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My Top 10 Movies of 2017

December 29, 2017

10. Mindhorn – TVMA

Apparently, this was a made for TV film, but I rather enjoyed it. Oddball British comedy. That has been a part of my life from a very early age, and this film doesn’t diminish my love of the genre.

9. Get Out – R

Equal part funny and horrifying. It’s a commentary on social injustice but also just a darn fine piece of science fiction thriller. Then again, that’s pretty much what the best of science fiction offers: commentary on society. I call it science fiction, but it’s not like they’re in space or any of that.

8. Dunkirk – PG-13

I saw this in the theater and immediately wished I had ear plugs. I have never felt such a visceral reaction to a film with the possible exception being Saving Private Ryan. I recently watched it again at home, and I enjoyed the film even more. Rather, I enjoyed it beyond the spectacle. I still wish they wouldn’t have whitewashed the dismissal of French involvement, but I think I judged that aspect too harshly the first time. Obviously, not every aspect of the withdrawal could or should be shown if you want a coherent cinematic experience.

7. It – R

I have always been a fan of the made for TV adaptation from back in the day, but this is an exceptional improvement upon it. Scary, engaging, charming, and just satisfying. I am looking forward to the sequel.

6. Wonder Woman – PG-13

Finally, DC released a movie that isn’t a Nolan Batman flick that didn’t suck. Not surprisingly, they let other directors and writers make the film. Maybe think about that DC. The other films all fall short and all use the same storytellers… hmm?

5. Logan – R

The best thing about Logan is how they take the whole superhero genre and turn it on its head. It’s completely different than any other. It’s just a drama about people that happen to have super powers.

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming – PG-13

The best Spider-Man movie yet. I say that with all of the authority of someone who has never read a Spider-Man comic. It was fun though. It wasn’t campy, and it solid performances all around. It didn’t hurt that it was written by one of the Freaks and Geeks alumni. I still follow all of the cast as much as possible, and they seldom disappoint.

3. The Hippopotamus – Unrated I think

The film adaptation of a book written by Stephen Fry (my favorite Renaissance man). It felt like Stephen Fry was the star even without ever seeing him. Roger Allam was fantastic. My kind of humor and irreverence.

2.  Thor: Ragnarok – PG-13

Thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. By far the best Thor film. They stopped taking themselves too seriously and went the route of Guardians of the Galaxy. Funny, pretty to watch, and action packed. Just good times.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – PG-13

The perfect superhero experience. Action, comedy galore, eye candy in every shot, and actual emotion that any of us can relate to delivered in easily digestible doses that taste oh so good. I literally laughed, and I literally cried. I love this movie. The amazing thing is I am not sure if it’s better than the first film in the series. See Star Wars, that’s how it’s done.

My Top 10 Least Favorite Movies of 2017

December 29, 2017

I actually couldn’t come up with 10. Most of the movies I saw this year were at the very least acceptable. Here is my top 6 worst list.

6. Kong: Skull Island – PG-13

I didn’t hate this movie. I was just hoping for more than what was given. It was fairly entertaining and the special effects were solid. The surprise reveal at the end setting up further films didn’t exactly leave me screaming for more.

5. Baywatch – R

Yeah, obviously, I wasn’t expecting much with this one. However, CHiPs was actually quite entertaining in a juvenile way. This should have tried to follow suite. I guess it did, but it failed miserably.

4. The Mummy – PG-13

Almost every film on this list is either a sequel, reboot, or TV to film transfer. It’s not surprising that these would be the most disappointing, and The Mummy is certainly no exception. The special effects were pretty enough, but this movie was heartless. The introduction of Dr. Jekyll left me scratching my head. Apparently, the plan was to reintroduce all of the Universal classic monsters. It seems that plan has been nixed after the failure of The Mummy. Good call.

3. Blade Runner 2049 – R

In fairness, I haven’t finished watching this film. I keep falling asleep while I watch it. That’s why it’s on the list. The shots seem gratuitous even if beautiful. It feels like a cinematographical masturbatory session with a ginormous budget. I loved the original, and I may grow to love this one, but I’m not there yet.

2. Star Wars Ep. VIII: The Last Jedi – PG-13

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Star Wars fan and therefore I am holding this to a higher standard that is missed almost completely. SPOILERS follow, so beware.

It was too long (the whole scene on the casino world of Rainbow Bright or whatever it was called was WAY too long, and ultimately completely pointless).

The “comedic” scenes felt too forced and came too often. The caretakers, the penguins, and the space cow on Luke’s island all served NO PURPOSE but comic relief. There wasn’t enough drama in the movie that required THAT MUCH comic relief, nor were they particularly funny. Had it just been the penguins it wouldn’t have been too bad. The whole dialog with Poe in the first scene was jarring in its inappropriate feel. There was comic relief in the original trilogy but never so forced (forgive the pun).

The three heroes of the new trilogy have been together exactly once and only long enough to say, “Hi. Nice to meet you.” Han, Leia, and Luke were a team by the end of A New Hope. The same camaraderie just doesn’t exist with these three. I love the actors, but the character development took a step back for them in this film with the exception of Rey. Her development was a bright spot as was Kylo Ren’s. Finn was on a pointless trip to the Monaco of Star Wars, and Poe took a huge step back. Why Leia decided to keep him out of the plan is beyond unknowable. It makes NO sense. Felt like a time waster.

Speaking of time waster, how about watching two hours of O.J. Simpson’s slow-speed white Ford Bronco chase in space? That’s what this movie was. Why they didn’t release the tie fighters to make mincemeat of the rebel fleet is astounding. Better yet, why not have other fleets jump in from light speed on the other side of the rebel fleet? The whole premise the film is based on is just absurdly flawed.

Yes, there were some satisfying points: Yoda using the force after being dead to destroy the tree, Luke being a badass and force projecting himself across the universe, Kylo cleverly masking his intentions to destroy Snoke, etc. That too illustrates why this movie is horrible though. It completely diminishes or otherwise destroys all of the tension, questions, and direction of Episode 7. Rey being descended from Jedi greatness? Yeah, turns out her parents were merely white trash. Snoke’s identity possibly being Palpatine, Plaguis (sp? too lazy to check) or someone else? Who cares he’s skewered halfway into the movie. A budding relationship between Finn and Rey? Nevermind, we’ll throw in a girl who can’t act and will fall in love with him before a full day has passed.

The only reason this isn’t the worst film of the year (or decade) is because I am waiting to see if J.J. can work his magic and save this otherwise inexcusable direction. If Kylo was simply lying about Rey’s parentage or otherwise mistaken, if the tension and epic nature of Star Wars can be restored in the final film, then maybe I can really come to enjoy this film. Until then, if I take off my fan boy glasses, this movie sucked.

1 Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – PG-13

Guess how many times I have walked out on a movie that I went to see in theater? Once. Guess which movie it was. Pretty, but shallow and with little resembling a plot. I was hoping for something more like The Fifth Element. Didn’t happen.

The movies of 2017 that I have seen

December 29, 2017

John Wick: Chapter Two
Kong: Skull Island
Get Out
Table 19
The Boss Baby
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Alien: Covenant
Wonder Woman
The Mummy
Rough Night
Baby Driver
The House
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Brigsby Bear
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
The Dark Tower
The Trip to Spain
Logan Lucky
American Made
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Blade Runner 2049
Thor: Ragnarok
Justice League
Star Wars Ep. VIII: The Last Jedi
Score: A Film Music Documentary
Batman & Bill
The Hippopotamus
Goon: Last of the Enforcers
Beauty and the Beast
Becoming Bond
Fist Fight

My Top 10 Movies of 2013

January 5, 2014

10. Pain & Gain – R

This was WAY better than I expected.  It was quite funny and entertaining.

09. Star Trek Into Darkness – PG-13

The more I think about it the more certain aspects of the movie irritate me, but I have seen it three times and still think it’s entertaining.  Not as good as the first, but rock solid.

08. Iron Man 3 – PG-13

A solid franchise for sure.

07. Kick-Ass 2 – R

Again, not as solid as the first one but still quite good.

06. This is the End – R

If you like Franco, Rogen, and the rest of the Appatowan gang then you should be happy.

05. The Brass Teapot – R

I love me some Juno Temple.

04. Prisoners – R

I was watching this while compiling my list. Wow.  It certainly got my attention. It starts out somewhat lethargically but I think it’s worth it.

03. Sound City – NR

An awesome documentary about a legendary studio and sound board.  Quite good.

02. Warm Bodies – PG 13

Another fresh take on zombies.

01. Mental – NR

The Sound of Music Aussie style.  Funny stuff.

My Top 10 Least Favorite Movies of 2013

January 5, 2014

10. The Place Beyond the Pines – R

I wanted to like this one. It had an excellent cast, but ultimately I was disappointed. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it.

09. Computer Chess – NR

I guess the filmmakers were just too smart for me.

08. Identity Thief – R

Completely generic, and a waste of good talent.

07.  Bullet to the Head – R

Hard to find anything good about the film.

06. Movie 43 – R

Hardly a movie. Just a compilation of shorts. Some of them were pretty funny, but it mostly fell flat.

05. A Good Day to Die Hard – R

By far the worst in the franchise. I hope the next one doesn’t suck so much.

04. Fright Night 2: New Blood – R

I didn’t expect much.  I wasn’t disappointed.

03. The Internship – PG 13

The trailers didn’t look promising, and the movie was just a giant commercial for Google.

02. Grown Ups 2 – PG 13

I hated the first one. Thought it was one of the worst comedies I have ever seen. They somehow made this one worse.  Good job.

01. Welcome to the Punch – R

I stopped watching it about twenty minutes in.  Leave the Guy Ritchie films to Guy Ritchie.

The movies of 2013 that I have seen

January 5, 2014

Fright Night 2: New Blood
I Am Bruce Lee
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Movie 43
Sound City
Bullet to the Head
Warm Bodies
Identity Thief
A Good Day to Die Hard
Oz the Great and Powerful
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Olympus Has Fallen
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Welcome to the Punch
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Brass Teapot
Sexy Evil Genius
Pain & Gain
Iron Man 3
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Hangover 3
Fast and Furious 6
Now You See Me
Superman: Unbound
The Internship
This is the End
Man of Steel
World War Z
The Heat
White House Down
Grown Ups 2
Pacific Rim
Computer Chess
The Wolverine
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
2 Guns
Cockneys vs. Zombies
We’re the Millers
Kick-Ass 2
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
The World’s End
Metallica Through the Never
Zero Charisma
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I intend to see the following films:

Despicable Me 2
Monsters University
Insidious Chapter 2
As I Lay Dying
Machete Kills
Ender’s Game
Thor: The Dark World
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Anchorman: The Legend Continues

2012 in review

January 31, 2013

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Top 10 Movies of 2012

January 31, 2013

10. Some Guy Who Kills People – R

I saw a lot of low-budget films this year that could have easily been included on this top ten list. I probably like this one more than the next film on the list, but the premise of that one is just too perfect.

09. God Bless America – R

A guy gets fed up, and goes cross-country eliminating people he deems to be a pox on society. I was sold within the first five minutes. Well, truth be told, I was sold on the premise alone, but Bobcat Goldthwait delivers.

08. Goon – R

Hockey movie about an enforcer.  I loved it.  I wish I could have ranked it higher.

07. Bernie – PG-13

Jack Black is underrated.  This quasi-documentary about a real murder is quite entertaining.

06. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – R

I really enjoyed this one, and it reminded me how much I like Keira Knightley.

05. Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet – NR

It’s like watching a documentary on Mozart, but with actual video of Mozart.  I’ve been a fan of Becker for many years, and was looking forward to watching his tragic, inspiring, and humbling story in movie form.

04. Skyfall – PG-13

Best Bond movie ever?  I don’t know, but I guess I can’t think of one that is better.  Bardem is definitely the best Bond Villain ever. The only thing I can think of that would have made it better is if Sean Connery had been the groundskeeper.

03. The Dark Knight Rises – PG-13

I didn’t see how they could make a film anywhere close to The Dark Knight, but Nolan did so while also bringing his three Batman films to an awesome conclusion.

02. The Avengers – PG-13

This was actually an awesome year for movies.  It was hard narrowing down to 10 films let alone the order.  Joss Whedon made the quintessential super hero team movie here.

01. Moonrise Kingdom – PG-13

I still think I give the edge to The Royal Tenenbaums for being my favorite Wes Anderson film, but Moonrise is probably actually a better film. It’s everything you’d expect from Anderson, and done to perfection.

My Top 10 Least Favorite Movies of 2012

January 31, 2013

10. Jeff, Who Lives at Home – R

This movie wasn’t completely trash, but it just didn’t do enough for me.  It had a solid cast, and that counts against it because I expected a bit more.

09. John Carter – PG-13

It’s an action movie with aliens.  That, the always awesome Mark Strong, and the smoking hot Lynn Collins is about all it had going for it.

08. The Expendables 2 – R

I really enjoyed the first one, but this one had way too many nudge-nudge moments of taking jabs at the cast’s previous roles.  One or two every ten minutes is fine, but there were like 10 in 1 minute.  The plot wasn’t nearly as good as the first one, and that is kind of sad.

07. The Five-Year Engagement – R

What is with Jason Segal and writing roles for himself where he ends up cheating on the woman he loves?  Hard to like that kind of character.

06. Ruby Sparks – R

I liked the concept, and the cast performed quite well.  The problem, like in the previous film on the list, is that the protagonist does something that is unforgivable.  Even more so than hypocritical infidelity.  So, screw him. I hope he dies unhappy and alone.

05. Snow White and the Huntsman – PG-13

Kristen Stewart might have been the best thing about the film.  Yeah, it’s that bad. I lie of course, because Charlize Theron was actually good.  She just didn’t have anything to work with.

04. Detention – R

I had low expectations, and even they were not met.

03. Red Tails – PG-13

I still think Lucas produced this to show that Episode II wasn’t actually that bad.  In that, he almost succeeded.

02. The Three Stooges – PG

As bad as I expected.

01. Wrath of the Titans – PG-13

I didn’t watch the first one.  So, maybe that would have helped?  I doubt it though.

The movies of 2012 that I have seen

January 31, 2013

Red Tails
The Woman in Black
Safe House
Act of Valor
John Carter
21 Jump Street
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
The Hunger Games
Mirror Mirror
The Cabin in the Woods
The Three Stooges
Jesus Henry Christ
The Five-Year Engagement
The Giant Mechanical Man
Marvel’s The Avengers
God Bless America
The Dictator
Men in Black 3
Moonrise Kingdom
Snow White and the Huntsman
Safety Not Guaranteed
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
The Amazing Spider-Man
Some Guy Who Kills People
Get the Gringo
The Dark Knight Rises
Ruby Sparks
The Watch
Total Recall
The Bourne Legacy
The Campaign
Premium Rush
The Revenant
The Inbetweeners
The Expendables 2
Trouble with the Curve
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet
Wrath of the Titans
The Grey
Cloud Atlas
The Words

I intend to see the following films:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Jack Reacher
Les Miserables
Mission to Lars