Welcome to the Seventh Annual Watched In Theater (W.I.T.) Awards
Author’s Note: I am excited to release this post in a reasonable time of year vs. 2018, when my entire was delayed by The Great Apartment Flood of 2018 and I didn’t release it until July. In 2019, I missed doing this post because I had some unexpected travel and family needs early in the year. Also, quite frankly, I wasn’t super enthused about the movies I saw that year. There were some decent ones but none that I felt were fully worthy of the annual award.
If you’ve followed my blog a while, the winner for this year will be extremely unsurprising, but it is a worthy winner.
So, thank you for your patience, and, without further ado, here are the 2019 W.I.T. Awards.
Welcome to the 2019 Watched-In-Theater Awards, honoring the movies I have actually seen in the theater in 2019. You are welcome to share your own personal WIT awards in the comments below.
*Movies marked with an asterisk I actually watched at home on my fantastic projector and are worth noting.
The Judging Criteria:
- I have actually seen the film in a movie theater
- Following the theory of a good friend of mine, “Would I buy it for my home collection?” To add to this, would I buy it, and then watch it enough times to memorize most of the film, or rewind to watch a certain scene over, and over again?
Honorable Mentions (Movies I Watched in my Home Theater)
How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World
Movies I Took The Time To Watch In Theaters Once
Looking at the list of films I took the time to see in a theater, I did an excellent job joining others in supporting Disney’s bottom line. So did my Disney+ subscription…
Maleficent II: Mistress of Evil
If you love fantasy elements, shiny action scenes, fancy fantasy costumes, Angelina Jolie standing and looking cool, Michelle Pfeiffer glaring and looking cool, then this movie is for you. If you love movies with compelling, consistent characters and a coherent plot, this movie is not for you.
I went into it with low expectations and those were met, so I had fun. Would I see it again? No.
This movie was more magical than it had any right to be. It was a surprising pleasure that is one I’d watch again just for fun. It’s true to the cartoon while bringing new elements to the story and world. Will Smith is excellent as the Genie and the rest of the cast is great, along with a sultan who we can believe in. Also, Jasmine is given a bit more boldness and magical singing teleporting powers.
I think the Honest Trailer for this one is spot on. Is it a perfect film? No, but it is fun, and that’s all it needs to be.
When I saw the first trailer, I said, “That looks weird.” Then I saw it was directed by Taika Watiti, who directed “What We Do In The Shadows”, about vampire roommates, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” and a small movie called “Thor: Ragnorak” (and the fantastic final episode of The Mandalorian: Season 1). With him leading the way, I said, “I’m in for the weirdness.”
I took myself out by myself to Alamo Drafthouse and loved it.
This is a fantastic movie from a boy’s perspective in Nazi: Germany, faced with evidence that his own world view may not be the right one when he discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish teenage girl. The film has a great mix of absurdism, including an imaginary friend version of Hitler, and a heartfelt and serious story.
If you like a movie that makes you think, cry, and laugh, I highly recommend this one.
The Contenders: Movies I Took The Time To Watch In Theaters Twice
Captain Marvel is a fun, fast-paced blast. Others had issues with the story but I thought it was engaging, that Brie Larsen was fantastic as a strong female lead, and the digitally youthful Samuel L. Jackson brought a lot of energy to the movie. Also, Goose the Cat. It’s got a great story with strong characters and the fun that makes the Marvel Universe worth coming back to.
My youngest sister is a huge Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, so she may or may not have ditched school while I was in town in one of my 4 trips to California this year so we could see it together. The movie’s great. It’s even better with a 17 year old who is reacting with extreme emotions to every twist and turn of the story.
I then returned to Texas and had to go see it with my sister here.
It was a noble sacrifice.
I wasn’t a fan of Infinity Wars. That film definitely was building to this but I didn’t connect with it except for Thor’s hero’s journey with Rocket and Groot.
Endgame, however, carries a more somber tone and does a great job of making clear the consequences of Infinity Wars’ ending. We see our heroes separated and in pain, fighting to continue in their own way. Then, the adventure heats up and you are taken on an epic journey whose true climax is Captain America wielding Mjolner and also announcing, “Avenger’s Assemble.”
The real MVP of the film is Nebula. She almost sneaks up as a main character and steals much of the movie – especially with some awesome moments.
A great movie and a great, well-earned end to a carefully designed and successful series of films.
Star Wars: Episode 9 – The Rise of Skywalker
This film had the deck stacked against it as it approached release (except for it will make bajillions of dollars no matter what). The Disney era of Star Wars has its own flaws while trying to meet the expectations of a diverse and impossible to please fanbase.
What Star Wars is and what a Star Wars film should be depends on which type of fan you ask. Some absolutely loved Rogue One and hated the Force Awakens. I loved The Force Awakens and hated Rogue One.
The main element the latest generation of Star Wars films is missing is a guiding voice. Coming into The Rise of Skywalker, I thought about what sort of film trilogy we could have had if the Star Wars series had the equivalent of Kevin Feige, who has guided the past decade of Marvel films, bringing a unified vision and voice while allowing for each movie to be its own entity.
So, given The Rise of Skywalker had to hold the weight of the entire Star Wars Legacy, I think it was fantastic.
It’s a roller coaster of a film that gives everything I want from a Star Wars movid: Epic spaceship battles, epic lightsaber fights with character-driven conflict, Force pseudo-magical fantasy epic plotlines, great quips and humor, fun characters, swashbuckling space adventure, and a sense of wonder and fun.
Also, where the world of The Last Jedi felt empty, the world of Rise of Skywalker felt full of life.
Does the whole movie make sense? Not really. (It’s much better if you don’t think about how gravity, atmosphere, and space travel actually works)
But, it is a blast.
And The Winner Is…
Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Another not very surprising set of results. It’s Star Wars, spaceships, and explosions.
Avengers: Endgame is a better film, but I am not as emotionally invested in the Marvel universe. Late Night and JoJo Rabbit are also better films, but I wouldn’t watch either a million times. This one, I’ll rewatch just for fun. Again, there are some silly things in here that anger Star Wars fans who care about the small details. I’m ok with that.
I am, however, more excited about the 2020 line-up of films. With Black Widow, Wonder Woman, and Mulan in the pipeline, there are some potentially fantastic movies. And, I saw Little Women and loved it.
- What are your favorite movies of 2019?
- What makes a great movie for you?