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Overstated though most of them seemed to be, I enjoyed the mean-spirited take-downs of Cats as much as the next guy. But I think I've figured out why director Stephen Gaghan's new family adventure Dolittle – a far worse movie – hasn't suffered nearly the critical indignities of Tom Hooper's musical train wreck: It's so tediously by-the-numbers, and so predictably awful in all the expected ways, that it simply saps your will to mock.

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We all had a hunch it would do well, right? Picture, probably; actor, for sure; maybe writing and maybe directing and probably a handful of craft nominations. But if you told most Oscar watchers that, with the announcement of nominees for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, this morning's big winner would be the super-villain origin story Joker, they'd likely reply with one of Joaquin Phoenix's most memorable lines from that film: “Hahahahahahaha!!!

Although many audiences would disagree, not all movies need to be fun, and Sam Mendes' 1917 is the perfect example of a film that's not only more fun than it needs to be, but more fun than it should be.

My favorites of 2019, you ask? Oh, gosh, I have so many: the second season of Amazon Prime's Fleabag, with the divine Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the imploding of the fourth wall and Andrew Scott shaking things up as the definitive Hot Priest; HBO's Chernobyl, with its docudrama delivered as the most enraging of fright films; Netflix's John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch, with its insanely catchy songs and simultaneous salute to and parody of cherished children's programs … .

Oh, wait – we're talking movie favorites? Cool. 'Cause I can talk about those, too.

What are the criteria for movies that you consider your all-time favorites? Themes that continue to engage and affect you, sometimes in profoundly different ways, every time you return to them? Scenarios and jokes that still make you laugh after dozens of viewings? Über-familiarity, allowing you to vacuum your living room while a film is playing and not miss a thing because you have the dialogue committed to memory?

In an experiment designed to combat awards-show fatigue and bolster sagging ratings for the telecast (and good luck with both those goals), the 92nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held earlier than usual, with the 2020 Oscars airing the night of Sunday, February 9. That means that Oscar nominations will also be announced earlier than usual – at roughly 7:20 a.m. on the morning of Monday, January 13. And you know what that means: In making my annual nomination predictions, yours truly doesn't have to wait nearly as long into the new year to look foolish!

There are certain things you expect from any film or television version of Little Women: coltish enthusiasm courtesy of Jo; homespun wisdom courtesy of Marmee; buckets of tears, our tears, courtesy of Beth thanking Mr. Laurence for the piano and eventually succumbing to terminal illness. (I'm presuming that plot points from a 150-year-old novel can't possibly qualify as spoilers.) One thing you don't expect, however, is the unexpected, which turns out to be what writer/director Greta Gerwig's glorious, exceedingly original take on Louisa May Alcott delivers in spades.

'Tis the season of forgiveness, so I hope I'll be pardoned for this combined review that'll likely annoy two distinct sets of readers: Star Wars fans who couldn't care less about a furry stage sensation from the 1980s, and movie fans of all types who've been relishing the vicious, snarky take-downs of this year's (this decade's? this century's?) biggest movie fiasco and don't want one interrupted by any mention of Star Wars. Try as I might, though, I can't separate the experiences of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Cats quite as simply as I'd like – partly because I saw the two within mere minutes of each other, and partly because, when all was said and done, I had a better time at Cats. I'm guessing there will now be a few additional sets of readers whom I'll have to ask for forgiveness.

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