem with our biggest movies relying too heavily on nostalgia.)

The end of any particular year in film and the beginning of the next – to say nothing of the transition between two entire decades – affords us the opportunity to introspect and pinpoint certain filmmaking trends and tendencies that stand out from the crowd, that recur over and over again and become representative of a larger ethos over time. Unfortunately for the ever-vocal “No politics in my entertainment!” crowd, this tends to manifest on an instinctive level for any artist trying to communicate through the movies they make. Human beings are natural storytellers, after all, which is why storytelling encompasses all our combined hopes, fears, triumphs, and flaws of any given moment.

So if movies can’t be neatly excised from the context of their time (as with all art, really), how did this past year put a bow on a decade of pop culture and what did it tell us about our unique and most pressing concerns? Looking back at the films that resonated most tangibly, it seems safe to say that one of the biggest themes of the past year was, well, looking back.

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Alamo Drafthouse 2019 Movies Infographic

We’re almost a full month into 2020, but the folks at the Alamo Drafthouse chain of theaters aren’t done looking back on the films of 2019. They’ve been crunching the numbers and they’ve given us an exclusive first look at what their audiences thought were they best films of 2019. Heck, they dug even deeper than that and also collected votes on the best scenes and performances. They also voted on the definitive ranking of all the Star Wars movies, and named their most anticipated movies of 2020.

Check out the entire Alamo Drafthouse 2019 movie infographic below. Read More »

Why Hugo Weaving Didn't Return as Red Skull

One of the biggest surprises in Avengers: Infinity War, besides the sudden deaths of half the superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was the return of Captain America: The First Avenger villain Red Skull. Just as surprising was that Hugo Weaving didn’t reprise his role as the Nazi villain, but was replaced by Ross Marquand. It was assumed that the reason Weaving didn’t come back was because he didn’t sound particularly thrilled at the prospect, but now the actor has revealed the real reason for his absence in the Avengers sequels. Read More »

Robert Downer Jr. Talks Saturday Night Live

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, watch as Robert Downey Jr. recalls his time on Saturday Night Live, remembering some embarrassing sketches he was in during one of the show’s worst periods. Plus, check out franchise end credits for the Harry Potter film series in the style of Avengers: Endgame, and see Awkwafina play Six Degrees of Separation. Read More »

Ben Pearson’s Top 10 Movies of 2019

Ben Pearson's Top 10 Movies of 2019

After a rough start, 2019 ended up being a terrific year for film. Several movies which didn’t make my personal list – films like Marriage Story, Toy Story 4, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Us, Apollo 11, One Cut of the Dead, Uncut Gems, etc. – could easily constitute a separate lineup teeming with its own memorable moments. But, as the saying goes, though there are many [lists] like it, this one is mine. Here are my favorite films of last year.
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Avengers: Endgame - Captain America vs Captain America Statues

Avengers: Endgame surprised fans by giving them a face-off that many thought could only ever exist in the comic books. During the time heist in the Battle of New York in 2012, Steve Rogers from 2023 is forced to square-off with a more headstrong version of himself from 2012. It’s a Captain America vs Captain America brawl, and now you can re-create it on your shelf with a set of statues from Iron Studios, one for each version of Cap. Check out the Captain America vs Captain America statues below. Read More »

/Filmcast Ep. 549 – The Top 10 Films of 2019

Avengers Endgame - Thanos

Happy New Year! Dave, Devindra, and Jeff rank their top ten movies of 2019. Stay tuned, Jeff’s number 5 will shock you!

Check out some important film data in 2019 here.

Thanks to our sponsor this week: Feals.

  • Become a member today by going to Feals.com/FILMCAST get 50% off your first order with free shipping.

In the 21st century, geek properties have come to define our entertainment culture to the point where some say comic book nerds are now our cultural overlords. Despite false alarms of impending genre fatigue, superhero films dominated the 2010s right up until the end of the decade. In 2019, geek-chic gave way to peak-geek, with saga-ending pop culture behemoths like Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker roaming the earth and indeed ruling the worldwide box office. However, “geek” is a broad term that could encompass not only sci-fi/fantasy but also the work of auteurist directors, whose filmographies inspire the same kind of brand-name loyalty among cinephiles. What the term really implies is a certain devotion.

We’re all movie geeks. For some fans, a new Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino film, especially one that served as a bittersweet career culmination, might be no less an event than a Disney+ premiere or a Game of Thrones finale. Throw in Joker and a few other wild cards — including the sale of 21st Century Fox and HBO’s live-action sequel to Watchmen, the greatest comic book story ever told — and it starts to feel like the deck was pretty stacked this year. In all honesty, there may never be another year like this again, entertainment-wise.

With the real world in shambles (“We’re in the endgame now?”), looking back on the escapist highs and lows of 2019 only serves to hammer that home with thundering clarity, like a powered-up Captain America laying the smackdown on any notions of a competing convergence of franchise farewells. Yet amid the perfect storm of geekiness that was 2019, new industry trends also emerged to create a picture of the future landscape of film and television.

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avatar will beat avengers

When Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame surpassed James Cameron‘s Avatar as the highest grossing film ever released (unadjusted for inflation), Cameron sent a congratulatory public note to Marvel and Kevin Feige, continuing a tradition of filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg sending similar messages to each other through the trades when one of their films would beat the other’s to take the top spot. But it sounds like Cameron eventually expects to receive one in return, because he thinks it’s “a certainty” that Avatar will overtake Endgame at the global box office. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Joker Cinematography Explained

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, learn about the creative decisions behind the cinematography for the box office sensation Joker. Plus, watch as visual effects artists react to Lawnmower Man, Godzilla (1998), Children of Men, and others. And finally, listen as Avengers: Endgame and Dark Waters star Mark Ruffalo breaks down the most memorable characters from his career. Read More »