You know that movie scene where someone has a huge blowout in front of an innocent third party and afterwards they go up to the kid/significant other/whoever and goes, “I’m so sorry you had to see that?” That’s kind of how I feel when looking over some the movies you are about to be exposed to.
But that’s life! And life isn’t always deep artistic pieces of soul-searching cinema. Sometimes life is movies about teenaged witches looking for love, people in murder cubes wishing they weren’t in murder cubes, and zombie-beaver-infected ladies trying to make out with non-zombie-beaver-infected ladies who are really wishing they wouldn’t.
In short: Life is a pretty weird place sometimes.
Genre Color Key
* = Rewatched
* 101 *
When their jobs are on the line a group of fun-loving state troopers have to do whatever they can to save their unit.
Starring: Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter, Marisa Coughlan, Brian Cox, Daniel von Baargen, Stever Lemme, Kevin Heffern, Erik Stolhanske
is what happens when you take good comedy sketch ideas and try to sew together to make an OK(ish) movie.
“Ain’t so funny meow is it?”
I don’t even remember. An archaeologist is investigating some nonsense in cave and awakens a monster? Something like that.
Starring: Pål Sverre Hagen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Bjørn Sundquist
is entirely forgettable. I remember so little of this movie that I thought I must have had fallen asleep through most of it and put it on the list accidentally. I checked with the old roommate I watched it with and they don’t recall if I fell asleep, but they remember about as much as I do, so I think it really was just that insubstantial.
Art and Craft
A documentary about a man named Mark Landis whose forgeries of famous art are so good that he’s fooled some of the best museums in the world. Yet he’s never been prosecuted, because he never accepts any money for them.
Starring: Mark Landis
is really enjoyable. I have a not-so-secret love for anything that points out that the world of “high art” is all utter BS.
“And the Sotheby’s label would’ve said, black chalk, brown - you know how they’ll say black chalk, brown wash, red chalk? I just used colored pencils, you know, ‘cause they can’t tell.”
A group of friends take a vacation to a cabin in the woods, but are attacked by a colony of zombie beavers.
Starring: Rachel Melvin, Cortney Palm, Lexi Atkins, Hutch Dano, Jake Weary, Peter Gilroy
is like Black Sheep (2006), but not as well done. And yet considering it’s a movie about zombie beavers? Much more enjoyable than it has any right to be.
“We cannot turn against each other right now. That’s exactly what the beavers would want.”
Wet Hot American Summer
A comedic spoof of summer camp / sex comedy movies.
Starring: Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Marguerite Moreau, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Zak Orth, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Molly Shannon, Christopher Meloni
is so much better than I was expecting and I regret having avoided it for so long. I thought it was going to be an Animal House kind of thing, but it’s so much better than that. Not to mention that it’s chalk full of big name stars who hadn’t made it really big yet.
“Andy, have you seen my swimming buddy? If I can’t find him, I’m telling Beth that you let him drown.”
“I was busy!”
“It’s your job to make sure kids don’t drown!”
Sasha and Paige are best friends who do everything together. But when Paige gets a serious boyfriend it threatens to destroy their friendship.
Starring: Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Adam Brody
claims to be taking place in Minneapolis and yet keeps intersplicing itself with things from California as if I wouldn’t notice. But I did notice, Life Partners! And it was very distracting.
P.S. I love movies about best friends and I can relate a lot to this movie’s themes of what it’s like when your friends are all getting married and moving on.
“Guess I should’ve known that as soon as you found someone else to couple up with, that you’d be done with me.”
“Sasha, that is not fair. Okay yes, I am less available to you now than I was before when there was no one else in my life and we talked every night till 2 in the morning. But that was always gonna change when one of us met someone. I mean you don’t talk to your friends till 2 in the morning anymore, you stop needing that.”
“But you still have that.”
“You... ah... you still talk to someone till 2 in the morning, it’s just him now. Nothing changed for you. It just changed for me. Can you acknowledge that, please?”
The gang from Airplane! is back, but this time they’re flying through OUTER SPACE!
Starring: Robert Hayes, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges, Chad Everett, Peter Graves, Rip Torn
isn’t as good as the original, but it’s still pretty fun.
“Ted, I have the strangest feeling we’ve been through this exact same thing before.”
* 108 *
In a dystopian near-future a group of high school students are randomly selected to enter a battle the death. The prize? Being the only person not murdered by their classmates.
Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamada, Masanobu Ando, Kou Shibasaki, Takeshi Kitano
is the kind of cult classic that could only come out of Japan. (but the book is still better)
“So today’s lesson is...you kill each other off until there’s only one left. Nothing’s against the rules!”
She’s All That
A high school jock makes a bet that he can turn any girl in the school into prom queen. Enter class dweeb Laney Boggs.
Starring: Rachel Leigh Cook, Freddie Prinze Jr., Paul Walker, Elden Henson, Kieran Culkin, Dulé Hill, Anna Paquin, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Matthew Lillard
is painfully 90s. While 10 Things I Hate About You was a 90s retelling of Taming of the Shrew that made you nostalgic for the decade, this retelling of Taming of the Shrew makes you so, so very glad that the 90s are over, because, good lord, what were we all thinking?
P.S. I already loved the show Psych, but I love it even more now that I’ve seen Dulé Hill and Rachel Leigh Cook in this.
“Is that a no?”
“That’s a hell no.”
A teenage girl discovers that she’s a witch! But it turns out that teenager + mastery over time&space = recipe for disaster.
Starring: Robyn Lively, Dan Gauthier, Zelda Rubinstein, Amanda Ingbar
alternates between being so stupid it’s amazing and just plain stupid.
“Nobody’s comin’ to your sweet sixteen party Louise.”
* 111 *
A con-artist is given one last shot to go straight when he’s saved from the gallows and put in charge of revitalizing the city’s dying post office. Turns out that con-artists and businessmen aren’t so different after all.
Starring: Richard Coyle, Claire Foy, David Suchet, Nicholas Farrell, Ian Bonar, Andrew Sachs, Charles Dance
is technically a two-part mini-series, but this is my list and I’ll do what I want, goshdarnit! It’s a really interesting take on the book, with really phenomenal casting. It’s not without its problems, but very enjoyable to watch nevertheless.
“I’m just a con man!”
“You have killed 22.8 people.”
“I’ve never so much as drawn a sword.”
“You have stolen, embezzled, and swindled. You have ruined businesses and destroyed lives. When banks fail, it’s not bankers who starve. In a thousand small ways, you have hastened the deaths of many. You did not know them. You did not see them bleed. But you snatched bread from their mouths. There will be no running.”
Dokhtari Dar šab Tanhâ be Xâne Miravad
[A Girl Walks Alone at Night]
A lonesome vampire stalks the denizens of a crime-riddled Iranian city.
Starring: Sheila Vane, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Dominic Rains, Mozhan Marnò, Rome Shandaloo
has such gorgeous cinematography, but is severely lacking in the plot department.
“Where were you in the middle of the night?”
“I was with a girl.”
A man being framed for murder finds refuge with a tribe of monstrous people living under the cemetery.
Starring: Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg
has some interesting ideas at work in it, but for the most part is not very well done.
“Miss Winston, everybody has a secret face!”
An American Werewolf in London
Two Americans backpacking through Europe have an unfortunate encounter with some of the local wildlife.
Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dune, John Woodvine
has some good moments, but overall is pretty doofy. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), but without the cohesive plot.
“A naked American man stole my balloons.”
* 115 *
The Dark Knight Rises
Bruce Wayne is forced to don the cowl once more when Gotham is taken hostage by a terrorist who calls himself Bane. But how do you save a city that’s tearing itself apart?
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
is a satisfying conclusion to a fantastic trilogy...but Bane’s voice is still absolutely ridiculous.
“There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, fresh water is the ultimate commodity and is controlled by a tyrannical ruler called Immortan Joe. An unlikely team of an army deserter, a mentally ill drifter, and some escaped slaves try to escape Joe’s clutches and find salvation.
Starring: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy
is the best new movie I saw this year. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t give any shits about cars.
“Hey. What’s your name? What do I call you?”
“Does it matter?”
“Fine. When I yell ‘fool,’ you drive out of here as fast as you can.”
Escape from New York
In the future the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a maximum security prison. But when Air Force One crash-lands onto the Island there’s only one man who can get him out: a former special-op turned criminal named Snake Plissken.
Starring: Kurt Russell, Donald Pleasance, Lee Van Cleef, Isaac Hayes
is both better and worse than I was expecting it to be.
“You going to kill me, Snake?”
“I’m too tired. Maybe later.”
A telepathic little girl recruits a telekinetic vagabond in order to try and take down “Division:” a government agency that focuses on superhuman warfare.
Starring: Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou, Camilla Bella
has some interesting parts and some fun actors, but overall is kind of terrible.
“How are we going to make the future unpredictable?”
“By not knowing what we’re going to do, until right before we do it.”
6 strangers wake up inside of a strange death-trap-filled cube. The only way to make it out alive?
Starring: Nicole de Boer, Nicky Guadagni, David Hewlett, Andrew Miller, Wayne Robson, Maurice Dean Wint
doesn’t even try to have its premise make any sense.
“Why put people in it?”
“Because it’s here. You have to use it, or you admit it’s pointless.”
“But it, it is pointless.”
“Quentin... that’s my point.”
Those stupid bastards build another dinosaur theme park and once again it does not go as planned.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, BD Wong, Vincent D’Onofrio
would have been a lot better if it had had some decent female characters. And also if it focused more on the dangers-of-tampering-with-genetics angle a whole lot less on the angsty-teens-try-to-come-to-terms-with-divorce angle. Actually, just take the kids out of the movie entirely, use the time you just saved to add/develop some better female/POC characters. BAM! Problems solved.
“Nothing in Jurassic World is natural, we have always filled gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And if the genetic code was pure, many of them would look quite different. But you didn’t ask for reality, you asked for more teeth.”
* 121 *
A satirical Western about a crooked governor who selects a black man to be a small town’s sheriff as a way to further his own nefarious agenda. But things don’t go as planned when the new sheriff turns out to be damn good at his job.
Starring: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, Harvey Korman, Slim Pickens, Madeline Kahn
is really weird to see, because it’s from the 70’s, yet still tackles American racism in a way that you never see these days (despite our claims of being more progressive).
“Well, Jim, since you are my guest and I am your host, what’s your pleasure? What do you like to do?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Play chess...screw...”
“Well, let’s play chess.”
* 122 *
Captain America: Winter Soldier
When S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised, Captain America is forced to break ties and go off the grid in order to stop them.
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Robert Redford
is my second favorite superhero movie. It’s got adventure, it’s got action, it’s got a female main character who isn’t a love interest, it’s got laughs, it’s got more than just one POC, it’s got it all! And the combination of Chris Evans, Scarlett Johnasson, and Anthony Mackie is just so enjoyable.
“Did you do anything fun Saturday night?”
“Well, all the guys from my barbershop quartet are dead, so, no, not really.”
Two friends spend a day getting high and trying to not get whacked by a drug dealer or the notorious local bully.
Starring: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long, John Witherspoon, Anna Maria Horsford, Regina King, Paula Jai Parker, Tommy Lister
isn’t something I can really say I relate to all that much, but is totally worth watching if only to see Ice Cube and Chris Tucker together.
“Mom, loan me 200 dollars.”
“Craig, I wouldn’t feel comfortable lending you money without a job.”
“If I had a job, I wouldn’t need to borrow any money.”
* 124 *
The Sixth Sense
After after tragically failing to help a child who went on to commit suicide, a child psychologist tries make things right by helping a young boy who claims he can see dead people.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
is really well done, but makes you all the sadder when you know what Shyamalan went on to do. *shudder*
“You know the accident up there?”
“Someone got hurt.”
“A lady. She died.”
“Oh my god. What, can you see her?”
“Where is she?”
“Standing next to my window.”
“Cole, you’re scaring me.”
“They scare me too sometimes.”
The story of a young girl who’s life is falling apart as told from the 5 emotions (Joy, Disgust, Sadness, Anger, & Fear) that occupy her mind.
Starring: Kaitlyn Dias, Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Richard Kind, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan
is super cute, but very possibly might make you cry a little.
“I’m too sad to walk. Just give me a few...hours.”
* 126 *
A man discovers a pair of sunglasses that let him see the world as it truly is behind the curtain of subliminal messages and illusions: a world being taken over by aliens! But now that he knows the truth how can he hope to stop them?
Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
is so lazy, but in a strange sort of way that makes it utterly brilliant.
“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass.
And I’m all out of bubblegum.”
When a New York City gang summit goes horribly wrong a gang called the Warriors is framed for a murder they didn’t commit. But with every gang in the city out to get them, they’re going to have to fight their way back home.
Starring: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris, Terry Michos, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, David Patrick Kelly
’s tone can pretty much be summed up in one scene: one of the Warriors takes a break from running for his life to try and get laid, but when the woman says she’s not interested he tries [and luckily fails] to force himself on her. WTF, The Warriors!?
“Shit! The chicks are packed! The chicks are packed!”
* 128 *
Take the Lead
A dance instructor attempts to make a difference in the lives of inner-city kids by teaching them ballroom dancing during detention.
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Dante Basco, Yaya Dacosta, Alfre Woodard
has Dante Basco in it! Antonio Banderas is pretty enjoyable in it as well.
“What if I said these dances would make you look cool?”
“I’d say you’re full of shit.”
The famous detective Sherlock Holmes has gotten old and now resides in the countryside with a housekeeper and her son as he tries to do everything he can to escape his worsening dementia.
Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker
has really great actors, but a plot that is nothing more than bad fan-fiction with no respect for the source material.
“It isn’t a bee, it’s a wasp. Different thing entirely.”
To Kill a Mocking Bird
A young girl called Scout is thrust into a world of racial tension when her father (a lawyer) is chosen to defend a black man against a heinous charge in 1930s Alabama.
Starring: Mary Bradham, Phillip Alford, Gregory Peck, Estelle Evans, Robert Duvall
has some of the best child acting I’ve ever seen.
“There’s a lot of ugly things in this world...”