Hope you guys all had a nice holiday break. I unexpectedly ended up taking some time off for posts since I was so busy. Another unexpected thing happened, which is that I watched the heck out of some movies this month during my days off and nearly beat my October record. I watched a total of 44 movies with an average rating of 7.25 and an enjoyment factor of 0.75. That puts it as one of my best months of the year so that isn’t a bad way to end off 2018 at all. It proved to be more difficult than I thought to populate my list this month because there were just so many to choose from. As usual though, I’ve done my best so here we go.
Best of the Best
American Ultra – 8
I saw this on Netflix and was ready for a dumb movie I could just watch and relax to. I didn’t expect to actually like a self-described stoner movie, but it was much better than I thought. The story was over the top, but entertaining and it even got a few laughs out of me. I thought Kristen Stewart and Jessie Eisenberg made a great duo and were characters that I was rooting for up to the end. As my final movie of 2018, it wasn’t a bad way to end the year.
Downsizing – 8
Once again, I saw this on Netflix and decided to give it a shot, not expecting too much. I was pleasantly surprised because it turned out to be original and funny. The whole movie is based on the idea that to save the planet and conserve resources, people can be made small and will live in little cities that consume only a fraction of the resources of a regular size home. My only complaint is that the movie felt at times like it was going in a few different directions. It was book-ended with talk about climate change, but in the middle it delved into classism within the small community, then even what it means to be human with resentment growing between the regular people against the small. I would’ve liked to see it pick a topic to focus on and stick with it to the end, but I can’t say that I still wasn’t entertained by the movie I got.
Bad Times at the El Royale – 8.3
I had a really hard time picking out my best because I watched quite a few movies that were 8+, but I’m going with Bad Times at the El Royale because not only did the movie impress me, but it excited me for the future. If I didn’t know any better, I would say I was watching an old Quentin Tarantino movie. It felt so reminiscent of his past movies with the split timelines, multiple characters, and strong female roles. This wasn’t directed by him though, it was directed by Drew Goddard whose only other directing credit is The Cabin in the Woods, but this is a guy responsible for writing movies like The Martian, Cloverfield, and a few episodes from my favorite show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is a guy who has worked on a lot of projects that I’ve enjoyed and I never even knew his name. After watching this movie though I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out for him because he made an entertaining, well made movie, with a lot of great characters.
Worst of the Worst
A Simple Favor – 6.3
Here comes the first of the movies that made me mad during what is supposed to be a happy festive month. There is a lot to dislike about this movie, from the overacting of most of the cast, to the overly eccentric characters themselves, to the convulted plot, not one piece of this movie seemed to fall into place. Spoilers ahead so turn away now. The big “twist” in the movie is that Blake Lively has an evil twin (triplets, but that doesn’t really matter) and she used that evil twin to fake her death to claim her own life insurance money. This “twist” really came out of nowhere and felt like I was being tricked into being surprised. I didn’t really feel led into this revelation and that’s one thing in a movie that will instantly turn me off. It was close to being a not terrible movie, but I’m not sure it knew what it was trying to be. It was supposed to be a comedy drama but the comedy kept coming and going in waves and the drama parts took themselves so seriously that you forget it was supposed to be funny until the next weirdly timed joke. It feels like it was one of those transition movies for younger actors to get into deeper roles so they can be taken more seriously as an adult actor. Not even Anna Kendrick could save this one.
Peppermint – 5.4
This is a movie with the cliche plot where all but 1 member of a family is gunned down and that family member decides to go out for revenge. This one comes with a twist though, because the family member is the wife! Usually wives just get to die, but this time she’s the one who’ll be doing the killing. I thought this would be right up my alley but clearly if it’s on this list it wasn’t. I never really felt on her side for some reason. I know the cops weren’t arresting the guys that killed her family, but I never got behind her cause. So I’m following a character I don’t really care about while she does some unbelievable things and I’m just not buying it. The news and social media are following her like she’s a superhero and the police can’t seem to catch her. Eventually she does get caught, but it turns out the cops are on her side! Yeah for some reason after she’s killed a whole ton of people, the cops want to help her escape so she doesn’t have to go to jail for “cleaning up the streets”. Except, she didn’t just kill drug dealers and bad guys, she explodes a judge and the DA who worked on her case. Did those guys really deserve to be killed too? Are we just forming a society where if you don’t do your job to someone’s liking you can be murdered and the cops will give them a thumbs up? This is just a dumb action movie with a tired old plot.
From the Clouds to the Resistance – 2
This was the last post I made from TSPDT and if you read that then you know just much I hate this thing. I’m not going to waste any more words on it since this was hands down the worst movie I watched last month.
The Interview – 7.5
Not only was this movie a nice surprise, but the fact that it stuck out from 43 other movies this month makes it my choice for the final surprise of the year. This is an Australian movie with a pre-Matrix Hugo Weaving as the lead who’s brought in for questioning in relation to a missing man and a stolen car. This movie is heavy on the talking and takes place mostly inside of the police station. Hugo Weaving plays a guy that wets his pants when the police break down his door, and takes the character on a wild ride of emotions. By the end I wasn’t even sure what to believe because the acting and writing was so well done. There were some minor characters that didn’t play out as well, but overall it’s definitely a movie worth seeing and you can find it on Netflix so really give it a chance.
Annihilation – 8
I seriously hate that I’m doing this right now, but Annihilation, which was a best movie the first time I watched it, is now one of my disappointments. I thought this would have some great rewatch value, but I didn’t come out of it as impressed as I was when I first left the theaters. Now, it still isn’t a bad movie by any means and it earned itself an 8, but it just didn’t do it for me like I thought it would. I was kind of looking at my watch waiting for it to end when she got to the Lighthouse. It didn’t pull me in or engage my brain as much as it used to. I think at one point in a few years I’ll give it a 3rd watch and see how I feel, but for now… my sadness can’t even be measured.
There we have it, my last monthly summary post of 2018. I’m going to save my big end of year speech for my next post where I’m going to have my list for all of 2018 and reflect on my year as a whole. Talk to you then!