Archive for the ‘TV Shows’ Category

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April 2021: Every Review I Wrote

May 8, 2021

Movies – My focus last month was to watch all the Oscar nominated shorts and the Oscar nominated feature films I wasn’t excited about. I did end up watching all the shorts, but after watching Over the Moon on Netflix, I decided I didn’t want to finish my Oscar watchlist. I’ll save that bucket list project for when I’m retired. Hell, I didn’t even win my damn Oscar pool, so what’s the point? I was pretty excited to get back to watching movies I actually want to see after the Oscars aired. I did not get my money’s worth from AMC A-List last month as I saw Godzilla vs. Kong in early April, streamed Mortal Kombat on HBOMax, and then cancelled my tickets to Raya and the Last Dragon multiple times. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the movie theaters don’t have early matinee showings and any movie I watch is going to cost me at least three hours of poker and with Raya streaming for free on Disney+ in June, I just haven’t had the desire to go see it. Another thing that has become pretty clear to me: writing is my absolute last priority. I’ve gone from writing thoughts on every movie I see to only doing so less than 33% of the time last month. Plus, I didn’t post a single album review for any music I listened to. Yikes. I have a hard enough time balancing work, study, mental and physical health, hobbies, and family time. Posting movie reviews just hasn’t fit in my schedule since I’ve been back to playing.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review (ratings out of 10):

  • Shiva Baby (2021, watched twice) – 8
  • Burrow (2020, re-watch) – 6
  • Colette (2020) – 6
  • Concerto is a Conversation, A (2020) – 6
  • Do Not Split (2020) – 6
  • Genius Loci (2020) – 4
  • Hunger Ward (2020) – 5
  • If Anything Happens I Love You (2020, re-watch) – 8
  • The Kid Detective (2020) – 7
  • The Letter Room (2020) – 6
  • Love Song for Latasha, A (2020, re-watch) – 7
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020) – 6
  • Opera (2020) – 8
  • The Present (2020) – 8
  • Two Distant Strangers (2020) – 5
  • Yes-People (2020) – 4
  • Feeling Through (2019) – 7
  • White Eye (2019) – 7
  • The Lost Boys (1987) – 7
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986, re-watch) – 7
  • Clue (1985) – 7
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985, re-watch) – 3

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through April
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through April
2020 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30 movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
May 2021 – New to Theaters and Streaming: Ranking new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming or theaters this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows (Ratings out of 5)

  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier season 1 (2021, Disney+) – 3.5

Currently watching:

  • Schitt’s Creek season 6
  • Invincible season 1
  • The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers season 1

Music

None!

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March 2021: Every Review I Wrote

April 4, 2021

Movies – I got back to “normal” life during the last week of March, re-activating my AMC A-list membership and returning to the movie theaters. I also got back to doing my day job: playing poker. I still watched an absurd amount of movies in March, but with getting back to the poker grind last week and doing all my fantasy baseball drafts (five of them!) the week before that, I didn’t review most of the movies I watched. I’m guess that’s how it will be going forward. I’ll probably still watch 2-4 movies a week, but I won’t have much time to write about them. If I wind up reviewing a movie that I haven’t yet, I’ll just post the link in next month’s post like this. I’ll say this much: Anthony Hopkins in The Father is my favorite performance of 2020.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review (ratings out of 10):

  • Nobody (2021) – 7/10
  • The White Tiger (Netflix, 2021) – Nominated for Best Original Screenplay – 7/10
  • What Would Sophia Loren Do? (Netflix, 2021) – On shortlist for Best Documentary Short Subject – 6/10
  • Better Days (2020) – Nominated for Best International Feature – 7/10
  • A Love Song for Latasha (Netflix, 2020) – Nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject – 6/10
  • If Anything Happens I Love You (Netflix, 2020) – Nominated for Best Animated Short – 8/10
  • News of the World (2020) – Nominated for 4 Oscars – 6/10
  • Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020) – Nominated for Best International Feature – 8/10
  • The Father (2020) – Nominated for 6 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay – 8/10
  • The Midnight Sky (Netflix, 2020) – Nominated for Best Visual Effects – 5/10
  • To: Gerard (Peacock, 2020) – On the shortlist for Best Animated Short – 6/10
  • Just Mercy (2019) – 8/10
  • Phantasm 2 (1988) – 6/10
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – 6/10
  • Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982) – 5/10
  • Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) – 6/10
  • Friday the 13th (1980) – 7/10

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through March
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through March
2020 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
2020/2021 Oscar Watch: My list of favorites for the major Oscar categories
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30 movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
April 2021 – New to Theaters and Streaming: Ranking new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming or theaters this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows (Ratings out of 5)

  • WandaVision – Season 1 (2021) – Disney+ – 2.5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 2 (2016) – Netflix – 4.5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 3 (2017) – Netflix – 4
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 4 (2018) – Netflix – 4.5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 5 (2019) – Netflix – 4.5

Music

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February 2021: Every Review I Wrote

March 1, 2021

Movies – I went crazy again in February and watched a movie almost every day. I will probably do something similar in March, but by the start of April, I will be fully vaxxed and cleared for takeoff (back to my day job of playing poker) and my days of watching 25 movies a month will be coming to an end. Still, I have the expectation that I can watch every feature film, documentary, and international film that gets an Oscar nomination before the Oscars air in late April and that’s something I’ve never done before.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review:

  • Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020) – 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)
  • Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (2011) – did not rate cause I had a hard time following it
  • In the Mood for Love (2000) – 8/10 (Great/Must See)
  • Re-Animator (1985) – 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through February
2020 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
2020/2021 Oscar Watch: My list of favorites for the major Oscar categories
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30 movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
March 2021 – New to Streaming Ranking of new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows

  • Succession – Season 2 (2019) – HBO Max – 5/5
  • Succession – Season 1 (2018) – HBO Max – 5/5
  • Pen15 – Season 2 (2020) – Hulu – 3/5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 1 (2015) – Netflix – 4/5

Music

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January 2021: All My Movie/T.V. Show/Album Reviews for the Month

February 1, 2021

Movies – I went kind of crazy this past month and watched a movie almost every day. I continued to put a dent in my 2020 watchlist and when I wasn’t watching new releases I was catching up on some horror movies I’ve missed over the years or wanted to re-watch. I post these reviews on Letterboxd and Facebook/Twitter as I write them, but I figure I should make a post at the end of each month with links to all the reviews I posted. Somehow, I watched 50 movies over the past two months and none of them were directed by Martin Scorsese, the director I’ve been focusing on over the past year. Ah well. I’ll be looking to correct that in February.

2020/2021 Oscar Watch: My list of favorites for the major Oscar categories
2021 Releases Watchlist: Ranking of 2021 releases I want to see including January, February, and Sundance releases
2020 Releases Watchlist: Ranking of 2020 releases I still want to see
February 2021 – New to Streaming Watchlist: Ranking of new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming this month

T.V. Shows – I completely revamped my T.V. rating page. I have also sorted all the shows by season and the year their first episode aired.

  • Cobra Kai – Season 3 (2021) – 3
  • The Crown – Season 4 (2020) – 4
  • Harley Quinn – Season 2 (2020) – 3.5
  • The Mandolorian – Season 2 (2020) – 4.5
  • Stargirl – Season 1 (2020) – 3
  • What We Do in the Shadows – Season 2 (2020) – 4
  • Pen15 – Season 1 (2019) – 4

Music – I didn’t review much music this past month, but I’ve been rating songs in my Brand New playlist all month, so I should have more albums to talk about next month even though (as you will see) January was a slow month for new music.

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April 2020 Movie Reviews

May 2, 2020

Check out my profile on Letterboxd if you want to follow along as I write my reviews throughout the month and also because the site/app is amazing for film lovers. April was a pretty sad month because of the pandemic. Theaters are closed all throughout the United States and movie studios are pulling all their films from their original release dates. Even when theaters reopen to the public, they are talking about selling out at 50% capacity and what studio is going to want to release their tent pole films in a climate like that? I’m really curious when the next time I watch a new film in theaters will be.

Onward (2020, Disney+)

Pretty cool of Disney to release this on their streaming platform less than a month after it came out in theaters (shoutout to Covid-19). I can’t say Onward is top tier Pixar, but it was plenty good and managed to tug at my emotions like pretty much all their movies do. Amazing animation, solid voice work from Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, and enough laughs to keep me entertained the whole time. Not Pixar’s strongest work, but their middle tier is still really good stuff.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness (2020, Netflix, Documentary)

Crazy stuff, but wildly entertaining. I don’t think it’s an all-time great documentary, but it was definitely a lot of fun. All the major players are scummy though. Does anyone that watched this actually think that Carol Baskins is an animal rights hero?

Probably a must see documentary, but I’m going to rate it just a notch below that.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Bombshell (2019, Netflix Blu-Ray rental)

I’m not even remotely into politics and I spend none of my time watching news coverage, so my knowledge of the FOX News infrastructure and its relationship to the various political parties is nonexistent, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Bombshell. This movie is more about sexual harassment than politics anyways. In fact, these women bringing down FOX CEO Roger Ailes was the first domino in what eventually became a movement that sparked the Me Too hashtag. I think that story is well told here and shows the struggle of fearing those in power and wanting to protect your career or… calling a public figure a monster.

Looking at pictures of Megyn Kelly on Google images, I can see why Bombshell won the Oscar for makeup and hairstyling. Theron is virtually unrecognizable here, but she looks exactly like Megyn Kelly. It’s uncanny. John Lithgow also looks like he spent a lot of time in the makeup chair.

This movie had some great acting from pretty much everyone. Theron and Robbie were both Oscar-nominated with Robbie giving the best performance of the movie, in my opinion. Lithgow is also at his slimy best and I’m a bit surprised his role didn’t get more attention. This movie has a strong supporting cast as well.

Bombshell is well acted and entertaining and definitely worth a watch.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019, Netflix Blu-Ray rental)

This review may contain spoilers.

Well, this series jumped the shark pretty quick. I actually liked the first reboot sequel and was pleasantly surprised by it. I thought it was a fresh, modern take and I liked the cast. But this? I was tuned out within 30 minutes, already wishing it was over, and there was 90 minutes left! Why is a Jumanji movie 2+ hours??

Anyways, the climax of this movie takes place on an ice fortress… and there’s a blimp… and a flying horse. Remember when Jumanji was a board game about jungle animals? I guess the more sequels you make to something like this, the further away from the original concept you have to get to keep things interesting. Well, consider me uninterested.

There are a couple of funny parts in this, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t painful for me to watch.

3/10 (Bad)

Personal Shopper (2016, iTunes Store digital rental)

This is another one of those times where I go into a movie knowing nothing about it except that at some point in time something sparked me to put it on my watchlist… probably some best films of 2016 lists. A movie about mediums, the afterlife, and ghosts was about the last thing I was expecting and the content kind of knocked my socks off. I wouldn’t go as far as to call Personal Shopper riveting, but it was compelling and never lost my interest despite the fact that it is a really slow burn and Kristen Stewart’s character spends a good portion of the running time shopping, trying on clothes, and sending text messages. Speaking of which, did it drive anyone else nuts that she put a space in between her sentence and the question mark ? Like that ? Every single time.

I am not a Kristen Stewart fan at all. Prior to watching this, I had seen seven movies she’s been in and five of them have been part of the miserable Twilight franchise – movies I’ve seen because my wife wanted me to watch them with her. I’m on record calling Bella Swan one of the worst characters of all-time, so my distaste for Kristen Stewart is not much of a surprise and probably not even fair to her as I’ve seen less than 20% of her filmography. Well, this is easily the best work I’ve seen from her. She’s good in this movie!

Personal Shopper is unique, with a strong performance from Stewart and some surprisingly cool visual effects. I enjoyed it quite a bit and recommend to anyone that’s into ghost stories and doesn’t mind a deliberate pace.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Tusk (2014, Netflix)

I’m trying to think of anything at all that I liked about this movie and I’m coming up empty. I guess the, uhm, “walrus” makeup/costume was… interesting? Also grotesque. Possibly appalling. Kevin Smith just sucks now. I was a pretty big fan up through Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be impressed with that movie in 2020 and the only film I’ve enjoyed of his over the last 20 years was Zack and Miri Make a Porno. That’s a long stretch of crap. Granted, I’ve skipped almost all of it, but I trust the word of mouth. Still, Red State comes to a streaming service in April 2020 and I have the Jay and Silent Bob reboot on my watchlist, so I’ll probably watch both of those eventually. This is the kind of stuff I throw on late at night when I feel like I can stay up for another 20 minutes or so and then I watch it over the course of a few days because I don’t want to show that kind of disrespect to a movie I actually want to see.

One more thing, Johnny Depp is brutal. What happened to him? There was a point in time where I thought he was one of my favorite actors working and now I can’t stand the guy. He tries so hard to create unique and weird characters and lately he’s been failing miserably. His character here seems like something Sacha Baron Cohen would try to make a movie out of and Hollywood is like, “uhm, no.” Depp is no longer a draw for me… he’s an autoskip.

2/10 (Horrible)

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013, YouTube)

I rated this documentary higher than any film in the actual franchise, but I guess it makes sense. This is 5+ hours of awesome interviews, behind-the-scenes stories, and unreleased (and cut due to MPAA wimpiness) footage from a franchise I’ve loved since I was… wait, let me look up when Jason Lives was released… 5 or 6 years old? I remember my first exposure to Jason Vorhees being that opening scene from Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives when he’s brought back from the grave (literally) and maggots and worms are crawling around on his face. I watched it on home video… at a neighbor’s house… so I’m guessing it was probably a year or two after its theatrical release. I’ve been in love with the franchise ever since and I still watch them periodically and hope they never stop making them, no matter how bad some of them are.

This is a must see for anyone that’s a fan of the Friday the 13th franchise. It’s super long, but if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

Not recommended for non-fans obv.

The only place I could find this documentary was on YouTube. Check it out.

8/10 (Must See)

Locke (2013, Netflix)

98% of this movie is Tom Hardy driving in a car and talking on his mobile phone via bluetooth. If that sounds awesome to you, well… you’d be right! Ivan Locke is a construction foreman on the eve of the biggest cement pour in European history when he receives a voicemail from a woman he had a one night affair with and learns that she is giving birth to his child. The rest of the movie is Hardy talking in an amazing Welsh accent while trying to coordinate the job he won’t be attending the next day and telling his wife the bad news.

For a film with one actor that takes place entirely in a car, I was kind of blown away. It doesn’t hurt that Tom Hardy is that actor because he can be absolutely brilliant and I think he’s on that level in Locke. The movie actually has some top level supporting talent in Olivia Colman, Andrew Scott, and Tom Holland, but they all phone it in. Literally.

I wish Tom Hardy wasn’t doing Venom. I wish he was doing more stuff like this. He is elite.

8/10 (Must See)

Watchmen (2009, personal collection, third viewing)

I already posted a review for this over ten years ago, but the HBO series has made me revisit both the graphic novel and this 2009 film adaptation. I heard I would appreciate the HBO series substantially more if the graphic novel was fresh in my mind and I decided I might as well watch this movie for the third time.

I actually don’t think the acting is as bad as I thought it was a decade ago. For instance, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Patrick Wilson are actually pretty good casting as The Comedian and Nite Owl, respectively. The only choice I truly didn’t like was Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt. I just don’t buy him as “The Smartest Man in the World” and his confidence just comes across as phony to me. Jackie Earle Haley is great as Rorschach. Not only is his portrayal top notch, but when he’s unmasked, he really does look exactly like the Walter Kovacs from the graphic novel.

This is such a faithful adaptation. It’s basically a scene-for-scene translation and so much of the dialogue is lifted unaltered directly from the comic. And yet… something is off. I said in my previous review that this movie has a bit of a “hokey” feel to it. I don’t know if I can explain it any better now, but I just watched the first episode of the HBO series (which I will write about when I’m done watching all of it) and the difference in quality is stark. This movie is cheesy by comparison. Maybe I just hate Zack Snyder’s style?

Fans of the graphic novel shouldn’t be too disappointed with this movie – it’s definitely enjoyable – but I’m much more interested in what the HBO series has to offer myself.

6/10 (Recommended)

Out of Sight (1998, HBONOW, second viewing)

I’ll probably end up doing a run through of Steven Soderbergh’s entire filmography at some point, as I’m doing with Scorsese now, but I’ve been itching to rewatch Out of Sight and it’s leaving HBO NOW at the end of the month.

This is a really fun movie. The sharp banter and charismatic characters – especially George Clooney’s Jack Foley – make watching it a really enjoyable experience. You can see the Soderbergh style that became so popular in the Ocean’s 11 trilogy. Speaking of which, I’ve missed Clooney. He’s underrated as a leading man and I haven’t seen a new movie he’s starred in since Gravity in 2013. J-Lo and Clooney have great chemistry in this movie and I think that’s probably the biggest reason this film works so well.

I only remembered one thing about Out of Sight: the scene where something really surprising happens to a rather minor character. I’m sure if you’ve seen the movie, you would know what I’m talking about. Maybe that scene has stuck with me all these years because I referenced it in my music some twenty years ago.

Smart, funny, and fast-paced, with strong lead performances from Clooney and Lopez, Out of Sight was a solid revisit and one of the better films in Soderbergh’s catalog.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Tootsie (1982, Netflix)

Tootsie got an astounding 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Sydney Pollack, Best Writing and acting noms for Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, and Teri Garr. Alas, only Lange was able to take home a statue for her supporting role.

I thought this was great. Dustin Hoffman is wonderful in one of the best performances of his career. I’ve only seen Jessica Lange’s later work, but she oozed natural charisma in the early 80s also. You watch a movie like Sleepaway Camp and see all this horribly corny acting and think that it’s just a reflection of the times (and the genre), but then you watch something like Tootsie – also released in 1982 – and, well, there was probably plenty of great acting happening back then. It’s probably not fair to compare a campy slasher flick with one of the most highly touted movies of 1982, but the contrast is so stark that it makes me wonder if I was just watching all the wrong movies while I was growing up. I just find a lot of the acting from the 80s really cheesy and the performances in this movie are just all so good.

Hoffman’s character gets in really deep pretending to be a woman, finding huge success on a popular soap and becoming extremely close with Lange’s character. I kept wondering how he was going to get out of this pickle and I have to say this film’s resolution was outstanding. I absolutely loved the ending.

Tootsie is a must see film from almost four decades ago. Check it out if you never have!

8/10 (Must See)

Mean Streets (1973, iTunes Store digital rental)

I liked Mean Streets a lot, but I think it falls short of greatness. I do love the soundtrack in this movie though. The song selection is elite and I love how The Marvelettes “Please Mr. Postman” plays during the awesome fight scene in the bar. The soundtrack feels like a great use of classic old school songs, but every song in this movie was 40 years fresher when it came out! Robert De Niro is absolutely fantastic in this movie. He’s completely unhinged as the wild and constantly disrespectful Johnny Boy. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen De Niro so loose in his whole career, but it’s been a while since I watched Taxi Driver. He’s just wonderful and you have to wonder how he didn’t get an Oscar nomination. I’m tempted to watch all the roles that got nominated over him and see how wrong they got it (I actually did add 1973’s Bang the Drum Slowly – also starring De Niro – to my watchlist).

Mean Streets was a lot of fun. You can see Scorsese getting his feet wet here with the mafioso type content he would eventually become famous for with Goodfellas and Casino. The characters and story are just so much better in those later films. This is a good movie though and I actually strongly considered watching it again before my 48 rental period expired. I can see myself revisiting it when I get through the rest of Marty’s filmography. Mean Streets is a huge leap forward from Scorsese’s first two films, but I’m still hesitating to call it his first great one. Maybe I’ll change my mind the second time I watch it.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Boxcar Bertha (1972, iTunes Store digital rental)

Martin Scorsese’s second feature film doesn’t establish him as a future great, but I thought it was fun, despite some issues I had with it – mostly what seems to be a serious passage of time that goes almost entirely unaddressed. I’m not sure what kind of movie this is. A western? Reviews I’ve read have called it an exploitation film. There’s a lot of harmonica in it. It’s also supposed to be a revenge movie, but I’m not sure how well that revenge was realized. David Carradine (the future Bill of Kill Bill) is charming in his role. Barbara Hershey is naked a lot in this movie which is kind of weird because she looks 15 years old (she was 23 or 24). She does a fine job acting though.

I don’t think Boxcar Bertha was necessarily a good movie, but I enjoyed watching it. This film is not one you have to see in Scorsese’s catalog unless you want to watch them all… like I do.

5/10 (Decent)

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January 2020 Movie Reviews

January 28, 2020

1917 (2019, theaters) – This movie is a technical marvel. It’s a war picture presented to look like everything was filmed in one shot (it wasn’t). I think it’s a cool concept and while I could spot certain times where they probably made a cut (e.g., the actors disappear behind a solid object so there are no moving parts on screen), I think they sold it really well. I would imagine some of these sequences still had to be extraordinarily long and that’s pretty damn impressive, both from a filming aspect and the ability of the actors to carry out the scenes convincingly.

The story follows two British soldiers during World War I. The duo is sent to the front lines to deliver a message to stop Britain’s 2nd Battalion from attacking the Germans, who are planning to ambush the 2nd Battalion. The character development in this isn’t a strength and I found myself not caring about what happened to them as a result. I may not have been emotionally invested in the story, but I was definitely blown away by how it was presented. The set designs in this film are unreal and I can’t help but think 1917 has a really good shot at the Production Design Oscar.

I could see people who don’t appreciate the technical aspects of films thinking 1917 is pretty meh, but I loved it and I think it firmly lands in my top 5 movies of the year.

8/10 (Must See)

21 (2008, Netflix) – I really liked the Ben Mezrich book this movie was adapted from and thought the movie did a poor job of bringing the story to screen, either because they left plot details out or changed too much. I just know I didn’t like the movie because I didn’t think it did the book justice. I’m judging this viewing based on the merits of the movie alone.

The plot is cool: a group of MIT students and their professor develop a blackjack card-counting system designed to avoid detection and take Las Vegas for heaps of dollars. I think they played up the allure of Vegas as some glamorous mecca a bit too much. Spacey delivers as the cold and calculated professor and leader of the MIT blackjack team, but I found the rest of the cast basically forgettable.

I guess it’s a good sign that my friends started the movie and I didn’t leave the room or turn it off after they went to bed. That’s something, but it’s also small praise for a mediocre movie overall.

5/10 (Decent)

I Lost My Body (2019, Netflix) – After witnessing a detached hand (similar to Thing from The Adams Family) fend for its life using a lighter against a pack of literal street rats, I knew I was in for something a little different. This was definitely an enjoyable movie with some pretty awesome animation and a quirky story.

The aforementioned hand escapes from a laboratory to reconnect with its body. The owner of the hand is a boy whose story is told through flashbacks, which ultimately reveal what caused his hand to be severed. This movie has a melancholic feel sprinkled with brief moments of hope as you can’t help but get sucked in by the hand’s unwavering determination to find its owner. This lends to some of the film’s most memorable scenes, including one where the hand has to cross a busy highway as shown from the hand’s perspective.

This weird, but cool little film was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar. After Missing Link won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, I have no clue what to expect from the Oscars in this category, but I’d be pretty surprised to see I Lost My Body edge out Toy Story 4.

Although somewhat depressing, I Lost My Body was a breath of fresh air. Note: I accidentally watched the English dubbed version and the subtitles often didn’t match up with what was being said and that was kind of aggravating. I didn’t realize this is actually a French film, so if you choose to watch this on Netflix, I would recommend setting the audio to French and using English subtitles – the way it is meant to be watched.

6/10 (Recommended)

Judy (2019, rental) – I’ve enjoyed plenty of depressing films, but I did not enjoy Judy. This biopic was a bit shallow and unwilling to explore the roots of its protagonist’s issues.

The film is about Judy Garland (best known for playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz) during her final year of life as a struggling stage performer. I give credit to Renee Zellweger for her great performance as Garland, which is the highlight of the movie, but I just didn’t get into this film. Zellweger is wonderfully unrecognizable and dives deep into character, convincingly selling herself as an old-time celebrity trying to recapture the limelight while battling addiction and alcoholism and struggling to hold her family together. She also belts out some impressive songs.

I loved Zellweger’s performance. I did not love the movie.

5/10 (Decent)

Little Women (2019, theaters) – I’ve never read the classic novel or seen any of the previous film versions of this story, so I have nothing to compare it to and that might be a good thing. Judged on its own, Little Women impressed me due in large part to its compelling storytelling and ensemble cast. The film-is-a-coming of age story about four sisters during the Civil War. The timeline bounces back and forth between childhood and adulthood, so viewers are able to observe each character’s perspective at different points in their lives.

I was excited to see Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to her excellent Lady Bird and the cast looked exceptional. Unsurprisingly, the cast absolutely delivers. Saoirse Ronan is arguably the best actress under thirty. Ronan earned her fourth Oscar nomination in the last twelve years and it is well deserved. Pretty impressive for someone that hasn’t had their 26th birthday yet. Florence Pugh completed a trifecta of great performances in 2019 (the others being Fighting With My Family and Midsommar) and capped off her amazing year by getting an Oscar nod for this movie. I’m not even sure it’s her second-best performance of the year, but I’m definitely happy to see her get nominated… she deserves it.

I was enjoying Little Women for most of the run time, but the last act really brought everything together wonderfully and kicked my rating up a tick. It’s a fun film about people that only cements Gerwig’s status as a top-notch film director. I give Little Women a strong recommendation, but it’s definitely not a bro movie.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019, rental) – My first review for this movie wasn’t that favorable but a second viewing made a huge difference. Maybe it’s all about expectations? I’ve gone from wondering what the heck I just watched to loving this film.

The film is essentially about a washed-up actor and his stunt double as they attempt to rekindle their success during 1960s Hollywood. Previously, I thought the plot meandered along with no meaningful connection between the multiple storylines and the climax rubbed me the wrong way (and maybe it still does). However, now I can’t help but appreciate the sheer brilliance of everything that’s happening on the screen – from the unreal performances from both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, to the ridiculously detailed old-school Hollywood set designs, to the music, to the wonderful cinematography. Also, there are multiple sequences in this movie that will probably wind up being iconic. I still think the ending of this movie is weird and probably disrespectful, but a part of me thinks it’s also kind of cool. There is also a notorious scene involving Bruce Lee. Disrespectful? Yeah, probably. Hilarious and awesome? Uh…yes.

I can’t think of too many movies that have grown on me this much with a second watch, but this is now one of my favorite films of the year.

8/10 (Must See)

Parasite (2019, theaters) – I had to watch this one twice before I wrote about it just to be sure that it was as truly great as I thought it was the first time. It’s official now: Parasite is my favorite movie of 2019 and it’s unlikely that anything I haven’t seen yet will top it at this point.

The plot is about a lower-class family that creatively (and unethically) deceives an upper-class family into hiring them for various service jobs. The film is just pure brilliance; it’s gripping, funny, surprising and beautifully filmed, all while acting as a commentary on the divide between social classes, plus the ensemble cast does a great (and mostly overlooked) job. Maybe the cast has been snubbed by American awards because Parasite is a Korean film and American audiences are spending a good deal of the movie reading the subtitles instead of watching the performances. You definitely can’t appreciate an acting performance to its full extent if you don’t understand what they are saying and your attention is elsewhere most of the time. I guess that’s understandable, but still… I thought the cast was great overall and, even without knowing the language, I could see that Kang-ho Song (poor dad), Yeo-jeong Jo (rich wife), So-dam Park (poor daughter), and Jeong-eun Lee (housekeeper) all gave standout performances.

I think Parasite deserves the Best Picture Oscar (although 1917 is probably the favorite) and the Best Screenplay Oscar (which should be a lock as anything else winning would be laughable).

Rarely do movies grab my attention from the opening scene and hold it until the credits roll. Parasite did just that and is possibly the only truly sensational film to come out of 2019.

9/10 (Sensational)

The Mustang (2019, rental) – This film proves that great acting and storytelling don’t necessarily need a lot of dialogue. The Mustang is most compelling when its characters are silent and let their actions/body language do the speaking.

The plot follows a long-imprisoned man who can’t connect in any meaningful way with people, including his daughter. The man forms an unlikely bond with a stubborn wild mustang after the man enters a rehabilitation program while doing outside maintenance at the jail. As the plot progresses, the man’s hardened demeanor begins to melt away and it becomes evident he desires rehabilitation for his issues. It’s a touching and sad film about growth, redemption, and life’s inevitable setbacks with solid performances from Matthias Schoenaerts and Bruce Dern.

The Mustang is a somber and satisfying drama worth giving a watch.

6/10 (Recommended)

Uncut Gems (2019, theaters) – This one has polarized audiences – people either seem to love it or absolutely loathe it. I was in the former camp, as I was entertained the whole movie and thought it was borderline hilarious, but not in the in-your-face kind of way an Adam Sandler comedy usually is.

The movie opens with Sandler’s character getting a colonoscopy and that’s by far the most relaxing moment he has in the entire movie. After that point, he’s nonstop on the go and the tension basically never lets up. This movie is about a foul-mouthed (Uncut Gems has the 7th most “F-words” in cinematic history according to the movie-review website Screen It!) NYC Diamond District jewelry peddler who bets big on sports and spends his life looking for ways to stay in action while dodging the loan sharks he owes. It’s grimy. It’s unsettling. It’s definitely disturbing.

Uncut Gems is much more subtle with the humor, possibly because a lot of the funniest parts are also a bit horrifying. I’ve heard this movie described as a two-hour panic attack and that’s not a bad description. But I liked it a lot and Adam Sandler is great in it. I’m not sure he got snubbed for an Oscar nomination, but I wouldn’t have found it alarming to see him get a nod.

I’m hesitant to recommend Uncut Gems because so many people disliked it, but if we have similar taste, you might find yourself enjoying this just as much as I did.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Yes Man (2008, Netflix) – This is a decent Jim Carrey movie that’s pretty similar to Liar, Liar in concept (wherein the main character is incapable of telling a lie) but not as funny. The film is about a recently divorced and withdrawn man (played by Jim Carrey) who is convinced to go to a motivational seminar. There, he reluctantly promises to say “yes” to every opportunity, request or invitation that presents itself. In sticking to this promise, Carrey’s character finds himself in unusual and amusing (if not predictable) situations.

Carrey delivers his usual spastic and high-energy performance, but the movie suffers from a weak supporting cast and uninspired plot elements. It becomes painfully obvious what will transpire as a result of the main character’s inability to “say no” during many scenes.

It was moderately entertaining while I was watching it, but Yes Man didn’t stick with me at all and was basically instantly forgettable.

4/10 (Forgettable)

Oscar nominated movies I will review in the future: Jojo Rabbit, The Two Popes, Ford vs Ferrari, Pain and Glory, Bombshell, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Richard Jewell, Harriet, Honeyland, Missing Link

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December 2019 Movie Reviews: Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, Knives Out, Christmas Movies

December 21, 2019

Going forward, this is how I’m going to review movies – unless I want to highlight a specific movie I think warrants more discussion (i.e. leaving Parasite off this list). You can expect quick, succinct reviews here that give you an idea of how I felt about a movie and a few strengths and weaknesses, if warranted. I’ll keep track of every movie I watch throughout the month and post my thoughts on them at the start of the next month. This will include rewatches and possibly rating changes. I’ll also post some thoughts on any TV shows if I finish watching a season during the month. My rating system for TV is a little different than for movies because… I’m a psychopath.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019, theaters) – Geez. I’ve never proclaimed to be a big Star Wars fan, so it’s not like I’ve ever been super invested in these films, but… I think I’m over them. There have been eight Star Wars movies released since I was in high school and I’m a genuine fan of two of them (Rogue One and The Force Awakens) and none of them have been dear to me. That’s a lot of mediocrity. The Rise of Skywalker just adds to the list. It was mildly entertaining, but I honestly didn’t care about anything that was happening. As always, these movies are pretty good visually but I just can’t get emotionally invested in the story or find a way to care about these characters.

5/10 (Decent)

Knives Out (2019, theater) – This probably deserves a formal review but here we are. It’s a slick whodunnit with a great cast and plenty of memorable characters and is wildly entertaining the entire way. I give it a strong recommendation and would be happy to watch it again. I can actually see this growing on me and giving it a higher rating in the future.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Thoroughbreds (2017, HBO NOW) – Interesting, entertaining and a bit disturbing with some quality performances from Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy. Also features the late Anton Yelchin in one of his better roles. I recommend it.

6/10 (Recommended)

Klaus (2019, Netflix) – A worthy addition to the staple of Christmas holiday films with a fresh take on the legend of Santa and some unbelievably crisp animation. I thought this was top notch, but I want to see it again before labeling it a Must See.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Home Alone (1990, Disney+) – The most amazing thing about Home Alone is that I’ve probably seen it more than any other movie in my lifetime and yet, I still enjoy it. Even as I enter my late 30s I still don’t mind watching it every single year around Christmas time. This movie is full of plot holes, nonsense, and unbelievably dumb characters, but I still love it and it’s charm is undeniable. A true classic, even if it isn’t exactly a great film.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992, Disney+) – I can’t blame anyone involved for making this, but it’s basically just a retread of the first film set in New York City under even more unbelievable circumstances. I guess it’s still kind of fun, but it doesn’t come close to capturing the magic of the original.

5/10 (Decent)

Fatal Attraction (1987, Amazon Prime) – A movie that has always intrigued me but I never got around to watching. I always thought it was probably just softcore erotica, but Fatal Attraction actually got nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture! Seeing it streaming on Prime, I finally watched it and it was… pretty good! Glenn Close totally makes the movie and plays unhinged and obsessed really well. It didn’t strike me as a film that should be in anyone’s top 5 of any year, but it was definitely worth watching.

6/10 (Recommended)

Us (2019, HBO NOW) – I’ve seen it three times now. After two viewings, I was pretty confident labelling it a Must See, but after a third viewing, I think it’s just a pretty good, but not great film.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable) [revised rating]

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017, Netflix) – I thought this was really mediocre and bordering on bad the first time I saw it, but after being convinced to give it another chance (plus wanting to refresh before the new movie) I found it to be enjoyable this time around as some of the things that bothered me (i.e. Rose) didn’t anymore. I still don’t think it’s good enough that I’d recommend it though.

5/10 (Decent)

The Santa Clause (1994, Disney+) – A forgotten Christmas classic. Whenever the best holiday movies come up, I don’t seem to hear The Santa Clause get mentioned much, but it’s far too enjoyable to be omitted like that. Tim Allen is somehow great casting and this movie oozes charm and holiday spirit.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (2018, HBO NOW) – Total trash. Like… absurdly dumb. It gets called a Final Destination ripoff a lot, but I thought the movie it really wanted to imitate was It Follows. This is almost certainly the single worst movie I’ve watched in 2019 (but note it is a 2018 release).

2/10 (Painful)

Noelle (2019, Disney+) – Apologies to Truth or Dare, this is the biggest piece of shit I watched in 2019. Unbearably cheesy, misguided, and not even remotely funny, my wife and I both thought this was unwatchable. I’ll give Dina credit for making it to the halfway point – and I was going to power through if she wanted to – but when she quit it, I figured I probably shouldn’t spend my last hours of 2019 watching the worst movie of the year, and I turned it off about 50 minutes in.

2/10 (Painful)

TV SHOWS

Big Mouth (s2, 2018, Netflix) – A guilty pleasure, I guess? It’s raunchy animation focused on middle school kids going through puberty and all the emotional and physical craziness involved when your hormones start taking over. This show is NOT for kids though. It’s a hard rated-R – and possibly even worse – with absurdly graphic sex talk and even shows the kids naked sometimes. I almost feel bad even watching it. Some of the characters are way too over-the-top and gross (Jay, Coach Steve, the Hormone Monsters). On the other hand, it’s also pretty damn charming and plenty funny, plus I think it does a good job of really digging into the difficulties and wonders of discovering your bodies at that age. Nick Kroll does some excellent voicework and I really liked the addition of The Shame Wizard in this season. I’m a bit ambivalent about how I feel about this show, but I guess I like it overall and have to admit I enjoy it.

3.5/6 (Decent/Good)

The Mandalorian (s1, 2019, Disney+) – I’m going to say it… this is the best thing to ever come out of the Star Wars universe. I’ve already mentioned I don’t hold any of the films dear to me, so when I make this statement, it’s not coming from someone that is in love with the franchise. I kind of went into The Mandalorian wanting to not like the show, but it didn’t take long to win me over. Everyone knows about Baby Yoda by now and that was a goddamn stroke of creative genius. Baby Yoda is a level of cuteness that has possibly never been seen before and adds a serious mystique to the show. It’s not a spoiler to say that this character is never referenced in the trilogy that just wrapped up, so… I’m extremely curious to see where this story is headed. I think Baby Yoda makes the show, but there is plenty to love about The Mandalorian. From a technical standpoint, it’s as spectacular as any show I’ve ever seen. The sets, sounds, costumes, and creatures are all elite. I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing what Jon Favreau and co. have in store for season 2.

5/6 (Must Watch)

Rick & Morty (s4 pt. 1, 2019, Adult Swim) – I got into Rick & Morty either this year or last year, so I was late to the party, but it didn’t take long to win me over. I devoured the first three seasons and by the time I was done with them, I was on board with the sentiment that the show was all-time levels of awesome. Season 4 is the first time I’ve watched the episodes as they came out and I have to say, I was a little disappointed with the first half of season 4. They have released five episodes so far and I thought two of them were great (episodes one and five), while episode four (with dragons?) was one of the worst of the whole series. To be fair though, the bar for the series is insanely high, but that episode was a bit of a head scratcher for me. The other two episodes I was a bit lukewarm on but still liked overall. Considering the consistent level of greatness this show has operated on for three seasons, having two cool episodes and a weak one in the first five of season four seems like a step in the wrong direction.

4/6 (Good)

Don’t F*** With Cats (2019, Netflix) – An insane story about how a bunch of internet nerds formed a Facebook group to track down some kid that made a video of himself torturing and killing a cat and then posted it online. It’s pretty crazy how the group figure out who the person is and then watch in horror as he escalates to actually murdering a human (also posted in a video online). I guess I’m confused about how the internet works because it seems like it would be extremely easy for law enforcement to find out exactly where a video was posted and track down the person that made it, but maybe these are advances in technology that have mostly be fine-tuned in the 7+ years since these events took place. Still, this is an unreal and extremely fascinating story. There are three episodes and once you start the first one, you won’t want to stop watching until you are done.

4.5/6 (Good/Must Watch)

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Molly’s Game, The Shape of Water, A Ghost Story

January 9, 2018

I’m pretty far behind on posting my thoughts on entertainment content, so I’m just going to pump it all out right now.

Molly’s Game (2017) – This is a rare occurrence where a movie is significantly better than the book it was based on thanks in large part to Aaron Sorkin’s uncanny ability to translate stories to the big screen with his ability to write snappy and entertaining dialogue-heavy scenes. There’s a line in the movie where Idris Elba’s character says something about the best part of Molly’s story taking place after her book was published; he’s not wrong. In fact, his character didn’t even exist in the book. All the court drama is fresh material and it is quite great. Jessica Chastain and Elba are wonderful in their roles. Michael Cera’s character is actually the actor Tobey Maguire and while he’s painted pretty slimy in this movie, he plays a much bigger villain role in the book. For instance, Tobey insists on using his own personal Shuffle Master for the games and charges Molly to use it. I wasn’t moved by the book at all. I thought it was an interesting story, but I didn’t feel bad for Molly Bloom. This movie made me feel something. Kudos to Aaron Sorkin’s writing and directing and a great cast.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

The Shape of Water (2017) – This movie blew me away. Guillermo del Toro directs a wonderfully beautiful film with a fun (but kind of weird) love story about not judging a book by its cover. Sally Hawkins is ridiculously good in this movie, playing a mute that works in a secret government building as a cleaning lady and falls in love with a Sea Monster/Man they are holding captive. This is a film that is firing on all cylinders: visually, musically, and technically. Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins are great in supporting roles and Michael Shannon is terrific as the story’s main villain – goodness that guy can make you hate him. The Shape of Water might not wind up being my favorite movie of 2017, but it is almost certainly the best all around 2017 film I’ve seen so far. This movie is highly artistic and a little out there, so it might not be for everyone. My friend I saw it with had the audacity to call it “alright.”

8/10 (Must See)

A Ghost Story (2017) – This was an experience. I had no clue what I was getting into and was totally floored by the direction this movie takes. Casey Affleck plays husband to Rooney Mara, but passes away after a car accident early on in the movie only to return as the stereotypical-looking ghost in a white sheet. He returns to their home and watches her grieve – including an uncomfortably long four minute scene of Rooney Mara devouring a pie – and eventually move on. There is no interaction between ghost and grieving wife and even though the spirit was able travel from the morgue to their home, it remains behind after she moves out and other people begin to move in and out, and a serious amount of time passes. It’s a weird movie. There is very little dialogue after Casey Affleck’s character dies, as most of the film is music and a ghost observing. And yet, it was incredibly entrancing, moving, and quite thought-provoking. I really wanted my wife to watch it but I’m sure she’d hate it, so I didn’t even bother suggesting it. I’m hesitant to recommend this movie, but I loved it and I wanted to watch it again right after I saw it.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Raw (2017) – Technically, this movie was viewed at film festivals in 2016, but I don’t think it was released in theaters until 2017. This is a pretty bizarre French-language film about a young vegetarian girl forced to eat meat while getting hazed during orientation at a veterinarian school and develops an insatiable desire for meat and discovers that humans are quite tasty! There’s lots of weird stuff in this movie – it’s overly gross and sexual at times – and I would not recommend it to more conservative audiences. I thought it was pretty fun though and fans of horror movies from other countries shouldn’t be put off by it’s boundary pushing.

6/10 (Recommended)

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010) – Happened to watch this on Netflix and thought it was a pretty fun, but not great horror movie with a twist. Tucker and Dale are harmless “hillbillies” that a group of teens mistake for murderers and the teens accidentally kill themselves one-by-one while the survivors blame it all on Tucker and Dale. There’s a don’t judge a book by its cover theme here too, but it’s pretty superficial and this film is just a light horror comedy that’s worth a watch if you have some time.

5/10 (Watchable)

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So Many T.V. Shows!

October 24, 2017

Ratings
5 – Must Watch
4 – Good Stuff
3 – Decent
2 – Not Recommended
1 – Terrible

I’ve powered through a number of seasons of various T.V. series recently, but haven’t shared my thoughts yet, so here they are:

Game of Thrones, Season 7: The biggest event show on television is still must watch stuff. Season 7 featured a bit of ridiculousness (like, travelling to and fro is no longer an issue for anyone in Westeros – they might as well be apparating), but there were plenty of long awaited moments and lots to cheer about. It’s hard to say too much about this show without spoiling things, so I’ll just say I still find Thrones insanely entertaining and I can’t wait to see how they end this thing. 4.5/5

Iron Fist, Season 1: I hated it. Easily the worst of the Netflix Marvel series so far. The biggest problem is Finn Jones just has no charisma in the lead role and, as such, Danny Rand is not someone you can wholeheartedly root for. I really had to force myself to finish this season so I could watch… 1.5/5

The Defenders, Season 1: How could they mess this up? By making The Hand the main enemy, I guess. It’s fun seeing the four heroes interact with each other (although Iron Fist is still lame), but at the end of the day, the agenda of The Hand just doesn’t make any sense. I literally have no idea what the end game was for them. And who is Sigourney Weaver’s character? She’s the leader of The Hand and she’s supposed to be important, but we are never given any reason to fear her and have no idea why she’s in power. Certainly someone like Madam Gao seems a more formidable leader. Shrug. I thought this long awaited series was good for about four episodes and then it lost me completely. People that are going to watch are going to watch it anyway, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. 2/5

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later: If you aren’t already familiar with this franchise you should acquaint yourself with the 2001 film and the Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp first. There are too many back stories and running jokes to fully appreciate this show if you haven’t seen the previous installments. I admittedly did not revisit the film first and I think it dampened my enjoyment ever so slightly. I kind of figured things out and remembered as the new story unfolded, but not having everything fresh didn’t make everything as funny as it should be – and it was still hilarious! Absolutely my kind of comedy, but certainly not for everyone. This shows gets pretty ridiculous and out there, but I’ve really enjoyed both series streaming on Netflix. 4/5

Gotham, Season 3: As a dedicated Batman fan, I can’t stop watching this series no matter how ridiculous or bad it gets. There are just so many things to complain about. To some degree, Bruce Wayne finally begins his actual transition into becoming The Batman, but most of his biggest villains are already fully formed – despite the fact that, traditionally, Batman is the reason his rogues gallery exists in the first place. There is a lot to gripe about but I’d like to highlight a couple of things: 1) So Jerome isn’t The Joker? I really liked Cameron Monoghan as Jerome even though his portrayal was a weeeeeeee bit over the top. I don’t understand how someone that looks and acts exactly like The Joker isn’t actually The Joker. The idea that the real Joker is someone paying homage to Jerome, or a copycat, really doesn’t sit right with me. 2) My goodness, how bad did they botch Mr. Freeze? He looks and sounds absolutely TERRIBLE, plus they turned a formidable anti-villain with a tragic back story and turned him into… Penguin’s lackey? 3) This season has a Penguin-Riddler love story. No joke. 2/5

Better Call Saul, Season 2: Creator Vince Gilligan (also responsible for Breaking Bad) is truly a master. I wasn’t really sold on a Saul Goodman spinoff when I first heard about it, but both seasons of the show have been stellar. The show has amazingly rich character development and plenty of fun call backs to Breaking Bad. Arguably the best show currently airing right now, I can’t wait to watch season 3 and be all caught up. 5/5

Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Season 1: This series picks up 30 years after the events of Evil Dead 2 (I think it ignores Army Of Darkness) with Bruce Campbell reprising his role of zombie/demon slayer Ash Williams. The first season is hilarious, spectacularly gory, and wildly entertaining. Ash picks up a couple of compadres on his quest this time around and they are admittedly still growing on me but at least they give someone for Ash to verbally spar with. This isn’t genius stuff here, but it’s definitely something fans of horror and the original franchise will love. 4/5

Shameless, Season 2: This show is wild, and dirty, but it’s also a lot of fun. The Gallaghers are a crazy bunch and everyone has plenty of flaws, but they somehow still come across quite lovable. I still don’t understand Fiona’s interest in Steve/Jimmy though. It really makes no sense to me. Season 2 is still pretty grounded but I have strong suspicions this show is going to get totally bonkers, to the point of completely unbelievably. Here’s to hoping it keeps its heart and doesn’t turn every single character into a total scoundrel. 3.5/5

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September 2017 Fall TV Series Premiere Dates

September 20, 2017

I’m a little late in gathering this information, but I wanted to post a collection of the premiere dates for TV series I either watch already or want to watch.

Narcos (September 1st, Netflix, Season 3) – I haven’t seen any episodes of this Pablo Escobar series yet, but I’ve heard enough good things that I want to watch it eventually.

Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G. (September 4th, A&E, miniseries) – I didn’t know this existed until 30 minutes ago. I guess it’s an authorized biography told documentary style over two hours. As a huge fan, I’ll watch it whenever it becomes easily accessible.

American Horror Story: Cult (September 5th, FX, Season 7) – I’ve only seen season one and parts of seasons two and three, but I plan to watch the whole series eventually. I will be walking through the American Horror Story: Roanoke maze at Halloween Horror Nights next month.

BoJack Horseman (September 8th, Netflix, Season 4) – I haven’t watched an episode of this either but I’ve read some stellar reviews.

The Deuce (September 10th, HBO, Season 1) – HBO series about porn and prostitution in NYC during the 1970s and 1980s starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Haven’t heard much about it so far, but it’s on my radar.

American Vandal (September 15th, Netflix, Season 1) – Not sure what this is all about, but the trailer I’ve seen looked pretty funny.

Vice Principals (September 17th, HBO, Season 2) – Haven’t seen this HBO comedy series starring Danny McBride yet, but might watch it some day.

Jerry Before Seinfeld (September 19th, Netflix, Stand-Up Comedy Special) – A Jerry Seinfeld stand-up special is obviously must watch television.

Gotham (September 21st, Fox, Season 4) – I’m a huge Batman fan, but this show is still kind of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s not particularly good – there’s plenty of things horribly wrong with it – but I can’t stop watching either. Judging from the teaser images, it seems like Bruce will be starting his Batman journey this season, so that’s something to look forward to. I have a few more episodes to watch in season 3, but I’ll be recording season four and staying up to date.

Fuller House (September 22nd, Netflix, Season 3) – Another guilty pleasure. This show has been more entertaining than I was expecting it to be. It’s perfect for watching with my wife.

DuckTales (September 23rd, DisneyXD, reboot, Season 1) – A childhood classic comes back! I don’t even know what DisneyXD is or if I even have it in my cable package, but a DuckTales reboot is notable stuff!

The Big Bang Theory (September 25th, CBS, Season 11) – I think I stopped watching this show after four or five seasons and it’s not because I didn’t enjoy it – I just didn’t have cable or make the time. I have no idea if it’s still good, but any series that gets eleven seasons is noteworthy.

Young Sheldon (September 25th, CBS, Season 1) – This is a Big Bang Theory spinoff focusing on Sheldon Cooper’s childhood. I watched the trailer for the series and the tone was really weird. They don’t appear to be doing a sitcom format, but rather a somewhat serious dramedy with no laugh track. I’m kind of intrigued, but I have a feeling this will bomb.

This Is Us (September 26th, NBC, Season 2) – I haven’t seen this show either, but this is another show that has had some stellar reviews and feels like a must watch for me. I will record season two and try to catch up quickly.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (September 26th, Fox, Season 5) – I don’t watch this Andy Samberg cop comedy, but I have seen some episodes and they were funny and enjoyable enough that I feel like the premiere date is worth mentioning.

The Blacklist (September 27th, NBC, Season 5) – I’ve seen the first season and maybe the second season – I’m not sure. This was a show my wife and I were watching together, but it’s more in the guilty pleasure category and it’s not super important to me that we continue on. If she wants to pick it back up some day, I would be will to keep going.

Modern Family (September 27th, ABC, Season 9) – This show is brilliant, but last time I watched it Ariel Winter was a dorky, young teenager – not an Instagram model. I would very much like to catch up with this show, but we will probably wait until it’s finished before marathoning through the whole series together.

Grey’s Anatomy (September 28th, ABC, Season 14) – What? Season 14?! I stopped watching this show a decade ago! I think I watched the first 4-6 seasons, but this was a guilty pleasure for me, at best. I have zero interest in what has happened over the past 7+ seasons, but I had to list the premiere because I’m absolutely stunned that it’s still on the air. 14 seasons is incredible.

Marvel’s Inhumans (September 29th, ABC, Season 1) – This is noteworthy because it’s Marvel, but I have read HORRIBLE reviews, so I’ll mention here, but I do not plan on watching this show.