MOVIE: The Jungle Book
NUTSHELL: CGI Animals, a precocious child and somehow only one song
GOOD THINGS: There’s a Garry-Shandling-voiced porcupine
BAD THINGS: This is another one of those movies like Jurassic World that toys with the prospect of a precocious child being eaten by wild animals but never follows through.
FEATURES: Really just a kid but also the voices of Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong’o and Idris Elba
UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: One song. Did I mention there’s one song? Remember how much you loved the Jungle Book as a kid because of the almost complete absence of music?
NOTABLE: I would like to be excused from colonial fables about everyone working together henceforth.
BEST PART: Further confirmation that Scarlett Johansson is an incredible movie villain.
BEST LINE: “Am I in the right monkey temple?”
CROWNS: 3 out of 5
MOVIE: Captain America: Civil War
NUTSHELL: Ken Burns’ “The Avengers”
GOOD THINGS: All the great looking people doing super crazy awesome stuff like always, but…
BAD THINGS: … with a lot of interpersonal trauma and drama which I frankly found very upsetting.
FEATURES: Everyone plus Paul Rudd, Daniel Bruhl, Chadwick Boseman and…. Marisa Tomei?
UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: But, but, but I only want Natasha and Clint to be in love forever and ever!
NOTABLE: Spider-Man does nothing for me and I’m very sorry if that is upsetting to you.
BEST PART: 30 second Martin Freeman blasts
BEST LINE: “I hate you.”
CROWNS: 4 out of 5
NUTSHELL: Key and Peele embark on an extremely messy recon mission to save the cutest (and most popular) kitten in history.
GOOD THINGS: Tiffany Haddish, badass kittens, Method Man, Andrew Ridgeley jokes, the name “17th Street Blips”
BAD THINGS: I would like to know more about the Allentown guys.
FEATURES: Nia Long, Anna Faris, Country Bear Jamboree remnants, Luis Guzman, Will Forte
UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS: I hate snakes but it’s nice to finally see one with a believable character arc.
NOTABLE: Guys! Never leave your lady alone with Rob Huebel!
BEST PART: Keanu’s derring-do and words of wisdom
BEST LINE: “I know everything about hip hop.”
CROWNS: 5 out of 5
It’s April, you guys and I still don’t quite know what to say about 2015. It was kind of subpar? Sometimes the movies I really hated would make $652 million dollars and sometimes I would accidentally see a movie I saw in 1977 already. Plus the movies I liked were musicals on Broadway about the founder of the Coast Guard and experiencing a ticket broker feeding frenzy reminiscent of that time I tried to eat tacos in front of a Weimaraner. Plus more than anything else, the U Talkin’ U2 to me podcast continued to rock my world
I liked Love and Mercy quite a bit. I tried to be a good filmgoer and go to a bunch of movies at the beginning of award season but after I saw Spotlight I pretty much thought I wouldn’t see anything better so I stopped trying. There’s some… revulsion is not a good word for it… but I look at the trailers and advertising and marketing of a lot of movies and have no interest. I know, invest in a drive to the local independent cinema. I honestly tried but had some time management issues in 2015 that curtailed my movie watching in general. It’s a scandal that with such time constraints I still sought out movies I knew would be at best problematic and at worst really horrible. But come on how funny are those car movies where they never stop talking about family and the timelines are all crazy? And that whale movie was B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
So maybe 2016 will be pretty cool with Keanu and the lady Ghostbusters and Martin Freeman being Brooks Brothers Man in “Captain America: Civil War – No Not That One, A Different One”. Also did you know they still make the Star Track movies and the billionth one is coming out on my birthday?
I just looked at a list of movies coming out in 2016 and it made me a little sad. There are lots of sequels, you guys! But Emma Watson has a few movies coming so that’s cool. And something called Bill Hader R Rated Comedy which is somehow the minimum and maximum information I need to make plans to see it right now.
I’m sorry I don’t have any recipes/menus for the Oscars (and that this is 6 weeks late for that.) But, here is a list of great stuff from 2016!
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
What We Do In the Shadows
Jane the Virgin
No You Shut Up
Fresh Off the Boat
Key and Peele
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Parks and Recreation
Rick and Morty
Better Call Saul
The Great British Baking Show
Yeah there is stuff on here you can’t believe I didn’t list. But I guarantee that it’s on a streaming service and I haven’t seen it yet. 2015, you guys! It was pretty annoying!
The things that I really loved this year came from all media and sometimes crossed over and back again (Veronica Mars, Comedy Bang Bang, Monty Python Live). My favorite movie moment was listening to a man explain the plot of Paper Moon at length in French. I was also lucky to see a lot of good movies in a row which was unprecedented. In fact, I think I mostly saw ONLY good movies for a lot of the year probably because I pushed a lot of the awards season trash to after January 1st. Favorite 2014 Movies
- Veronica Mars (I am what I am.)
- Anchorman 2 and Anchorman 2 Redux
- The Lego Movie
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- The Benson Movie Interruption of anything
- Monuments Men
- A Matter of Life and Death
- Captain America: Winter Soldier
- The Trip to Italy
- Gone Girl
- Dear White People
- Into the Woods
- Edge of Tomorrow
- M. Hulot’s Holiday
- Monty Python Live
My Favorite TV moment was Fargo.
Favorite 2014 TV
- Key and Peele
- Parks and Recreation
- The Soup
- The Great British Baking Show
- Short Poppies
- Comedy Bang Bang
- No You Shut Up
- Shakespeare Uncovered
- Brooklyn 99
My favorite overall entertainment this year was the U Talking U2 to Me podcast and yes that’s pretty weird and sorry to everyone I tried to talk to about it. Imagine when you tried to discuss Serial with someone who hadn’t listened to it only with a podcast where people talk about everything except U2 but also eventually U2 but only barely. Favorite 2014 Podcasts
- U Talking U2 to Me
- Comedy Bang Bang
- Doug Loves Movies
- You Must Remember This
(I don’t really recommend books because you should read the books you like and my taste is too weird.)
I know I’ve mentioned that I no longer do the Bataan movie death march / try to see every nominated film every year. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned how much happier I am about it so here it is on the official record.
I heroically managed to avoid Interstellar and when I look at the list of movies from 2014 I get chills just considering the horribleness that I somehow managed to dodge. Yet I was still exposed to movies that weren’t very good whether by mistakenly going to see something horrible in a theater or succumbing to peer pressure or even just walking around the house while someone else watched The Judge.
There are still some specific questions I have such as:
Did anyone see Nightcrawler? Because it was fantastic and no one mentions it. Did I somehow dream it? Because that means I have a lot of issues relating to local news coverage and Bill Paxton.
Why is Effie in “Hunger Games 3: Seriously, what’s going on with Peeta”?
What outlet is there for my dozens of “Hobbit 3: Warning Contains No Hobbit” jokes?
There are scars that don’t heal.
I missed a lot of good films this year too and am confused / saddened /enraged that I still haven’t seen Obvious Child among many others and that I didn’t see The Inbetweeners 2 even though I was in frigging London.
The most horrible entertainment calamity I experienced this year was also in London and was having to leave Richard III during the second half so maybe all the bad things in the world aren’t related to movies but entertainment in general.
Movies were again not the greatest this year and other media sometimes held much more interest for me (“U Talking U2 to Me” Podcast – OBSESSED). In fact I don’t even have a menu planned for Oscar night because I have no horse in the Best Picture race whatsoever. Perhaps some elaborate cakes for The Grand Budapest Hotel and a lot of assorted alcohol for the rest? Look at this mangy bunch of 8 and see what you think:
The Theory of Everything – this wasn’t good and the lead performance isn’t good but Felicity Jones is great so please see Like Crazy. She is also good in The Invisible Woman but that movie is an example of taking a great story and dramatizing everything that is not that interesting from it. Also see: Unbroken
Birdman (or the something something of something) – It’s fine. Edward Norton is great. The script somehow required 4 people and it does unexpected things in both good and bad ways. Let’s not get carried away. IT’S FINE.
Boyhood –Sadly I am still waiting to have the 4 hour window of time that this movie requires. (I am factoring crying and/or angry texting afterwards.)
The Imitation Game – I love this one but it is extremely up my alley so I can’t decide if it’s great or I just like it. It has everything I want and it’s very well made but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it unless I knew how you felt about Bletchley Park and Rory Kinnear.
Whiplash – Did not see it. It looks too intense, there appears to be too much acting and I reject the idea that a drummer is the hero.
American Sniper – No thanks! I heard this in the next room and that was 1000% more than enough for me.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – I loved this but can’t believe anyone else saw it. I really think they are faking. I don’t understand why this is the Wes Anderson movie people embrace but okay!
Selma – Did not see it. Did not get a screener and I missed the half-day it was in theaters. I’m not happy or sad about it, just annoyed at this point.
On a lighter note, there were some fun things in 2013. I wouldn’t say a majority came from moviegoing. But even though I care more about Troy Barnes leaving to travel the world and Jesse Pinkman getting away than any of the “Best Pictures”, it doesn’t mean I don’t still love movies. At Casa De Knievel to be honest we are beside ourselves about the Veronica Mars movie and Grand Budapest Hotel coming. Plus that movie where Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper are going to drive cars!
Here are some favorites and yes, I know some of these are TV shows and yes, I know some are not from 2013 and yes, there may or may not be a podcast on there.
Key and Peele
Doug Loves Movies
Wits at Largo
Pinball Hall of Fame
Parks and Recreation
Ted’s Montana Grill, Boulder
Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau
Doctor Who 50th – the funnest thing all year and I went to a Cornetto Trilogy marathon
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Saving Mr. Banks
Plus, how hilarious was Fast 6, you guys!