2019 was a bad year for films up until suddenly it wasn’t. The turnaround seemed to happen in a single weekend in August, when I was given links to review Monos, Honeyland and One Child Nation. The first is a Best Foreign Film contender about a group of kids isolated in the wilderness — a Lord of the Flies set in the fog of war. The other two are perspective-shifting documentaries I cherished.
From August onward, quite a number of insightful, emotional, thought-provoking narrative and documentary films were released. Turns out it was a great year!
Contained in this Year-in-Review:
- A retrospective on MFJ’s accomplishments
- A list of movies I loved and recommend
- My Top 12.
Thanks, as always, for reading the Midwest Film Journal!
This year, we have published 330 pieces to date. I personally wrote 130 of these. I completed my long-gestating Godzilla rewatch column, Are You There Godzilla? It’s Me, Evan. I finally wrote about a Movie That Made Me.
We published three major guest-centric column series: The Butler Did It, No Sleep October and Our Star Wars. Our multiple-time contributors are now listed as writers on our site. We have a list of more than 25 people who are regularly invited to write for us, as well as plans for three more series going into 2020. These are the great pleasures of running Midwest Film Journal, and what sets us apart. I hope we find more new friends in the coming year.
Our writers wrote Quill’s 101 Journalism Movies Ranked project, the top-ranked article on their site.
Our coverage of Heartland Film Festival was more substantial this year, which has been a long-time goal of mine since we started our site. Next year we’ll do the same, and hope to expand to other Festivals if possible. Additionally, we announced that Heartland and the Midwest Film Journal are teaming up for a programming block in next year’s festival, Heartland Horror, which launched this year with a screening of In Fabric.
The link to Nick’s In Fabric review brings me to the part of this where I brag about how great our writers are. If you want a taste of the year in film, look no further than these essays:
Read these. In fact, read everything they’ve posted. The links above represent but a small selection of our crew’s capabilities.
The Midwest Film Journal grew exponentially this year, and we have a lot of ambitious plans for 2020. But as always, our main goal it to continue providing thoughtful, engaging film criticism. Thanks for reading this year!
I Enjoyed These Movies and Maybe You Will, Too
Of the 154 new releases I watched in 2019, I recommend 50.
Each selection links to the MFJ official review by one of our writers, if available:
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
My Top 12
My Top 12 is a selection of films from this year that stuck with me throughout the year. I wouldn’t necessarily argue these are the “best” films of the year, but they made me think for awhile, or opened my eyes to different realities, techniques, or genres.
1. For Sama
3. Knives Out
4. One Child Nation
5. The Lighthouse
7. A Hidden Life
8. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
10. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
11. Dragon Ball Super: Broly
12. Marriage Story