While all 18 of the following films are films I plan on seeing at this point in time, there are probably twice an many films that I am interested in, in the upcoming year. Some of those films, like Jordan Peele’s Us, are films that I think will be good, but are out of my genre of choice for a list such as this. Others, like Frozen 2 or Captain Marvel, are on my radar and probably films I will watch on opening weekend, but do not elicit enough excitement for me to write about. Hell, three or four of these films may be terrible. But that is the fun of these lists. And you bet your bottom dollar that at the end of the year, I will revisit this list with my thoughts on each film. So, without further ado, my 18 most anticipated films of 2019.

Alita: Battle Angel • Dir: Robert Rodriguez • February 14, 2019

Admittedly, the odds of this film being amazing, or even that good, are slim. Robert Rodriguez has a spotty track record – I literally cried watching Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, begging my dad to let us leave; we didn’t – and even his better films don’t impress me too much. That said, I am a sucker for gimmicks, and the character of Alita is a huge gimmick. I haven’t seen the source material this film is based on, but I absolutely love the design of Alita and the world Rodriguez has created. I only hope the story and acting are good. The trailers have me worried about the latter, but if the action is good, I’ll be grinning like a huge child through the whole thing.

Fighting with My Family • Dir: Stephen Merchant • March 1, 2019

There are few things I care less about than the WWE. Especially the fandom. I find it toxic and really weird. Mostly because there are still some people who have no idea wrestling – well, the kind done by the WWE – is staged, but I digress. There are few people who could get me interested in a film revolving around wrestling and the WWE. One of those people just happens to be Steven Merchant. Not only did he co-create The Office and Extras, but he also helped create and starred in a hilariously awkward comedy called Hello Ladies on HBO. His comic sensibilities are right up my alley. Also, as a plus, the film stars Nick Frost. Oh, and an appearance by Dwayne Johnson, whom I enjoy in comedic roles, does not hurt, either.

Greyhound • Dir: Aaron Schneider • March 22, 2019

This is a war film written by Tom Hanks and adapted from a book called
The Good Shepherd by C. S. Forester. I know nothing about this book. I know nothing about the director. Hell, I find only a handful of war movies enjoyable. Some, like Hacksaw Ridge, revel too much in the violence. Why is this film on my list? Tom Hanks. I am putting my faith into him for a project I know very little about and that is exciting. I just hope when I see the first trailer, the excitement does not fade into fear. I still remember the disappointment that was Larry Crowne.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette • Dir: Richard Linklater • March 22, 2019

It is hard to believe that the same person who directed School of Rock also directed Boyhood. They are both so different, but at their heart, they share one major similarity. Both films care about their characters. Every Linklater film is character driven. Get great actors to inhabit those great characters, and you probably have a great film. This time, Linklater enlists the help of Cate Blanchett as the film’s titular Bernadette. On the periphery are other great actors such as Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne and Kristen Wigg, who know how to juggle both drama and comedy, a mix important to all Linklater films. There’s a good chance we could be talking about this film next year at the same time. At least, I hope we are.

Dumbo • Dir: Tim Burton • March 29, 2019

The original Dumbo isn’t very good. It has a pretty neat psychedelic sequence, but besides that, the plot is negligible and the racism is wild (and no, that is not a link the the song by the film’s crows). Of all the films one could choose to adapt to live action from the Disney Animation family, Dumbo is a great choice. Based on the trailers, It looks like a possible success. Tim Burton looks to be a great choice, as do Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, and a little girl who looks like a young Thandie Newton. We may not be getting Timothy Mouse, but it looks like we will be getting a return to form for Tim Burton! Every frame looks stunning. If anything, it reminds me of Big Fish, one of my favorite films, so I am EXTREMELY excited.

Shazam! • Dir: David F. Sandberg • April 5, 2019

I do not read Marvel or DC comics. I tried a few years back, but I just could not get into them. Before this film was announced, I had no idea who Shazam was, other than the fact he was the original ‘Captain Marvel’. Essentially, the character is Tom Hanks in Big if he were also Superman. Who better to play a child in an adult’s body than Zachary Levy. I mean, that was essentially his character on NBC’s Chuck. Well, with a little more maturity. Beyond that, I know very little about the film beyond what the first trailer shows, which was “Oh my god, I am an adult” humor, as well as a quick peek at the film’s villain, Mark Strong. I absolutely love both actors, and while I cannot say I loved Aquaman, it was definitely a director driven film. If Shazam! is just as director driven, but also comes with a better script, I will enjoy the hell out of this film!

Avengers: Endgame • Dir: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo • April 26, 2019

I just really want to see how Marvel Studios takes the events of Infinity War and returns to the status quo. I fail to believe the studio has the nerve to forge a brand new path in a brand new universe where half the population of Earth stays dead, but on the off-chance I am wrong, I would love to be there on opening weekend to see that. Oh, and see more Paul Rudd. Secretly, he is the real reason I am excited.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu • Dir: Rob Letterman • May 10, 2019

Talk about a film straight out of my childhood fantasies. This is a live-action film in a world of Pokemon. With real Bulbasaurs. And Charizards. And Pikachus. And Jigglypuffs. And really creepy but awesome looking Mr. Mimes. I do not care about the plot. I do not care about Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Detective Pikachu. All I care about is spending 2-3 hours in a world I would never actually want to live in because I am a sane person! Am I just a little bit worried this film will be a disappointment? Yes, of course. I chose to revisit the old Pokemon movies a year or two ago and they do not hold up. Not one bit. I hope this film is something that is actually good and not just a nostalgia trip. Even if it is, though, at least I will finally get well-rendered, CGI Pokemon.

John Wick 3: Parabellum • Dir: Chad Stahelski • May 17, 2019

The first two John Wick films are surprisingly great. I only say surprisingly because I do not gravitate to action heavy, dialogue light films. John Wick is the exception to that rule, at least for me. The hand-to-hand combat in these films is spectacular, Keanu Reeves was born for this role, and the locales are beautiful. Seriously, I would stay at the Continental if I knew I could live to see another day. What’s so special about this film? Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston. I love when I see casting like this, because I love to see actors go out of their perceived comfort zones. Berry, for instance, was a delight in Kingman: The Golden Circle. Also, Jason Mantzoukas is in this film and in small doses, he can be hilarious.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters • Dir: Michael Dougherty • May 31, 2019

Ironically, I am more interested in this film knowing a sequel to it is coming next year. Why? Because, if the trailers are anything to go by, so many cities are going to be destroyed by Godzilla and his enemies. The first film gave us the MUTO, a creature original to the film. Yeah, kinda lame. This film gives us three legendary Godzilla villains: Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. I am all in on this film! And while I hope the focus of this film is on the monsters, the human cast is nothing to bat an eye at. Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hawkins, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Thomas Middleditch are all in this film, and they are all actors I find underrated. Yes, even Middleditch, even though I cannot stand his Verizon ads. Oops, here I go digressing again. I hope this film is great and the destruction is major. If this film knocks it out of the park, you may see another Godzilla film on my anticipation list next year.

Toy Story 4 • Dir: Josh Cooley • June 21, 2019

I have my doubts that this film will even be half the film Toy Story 3 was, but I will see anything Pixar releases on opening weekend. Toy Story 2 is the reason I became as interested as I am in film. I am forever grateful to the studio. That said, the first teaser worried me, as does the idea of Forky. The teaser with Key and Peele makes me a little less worried. I need a full trailer, but we probably won’t get one until the Superbowl at the earliest. Perhaps I may even have to wait until Dumbo comes out. We shall see. Until then, I will trust that Tom Hanks did not just do this film for an easy paycheck, and when he and Tim Allen say the script made them cry, that they were being honest. Also, Bo Peep is back, or so it is rumored. That intrigues me.

Untitled Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis film • Dir: Danny Boyle • June 28, 2019

I don’t know what this film is about, other than that it is rumored to be a musical comedy. There is no official name for this film, either. Really, all I am sure of is that Kate McKinnon is one of the film’s stars and that Danny Boyle is directing a film written by Richard Curtis, who wrote a great rom-dram called About Time. Hell, for all I know, this film might not even come out in 2019. It is supposed to, though.

The Lion King • Dir: Jon Favreau • July 19, 2019

I am not a fan of the original animated feature. For everything the film does right, there are very, very stupid jokes like Timon wearing a hula skirt or Zazu singing “It’s a Small World” in a film that takes place in Africa. My excitement for this film rests in the fact that Jon Favreau is directing and that the script will fix the silly humor and replace that with more solid storytelling. Also, I know it is heresy to admit, but I am excited to see a CGI Pride Lands, a CGI Simba, a CGI, Zazu, a CGI… everything. Finally, you have a cast lead by Donald Glover and Beyoncé. The soundtrack is going to sound amazing, at the very least. I cannot believe Disney has such a hold over me, but they do. Oops.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood • Dir: Marielle Heller • October 18, 2019

This is going to be very short because my interest in this film is based on two things and two things only: Mr. Rogers and Tom Hanks. While Hanks was not an ideal Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, I feel like he’ll actually be able to embody Mr. Rogers’ goodness in this film. Only time will tell.

Kingsman: The Great Game • Dir: Matthew Vaughn • November 8, 2019

This will also be a short entry, but mostly because I don’t know much about this film or even if it will be filmed or released this year. It has a supposed release date, a supposed title, Ralph Fiennes is supposedly in it, and it is supposed to be a prequel about how Kingsman was formed. Beyond that, who knows? I hope, hope, hope this is real and coming this year.

Last Christmas • Dir: Paul Feig • November 15, 2019

This film was not even on my radar until I started writing this list. Not only is this film co-written by Emma Thompson, but she also stars along with Emelia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame and Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh of Crazy Rich Asians fame. While Feig, as a director, is hit or miss, he is much more tolerable when he not one of the film’s writers. To ad a cherry to this cupcake of a film, it is a Christmas (duh!) romantic comedy. I am a sucker for those, especially Love, Actually and The Holiday. I cannot help but hope this film is good so I can add another rom-com to my yearly viewing schedule.

Knives Out • Dir: Rian Johnston • November 27, 2019

Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer. These great actors are all part of Rian Johnson’s follow-up to The Last Jedi. Like the last two films, little more is known, just that it is a modern whodunit mystery. My biggest hope is that this film is not like Brick in its dialogue.

Star Wars: Episode IX • Dir: J. J. Abrams • December 20, 2019

Saw what you will about The Last Jedi (actually, please don’t), but I want to see how JJ Abrams ends this trilogy. Will he undo everything Rian Johnson did, or will he develop it into something the whole world wants more of? I have no idea, but I know I will enjoy it. Or, at least, I am anticipating I will. I am crossing my fingers for a return to space politics and podracing!