(My) Best and Worst Movies (2012)

(My) Best and Worst Movies (2012)

Not all of these were released in 2012, just I saw them for the first time last year.

Best Movies

1. 50/50 (4) – The movie is funny in all the right places and serious in the other right places. If you are a fan of JGL and haven’t seen this one yet, shame on you. I especially like the scenes b/w the lead and his mother.

2. The Artist (4) – I think the cliche goes like this: “The movie says a whole lot without uttering a word.” I was skeptical about watching a silent film, but this was good.

3. The Avengers (4) – This movie was the most fun movie of the year for me. One of the movie’s greatest strengths: there’s lots of screen-time devoted to showing the heroes being heroes.

4. Moonrise Kingdom (4) – If you like Wes Anderson, this movie is a real gem. I always appreciate movies with child actors that aren’t annoying or some king of major liability.

5. Dredd 3D (2.5) – I’m serious, this movie is one awesome action flick. And you have to give props to Karl Urban for pulling off the role, not taking off his helmet, never seeing his eyes, for the entire film.

6. Looper (4) – Original sci-fi. Also, Bruce Willis.

7. Lincoln (4) – This was my favorite movie of 2012. Daniel Day-Lewis is Abraham Lincoln.

8. Waiting For Superman (4) – I don’t see many documentaries. This one is especially well done. It’s both entertaining and informative. And it will make you ask some big questions about our systems of public education in America.

9. Jack Reacher (3) – This one snuck up on me. I’m not always on board with Tom Cruise, but this was really good.

10. Django Unchained (3.5) – This may be my favorite QT movie yet. It bounces between feel-good and hard-to-watch in such major swings that I felt like I was on a roller coaster. I’m not exactly sure what to do with how the movie deals with racism/slavery, but it’s certainly unique. Not for kids.

Worst Movies

1. Soul Surfer (2) – Every now and then I’ll watch one of these “christian movies.” I’m not sure why. Maybe I just want to prove to myself how bad they are. Craig T. Nelson was pretty good, but he’s only in the movie for 3 min. Cringe-worthy.

2. Act of Valor (2) – A movie featuring real special forces teams instead of actors seems like a good idea until you realize that the art of acting is largely what makes a movie good in the first place.

3. Wrath of the Titans (2) – This movie was boring. And the titan? Did they run out of money when they got around to building the CGI for that?

4. Contaigion (1) – Just like the movie skips over the whole grieving of the wife who died suddenly, you can skip over watching any of it.

5. Iron Man 2 (2) – I’ve seen this movie twice now which means it shouldn’t be on this list. I wanted to include it anyway, just because I like pointing out how bad it is (especially compared to the first).

6. Dark Shadows (2) – I think it’s time to separate Burton and Depp for a bit. They’ve gotten stale. Oh and “I’m a werewolf  at the end. That was a joke.

7. Nowhere Boy (1) – Sometimes you watch a movie simply because you like a girl and she wants to see it. Sometimes you fall asleep five times during that movie.

8. Ironclad (2) – It has some of the right ingredients but something bad happened when they mixed them all up.

9. Swingers (1) – The dialog is so annoying I had my thumb over the remote’s ‘stop’ button several times. Finished the movie out of principle, but it was difficult.

10. Rampart (1) – Despite the terrible reviews, I thought “no I’ll like this because I really like Woody Harrelson.” I didn’t like it. It’s what my buddy Eric would call a “godless movie.”

11. I’m Still Here (1) – This is a documentary. It’s Casey Affleck following Jaoquin Pheonix around with a camera. Unless you are doing research on how to be a loser, make terrible decisions, and alienate friends, you can safely skip. It’s painful to watch such a talented actor be so stupid.

Check out my 2012 movie lists for biggest surprises and biggest disappointments.


Biggest Movie Disappointments (2012)

Biggest Movie Disappointments (2012)

Not all of these (or any?) are bad, just kind of felt a little disappointing and so soiled my experience.

1. The Dark Knight Rises (3) – There’s a lot of things I could pick on here, but the main this was this: the movie was seriously lacking scenes of Batman being Batman. You could have titled this movie Bruce Wayne Rises.

2. 2001: A Space Odessy (2) – I know it’s supposed to be great. Even after watching some of the bonus material about Stanely Kubrick attempting to make a legend it still seemed to be the longest movie of my life. I really like sci-fi but this was too weird and obscure.

3. Brave (2.5) – Even Pixar is capable of churning out mediocre – though it happens so frequently that when I see the little lamp hopping just before the opening credits I still always expecting something great. This one was only good.

4. The Hobbit (3) – Let’s sit down over coffee and I’ll tell you a list of reasons I was disappointed with this. But here, I’ll be quick about it. The overall look and feel of the movie seemed a bit childish and cheap. Against the backdrop of the existing LotR movies this movie just seemed a bit of a let down. (to be fair, this is how it goes in terms of the books as well, but I was disappointed that Jackson’s interpretations aren’t the same caliber)

5. Total Recall (2) – They don’t go to Mars. It’s like remaking Star Wars and leaving out the Death Star.

6. Men In Black 3 (2) – Aside from Josh Brolin’s outstanding impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones, I didn’t think much of the humor or the action. The story (TWIST!) finished nicely, but it took too long for the pay-off to be worth it.

7. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2) – How can you make a movie about Honest Abe slaying vampires boring? I’m not sure but it happens right about 1/2 way through the film (when he stops slaying vampires). All of a sudden the whole fun of the thing lands with a thud and never recovers.

Biggest Movie Surprises (2012)

Biggest Movie Surprises (2012)

This year’s first movie list! This is probably my favorite list to discuss, because most of these movies caught me off guard and though they may not be the best movies I’ve seen all year, they certainly had an extra surge of entertainment value due to my low (or sometimes uninformed) expectation.

1. Crazy, Stupid, Love (3) – RomComs don’t do much for me, mostly because I find them terribly formulaic, but this one had a few things going for it. 1. Ryan Gosling (more on that later…maybe). 2. Multiple plot lines that you actually care about. 3. TWIST! I won’t say more, but if you are expecting the same boy-meets-girl routine, you won’t find it here.

2. Limitless (3) – This one just keeps going and going (in a good way). What if you could take a drug that made you awesome? Not just feel awesome (I don’t really have any experience with drugs save for daily doses of the socially acceptable amounts of caffeine), but actually be awesome. Yeah, I’ll watch 2 hours of that.

3. Lincoln (4) – sometimes a period piece or a movie that is historical/biographical in nature will get me bored (Walk the Line, for example). But truly, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire movie. That’s excellent considering I kind of already knew what was going to happen. I knew Lincoln would be good, I just was surprised at how good it was.

4. Jack Reacher (3) – Whenever I see a Tom Cruise movie, I always tell the same joke (to whoever is listening), “Every Tom Cruise movie could be entitled Tom Cruise.” You just kind of know what you are going to get with nearly every Cruise movie that ever existed ever. But Jack Reacher? Something weird happened where I was perfectly at home with the pacing, acting, and Cruise-ish-ness. He was still himself, but I had such a blast with this movie never once wanting to check my email or refill my popcorn.

5. Dredd 3D (2.5) – I’ve never seen the original (so I don’t care about the rebooting). I don’t like 3D movies (wearing 2 sets of glasses, yuk). The trailer was bad. So why go see it in the first place? Well, sometimes a guy just needs to go watch another guy shoot all the bad guys and blow everything up. And that’s what you are going to get. Dredd delivers on exactly what it promises and nothing more (nothing less). I don’t want you to think that Dredd has some kind of hidden gem that you can discover by seeing it. It doesn’t. There’s barely a discernable plot and zero character development. There are no break-out performances, and no twists. And it’s awesome fun.

Movies 2012

Movies 2012

I watched a grand total of 105 movies in 2012. I made a note of each movie as I watched it, including a number (1-4) representing my evaluation of it’s entertainment value. I will be sharing this week some of my favorites and least favorites. It was a great year for movies!

When I tell people I write down every movie that I watch, they always seem intrigued. Why do I do that? It’s simple. There are two reasons:

1. In the last 3 years that I’ve done this, I’ve seen over 300 movies – it’s a lot to keep track of! Now that I’m making lists I can check to see what I’ve seen. It makes it easy to not accidentally rent a movie I’ve seen (which I’ve done before!).

2. The best reason, however, is this. When someone asks (and they often do), “have you seen any good movies lately?”, instead of trying to jog my memory and just spout off the last thing that I saw, I can pause for a few moments, look at my list and respond truthfully with a movie that I recently enjoyed. I can do this because I’ve written them down and rated them. All of them.

I like to consider myself a credible source for both movie recommendation and movie discussion. I’m no critic by any means, but since I started paying more attention to what I was seeing and why I liked or disliked it, I’ve found movie-watching to be a fulfilling and rewarding experience.

The Movies of September [2012]

The Movies of September [2012]

74. The Last Starfighter – 2.5 (nothing significant here, but a childhood favorite)
75. Swingers – 1 (this movie was terrible. It was not ‘money,’ baby)
76. The Avengers – 4 (saw it the third time with my parents. Still awesome)
77. Gattaca – 3 (this is a legit sci-fi movie. I recommend though don’t expect a lot of action)
78. Snow White and the Huntsman – 2 (Charlize Theron steals the show. Hardly surprising since the fairest in the land is Kristen Stewart)
79. Serenity – 3 (you *need* to see the TV series in order to fully appreciate this movie. But don’t worry. Firefly is one of the best tv shows ever made)
80. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie – 3 (a nice thing to see, again, after you’ve seen the one season tv series)
81. Dumb and Dumber – 3 (it’s showing its age, but still a comedy classic. It’s good to see Jim Carey before he became a superstar – though the unrated version is worse than the theatrical version)

And that’s it! I’m well on my way to hit 100+ movies by the end of the year.

The Movies of June, July, & August

The Movies of June, July, & August

After I’m caught up here, I think I’ll start writing again. But until then, I present to you…summer movies!

53. The Full Monty – 2.5 (normal, read:ugly, guys learn to be strippers for one show. kind of funny)
54. Chariots of Fire – 2.5 (can’t figure out until 1/2 way through the movie who I’m supposed to be paying attention to)
55. Nowhere Boy – 1 (I know I caught a few z’s during this. It goes nowhere – zing!)
56. Moonrise Kingdom – 4 (Wes Anderson does it again!)
57. Men In Black 3 – 2 (despite a pretty good impression of Tommy Lee Jones by Josh Brolin, this is just a blah sci-fi popcorn flick)
58. Jackass 3 – 2.5 (I shouldn’t have laughed as much as I did. Quite a bit of gross factor though)
59. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer – 2 (somewhere about 1/2 way into the movie it really starts to drag and loses its fun factor)
60. Princess Mononoke – 2.5 (middle of the road anime. not bad. not great)
61. The Amazing Spiderman – 3 (it was a fun movie that didn’t need to be made giving us the origin of Spiderman which we all already know)
62. Dark Knight Rises – 3 (Hurt by it’s own hype and the lack of cool batman scenes)
63. 2001: A Space Odyssey – 2 (There’s really not much to see here. Movie picks up and then drops you off on the way to psychoville)
64. Total Recall – 2 (bad remake is bad – there’s no mars!)
65. Ironclad – 2 (a medieval flick that just doesn’t quite let you care about any characters)
66. Merlin – 2 (made for TV movie that’s fun but lack of polish makes it seem goofy)
67. True Grit – 4 (this is the 2010 remake and it is all kinds of awesome)
68. Immortals – 2.5 (I thought this was fun in spite of being covered in an inch of CGI)
68. The Red Baron – 2.5 (boring, but not bad)
69. Conan The Barbarian – 2 (another useless remake)
70. The Outsiders – 3 (tragic movie without the redemption you so want it to have)
71. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark – 4 (yes! Watching this as an adult has opened my eyes to some of the more subtle nuances of the film – ps. the Nazis aren’t Jones’ real rival here!)
72. Moon – 4 (probably one of my top 10 sci-fi movies of all time)
73. The Terminator – 3 (the use of puppets seems even more obvious with the special effects we have now, but the pure menace of Arnold as the Terminator makes this a thrill to watch)