Posts Tagged ‘netflix’

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January 2022 – Every Movie I Watched

February 4, 2022

Below is a list of every movie I watched in January. Movies with a link have reviews to read.

Masterpieces – 10

Amazing – 9

Great/Must Sees – 8

  • Boiling Point (2021, Vudu)
  • Flee (2021, theaters)
  • Licorice Pizza (2021, theaters)
  • Mass (2021, iTunes rental)
  • Sicario (2015, re-watch, Vudu)
  • Scream (1996, re-watch, Vudu)

Highly Enjoyable – 7

  • The Fallout (2022, HBO Max)
  • Scream 5 (2022, theaters)
  • The Beta Test (2021, Vudu)
  • Spencer (2021, Red Box rental)
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021, Apple TV+)
  • Moonlight (2016, Vudu)
  • Hugo (2011, re-watch, Hulu)
  • Scream 4 (2011, re-watch, Vudu)
  • Snow Angels (2007, Vudu)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, re-watch, tubi)

Light Recommendations – 6

  • Being the Ricardos (2021, Amazon Prime)
  • Encanto (2021, Disney+)
  • No Time to Die (2021, Red Box rental)

Decent – 5

Forgettable – 4

  • Scream 3 (2000, re-watch, Vudu)

Bad – 3

Horrible – 2

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through January
2021 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
2021/2022 Oscars: My rankings for last year’s films in every Oscar category, based on what I’ve seen so far
February 20212- 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)

Finished:

  • Chucky season 1 (2021, USA/SyFy)
  • Euphoria: F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob (2021, Special Episode, HBO Max)
  • Euphoria: Trouble Don’t Last Always (2020, Special Episode, HBO Max)
  • Euphoria season 1 (2019, HBO Max)

Actively watching:

  • Euphoria season 2 (2022, HBO Max)
  • Ozark season 4 (2022, Netflix)

Started but on indefinite pause:

  • The Sopranos season 2 (2000, HBO, re-watch)
  • What If…? season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Big Shots season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Loki season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Rick & Morty season 5 (2021, Adult Swim)
  • What We Do in the Shadows season 3 (2021, Hulu)
  • Pen15 season 3 (2022, Hulu)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 (2021, Hulu)
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2021 Year in Review – Movies

January 1, 2022

My TOP TEN Movies of 2021

  1. Dune
  2. Shiva Baby (HBO Max)
  3. Little Fish (Hulu)
  4. Spider-Man: No Way Home
  5. CODA (Apple TV+)
  6. Titane
  7. Pig (Hulu)
  8. Judas and the Black Messiah (HBO Max)
  9. The Last Duel
  10. A Quiet Place Part II

The rest of my top 25: https://boxd.it/b3zMq

Notable 2021 films I haven’t seen yet: Licorice Pizza, C’mon C’mon, Belfast, The Worst Person in the World, Mass, West Side Story, Red Rocket, The Lost Daughter, The Card Counter, Spencer, The French Dispatch, King Richard, In The Heights, Nightmare Alley, No Time to Die, Swan Song

My TOP FIVE Documentaries/Docu-Series of 2021

  1. The Alpinist (Netflix)
  2. Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry (Apple TV+)
  3. Summer of Soul (Hulu)
  4. Val (Amazon Prime)
  5. Allen v. Farrow (HBO Max)

Notable 2021 Documentaries I haven’t seen: The Beatles: Get Back, Flee, The Rescue, Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street, Tina, Tiger, The History of the Atlanta Falcons, The Velvet Underground, The Sparks Brothers

2021 Movie Stats

Films watched: 244 (including shorts and eligible T.V. series (i.e. Loki, Mare of Easttown, etc.)

Average per month: 20.3

Average per week: 4.7

Most movies watched in one week: 13

Movies I watched twice: Halloween Kills, Minari, The Father, Shiva Baby, Promising Young Woman, Dick Johnson is Dead

Most watched genres: Drama (101 films), Horror (61), Thriller (61), Comedy (46), Action (34)

2021 releases: 29.5% Older: 70.5%

First-time watches: 74.6% Re-watches: 25.4%

10/10 Ratings: Halloween, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Jurassic Park, 12 Years a Slave

2021 – Most Watched Actors:

6 films: Corey Feldman (Friday the 13th franchise), Samuel L. Jackson (random)

5 films: Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween franchise), Benedict Cumberbatch (random), Jesse Plemons (random), Carrie-Anne Moss (Matrix franchise), Bill Camp (random)

4 films: Robert De Niro (Scorsese), Keanu Reeves (Matrix), David Dastmalchian (random), Nick Castle (Halloween), Virginia Madsen (random), Benedict Wong (Marvel), Melora Walters (Paul Thomas Anderson), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th), P.J. Soles (Halloween), Charles Scorsese (Scorsese), Darrell Britt-Gibson (Fear Street), Fred Hechinger (Fear Street), Olivia Scott Welch (Fear Street)

2021 – Most Watched Directors:

4 films: Martin Scorsese, Lana Wachowski

3 films: Paul Thomas Anderson, Leigh Janiak, Destin Daniel Cretton, Wes Anderson, Ridley Scott

2 films: Steve Miner, Sergio Leone, David Gordon Green, Garrett Bradley, Spike Lee, James Cameron, Chloe Zhao, Adam Wingard, Rob Zombie, Steve McQueen, David Lynch, Chris Palmer

All-Time – Most Watched Actors:

  1. Samuel L. Jackson (44 films) [previously ranked 1]
  2. Brad Pitt (36) [2]
  3. Robert De Niro (35) [2]
  4. Tom Hanks (33) [5]
  5. Matt Damon (32) [6]
  6. Morgan Freeman (31) [8]
  7. John Goodman (31) [4]
  8. Bruce Willis (29) [6]
  9. Johnny Depp (28) [9]
  10. Tom Cruise (27) [13]
  11. Robert Downey Jr. (27) [13]
  12. Woody Harrelson (27) [10]
  13. Jonah Hill (27) [12]
  14. Jack Black (27) [9]
  15. J.K. Simmons (27) [13]
  16. Arnold Schwarzenegger (26) [13]
  17. Ben Affleck (26) [13]
  18. Willem Dafoe (26) [unranked]
  19. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (25) [unranked]
  20. Bill Murray (25) [13]

Dropped out: Laurence Fishburne, Jon Favreau

All-Time – Most Watched Directors:

  1. Steve Spielberg (21 films) [previously ranked 1]
  2. Martin Scorsese (20) [2]
  3. Ridley Scott (16) [4]
  4. Tim Burton (14) [3]
  5. Sam Raimi (12) [5]
  6. Ron Howard (12) [5]
  7. Quentin Tarantino (12) [5]
  8. Ivan Reitman (11) [8]
  9. David Fincher (11) [8]
  10. Christopher Nolan (11) [8]
  11. Joel Coen (11) [8]
  12. Michael Bay (10) [12]
  13. Robert Rodriguez (10) [12]
  14. Steven Soderbergh (10) [12]
  15. Jon Turteltaub (9) [15]
  16. Stephen Herek (9) [15]
  17. Wes Craven (9) [15]
  18. Joel Schumacher (9) [unranked]
  19. Peter Farrelly (9) [15]
  20. Jay Roach (9) [15]
  21. James Mangold (9) [15]
  22. Robert Zemeckis (9) [15]
  23. Richard Donner (9) [15]

Notes: Basically no movement here. I have multiple directors I’m focusing on right now, but Scorsese is the only one I watched more than three films from and only one of those wasn’t a re-watch. Ridley Scott is the only director in my all-time top 20 that I saw more than one new film from last year.

Every Movie I watched in November & December

Notes: This is the time of year I really start digging into the 2021 movies with Oscar chances, but this past month was kind of weird because of snow. I ended up cancelling multiple movie theater trips because we only have one 4WD vehicle and Dina was using it to go to work. Also, the vast majority of my film-watching is a solo adventure, but over the last ten days of 2021 Dina and I watched 14 movies together! She let me pick out two of them. Needless to say, my focused watchlist is now overflowing with 2021 movies I still need to see. The good news is I will have almost three full months to catch up on everything before the Oscars air on March 27th. Plenty of time!

Masterpieces – 10

Amazing – 9

  • The Matrix (1999, re-watch, HBO Max)
  • Boogie Nights (1997, re-watch, Showtime)

Great/Must Sees – 8

  • Titane (2021, iTunes rental)
  • The Last Duel (2021, Vudu)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021, theater)
  • The Alpinist (2021, Netflix)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2021, re-watch, Disney+)
  • Black Swan (2010, re-watch, Hulu)
  • Goodfellas (1990, re-watch, HBO Max)

Highly Enjoyable – 7

  • Last Night in Soho (2021, theater)
  • The Master (2012, Netflix)
  • The Matrix Reloaded (2003, re-watch, HBO Max)
  • Best in Show (2000, re-watch, HBO Max)
  • Bottle Rocket (1996, iTunes rental)
  • Hard Eight (1996, Amazon Prime)
  • Home Alone (1990, re-watch, personal collection)
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989, re-watch, personal collection)
  • The Color of Money (1986, re-watch, iTunes rental)
  • Tampopo (1985, HBO Max)

Light Recommendations – 6

Decent – 5

  • Censor (2021, Hulu)
  • Eternals (2021, theater)
  • tick, tick… BOOM! (2021, Netflix)
  • The Matrix Resurrections (2021, HBO Max)
  • I, Robot (2004, re-watch, HBO Max)

Forgettable – 4

  • The Matrix Revolutions (2003, re-watch, HBO Max)

Bad – 3

Horrible – 2

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through December 2021
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through December 2021
2021 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
January 2022 – 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)

Finished:

  • Succession season 3 (2021, HBO) – 4/5
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm season 11 (2021, HBO) – 3.5/5
  • Better Call Saul season 5 (2020, FX) – 3.5/5
  • The Sex Lives of College Girls season 1 (2021, HBO) – 4/5

Actively watching:

  • Dexter: New Blood season 1 (2021, Showtime)
  • The Sopranos season 2 (2000, HBO, re-watch)

Started but on indefinite pause:

  • Chucky season 1 (2021, USA/SyFy)
  • What We Do in the Shadows season 3 (2021, Hulu)
  • Big Shots season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Loki season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Rick & Morty season 5 (2021, Adult Swim)
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Fall 2021 – Every Movie I Watched

October 31, 2021

Below is a list of every movie I’ve watched over the last two months. I haven’t reviewed a movie since I’ve been in Vegas, but any film with a blue link is to a review I wrote for it.

Masterpieces – 10

  • Halloween (1978, re-watch, personal collection)

Amazing – 9

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – (1966, re-watch, HBO Max)
  • Dune (2021, IMAX)
  • Raging Bull (1980, re-watch, iTunes rental)
  • Do the Right Thing (1989, Netflix)

Great/Must Sees – 8

  • The King of Comedy (1982, Pluto TV)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, re-watch, personal collection)
  • The Hustler (1961, re-watch, iTunes rental)
  • Rushmore (1998, re-watch, personal collection)
  • Little Fish (2021, Hulu)
  • Short Term 12 (2013, Peacock)

Highly Enjoyable – 7

  • A Fistful of Dollars (1964, HBO Max)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021, theaters)
  • Halloween (2018, re-watch, personal collection)
  • The Goonies (1985, re-watch, HBO Max)
  • Eden Lake (2008, Tubi TV)
  • The Return of the Living Dead (1985, HBO Max)
  • Big Time Adolescence (2019, Hulu)
  • Malignant (2021, HBO Max)
  • Val (2021, Amazon Prime)

Light Recommendations – 6

  • Primal Fear (1996, re-watch, HBO Max?)
  • Disturbia (2007, re-watch, HBO Max)
  • The Many Saints of Newark (2021, theaters)
  • Saint Maud (2020, Hulu)

Decent – 5

  • Dream Horse (2020, Hulu) – 5.5/10
  • Halloween Kills (2021, twice, theaters & Peacock)
  • Jason X (2001, re-watch, HBO Max)
  • Freddy vs. Jason (2003, re-watch, HBO Max)
  • The Voyeurs (2021, Amazon Prime)
  • Halloween: 25 Years of Terror (2006, YouTube)

Forgettable – 4

  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003, HBO Max)

Bad – 3

  • Dune (1984, HBO Max)

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through October
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through October 2021
2021 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
September 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)

Finished:

  • The Sopranos season 1 (1999, HBO, re-watch) – 4.5/5
  • Ted Lasso season 2 (2021, Apple) – 3.5/5
  • Nine Perfect Strangers mini-series (2021, Hulu) – 3/5

Actively watching:

  • Chucky season 1 (2021, USA/SyFy)
  • Better Call Saul season 5 (2020, FX)
  • What We Do in the Shadows season 3 (2021, Hulu)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm season 11 (2021, HBO)
  • Succession season 3 (2021, HBO)

Started but on indefinite pause:

  • The Sopranos season 2 (2000, HBO, re-watch)
  • What If…? season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Big Shots season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Loki season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Rick & Morty season 5 (2021, Adult Swim)

Music

I have listened to almost no new music the whole time I’ve been in Vegas.

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August 2021 – Every Movie I Watched

September 5, 2021

Movies – Reviews or ratings for every movie I watched in the month of August.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review:

  • Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two (2021) – 7/10
  • CODA (2021, Apple TV) – 8/10
  • Jungle Cruise (2021) – 4/10
  • The Green Knight (2021) – 7/10
  • The Suicide Squad (2021, HBO Max) – 6/10
  • Together, Together (2021, Hulu) – 6/10
  • The Father (2020, re-watch) – 8/10
  • Icarus (2017, Netflix) – 8/10
  • Apocalypto (2006, Prime) – 8/10
  • Croupier (1998, Netflix) – 6/10
  • The Fugitive (1993, HBO Max, re-watch) – 6/10
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991, Netflix) – 10/10
  • Police Story (1985, HBO Max) – 7/10

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through August
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through August 2021
2021 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
September 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)

  • Dave season 2 (2021, Hulu/FX) – 3.5/5
  • Dr. Death (2021, Peacock)
  • The Outsider (2020, HBO Max) – 3/5

Currently watching:

  • Better Call Saul season 5 (2020, FX)
  • Big Shots season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Loki season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Rick & Morty season 5 (2021, Adult Swim)
  • The Sopranos season 1 (1999, HBO Max, re-watch)
  • Ted Lasso season 2 (2021, Apple TV+)

Music

None

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May – July 2021: Every Review I Wrote

August 3, 2021

Movies – As I said in my last movie post, writing has become one of my bottom priorities and here we are three months since I last made a movie post. Oh well, here are the reviews and/or ratings for every movie I’ve seen over that time. I’ve been going to the theaters at least once a week and Dina has even jumped back on the movie theater going experience as we’ve started taking our niece and nephew to a movie every other weekend. This has been a pleasant surprise as I’ve been seeing movies in theaters mostly by myself for years now. I still seem to be reviewing only about 33% of the movies I watch. The best movie I watched that I’ve never seen was Captain Fantastic. It was just a complete joy to watch. I think it is still streaming on Netflix and if you happened to miss it like I did, it’s time to make up for that mistake. Also, I think horror fans should check out the Fear Street trilogy on Netflix. It’s based on the kids book series by R.L. Stine (which I never read — I was a “Goosebumps” kid though), but it’s actually a pretty hard-R experience. I admittedly did not like the first movie, but I always had my eyes on the second one anyway because it looked like an homage to 1980s campsite slasher flicks and that horror sub-genre will always have a special place in my heart. Of course, I enjoyed that one, but I was surprised to also like the third movie and I think the last entry makes the whole trilogy substantially more enjoyable as a whole. It almost made me want to re-watch the first one.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review:

  • Allen v. Farrow (2021, HBO Max) – 7/10
  • Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One (2021, Prime Rental) – 6/10
  • Black Widow (2021, Theaters) – 6/10
  • Fear Street: 1978 (2021, Netflix) – 6/10
  • Fear Street: 1666 (2021, Netflix) – 6/10
  • Luca (2021, Disney+) – 7/10
  • Mitchells vs. The Machines, The (2021, Netflix) – 7/10
  • Palmer (2021, Apple TV+) – 7/10
  • Pig (2021, Theaters) – 8/10
  • Quiet Place Part II (2021, Theaters) – 8/10
  • Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021, Hulu) – 7/10
  • Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021, HBO Max) – 6/10
  • Zola (2021, Theaters) – 7/10
  • The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020, Netflix) – 6/10
  • Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017, Netflix) – 7/10
  • Captain Fantastic (2019, Netflix) – 9/10
  • Matchstick Men (2003, HBO Max) – 8/10
  • Hero (2002, HBO Max, re-watch) – 7/10
  • Audition (1999, tubi) – 7/10
  • The Fly (1986, re-watch) – 8/10
  • Stand by Me (1986, Hulu, re-watch) – 8/10

2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through July
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through July 2021
2021 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
August 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)

  • Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell (2021, Netflix) – 3.5
  • Bo Burnham: Inside (2021, Netflix) – 3.5
  • Friends: The Reunion (2021, HBO Max) – 3.5
  • Invincible season 1 (2020, Amazon Prime) – 3.5
  • Mare of Easttown (2021, HBO Max) – 4.5
  • Mighty Ducks: Game Changers season 1 (2021, Disney+) – 3
  • Schitt’s Creek season 6 (2020, Netflix) – 4

Currently watching:

  • Better Call Saul season 5 (2020, FX)
  • Big Shots season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Dave season 2 (2021, Hulu/FX)
  • Loki season 1 (2021, Disney+)
  • Rick & Morty season 5 (2021, Adult Swim)
  • The Sopranos season 1 (1999, HBO Max, re-watch)
  • Ted Lasso season 2 (2021, Apple TV+)

Music

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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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Movies – December 2020

January 3, 2021

I don’t think I will be posting movie reviews on my blog much longer. At least not in my traditional manner. It just seems silly to copy and paste everything from Letterboxd. It’s a lot of wasted time and energy. I’m not really sure how best to combine my blog and Letterboxd, but this ain’t it. I went crazy in December, watching easily the most movies of any month of the year and really started checking some movies off my 2020 watchlist.

https://boxd.it/5jdaM – Best Feature Films of 2020 (ongoing list)
https://boxd.it/aHeHg – Best Documentaries & Docu-Series of 2020 (ongoing list)
https://boxd.it/armXY – 2020 Movies I Haven’t Seen (ranked by interest level)
https://boxd.it/5FLKe – Movies new to streaming in January 2021 (ranked by interest level)

Mulan (2020, Disney+) I’m shocked at how poorly this is doing with general audiences because I thought it was enjoyable and I’m a harsher critic than most. I watched the animated version sometime in the last few years, but it’s been long enough that I already forgot most of it again. I know there’s a talking creature that accompanies Mulan in the original and I don’t think the witch character was in that version either, but other than that, I couldn’t cite too many differences. As such, it’s hard for me to compare the two and say that the live action one didn’t live up to my expectations – I didn’t really have any. I thought Liu Yifei did a fine job in the lead role and it was cool seeing Gong Li as the witch. I liked the addition of that character and thought it gave some added weight to the story even if it wasn’t all that well fleshed out. I wouldn’t go as far as to say this a good movie, and I suppose it could have been a lot better, but I wasn’t overly disappointed with it either. 5/10 (Decent)

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge (2020, rental) Shockingly gruesome and plenty of fun. I’m surprised the MK franchise doesn’t have loads of these kinds of animated movies already. Definitely worth a watch for fans of Mortal Kombat. I’d be happy to see more of these kinds of MK films. 6/10 (Recommended)

Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995, HBOMax, re-watch) Finally, our New York City cop gets a New York City movie! This is the best of the Die Hard sequels (and the last good one) by a long shot and Samuel L. Jackson is a welcome addition – he has great chemistry with Bruce Willis. The initial scene they have together is unforgettable and will always be a classic. Jeremy Irons makes for a good villain and I like that his motives tie back to the first movie (somewhat). The use of the “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” music (possibly better recognized as “the ants go marching one by one?”) for such an extensive sequence is equal parts insane and awesome. This is always a fun 90s action movie to revisit. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Citizen Kane (1941, HBOMax, re-watch) Many think this is the best movie ever made. I’m not one of them. I don’t even love it. I’m sure it was a technical marvel for the time it was made, but that was 40 years before I was born and I just haven’t seen enough movies from that era for me to say that it stands heads and shoulders above its peers. That said, I did enjoy Citizen Kane. This is my second viewing and I think I liked it more this time around. Orson Welles is great, the music is great, and the story and search for the meaning of Rosebud is fun. Perhaps I’m a bit uncultured, but I feel this is a very good but not great movie. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Mank (2020, Netflix) There’s a lot to like about this movie. It has a wonderful 1930s/1940s aesthetic to it and the music is great. There’s plenty of top notch acting, especially from Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, the latter of whom gives easily the best performance of her career (the guy that played Orson Welles was not great though and his final scene was borderline cringe). Herman Mankiewicz was quite the character. But at the same time, this movie just wasn’t overly interesting to me. I didn’t really understand why he wrote Citizen Kane about William Randolph Hearst and all the politics involved were over my head. Mank is technically great, but the movie as a whole isn’t all that entertaining.  6/10 (Recommended)

Elf (2020, Netflix, re-watch) Can’t go wrong with this Christmas classic. This was more of a background watch than a dedicated one, but I kept finding myself wanting to tune in rather than focus on the board game we were playing, so that says a lot about Elf’s enjoyability. Always a good one to revisit in December! 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Johnny Tsunami (1999, Disney+) I was only loosely watching this while my wife had it on. I can’t say it was all that interesting, but it had its charm and wasn’t unwatchable.  4/10 (Meh)

Sinister (2012, personal collection, re-watch) A hidden gem. This movie was truly thrilling and actually quite scary. I kind of loved it. This is a must watch for fans of horror. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Freaky (2020, rental) I was pretty eager to watch this because it looked fun. Sure, the concept is not even remotely original, but I’m not sure it’s ever been used for a horror-type film. I was totally expecting a PG-13 movie, so I was pretty shocked by the gore in the opening sequence – it’s incredibly over-the-top and bloody. Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton both give fun performances, but I would have liked to see more screen time of Newton as the killer. Director Christopher Landon seems to be making a niche of taking popular story gimmicks and applying them to horror movies. Happy Death Day spawned a franchise and I wouldn’t be shocked if this does also. I’d be there to watch it. 6/10 (Recommended)

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020, HBOMax) This movie is probably going to pop up on a lot of top 10 lists for 2020, but it’s worth noting the wide discrepancy between critical and general audience receptions: Rotten Tomatoes has the critic score at 99% favorable while the audience score is 20% favorable. I’m not too surprised by that. I wouldn’t call this movie riveting. The story follows a young pregnant girl in her quest to get an abortion without her parents find out about it, which proves to be quite the challenge considering she is underage in her home state. So yeah, I can see why some audiences are turned off. Imagine someone that is pro-life thinking this is a good movie. I’m sure there are people in that camp that are trashing this without even watching it. Secondly – and this is a stereotypical assumption – but I wouldn’t expect males to be overly interested in this one. Personally though, I enjoyed it. It’s a brutal psychological and emotional journey and Sidney Flanigan is really, really good in it. Some questions here go unanswered and we are left to fill in the blanks, but this movie still made me feel something so even though I didn’t think it was overly entertaining, it was still powerful. 6/10 (Recommended)

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020, documentary, Netflix) I was expecting a biography type documentary and while we get some glimpses into Attenborough’s life, this is more about his quest to urge people to understand global warming and save our planet for future generations.  It does have plenty of amazing visuals of animals and jaw-dropping scenery of various landscapes.  I actually did learn a lot watching this and it was good, even if it wasn’t what I was hoping for. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Shocker (1989, HBOMax) I put this on my list after listening to Wes Craven’s biography on Audible because it sounded interesting and I’m a fan of most of the horror pics I’ve seen from him. This sucked though. It was so cringy and you can tell Craven was trying really hard to recreate the magic of his Nightmare on Elm Street series. It just didn’t work for me at all. The fact that Craven uses dreams as a main plot point again is weird and the villain was just kind of lame. I may have liked this if I saw it as a kid when it initially came out, but seeing it for the first time as an adult, I thought it was pretty stupid. 3/10 (Bad)

Home Alone (1990, Disney+, re-watch) 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)

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020, Amazon Prime) Not as good as the first Borat movie, but it still made me LOL many times and that’s saying something. The girl that plays Borat’s daughter did an excellent job, especially considering how brutal some of her scenes were. Speaking of which, I could have done without the daddy/daughter dance scene. Sometimes Sacha Baron Cohen takes things a bit too far and that would be a good example. I really like the whole premise of Cohen playing his characters and getting real time and authentic reactions from unknowing victims. I wonder about how this particular film was created. It seems like Cohen set out to make this thing before the Coronavirus pandemic started (as evidenced by him interrupting the speech in which Mike Pence says the U.S. has had 15 total cases of the virus) but by the end of the film, Covid dominates the narrative. So… what movie was he planning to make before the virus took over? If you liked the first Borat, this is definitely a must watch. Personally, I found it to be wildly entertaining, especially the first half. Strong recommendation. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Love & Monsters (2020, RedBox) This was an enjoyable and easy watch. I know it’s not meant to be a deep-thinker, but I couldn’t help but wonder how the mutated monsters wiped out humanity – with all of our advanced weaponry, transport, and military numbers – when they seem to be rather scarce once the story moves to the surface. You’d expect their presence to be overwhelming, but we only see a handful of monsters the entire movie and they are always seen attacking as a solo act. So… how exactly did humankind fall to these things? Our hapless and untrained hero also continuously takes them out with a homemade crossbow, so I was having a hard time believing the entire premise of the movie. Ignoring that though, I thought the cast was cool and the monsters were creative and looked pretty good. This is a solid family flick that was quite fun even though it’s pretty damn silly and gets a light recommendation from me. 6/10 (Recommended)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992, Disney+, re-watch) 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)

On The Rocks (2020, AppleTV+) Bill Murray is pretty great and I like Rashida Jones but I’m not sure she’s all that interesting as an actress.  This movie was good enough but I think the narrative is kind of manipulative and that ended up bothering me by the end of the film.  I walked away pretty unsatisfied.   5/10 (Decent)

Wolfwalkers (2020, AppleTV+) Wonderfully animated, unique and plenty impactful.  The voice acting is stellar and the mystical story about the relationship between man and wolf is top notch.  Robyn is a great character – one of the better heroines of the last few years.  I was tempted to label this a Must Watch and I wouldn’t blame anyone for doing so, but it fell just a bit short for that lofty level for me.   7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Soul (2020, Disney+) Absolutely loved it.  This hit me in the feels.  Typical elite Pixar that is wildly creative and tells an emotionally moving story.  The animation of the “on earth” scenes is incredible.  The voice acting from Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey is good.  The music is great.  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross hit another homerun.  Those dudes don’t miss.  This is a legit great film.  My second Must Watch of 2020.   8/10 (Great/Must See)

Beastie Boys Story (2020, documentary, AppleTV+) I was never a huge Beastie Boys fan but I did like their popular songs.  They peaked before I really got into music and Hello Nasty in 1998 was the first and only Beastie Boys I bought when it came out.  Unfortunately, I’ve never really gone back and dug into their discog but I still appreciate their place in music history and something like this is right up my alley.  It was cool to see how the group came together and found success in a genre that had didn’t really have any white artists.  It’s kind of strange how seamlessly they seem to have blended in to the early hip-hop scene considering how groundbreaking it felt when Eminem broke through over a decade later.  Ad Rock and Mike D share their story on stage with a live audience and a video background.  This is not your typical documentary, but definitely a must watch for any Beasties fan and a worthwhile watch for fans of music history.   6/10 (Recommended)

Boys State (2020, documentary, AppleTV+) This is a documentary about an annual event in Texas where hundreds of high school age kids get together and form a government from the ground up, making policies and voting on officials to represent one of their two parties. I’m not even remotely interested in the politics of our country, but I did get completely invested in the stories of the various kids the film crew decided to focus on. This has been receiving high praise for good reason. Even if a politically ignorant/uninvested person such as myself found it to be an absolute delight.   8/10 (Great/Must See)

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Movie Ratings (July – September 2020)

November 30, 2020

So this is what happened: I wrote a lengthy review for Disney+’s Hamilton on Letterboxd (which doesn’t autosave like WordPress does) and I never saved it and wanted to proofread it before submitting, but I forgot about it and my computer reset on its own and that review disappeared forever. I didn’t have it in me to type it all up again. And then I lost motivation to write any reviews at all and here we are four months later and I have heaps of movies I’ve seen that I’ve never talked about or rated.

Hamilton (2020, Disney+) The writing of this play is next-level genius and seeing the original cast perform it is awesome. This whole show is pure brilliance and Lin-Manuel Miranda never has to do another thing in his career and he will still be a legend forever. 10/10 (Perfection)

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (2020, docu-series, HBOMax) This docu-series about true crime writer Michelle McNamara and her pursuit of The Golden State Killer starts off a little slow and rough but gets very interesting in the last three episodes, even to someone that has read Michelle’s book and has devoured most of the media related to this case.  It’s truly a mind-blowing story but the presentation in the first couple of episodes left a lot to be desired. 6.5/10 (Recommended/Highly Enjoyable)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Netflix) An all-time great thriller with two all-time great performances, courtesy of Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Foster is wonderful, but Hopkins is unreal. His portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in this movie is one of the best acting performances I’ve ever seen and he never quite captures the same magic when he reprises the role in future franchise installments. A true classic and one of the few films I’m saying is damn near perfect. 10/10 (Perfection)

42 (2013) I gave this a very distracted viewing back in the day and thought I didn’t care for it, but after Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing, I wanted to watch one of his films and decided to give this Jackie Robinson biopic another shot and I liked it quite a bit more this time around. 6/10 (Recommended)

The Gentleman (2020) This was a nice return to form for director Guy Ritchie. It’s an entertaining and humorous movie and I thought Colin Farrell was great in it. I guess since I’ve seen very few original 2020 releases, this one quite easily sits in my top 5 of the year at the moment, but that’s not saying much. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

High Score (2020, docu-series, Netflix) This docu-series examines the evolution of the video game industry through the eyes of pioneering game developers and the people that excelled at playing them. There’s some interesting stuff in this and it’s a nice trip down memory lane for someone that remembers when Atari was a technological marvel, but it also has a bit of a corny presentation and focuses on the players a little too much. 5/10 (Decent)

Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals (2010, HBOMax) Fresh off reading Jeff Pearlman’s book about the Showtime Lakers, I was interested in diving deeper into the legacies of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, so I was quite pleased to find this documentary on HBOMax. It was very entertaining and explores the rivalry and blossoming friendship, on and off the court, between these two legends as their basketball careers developed and they continued to face off against one another on the biggest stage. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Back to the Future (1985, Netflix) A classic that still holds up well today. I’ve seen it many times and it’s still tons of fun. 8/10 (Must See)

Mortal Kombat (1995, Netflix) This came out at a time when the games were still seen as controversial (and maybe they still are), so it’s not that surprising that the studio pussed out and made a PG-13 film out of what was clearly R-rated source material. I can’t say this is exactly what I wanted as a 13 year old fan of the games, but I thought they made an enjoyable movie – and I still feel that way. At worst, this is cheesy fun, but considering the limitations of the rating, I think this was a pretty solid win. I’m very curious to see what they do with the R-rated reboot that’s due out in theaters in January (uh, if that’s a thing by then). 5.5/10 (Decent/Recommended)

Starship Troopers (1997, Netflix) This is a cult classic that I remember as being a little better than it probably is. It’s got some cheese in it, but I still found this to be lots of satirical fun. I think the writing and directing in this space epic are pretty good, but the cast brings the overall quality down a bit – it would almost certainly be better with a stronger leading man. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Taxi Driver (1976, Netflix) Here I am trying to write about a movie I watched two months ago… I know this much: this movie has reason to be considered as one of the all-time greats, it’s Scorsese’s first truly amazing film (I think Mean Streets fell a bit short of that level), and Robert De Niro is unbelievably good in it. Jodie Foster is also great in this and Scorsese even has a wonderful acting scene as a cab passenger spying on his cheating wife. At worst, this movie is amazing. At best, it might be a perfect film that is one of the greatest movies ever made. I’m excited to watch it again and I won’t wait 20 years between viewings this time. 9/10 (Spectacular)

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May 2020 Movie Reviews

June 7, 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. Movies definitely took a backseat this past month as I focused on documentaries and TV series. In addition to the stuff I review below, I also watched season three of Ozark (elite) and season one of Dead to Me (elite), so not only a few movies in May and I didn’t even get one Scorsese film in. Boo. I also hit a serious lack of motivation to write reviews. It’s so much harder to do if I don’t write immediately after watching something and that was the case for almost everything below.

The History of the Seattle Mariners (2020, Documentary, YouTube)

I love that this is on Letterboxd because I absolutely want to spread the word on it. I’m a diehard baseball fan and I’ve lived in the Seattle area my entire life, so obviously this documentary is right up my alley. That said, it seems like plenty of non-baseball and non-Mariners fans have loved what Dorktown put together here.

First off, the presentation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. This is basically the coolest PowerPoint video ever created. The use of actual archive footage is pretty minimal and it’s basically two dudes narrating over a visual storyboard the whole time. Probably doesn’t sound awesome, but I can assure you that it is. The narrators are witty and often funny, making for a very enjoyable watch despite an almost total lack of actual footage.

Obviously, being a Mariners fan this hits close to home for me, but the reason this has been made is because the Mariners have such a unique and insane history. I’ve been an avid fan for 25+ years now and I was still surprised by some of the stats and anomalies presented here. I think any fan of sports can appreciate how absurd it all is and I’d consider this a must see.

But I am a Mariners fan so this meant so much more to me. I got to learn things about the team I didn’t know already (or forgot), plus I got to relive all the magical and heartbreaking moments this team has given me over the last quarter century. I had to hold back tears multiple times. This is a must see for sports fans – and especially baseball fans – but for Mariners fans… this is just pure magic.

10/10 (Perfection)

The Last Dance (2020, Documentary, ESPN+)

Another elite sports documentary that I spent the majority of May watching. This one follows the Chicago Bulls dynasty that dominated the NBA in the 90s and particularly focuses on Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 season, but still manages to tell the full story of how that team came to be.

I was growing up when MJ was in his prime and he was still a pretty mystical figure to me. How many NBA licensed video games did you play as a kid that had every player in it except His Airness? Was he even real? Looking at pictures and highlight reels it sometimes seems like he might not have been.

All the key players get their moment in the spotlight, but Michael Jordan is certainly the focus, as he should be. I really just loved every minute of this 10-part series and that’s quite the accomplishment. I’m not the biggest NBA fan so plenty of this information was new to me (or long forgotten) and it was cool to see all the behind-the-scenes footage of what was going on at all stages of this dynasty.

Who is the greatest basketball player of all-time? Michael Jordan or LeBron James? Or someone else? It’s certainly a debate, but The Last Dance sure didn’t hurt the argument for Jordan. If nothing else, he was the biggest larger-than-life athlete of our generation (I’m saying that as an 80s/90s kid).

I thought The Last Dance was phenomenal and I’m not a big basketball guy. At minimum, I’d say this is a Must See, but I thought it was as entertaining as possible for nearly ten hours so…

9/10 (Sensational)

The Way Back (2020, RedBox)

I’m always on board with an underdog sports story and this one features a coach that has to overcome his own personal demons in order to help his ragtag team become something… respectable. You’d think this is probably based on a true story, but I can’t find anything that says that’s the case. Ben Affleck is pretty good in this and all the cussing he does from the sidelines of his religious school makes for multiple amusing moments. I liked this enough that I’d watch it again some day.

6/10 (Recommended)

Extraction (2020, Netflix)

A fun action movie that felt like a throwback to the good ole days of the 80s and 90s when action movies were consistently fun. Hemsworth is well suited to the be the face of the genre for this generation. Not a must see or anything, but worth watching if you’re browsing Netflix and can’t find something.

6/10 (Recommended)

Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill (2020, Comedy Special, Netflix)

I wouldn’t say it’s hilarious, but I found it entertaining at least. Seinfeld fans shouldn’t be disappointed, but it’s nothing special.

6/10 (Recommended)

Watchmen (2019, Mini-Series, HBONow)

I was kind of blown away by this. It took me a while to get to it because someone told me to re-read the graphic novel before watching because I would appreciate it a lot more, so I took my sweet time re-reading that while reading three other books, but I think it paid off because everything was fresh and I could easily pick up on all the subtle references to the original content.

Honestly, I think the way they continued this story was genius level writing. And the story is set in an alternate reality but still seemed so timely and relevant – especially in 2020. Is it blasphemous to say I liked it more than Alan Moore’s story? It’s totally engrossing, the characters are fully realized and believable, and I like the decisions the writers made with the older characters. It all just clicked together perfectly. And the presentation was stunning. Plus it had great acting – especially from Regina King and Jean Smart.

Huge winner. I’d love to see another season.

8/10 (Must See)

Above the Rim (1994, Netflix)

This review may contain spoilers.

Here’s a timeline of events:

March 23, 1994 – Above the Rim is released in theaters
March 14, 1995 – 2pac releases Me Against the World, his third studio album
February 13, 1996 – 2Pac releases All Eyez on Me, his fourth studio album
September 7, 1996 – Tupac Shakur is shot multiple times in Las Vegas
September 13, 1996 – Tupac Shakur dies from his gunshot wounds
November 5, 1996 – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is released under the alias Makaveli, 2Pac’s fifth studio album

I turned 14 in 1996 and things just felt so different back then. Tupac was 25 when he died. Look at all he accomplished in his last two years on earth. Consider this: Eminem was 26 when his first studio album was released. Tupac still had the length of Eminem’s entire career ahead of him. Can you even imagine what that looks like if he doesn’t die?

A few things surprise me about this timeline. First, Tupac had a lot of success in the movies before he really blew up as a rap artist. I feel like Me Against the World is the album that catapulted him to rap superstar status and by the time it dropped, he’d already had prominent roles in Juice, Poetic Justice, and Above the Rim. It’s just strange to me how successful his film career was before he reached hip-hop’s stratosphere. Also, how crazy is it that the releases of All Eyez on Me and Makaveli and his death all happened in the same year? When I was 14, this whole timeline of events felt like it took place over a decade.

R.I.P. Legend

Tupac makes this movie. I don’t think it’s uncommon for people to list Above the Rim with other 90s classic hood movies like Menace II Society and Boyz n the Hood but it’s just not even close to that level of quality. The soundtrack is a hip-hop classic and I think that, along with Tupac’s presence, makes people remember this movie as being better than it actually is.

Tupac is great. He’s the reason I watched this again. The man just oozed charisma and superstar potential. He had it. You take him out of this movie and replace him with an average actor from back then and I just don’t think many people are looking back on this as a classic. The rest of the movie is fine, but nothing special.

Don’t get me wrong… Above the Rim is plenty enjoyable, but it’s also pretty silly. What exactly happened at the start of the movie? They were taking turns tapping the backboard and one of them accidentally jumps off the roof? LOL. It’s so ridiculous that at first I thought it was just meant to be a dream sequence and the kid must have died some other way. But no, they stuck to that story.

This movie is also guilty of the absurd sports montage where one team scores what appears to be like 40 unanswered points. I mean… you can’t show the good guys score ONE basket? We are supposed to believe they can come back from that kind of deficit? Also, Birdie threatened Kyle’s scholarship to Georgetown and Kyle was worried enough about it that he was throwing the championship game. But then old dude laces them up and suddenly he’s not worried about it anymore? I know Bugaloo ultimately took care of that threat, but Kyle didn’t know that was going to happen.

Watch this again to remember and appreciate Tupac Shakur. Listen to the amazing soundtrack. But let’s not pretend this is something it isn’t.

5/10 (Decent)

Big (1988, HBONow)

I thought this was a rewatch, but then I didn’t remember anything about it. The piano key dancing scene is something I know, but it’s an iconic scene, so I didn’t necessarily have to watch the movie to know about it. Also, I’m familiar with the Zandar machine that grants the kid’s wish to be big. Everything else? It was like I was watching for the first time. I probably watched this as a kid, maybe once, but I thought I watched it as an adult, but it seems like I would remember Celia Hodes from the show “Weeds” being in it if I did. Nope.

I really liked Big. In fact, I just enjoy this kind of concept in general – you know, where something magical happens and the main character(s) transforms into something else but still have their normal conscious. It might not be an original idea, but it never fails to amuse me when it’s executed properly and Big does just that because Tom Hanks is really, really great. Of all the performances in similar movies, Hanks in Big might be the best I’ve ever seen (not that I’m putting a lot of thought into that statement). I just totally buy him as a 13 year old kid. He’s wonderful. I’m actually somewhat surprised Hanks got an Oscar nom for this role… not because he didn’t deserve… Big just seems like the type of movie the Academy would overlook.

Big is great. Full of charm, wonder, and Tom Hanks’ first iconic performance, it’s a film you should revisit if you haven’t seen it for many years.

P.S.: My mind can’t accept the fact that the kid that plays the best friend in Big is not the same kid that plays John Connor’s friend in Terminator 2. How is that not the same person?

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

This is Spinal Tap (1984, borrowed DVD)

An all-time comedy classic that I had never seen until now. Did it live up to the hype? Honestly… not really. It’s possible this film created the mockumentary genre so I can appreciate it for being groundbreaking even if I can’t experience what it was like to see it for the first time in the mid-80s. It’s definitely funny though and some of the original songs are pure gems. I didn’t walk away thinking this is a must see comedy, but I still liked it quite a bit.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)