Movies, TSPDT

#970 The Story of Qiu Ju (1992)

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

I mentioned that I would try and finish Heimat by the end of last year, then I looked at the length of the next 4 episodes and combined they’re about 6 hours so I don’t think I’m going to make it in time. Instead, I’ll continue the list with #970, The Story of Qiu Ju. This movie has one of the funniest plots of the list so far. I saw the title and costumes, and thought this was going to be a serious drama, but then I read the plot. The short version is that a man is kicked in the groin by the chief of his town, and his pregnant wife takes the fight all the way up the government chain trying to force the chief to apologize. I laughed for a solid minute when I read it, but it gets even better because the actors play their parts with a totally straight face. You’re not sure if you should laugh or be concerned.

Groin kicking aside, it’s a beautiful movie that lets you see, in part, what life in China was like. I found it interesting watching the women grinding chilies into powder, and the one guy who was cutting noodles using a knife. So it has some interesting scenes and some nice character building… centered around a man getting kicked in the crotch. If I remember nothing else, I will remember it as the Chinese crotch kicking movie. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote.

Husband: The chief wants to see me.

Man: Better keep your legs locked tight. If your family jewels get kicked again, Qiu will head straight to Beijing.

Verdict: 7.4/10

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Movies

Overall 2018

This yearly summary is a special for me in several ways so I’m really excited about it. The first reason which I’m pretty proud of is that I managed to post regularly for the entire year. There were times when it was challenging to come up with something to say but I’m overall very happy with what I managed to do and I hope you guys reading it have enjoyed the posts I’ve put out this year.

The next thing I’m mostly proud of is that I managed to knock out 26 TSPDT posts. It’s not quite up to what I was hoping to achieve but I feel like I hit some stumbling blocks with some of the terrible movies I had to watch and the long mini-series that popped up. I definitely would like to pick up the pace this year because at 26 movies a year, it’s going to take me a long time to get through it all.

The final thing I’m proud of is my spreadsheet where I tracked every movie and most TV show episodes that I watched for the entire year. I have a rigorous record of my comments and ratings which has allowed me to do this:

# Watched: 337/365
Average Rating: 7.08/10
Enjoyment Factor: 0.55/1

So what do all those numbers actually mean for me? Well I didn’t meet my goal of 1 movie a day for the whole year, but since I’ve never even come close before I’m not too upset that I couldn’t make it. Even getting 337 was a challenge for me because during the week I don’t watch many movies so I have to make up for it on the weekends. It’s also hard to find over 300 movies that I’m even interested in watching. In 2019, I’m hoping to get over 300 movies and 52 TSPDT movies. Those other numbers basically amount to the fact that on average all those movies averaged an average rating almost exactly. But look enough about my stats, if you’ve come this far you want to know what my best and worsts of the year are. So here’s what you came here for:

Biggest of the Biggest of Disappointments

The first award goes to the winner of April, Mubi Streaming Service. After reading through all my summaries this had to be the winner because it’s the one disappointment that still hurts today. A new random movie every day is such an amazing concept and the fact that they’re specially curated by people that care about movies should’ve been a slam dunk. For getting my hopes up so high then crushing them with the endless assault of uninteresting movies left me with no choice even those this isn’t technically a movie.

Biggest of the Biggest of Surprises

This was a tough one because I like a lot of the surprises, but the award goes to a movie I forgot about until I read my August post. I couldn’t give this award to any other movie but Fried Green Tomatoes. As you might remember, this movie was part of the reason why I wanted to get deeply into movie watching. When you give a movie that much power, it’s highly likely that it won’t live up to your expectations and the fact that this movie met and exceeded my expectations makes it the clear best surprise of the year. I hope so much that this movie doesn’t make it on my disappointment list the next time I watch it, like so many of my first watch favorites. If that does happen, at least it earned itself some more of the spotlight. This is a must watch if you still haven’t seen it.

Worst of the Worst of the Worst

Here comes the big awards, starting with the movie that left the worst taste in my mouth this year. It was hard to pick because I’ve sat through some seriously bad movies. As bad as some of them are, and as low a rating as I gave them, this award must go to a movie that took several sessions to finish. It came down to February’s In Praise of Love which I even guessed could be the worst of the year, and my most recent December pick From the Clouds to the Resistance. I thought about it a lot and I have to give it to the latter. While In Praise of Love was awful, it was still a movie and I managed to sit through it to the end. From the Clouds to the Resistance was so bad I couldn’t even get through it all. To me it has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Sorry if that’s a little harsh, but there’s a reason it beat out everything else this year.

Best of the Best of the Best

Now, with all that negativity out of the way, let’s end on a positive award. This is the most important award of the entire year and must be given to a movie that truly deserves it. The last award this year goes to April’s winner, a TSPDT entry, Johnny Got His Gun. Looking through all the winners this movie stood out clear above the rest. This is an incredibly moving movie with a lot to say about war, humanity, and forever changed the way I listen to Metallica’s One. If you’ve never heard of or seen this movie before, please watch it as soon as you can. For all the ups and downs the TSPDT list has given me this year, I’m grateful for it for having introduced me to this movie because I don’t think it’s something that should be forgotten.


Well, that officially ends the year 2018 on The Waffleton Post. It’s been a great year and I’ve had a lot of fun creating posts and watching movies. I’m really hoping to top myself next year. Like I said, here’s hoping I can hit 52 TSPDT movie posts and at least as many movies as I watched in 2018, if not more. Thanks so much for reading, and look forward to my next post.

Movies

December 2018

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.

Biggest Surprise


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.

Biggest Disappointment


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!

Movies, TSPDT

#994 Heimat (1984) – Episodes 4-7

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

This is also part of my Heimat series where I have to watch 11 episodes of a TV miniseries. If you haven’t read my post on the first 3 episodes you can find it here. It’s been a long time since I wrote that post and I actually sort of forgot about this until I was going through my list the other week. I’m going to try my best to finish this before the end of the year.

This post is going to cover the next 4 episodes because where it starts and where it ends up really makes it a whole package. These episodes are like a love story with WWII going on in the background. It starts off with Maria again, and by now it’s been around 10 years since Paul has disappeared. It doesn’t seem like she’s found anyone new, so she’s left to care for her 2 sons, Anton and Ernst, with the help of her family. That is, until she meets a nice man named Otto who ends up breaking his arm and winds up being cared for by Maria herself. One thing leads to another and the two of them fall in love. It was great to watch them together because they were so in love but almost afraid to make the leap. In one of the episodes, their lips are inches away from each other and they’re so close to kissing. They got closer and closer untill you were sure they were going to kiss… and then they didn’t! It was such a tease.

As the passion between them starts to really heat up, and you’re feeling happy that Maria might have found someone to spend her life with, wouldn’t you know it, Paul decides to send her a letter from the ol’ U.S.A. It seems he’s been hearing about this Hitler fellow and he wants to come back to visit his family. So Maria, still being married to the guy, doesn’t really have much choice and she dutifully goes to meet him at the harbour. But oh no! They don’t believe he’s German because of his last name. Let’s remember this for later because it’s important. Long story short, Maria doesn’t actually end up meeting Paul because he gets deported so she goes back to Otto. They sleep together, things are great, then we jump ahead a few years. Now Otto is defusing bombs in the military and Maria is at home looking after their young son. There are some awesome and tense scenes where Otto is defusing a bomb and the tension is so high you can hear a pin drop. He makes it back home to Maria and the two of them stay up all night talking and sleeping together before he goes back off to war. Sadly, as you might expect, the next bomb defusal doesn’t go as planned and Otto is killed. That about ends the main plot thread of these episodes. I have to admit I was disappointed because I really wanted the two of them to end up together after the war, but I guess that’s just how war is.

Now speaking of war, I can’t avoid talking about WWII in this post since these episodes take place entirely during the it. Let me take you back to when I said they wouldn’t let Paul off the boat because they didn’t think his last name, Simon, was German. There is a whole scene where Maria asks Eduard to help track down paperwork to prove his heritage and the whole time he’s panicked because he doesn’t want to find out that some ancestor of his isn’t German. This, coupled with the fact that Otto was having trouble getting into the military at first because his mother is half-Jewish, goes to show how the discrimination is starting to pile up. This culminates in a speech on September 1, 1939 where Hitler asks for the peoples’ help in fighting the “enemy” as they see it. This is what leads into episodes 6 and 7 where the war is in full swing, kids have grown up and are now fighting on the front lines and women are taking over jobs in town to keep things afloat. From the point of view that they’re showing, people like Maria are just trying to live their lives. They don’t really believe fully in the war, and most importantly, don’t know all of the details. Again, I find it hard to sympathize with the country because of what they did, but a lot of people had no idea what was really going on. At this time they didn’t have TV or the internet, so news didn’t travel as far or as fast. It was an interesting, but emotionally confusing perspective into life during the war from a non-war point of view. The end of this chunk of episodes ends somewhat cleanly with the Americans making an appearance to take Eduard’s house as the war begins to wind down. I expect the last 4 episodes will cover the aftermath and attempt at redemption for the people of the country

I enjoyed these last few episodes a lot. The characters are so well written and the acting is still surprisingly good. Maria definitely stands out with a couple scenes where she could show off her chops. Hopefully the quality stays high to the end. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my last post in the series.

Interim Verdict: 8/10

Movies, TSPDT

#971 From the Clouds to the Resistance (1979)

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

Buckle in for #971 on TSPDT, From the Clouds to the Resistance. This is definitely one of the worst “movies” I’ve seen all year. This was so bad that I did something I vowed never to do in my journey to finish this list. If this is one of your favorite movies, just turn away now.

The movie is split into 2 sections and the first section reminds me of English class in high school. One year we had to film ourselves doing an act from King Lear. Our costumes were bed sheets wrapped around our bodies, our delivery was stilted and it felt like we were reading from cue cards. While the costumes were mostly better in this movie, the delivery was just as awful. Not only was it awful, but the subject matter was random and extremely hard to follow. Go ahead and tell me that Shakespeare is hard to follow. At least there’s context! You have characters and a story and if you don’t understand a few words you can sort of figure it out and keep moving. This movie doesn’t have characters, it’s like people reading random snippets of old English history. Reading snippets from history where some of the lines aren’t translated and every line is spoke in this monotone, rhythmic way that makes you want to fall asleep or jump out your window just to make it stop.

I seriously don’t understand this movie or how it ended up on this list and not lost in time. I don’t even think it’s particularly great film making, especially when you point your camera at the back of 2 guys’ heads as they talk for 10 minutes. Nor do i think it’s good film making to force us to watch the same 2 backs of heads sit quietly in a cart driving down the road for nearly 4 minutes straight. I’m in shock that this scene happened. I thought that docking scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey was the cruelest most boring scene, but this takes the cake. Not much later in the movie, we get the icing on the cake when we have to watch a scene with subtitles over a plain black background. It’s so visually boring, I can’t even believe my eyes. Seriously, every scene in the first section of the movie was for the most part, 2 people in one place talking to each other. Sometimes the camera will try to do something “interesting” like when it pans down from the actor’s face and stops on his hand. Then we get to listen to him read his lines while staring at his hand. Like maybe in 1921 this would’ve been revolutionary but this is 1979!

I haven’t even gotten to the second section yet. There’s another scene where you watch a guy walk down a road for 2 minutes straight. Then you get to read some text on top of a black screen for awhile. There was one moment where the story picks up and they start to talk about something interesting, and it sounds like a good scene IF THEY FILMED SOMETHING. But they didn’t, they read me the screenplay to a movie I’d much rather be watching. At this point I was starting to lose my mind and I looked at the time to see that I still had 10 minutes left on the “movie”. Well, one time long ago I was watching Mulholland Dr. and I didn’t understand it or like it… until half way through when I finally got it. I got it enough that I had to watch it again just to also get the beginning and it’s actually become a movie I rewatch regularly. This made me vow never to leave a movie unfinished because it could get better. I’ve kept that vow through some of the worst movies, but this movie was so bad I just couldn’t do it. I had to shut it off early and I don’t regret it one bit. Even if the last 10 minutes were the best 10 minutes of a movie I’ve ever seen in my life, it wouldn’t make up for the first hour and a half.

I absolutely hated this thing. If somebody could tell me how this is considered one of the best movies ever made, I’d really love to know. I researched and tried to find reviews on it, but they were few and far between. Please for your own sanity, do not watch this! If you agree with anything else I’ve posted on this site, stay away!

Verdict: 2/10

Movies, TSPDT

#972 Kill Bill: Vol 1. (2003)

This is part of my TSPDT series where I review all movies from the 2018 list.

This is going to be extremely difficult to give an unbiased review because this is at least my 15th time seeing this movie. This is definitely one I can just turn on in the background and watch whenever I want.

I think one of the reasons I’ve re-watched this movie so many times is the fact that it was a female lead vs a female villain. It’s violent, bloody and awesome, and I had a hero I could relate to gender wise. People might have some gripes with Quintin Tarantino, but you can’t deny that he’s created some of the strongest roles for women in recent years. Compare this to the new Tomb Raider movie where it was great to see a woman in the lead but the movie was honestly just boring. You could’ve replaced her with a generic action guy and the movie wouldn’t be any different. With Kill Bill, it just wouldn’t work because the role was written for a woman. I know Lara Croft has always been a woman, but the movie was a really basic action adventure movie with little new to bring to the table. This was a critically acclaimed, financially successful, entertaining movie with a female lead and we need more of them so that Hollywood will keep making them. I loved this when I watched it as a teenager and I think girls growing up need some more diverse representation in movies.

While the characters are great and all, I want to talk about the structure of the movie more than anything because this is something I’ve talked about here before. Normally I complain when movies go out of chronological order but I think it works perfectly here. Details aren’t withheld just to surprise the audience with it later as a cheap trick. Details are withheld, but they’re withheld so that you get a gradual layering of new information. In a chronological movie, you’re fed new information scene by scene and you can feel a nice progression towards the climax. This movie successfully mimics that through realizations about the bride and the people she’s hunting. Compared to a movie like Bad Timing where there was no gradual build up to the big shock at the end, it’s like night and day. It’s not easy to write a movie that goes out of order and doesn’t leave the audience confused and I think Kill Bill manages to do it right.

The last thing that I love about this movie is the music. You’ve got Bang Bang by Nancy Sinatra, which, as I just found out, is actually a cover of a Cher song from 1966. I feel stupid saying this, but I literally had no idea she made music that long ago. She looks great for being over 70 years old, but I digress… You’ve also got that whistle song in the hospital. I used to try to whistle it myself, but I’m lucky if I can make any noise at all, let alone control the pitch. Then who can forget the great music before the big fight scene by the 5.6.7.8’s. It’s insanely catchy and a good backdrop to the scene. A lot of the music is quirky and weird, but it really fits the mood of the movie and gives your ears something interesting to feast on.

I love the music, I love the story, I love Lucy Liu, I love the fights… yeah this is one of my favorite movies. Definitely glad to see it on the list and very glad I got to watch it again.

Verdict: 9.5/10  Now, if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say, now’s the fucking time!

Movies

November 2018

November is finally over and with it comes some surprising stats. This month tied for my lowest movies per month at a measly 18. However, this was my highest rated and most enjoyable month of the year! The average rating was 7.5 and my enjoyment factor was a whopping 0.88. I would’ve liked to hit my goals this month, but I’m still happy with what I was able to accomplish and I busted out a higher than usual number of TSPDT posts so it’s not all bad.

Best of the Best


Searching – 8.4

A movie told through computers, phones and cameras sounds like a gimmicky premise, but after the novelty wears off you’re still left with a great mystery thriller. There are some shocking twists and turns and the movie never ends up where you think it will end up. I definitely recommend this for something new. At the very least, it might leave you with some Windows Vista nostalgia.

Lone Star – 8.5

I ranted and raved enough about this in my last post and I’m sure you don’t want to hear it again. If you do, feel free to read it again! Otherwise, yeah of course this was one of my favorite movies of the month.

A Star Is Born – 8.5

God damn this was a good movie. I saw this in the theaters and it really made it something special. This is a movie you should definitely see on the big screen to get the full effect. It lifts the music up to another level and it was already at a pretty high level. Some of the scenes they filmed at a real concert, and it’s really them singing and playing the instruments so that just goes to show you the dedication of the cast and crew. Lady Gaga was good for the most part in her role, there were a few times I could tell she wasn’t a career actress but it didn’t take away from the movie one bit. As much as I tried to hold it in, the ending made me cry like a little girl and I’ve never cried in the theaters! Great characters, great story, great music, great movie.

Worst of the Worst


For a nice change this month I actually don’t have any worsts. My lowest rated movie was a 6.4 which was Fear but I don’t think it was a worst movie. I will definitely accept a good movie month so you’ll have to come back after December to hear about some stinkers. Or… well I don’t want to spoil anything, but in the next few weeks I will more than make up for having no worsts because I am going to bring a movie to its knees. You don’t want to miss it.


Biggest Surprise

Cam – 7.8

This was a tough call to make, but I’m going with Cam for my biggest surprise of November. This is a Netflix movie that they shoved in my face. I watched the trailer and proceeded to decide it wasn’t worth my time. Then I started reading articles recommending me to watch it and gave it a shot. It was a very entertaining Friday night movie. I don’t know much about cam girl streams, but it reminds me so much of Twitch. “Thanks for the sub, randomUsernameGuy”, “We did it guys! We did it!” Granted, watching people play games or music on stream is less creepy than watching a girl eat a steak with her hands or take a bubble bath in a blow up pool in her living room. Overall it’s an entertaining movie, and despite the less than stellar ending it was well worth my time. Netflix is slowly on the path to redemption.


Biggest Disappointment

Nothing disappointed me either this month. Everything was juuuuust fine… good job November!


Look at this trend of positivity… Outskirts, Lone Star, November, when will it end? Will it end with my next TSPDT movie Kill Bill Vol. I, or maybe From the Clouds to the Resistance? Whatever it is, it’s for sure going to ruin my stats for December and you won’t want to miss it.