Saturday, December 31, 2016

Movies: 2016

Here we go again. I'm hoping this takes you more than ten minutes to read because it likely took more than ten hours to write.

Just like last year, we're going to break this down into a few separate sections.


Top 82 movies of 2016!

Here are the movies that (according to Rotten Tomatoes) were released in 2016. There is a bit of overlap slightly with last year (for example, I managed to see The Witch at Sundance last year, but it's sort of still a 2016 release). Also, there are lots of things that I didn't see in the theater but were either exclusively streaming anyway, or were such early releases that I managed to catch them streaming later. Regardless, it's a pretty good year. I legit hated very few of these (listed first).


82. Suicide Squad
In a way, I'm glad this exists. I have a lot of negative energy pent up inside me and I need a reservoir for it. Who knows, this year, I probably would have developed a tumor or something if I didn't have Suicide Squad as the most obvious of all punching bags to vent rage on. We were so excited before, but Suicide Squad makes Batman v Superman seem actually pretty alright. About halfway through Suicide Squad I realized that we're still on the same dull, grey mission and we're not gonna get a fun montage of the Suicide Squad saving the day over and over again. Not to say superhero movies can't be good if they're just a single mission, but THIS mission? Hastily put together, dark, messy, unfulfilling, unmotivated -- obviously a reflection of the making of the film itself. Also, everybody thinks they're soooooo cool. These characters aren't good enough or bad enough -- like your friends who always yell to you about how kooky they are. Plus one of them shows up only for the purpose of having his head explode. I wouldn't hang out with these people. Not because I would fear for my life, but because I know our conversations would be boring and pointless and their stupid weapons are stupid boomerangs.

81. Masterminds
Far out, Jared Hess movies can be really annoying. I really wish he liked his characters just a little rather than directing a charge for us to gleefully look down on them. 

80. Sausage Party
I'm not sure I can totally put my finger on why this annoyed me so much. Yes, there's a lot of smug atheism attached, and I think that's what most people would think I'd be annoyed at. There's something else, though. It is a bit one-note and unsustainable. Is that it? The rules of the universe are pretty murky here. Look, all I can tell you is that I hated watching it and I didn't laugh, at least not after the first half hour. 

79. The Blackout Experiments
Seen at Sundance. It's an insincere documentary about people who attend fright rooms willingly. The movie is like a Russian nesting doll sequence of lame exhibitionism. 

78. How to Be Single
Not the worst, but I literally considered punching myself in the face while watching in order to feel something. Script seemed to be composed of the most basic set of Magnetic Poetry. 

77. Oscar Nominated Shorts 2016
These are always so forgettable. Please see previous years' lists for my thoughts. I only watch them to get an edge in my Oscar pool.

76. Sleight
Fun inner city plot about a teen magician. Hilariously stilted direction and editing. 

75. The Brothers Grimsby
Never much cared for his world-shaming comedy terrorist antics, so not too torn up that this Sacha Baron Cohen movie is a miserable mugging waste of time. Fortunately that bit of Schadenfreude got me through this disaster. 


74. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
"It wasn't THAT bad" should be the quote they put on the Blu-ray box. Hopefully, this budgetsplosion of a picture puts to end the grey, gritty, grimy method of portraying so-called superheroes. Well, Suicide Squad is the true ender, I suppose (we can only hope). The actual, title though-- the actual fight -- THAT was pretty cool. If I had my way, it would be the pre-credits sequence for the Justice League movie (minus the "Martha!" part of course) and the rest of this picture would be abandoned completely.

73. A Bigger Splash
Certainly different and character-driven, which is always nice. These little pictures of old friends coming together with a bit of tension and perhaps a few new variables have that fun element where you can't quite tell where it's going (at least not as much as your basic superhero or spaceship movie I'm still so fond of). I do wish I could bust through the personas of these characters a little more. We have a shared love of The Rolling Stones, but their world isn't super relatable to me. Not to say I can't relate to people who are different than I am. I'd be able to if the movie would just help me out a little bit more. Also. Long. This one was super long. Ralph Fiennes does do some awesome Elaine-like dancing, but you love it because he's so into it.

72. Jason Bourne
Points for Vikander! Other than that, whatever. The Bourne series takes a step back here. The fourth movie pretty much has literally been taken over by machines. Maybe inject some humanity into the next one. His motivation is revealed to be less interesting than before, and the Bourne thrill is just gone by now. Not much enthusiasm seems to come with the new story. I think they may have filmed a bunch of action scenes and then added dialogue over it later to justify its existence. Also, shouldn't the title actually be David Webb? This is objectively the weakest in the series, but allow me to say one thing about the whole franchise anyway. We needed Bourne in the early 2000s to be a totally different kind of cool than James Bond. The unfortunate thing about Bourne, though, is that kind of silent, non-party cool just doesn't have a high shelf life. Sure, we'll get tired of Bond every ten years or so, but there's a reason the charm of Bond always comes back. It's irresistible. Groan-inducing? Sure. But it never gets boring (like Bourne inevitibly does even if this latest Bourne movie were any good).

71. X-Men: Apocalypse
I'm the biggest fan of the X-Men franchise that I know. This one's dull as dirt though. Perhaps it was a mistake to make a movie with the actual character of Apocalypse. I've read 300 X-Men comic books and that character's always been a big problem for me anyway. Really dull motivations and super vague powers. Still, more of an effort on the rest of the movie would have gone a long way. Recasting Storm and Jean Grey is fine, but they really flattened the characters out when they had a perfect chance to embellish them.

70. Elvis and Nixon
People say this is charming and funny. It's got Michael Shannon as Elvis. Regardless, my mood must have been too poor to enjoy it the way it should be enjoyed. For me, the jokes are flat and the premise tiresome from the start. Sorry Elvis fans and Nixon fans if there are any.

69. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
I'll be honest, I just had this one on in the background to catch a few glimpses of Lucy Boynton. So inevitably, not enough Boynton. This one's a very slow burn. Haunted house-ish. That one lady from Luther (I think) is in it and it's pretty much a psychological one-woman show (with a weird catatonic grandma on the side). Didn't follow it super well, but seems like it should be a half-hour Twilight Zone episode.

68. Snowden
Pretty good. Pretty scary. Yeah, we live in a terrible world where information isn't safe, but it probably works far better as a documentary. JGL is pretty over the top with the Snowden voice and it's pretty distracting. Also, it's pretty established early on that the government is spying on us, but we get this annoying narrative loop of Snowden quitting in disgust and then taking another job later and getting just slightly more jaded than before. I suppose that probably really happened, but it's dull believability in a movie narrative.

67. Bad Moms
They weren't really THAT bad (perhaps not a super great Blu-ray cover quote). I wouldn't mind seeing a movie where a bunch of moms legit didn't like their kids. I think that would be funny. Probably wouldn't be a hit. Anyway, Bad Moms had jokes in it and I laughed sometimes.

66. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
I sure wish Tina Fey put more of her stamp on stuff she stars in. Did she write this one? I don't think so. Okay I just checked. She didn't write it, but that Carlock guy she often works with did. That's surprising. If she had more input, maybe I'd remember a line or two from this.

65. April and the Extraordinary World
Whimsical animated French movie about an alternate universe without 20th century invention. Charming enough at the time, and I certainly have no problems with this one, but I certainly wish the animation style would give something spectacularly memorable that I could mention here. Funny enough, I've always had a hard time with animated young women wandering through a world unlike our own (Alice in Wonderland for example). So it makes me really sad that I have such a hard time remembering all the Nazi mad scientists and steampunk amazement that surely littered this movie.

64. Swiss Army Man
Certainly an award should be given for this one for being so one-of-a-kind. The magic doesn't quite wrap together for me. I somehow have some issues with the ending. Not quite sure what the message is besides maybe we should fart in public more. If the movie has no other legacy, I think that's a worthy one. Years from now, historians will probably study this movie as the source of the cultural shift where everybody just started farting all the time in public instead of holding it in. Maybe it will actually be healthier for all. Oh, btw, if you don't know, this movie is about a stranded man who finds salvation in a flatulent corpse. The corpse is played very well by Daniel Radcliffe. Mary Elizabeth Winstead continues to play my favorite person.

63. Magnificent Seven
Never seen a more egregious example of a bad guy using the Brannigan method of sending wave after wave of his own men to their deaths in an open range shoot-out. Fewer people died on Alderaan. More damage was inflicted on this town than World War II. Fortunately, good guys can stand in open area freely and not get hit. That's in the Bible somewhere. Also bullets in the gut make Chris Pratt run faster. Despite these expected complaints, still pretty fun. Pratt gets one-liners that are charming despite seeming sorta anachronistic. Would have liked more time with the China guy. His lines are strangely the easiest to understand. Hints and a small tortured monologue from Ethan Hawke make me want more from him, but maybe it's the right balance with the rest of the non-serious story. Oh, one more positive. Despite her anguish, grieving widow Haley Bennett dressed like she was getting a tan. Points a little down for not re-addressing the cost of protecting what's yours by the end. Perhaps just a little less of a triumphant musical queue when showing stacks and stacks of dead bodies -- even if they're bad guys.

62. Mascots
As usual, there's some delightful Christopher Guest improvisational mockumentary dialogue here. New people like Zach Woods and Chris O'Dowd make things fun as well. There isn't a tremendous amount of heart in it though. Either that, or sensibilities have changed since the last Christopher Guest movie, so making no adjustments to the formula feels a little like phoning it in. It's straight to Netflix in case you're wondering how you missed seeing a new Christopher Guest mockumentary.

61. Sully
This is made surprisingly riveting through a strange touch of non-linear storytelling and an interesting focus on several passengers. However, it ends hilariously with something right out of a sitcom freeze frame of a dad joke. I'm very hung up on the method used to convey Sully's inner strife. I find it extremely strange that he's haunted by nightmares of what could have been if he'd made the decision NOT to land on the Hudson. Why would that keep anyone up at night? That's the decision he denied so why would he feel those consequences? His nightmares should have been either that he landed in the river and wound up killing everyone OR that he he safely turned around and landed at the airport with no fuss. I think people consider this a minor decision, but I'm completely hung up on it. I don't think it's because I have a mental illness. I think it's big enough to derail the whole movie for me because it completely extinguishes any doubt about whether or not it was the right decision in both Sully's mind and in ours. Hence, no conflict and no real story.

60. The Fits
Too bad I didn't see this in the theater, because it was very difficult to hold my attention while watching it streaming at home. This one's getting incredible buzz from a lot of critics, but I don't feel the same way. There are lots of great elements, but seriously, we need to stop praising independent movies so much for providing so much "restraint" in the dialogue. In my opinion, lots of indies, such as this one, need to take some chances and supply some freaking dialogue. There comes to a point where "realism" steps over the line into unrealiastic territory because the main characters never speak. This is no longer restrained. It's distracting. Bring me back the days with good crisp dialogue where people talk about their wants and dreams and fears and aches and they also DO things, but it's not considered a one or the other kind of deal. Anyway, this movie is about a group of girls that have seizures for no reason. Or IS there a reason? Yes, of course there is. Let's think about it for a while (but don't talk about it!).

59. Manchester By the Sea
This is a sad movie that's really really sad, but it has some jokes, but is otherwise sad. Well, it's not super sad. It's objectively sad. Sad stuff happens, so I get why it's considered sad and certainly why the characters are sad, but it's really the aftermath of sad, so we're not necessarily taken on the rollercoaster of sad. It's mostly the boring part of sad where the sad thing happened and then we're just sort of stuck with sad. It takes a long time for Michelle Williams to finally deliver her Oscar speech, but she's crying so much that I can't understand the dialogue. Far out, this seems like a really negative review of Manchester by the Sea, but it's actually pretty good. Well, it's alright. I suppose it's going to be up for Best Picture, but I'll like the nine others a lot more. Okay. To sum up -- this movie is very long.

58. Oasis: Supersonic
Intriguing, yet a bit watered-down. The producer credit for both Noel and Liam may explain this. Still, Oasis has always been a more interesting spectacle than sound just because of the world-famous volatile nature of the sibling rivalry. I can't look away even as I plead, can't you guys just shut up and relax for like a single second? Strange how brother bands tend to breed that kind of weird imbalance. In this case it's pure swagger vs. pure talent with a giant spectrum of weaknesses in between. Certainly did appreciate a strange bit of humility from both by the end with a bit of implication that what they did wasn't necessarily all that special, but the fact that so many people showed up for it was.

57. Where to Invade Next
I sure wish Michael Moore wouldn't preach to his choir so much. If he actually needed to convince people, he would actually make more of an effort. I rather enjoyed his premise that some of the psycho weird socialist stuff that seemingly works in other countries are actually American ideas. When the world collapses, I'll take comfort in knowing that at least America had some great ideas.

56. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
Being Werner Hezog, this one goes far beyond "maybe machines and the internet are hurting us in some ways." It's more more apocalyptic, but also more philosophical and hopeful. I'm glancing at it right now on Netflix to remind myself of it. It actually spans some massive ideas and is still detailed enough for thoughtful messages. I just watched a sequence on self-driving cars and then a sequence of soccer-playing robots and then a sequence on the cyber-bullying of a dead girl's family. Lots of good, lots of bad and plenty interesting.

55. Deadpool
Enjoyed quite a bit, but I do have some resentment about its popularity. I mean it's not THAT funny. Maybe this is just a great signal that we're allowed to have sorta fun movies in February. Also, I would have appreciated a bit more of a reason for the fourth-wall breaking. Best part of the movie is how he keeps forgetting his guns. There's a rumor of sorts that the reason he keeps doing that is because the studio kept cutting the budget of the movie, so they had to let some of the action-packed gun scenes go. The workaround was to just have Deadpool forget them. I sure hope that story is true. It's IRL funny.

54. 48 Hour Group B
I think we lost again this year, so yeah, whatever.

53. 48 Hour Awards
Actually, I think we won best costumes or something.

52. The Meddler
Not bad, but do you know what this movie could have used? More meddling. Actually, maybe it's nice that this one's pretty sweet and not an over-the-top diatribe against obnoxiously caring parents. Okay, the real mistake is taking Rose Byrne out of so much of the movie. I've probably mentioned that I have deep feelings for her.

51. The Intervention
Pretty okay indie young adult comedy. The name says it all. We get some wacky young people together and they communicate and come to terms with each other and themselves. Some funny bits. When I saw it, I gave it a positive review, but it hasn't held up for me at the end of the year. These end of the year lists are always interesting for me. I know I felt differently at the time, but there are so many movies (like this one) where there's not much that is able to resonate all the way to the end.

50. Trekoff: The Motion Picture
An online friend made this documentary about Star Trek and his relationship to it through his podcast. This guy and his partner are exuberant enough for several hours of screen time, so the energy is totally there. Plug for me, btw! If you ever see this movie, watch for me. I make an appearance at about 45 minutes in. Unfortunately I also listened to the DVD commentary for this and they don't mention how cool I am.

49. For the Love of Spock
Here's a documentary on Leonard Nimoy that you can easily watch in the comfort of your own home thanks to the miracle of Netflix. Standard Star Trek stuff is here (which is awesome because it mostly has to do with Spock and he's the best one (if you didn't already know) mostly because Nimoy melded with the character so hard), but there's also a lot of some of the other stuff Nimoy did that was pretty cool (like the 70s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- ever see it? It's like the third best movie of the 70s). Nimoy's son Adam put this thing together and it's mixed with some very personal details, especially considering how troubled the father-son relationship was.

48. Rifftrax Live: MST3K Reunion
Not really a movie. More of a workshop on how to make fun of movies. MST3K has probably done more to contribute to my sense of humor than anything else. You all have that to blame. Sorry I don't worship something you like more.

47. Ghostbusters
I think I can safely say it's actually funnier than the original, but only because it has more jokes (have you seen the original lately? There are seriously like five jokes). Chris Hemsworth is actually pretty brilliant. It's almost a shame he's spent so much energy the last ten years or so maintaining a god-like physique for Marvel movies (in possibly the weakest Marvel character role) when he could have easily just been funny sitting at a desk. With all the jokes though, I sure wish the movie were stable in its identity. Maybe all those jokes should have gone away in favor of a cohesive world. And what's up with adding the black ghostbuster as a complete afterthought? We don't need to adhere to the original in THAT way. Also, probably a mistake to put both Wiig and McCarthy in straight roles. Their bouncing off of each other is pretty inert here. Funny though. Funny as a long sketch and not as a movie with a story or anything. I want to like this more, if for nothing else to hush up all the anti-girl supernerds on the internet.

46. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week -- the Touring Years
Ever hear of these guys? They were apparently a pretty big deal. I don't recall anything truly revolutionary with this movie regarding any new documentary techniques, but there's a lot of old footage that's plenty fascinating. Lots of participation from everybody too. So yeah, not revolutionary, but all the information is there and it's used to paint the scene just as good as anything.

45. Saturday's Warrior
Let's get this out of the way right now. I'm very unashamed of my love for the story and music of Saturday's Warrior. You should too. If you're a gentile, just have fun with it as cultural mythology. If you're devout, don't knock it because of the fictionalized doctrine. If you've enjoyed even a minute of any production in the Joseph Smith Building on Temple Square, you don't have a case there. It's ours and the music's great. I'll fight you and cut you if you disagree. THAT SAID, why did they take out the best songs and put in new, worst songs? This is especially perplexing because the 70s setting is still there, so the new smooth jazz tunes don't jibe with the nostalgia. The void of the missing songs is unsuccessfully filled by too much dialogue and bad transitions between the talking world and the singing one. Also, the bad hippies may have also been too nice, but then again their little crusade was never really nefarious anyway. Semi-kudos for not backing down on the very militant Mormon 70s pro-life message (although these days it makes me extremely uncomfortable). Hey, it's a swell time capsule.

44. Blair Witch
Not reviewed well, but lemme tell ya, it sure is effective for me. I don't get scared easily, but being lost and confused in the woods certainly does it. There's a combination of the intimidation of vastness while at the same time being pressed into a claustrophobia. This movie probably could have been its own thing rather than a sequel. It may have been better if so, but it would have to go against the obvious comparisons. No big. I don't hate that it's a sequel.

43. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
I can appreciate the ways in which the creators departed a bit from the first movie, especially with the puppy dog neediness of the Zac Efron character. Again though, it's Rose Byrne with my favorite comedic performance of the summer.

42. 13th
Fascinating premise that the 13th amendment continued to allow for slavery, but only among convicted inmates -- and therefore a system was put in place in our country to target black men for incarceration. There have actually been a few documentaries this year that have pointed out my naive whiteness. The fact that I academically started this summation as "fascinating premise" probably sheds a lot of light on how ignorant I actually am on race relations here.

41. Weiner
I guess it's too bad that there's so much of the Anthony Weiner story that happened just barely. There's plenty that happened before, though. Kind of weird how people in certain positions of authority fail in fidelity almost as though they have no choice in the matter. The all-access the crew received for the making of this is pretty unprecedented, so this movie's got to be pretty one-of-a-kind for covering this kind of stuff.

40. Krisha
Alienating and pristine. So, like, one of my absolute biggest pet peeves is when people talk about a movie and they say something like, "I hated that movie! It was so sad!" or "It was so scary!" I just can't stand it when people actually talk in a negative way when a work is obviously so effective in portraying its message. I'm gonna do that right now with Krisha. I kind of hate this movie. Not because it's poorly made, but because it's effective. It brings to me a very real sense of social anxiety and claustrophobia. Throughout the picture set in a traditional family gathering, I feel the weight of ridicule and shame as if held back just out of sight by paper walls. I guess my big complaint about the movie is to the filmmakers. WHY DO YOU WANT ME TO FEEL THAT WAY?

39. Rams
I like to think that the girl I took to this has fonder memories of me than of this movie. Not likely. It was a brief romance and this movie is actually pretty good. Lots of movies about brothers this year. This one is of a deeply troubled grudge of several decades, but with a tiny spark of love that perseveres.

38. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Tremendous to hear all the NZ accents again. Certainly that's the winningest aspect here. Didn't recognize Sam Neill for first half hour. Super respect to him for disappearing into a husk of grizzletude so well.

37. Midnight Special
I love this. Sci-fi plot, but handled by Jeff Nichols, a very grounded director. Bizarre and thrilling, but I can't place why it doesn't COMPLETELY work. Perhaps it's a teensy bit not weird enough.

36. De Palma
Really De Palma is closer to a long podcast interview with a director than anything else. All this picture is is Brian De Palma going over each of his movies one by one with the added bonus of movie footage from his stuff as well as his influences. It may not have a formal structure with ebbs and a storyline, but it's at least as engaging (and addicting) as a Buzzfeed listicle where you're curious about each and every list item. The most straightforward presentation as could possibly exist and it's not a bad move.

35. Don't Think Twice
I have some problems with a scene with Gillian Jacobs having this massive therapeutic breakthrough while onstage. Other than that, this one's pretty real. Certainly tapping into a Salieri-esque sense of professional envy and the dynamics that shift within friendships when some see some semblance of success while others are left behind. Also, there's the old factor. I really feel and relate to Mike Birbiglia's character -- super old but not as interesting as he thinks.

34. Doctor Strange
A way better title would be Doctor Strangle -- not because he strangles people, but it just sounds way cooler. They'd have to turn him into a villain I suppose. Actually, hey there's this -- if Marvel is reading, please consider a mirror-universe adversary for the sequel called Doctor Strangle. Anyway, I like this more than I thought I would. I only say that because I'm really reaching peak Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point. There are sooo many superheroes and while more is more fun, we're really getting to a point where the personalities and powers are very similar. I don't think the superhero bubble will break over this though (DEFINITELY by 2018). It's juuuuuust different enough to be interesting. I like the touch of sparkler embers to show this particular magic in place (even though I can't figure out why magic has embers). I'm a bit weirded out by the space karate (also see the entry on Rogue One (also with Mads Mikkelsen)). I think Benedict Cumberbatch should have asked something like "You guys do space magic AND space karate?" and then Chiwetel Ejiofor could have just paused for a while and then exasperatingly said really quick but non-sarcastically, "YEAH."

33. Lion
About time Dev Patel got attractive enough to deserve the super hot girl he got in Slumdog Millionaire. Yes, I know that's not a review, but that's what I was thinking the whole time I was watching this movie. Anyway, you've probably heard the story. I think I must have heard it on Fresh Air or something, but it's about the little boy in India who was accidentally carried from his home on a train and is then adopted by a couple of very nice Australian folks. I'm happy to report that the movie spends a good chunk of time wallowing in a bit of survivor's guilt. Okay, on to the real review! Lion is pretty good.

32. The Nice Guys
Shane Black is always reliable for conversation and characters that I want to be a part of. Unfortunately The Nice Guys suffers from a trailer that's actually better than the movie. This is a silly criticism of course. Not many movies can hang on to the consistent tone of a two-minute trailer. There are just some minor draggy bits, but for the most part, this is a fun and funny sort of Hollywood noir.

31. Star Trek Beyond
This one probably edges out the other two new Star Trek movies for me, even though (like the other two) there are some pretty massive flaws. This one's funner though, and I think we all realized very early on with this franchise, that the light touch provided by the charismatic cast is the real strong suit. One thing I've been really sick of in Star Trek films for the past 20 years is the need for a crazy megalomaniac villain every single time. Please, someday give me a Star Trek movie about something more weird and mysterious rather than obvious. At least this one somewhat goes in the direction of seeming sort of like an episode of the original series, and that's why it's got the edge for me.

30. Moonlight
It's making a lot of year-end lists, so you likely know all about it. It is true. It is quite good. Try as I might, I'm not sure what I can add to the rest. Three actors portray this kid at various points in his life and while the actors don't look super similar to each other, little glimpses of the performances reveal a connection. The movie sits in a tightly-woven middle ground commenting on inner-city society and social norms while being anchored solely in one individual experience that doesn't necessarily depend on any bigger picture.

29. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Pretty sad that all Lonely Island movies fail box office-wise. They're always legit-funny. Obviously that's subjective and there are lots of people who can't stand Andy Samberg's wide dinosaur mouth full of teeth. Fine. Even so, the movies are impeccably produced, which is something I really respect when people take that much care in comedies. Usually they're just staged to set up jokes. If nothing else, the songs are great. Actually, that's really the whole point. I can't remember the story.

28. Jackie
Here's an odd combination of flashbacks and re-created footage that somehow brings forth the vibe of the initial malaise of sudden recent grief. It sets a jumbled, horrifying mood, but somewhat overcomes it by the end with a higher good (yet bleak) resolve. Also Portman is breathy as all get out. A bit distracting, but I guess that must be how women from Southampton spoke 60 years ago.

27. Arrival
I get why people really latched onto this little sci-fi piece, but it didn't leave me in a crying heap. I get it though. I got no kids, so I got no cry. Still, though, much respect for big mainstream movies that do stuff like this. It's a great reason for a science fiction setting to play with themes of parenthood and its sacrifices.

26. Hail, Caesar!
Somehow exists in a weird limbo between comedy and drama. When it's funny, it's funny, but I've never seen a slapstick-type movie try so hard to not even bother with humor. It's certainly very Coen-y. Personal in the same way some of their quieter movies are, but this time it's a bit of a toast to movies themselves. They make a strange religious connection to movies to possibly explain how films are so effective on people -- as a sort of spirituality. It's not joke reference either. It's pure reference. Silly connection taken seriously by a non-humorous semi-comedy. The Coens have probably earned their own genre.

25. Pee-Wee's Big Holiday
I put this one on just to pass the time while I checked email for a few minutes. Wound up canceling all my plans and watching the whole thing straight through. I've never even really been a big Pee-Wee fan either. Go with what works, I suppose. This is pretty much a remake of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. I don't mind it here, even though I was plenty offended when they did the same thing with Star Wars last year.

24. Eye in the Sky
Since robots are doing our fighting for us now, it's really worth it to have this piece that still has human beings arguing about the ramifications of each attack. Alan Rickman is still alive in this movie and he plays a smart (rather than moronically bloodthirsty) military leader in the midst of the debate. Also, drones. Some pretty cool ones too.

23. Other People
Landry being all sensitive. Standard Sundance fare (big city gay guy goes home to his flyover state and is different than everybody else), with just the right amount of feeling seeping through the Indie shell.

22. First Girl I Loved
Lovely little movie about a love triangle full of friction when a girl spurns her Duckie in favor of another girl. Another Sundance one. Maybe this will never be seen again.

21. Christine
This one's sort of lovingly oppressive. Rebecca Hall is a national treasure (actually, she's an honorary national treasure, because I think she's British). Anyway, she's pretty great as a severely awkward newswoman in the 70s fighting a lot of battles while seemingly manipulated by her own issues. Based on truth, I don't think the story gets to the bottom of anything, but it's straightforward in its presentation. If not intellectually understood, Rebecca Hall still brings a tremendous understanding to the performance.

20. Cafe Society
Still like Woody Allen. I think this one is stepping in the right direction even if he's made these steps dozens of times already. At this point, Woody Allen movies are universal within themselves. It's always just a tinge of the greener grass or what could have been or discovering the grass isn't as green as it should have been and there's no possible way to have all the grass. Just a puzzle where the pieces don't fit nicely.

19. Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
My buddy made this movie and it's a great movie about a bunch of kids that got together and made a movie that's a remake of another movie waaaaay before people did movie stuff like that. Anyway, this documentary delves further than that with a bit of analysis of the adolescence of these kids and their circumstances and the need to complete such a seemingly absurd task.

18. 10 Cloverfield Lane
We need more movies like this that are weird sequels, but connect to the movie in a sideways way both in plot and style. This one takes a turn from fiery, open wreckage of the other movie, to a tense, quite claustrophobia here. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is in my top five btw. I really appreciate the bleakness. Not to get too spoilery, but there's a certain hopelessness in both potential outcomes. It kind of makes the WTF ending a bit justified and inspiring.

17. The Love Witch
I would like to have a sandwich restaurant and the most popular sandwich there would be one called "The Lovewich." Anyway, these types of non-ironic (I think?) throwback movies are becoming more and more common and I certainly welcome them. This one is unmistakably swinging 60s (or maybe me-decade 70s? Whatever, I wasn't around and I'm no historyologist). It's about time we got to an era where we can create a loving homage to the cheapness and the cheese of yesteryear without blatantly making fun of it. I mean, the movie's director is also the costume designer for cryin' out loud. The result is complete immersion into this throwback world. Also, kind of like The Lobster, I really enjoy the not-so-subtle dialogue about the state of romance and the trips and falls associated with gender roles getting in the way even after they are used to spark the initial fire.

16. The Witch
Surprise! Not only do we have two witch movies in a row, but this one actually made my list last year! Check it: http://jonmadsen.blogspot.com/2015/12/movies-2015.htmlhttp://jonmadsen.blogspot.com/2015/12/movies-2015.html. Anyway, I watched it again and it's really pretty good. Well, I shouldn't call it good because evil and despair are pretty overwhelming, but it's certainly good in that the vibes certainly lead to engaging drama.

15. Zootopia
Finally caught up with this on Netflix. Another example of just putting it on while I did something else, but then got totally immersed in it. And hey, what a nice way to tackle racism. They kind of take a sort of Star Trek approach where they don't necessarily say that this animal equals white people and this animal equals black people and this animal equals the Dutch or whatever. This is a completely different world with a different set of race relations so there are aspects of all sorts of different dynamics that we can see in different ways. Pretty kudos. Also, pretty funny. I think it's really funny. I think this one got a bit of blowback, but I'm not sure the reasons. Please enlighten me of its flaws.

14. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
We're probably all going to come to our senses on this one and dismiss it along with the prequels. Right now, though, I love it. The faults are many (CGI characters, images crammed from previous movies, unexplained motivations, sticks are stormtroopers' biggest weakness, why in the world is an Imperial probe droid on Jedha (there's already an Imperial presence there, so what's it probing?)), but I think the movie expands the universe in a way that's needed. I was actually looking forward to the film because the trailer feels so very Star Wars-y, but it's the out of place feel from the rest of the movies that really endears me to this one. It's moving out from tales of boys' wonderment about a new world and moves right to the tone of a World War II war movie. There's some convoluted stuff about the different factions of the rebellion, but it's the very definition of rag-tag. The sloppiness beyond the sheen of Star Wars is welcome for me. For now. Oh, and also this one has Mads Mikkelsen (like in Doctor Strange!) and also space karate (like in Doctor Strange!). Hey, is it kind of weird that this is a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, but it's still the Asians of this universe that utilize the space karate?

13. The Witness
Ever hear that story of the woman murdered in New York and 38 people watched it happen, but didn't do anything? Here's a documentary about that, but wowie wow, things turn out way different than you may think. The movie follows the brother of the victim looking for answers. Turns out history is wrong, but it's wrong with reason. There's a lot more to the story and it goes beyond the motive for murder and delves into the motive of storytelling too.

12. Tickled
I can't really say much about this, but as dumb as it sounds, it's really great and twisted and dark and eye-opening and infuriating and a lot of other stuff. If you don't know, this movie starts, no joke, as a documentary investigating the world of "competitive tickling." Yes. That's really a thing. KIND OF. Then the movie gets psychotic. For real and far beyond the initial playful premise. It leads to some interesting and very sad stuff regarding power and personality.

11. Everybody Wants Some!!
Linklater does this strange thing where he seems to make movies about absolutely nothing. You walk out and you're like, why was that a thing? What was the point? I don't think there's some hidden deep meaning in this. It's not profound, but it sort of captures the feeling of profundity as felt by certain characters at certain times of their lives. I've heard criticism of this one because it treats the women as mere items for the male tools to use. I can totally see how that's a valid point, considering that's how the world's been for several thousand years and it's understandable that some people are fed up with it. I don't find it a problem here, though. The females are only as shallow as the males and in a very real and obvious sense, they aren't victims, but use the men in the very same way. Really, the movie captures the shallowness of youth across the board, but with a hope and a clean slate to project toward something great. Watch the movie and consider the friend that is removed from the story partway through. Notice the weird youthy attitude of the rest of the gang. Shallow and exciting with no room for sorrow.

10. Green Room
Gorgeously violent and tense. Like a Nirvana song that builds with loud-quiet-loud. Of course at the beginning of the year, I wasn't nearly as worried about Nazis...

9. The Edge of Seventeen
Teen comedies are my thing (along with 30 other things), so I'm very particular about them. This one's good. It really approaches the troubles of this kid as human problems rather than just teen problems. Some of John Hughes' best stuff does it the same way. Somehow the main character is quite lovable and I feel for her, even though she's actually pretty self-absorbed and annoying (like teenagers are). Her obnoxiousness and yearnings really come together for a delicious sort of salted caramel character.

8. Nocturnal Animals
This movie is about Amy Adams reading a book. That's it, but it's pretty riveting and pretty. Jake Gyllenhall sends it to her and just that action alone provides a setting of mindgames that sit in the background as she gets absorbed in this troubling story. Gyllenhall also plays the main character in the book and, as a replacement for Amy Adams, Isla Fisher plays his book wife. This is totally my favorite because I think Amy Adams and Isla Fisher look exactly the same. This casting must have been very deliberate. Anyway, the movie is cold and weird and disturbing (but just lovely enough).

7. O.J.: Made in America
This sucker's like seven hours long, so stop wasting your time reading this list and fire up Hulu and watch this thing right now. It's actually pretty easy watching. Not boring at all. Very engrossing and very informative. It makes a supremely great choice in expanding out the setting first of all, addressing the tense race relations that were just deep background during the original crime and trial. The context the film provides is astounding. It brings a new level of motivation to the verdict as well as a host of surrounding actions. Like 13th, I experienced a bit of unease with tackling some race issues I wasn't necessarily familiar with. Also, get a load of that amazing lost footage of home movies from the day O.J. got home from trial.

6. Captain America: Civil War
Really an Avengers movie, since pretty much all (except the lame ones) are here. I've always said the most interesting parts of any Avengers movie are when the Avengers themselves are fighting with each other. I wish every Avengers movie could be that. Intriguing how it's hardly an obvious good/evil conflict. Just a bit of complication in summer superhero blockbusters goes a long way (or the wrong way (see Batman v Superman)). Also, the fight scenes aren't nightmares to watch. They're fun! Amazing.

5. The Neon Demon
I get a sick and sinister smile on my face whenever I hear the title of any Nicolas Winding Refn movie. This one I think takes a step in the right direction combining vivid visuals with some initially playful symbolism (a literal wild beast arriving through a door Elle Fanning didn't close) to absurdly beyond symbolic (what happens to Elle Fanning near the end). Literal beauty has never been composed with such deep and glorious ugliness. Sweet music. Sweet seizure-inducing strobes. Sweet dreams on the edge crossing into nightmares.

4. Hell or High Water
If I didn't land a job looking at product copy for a major corporation, I'd probably be a pretty good bank robber. By pretty good, I mean I probably wouldn't really excel at it, but I would enjoy it because I always love good bank robbery movies. Hell or High Water is a good bank robbery movie. Also, it's a good movie. Also, it builds characters the way movies are supposed to in that the riveting plot leads us into revealing motivation and gives us empathy for everyone on all sides of the story conflict.

3. The Lobster
I'm not sure if I completely understand the symbolism, but if nothing else I can attest to the absurdity this movie associates with relationships as well as the absurdity of relationship denial. I love the rebellion of the characters to the setting, but what I love most of all is the one universe rule they don't even consider breaking, even though it's the most obvious one -- the necessity to have the same singular trait as your partner. As a Tinder-user I relate too much to the silliness of this, but it's a part of our culture more than ever even if it's hardly an important aspect of a loving relationship. Actually, I have no right to say that. What do I know?

2. La La Land
Joycrack, better than most Christmases, like biting into a cob of joy endorphins -- these are the terms I've used to describe La La Land to friends. The music and dancing are wonderful and joyous. You should know this by now because you should have seen this by now. What really sticks with me, though, is the bittersweet aspect of it. Damien Chazelle also made Whiplash and he touches on the sacrifice of passions quite a bit. Passionate people have passionate relationships, but passions just simply can't be multi-tasked (like singing and dancing). There's that ebb of negativity, but the positivity and delight completely overpowers the film -- and I hardly think in a superficial way.

1. Sing Street
Let's say this upfront. This movie was engineered in a lab specifically for me to like. U.K., 80s, new wave hits, coming of age, romance with a super fly Dublin bird. Everything. Regardless, my heart actually grew two sizes more because of all the fun I wasn't even expecting. The movie's portrayal of mixing artistic influence with day-to-day life experience to make something special is joyous to behold. The 80s-style original songs are pure and amazing (actually overshadowing the brilliant vintage soundtrack). Additionally, we share in the creation of them. Consider the writing of "Riddle of the Model" up until the video is completed. Rough? Sure, but exhilarating in seeing it come to life. Now consider the same thing with the one-take shot to illustrate the creation of "Up." Then of course there's the American Prom sequence of "Drive it Like you Stole It." They work wonders in illustrating the profound exhilaration that comes with discovering the power of creativity as a teenager. The enthusiasm and futurism of the 80s is finally somewhat recognized even though people in my theater may have thought it a bit too silly. What was considered cool then is quaint now, but it does have the benefit and excitement of having never been done before. Also, Lucy Boynton has the eyes of the greatest angel eyes and there's the acknowledgement that Head on the Door is the greatest Cure album. This one's on Netflix now. We're friends if you watch it.


The 10 best (and only) movies that technically came out in 2015, but I saw in 2016!

Okay I always have this weird section here to cover any movies that came out last year, but didn't make my list last year because I hadn't seen them yet. Usually there are a bunch of Oscar noms on this overlap list, but it's surprisingly short this year. Most of these just happen to be 2015 movies that I happened to see recently. Ranked, as usual, from worst to best.

10. The Ridiculous 6
Adam Sandler not even phoning it in, but rather telling everybody else to barely sell the lamest Western gags in the history of cinema. 

9. Ctrl Alt Delete
Got access to some kind of screener or something? This is not a real movie. It's a passion project -- or maybe it was an assignment. Anyway, nobody will ever see this. Good luck even finding it. Anyway it's about a zombie virus or something maybe?

8. Cop Car
Freaky-deaky Kevin Bacon chases a couple of weirdo kids because they hiliariously stole his car.

7. The Hateful Eight
Very long. Mafia-esque. Also very The Thing. No redeeming characters, which isn't something I complain about often. Not so much invested in the conflict. When someone's head gets blown off, not happy or sad about it in the context of the lines that are drawn. Western dialogue not quite spot on. Kind of phony in the same way Shakespearean dialogue seems phony. Took me a while to realize it, but Kurt Russell is certainly channeling John Wayne (perhaps better than the guy I get him confused with, Jeff Bridges, did in True Grit). Anyway, don't worry, I still like all of Tarantino's other stuff.

6. Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police
Documentary on The Police from Andy Summers. He does not have good things to say about Sting.
 
5. She's Funny That Way
Peter Bogdonovich farce that's sorta fun, but hardly What's Up Doc? 

4. The Revenant
Long like Hateful Eight. Cold. Simple, but simply done perfectly. Tom Hardy has the conviction of the assiest hole right to the end. The true showcase is that Lubiesck cinematographer guy. 

3. Bone Tomahawk
A Western. Search party. Guy gets ripped in half. 

2. Anomalisa
Puppets! Also, the saddest. 

1. Straight Outta Compton
A lovely picture about young entrepreneurs moving up in life. Also, guns and AIDS! 

The 49 old movies I saw in 2016!


Alrighty, this section is just the older movies I saw for the very first time this last year. Again, worst to best. The year of each movie is listed in parentheses.

49. The Velvet Vampire (1971)
48. Wake in Fright (1971)
47. Long Live Death (1971)
46. Monsters (2010)
45. Balls of Fury (2007)
44. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
43. Devil Fish (1984)
42. Adult World (2013)
41. The Brothers Solomon (2007)
40. Drunken Master (1978)
39. Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973)
38. American Gangster (2007)
37. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
36. Night Shift (1982)
35. The Uninvited (2009)
34. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
33. The Vanishing (US) (1993)
32. Belladonna of Sadness (1973)
31. Stone Cold (1991)
30. Handel's Messiah (2014)
29. Children of the Corn (1984)
28. Flight of the Navigator (1986)
27. The World's Greatest Athlete (1973)
26. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
25. Body Double (1984)
24. Time Chasers (1994)
23. The Campaign (2012)
22. The Fury (1978)
21. Akira (1988)
20. Scary Movie 3 (2003)
19. Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS (Part 1) (2014)
18. Cruel Intentions (1999)
17. Sunrise (1927)
16. The Hustler (1961)
15. Videodrome (1983)
14. Short Term 12 (2013)
13. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
12. Re-Animator (1985)
11. The Legend of Hell House (1973)
10. The Vanishing (Spoorloos) (1988)
9. Double Indemnity (1944)
8. Misery (1990)
7. Husbands and Wives (1992)
6. Capricorn One (1977)
5. They Live (1988)
4. Paths of Glory (1957)
3. Sherlock Jr. (1924)
2. The Commitments (1991)
1. Gimme Shelter (1970)


Revisited movies watched in 2016!

Here's the ranking of all the movies I had already seen, but watched again. Most are gems! That's why I watched 'em again!

35. Knuckle (2011)
34. The 'Burbs (1989)
33. Major League (1989)
32. Clerks (1994)
31. The Island at the Top of the World (1974)
30. Election (1999)
29. Let Me In (2010)
28. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
27. Bowfinger (1999)
26. Lethal Weapon (1987)
25. White Christmas (1954)
24. Room 237 (2012)
23. Legend (1985)
22. SLC Punk (1998)
21. Let the Right One In (2008)
20. Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (1989)
19. Oldboy (2003)
18. Fight Club (1999) 
17. Return of the Jedi (1983)
16. Snowpiercer (2013)
15. Boogie Nights (1997)
14. Blue Ruin (2013)
13. MacGruber (2010)
12. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
11. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
10. Whiplash (2014)
9. Love Actually (2003)
8. Trainspotting (1996)
7. Ghostbusters (1984)
6. Point Break (1991)
5. Highlander (1986)
4. The Shining (1980)
3. What's Up Doc? (1972)
2. Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Silly facts and stats of the 2016 movie-watching year that only I care about!

Total number of movies seen: 189
Total number of 2016 movies seen: 82 (some more than once)
Total number of non-2016 movies seen: 99
Year of oldest movie: 1924 (Sherlock Jr.)
Total number of movies seen more than once within 2016: 7
Most popular theater: Broadway Theatre (29 showings)
Biggest movie-watching month: January (26 movies (thanks Sundance and 24-hour movie marathon!)
Smallest movie-watching month: October (7 movies (very weird -- must've forgotten the usual slate of horror this year (it also means because of my Moviepass, I actually spent like 40 bucks on the one movie I saw in the cinema in October -- Masterminds (which REALLY sucks in so many ways)))
Movie seen most in 2016: Sing Street (4x)
Movies seen with others: 52
Movies seen alone: 137 (Sadder every year! (but not really -- we're not supposed to talk during movies anyway))
Movies seen at the cinema (excluding Sundance showings): 84 (thanks Moviepass!)
Movies seen on Netflix: 32
Movies seen on DVD: 27
Movies seen at Sundance: 5 (I got sick and missed my showings of Sing Street AND The Lobster!)
Movies seen at the annual 24-hour movie marathon: 11
Movies seen on an airplane: 0
Movies seen on Amazon Prime: 8
Movies seen on Hulu: 7
Movies seen on Blu-ray: 4
Movies seen on YouTube: 3 
Movies seen on straight-up broadcast TV: 2
Movies seen on HBOGo: 2
Movies seen on iTunes: 1

If you've read this far, let me know. I'd love to hear from you.



Friday, December 23, 2016

Airing of Grievances 2016

And thus here is my annual Airing of Grievances. Look upon them and weep! Or just feel great. Either way. We’ll all die eventually, so no big.

If you listened to my chat with Rhett, there are a couple of things I forgot about, so I’m going to start out with those.

Soap dispenser at work-
So we have this brand new building, see? Within this building we have these brand new soap dispensers that magically dispense soap without us needing to touch anything. I guess that technology has been around for a little while. But anyway, this particular dispenser continues to dispense for a second past my hand being there. This means I’m inclined to NOT take my hand away to prevent the wasting of soap. This also means that I wind up wasting a lot more soap because it never stops as long as my hand is still there. I suppose this wouldn’t be a problem for all you normals, but I simply cannot just let any errant soap go down the drain. Waste!

Walking to work-
I walk to work every day. I’m not really an environmentalist, but the work parking garage is far enough away from our actual building that I can safely say I walk to work every day. The cold walk to our big round building is a lot like that scene in Star Wars where the tractor beam is slowly pulling in the Millennium Falcon to the big round building. Also, this long walk is peak discomfort as I debate whether or not to pass other fellow trudgers. It takes a long time to pass someone while walking and you need to commit to it. I’m just surprised people can walk as slow as they do when it’s as cold as it is in the morning. More on the parking garage later.

Big careful trucks-
I get your need to be propped up in a big giant truck to establish your cromulence over others. I don’t understand your fear of the truck breaking down if you hit a bump or dip at anything beyond 5 miles an hour. How delicate is your beast? What’s the point of having the power if your precious is immobilized by an incline of a few inches? Unmanly!

“I nearly forgot!”-
I often see this phrase in books. It’s always after someone FULLY forgot something after being reminded of something. Hey, don’t try to save yourself! You forgot. Completely. Hardly a save. Just own up fully. Own up!

Parking garages-
No good reason to drive fast in parking garages. Especially since I’m usually walking at a much slower pace than most cars (although still quite briskly). Anyway, I’ve got to “cross the street” often to get out of the garage, so maybe if you’re not doing 60 to get to your precious parking spot, you’ll have less of a shot of winging me in the process. Additionally, there are fewer escape areas for pedestrians than cars. I wanna get out of there more than cars, but (and I’m mostly thinking of my work parking garage again) there is only one set of stairs to get out and it’s across several driving lane equivalents. Irresponsible!

The myth of stairs-
Of course sometimes the stairs escape isn’t even an option. Hey check this out. Next time you go to City Creek go park on one of the lower levels. Head to the elevator vestibule and push the button to call the elevator. During the eight minutes it takes for the elevator to finally arrive, observe the signage just above the elevator call button. It says “IN CASE OF FIRE USE STAIRWAY FOR EXIT. DO NOT USE ELEVATORS.” Got it? Alright, now pivot your body slightly to the left. Observe the map of the parking garage. Notice that in the map legend there is an icon for stairs. Now notice the map. THERE ARE NO STAIRS IN THE GARAGE. Really? You bother to put in an icon for where the stairs would be. You bother to put a warning to take the stairs in certain conditions. You don’t bother to actually have stairs. I suppose signs are easier to build than stairs, but c’mon, man. I’m an American. I should have the stairs option. Deserved!

Pedestrians-
I’m not usually racist, but I hate pedestrians and I know I labeled myself one a bit ago. Most walk slower in front of cars. Some walk so slow that my sarcastic response yell is always “Hey! Walk slower! See if it’s possible!” Trashy!

Wide left turns-
This may sound too Costanza-ish, but we’re living in a society! This society has laws. Some think they’re extraordinary enough to break the laws in the least extraordinary ways. Stick to your lanes, ESPECIALLY when turning left. Just because you want to be in the right lane, that doesn’t mean you have a right to it. Don’t be all cool and spread wide on your left turn into the wrong lane, just because the person in front of you knows his/her place. You turn wide and you’re right in someone’s blind spot. That someone probably wants to be right where you are. Hey, also, you’re cutting off people turning right from oncoming traffic. Look, just stay in your lane. Selfish!

Werecar-
My car apparently starts by itself and sits there idling sometimes. Very weird.

Being used to the snow killing people-
It’s quite hilarious that we Utahns make fun of other states for closing schools and businesses whenever a single inch of snow falls. In the meantime, we crash all the time in the snow. We’re no better. We murder each other and we just congratulate each other for being used to it. Sad!

The Bachelor/Bachelorette-
Allow me to be plenty judgmental (you’ve done great so far). Honestly, I’ve never seen an episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, so I can’t gauge how fun it actually is to watch. Perhaps it’s the most pleasurable thing in the world, I don’t know. Regardless, I’m just amazed that such shows exist this late in society. Well sure, it’s consenting adults involved. Please keep in mind that lots of Roman gladiators were also consenting adults. I’ll bet lots of their viewers figured it was okay to observe them with that in mind. Also, I kind of assumed selling people off into relationships for money is something society would have outgrown, I dunno, a thousand years ago -- regardless of how fun it is to watch or how fun it is to make fun of.

Sports-
The net gain will always be negative. Your team can’t win the championship every year. And if they do -- poseur!

Um-
I say “um” way too much. Also “like.” I need to get over both of these. Until I get myself a shock collar, please slap me when I’m excessive with these words.

Don’t complete my sentences-
You may be dealing with lots of “um”s and “like”s, but don’t finish my sentences for me. You’re obviously not my soul mate. I’m a lonely lonely man and you don’t know me. What I say will be a surprise to you. Unique!

Shish kabobs-
Hey you know what vegetables don’t need? A bone to eat them off of. I don’t want to eat these veggies and tiny pieces of meat in the order you give me. I don’t like that my food smells like gasoline. Gross!

YouTube not freezing vid window-
So when you watch something on YouTube, why doesn’t the video window freeze in place so I can glance at all the comments, descriptions and related videos while I’m actually watching the video? In order to do that I need to bring the same video up on a different device and hold them up to each other. Inefficient!

Studio head critiquing-
New term! Maybe it will catch on! If you consider yourself a film, TV, book or music critic, don’t take the job of the studio head in considering what the masses should think of a piece of art or media. Just tell me what YOU think. It’s not your job to assume what I may think. That’s just for rotten, old, out of touch businessmen to do. Don’t be them, especially when you don’t need to.

School presentation critiquing-
Another new term! Hey if you’re a critic, or even just a person who thinks about things, don’t look for the symbolism in a work and THEN use that to determine how you THINK you might feel about it. You’re likely doing that to appear smart rather than letting the film or whatever speak to you organically. It works or it doesn’t. Once you determine that, figure out why. Don’t just look for stuff because you’re treating your film watching or whatever media event as an assignment.

People who tweet everything-
I’ve only got so much time, so make it worth it. We’re all celebrities now with stuff to say, so be courteous to the populace. This goes with other social media as well. If you spew a lot, maybe take the time to suck in a lot. Responsibility!

Kids everywhere-
When I was a kid there weren’t so many kids everywhere. Also, now they randomly dart out a lot more than they used to. They’re just everywhere now. Too many kids now. Unfair!

People who occupy too much space-
This goes far beyond mere obesity. This also involves people who simply aren’t mindful of the space they take up. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe they’re too mindful to the point that they use broad gestures and loud voices to annex more space than they deserve. Not cool, loud space-taking people. You’re literally wastes of space. I’m sick of you bumping into me because you’re too jovial to watch where you’re boisterously shambling. Not good!

“White Christmas” by The Drifters-
Annoying version of the song. It tries much to hard to being grating (and succeeds). Lousy!

White Christmas the movie-
Bing Crosby helps that old general by bringing in all these entertainers from the big city AND a bunch of army guys from the old army platoon to put on a show. The cost of bringing that big throng into town just to take up space in the hotel pretty much prevented any other possible hotel-goers. Bing Crosby should have just given that money right to the general and then maybe some decent Vermont vacationers could have stayed in the hotel without it being booked. Also, the whole movie is way more of an army movie than a Christmas movie. War machine!

Love Actually-
Am I really supposed to believe that the school Christmas pageant is December 24th? What kind of nightmare are you Brits living in if you have school responsibilities a mere couple of hours before Christmas Day? Zero stars!

Reading aloud-
Hey, if you need to read anything aloud, don’t be a drama queen when you come to a word or name you’ve never seen before. No need to call it out. Chances are it uses at least some of the same 26 letters you’ve been using for the past forever and they still make the same sounds. Pretend you’re way back in first grade and sound out each letter one after the other. It’s called reading and you can do it. Literacy!

Femsplaining-
This is kind of like mansplaining, but it’s when women are patronizing to ME. Vexing!

New complaint department-
So apparently, we’re just a territory of Russia now. That sucks enough, but what REALLY bugs me is that I don’t even know who to complain to about it. Our government? NATO? The League of Nations? Perhaps I need to DM PEOTUS directly. I only have one shot before I get blocked though, so I guess I better chart out the complaint now. Also, it’s been pointed out to me that it’s just really annoying that this is the weird way the Cold War ends. Terrifying!

ROI-
Say at work there’s this metal arm that’s above my desk and it’s sparking and every few minutes it randomly punches me in the face. Say I put in a request to get the malfunctioning robot arm removed. That’s usually when the response back is something like “I dunno. Could you explain how the money to remove this item would be a good return on investment for the rest of the company?” Business!

Outlook-
Email is stupid. Especially when it doesn’t send because your outbox is full. It’s very very troubling how many times this has happened to me. Outlook needs to actually send me a message telling me I’m not sending messages. Embarrassing!

Labor-
I don’t think work is its own reward. Progress is something else entirely. We’ve innovated enough that nearly all of our needs are taken care of automatically. That leaves us to look busy to justify our own survival. We build things just to throw them away so that cash flows through society’s pipes. Some say hard work and fierce competition is what causes progress. That probably applies to a few, but lots of us are just trying not to die. Let’s just survive. We can cut the work week down to a few hours. Everyone can use the extra time to take up painting. And yes, I understand that if everybody suddenly became a painter that there would be a huge demand for painting supplies. Fine. Everybody work a few more minutes to get some painting supplies. Renaissance!

Life as a game-
We’ve really gotten used to thinking of life itself as a game. We use terms like “getting ahead” and “winners and losers” to describe how well we’re doing at living. It’s very American to say that winning is the only thing. We keep track of all our events and all our battles, but in the end it’s just about a bunch of numbers. We consider people who work service jobs as unsuccessful even though we require their services for our own survival. What if we grew up a little bit and determined that playtime is over? The allegory of the game is done and the meaning of life isn’t to win, but to help each other out as long as we’re here? Maybe we’d all come out on top. Winning!

Dark matter-
I read today that there are probably 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe. I also read that 95% of the universe is dark matter. The universe is vast. It’s dark. It’s very real. I think my biggest grievance is that the times I’m completely overcome with fear are also the times that have the most reality to them -- the most truth. Grievance is normal. It’s not the new normal. It’s the eternal normal. Our little bit of warm light is the anomaly. It’s the fun, distracting mutation. Keep up with the distractions. We can all use the sheen of smiles in the midst of oblivion. Happy Festivus, everyone!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Movies: 2015

Alrighty folks. Prep yourselves for a New Year's Day reading full of incorrect cinematic opinion. This here's the full report. Full disclosure: I have not had a chance to see The Hateful Eight yet. I imagine it would be inserted somewhere in the top 15, but it's presumptuous to say anything at this point.

Anyway, we're gonna break this baby up into a few separate sections. First off:

2015 Movies


Here's the big list. These are the 94 movies I saw that have 2015 as the release year on either IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes. You'll notice some of these were up for Academy Awards last year, but some are justified because of separate release dates.

94 Knock Knock
This ridiculous horror movie I saw at Sundance involves hot girls invading the house of Keanu Reeves refusing to leave until he sleeps with them. Keanu actually called the girls "heroic" in the Q&A. I thought the story was leading toward examining the practice of the "gotcha" practice of society to instigate into bad action for the purposes of ridicule, but by the end the actions are justified because all men give in and destroy the family when temptation arises. If I could just disagree with what Keanu said, even his WIFE would have given in to these girls. Entrapment isn't heroic. Pretty girls though.

93 Aloha
Cameron Crowe movie about a jerk Bradley Cooper juggling an old married sweetheart Rachel McAdams and naive military officer Emma Stone in the most unscenic parts of Hawaii. I'm not kidding there are like four times in the movie where to show how attractive Emma Stone is, she puts her back toward Bradley Cooper and looks behind one shoulder at him with a pouty, demure face. The movie's trouble and also insincere. There are several speeches meant to convince characters of something important that simply have no soul or persuasion to them. The movie tells us the words are convincing, but the movie just lies. Unconvincingly.

92 The Lazarus Effect
Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde and a bunch of others don't do much to make this mad scientist horror movie interesting. Also Evan Peters and Donald Glover are in this. What else can I say? I saw it at the Valley Fair theater and they leave the lights slightly on the whole movie and it's a terrible thing. Also this movie is about the consequences of bringing the dead back to life. Spoiler. The consequences are bad. They're bad consequences.

91 The Overnight
Before I went into this one, somebody told me it has a lot of penis in it. I'm an adult, so I was like whatever. Little did I know that the plot of The Overnight is simply a guy comparing his junk to another guy's.

90 Oscar Nominated Live-action Shorts
These are always lamer than they should be. I only watch them to get an edge on my Academy Awards pick 'em contest. It's like the filmmakers know they're limited by time, so they strive to make the shorts as boring as possible. I say this every year.

89 The Bronze
Moments of comedy. Funny accents. Looking back over the year, this is considered a lowbrow movie that came out of Sundance. I laughed, but this type of mean-spirited humor directed toward perceived low-level celebrity will likely be extinct as something notable for the next few years. Also, Cecily Strong plays a pretty straight role, which is a shame. They probably wanted to keep her reigned in because if they gave her something comedic, she'd too easily upstage everybody.

88 Stockholm, Pennsylvania
Annoyinger in hindsight. Cynthia Nixon is overly dramatic. Needs more flashbacks maybe? What's up with 2015 being the year that women are held captive weirdos' dungeons? Anyway, this movie tries to play with the idea of a prison among the so-called salvation of family. Cute as a concept, but hardly able to pull off the hefty message it's going for.

87 True Story
Was this a true story? I think it was, but it was also a boring story. So boring, that they pretty much had to put that "based on true events" tag within the actual title itself. Seriously, who was in this? Was it Jonah Hill and James Franco? Pretty sure at least Jonah Hill was in it. What was the story again? It's different than that interview story with Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segal, right? Oh right. I just looked it up. Franco sort of pretends to be Jonah Hill, but nothing much happens after that. I guess this one didn't stick with me.

86 Black Mass
If nothing else, Black Mass educated me on the ridiculous story of Whitey Bulger. The movie is sort of infuriating in a way, but maybe most of that goes to how angry I am that the monster was able to do what he did just because a sniveling old friend seems to have joined the FBI just to impress said monster. Perhaps the movie should have pointed out the unnecessary waste of it all just a bit more.

85 Jurassic World
Fun while it lasted while watching it, but I've been thinking of it ever since and I'm pretty annoyed that it did as well as it did as underwhelming as it is. What did that babysitter do to anyone? Why was that death so drawn out? Aren't movies like this supposed to pose questions about the danger of humanity's need to see bigger and terribler things? Hard to point out the foibles of the greedy humans in this movie looking for grisly spectacles when that's exactly all the film provides.

84 The D Train
A Jack Black movie about the importance of high school glories. Yeah, this theme is in a movie AGAIN. Tonally doesn't really get its footing. A comedy about past glories paired with awkward sexual manipulation. I'm not exactly sure when to laugh.

83 Chuck Norris Vs Communism
Crazy documentary about bootlegging silly Western films beyond the iron curtain. The communists put more importance on censoring themselves than the bootlegs. The bootlegs were just too fun for the authorities. Corruption for the win.

82 While We're Young
Noah Baumbach may be a younger and fresher Woody Allen, but when the influence is this obvious, it simply doesn't sit well with me. I may actually be resistant to movies about a culture gap between the ages because I so very much don't want to consider myself as old as I am. Besides that, I feel the movie doesn't speak to me as much as it thinks it says.

81 Staten Island Summer
I'm a Saturday Night Live freak, so it's fun to see so many of its players in a filmy grain. Not much here though. It feels like a goofy long weekend where Colin Jost, Cecily Strong, Bobby Moynihan, etc. got together to film something they didn't think would be seen. I'll say again, Cecily Strong really needs a sweet movie role. Somebody make it happen. Ashley Greene is in this one and looks pretty swell.

80 Diary of a Teenage Girl
Hoo boy. That teenage girl in the title certainly enjoys all the whoopie. I wasn't expecting such an explicit movie. Lots of critics adore this film, but also lots of critics are gross, pervy weirdos. The movie isn't complete exploitation. Praise to writing the character as complete and in charge of her own decisions and all that. I suppose the real conflict is between her and the audience who hope she learns more quickly.

79 Crimson Peak
Not quite a horror movie, but more of a Gothic romance with horror elements. Sure, it was marketed wrong, but you know what would have helped? If it were actually a good Gothic romance. I feel like Guillermo Del Toro hasn't really struck something fascinating ever since his Americanization.

78 Selma
Even though it came out in January, this is sort of last year's movie and I'm sure you saw it. I certainly don't hate this movie, but I also don't see much regarding an interesting presentation of the events. Although one image does retain on my mind. Remember that white mounted policeman who actually brandished a whip to break up the gathering? Did that guy actually exist? Hey guy, if you're still alive, what were you thinking there? Your racism is abhorrent, but you're certainly gonna need to be a bit more subtle than that.

77 The Stanford Prison Experiment
Another aggravating instance of a story that I hated because it's so unbelievable, but I can't level that charge because it's actually a true story. One thing I can complain about is how it obviously paints the creator of this sadistic experiment as an irresponsible, unscrupulous weirdo, but then says in the texty part at the end that he was actually very well respected even after this atrocity. Kind of weird that the filmmakers don't do a good job of deciding how he ought ot be portrayed. Anyway, even though this thing actually happened, I'm still unconvinced of its veracity. I mean, why go through all the trouble to be so cruel to each other? When does laziness come in?

76 Mississippi Grind This one's about a couple of career gamblers that meet, partner up and then road trip it toward a hopefully better life. The title is quite fitting. It feels like a grind, not so much because these characters are having a lousy time, but the plot is set to skid with the same basic events happening over and over. I kind of feel that the tragedy is that there isn't enough tragedy. Perhaps it could some more extreme moments one way or the other. It tries to be tepidly dark while still maintaining the thrill of these guys' addictions.

75 Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts
At least these ones have unique animation styles -- unlike the live action shorts.

74 Pioneers' Palace
A weird special screening I saw at Sundance. Filmed in seven days. One of the women in the movie showed to the Q&A wearing only a jacket. Cute chick totally pulled it off. Director claims this movie is about the strange 90-percent job turnover in Romania after the fall of communism. Actual film a lot more tight knit. Focused on some kids and sex and prostitution and hand grenades and AIDS. Too much freedom, the director said. Kids also took over the school to have a prom.

73 Maps to the Stars
Cronenberg weirdness that takes place in the fakery of Hollywood. Was this the one with Nicole Kidman on the toilet? Okay, I just looked it up. It's actually Julianne Moore on the toilet. I'm sort of remembering a horrifyingly bratty Hollywood kid in it as well. Anyway, it's obviously non-memorable, but since it's Cronenberg it's uniquely horrifying for a non-horror movie about Hollywood phonies.

72 The Search for General Tso
I think I may have watched way too many Netflix documentaries this year. I love the general's chicken, so this movie could have really been helped by smell-o-vision. Ultimately, a fun history lesson about the evolution of Chinese immigrants in this country and also how Chinese culture has adjusted itself in the last century.

71 American Sniper
Technically this is last year's film, but none of us saw it until it hit wide release in the early part of this year. I don't remember much of it, but I seem to think they should have dwelled way more on an internal struggle rather than shuffling it off on the end. We all saw this one. What did you think?

70 The Wrecking Crew
Another harmless Netflix documentary that will enlighten you! This one's about the session musician backbone of the recording community that had a hand in shaping the sound of pretty much all music in the second half of the 20th century. Not much to write about here, but I'm not saying that as an insult. I'm saying it because there's only so much I can say about great music. The pleasure is in the hearing, not the reading.

69 Kingsman: The Secret Service
Samuel Jackson is a highlight playing a crazy Bill Gates-type with a plan to destroy the world. Kind of an intriguing villain motiviation to eliminate overpopulation so a small chunk of humanity can survive it. The hero is a punk, but he literally saves a cat to get him on our side.

68 Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot
This is just unearthed home movies from the making of Wet Hot American Summer. Pretty much crazy time machine voyeurism peering at young versions of people who are famous now. It's not on the list, but I highly recommend the TV version of Wet Hot American Summer. It's not a movie, but it's a cultural event of 2015 that I'm going to take the opportunity to mention on my movie list. Jon Hamm's amazing in it.

67 Inherent Vice
It's got a dreamy quality, but I can't help but think it got away with more than it deserved because it's a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. Ultimately it's good fun, but good fun that doesn't much matter with how unreliable the narration is.

66 Tig
About cancer, but harmless enough. I seem to recall that Tig got herself a pretty cute girlfriend. A nice story, but it seriously lacks much footage (even audio footage) of Tig's famous cancer-reveal stand-up act that's apparently super famous. Anybody know where I can get a hold of THAT?

65 Vacation
I don't hate this one too much. Not as much as many. I actually really appreciated the psychotic younger brother. The Ed Helms character certainly isn't the same Anthony Michael Hall/Jason Lively/Johnny Galecki/Ethan Embry version of Rusty that we've all grown to love. If nothing else, Christina Applegate should be in five comedies a year. Superb, funny chick.

64 Focus
I'll always watch a con movie -- and a con movie where I get to stare at Margot Robie is always a pleasure. However, like just about every other con movie, the con itself is beyond practical and as a result far from memorable.

63 48-hour best-of We didn't win anything this year, so whatever. Nice to see the local talent though. Cam and Maxim won the whole gig, so that's exciting.

62 Tangerine
Grim and raw, but sassy. This thing was shot on an iPhone. I certainly didn't see all the quality an iPhone has to offer up on the screen. I definitely found this one charming enough. It involves a couple of transgender hookers in Hollywood and their day searching out a cheating boyfriend. Moments of humor among some straightforward brutal reality, but I'm amazed that this is the big movie from Sundance that's making best of lists nearly a year later. I may need to see it again, but I tend to think the people holding this one up so high are actually wrong about it.

61 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Clever on these movie makers to split the last sucky book into two movies and then put all the good that could be squeezed out into the first of the two. Unfortunately, this is the second and all the energy is gone and all the characters are tired. I mean that both in the sense that I'm tired of them and also they look legitimately tired as they're doing this movie. The sewer part with the video game zombies was sort of intense, but the part with the black liquid that fills the courtyard? Look how uninterested Jennifer Lawrence and the cast are while they're slightly jogging out of the way. We always talk about how fake CGI stuff looks and how it's flat and meaningless, but we often don't talk about an even worse casualty. These big budget computer generated monstrosities do a number on our beloved actors. Sure we can make the death tar look real, but it's not real for the actors. They're forced to pretend more than usual and likely not given the proper information they need because the look of the menace that's added in later may not even exist yet. It's unfair to them, but more importantly, it deprives us of being able to feel alongside the actors. Also about the movie (spoilers), I really don't know why they could have just made the correct choice around the conference table rather than needing to do this big dramatic climax scene.

60 The End of the Tour
I nearly bought Infinite Jest after seeing this movie. Perhaps if the movie were better, I would have gone through with it. Has anybody read that book? I'd like to know how great it is. Anyway, the movie isn't a film version of that book, but it's about a famous interview with that author hampered by the jealousy of the interviewer. Great writers tend to be jealous of each other, but movie-goers such as myself rarely find much within writers' conversations.

59 Best of Enemies
A look at the Gore Vidal/William F. Buckley televised political debates during party conventions that I didn't know existed until I heard of this movie. Pretty interesting that ABC started the template of cutting corners in coverage by merely having people argue. Personally, I kind of feel that such debates can bring more value than just displaying whatever is said at a convention. Obviously things have swung too far in that direction since.

58 Once I Was a Beehive
I don't hate this Mormon movie, but that's not actually saying something. For the most part, I really love Mormon movies. Good move, Mormon movie, to have the main character being the straight non-member woman to witness all the chaos and absurdity that is girls' camp. Also kudos to somehow navigating toward the heart beyond the chaos. Awww. One of the campers is really cute and I felt terrible about it until I found out she's a producer for the movie so she must be far older than she's playing.

57 Cinderella
This expansion on the story everyone knows hits on a great idea to give the evil stepmother the same set of choices as our heroine. The opportunity could have been salvaged more by allowing a more nuanced result rather than full-on villainy. Still, the best elements of the movie fable are within the simplicity. Be brave and be kind.

56 The Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Avengers came out this year? I coulda swore it was last year. Hmm. Let me think. I'm glad to see Quicksilver (although he was way better in the X-Men movie), Scarlet Witch and Vision. Here's hoping for the next one they pull a Her and start up a romance with the latter two. 'Tis a shame that Spader is forced to be a villain without his actual physical sneer and Pretty in Pink preppie rayon jacket. They sure attack a lot of cities in those movies. I wonder if there's a way to have an exciting Avengers movie where that doesn't happen.

55 The Nightmare
Apparently there's this thing called "sleep paralysis" where peoples' bodies go into extreme paralysis while they have vivid waking nightmares where shadowy demon monsters come into the bedroom to torture them. So pretty much this movie is people talking about how terrifying their lives are every time they go to sleep. You want re-enactments? You got 'em! Freaky stuff. Also unfair. Sorry everyone out there with sleep paralysis!

54 Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
Maybe some things are better unsaid. This may be a bit weird, but while it's intriguing to see such raw footage of Kurt Cobain, I preferred things more before I saw him in all his intimacy. I miss the legend maybe. All that asinine home movie footage actually seems to take away from the character somehow. Shoot. I know I'm wrong about this.

53 The Peanuts Movie
Oh right, this is another thing that happened. I'm a giant foolish supporter of Peanuts as a strip, so the movie filled me with trepidation before seeing it because I was worried it wouldn't supply the needed amount of clinical depression that I discovered so early in those old newspaper strips. The movie actually tackles it a bit more than expected (not so much of this hippie-era "Happiness Is" Peanuts garbage). Surprising that it's exclusively a winter story. If it's miraculously a series of movies, the next one surely about baseball could be a serious hoot, especially if they tap into the theological discussions on the mound properly. The movie needs more Violet as well, but I'm still happy my favorite Peanuts girl still gets some representation here.

52 Sisters
John Cena stands out as the amazing drug dealer. Otherwise, there are some enjoyable parts. It's a bit too harmless, though. Not nearly enough Pohlery or Fey-y. It feels like they were just hired to present their faces and not their favorable comedy intellects. Bagging aside, those are complaints I heard about it before seeing it. It doesn't seem very Pohler or Fey, but the funny parts are still funnier than anticipated.

51 The DUFF
Saw this at the beginning of the year, so I don't remember it too well, but it certainly fulfils my yearly allottment of high school ugly duckling who finds out she's great after all movies.

50 Bridge of Spies
Didn't realize it's a literal bridge. This movie is super adequate. Mark Rylance for the win. Not a fan of Tom Hanks calling running over five motorcyclists a "single incident." Sure, it sets up his logic for later, but that's still a pretty jerk insurance move. I forgot until I looked it up just now that the Coen brothers wrote this thing. They either reigned back or were perhaps heavily edited, because only the Mark Rylance character seems especially Coen-y. Maybe such a straightforward movie such as this wouldn't have much use for the Coen quirk. I would have liked to have seen it though, since the movie could use more memorable events.

49 Creed
Not my favorite. I'm pretty alone on this. Many critics put this one on their best-of lists. Didn't hate it. The single-shot bout is very impressive and worth talking about. Other aspects though, are stale rather than fresh. Kind of like Star Wars, this year's Rocky is more of a remake than a rejuvination -- especially in how we know it's gonna end. This is especially an easily-seen misstep when that's the direction Rocky Balboa, the previous film in the franchise, takes as well (weirdly, the end of The Force Awakens (also the seventh in the series) takes cues from Return of the Jedi (the previous installment there as well). Anyway, Creed is good, but personally I feel the real Rocky renaissance is actually with Rocky Balboa and not this one.

48 Z for Zachariah
Fairly straightforward and just like the book up to the point that Captain Kirk arrives. I've gone on record over and over again that I don't mind divergence from the book to the screen. This little piece is worth noting though. I've read the book and it's about the last two people on earth. The one thing I knew about the movie is that it has a cast of three. I'm actually a bit astounded that they'd be able to make such a drastic plot change and still keep the book's title. As I type this, I consider the added complexity that comes with multiple characters. At the same time I think of the diminishment of the woman character reduced to choosing between two men. I suppose the added character helps the movie totally break even.

47 Led Zeppelin (Fathom Event)
This isn't really a movie. Just some Led Zeppelin concert footage. Still melted my face, though. Obviously. Zeppelin rules!

46 Sam Klempke's Time Machine
This bizarre movie cobbles together the found footage of an ancient vlogger of sorts who provided a video journal of most of his old life interspersed with philosophy about Voyager probe.The movie pretty much goes through the same years of my own life. Not the most memorable thing I've ever seen, but it did hit me at a pretty personal level. Very sad to see the years repeating the way they do in Sam Klempke's life as well as my own.

45 An Honest Liar
If I have one weakness, it's movies about magicians. This documentary really focuses on one magician's philosophy to expose charlatans. It's a great combination of the wonder of magic along with the thrill of a crusade. The movie teases that this man has a deep dark secret, but it's not too mind-blowing. The other aspects of his life are far more interesting.

44 Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon
The documentary about the inception and first years of National Lampoon Magazine. The movie's chop full of fascinating info (including very early details about original Saturday Night Live players), but  the delivery is a bit overly obnoxiously kinetic with documentary quick images and incessant music.

43 Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine
So yeah, there were two Steve Jobs movies this year. This is the other one -- the documentary. It's actually more of an expose. This movie does not paint a positive portrait of the guy at all. They packed every negative element of Steve Jobs possible to the point that I got the impression that if you own an Apple product, you're killing children in China. After the movie was over, I avoided my usual practice and didn't  check my iPhone in front of the other movie patrons out of pure shame.

42 Call Me Lucky
Documentary about a comedian. Do you know who Barry Crimmins is? Since you don't, I'm not going to elaborate too much more. There's a surprising twist in this guy's story that explains his animosity toward so many institutions. The link between anger and humor is always fascinating to me and makes more and more sense the older I get.

41 American Ultra
Probably shouldn't write about this Jesse Eisenberg stoner action comedy because I Redboxed it at like 3 in the morning. Perhaps that's the best condition in which to watch, actually. There's an obvious sense of homage to the Bourne movies, which actually works pretty well with the stoner characterization that tends not to usually go with that secret agent type. I don't hate Kristen Stewart in this one! In fact, they're sort of a great couple. I just read over Jesse Eisenberg's stoned-out soliloquy about the car and the tree and it's quite touching, really.

40 Buzzard
"You work here? You come in here to close your checking account and re-open it again, causing all sorts of questions, just so you can get the annual checking account sign-on bonus? You're doing all this and wasting my time... for 50 dollars in credit?" Thus begins Buzzard, a look at the worst of trashy, entitled, small-time opportunistic scum in Marty Jackitansky. Small-time is the real operative term here. The Napoleon Dynamite of petty crime has a much harder time with the acts worth noticing by the rest of society. In the meantime, try to get used to Marty. Spend some time with him. You'll find yourself hoping for his success and his lifelong incarceration often within the same scene.

39 99 Homes
Very good, but a bloody burden to watch. Spider-Man humiliatingly joins General Zod to evict people from homes in the midst of the housing crisis. Opportunity knocks in horrible ways. Zod does a great job of pointing out that "only so many people can make it on the Ark."

38 Unfriended
This horror film takes place entirely on a computer screen. Skype, IM, Facebook, the whole works. It still works. I liked the gimmick a whole lot actually. It's as believable as possible. Also a little fun knowing that in the future dumb teens can get murdered without bothering to get up off the couch.

37 Faults
If I have one weakness it's Mary Elizabeth Winstead. This one's unusual and certainly worth seeing. She needs to be cult- deprogrammed by this guy who can't really even hold his life together. It's got some great moments in the saddest, seriousest, patheticest ways possible.

36 Dope
Pretty lively inner-city drug opportunist comedy. I crushed  a bit on the lesbian tomboy. Great fun. The movie threw back a little too much. Like, it had Gameboys -- when was it supposed to take place? Got the feeling the nods to old school hip-hop were pandering and hardly organic to the needs of the setting.

35 Pitch Perfect 2
I legit like the Pitch Perfect movies. To everyone who refuses to see them, I'd like to use my Mad Max argument for just a sec. Just like Mad Max isn't just about cars (it's actually about awesome), the fun of Pitch Perfect isn't just about annoying singing. It's actually very enjoyable in spite of that. Remember, there are no bad genres. Only bad executions. That said, Pitch Perfect 2 isn't nearly as good as the first one. Still sorta like it though.

34 Trainwreck
I'd probably change the title. I believe Amy Schumer wasn't looking to make fun of herself when she made this. I mean, she's flawed, but hardly a trainwreck. I hope she makes a straight up trainwreck movie that pulls nothing all the way to the end. I'd watch that pretty hard. I don't mind where this one goes, though. I think she's accused of selling out a bit with her little end cheerleader routine to win back Bill Hader. I can see where people come from on this, but I respect her a bit for giving in rather forcing the fight. Of course, maybe I'm saying that because I prefer not to be threatened. That's why I feel Schumer's brand of tepid feminism humor can go further than other dialogues. I'm more likely to engage in the conversation when I'm not on the defensive. Also, strangely this is the second movie of the year where John Cena is the very obvious comedy highlight.

33 Irrational Man
These days Woody Allen's "good" movies are only about one in five. I'm a big enough fan that this one gets my annual Woody Allen auto-approval award. He revisits some of his really good stuff from Crimes and Misdemeanors and Match Point. It's lesser returns, but there are seeds of interest. It's sort of like one of the extreme scenarios from an ethics text book filmed adequately and without flashiness. Looks like Emma Stone is setting up camp in Woody Allen movies these days. Let's hope she gets something really good out of him before he loses his mortality.

32 Macbeth
Bloody brilliant (and bloody) to look at, but for me this version is hindered by the Shakespearean language as well as the Scottish language. Also, the delivery is decidedly the expected old school Shakespearean with its melodrama and is far from natural-sounding to me. This is easily offset by the brilliant visuals, often slow-motioned to the point of near standstill while bathed in a beautiful dusty yellow. Also, Marion Cotillard is a beautiful cryer -- and just beautiful in general. As is my favorite man, F. Assbender.

31 Sleeping with Other People
A bit obvious. Two people admit they're in love with each other. How long is it supposed to take to consummate? Sudeikis asides are never not funny. Brie is amazingly sexy (even though for some reason Sudeikis still has to say she's pretty like five times).

30 Ant-Man
I suppose it's worth it to see the incredible giant sets of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids again. We haven't seen a small world like this in a long time and I think there are still a lot of fun visions to see in this world. With each new iteration of Marvel movie, I really appreciate the new tone and variance of character. We'll all wonder how amazing the Edgar Wright version would have been, but I do appreciate the small spurts of diversity in style this one provides.

29 Mistress America
Despite what Adam Kempanaar says, this is the good Noah Baumbach movie of 2015. As far as this old man goes, this one better captures how young people are these days. The struggle isn't just for identification. The struggle also involves identification itself being a far greater daily weight. Also, this movie is sort of funny.

28 Inside Out
You saw this, so you know it's super good. I certainly feel for this little girl trying the best she can. It definitely brings back my own troubled teen memories (also my consistent and current adult memories). The thing I really have a hard time with though, is the actual, I don't know, bureaucracy I guess, of the brain itself as portrayed in the movie. It's supposed to simplify the way people think, right? But there are like five emotions (and some that I think are totally missing) along with core memories, value islands, thought trains, weird glowy marbles, strange creatures, different lands than the ones already mentioned and all sorts of weird random stuff. I hope they make a sequel to have someone go into this girl's brain to help organize the system.

27 Kung Fury
There really ought to be more 45-minute features. Also free ones on YouTube. I thought I was through with throwback cheese nostalgia pictures that try to be sort of lousy on purpose. Kung Fury renews my faith in silly throwback action with lousy effects. Besides being hilarious, Kung Fury makes me re-evaluate the value of immersive CGI. It actually seems to work in the right conditions. Maybe we ought to consider CGI strictly for fantastic levels of absurdity.

26 Results
This was on my list of movies to see at Sundance. I missed it there, but fortunately it's one of those minor films that goes right to Netflix once its distribution rights are sorted. It's a romantic comedy, but fortunately (like real life) it doesn't quite know it's a romantic comedy until well within the plot. I think the makers of this one did the exceptionally weird Computer Chess a couple of years ago. This one's way more straightforward, but is still impressive in its new (from what I can tell) type of story structure.

25 7 Days in Hell
Again, there oughtta be more 45-minute movies made, because this one has a much easier time sustaining the laughs than most feature-lengths. Andy Samburg and Jon Snow in the deuciest 7-day tennis match in history. It goes places. It goes everywhere imaginable.

24 Spectre
Certainly not destined to be a classic Bond film, although I feel that Sam Mendes was all "Okay, I made a beautiful, technically perfect Skyfall, so let me make an old crazy '60s-era Bond with trains and gowns and crazy conference tables populated by villain representatives." From that viewpoint, I really love this one. Bautista deserves better than what he gets here. Hopefully he's the 21st century Jaws. I've heard complaints about Lea Seydoux, but I love the throwback to the icy reception followed by the swelling violins of passion. The biggest disappointment is Christoph Waltz. The guy was born to play a Bond villain and he's wussy tame.

23 Slow West
Fassbender really Eastwoods it up in this one and that's not something to complain about. This weird western feels a bit more like a medieval fable in some ways. Salt in the wound so on the nose it just might work. Fassbender with a deathwish turns around with the hope of youth and the movie is capped at the end with a zen-like death coda of sorts.

22 Steve Jobs
I bag on Aaron Sorkin a lot. The dialogue draws too much attention to itself and pushes every character into the same Sorkin-type. Regardless, I still must admit that a great Sorkin walk and talk is still very stimulating as well as pleasurable. I do find it fascinating that so close after Jobs' death they're making all these movies about him -- and with far from flattering portraits. I really really like this one, but it is still a bit of a slight letdown. The triple crown of Aaron Sorkin, Danny Boyle and Michael Fassbender doesn't quite squeeze out all of the potential. Of course, just a small percentage of any one of those still yields a film worth seeing. Kudos to the bizarre story structure of strictly capturing the energy that comes in the minutes before major public presentations. Oh hey, I think this is the THIRD Fassbender movie on this list. Funny how they all kind of pile up together.

21 The Martian
Hey, I read this book! So yeah, just so you know, in the book, the guy, you know, TRAINED to do the space walk to help save the other guy? Yeah, he actually does the space walk. Because, you know, it makes sense. I really really am pissed off that Jessica Chastain's character feels such a need for redemption that she selfishly potentially sabotages the whole mission by being the hero, shafting the guy with that singular purpose. THAT'S A VERY MINOR QUIBBLE, BUT IT STILL BUGS ME. Anyway, yeah, as usual, the book is better, but the movie is simply great to help with the visualization of stuff that happens in the book. Here's what the whole story needs, though. Mark Watney should be clinically insane by the end of it all. I suppose if humanity strands one guy on Mars it may as well be the guy with the absolute, most positive attitude. Had I written the story, this guy would be seriously suicidal -- and not just because he's lonely. He'd be guilty for causing so much fuss back on Earth. He'd feel guilty that people are devoting all the time and millions of dollars toward him and he'd feel inadequate for all that attention when he knows that there are plenty of people on Earth that can be more easily saved. Anyway, I guess nobody would see my movie.

20 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
I missed this one at Sundance, but heard everyone talking about it there. It didn't make me cry as promised, but it's worth a watch nonetheless. Everyone knows I have an affection for high school movies, but when they break the mold as this one does, they're certainly worth a lot more. My only complaint? Not enough Earl.

19 Spy
Calling an evil villainess a slutty dolphin trainer is a very funny line, but it's especially making me giggle right now as I'm typing because I'm thinking of the way Melissa McCarthy delivers the line. Rose Byrne has this thing where she doesn't bother to remember any other character's name in the movie and she's evil and it's funny. Very funny how Paul Feig is now pegged as the guy who directs movies with funny women. The sad thing is that he doesn't seem to be doing anything other than just treating all the characters as humans with the capacity for humor rather than making dividing lines. Oh yeah, this is also Jason Statham's best role by far.

18 The Big Short
Possibly the scariest movie I saw all year. This is the one that goes into some detail about the housing market crash of around 2007-2008. The style constantly makes this one interesting. We have the interstitials of famous people doing PSAs to help explain the weird financial terms I've never understood. Also, before I saw it, I was under the impression that Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Steve Carell were like, a team. I actually like how the movie plays the ensemble as a bunch of loose characters with different agendas swimming in the chaos known only to them. I expected a joyful history lesson, but I received a sobering look at the present-day iceberg. Also, minor point here, but I'm sure glad Led Zeppelin is giving their songs away far more freely for use in closing credits these days. Zeppelin rules!

17 Room
Hey, I read this book too! I'm literate! Good movie. Certainly faithful to the emotional supernova of the book. A five-year-old boy and his mother have always existed in a single room, but now that he's old enough the true nature of the universe is revealed. As with the book, I'm most impressed that the story goes so much further than the mere trauma of imprisonment. The story takes its time to cover recovery as well. This movie does very well what Stockholm, Pennsylvania couldn't touch. I don't know how they got that kid to do what he did, but the little guy does not suffer from kid actor disease. Inspirational and heartbreaking --  but at moments you don't expect.

16 Far from the Madding Crowd
I have only one weakness and that's lush, British period pieces. This is a tale from Thomas Hardy, so it's sort of my only taste of feminism (against my better judgment, that word is likely popping up a lot for my 2015 movie list), but it's in the form of Carey Mulligan's soft and soothing voice. She's a fierce stalwart in a world of dopey men (well, one of the men was pretty good -- and Michael Sheen is always great -- just that dorky soldier was lousy (just see the movie)).

15 Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Here's a weird example of a movie that was mildly impressive during my viewing, but tickled me with great delight in my memory of it. I doubt anyone living (and certainly nobody reading this) ever actually watched the old Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV show, so there's no real demand on what this thing is supposed to be. What it is, is a pleasant and charming spy surprise in a year caked to the max in spy movies. I suppose it got pummeled at the box office. Still, I love my spy movies with the American and Russian agent not arguing over idealogy, but rather which suit is more stylish. The 60s-era period somehow helps with this levity. If the film had taken place in present-day, the fashion would have felt far more shallow (and far less cool). Alicia Vikander. She's like, my favorite person.

14 Furious Seven
A new Fast and Furious movie is now one of my favorite things to look forward to for each new year. This one was still pretty good and pretty awesome. The very deft tone that balances gleamy action and camp humor usually provided by Asian director Justin Lin is actually picked up quite nicely by new Asian director James Wan. Also, the tribute to Paul Walker is actually very nice. Here's looking to next year's FF (speaking of, I didn't see this year's Fantastic Four, so I can't look forward to next year's one of those).

13 Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
I only saw a rough cut of this, so the actual version may be changed slightly. Anyway, my buddy Jeremy worked on this documentary about the kids who made a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark long before YouTube and long before people spent their time doing stuff like that.

12 Phoenix
Set in Berlin with the dust of World War II just settling, a woman returns home with a new face and a desire to reconnect with the husband who may or may not have sold her out to the Nazis. With an obvious ode to Vertigo, the mind games and emotional whirlpools ensue. Certainly my favorite final scene of the year.

11 Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation
This miiiiiight be the best Mission Impossible movie. It's right up there. Not sure why they're not giving Christopher McQuarrie mass kudos for pulling this off so successfully. It's only like his fourth directorial movie. Anyway, also very cool that, like Mad Max, it's the new complex woman character added to the franchise that really drives this new story without the need for senseless romance. Feminism abounding or not, the choice certainly breathes new life into the series five movies deep.

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens
High marks for this one because I love stormtroopers and tie fighters and Chewbacca, BUT I'm still squirming over the use of yet another spherical object that destroys other spherical objects that people live on. Obviously the bad guys of the Star Wars have some kind of tax write-off status with Halliburton to be able to keep greenlighting these EXTREMELY FLAWED death machines. I love being back in the universe I grew up in, but I truly wish J.J. Abrams and company put just a little more effort into making it a believable universe and not just a spectacle. They were a bit safe in replicating so many of the story beats from the original movie. I'm hoping the next installment rights the franchise a little bit with more risks in the story. I'd appreciate something I'd potentially hate. I know I can't hate this one, because it's a remake of a movie I already love. Just TRY to make something I actually have a chance of loving more. Sigh. I only nitpick stuff this much when it's something I love. Let me say the surprising thing I actually like. Adam Driver. Yeah. True. When I found out about his casting, I was like, that whiny millenial weirdo? Totally works though. He's the oppressed sensitive goth kid struggling to overcome his good shortcomings. It's an obvious callback to earlier story material, but it's twisted enough to be new. See, more subtleties like THAT would be welcome. I've only seen it once so far, but it's Star Wars, so I'll provide a deeper report whether you like it or not. Oh! One more complaint! Why doesn't Max Von Sydow crush stormtroopers' heads like he does in Strange Brew?

9 The Witch
This crazy dark Sundance movie is a slow burn of foreboding and fright that takes place in Puritan-era New England (yeah, during that whole witch scare). Life is hard. Cut all the wood you want and it'll crush you. God is there, but unseen. The devil is all that appears to be left in the world. The trial of faith is understandable. The ultimate result feels inevitable.

8 Brooklyn
This is a true charmer. The mostly harmless story of a young girl from Ireland coping with a new life in New York has been slightly derided as not having enough conflict to sustain a compelling story. I've made that complaint of other movies, but I can't complain about it here. The movie is filmed with a pure joy that wallows in that harmlessness far beyond its Hallmark movie of the week potential. And yet, the stakes are actually convincingly high, or at least the movie convinces us of this (despite this 1952 story perhaps being just about the first case of #whitepeopleproblems). Brooklyn makes me nostalgic for a time and place I've never been -- a setting when people were better than they are now.

7 Sicario There are shots in this thing that convey a slow haunting movement that feel intimately vast (if you'll allow me to use such a pretentious-sounding sentence). This one doesn't feel like any other this year. It may suck all the joy out of a standard drug investigation movie, but it replaces the joy with a classy foreboding.

6 What We Do in the Shadows
Mockumentaries are usually pretty stupid and send-ups of The Real World-like living situations are like 20 years old, but this gathering of vampire flatmates may have been the funniest movie of the year. The one-line description of a vampire's preference for virgins may be the line of the year (and actually kind of makes sense). I especially love the lo-fi lameness of the much looked forward to "Unholy Masquerade." This thing gets to cut through the idea that every action a vampire does is this grand vivid gesture. Sometimes they gotta do dishes. As one of only three films I saw in the theater more than once in the year, I saw this one a second time a mere four days after my first viewing.

5 Mad Max: Fury Road
This movie is super super sweet. We all know this. It's really the gospel of 2015. All of you who haven't seen this, I know. I understand your reluctance. Please keep in mind that it may be one of the most feminist movies from the past several years. I'm not talking about shrill speeches saying that women can be tough and mannish too. I'm talking about a woman's story that depends on the actions of the women within it all while trusting the audience to invest in such a story. The movie has no need to bludgeon the audience by pointing this out. Yes, there are lots of cars too, but it's certainly not about cars. Regardless, it's all this and it's breathtakingly awesome.

4 Ex Machina
Alicia Vikander is like my favorite girl right now. She's also my favorite machine. We need a lot more sci-fi movies like this. Not so much the "pew! pew! lasers!" science fiction, but the simple-concept talky stuff that uses a minor fantastic twist to help us judge the soul of humanity in the same way a Greek myth might. Ex Machina does a fabulous job of bending the story toward fear, compassion, selfishness and a horde of other emotions dependent on the characters' point of view as well as their ability to manipulate.

3 The Duke of Burgundy Please please stay with me on this one. This may be my personal biggest surprise of the year. The Duke of Burgundy seems to take place in a bizarre alternate universe mid-century European chateau countryside populated strictly by women in S&M lesbian relationships who also are butterfly etymology professors for a living. This is not a comedy. As unusual as this setting sounds, it's immaculately created and strangely believable as acted. The topic sounds perverted, but in essence the movie is about the bizarre give and take within loving relationships (regardless of weirdness). Especially to be appreciated is the way the film plays with our perceptions of the relationship as we see it unfold -- slowy revealing the true aspects of power and compassion. I give a huge amount of credit to the creators who saw this absurd vision as precicely as possible all the way to the end. The look is very solid '60s-era European filmmaking -- almost as if they stole footage from the time. The sound is similar. A weird group called Cat's Eyes does the soundtrack and I just checked their Wikipedia page to make sure they're actually a modern band and not something from 50 years ago. One of two soundtracks I downloaded and listened to while prepping this list.

2 Spotlight
See this one while you can, because it's probably going to win Best Picture. It's sort of funny because it's the barest of bones procedural that gently paces us through the events of the Boston Globe team that published the story of the Catholic Church cover-up of a series of abuse cases. The movie is blessed with a bittersweetly fortunate series of events that are interesting enough regardless of the method of expression (albeit horrifying infuriating events). The result is an overly engrossing picture that slowly comes together without the need for an ounce of flashy filmmaking tricks. The complexity of the situation extends not just to the obvious villains, but cross-contaminates back and forth between people not living up to their heroic potential.

1 It Follows
Filled with convoluted horror rules to spectacular fun and tense nightmarish effect, this one is the film I'll always remember as the real soul of 2015. I've heard many people complain about how the weird rules in this movie don't make complete sense. I forgive the absurd rules without a thought. While the mythology doesn't make complete sense, the tone of the movie absolutely captures the dangerous non-logic that seems to inhabit the most vivid nightmares. The movie works within a horror fantasyland safely separated from our real world, but the allegory is so universal, you can't help but consider mortality as you bide your time with the pleasure this life provides. Oh, and also the soundtrack by Disasterpeace is a massive win. You better believe I've been listening to its sweet synthyness while typing this unfortunate list out.

Woooooo!

2014 Movies That Are Almost 2015 Movies


Okay here's a list of movies that I caught up with at the beginning of 2015 that are technically from last year. Some of these have long notes to them, but for the most part I'm just reserving a couple of quick sentences for each of these.

24 Earth to Echo
Kids find robot aliens or something that I forgot about because this was part of the 24-hour movie marathon.

23 I Dream of Wires
Um, documentary about synthesizers maybe? I was looking at my phone while this was on.

22 Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau
Weird documentary on one of the weird-worst movies I've ever seen and how it all fell apart.

21 Atari: Game Over
Intriguing. Thinking this may be the most recent event that would need an archeological dig as proof. Since then everything has been recorded and copied and would be impossible to forget. Way to stick up for the E.T. game.

20 The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears
Weirdo surreal French horror that perhaps works better as a series of photos than a coherant film.

19 The Interview
Kind of bugged that it sort of seems like it wasn't really the North Koreans that did the hacking. Also, I don't remember much funny from this.

18 Foxcatcher
Miserable tone. The sport of wrestling seemed very depressing and gross. The whole thing felt like morning in a factory. Others may like it. Would have been more effective to show a little joy somewhere to contrast the tragedy.

17 Beyond Clueless
Bland presumptions and high school English class theories on teen movies in the general date range of 1995-2005. Worth it as a fun clip show of so many movies. The end credits are incredible. 10 minutes of just names of movies during this period. Certainly it must be the zenith of high school movies.

16 Chaos on the Bridge \
Shatner loves re-milking Star Trek these days. This one's about the absurd first three seasons of Next Generation.

15 Enemy
Mindbender with Jake Gyllenhall with a double of himself or is it himself and also there are giant spiders, maybe? Shivery.

14 Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
Not the most perfectly executed documentary, but worth it as a greatest hits set of clips from some of the awesomest mindlessest movies ever (Breakin', Death Wish II, The Delta Force, Masters of the Universe, etc.).

13 Wetlands
Wow this is a super gross movie about a depraved German girl! Grossly charming.

12 The Inbetweeners Movie 2
I went through a serious Inbetweeners phase this year and it's very juvenile. This one cares much less than the first.

11 Whitey: U.S.A. v. James J. Bulger
Infuriating. Watched this documentary after seeing the Johnny Depp movie about him and the whole thing is just dumb.

10 Point and Shoot
Great doc on this guy who risks his life by volunteering to fight alongside the locals in the Middle East.

9 The Theory of Everything
The guy who played Stephen Hawking won an Oscar, but his eventual stillness really makes him more of a prop by the end. Felicity Jones is the real highlight of this one.

8 The Imitation Game
The really interesting part is actually the historical text information just before the credits roll.

7 Harmontown Dan Harmon is a frustrating funnyman and this is his documentary. Watch it on Netflix, because about a half hour in if you look sharp you can see me for a second in the audience of one of his shows.

6 Housebound Great New Zealand combo of comedy and horror with a girl under house arrest in a haunted house.

5 Coherence
Fun little lo-fi sci-fi about the sudden opening of different dimensions and the consequences of playing in the fog when that happens.

4 The Guest
Oh man, this is fun brilliance. It's got Matthew from Downton Abbey going full murderous Monty Python Lancelot on an entire town. Also, the hot girl in It Follows! Also, sweet '80s-vibe soundtrack!

3 John Wick
Saw this on the plane and it's pure awesome. Nervous for the people seated around me witnessing all the blood splatter on my face.

2 Cheap Thrills
Brilliant and funny tale of one-upsmanship that I see as an allegory of control by the horrible people in power, to change good people for the worse.


1 Two Days, One Night
About a nervous woman who needs to convince her coworkers to forgo their bonus in exchange for keeping her hired at the job. I knew that's what it was about before I saw it and I dreaded going into the theater to see it because I knew it would trigger my easily-triggered anxiety volcano. Still, it actually manages to be one of the most positive and uplifting experiences of the whole year. Heartfelt goodness. Also, I'm in love with Cotillard.

Ranking of Older Movies I Caught Up With for the First Time in 2015

No notes here, but I'll provide the year the movie came out.

30 Popeye (1980)
29 The Land that Time Forgot (1975)
28 Buffalo Rider (1978)
27 Rock of Ages (2012)
26 Hiding Out (1987)
25 Shocker (1989)
24 Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me     (1992)
23 Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
22 Robin and Marian (1976)
21 Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
20 Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
19 Mr. Nobody (2009)
18 Blood Car (2007)
17 Philadelphia (1993)
16 A History of Violence (2005)
15 Eastern Promises (2007)
14 Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
13 How to Steal a Million (1966)
12 Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)
11 Oslo, August 31st (2011)
10 The Inbetweeners (2011)
9 New Kids Turbo (2010)
8 The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008)
7 From Here to Eternity (1953)
6 House of the Devil (2009)
5 Atonement (2007)
4 La Dolce Vita (1960)
3 Three Days of the Condor (1975)
2 Unforgiven (1992)
1 Ghost World (2001)

Ranking of Movies I Revisited in 2015

Hey, I tend not to rewatch movies I don't like, so most of these are pretty good.

41 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
40 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005)
39 Holes (2003)
38 Her (2013)
37 For a Good Time, Call... (2012)
36 The Babadook (2014)
35 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
34 They Came Together (2014)
33 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
32 White Christmas (1954)
31 WarGames (1983)
30 Space Mutiny (1988)
29 Indie Game: The Movie (2012)
28 House (1977)
27 X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
26 Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)
25 Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation (2015)
24 Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
23 The Right Stuff (1983)
22 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
21 The Trip (2010)
20 Hanna (2011)
19 What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
18 Bigger, Stronger, Faster* (2008)
17 Spotlight (2015)
16 It Follows (2014)
15 All the President's Men (1976)
14 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
13 Hot Shots! (1991)
12 Miami Connection (1987)
11 Roman Holiday (1953)
10 A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
9 Return of the Jedi (1983)
8 Love Actually (2003)
7 Fletch (1985)
6 Labyrinth  (1986)
5 The Thing (1982)
4 Star Wars (1977)
3 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
2 The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
1 It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Silly Facts and Stats that Only I Care About

Total number of movies seen: 184
Total number of 2015 movies seen: 98 (some more than once)
Total number of non-2015 movies seen: 92
Year of oldest movie: 1946
Total number of movies seen more than once within 2015: 7
Most popular theater: Broadway Theatre (18 showings)
Biggest movie-watching month: January (36 movies (thanks Sundance and 24-hour movie marathon!)
Movie seen most in 2015: It Follows (3x)
Movies seen with others: 70
Movies seen alone: 122 (I'll bring you next time!)
Movies seen at the cinema: 73 (thanks Moviepass!)
Movies seen on Netflix: 53
Movies seen on DVD: 20
Movies seen at Sundance: 16
Movies seen at the annual 24-hour movie marathon: 13
Movies seen on an airplane: 4
Movies seen on Amazon Prime: 2 (Shocker and Hot Shots! if you're interested)
Movies seen on Blu-Ray: 2 (It Follows and X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Movies seen on YouTube: 2 (Space Mutiny and Kung Fury)
Movies seen on HBOGo: 1 (7 Days in Hell)
Movies seen on DVR: 1 (Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck)
Movies seen on iTunes: 1 (Buzzard)
Movies seen on Redbox Blu-Ray: 1 (American Ultra)
Movies seen on Vimeo: 1
Number of pages this post is if written in a Word document: 26 (that one's for you, Rhett)
If you've read this far, let me know. I'd love to hear from you.