2021 Roundup

Only 8 months of movie going in a post-apocalyptic world, and I’ve still got very respectable numbers. Didn’t break 100, but came pretty dang close. Also lots of opportunities for special screenings as theaters were trying to fill up their slate amidst a slow release schedule. I took my time getting started, and did allow myself to not feel like I had to see everything. I do value my couch time after all, so I’m still trying to not force myself to see things because of some false sense of obligation. Also, it’s obvi much easier to do quick recap posts every few weeks instead of full posts after each movie. I’m finding that’s a better balance between me not wanting to let this blog go and not really wanting to invest tons of time. I hope you don’t object, my one reader, whoever you are.

The Numbers!
88 – Number of movies seen in theaters
17 – Special screenings
4 – Repeat movies
67 – Individual new release movies seen
1 – 4DX screening (F9)
1 – round trip for the hobbits to Mordor

10 – May
8 – June
11 – July
12 – August
9 – September
12 – October
11 – November
15 – December (7 during Xmas week in TX)

20 – AMC Marina Dine in
12 – AMC Century City
12 – AMC Marina Classic
5 – AMC The Grove
15 – Alamo Drafthouse DLTA
5 – Alamo Drafthouse Laredo
1 – Alamo Lower Manhattan
5 – Cinemark MDN Laredo
2 – Cinemark Playa Vista
1 – Cinemark Howard Hughes
1 – Cinemark Baldwin Hills
2 – New Beverly
1 – Aero
1 – The Landmark
1 – Landmark Westwood
1 – NYC Paris Theatre
1 – Regal Laredo

2 – NYC
11 – Laredo
75 – Los Angeles

\m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ – 16
\m/ \m/ \m/ \n – 17
\m/ \m/ \m/ – 21
\m/ \m/ \n – 8
\m/ \m/ – 2
\m/ \n – 2
\m/ – 1

The full list!
Wrath of Man
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Army of the Dead
Raya and the Last Dragon
Those Who Wish Me Dead
A Quiet Place Part II
They Live
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
In the Heights
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
The Sparks Brothers
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
The Forever Purge
F9 4DX
Black Widow
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Snake Eyes
The Green Knight
Eastern Promises
Austin Powers
The Suicide Squad
Jungle Cruise
Donnie Darko
Free Guy
Don’t Breathe 2
The Night House
The Protégé
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The Card Counter
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Dear Evan Hansen
The Room
School of Rock
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
The Many Saints of Newark
A Clockwork Orange
No Time to Die
The Addams Family
Halloween Kills
The Last Duel
The French Dispatch
Last Night in Soho
Tick Tick Boom
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
King Richard
House of Gucci
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Don’t Look Up
West Side Story
Red Rocket
Black Christmas
Silent Night, Deadly Night
Spider-man: No Way Home
Nightmare Alley
The Matrix: Resurrections
The King’s Man
West Side Story
Spider-man: No Way Home
Sing 2
American Underdog
The Tragedy of Macbeth

The ranks – The Best!
1 – Nobody – I’m still describing this movie the same way. If I were to make a film, this is what I’d want it to be. The mix of gritty action and dark humor is perfectly balanced. It was a very close call between this and #2, but this edges out bc it was my return movie when I was vaxxed and theaters opened, which made it all the sweeter.
2 – CODA – My heart feels full every time I think of this movie. So sweet and unique everything I want when I want wholesome. I’m living for the awards love this is getting bc it is absolutely very much deserved.
3 – Spider-man: No Way Home – The best super movies are the patient ones that build something over time (and multiple movies) and then bring it all together perfectly. It’s only surpassed by Endgame as the greatest example of that journey. Easily best theater experience of the year, and that’s saying something since I did get to see The Room again.
4 – Last Night in Soho – It’s all about the vibe for me. I love the way this looks and feels, forming the rare meld between auteur and mainstream.
5 – Free Guy – Another one that I can’t help but smile at the thought of. So imaginative and clearly made with love. Possibly the most fun movie on the list with no extra baggage. Bonus points for the Boston nostalgia.
6 – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
– If Spidey is how you do a team up, this is how you do an origin movie. It felt just tied into the MCU enough while still having room to create its own story. More importantly (and more impressive) it found ways to stand out from its numerous predecessors. AND it delivered some of the best fight sequences in the whole MCU. I will never be over the bus scene.
7 – Tick Tick Boom
– It seems like every other entry is about the feels, and this one really did hit. So thankful I got to see it in a theater, in NYC of all places, with the bestie. I woulda still loved it on Netflix, but it hit harder this way. And I still can’t get the music outta my head.
8 – Candyman – Now this is how you do horror. Scary and relevant on multiple levels. While I enjoyed Soho more, I’d say this is the better one at the genre. I think the short run time also helped bc it didn’t give you time to recover and be done with him. Instead Candyman stayed with you.
9 – In the Heights – One of the most perfect musical adaptations ever. I say that without having seen it on stage, but not seeing any of the usual pitfalls adaptations tend to have. It poured out into its space and was all about the spectacle plus a banging Latin soundtrack FTW
10 – Red Rocket – Simon Rex owned this movie and gave me every reason to love it. It’s one of those that I left simply saying “that was a good movie”
HM: The Many Saints of Newark

The ranks – The Worst!
5 – Peter Rabbit: The Runaway – Look, I went bc I had a newly active A-List with a desire to get outta the house and I love Domnall Gleeson. I slept thru half of the movie and for that reason do not regret my decision. But this was a lazy cash grab.
4 – Nightmare Alley – Yeah worse that Peter Rabbit, bc at least PR wasn’t pretentious. I just had no reason to care about Bradley Cooper and was bored. For the whole last 90 min.
3 – Wolf – I hate putting a unique indie like this on the list, but it felt like a wasted concept. Or a not fully thought thru concept. Either way, it went on too long with little advancing the plot
2 – Halloween Kills – This was a mess. No real tension bc you knew how every beat would play out, and kills too unsatisfying to justify the rest. Hopefully it’s just suffering from middle movie syndrome and Ends knocks it outta the park.
1 – Don’t Breathe 2 – I try to be diplomatic when I call out movies I didn’t like, and highlight that it’s my subjective opinion and try to find some merit in the filmmakers that tried hard. However, this is one movie I will shit all over. It truly was terrible. I didn’t know who I was supposta care about, so I didn’t care about anything. Poor planning (if there was any) and poor execution.

Not bad for the second season of the pandemic. Here’s to 2022.

2020 Recap, sort of

First, an explanation. I sorta abandoned the blog a couple months ago. I’m fine. I’m still here and watching movies. I was just finding it hard to write about them. I even stopped my daily Stardust posting and cut down to once a week or so, only if I felt I had something specific to say. Two main reasons I think I’ve been struggling to write. One, an overload of content I’m watching. Somewhere between 15-20 a week, gets hard to find unique things to say, esp as they all blur together. Second, if you’ve ever read thru my posts, you know I like to write about personal experience. But the majority of my experience this year was all the same, in lockdown inside, watching at home. No new adventures to speak of. It got old. I found anytime I wrote anything, blog post, social media status, friendly email, it always sounded bleak, even if I truly was feeling okay.

This blog has also been feeling like a chore of late, so I thought it was a good excuse to take a break. Once the theaters open back up, we’ll see how I feel about returning to my rule of writing up everything I see. There’s also the matter of my wonky eyesight that makes blogging difficult. We’ve figured out that more than just computer vision syndrome, I’m farsighted, but my eyes have worked overtime to adjust to hide it. The new strategy is full time progressive glasses, which sounds promising, but the adjustment period has been brutal. It’ll prolly still be a couple weeks until I see real results, and that’s if I don’t decide I need to go back in to get my script tweaked. Jury’s still out.

See what I mean about everything I write sounding bleak? Srsly, I’m okay, really.

Anyways, this is usually when I do this big crazy blog post writing up everything I saw in theaters in the previous year, doing every sort I can think of on my OCD Excel sheet to give stats no one cares about except me, and picking out my favorite and least favorite films. Obvi this year is different. I still have the crazy sheet, but it stops at row 31. March 14th, Burden at AMC Marina Classic. Yeah it’s a weird answer to “last movie I saw in a theater” because no one knows that one. Sometimes I lie and say Bloodshot at Alamo the night before. Fwiw, between March 5-14, there were only two days I didn’t see something in a theater, so at least I did try to go out with a bang without even knowing I was going out.

But on the upside, I did see A TON of movies at home, which is something I’m super grateful for. As stated in previous posts, I’ve been revisiting things collecting dust on my movie wall. And buying a bunch of new things too. And occassionally venturing into streaming, esp when I trialed HBO for a month this fall, and just bought another month for WW84. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep as meticulous track of these as I would theater movies. It was at least 4-5 weeks until I started taking pix of my watched piles, and I didn’t track anything digital at all. Oh and counting all those in the pile, plus the small pile since the last pic, I’ve got 616 movies. I’m sure I prolly cleared at least 750 all told.

Also, as a rule, I tried to avoid repeats. At the very least, I didn’t grab a DVD off the shelf twice. The few I did have were usually cause I rented something digitally, loved it, bought it, watched the physical copy. Or tried watching an older DVD that was degraded and skipped, so I bought and watched a replacement.

That said, I do have a bit of a twist I wanna do on my Top 10 of the year. But since there were slim pickings on new things, and I didn’t track old ones very well, they might not be very thought out. I’m sure there’s obvious things I’m missing, but I’m going with my instinctual response on these rather than obsessively combing thru my history. So the ten aren’t ranked, but they’re categorized. Not ranked within the categories either. And of course sneaking in some honorable mentions to cheat because I can’t ever stick to my numbers

Favorites of 2020 in a theater

  • The Invisible Man – Thriller is def my genre, and this one was straight up terrifying in a real world sort of way. No, not because of the invisibility, but because of the gaslighting and isolation and abuse. Powerful.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog – All signs pointed to this failing like all video game films tend to do, but it didn’t. It was so much fun, staying very true to the source, and full of hilarious moments and committed performances.
  • Onward – Kind of a toss up with my HM (which is more of a “me” movie) but you can’t beat the emotional impact of a Pixar movie. I cried through the whole thing, and did so on the rewatch too.
  • HM: Guns Akimbo

Favorite classic film theater experience

  • To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar – This really was three way tossup. Nosferatu was the best experience of the film itself. Wong Foo and Dracula both had to do with the magic of Alamo Drafthouse. Dracula was for my bday, and my last big social outing before the apocalypse, but most of the fun was over before we got to the auditorium. Wong Foo was more about the fun of the movie itself, cosplaying with my two nearest and dearest, and then followed up with the lip sync event downstairs. Prolly the single most fun event in a year with few.
  • HM: Nosferatu, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Favorites of 2020 at home

  • Bill and Ted Face the Music – If you’d asked me before yesterday, I might’ve said this was my favorite 2020 movie. It brought me so much joy at a time when it was hard to come by. Unfortunately, the magic didn’t carry thru on my rewatch yesterday, but it might have just been overhype on my part. Still, very much the movie this year needed.
  • Tenet – If you pressed me, I might pick this as my fave movie. It doesn’t quite feel like a fave, but I’ve been obsessed and can’t get it outta my head. It really warrants its own post, but who knows if I’ll write it. I love the vibe and the story, and its one of those that feels just this side of understanding. I got the full story on the first watch, but have been driving myself nuts on the second watch and later trying to understand the details of how it all works. I love that kinda stuff.
  • The King of Staten Island – Interestingly, a Judd Apatow film starring Pete Davidson doesn’t make my list for the humor as much as for the feels. This movie was pure heart and it makes me happy to think about. And yes, it is still funny. And just the right level of inappropriate.
  • HM: Da 5 Bloods

Favorite new to me classics at home

  • Tammy and the T-Rex – Now this is really my favorite thing I saw this year. My new obsession, and I’m determined to show it at a movie night. It’s so terrible in the best possible way. Tommy Wiseau, eat your heart out.
  • Con Air – As I’m fairly sure I said before, I coulda sworn I’d seen this before, but there’s no way I forgot that much awesome. Similar to Tammy, it’s bad in all the right ways. But it’s also much more my genre, and the type of movie my Daddy raised me to love.
  • Before Sunrise – The whole trilogy really stuck with me, but the first movie is the best, I think. So effortless and beautiful. Never woulda thought I’d have loved a romance as much as this one, but stranger things happened in 2020

Soooo yeah, there you have it. Movies happened. I had more opinions than I wrote about. Gonna prolly stay on hiatus for a bit unless the spirit moves me (I really should write that Tenet post), esp with yoga teacher training taking up huge chunks of time. But I’m staying optimistic for 2021. Lots of killer content piling up, and I can’t wait to be back at my second home watching it all in a packed room full of strangers.

2019 Recap

Well I sure procrastinated this year’s recap. Let’s not waste anytime and just go straight to the full list

On the Basis of Sex If Beale Street Could Talk Escape Room Free Solo The Upside Bohemian Rhapsody sing along Glass A Star is Born Donnie Darko Serenity At Eternity’s Gate Cold War The Wife Cold Pursuit What Men Want The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Alita: Battle Angel Isn’t It Romantic Happy Death Day 2 U How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World The Favourite Bohemian Rhapsody Black Panther Green Book Vice A Star is Born BlackKkKlansman Fighting With My Family Greta Captain Marvel Apollo 11 Gloria Bell Captive State Us Shazam The Beach Bum Dumbo Pet Sematary The Best of Enemies The Man Who Killed Don Quixote Hellboy Hotel Mumbai The Curse of La Llorona High Life Avengers: Endgame Her Smell Hail Satan? Long Shot Tolkien Detective Pikachu The Hustle John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum Avengers: Endgame Brightburn Aladdin Booksmart Jurassic Park Rocketman Godzilla: King of the Monsters Dark Phoenix The Secret Life of Pets 2 Men in Black International The Dead Don’t Die Late Night Toy Story 4 Child’s Play Yesterday Spider-Man: Far From Home Avengers: Endgame Midsommar Stuber Crawl The Farewell The Art of Self Defense The Lion King Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Hobbs and Shaw The Room Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Dora and the Lost City of Gold The Kitchen Good Boys Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Ready or Not The Great Escape Blinded By the Light The Thing The Matrix Mad Max The Road Warrior Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome The Peanut Butter Falcon IT: Chapter Two Brittany Runs a Marathon Hustlers Hedwig and the Angry Inch The Goldfinch Ad Astra First Blood First Blood II Rambo III Rambo Rambo: Last Blood Judy The Shining Joker Parasite Gemini Man El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Dracula (1931) Jexi Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Zombieland: Double Tap Saw JoJo Rabbit The Current War The Lighthouse Honey Boy Motherless Brooklyn Terminator: Dark Fate Harriet Doctor Sleep Last Christmas The Irishman Playing With Fire Ford v Ferrarri Charlie’s Angels The Good Liar Knives Out A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Frozen II Queen & Slim 21 Bridges Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Waves Dark Waters Bombshell Uncut Gems Black Christmas Richard Jewell 1917 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Jumanji: The Next Level Cats Spies in Disguise Little Women

Crunching the numbers, that gives us the following totals:
148 movies watched minus 20 Specials minus 13 repeats equals 115 distinct new movies.

You’ll notice these numbers are lower than last year ( 162 movies watched minus 6 specials minus 20 repeats, equals 136 distinct new movies in 2018. ) That was kinda on purpose. For 2019, I didn’t wanna have any arbitrary quotas to meet that made me feel pressured to go to the movies. And I didn’t wanna feel forced to watch anything I wasn’t into or make myself get outta the house if I’d rather sit on the couch doing crochet. There were still ones I shoulda sat out, but I gave myself permission to skip things, and it was overall better for my mental health. Oh and part of why they’re still high is because I had 4 marathons this year (Best Picture Showcase, Mad Max, Rambo, and LOTR…even if I didn’t stay thru ROTK)

Let’s look at some other totals

Star ratings (out of 4):
4- 39
3.5- 28
3- 26
2.5- 10
2- 14
1.5- 5
1- 0
Overall stronger numbers than last year. Partly due to my skipping ones that woulda likely ended up in the bottom, and partly due to the fact that 2019 was DAMN GOOD YEAR

Looking at locations next in alpha order
Aero Theater – 4
Alamo Drafthouse DTLA – 9
Alamo Drafthouse Laredo – 3
AMC Broadway Santa Monica – 1
AMC Century City – 46
AMC Chicago Dine In – 1
AMC Empire 25 NYC – 1
AMC Marina Classic – 12
AMC Marina Dine In – 28
AMC Orange – 7
AMC River East Chicago – 2
AMC Universal City Walk – 2
Arclight Culver City – 2
Arclight Hollywood – 5
Cinemark Howard Hughes – 3
Cinemark Playa Vista – 1
Egyptian – 2
Hollywood Theaters Laredo – 1
Laemmle Monica – 2
The Landmark – 5
Million Dollar Theater – 1
New Beverly Cinema – 1
Nuart Landmark – 3
NYC AMC Lincoln Center – 2
NYC AMC Village – 1
Old Town Music Hall – 1
Regent Landmark – 1
Vista theater – 1
No surprise that AMC dominates because of A list. Century City cause I usually go straight from work. And if my quick counting is correct, 4 in Laredo over Christmas , and 3 each in Chicago and NYC

Movies by Month
Jan – 12
Feb – 15
Mar – 10
Apr – 10
May – 10
Jun – 9
Jul – 10
Aug – 15
Sep – 13
Oct – 14
Nov – 17
Dec – 12
Last year I was actively trying to do 10 a month. This year, I was not making an effort to, yet still made it most months. The marathons helped those counts for sure

Okay onto the fun stuff. The lists

Bottom Five Least Favorites

5-Black Christmas – Really this could have been in contention for the top (bottom) spot since it was the one movie on here I’ll flat out say was bad instead of just not to my taste. But the first half or so was watchable. However, once it devolved, there was no saving the experience
4-At Eternity’s Gate – Movies like this are why I hate doing bottom 5’s. It wasn’t bad. It was artful and gorgeous to look at. It just wasn’t my style. So while I recognize the quality, I simply didn’t enjoy it
3-High Life – This was harder to buy into the artistic aspect of it, and I found it even more boring (for me personally). Interesting concept, and RPatz is a great actor, but I just couldn’t do it.
2-The Beach Bum – Oh boy where to start with this one. Boring and weird and self serving and just a total misfire, despite a great cast. And it certainly didn’t help that I found our lead bum annoying at best.
1-Captive State -“Which movie?” I said to myself as I reviewed my list sorted by rating. “Oh that one where nothing at all happened and I took a nap out of sheet boredom. Right”
Dishonorable Mentions: The Lighthouse, The Curse of La Llorona, Godzilla: Gods and Monsters

Top Ten Favorites

Special Honorable Mention – Knives Out – Soooo I messed up. When I first put together my top ten, this was the last movie that I cut. It just didn’t make it. I hadn’t written out this post, but I started counting down on Stardust. Then I went for a second helping and it was even better than I remembered. This really should have made the official list (prolly around halfway up) but it was too late. And here we are.
Honorable Mention – 1917 – I’d purposely left only one honorable mention partly because as I culled the list I had 11 that I needed, but mostly because there’s one technically 2018 movie on here. I don’t think I stated it yet on this post, but I do define my year based on when I see a movie, not when it’s released. So just substitute this if you don’t like how I play.
10-Doctor Sleep – I couldn’t bring myself to cut this movie because for a week or so after watching it I was asserting that it was likely to make my list. I’m a huge King fan, and even though I haven’t read this one (yet! I start it on Mon) I felt like it nailed the spirit of his work.
9-Fighting With My Family – Early on this year, I was trying to pick a fave movie for each month. This easily won January (or was it Feb). Throughout the year, when I’d think of my fave movies, this always came to mind and always made me smile. Nothing pleases a crowd like an underdog sports movie, and if it gets you interested in the sport (even if it’s just until the credits roll) you know it’s done its job
8-Hail Satan? – I went to see this because I thought it’d be funny. And it was. But it was also the one movie that gave me more to think about than anything else I saw this year. It challenged so many ideas I’ve struggled with and showed me a new perspective I’d never considered before
7-Free Solo – Yes the technicality. I saw it in January so it counts. Also, another documentary? Who have I become? But this didn’t feel like a doc. It was more intense than any action film I saw this year, and even more than most of the thrillers.
6-Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Hi, yes Tarantino fan girl here. I saw this three times. First to take it all in. Second to piece it together. And third to just sit back and enjoy it. That third time was at Tarantino’s own New Beverly Cinema, which was such a special experience. It’s simultaneously the most AND least Tarantino movie ever, and I loved it
5-Honey Boy – Movies that make this list are the ones that stay with me the longest, and I could not shake this one for weeks. Every time I talked about it, I said that it was such a personal film, it felt like I shouldn’t be watching. But I’m so grateful that Shia LaBeouf was willing to invite us in to experience this truly beautiful film.
4-The Farewell – Any other year, this would have easily been my favorite. It’s such a win for diversity and inclusion, because this is a story I would have never heard in a million years if Hollywood hadn’t been taking baby steps in that direction. This film made me cry almost as much as it made me laugh.
3-Avengers: Endgame – It’s rare that a super movie makes my list, but it took this one for me to realize just how much I truly love this franchise. I’ve been with it from the beginning, and what the MCU did here was unprecedented. Saw this 4 times and would gladly have seen it more because every second of it’s crazy runtime was fantastic
2-Parasite – If you’ve made it this far in this post, you know I see A LOT of movies. So when I say I’ve NEVER seen anything like this, you know how much weight that carries. And that from one minute to the next I had no idea what was going to happen is huge. This is probably the best movie of the year, and was this close to the top spot
1-Jojo Rabbit – Two reasons Jojo won out. One, is that it too is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I love the quirkiness of it, and it’s just weird enough to work. It shouldn’t work, but it does so beautifully. But the main reason it wins is because I am a very emotional creature and this is a very emotional film. It completely put me thru the ringer. I went from happy to angry to devastated to every other possible feeling I could feel. But when I left, I felt uplifted and full of hope and joy. That’s what’s most important.
Almost made it: Us, Ford v Ferrari, Uncut Gems, Rocketman

And we are done! Again, not setting any goals this year. Just gonna enjoy my time at the movies. Hope you’ll join me on my journey

2018 Recap

Another year in the books, another crazy amount of movies watched. Just as a refresher, last year’s numbers were 134 movies minus 5 specials and minus 6 repeats for a grand total of 123 distinct new movies in 2017, beating the previous year’s record by one. Spoiler alert, I blow those numbers outta the water this year. Again, a reminder that for me it counts for 2018 if I saw it in 2018, regardless if it was officially released in an earlier year. 2018 movies seen after the calendar flipped count for next year.

But first, the list:

The Post Phantom Thread I, Tonya The Commuter Proud Mary Paddington 2 The Greatest Showman 12 Strong Three Billboards Outside Ebbing MO The Greatest Showman Singalong Molly’s Game The Maze Runner: The Death Cure Winchester Peter Rabbit The 15:17 to Paris Fifty Shades Freed Black Panther Early Man A Fantastic Woman Samson Annhilation Game Night Death Wish Red Sparrow Gringo Thoroughbreds A Wrinkle in Time Ready Player One Love, Simon Tomb Raider Pacific Rim: Uprising Unsane Ready Player One Ready Player One Ready Player One Isle of Dogs Sherlock Gnomes Rampage A Quiet Place Ready Player One Blockers Beirut Chappaquiddick A Quiet Place I Feel Pretty The Death of Stalin You Were Never Really Here Avengers: Infinity War Disobedience Avengers: Infinity War Avengers: Infinity War Tully Overboard Bad Samaritan Terminal Deadpool 2 Solo Deadpool 2 First Reformed Solo Solo Upgrade The Room American Animals Hotel Artemis Won’t You Be My Neighbor Hereditary Ocean’s 8 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom The Incredibles 2 Deany Bean is Dead Tag Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Skyscraper Sicario: Day of the Soldado Uncle Drew Leave No Trace Ant-Man and the Wasp Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot Sorry to Bother You Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Blindspotting Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again Teen Titans Go To the movies The Equalizer 2 Mission Impossible: Fallout Christopher Robin Blindspotting The Spy Who Dumped Me BlackkKlansman The Meg Eighth Grade Crazy Rich Asians Mile 22 The Miseducation of Cameron Post BlackkKlansman Searching 2001: A Space Odyssey Operation Finale The Happytime Murders Papillon Selena The Little Stranger Peppermint The Nun Three Identical Strangers A Simple Favor Lizzie The Predator White Boy Rick The House with a Clock in Its Walls Assassination Nation Bad Times at the El Royale Night School Maniac A Star is Born Venom The Sisters Brothers Smallfoot The Hate U Give First Man Halloween Mid90s Beautiful Boy Can You Ever Forgive Me Wildlife Suspiria (1977) Bohemian Rhapsody The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Boy Erased Suspiria (2018) Bohemian Rhapsody The Girl in the Spider’s Web The Grinch The Front Runner Overlord Destroyer Bohemian Rhapsody Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Instant Family Green Book Widows Creed II Anna and the Apocalypse The Favourite Ralph Wrecks the Internet Robin Hood Roma Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse Ben is Back Mary Queen of Scots Vox Lux Once Upon a Deadpool The Mule Second Act Mortal Engines Mary Poppins Returns Aquaman Bumblebee Welcome to Marwen Vice Holmes and Watson

Now we crunch numbers. That is a grand total of 162 movies watched minus 6 specials minus 20 repeats, equals 136 distinct new movies in 2018.

Holy [expletive] that’s a lot. I blame running my work movie night for some of those repeats. Plus Ready Player One (we’ll get to that). I also blame MoviePass (and later A List) for some of those exceptionally high numbers.

Moving on to the nerdy stats no one else cares about but me

Star ratings (out of 4):
4- 38
3.5- 24
3- 29
2.5- 13
2- 21
1.5- 9
1- 2
Yep, one could still argue I’m overly generous with my star ratings. Whatever, don’t @ me.

By location:
Alamo Drafthouse Laredo – 2
Hollywood THeaters Laredo – 1
Cinemark Mall Del Norte Laredo – 2
(5 total in Laredo)

AMC Century City – 19
AMC Dine in Marina – 12
AMC Downtown Disney (RIP) – 1
AMC MArina Classic – 15
AMC Universal – 1
(48 total at AMC, expect that to go up next year as I rely solely on A-List)

Arclight Culver City – 3
Arclight Hollywood – 8
Arclight Santa Monica – 1
(12 total at Arclight)

Cinemark Howard Hughes – 12
Cinemark Playa Vista – 6
(18 total at Cinemark in LA (plus 2 in Laredo), numbers that dwindled as MoviePass died)

Director’s Guild of America – 1
Eat See Hear – Autry Museum – 1
Egyptian Theater – 1
ipic Westwood – 1
Laemmle Monica – 3
The Landmark – 30
(It was so nice while MP lasted there)
Pacific Theaters at the Grove – 30
RealD Theater – 3
(Stardust screenings!)
Regent Landmark – 1
TCL Chinese – 3
The Ace Hotel – 1
Walt Disney Concert Hall – 3

157 Total in Los Angeles
Much less travel this year than previous ones.

Movies by month. I had a goal of at least ten a month
Jan – 12
Feb – 10
Mar – 14
Apr – 15
May – 10
Jun – 13
Jul – 12
Aug – 14
Sep – 14
Oct – 14
Nov – 20
Dec – 14

Now on to the fun stuff, the ranks. I seriously considered doing a Top 20 and Bottom 10 (as opposed to the usual 10 and 5) because I really did have that much great (or not great) material to pick from. This was a super solid year, and except for a couple of locks, I was unsure how this list would turn out until the last minute. I ultimately decided to stay with 10 and 5 simply because I was super happy with where things fell. Oh and obligatory reminder that these are favorites, or most enjoyable for me personally. Not gonna be presumtuous enough to declare something “best” or “worst”, and also acknowleding that it’s all subjective anyways. We start at the bottom

Bottom 5 of 2018
5-Sherlock Gnomes
– While I’ve been more discerning about which kiddie movies I see, my love of the first drove me to this one and it did not measure up at all. Not even Elton John could save it.
4-Gringo – This was a mess of a movie and a waste of talent. I’d completely forgotten about it until sorting thru my spreadsheet, but I didn’t forget how revulsed I felt after.
3-The Maze Runner: The Death Cure – This has to be the thinnest movie I saw this year. Its simplistic action sequence after simplistic action sequence with minimal story holding it together. It could have been told in 15 minutes and been more satisfying.
2-Holmes and Watson – Entry right at the buzzer that almost took the bottom spot for being almost unwatchably unfunny. That little bit of watchability is what spared it from a worse fate.
1-The Little Stranger – I was more bored watching this than anything else. And I get that it was based on some prestigious work and some praised it’s accomplishments as a gothic horror. That means nothing if I can’t stay awake for it tho.
Dishonorable mentions: Winchester, Equalizer 2, Red Sparrow

Top 10 of 2018
10-Won’t You Be My Neighbor
– Wait whoa whoa whoa, there’s a documentary on this list? One big theme of 2018 was changing my perception of docs and this one was so moving and beautiful. I still get emotional thinking about it.
9-Searching – What could have been a cheap gimmick created the most suspenseful movie of the year (and we know I love my thrillers). Plus, I later learned that if you watch for the secondary news storys there’s a whole subplot about some sorta alien invasion. The BluRay is sitting in my pile, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for that when I get to it
8-Anna and the Apocalypse – Zombies + Christmas + Musical = the most “me” movie I saw this year. I love a good genre mashup, esp when it’s an unexpected combination, and watching it was pure joy.
7-BlackkKlansman – If you forced me to pick a “best” movie this year, this might hafta be what I go with. Every element is perfection: the entertaining screenplay with scathing social commentary, the performances across the board, and the masterful direction from Spike Lee.
6-Tag – I’m fully aware this may not make many people’s lists, but I just completely connected with the comedy here. The punchlines were unexpected, which is a key element in making me laugh heartily. And the cast was having so much fun, I just wanted to play with them
5-Upgrade – We know I’m primarily an action movie girl, and this was the best action movie of the year. Plus it had elements of scifi, thriller, even some dark comedy. Those practical fight scenes with their unique physicality are going down in the movie history books
4-A Quiet Place – I’ve always said the best horror movies are about something other than horror, and this story about a family that happened to be scary was something unique and revolutionary.
3-Bohemian Rhapsody – The Live Aid sequence was enough to get it on my list, and the reason I saw it 3 times. So close to bumping it up another spot, but it has a few unfair advantages that I couldn’t do it. I don’t care if it’s a formulaic biopic, it hits all the right notes (figuratively and literally) and was an incredible movie experience
2-Blindspotting – Best screenplay of the year. It was insightful, funny, creative, tense, all at the same time. The penultimate scene blew me away, and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. This would be so deserving of awards love if it got a bigger push.
1-Ready Player One
– I know I knocked off points for unfair advantages elsewhere, and this one has the unfair advantage of me having waited for it for 6 ( I think) years. It lived up to my ridiculously high expectations (all 5 times I saw it–those are LOTR numbers there), and was an incredible piece of cinema

Honorable Mentions: The Hate U Give, Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, Game Night
Special Honorable Mention: The Greatest Showman. Technically I first saw it at the end of 2017, but it wasn’t until early 2018 that I became obsessed with the soundtrack and saw it two more times in theaters. Had the calendar shifted slightly, it would have easily made my top ten for either year since it took time to grow on me.

Aaaand that’s all folks. Some record setting numbers, without breaking the bank thanks to Movie Pass and A List. Most years, my goal is to beat last year’s numbers. This year also had the monthly 10 movie goal, which I hit. However for 2019, my goal is less movies for a couple reasons. One, the monthly quota drove me nuts. I was getting anxious about release schedules and moving things around if the month changed on a weekend and seeing things I really didn’t want to. Not worth it. Not gonna do it. Also, even with A List being wonderful, there’s no way I can top last year’s numbers without MoviePass being reliable. And I kidna don’t want to. My goal is to only see things because I want to, not out of obligation (unless that obligation is Oscar related, I’m not changing that much). Don’t worry, there’ll still be a crazy amount of movies. And with that, it’s time to move the 2018 spreadsheet to the archive folder. 2019 will mark the ten year anniversary of ExpletiveDleted, so I’m psyched to see what’s in store.

PS – Don’t forget to find me on Stardust for all my reactions on a much quicker timeline!

2017 Recap

I’m watching the Golden Globes as I write this, so you may get some bonus commentary thrown in. Starting with how great it was that Seth Meyers worked in “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell” with Amber and Jenny holding the mics for the minority stars in the room, and how unbelievably giddy I am for Sam Rockwell to win (but there’ll be more on him later). That’s how far we’re into the show so far.

Before I get into things, I wanna talk about something that was a huge part of my movie experience this year. Stardust. What started out as just another platform to push my blog, has become not only an obsession, but an amazing community that I am proud to be a part of. I have no words for how awesome it is to be having these huge film conversations every day with new friends all over the world. It’s been truly amazing, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next year.

Onward. Let’s start with the full list, then we’ll break it down.

Hidden Figures, 20th Century Women,A Monster CallsLive by Night,SplitThe FounderXXX: The Return of Xander Cage ,Gold, Elle, John Wick: Chapter 2, Fifty Shades Darker, The Lego Batman Movie, A Cure for Wellness ,John Wick: Chapter 2, The Great Wall, Get Out, Logan, Before I Fall, Personal Shopper, Kong: Skull IslandBeauty and the BeastThe Belko ExperimentT2 Trainspotting ChipsLife,Power Rangers,Ghost in the Shell The Zookeeper’s Wife Gifted ColossalGoing in StyleThe Fate of the FuriousFree FireThe CircleSleightGuardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2Buster’s Mal HeartThe Dinner King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Snatched Alien: Covenant Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Baywatch Wonder Woman The GodfatherThe Mummy It Comes at Night The Big Sick Wonder WomanCars 3The BeguiledRough NightTransformers: The Last KnightBaby DriverThe HouseDespicable Me 3Spider-man: HomecomingA Ghost StoryWar for the Planet of the ApesThe Little HoursDunkirkBaby DriverValerian and the City of a Thousand PlanetsAtomic BlondeDetroitThe Dark TowerLandlineThe Big Sick,KidnapThe Lion KingGirls TripThe Glass CastleGood TimeThe Hitman’s BodyguardLogan LuckyWind RiverIngrid Goes WestAnnabelle: CreationColumbusItClose Encounters of the Third KindMother!,American AssassinStrongerKingsman: The Golden CircleLego NinjagoBattle of the Sexes, FlatlinersAmerican MadeBlade Runner 2049Brawl in Cell Block 99Happy Death DayMarshallThe Florida ProjectThe ForeignerProfessor Marsten and the Wonder Women, The Snowman Tragedy GirlsVictoria and Abdul,The Killing of a Sacred Deer,Only the BraveJigsaw,SuburbiconThank You for Your Service, Beetlejuice, A Bad Mom’s Christmas, Thor: RagnarokLast Flag Flying, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Daddy’s Home 2, Murder on the Orient Express, Justice League, Call Me By Your Name, Molly’s Game, Wonder, Roman J Israel Esp, Darkest Hour, Coco, The Disaster Artist, Novitiate, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Shape of Water, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I, Tonya, The Disaster Artist, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Greatest Showman, Downsizing, Ferdinand, Pitch Perfect 3,
All the Money in the World.

Hmm, it doesn’t look like much all scrunched up like that, but let’s do that math. The grand total was 134 movies minus 5 specials and minus 6 repeats equals a grand total of 123 distinct new movies in 2017, beating last year’s record by one. I didn’t count how many of them were on Movie Pass, but it was a lot

And now some nerdy stats, mostly to justify me keeping track of it all on a spreadsheet all year.

Looking by star ratings (on a scale of 4) we have
4 – 38 (solid year!!)
3.5 – 27
3 – 24
2.5 – 15
2 – 13
1.5 – 5
1 – 1
Clearly I’m still very generous with my star ratings.

Location stats are
Ace Hotel – 1
AMC Century City – 9
AMC Del Amo – 8
AMC Downtown Disney – 3
AMC Marina Dine In – 2
AMC Marina Marketplace – 17
AMC Rolling Hills – 7
Arclight Beach Cities – 2
Arclight Culver City – 4
Arclight Hollywood – 4
Chinese Theatre – 1
Cinemark Howard Hughes – 10
Cinemark Playa Vista – 14
DGA – 2
El Capitan – 1
Laemelle Santa Monica – 6
Los Feliz Theater – 1
Pacific at the Grove – 13
Regal Promenade – 5
The Landmark – 12
The Nuart – 1
(Totaling 123 at 21 theaters)
AMC Boston Common – 4
Somerville Theater – 1
(Totalling 5 at 2 theaters in Boston)
AMC River East – 2
(Totaling 2 at 1 theater in Chicago)
Alamo Drafthouse – 3
Hollywood Theaters – 1
(Totaling 4 at 2 theaters in Laredo)

One last list, by date
Jan – 8
Feb – 8
Mar – 11
Apr – 8
May – 8
Jun – 11
Jul – 10
Aug – 14
Sep – 11
Oct – 16
Nov – 14
Dec – 15

Oh and two movie premiers! (?!)

Okay okay, thanks for indulging me. Let’s get to the good stuff. The ranks. Starting with the bad stuff. (Remember, links for all of these are above. I’m too lazy to link them all over.) Also a reminder that the year is determined by the date I see the movie, not the date the movie is released.

I’ll begin with a very special Dishonorable Mention. The Emoji Movie. It likely would have been at the top (bottom?) of this list if I had seen it, but I was so turned off by reports that not only was it bad (which I could handle), but it was basically a giant ad, which is not why I go to the movies.

But here’s what I did see that should make me rethink my life. Part of me feels bad about including this list since I get that there’s a lot of work that goes into these films and I want to be respectful of that. But some of the choices on this list felt disrespectful to the audience by clearly putting profits above the audience.

5-The Little Hours – It should have been hilarious, but it never quite jelled. It was awkward and uncomfortable, and a snooze, despite the epic cast.
4-Annabelle: Creation – I’m picky about my horror, and while I know that lots of people dug this, I didn’t. I saw it as all jump scares, and no substance to make it transcende the usual pitfalls of the genre
3-A Ghost Story – Possibly the most divisive film of the year, and possibly a big blow to my street cred in putting it here. I get what it was going for, and I get that as art it was beautiful, but I need more to a movie than just Casey Affleck standing around in a sheet looking at things.
2-Transformers: The Last Night – Was this movie even trying? This is the epitome of something being thrown together just to get something on the screen (and ticket money in pockets), without caring if it made any sense.
1-The Snowman – I’m still seething that this reportedly incomplete movie was released, and we were expected to buy tickets for it. I really should have skipped it on principle.
Dishonorable mentions – Roman J Israel Esq, Suburbicon, The Foreigner

Okay, here’s the good stuff, beginning with a special honorable mention. I decided to disqualify Star Wars: The Last Jedi because I can’t be objective about the Wars. It’s hard to separate the experience from the film itself, and frankly, this was such a strong year, that I wanted to be able to feature more films on this list.

10-Happy Death Day – If this wasn’t the most fun movie of the past year, it was certainly at the very least the most unexpectedly fun movie of the year.
9(tie)-Wonder Woman – I cheated and declared a tie so I could squeeze in one more movie. And these two have a shared theme of girl power. I don’t put a lot of superhero movies on these lists (esp not a DC one), but Wonder Woman was a game changer. I did not know what I was missing in my cinematic life until I felt the emotions rise when the Amazons stormed the beach.
9(tie)-Hidden Figures – Another movie about strong ladies, that I didn’t know I was missing. I don’t think I’ve connected with female characters on an intellectual level before, like I did here. Imagine the world we could live in if all little girls grew up watching this.
8-Logan Lucky – Everything I loved about Ocean’s Eleven, in a whole new setting. Top cast, funny screenplay, and the twists and turns I loved. This might even be more fun than it’s spiritual sister film.
7-The Florida Project – I’m still devastated by this movie when I think about it. I’ve just never seen anything like it before, nor heard these stories before. I have no more words.
6-Wind River – This is how you build out a thriller. The pacing is perfection, and the mystery is so satisfying. And Jeremy Renner’s best performance in years as an added bonus!
5-Stronger – I know, there’s a lot of bias going into this one. Both from having done background work and because it’s a Boston movie. But even without that, this is a solid and inspiring film, led by a never better Jake Gyllenhaal.
4-Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – My favorite screenplay of the year, and my preemptive picks for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor (I was so stoked to see Sam pick up that Globe tonight), but we’ll be talking more about that in a future post. This film is smart and real and perfect.
3-Baby Driver – This movie actually had my top spot for a good chunk of the year before slipping down, then getting beat. But that doesn’t take away from how brilliant this film is. It’s very much my kinda movie, and it’s so perfectly constructed, and fun like nothing else.
2-The Big Sick – Maybe there’s a little bias because this was my first ever movie premiere, but even without that, this movie is so quirky and unique and amazing. I love the humor, I love the real life story, I love the cast. I just feel bad by the time I finally decided that this ranked above Baby, my number one came out a few days later
1-The Disaster Artist – The fact that I was more excited about seeing this for the second time than I was for the first (which was already a considerable level of excitement), tells you that this movie is something special. A lot of the movies I talked about on the list I say are “very me movies” and this is no exception. It’s strange and funny and emotional and smart and simply my favorite this year.
Honorable Mentions: John Wick 2, Detroit, Split, Girls Trip

And that’s a wrap on 2017. Here’s to breaking more records next year!

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!”