The high bar set by mediocre films in 2019 is a good reminder that there’s a certain pleasure in watching something on the silver screen and learning absolutely nothing at all. Instead, you’re aptly reminded that explosions, dumb jokes, gore and confusing plots are great fun.
Average films have a tendency to slip under the radar, so in case you’ve missed any of the more quality offerings, here they are the best B-movies of 2019.
Crawl takes two tired, trashy tropes championed by average movies – disasters and monsters – and proves that smart direction and a good cast can rescue overused formulas from an already overflowing B-movie bargain bin.
Despite being well made, this film isn’t designed to have audiences ruminating about the human condition. Rather, Crawl demands audiences accept that a group of cranky, hungry giant alligators escape from a nearby farm during a hurricane and coast (conveniently) into a nearby small town. And that’s really the whole film. If you’re ready to accept the mindlessness of the whole situation, then you’re likely in for a very good time indeed.
#4: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
Evidently leaning on B-movie tropes from the outset, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot is a more accomplished (i.e. less garbage) film than its title would first suggest. In fact, it does the opposite of Crawl with its schlock by downplaying its bizarre premise and presenting a slow-burner of a film.
In fact, the end-product is more a character study than anything. Veteran actor Sam Elliot goes a different route to typical B-movies and creates a memorable character that actually has substance (sorry to those who just wanted Hitler and Bigfoot murder montages). This is no schlocky action film, but if you’re still after a silly, yet well-acted film, this mediocre movie may very well be worth your time.
An unexpected critical darling, Harpoon (along with Crawl) proved that B-movies don’t have to be awful to entertain. Clever scares, wanton violence and slick dark comedy are united on the open seas as a group of friends embark on a remote yacht pleasure-cruise – only to find out they’re not as chummy as they once thought.
Stranded with nowhere to go due to ominous circumstances, shady secrets and vengeful blood-letting quickly follow to give audiences a very entertaining cinematic ride that never overstays its welcome. Frequent jokes serve to offset the sheer nastiness of it all, so audiences who feel green at the sight of body juice can have a few moments to relax before the next generous helping of blood and gore.
#2: Hobbs and Shaw
Hobbs and Shaw’s box office taking of $760,330,285 in 2019 demonstrated the public’s unending hunger for expensive, silly action. And as far as quality action goes, this ones a doozy. In a plot directly ripped out of the B-movie bible, a cybernetically-enhanced Idris Elba tries very, very hard to unleash a virus onto the hapless citizens of the world and it’s obviously up to two muscle-bound action movie titans to stop him.
It’s highly recommended that you switch your brain to the off position, appreciate the general implausibility of frequent high-octane stunts, and be thankful that a cybernetically-enhanced Idris Elba doesn’t exist (yet).
#1: Star Wars Episode IX
According to audiences and critics, the most anticipated film of the year also turned out to be its most mediocre. The final installment of Star Wars’s third trilogy maintained the divisive response of the films that preceded it, delivering a hodgepodge of Star Wars glitz that reliably entertains as much as it frustrates.
No spoilers here (but expect a handful of lazy answers to a dumpster full of confusing questions), but from an entertainment perspective, a juicy $300,000,000 budget is going to deliver some of the best sci-fi spectacle you’ll have likely seen all year – just don’t try too hard to connect the series’ many tenuous plot threads yourself — you might hurt yourself, otherwise.