2016 Recap

“Wow big year. Well yes, big year personally, particularly with the move and all. But big year movie wise. New personal record. Drumroll please….

129 total movie screenings
minus 3 repeats equals 126 distinct movies
minus 4 specials equals 122 new movies seen.

That's two more than last year's record cumulative total of 127, and beats the previous year's distinct new movie record of 117. Years prior are irrelevant as they don't even come close. Let's not even think about calculating costs of tickets and concessions and transportation.

And because I'm a dork who keeps track of these things in a spreadsheet during the year, let's dig into the rest of the stats! Or maybe you just skip down to my fave and not so fave picks.

As far as scores, here's where we ended up
\m/ \n – 2
\m/ \m/ – 7
\m/ \m/ \n – 20
\m/ \m/ \m/ – 34
\m/ \m/ \m/ \n – 24
\m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ – 35
From the lack of lows we can deduce one of the following conclusions. Either:
-Movies are getting better
-I'm getting better about not forcing myself to see movies I know I won't like
-I still can't bring myself to give a bad movie a bad score
I think we all know it's a combination of 2 and 3.

Location, location, location! 22 theaters across 5 states!
By city it's Boston-75, LA-44, Laredo-6, Chicago-2, NYC-2.
By theater we've got AMC Boston Common-57, The Landmark-11, Cinemark Howard Hughes-9, AMC Marina Dine in-5, AMC Marina Marketplace-5, Apple Cinemas-5, Kendall Square Cinema-5, AMC Santa Monica-4, Arclight Culver-4, AMC Assembly Row-4, Alamo Drafthouse Laredo-4, AMC Century City-2, AMC Chicago-2, AMC NYC-2, Arclight Santa monica-2, Laredo Cinemark Mall-2, The Brattle-1, Chinese Theatres-1, Cinemark Playa Vista-1, Coolige Corner-1, Somerville Theater-1, Jordans IMAX Reading-1.

And here's the whole dang list of movies
The Big Short, Joy, Carol, The Revenant, Star Wars: The Force Awakes, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, The Forest, Dirty Grandpa, 45 Years, The Tribe, The Finest Hours, Kung Fu Panda 3, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Hail Caesar, Zoolander 2, How to Be Single, Deadpool, The Witch, Risen, Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2, Triple 9, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Eddie the Eagle, The Brothers Grimsby, Zootopia, The Bronze, Allegiant, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Eye in the Sky, Midnight Special, Demolition, Everybody Wants Some, The Boss, The Jungle Book, Harddcore Henry, Green Room, Elvis and Nixon, The Huntsman: Winter's War, Keanu, Captain America: Civil War, Money Monster, The Nice Guys, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Lobster, X-Men: Apocalypse, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Angry Birds Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Now You See Me 2, Warcraft, Finding Dory, Central Intelligence, Tickled, One Man, Two Guv'nors, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year, Swiss Army Man, The Purge: Election Year, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, The Secret Life of Pets, Ghostbusters, The Infiltrator, The BFG, The Shallows, Star Trek Beyond, Lights Out, Bad Moms, Nerve, Jason Bourne, Suicide Squad, Sausage Party, Hell or High water, Florence Foster Jenkins, Ben Hur, War Dogs, Pete's Dragon, Equity, Mechanic: Resurrection, Southside with You, Don't Breathe, The Hollars, The Light Between Oceans, Sully, Labyrinth, Snowden, The Magnificent Seven, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Deepwater Horizon, The Girl on the Train, Birth of a Nation, Desierto, The Accountant, American Pastoral, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Keeping Up with the Joneses, Inferno, Doctor Strange, Trolls, Hacksaw Ridge, Loving, Arrival, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Moonlight, Edge of Seventeen, Manchester By the Sea, Nocturnal Animals, Bleed for This, Allied, Lion, Moana, Bad Santa 2, Jackie, Miss Sloane, La La Land,Office Christmas Party, Rogue One, Fences, Elf, PassengersSing, Collateral Beauty, Why Him, Assassin's Creed, Patriot's Day, Silence.

Now the fun part. As of this exact moment, here’s my top 10 of the year.
1->The Lobster – This is one of the most unique films I have ever seen. This year was good about sprinkling in this quirky indies amidst all the rehashes. The absurd tone and weird humor are unlike anything else, and most impressive is how it’s consistently maintained throughout. I almost wish there were more movies like this, but then it wouldn’t be special.
2-Manchester By the Sea – As I said when I wrote it up, one of the best screenplays in recent memory. Very real and emotional with the right amount of humor and a top notch cast. I’m really psyched to see how far it goes during awards season. I’m slowly starting to come over to Team Manchester instead of Team La La.
3-Hell or High Water – Such a simple, but compelling and relevant movie. This is one that really stuck with me for a long time after. I was excited to rewatch it when the DVD arrived, and it was just as good.
4-Patriot’s Day – We were very close to a last minute upset. Immediately after watching this, I wanted to jump it to the top of my list. I reconsidered after coming down from the movie high. Yes, I do grade on enjoyability more than quality (hence me saying they’re my faves and not the best) but even then I realized it had an unfair advantage and the other three were more deserving.
5-Eye in the Sky – On the surface, it didn’t sound like anything too exciting, but it was one of the most surprising and suspenseful and affecting films I saw all year. Plus an incredible cast. Not too many people heard of this, but it bests most summer blockbusters.
6-Hail, Caesar – The Coens can be so hit or miss, but there was no question Hail Caesar was a hit. Original and funny and just weird enough Would that it twere so simple.
7-Captain America: Civil War Just when I was complaining about how hackneyed the superhero movie genre was becoming, we get a breath of fresh air. This is the way to do a big movie that still hits on all the expected elements while bringing in something new and fresh.
8-Sausage Party – A common thread on this list? Originality. And what’s more original than animated grocery food with crude humor and foul language seeking to escape the human oppressors who will eat them. Hilarity (and mental scarring) ensues.
9-Ghostbusters – I don’t care what the critics and public at large had to say. As a woman in tech, this movie was everything. It appropriately paid homage to the original and was pretty dang funny.
10-Swiss Army Man – So maybe this one is actually the most original on the list. It should never have worked, but it did and it was beautiful. Side note: Daniel Radcliffe has said that of all his filmography this far, this is the one he is proudest of. As he should be.
Honorable Mentions (not in order): The Hollars, Doctor Strange, Snowden, Tickled, The Purge: Election Year

But for everything that is good, there is something that is bad. Sometimes really bad. Which brings us to:
1-Dirty Grandpa – Not even Zac Efron’s abs could save this. It was boring and unfunny and kinda made me uncomfortable at times. Just say no.
2-Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – Nope, nope, nope nope, nope. DC took all the wrong lessons from Marvel’s success (yet again) and put together an unfocused and dull movie that was frankly kinda dumb at times. Try again next time. Or better yet, don’t.
3-The Legend of Tarzan – All I remember about this movie is that I fell asleep. Not even Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd’s abs could save this
4-The BFG – It wasn’t bad, just boring. Once we got past the wonder of the set up, I really didn’t care anymore.
5-Assassin’s Creed – Didn’t really expect to see this on the list, but the film really didn’t have any real redeeming qualities. Big misfire of a snoozefest.
Dishonorable Mentions (not in order): THe Forrest, The Brothers Grimsby, Collateral Beauty.

And that’s a wrap on 2016. Here’s to more movies in 2017! Maybe some will even be good!!”

2015 Recap

“Well, there goes another year. And for me, that means there goes a whole lotta movies. Like a lot! Record breaking year yet again with a total of 127 hours, err I mean times that I sat in front of a movie at the theater. Usual disclaimer that I measure the year by date I saw the movie, not release date. So, for example, American Sniper technically released in 2014, I saw it in Jan. Likewise Joy released in 2015, but I also saw it this Jan.

First the list (in the order viewed), then the breakdown. Here’s hoping my Excel skills didn’t fail me in putting this together:

The Interview, Birdman, The Penguins of Madagascar, Taken 3, Selma, Inherent vice, The Wedding Ringer, American sniper, A Most Violent year, Blackhat, Paddington, Cake, Still Alice, Two Days One Night, Black Sea, Project Almanac, Mr Turner, Jupiter Ascending, Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water, Fifty Shades of Grey, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Imitation Game, Boyhood, The Theory of Everything, Birdman, Selma, American sniper, The Imitation Game, Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Focus, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Chappie, Unfinished Business, Cinderella, Insurgent, Get Hard, It Follows, Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter, Home, Furious Seven, While We’re Young, Woman in Gold, True Story, Ex Machina, Unfriended, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hot Pursuit, The D Train, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland, Poltergeist, San Andreas, Spy, Entourage, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Terminator Genisys, Minions, Self/Less, Ant Man, Infinitely Polar Bear, Trainwreck, Southpaw, Pixels, Tangerine, Paper Towns, Vacation, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Stanford Prison Experiment, Ricki and the Flash, The Gift, Fantastic Four, Shaun the Sheep Movie, The End of the Tour, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., American Ultra, Repo: The Genetic Opera, We Are Your Friends, No Escape, The Transporter: Refueled, Hitman Agent 47, The Visit, Sleeping With Other People, Doctor Who, Black Mass, The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Everest, The Green Inferno, The Martian, The Walk, 99 Homes, Sicario, The Intern, The Martian, Pan, Steve Jobs, Bridge of Spies, Crimson Peak, The Last Witch Hunter, Room, Burnt, Our Brand is Crisis, Spectre, Suffragette, Spotlight, Brooklyn, The 33, The Secret In Their Eyes, The Night Before, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Trumbo, Creed, Legend, Victor Frankenstein, The Good Dinosaur, Krampus, The Danish Girl, In the Heart of the Sea, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sisters, Concussion, The Hateful Eight

Dang. Okay, here are things by the numbers!
127 times movies were seen, minus 11 repeats, means 116 distinct movies seen, minus 2 special screenings, means 114 distinct new movies seen. So while my overall total is higher than last year, I had more distinct new movies in 2014. The repeats and the dates (getting to that) are both gonna have some more inflated numbers than usual from the best picture marathon in February. That added 8 repeats on a single day.

Breakdowns by ratings:
\m/ \n 7
\m/ \m/ 7
\m/ \m/ \n 10
\m/ \m/ \m/ 36
\m/ \m/ \m/ \n 22
\m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ 32
Repeats 11 – Oscar marathon plus Birdman (again besides the marathon), The Martian, and Magic Mike XXL
special 2 – Repo: The Genetic Opera (with shadow cast) and a Dr Who thing (two episodes is movie length, so I’m counting it)

Not quite the bell curve I keep expecting to see, but a heavily positive year. On the one hand, I did try to be a little more selective about skipping ones I knew would be bad. On the other, I love film too much to give too much negative criticism. I always find some redeeming qualities, hence higher skewed scores.

Now, where did I see these things:
81 at AMC Loews Boston Common, 9 at AMC Assembly Row (including the 8 for the marathon), 7 at Landmark Kendal Square, 7 at Somerville Theater Davis Square, 5 at Apple Cinemas Alewife, 4 at Regal Fenway, 3 at AMC in Chicago, 2 at Alamo Drafthouse Laredo, 2 at Jordan’s Imax Redding, 1 each at AMC City Walk Orlando, NYC Regal Times Square, NYC AMC Lincoln Center, Regal LA, Chinese Theaters LA, Jordans IMAX Natick, Music Box Chicago.
So by location, that’s 4 in Chicago, 2 each in NYC, Laredo, and LA, and 1 in Orlando. The rest were Boston area. It’ll be interesting to see these numbers spread out this year as I head to the west coast.

When did I see things? 16 in January, 15 in February, 8 in March, 7 in April, 8 in May, 6 in June, 9 in July, 13 in August, 9 in September, 14 in October, 13 in November, 7 in December.
June seems crazy low to me, but I do remember it being a slow going summer blockbuster season. Only one big release or so a week that was worthwhile.

Let’s look at the rankings, keeping in mind that done a day sooner or later I may have completely switched around the numbers. This is a very in the moment opinion. Repeat viewings in the future may further alter rankings, though I won’t actually come back here and update them.

Top 10:
1-The Martian – I knew as soon as I saw it that this would be my favorite movie of the year, likely making it onto my top 100 next time I look at it. Such a perfect mix of drama, levity, and science with brilliant dialog and a perfect cast. It’s one of those movies that just feels like it was made specifically for me.
2-Spotlight – If The Martian was the perfect film for entertainment, Spotlight was the best film for quality. Films like this are why I obsess over awards season. Such a compelling story in a brilliantly crafted film with an unbeatable cast. Sheer perfection.
3-Mad Max: Fury Road – This movie was a dream for an action junkie like me. Incredible (practical!) stunts and effects, simple but moving story line, and one of the best representations of females in the genre, both for Imperator Furiosa and the multidimensional ensemble of ladies. But no really, those stunts were killer.
4-Furious 7 – The impossibly rare franchise that actually improves with each outing. The action stepped up in unimaginable ways, and the moving tribute to Paul Walker brought me to tears.
5-Room – Ever since I first read a summary of the novel on its initial release, I knew I had to know this story. Experiencing it on film was intense. Such a dark and unique story with such interesting shifts in perspective.
6-Creed – Rocky Balboa has always been the underdog with heart, and this movie reminds me why I fell in love with him in the first place. It does the impossible in honoring the original and setting up a fresh new chapter that feels organic, not forced.
7-Magic Mike XXL – The guilty pleasure entry on the list. It didn’t even make a full 4 when I first rated it, but it remains as the single most fun movie of the year. It knows that it’s cheesy, and it’s not afraid to embrace that wholeheartedly.
8-It Follows – It’s hard to be original with horror, but by flipping one of the most common tropes of the genre, it did just that. Plus, it was skillfully crafted, creating a truly terrifying experience that really does follow you.
9-The Stanford Prison Experiment – Didn’t expect to see this on the list, but the truth is that no other film this year has stayed in my head the way that this has. I know I often describe movies as intense experiences, but this one is unsettling and has the potential to change your perspective in a major way.
10-The Gift – Probably the most surprising film of the year. On the surface it didn’t look like much, but it created such a visceral reaction in me that I’ve only felt from a handful of movies before.

Honorable Mentions in no particular order: The Hateful Eight, American Sniper, Inside Out, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

But in order to call some things the best, you also identify the worst. These are those:
1-The D Train – Sloppy and insensitive, I’m surprised I didn’t rate it lower. Not even two leading men who I typically adore could rescue this trainwreck.
2-Unfinished Business – The movie that will forever remain in infamy as the one so dull and boring, my fitness tracker thought I slept thru it all. Vince Vaughn needs to find some new shtick and not take down any more good actors with him.
3-Tomorrowland – A total snooze. It’s like they only thought as far as the setting and forgot that you also need a plot.
4-Vacation – Dumb and completely unfunny. While I like the way it tied in to the original Griswald family road trip, it was completely wasted potential.
5-Get Hard – Speaking of wasted potential, what should have been an epic comedic pairing felt like it was barely trying. Plus it was kinda offensive.
Dishonorable Mentions: Pan, Mr Turner, Hitman: Agent 47

And a new category I’m creating this year, Most Mediocre! I just felt like there were so many movies this year that were neither bad nor good, and un-memorably so. At least a bad film gives you viable discussion points, but a mid-level one can’t even sustain a sentence of conversation. You might as well have never wasted your time. Here are the inaugural (non)winners
1-Burnt – Decent premise, good cast, yet utterly forgettable. Hardly anyone saw it, and few probably even know it happened. Very much the poster child for why this category now exists.
2-True Story – If two known comedians who have successfully dabbled in drama decide to go dramatic together, but nobody sees it, did it really happen? I was excited to see Jonah Hill and James Franco team up for a drama, but I don’t remember a single thing about it other than “”meh””
3-We Are Your Friends – Okay so Zac Efron is pretty, but why else is this movie a thing? Did any of the two people who saw it not completely predict every turn?
4-The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – Seriously, nothing at all happened. All of the mystery and questions raised in the first film didn’t go anywhere.
5-Focus – Cool cast, decent premise, went nowhere interesting. You’ve prolly forgotten all about this by now, huh?

Semi-honorable mentions: Krampus, In the Heart of the Sea, Ted 2, Victor Frankenstein

And there we have it, the year of wasted potential. Or maybe I’m just in a cynical mood because I ended the post with the negatives. There were some pretty great movies, but even Oscar is having trouble finding worthy contenders, and there are no clear frontrunners anywhere. Guess we’ll just hafta wait and see what 2016 has in store for us!”

2014 Recap

“Another year, another boatload of movies. I completely blew last year’s numbers out of the water. I don’t know if that’s cause for celebration or reevaluating my priorities in life, possibly with some therapy. I thought about just posting my entire spreadsheet on here, because yes, every time I see a movie at the theaters, I log it in Excel with the date, rating, theater, and link to the post. But no one cares about that other than me, so I’ll just post the full (linked) list and share some stats before going into my tops and not so tops for the year. Keep in mind, I track the year based on when I see it, not release date. Drumroll please (preferably one that sounds like it came from Birdman)…

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, August: Osage County, Lone Survivor, That Awkward Moment, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, I, Frankenstein, Labor Day, The Lego Movie, Monumens Men, Three Days to Kill, Robocop, Non Stop, 300: Rise of an Empire, Veronica Mars, Grand Budapest Hotel, Need for Speed, Divergent, Muppets Most Wanted, Bad Words, Noah, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dom Hemingway, Draft Day, Make Your Move, Transcendence, The Raid 2, Brick Mansions, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Neighbors, Locke, Only Lovers Left Alive, Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Million Dollar Arm, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Maleficent, Fault in Our Stars, Edge of Tomorrow, Obvious Child, The Signal, 22 Jump Street, How to Train your Dragon 2, Jersey Boys, The Rover, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Begin Again, Tammy, Snowpiercer, Begin Again, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Sex Tape, Wish I was Here, The Purge: Anarchy, I Origins, Hercules, Lucy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Get on Up, Magic in the Moonlight, A Most Wanted Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, What If, Calvary, The Hundred Foot Journey, Expendables 3, The Giver, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, If I Stay , Frank, As Above So Below, The November man, Ghostbusters, The Congress, Let’s Be Cops, Love is Strange, The Maze runner, The Drop, This Is Where I Leave You, Tusk, The Skeleton Twins, A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, The Boxtrolls, The Equalizer, Gone Girl, Men, Women, & Children, Left Behind, Pride, The Judge, Laggies, The Princess Bride, Fury, The Book of Life, Kill the Messenger, Birdman, Whiplash, St Vincent, John Wick, Dumb and Dumber To, Nightcrawler, Horns, Interstellar, Big Hero 6, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Theory of Everything, Rosewater, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Foxcatcher, Horrible Bosses 2, The Gambler, The Babadook, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Wild, The Imitation Game, The Hobbit:Battle of the Five Armies, Annie, Top Five, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Into the Woods, Unbroken, Big Eyes,

So that totals up to 122, minus 2 repeats, means 120 distinct movies, minus 3 re-releases or special screenings, equals 117 distinct new movies. Damn. I think last year’s full total was only 101. I know I did better the year before, but not this much better.

Some interesting (to me at least) stats:
Breakdown by month: Jan 6, Feb 5, Mar 9, Apr 7, May 9, Jun 9, Jul 12, Aug 16, Sep 12, Oct 15, Nov 10, Dec 12.
Kinda surprising that August was the peak, considering it’s usually a graveyard. But I think Guardians changed that notion for the future. Also a bit of a slow start. I don’t think it’s so much that I stepped up my game as it is that Hollywood stepped up theirs.

Theater breakdown is: Loews Boston Common 85, Kendall Square Landmark theater 10, The Brattle 7, Regal Fenway 4, Apple Cinemas 3, Somerville Theater 3, Jordans IMAX Reading 2, AMC Assembly Row 1, Chicago AMC 1, Coolidge Corner 1, Chinese Theaters LA 1, The Landmark LA 1, Hollywood Hits Laredo 1, Cinemark Laredo 1, AMC Times Square 1.
So that’s 15 different theaters across 5 different states. I think the Common was so large because it’s easy to double and because I had a streak going there on Foursquare (or Swarm) that I didn’t wanna break. Sadly, it ended over Christmas, but I think I was up to something like 30+ weeks in a row. I suspect Somerville Theater might pick up again this year, if I get back into my after work on Fri habit. Also wouldn’t mind finding excuses to hit up the new Assembly Row theater more. That one was swanky, just annoying to get to.

Ratings breakdown, by number of rock hands is: 1 – 4, 1.5 – 6, 2 – 12, 2.5 – 17, 3 – 21, 3.5 – 24, 4 – 33, special 3, Repeat 2.
While the scientist in me would expect a more evenly distributed bell curve, there’s a few possible explanations why it trended so heavily upwards
-Hollywood just did better. I know I had a harder time picking my top 10 from an embarassment of riches this year, rather than last year only really finding 10 on the first pass. Last year only one made it to my top 100, but there’s a couple contender’s this year.
-I was better at picking movies. I allowed myself to skip ones I knew would be duds. Eh, maybe not. I still saw a lot of crap.
-I’m just a pushover when it comes to rating movies low. This is actually kinda true, and every so often, I resolve to be a bit harsher and give out more 1’s and 2’s and then I don’t. Even if I’m hating something, I can usually find some merits somewhere, and it does break my heart to have to call something bad. Unless you’re I Frankenstein or Let’s Be Cops, but we’ll get there.

And now the highs and lows.

The wall of fame
1-Birdman – I loved everything about this movie: the cast, the absurdity, the story, the setting, the cinematography, the direction, the humor, the darkness. It couldn’t have been any closer to perfection.
2-Gone Girl – It was a toss up for a while because this is so ridiculously dark it’s delicious. Fincher masterfully directed an adaptation of a book I adore and made it everything I could possibly want to see on screen and more.
3-The Lego Movie – Everything is awesome! Sorry, had to, but it’s true. Everything about this movie is quite awesome, and it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.
4-Edge of Tomorrow – Or is it Live. Die. Repeat. Or All You Need is Kill. How about, that Tom Cruise scifi one from this year, that you thought would be like the one from last year, but was actually really good. It’s one of the most genius screenplays I’ve encountered, given the tricky set ups and just the right amount of comedy.
5-Begin Again – This is kinda guilty pleasure-y, but I fell in love with this movie and its music. Mostly the music. The film hit me right when I needed something like it, and I haven’t been able to shake it since.
6-Pride – I was rewatching this today, and it still made me so happy. Such an inspiring and encouraging story, with charismatic characters that I want to hang with and/or emulate. Everybody needs to see this. Everybody.
7-Whiplash – I still feel shaken up thinking about this one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie more intense, and to think it all takes place in music rooms in a drama, not the battlefields of an action film.
8-Into the Woods – The nostalgic feels are getting to me, but I can’t get over the spot on casting. This could have been an utter trainwreck, but instead it was the rare adapted musical done right. I was prepared to hate it, but ended up loving it.
9-Guardians of the Galaxy – Just when the comic book hero genre is starting to feel played out, we get some new life breathed into it. And it gets better and better on repeat viewings.
10-The Theory of Everything/Imitation Game – Let’s be real, they were kinda the same movie, and kinda not, but kinda awesome either way. The nerds are having their day in the sun and it’s glorious.
11-22 Jump Street – Cheating and squeezing these boys in because I can’t not. Schmidt and Jenko are a part of me, and they showed us how sequels are done!
Honorable mentions (no special order): Nightcrawler, Neighbors, Draft Day, The Babadook

The Hall of Shame
1-Let’s Be Cops – Not only did I not found it funny, I was very uncomfortable watching it. I felt like it was much too disrespectful to police officers, and didn’t have the payoff to justify it.
2-Tusk – Oh Kevin Smith, why? I loved you. I do love you. Just not when you’re blatantly high when you make a movie. Of all I’ve given you, I will never get those two hours back.
3-I, Frankenstein – Were they even trying? Or were they trying to be bad? IDK. It was a hot mess of cliche. Poor Aaron Eckhart, who did you wrong that you were dealt such punishment?
4-The Rover – This one is a bit of a critical darling (as are a couple of my dishonorable mentions) but I just didn’t get it. I was bored. Didn’t really care. Couldn’t get into the slow burn pace. At least RPattz is pretty.
5-The Signal – Also, kinda dull. Started off with so much potential and then wasn’t sure where to go, so it tried to go too many places at once. Fail. *tear*
Dishonorable Mentions (no special order) (most of these weren’t necessarily bad, just boring): A Most Wanted Man, Only Lovers Left Alive, Noah (okay that was bad), Three Days to Kill, Transformers: Age of Extinction

And that’s a wrap folks. On to 2015! See ya at the movies! Or something.”

2013 Recap

“Writing these types of posts is what the commercial breaks of the Golden Globes are for. Who knows, maybe I’ll throw in some show commentary. But it is kind of fitting that I reflect on the past year in entertainment at the same time that those films and entertainers are being honored. With the help of the handy dandy spreadsheet I was good at keeping up this year, let’s look at the numbers:

101 trips to the movies
minus 2 repeats
equals 99 distinct new movies
11 different theaters
across 4 states
63 (!) films at Loews Boston Common
11 at Somerville Theatre
10 at Kendal Square
5 at the Regal Fenway
3 at Apple Cinemas
3 at Jordan’s Furniture IMAX in Reading
2 at Showcase North Attleboro
1 triumphant return to Coolige Corner
1 at LA’s El Capitan Theater
1 in Lincoln RI
29 films rated \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
18 rated \m/ \m/ \m/ \n
21 rated \m/ \m/ \m/
17 rated \m/ \m/ \n
10 rated \m/ \m/
3 rated \m/ \n
1 rated \m/
12 in January
6 in February
9 in March
3 in April
10 in May
11 in June
9 in July
8 in August
4 in September
6 in October
13 in November
10 in December
I did not keep track of how many gallons of Vitamin Water Zero I must have consumed

For some quick reflections. Not as many films as last year. And while I hit my initial 100 goal, when you leave out the repeats (only Monsters University and Stark Trek Into Darkness this year), it technically wasn’t 100 movies. I was dir staffing two shows this year, so that cut into my movie watching (and you can guess which months those shows went up). I’m also always switching up my routine, and lately I’ve been more about weekend films and not filling in during the week. I did try to be a bit less generous when rating some of the more subpar films. It always hurts me to give a movie a bad score, but I want my high marks to count for something too. There was a lot of good, but nothing really stand out. Well we’ll get into that. Oh and of course, the year is defined by watch date not release date. Here’s the full list first

The Guilt Trip, Zero Dark Thirty, Promised Land, The Impossible, Rust and Bone, Gangster Squad, The Last Stand, Broken City, Amour, Movie 43, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Parker, Warm Bodies, Stand Up Guys, Identity Thief, A Good Day to Die Hard, Side Effects, Beautiful Creatures, The Last Exorcism Part II, Jack the Giant Slayer, Stoker, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Spring Breakers, Admission, GI Joe Retalliation, The Croods, Evil Dead, The Place Beyond the Pines, Trance, Pain & Gain, Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, Mud, Star Trek Into Darkness, Aftershock, Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, Now You See Me, After Earth, The Purge, The Internship, Man of Steel, This is the End, Much Ado About Nothing, World War Z, The Bling Ring, Monsters University, White House Down, The Heat, Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger, The Way Way Back, Pacific Rim, R.I.P.D., RED 2, The To Do List, Fruitvale Station, The Wolverine , Elysium, 2 Guns, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, jOBS, We’re the Millers, Kick Ass @, The World’s End, Rush, Prisoners, Riddick, Don Jon, Gravity, Runner Runner, Machete Kills, Escape from Tomorrow, Captain Phillips, Carrie, The Counselor, All is Lost, Kill Your Darlings, 12 Years a Slave, Ender’s Game , Bad Grandpa, Thor: The Dark World, Dallas Buyers Club, Blue is the Warmest Color, Oldboy, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Frozen, Homefront, Philomena, Nebraska, American Hustle, Out of the Furnace, Saving Mr Banks, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Wolf of Wall Street, Her,

Now for the best. So usually I rank my top ten, but I found that kinda tough to do. I made a first pass at marking faves and ended up with exactly 10, and then couldn’t really rank them. Don’t even get me started on how ambivalent I still am towards picking my Oscar faves, but I’m still got time for that. I guess this year we’re just listing them in alpha order.

American Hustle – I’m actually hoping for this one to pick up some more steam going into awards season, because it was some of the most fun I had at the movies this past year. The fact that that fun was had at a film with such dark undertones makes me even happier. And I still can’t get over the awesome that is J-Law

Dallas Buyers Club – When I was trying to figure out rankings, I actually considered giving this one the top spot. I remember walking out of there just needing to share the experience. It was such an affecting film, with such an unexpected impact. And I expect to see the face of the most beautiful man on earth, Jared Leto, on many award stages this year because he absolutely deserves it.

Elysium – My list wouldn’t be complete without a good sci fi. I love that Blompkamp is able to take such a shiny futuristic movie and lace it with weighty subtext. That seems to be his MO, and it is not a bad one to have.

Fast & Furious 6 – The fast franchise continues to defy all logic by being the one anomaly that actually gets better with each installment. I continually get more invested in each of the characters, and am more and more amazed as the stunts get flashier. They’re rooted in adrenaline and fun, and I can’t get enough.

Gravity – Okay maybe there’s room for two scifi movies, although this one transcends the genre. You hear films described as breathtaking, but I don’t think I’ve ever used that to also mean that I didn’t breathe during the whole thing. This film is just amazing in so many ways.

Much Ado About Nothing – Oh c’mon, did you actually expect me to leave off Joss Whedon’s offering from the year? Please.

Oldboy – Reception for this movie was rather mixed, but all I know is that it easily gave me the most visceral reaction all year, maybe ever. I like my movies messed up, and few mainstream (ish) films have the balls to go where this one went.

Side Effects – Another necessary entry on my list: the psychological thriller. This was probably my favorite movie released before summer. The twists and turns give you whiplash and make your skin crawl.

The Wolf of Wall Street – Really saving the best for last and worth the wait. Like Hustle, the perfect Dawn-approved mix of dark and comic and just wtf.

This is the End – While I will enjoy many straight up comedies, it takes something special for me to enjoy it enough to make this list. I enjoy each of those actors invidually, and with their forces combined they put together more wonderfully offensive humor than I could dream of.

But not all films are winners. That brings us to (also just in alpha order)

After Earth – OMG so boring. A whole lotta nothing happened, and Will Smith opted for a robotic interperation letting his son take the spotlight. But sadly Jaden didn’t pick up that Smith charm that could have saved this movie.

Broken City – I just remember two things about this movie. It didn’t go anywhere, and Catherine Zeta-Jones overacted. Thank God Mark Wahlberg had other, better movies this year.

Good Day to Die Hard – Why why why would you do this to a franchise. None of the classic elements that make these films so great were there. Instead we just had a poorly thrown together unimaginitive action movie. Broke my heart.

Man of Steel – But Superman broke my heart even more. A rehashed origin story we all know, that was formulated to emulate certain other successful superhero movies and failed miserably. None of what makes Superman super was there.

Stand Up Guys – This film did have the unfortunate disadvantage of being one of the first clunkers of the year, right after I’d resolved to not be afraid to give bad ratings. I just found it boring beyond all reason. But at least it didn’t devastate me like some of those other heartbreakers.

And that’s a wrap! Here’s to even more in 2014″

2012 Recap

“After taking a good long while to put together last year’s recap, I realized it’d be much easier to maintain an excel sheet throughout the year with all of the pertinent info. Wow, so much easier to get all of my stats together. Here are the numbers:
-119 total movies seen in theaters
-6 Repeats, which leaves 113 distinct movies
-8 previously released, which leaves 105 distinct new movies
-35 rated \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
-20 rated \m/ \m/ \m/ \n
-29 rated \m/ \m/ \m/
-9 rated \m/ \m/ \n
-11 rated \m/ \m/
-1 rated \m/ \n
-0 rated less than \m/ \n
-10 in Jan, 7 in Feb, 9 in Mar, 5 in Apr, 14 in May, 10 in Jun, 4 in Jul, 14 in Aug, 17 in Sep, 9 in Oct, 13 in Nov, 7 in Dec
-14 theaters across 5 states
-40 movies at AMC Loews Boston Common
-25 at AMC Harvard Square before it closed in July
-22 at Kendall Square Cinema
-10 at Somerville Theater
-9 at Regal Fenway
-3 at Jordans Imax (2 in Reading, 1 in Natick)
-4 in LA (3 at the Landmark, 1 at Grauman’s)
-3 in Laredo (1 at the Hollywood Stadium and 2 at the mall)
-1 each at the Brattle, in NYC, and in Providence
-countless hours, a plethora of movie buddies, and far more dollars than I’d care to think about. Not too much popcorn though

Dayum. So I was actually _really_ good and did do write ups for all of the new movies. One thing some of those stats tell me, either I’m really generous with my ratings or I’ve gotten better at avoiding duds. Little column A, little column B. Also, this was just a really good year for movies. There’s various theories running around as to why this was (that tends to be the consensus in the industry as well). Mine is that the way that the writer’s strike negatively impacted the past couple of years with all of the bad half assed movies meant that the screenwriters had all that time to perfect their next scripts. Maybe the timelines don’t work out to support this, but it’s as good a theory as any other. Anyways, here’s the full list:
A Dangerous Method, The Artist, Contraband, The Iron Lady, Carnage, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Haywire, Man on a Ledge, Albert Nobbs, The Woman in Black, Chronicle, Safe House, This Means War, Rampart, Gone, The Lorax, John Carter, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Friends With Kids, 21 Jump Street, The Hunger Games, The Cabin in the Woods, Mirror Mirror, The Raid: Redemption, Casa De Mi Padre, American Reunion, Jeff Who Lives at Home, Lockout, The Five Year Engagement, The Avengers, Safe, The Raven, Sound of my Voice, Dark Shadows, Crooked Arrows, The Dictator, Battleship, Men in Black III, Chernobyl Diaries, Bernie, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Moonrise Kingdom, Rock of Ages, Safety Not Guaranteed, Brave, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Magic Mike, Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man, Savages, The Dark Knight Rises, Ruby Sparks, The Watch, Killer Joe, 360, The Bourne Legacy, Hope Springs, The Campaign, Total Recall, The Expendables 2, The Imposter, Paranorman, Compliance, Premium Rush, Lawless, Hit and Run, Celeste and Jesse Forever, Bachelorette, End of Watch, The Master, Dredd, Arbitrage, Looper, Pitch Perfect, Hotel Transylvania, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Frankenweenie, V/H/S, Argo, Seven Psycopaths, Paranormal Activity 4, The Paperboy, Smashed, Cloud Atlas, Man with the Iron Fists, Wreck it Ralph, Flight, Skyfall, Lincoln, Anna Karenina, The Sessions, Red Dawn, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Hitchcock, Silver Linings Playbook, Rise of the Guardians, Life of Pi, Killing Them Softly, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, This is 40, Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Jack Reacher,

For the record, the repeats were Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (repeat from last year), Cabin in the Woods, Avengers, Bourne Legacy, Dredd, and the Hobbit. Previously released were Beauty and the Beast, Rocky Horror Show (twice), Indiana Jones (4 movie marathon), and Hard Eight.

Oh also worth mentioning in case it wasn’t obvious, I count a movie towards the year in which I see it, not the year of its release. Hence, for example, The Artist counts towards this year while Zero Dark Thirty won’t count til 2013. That said, here’s how the top and bottom of the 105 stacked up. Keep in mind, as always, I grade on entertainment value and likeability. That doesn’t necessarily translate to quality, so don’t expect my list to match up with the Oscar nominees.

Expletive Dleted’s Top 10 for 2012
1-The Avengers – You can’t tell me you didn’t see that coming. The rare occurrence where overambition comes together perfectly. Each individual movie in the franchise has been fantastic, and instead of imploding when combined, it got even better. Thank you Joss Whedon.
2-Cabin in the Woods – Yeah I know. Joss again. Maybe I am playing favorites. This film is just such a brilliant satire/homage of this subgenre of horror that Hollywood should never have to visit it ever again. But we all know they will, and if we can have bits of Whedon’s dialogue in our head when they do, then the world is truly a better place.
3-21 Jump Street – For the past few months, I’ve been referring to this as my favorite movie of the year that didn’t involve Joss Whedon (swear, last time I’ll say his name in this post). What sounded like a stupid idea worked because it was aware it was a stupid idea, and they ran with it with a very tongue in cheek meta approach that was truly hilarious. Beyond that, it did have a lot of heart and some fun performances.
4-Wreck it Ralph – The only kiddie film to make my list this year, mostly because it played just as well to us “”big kids”” as it did to the little ones. I can’t remember ever smiling so wide throughout an entire movie. The nostalgic references hit me hard, the characters were cute, the dialogue clever. Very original and incredibly fun.
5-Les Miserables – The single most anticpated movie of the year for me. Yes, even moreso than Django Unchained or The Hobbit. It certainly didn’t disappoint. I’m not sold that it’s the horse I’ll choose to back in the Oscar race, but that’s a discussion for a later date.
6-Looper – It seems like every year there’s one great gritty subversive scifi slash psychological thriller. This year it was Looper. One of the best handled time travel stories I’ve ever seen, while extremely dark and thought provoking on many levels. I anxiously await the BluRay which should be on its way to me this week.
7-Pitch Perfect – I would never have guessed that this movie would end up on this list, much in the same way I never expected Mean Girls to make my all time favorites list. Then I saw it. Incredibly funny (much of which is due to Ms. Rebel Wilson) and some uh-may-zing musical arrangements. I imagine this will become a cult classic amongst my musical theatre friends once it circulates thru more of them.
8-Django Unchained – Tarantino has a very unfair advantage, much like someone else mentioned earlier whose name I swore I wouldn’t repeat again today. No matter what he produced, his film had a disproportionately high probability of ending up on this list. Time will tell how well Django does against the rest of his oeuvre, but it certainly appealed to this die hard fan.
9-Safety Not Guaranteed – This was the most unexpected movie of the year for me. I hadn’t thought too much of it, and only made an effort to go see it because I sought the air conditioned movie theater. I left there so happy. Thus we’ve fulfilled the quirky indie requirement for the list.
10-Rock of Ages – Guilty pleasure LIKE WHOA. Certainly not the best movie of the year by far, but one that’s perfect for me. If you have any shred of respect for Tom Cruise, you really should see this. I’m serious. It’s a bizarre but fun and underappreciated performance. Not to mention the incredibly rocking soundtrack.
Honorable Mentions – End of Watch, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Bourne Legacy, Argo, Perks of Being a Wallflower

And on the flip slide

Expletive Dleted’s Bottom 5 for 2012
1-The Paperboy – The only reason I dont absolutely regret those two hours seeing is is because I know that otherwise I would have still been curious and would end up watching it later. Possibly by buying the DVD. *shudder* Just awkward.
2-Rampart – I love Woody Harrelson, but this movie just ceased to have a point after the first hour. Even his great performance couldn’t save it.
3-360 – Oh joy. The pretentious everyone-is-connected indie that’s a total downer and makes you want to slit your wrists. Then judges you for it. I know, way harsh Tai.
4-Mirror Mirror – The costumes were pretty. Armie Hammer’s pretty. That’s about it.
5-Gone – I hadn’t quite realized how not good this was til I got home and realize there was absolutely no redeeming qualities to it. But it was a run ride while it lasted.
Dishonorable mentions – Snow White and the Huntsman, Albert Nobbs, Bachelorette

And there you have it. Here’s to another year of awesome!”