My 34 Most Anticipated Things of 2019
Happy New Year! Every January I reveal my most anticipated films and TV shows of the coming year, but for 2019 I’ve decided to merge those lists (and a bunch of other stuff — music, podcasts, gigs) into one big countdown. So, here, for your reading pleasure, are the 34 things I’m looking forward to the most in the coming 12 months…
Damon Lindelof cashes in his Leftovers blank check at HBO, reinterpreting the Alan Moore classic for a new TV adaptation. The casting has opted for quality over star power, with regulars including Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson and Jeremy Irons.
2. THE NEW POPE
Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope was a radical masterpiece. For his so-unnecessary-he-must-have-a-great-concept sequel, he’s recruited John Malkovich as, presumably, another unorthodox pontiff. Jude Law will also return. I’ll be equally surprised if we never see this completed, or if it’s released by Christmas.
3. BOB DYLAN & NEIL YOUNG
Two of the most legendary singer-songwriters alive come together in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny next July, and I’ve got 2 tickets!
4. FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW
Hobbs & Shaw is going to be stupid. Very stupid. In the most beautiful way. Dwayne Johnson x Jason Statham x Idris Elba x Vanessa Kirby, directed by Atomic Blonde’s David Leitch. Oh yes.
The return of HBO’s explosive corporate black comedy and the best ensemble on TV. I’ll be checking the premiere date on my phone, ya bendy fucks.
6. THE EDDY
In spite of First Man, I haven’t abandoned faith in Damien Chazelle just yet. Especially when The Eddy is set in a Paris jazz club(!), effectively fulfilling all of Mia and Seb’s dreams from La La Land.
7. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
In 2019, Quentin Tarantino may not feel like the wokest filmmaker around (he’s certainly not one of the best), but there’s something about this spiritual Pulp Fiction follow-up and its cast that’s simply impossible not to get excited about. Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Margot Robbie, Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell and more star in a Charles Manson-adjacent tale of L.A. fame and fuckery.
8. THE IRISHMAN
The Irishman has been on my most anticipated list for 3 years now, but it seems like it may finally arrive in 2019. Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, Keitel, Romano, Cannavale. Aren’t Italian-American men just the best?!
9. UNCUT GEMS
Josh and Benny Safde are the latest auteurs experimenting with Adam Sandler’s star persona, this time with the great Lakeith Stanfield in tow.
10. BIG MOUTH
Netflix’s puberty-themed cartoon transcended excellence with its second season, and it’s impossible to say where its third will take us. As long as there’s more Coach Steve I’ll be satisfied.
11. TOY STORY 4
Nobody needed a fourth Toy Story, yet here we are. These characters are too endearing for this film to not, at the least, be a perfectly pleasurable if generic Pixar sequel.
12. BIG LITTLE LIES
Streep! Streep! Streep! Yes, Meryl joins TV’s most ferocious female ensemble for its second-season. Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern will all return. Awesome.
13. BLANK CHECK: PODWARD SCISSORCAST
For their latest comprehensive director miniseries, Griffin and David are tackling the master of mediocre macabre himself, Tim Burton. His filmography is spotty as hell, but there’s no denying Burton’s style and projects are fascinating to talk about.
14. TREVOR HORN REIMAGINES THE ‘80S
The great pop producer presents new arrangements of 80s classics that sound like John Barry Bond themes. The two tracks released so far — Robbie Williams sings “Everybody Wants to Rule The World” and Matt Cardle sings “The Power of Love” have been absolute bangers, so this has weirdly become my most anticipated album of the year.
15. SORRY WE MISSED YOU
Ken Loach turns his sensitively Marxist lens to the gig economy with this story of a struggling delivery driver. My inner Jeremy Corbyn stan can’t wait to shout about the Tories after watching this.
16. STAR WARS EPISODE IX
I’d probably rather an original new J.J. Abrams blockbuster this year, but I’ll take a new Star Wars. More Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron is never a bad thing, nor the unlikely return of Carrie Fisher using existing footage.
17. TOP OF THE MORNING
A cast including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Billy Crudup will lead Apple’s attempt to enter the top leagues of the streaming market with a *very broad* comedy-drama about a TV morning show. Unlikely to achieve greatness, guaranteed to be an enjoyable marketing experiment.
George Clooney isn’t a very good filmmaker, but let’s see how he fares on the small screen, adapting the Joseph Heller masterpiece (sadly not the Tinchy Stryder album) with Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler and himself starring.
The glorious comeback of M. Night Shyamalan crescendos with his ambitious Unbreakable/Split crossover sequel that pits James McAvoy’s Beast against David Dunn and Mr Glass (Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson). Coming in a few weeks.
20. THE NEST
Jude Law/Carrie Coon romantic drama. That’s all I need to hear.
21. THE TWILIGHT ZONE
Interested to see how producer Jordan Peele differentiates this Zone reboot from other mystery anthology shows of late, but the cast list for the first few episodes is very promising.
Todd Phillips conceives of the cackling Batman villain as a failed 80s standup comedian, with Joaquin Phoenix a very interesting choice for the role. DeNiro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Fisher are all hanging around too.
23. UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s superb Netflix comedy has gone completely off the radar since its first two successful seasons. I have no idea why — it remains one of the most consistently funny shows on TV. The final episodes will be released this year, and deserve a lot more attention that they’re likely to actually receive.
24. Y: THE LAST MAN
How’s this for a premise: there is only one man left in a world full of women. He has the attention of every straight adult female on the planet, ready to bear his children. Who is this sexual god? Oh it’s only… Barry Keoghan?! Gas.
Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams headline this miniseries depicting the creative partnership between broadway legends Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. I’m hoping for — at the worst — a prestige version of Smash. And at the best, a thrilling and joyous song-and-dance extravaganza.
26. KINGSMAN: THE GREAT GAME
Matthew Vaughn effectively has one chance to convince me his Kingsman movies are worth the effort (The Golden Circle was, to put it nicely, grotesque). So he’s scrapped the original cast, gone back in time to pre-war Britain and, presumably from the premise, lowered the budget significantly. Eh, we’ll see.
27. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Can You Ever Forgive Me director Marielle Heller directs this Tom Hanks-is-Mr Rogers biopic. Sure to be charming as hell.
28. MODERN LOVE
John Carney finally uses his Sing Street leverage as he produces this Amazon anthology of short stories set to star Anne Hathaway, Andy Garcia, Olivia Cooke, Tina Fey and many others. Sharon Horgan is also involved.
Tom Hooper brings his fisheye lens aesthetic to another hit stage musical: CATS! Playing said feline friends will be Taylor Swift and Ian McKellen, amongst others. This sounds so bizarre and, frankly, terrible, that I expect I will absolutely love it.
30. TUCA & BERTIE
The Bojack Horseman team finally bring a new animated show into the world, featuring the voice talents of Tiffany Haddish.
Tim Burton, as I mentioned earlier, is not a director I’m particularly fond of. But I respect anyone who persuades Disney the principle cast of their $150m flying elephant musical should be Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito and Alan Arkin. The man’s got some credibility back.
32. UNTITLED DANNY BOYLE PROJECT
UDBP sounds like more of a Richard Curtis (who wrote the script) Project than a Danny Boyle joint, what with its casting of Ed Sheeran and twee Beatles-themed Brittania vibe. But a Boyle film is a Boyle film, and the man who turned down a knighthood is hardly going to put some Brexit-y, pro-monarchy ITV1 bs out into the world, is he?
33. GAME OF THRONES
I don’t like Game of Thrones very much. Yet I’ve seen every episode, and there’s definitely going to be a cultural moment surrounding the broadcast of these last few episodes like none we’ve seen for many years. The event of Thrones’ final season is what I’m anticipating, rather than the actual episodes, which I can honestly give or take.