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Updated: Mar 20, 2020

Like Santa Clause, movie critics spend much of December checking their lists. Best film. Best horror film. Best Comedy film. Ten best films. And so on. Here in Nevada, I vote with the state’s main movie group, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society and receive no guarantee that my choices will show up on the list. But 2019provided several instances of overlap: I include seven of our top ten choices on my personal list. In both cases, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood comes out as number one. Its enthusiastic energy grabbed me, and I found myself in the odd position of laughing while watching a story involving Charles Manson. I also enjoyed watching the six overlapping films on our lists. One: The Irishman with Martin Scorsese once again exploring the mean streets of organized crime. Two: Marriage Story, where writer-director Noah Baumbach explores the conundrums of divorce. Three: Parasite as Korean director Bong Joon-ho castigates class inequities. Four: Nineteen- seventeen where director Sam Mendes mines family history to reveal battlefield intensities. Five, Little Women, as adapter-director Greta Gerwig successfully captures a feminist spin to a classic tale. And finally, Ford versus Ferrari and the fast cars plus strong characters who keep action moving. My group and I split ways on three choices, though I appreciate elements in The Lighthouse, Joker, and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Personally, I switched those out with Booksmart, Jojo Rabbit, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire. And the titles just keep coming, because we include categories like Best Ensemble, which went to the snarky fun found in Knives Out. We saw creepy horror in Midsomer, and we learned movie history with the comedy Dolemite is My Name. We loved lead performances by Renee Zelwegger in Judy and by Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. We went for supporting work by Margot Robbie in Bombshell and Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse. That plethora of titles involves hours of rewarding movie watching, making 2019 a very good year, at least for movies.

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