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.


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.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Airing of Grievances 2015

I hope you're enjoying your Festivus today. Please stop what you're doing. It's time for this year's Airing of Grievances.

Chinese names --
So is it Chow Yun-fat or Yun-fat Chow? The FAMILY name is Chow, right? So why don't we say that part at the end? Yes, I KNOW the Chinese say the family name first. Wanna know why? BECAUSE THEY'RE SPEAKING CHINESE! If some China people are having a conversation about me and they referred to me as Madsen Jon, I WOULDN'T CORRECT THEM. They're actually saying it correctly because that's how it's done in the language they speak. Since we're speaking English, why don't we just say it the way we'd say our own names? Is it somehow culturally insensitive to do that? Also, if it's Chow Yun-fat, why is it still Michelle Yeoh and John Woo? Is Michelle Yeoh's dad's name Michelle too? Even if we're gonna go out of our way to say their names differently, shouldn't we at least be consistent? Oh, right, but then we'd have a billion other rules like what if only the person's mother were Chinese, but the person still lived in China, but spoke Chinese, but was blond? STICK TO ONE NAMING CONVENTION PEOPLE!

Heat --
The movie wasn't too bad, but it sucks when the heat just goes out at my house. Do you know where else the heat goes out? The office. So pretty much everywhere I sleep, the heat goes out. Actually. Backtrack. The heat doesn't go out at the office, but the A/C stays on. The combination should eventually build up to a tropical storm if it weren't the dryest office ever and my hands bleed because of it.

Weird noise --
There's a weird creaking noise in the walls of my office that I only assume is from the ghost of an old smelting machine. When I say old, I mean this machine probably had a long white beard. But also, the whiniest old man machine ever. It sounds exactly like the noise Jim Carrey makes in Dumb and Dumber right after saying "Hey do you want to hear the most annoying noise in the world?" The more I think about it, the more it sounds like the sound is for some reason piped in from another building. It's like originating from a long tube of sadness.

People who enjoy movies --
I sort of enjoy movies, but I hate people who REALLY enjoy movies. Like the whole row of people in front of me when I saw Sisters last night. From what I could tell, I think the movie isn't bad. It's really sort of funny, so I would have liked to hear all the sort of funny jokes. Couldn't though because an entire life-loving row burst out laughing every time someone made a different facial expression that I didn't hear, you know, the actual jokes. Happy people who go to movies need to be miserabler, so the rest of us can hear jokes and mildly appreciate them.

Keyboard on Macbook --
Thought of this just now. I need a freaking ergonomic keyboard on this Macbook before my hands fall off after a creaking snap of bones.

Headaches --
Lately I've been getting headaches when I eat. These are compounded by the headaches I get when I don't eat.

Assumptions --
Please don't finish my sentences assuming you know what I'm after. That's happened like... I'm not sure that's ever happened.

People dying --
I'm sick of this happening. At least the people I notice dying. It's rarely, if ever, someone that should die.

Starkiller Base --
So like, are the bad guys in Star Wars getting some major tax breaks on these giant weapon spheres that they keep building over and over again? I mean, think of something else. Every time they build another planet weapon, they're like "This thing is impenetrable except for maybe some of those X-shaped ships the good guys always seem to have." Is it an allegory for no oversight of Halliburton or whatever? Like seriously, they should just strap a giant space slingshot between two star destroyers. They could do that a bunch of times and get more done. HALF of all star wars movies have the big sphere weapon. C'mon.

My nose is a lot more runny all the time now for some reason --
It happens when I move in temperatures below 65 or when I eat anything over a temperature of 75. It's the only way I lose weight.

Wii --
This year I was told I'm overweight for the first time ever and it was by my Wii balance board. Oh, and the Wii just LOVED telling me too. It totally drank up the experience. It played stupid sad music and everything. It made my icon slump its shoulders and look sad. The condescending machine was practically laughing with glee. Got me to stop doing yoga acting all high and mighty like that. Now I understand fatties. May as well just eat it off.

The war on the War on Christmas
There's not much of a war. If there were, it should at least involve more hand grenades. Hey look, let's just embrace the commercialism. We all know the economy depends on it. Also, if you're truly Christian, EVERY day should be Jesus's day. Not just the one (and THAT one is for sweet nog and presents (and hey, it's cool that we stress out over gifts for each other -- at least it's not so much about the self-greed, y'know?)).

Indian food --
It's still pretty good, but I feel like I shouldn't call it "Injun" food. Sometimes I do though.

Sugar --
Don't hate sugar. But now I feel it the next day in my throat. If I want some hot chocolate or some cheesecake or a pound of cookie dough or something I need to remember to eat it while the sun is still out. Otherwise, sugarcane is growing in my throat the next morning.

AM --
My mind doesn't function during any ante meridiem hour. ESPECIALLY single-digit ante meridiem hours. Those hours are seriously and truly horrifying. Like, scream-queen levels of howling, if only I had the energy for the output. Instead, I'm constantly screaming on the inside. post meridiem hours are actually quite lovely though.

Non-Daylight Saving Time--
We shouldn't abandon Daylight Saving Time. We actually need to abandon going OFF DST. It's when the night comes earlier that we really get pissed off and that's actually when we go back to STANDARD time. We WANT Daylight Saving, but we want it FOREVER!

Roundabouts --
I actually forgot how these work.

What I can't say --
Most of my grievances involve things that I don't feel I can discuss publicly. It's funny because it seems like most people I know who say what they think all the time are actually pretty happy people. I've considered saying everything all the time, but every time I even dabble in it, it doesn't purge my stress, but actually causes one more thing to worry about. I would say this is a fault of mine, but I more accurately think that being open and a jerk about stuff is more of a fault of everyone else. Just know that maybe you're wrong. Just know that if you ever speak to me and you can see that my eyes are on fire, you may not be doing what I want you to do, which would have actually been the right thing.

This list of grievances is too small --
I'm mostly pissed off that I'm always so pissed off and I can't think of enough things to be pissed off about. It's surprisingly similar to trying to find something to be thankful for, but the opposite, but kind of the same, but different.

--Ugh. This actually happens every Airing of Grievances. I mean to keep track of my problems with everybody and everything all year, but it turns out I only write about what's on my mind TODAY. I'm gonna make a goal to keep better records. Next year, this list will be 365 times longer. Merry Christmas! Please please please please remind me what I forgot in the comments below.