So I saw 200+ movies in 2021.
That was it. That was the goal. Watch 200 or more individual movies from January 1st to December 31st. I got through 223 all told.
Am I just supposed to rest on this laurel?
I actually had no idea if I would try to meet any quota for 2022. I love movies, but maybe I’d just relax a bit, you know? Write more (HA!), focus on the podcast, play more video games (I just started a new Skyrim playthrough yesterday because I apparently hate myself. But… Anniversary Edition!). Why just, you know, watch movies?
So with that in mind, after January, I am only on pace to watch THREE HUNDRED MOVIES THIS YEAR.
Yes, I watched 25 flicks in January, and that’s with the fact that all 25 fell between 1/4 and 1/28, having taken both the first three and last three days of the month “off”.
Am I setting my sights on 300+?
No no no.
Now that seems plausible…
ANYWAY, let’s talk about what all I saw in January 2022!
Nothing wrong with a little anime stretch to start off the new year!
Ghost In The Shell is a classic, sure, but compared to Akira, which I also rewatched last year? It hasn’t held up nearly as well. It feels like focuses on the wrong aspects of things. Instead of the sentient computer program, I was intrigued by the idea of people having their brains hacked. People living entire lives in their memories that never happened! THAT’S the movie I wanted.
HOLY SHIT, Grave Of The Fireflies. Just why? Why would you do that to me, Studio Ghibli? That movie is unbearably depressing and lets you know right from the first 5 minutes that it will be unbearably depressing. But it’s filled with JUST enough hopefulness that you can kind of forget the opening and think things will be okay. But they aren’t! I watched Grave Of The Fireflies and it felt like nothing would ever be okay again.
To round out my opening anime salvo, we have Princess Mononoke, starring, apparently, Billy Bob Thornton, whose voice is Billy Bob Thornton and not anything else, so every time his character spoke, I was like “WHY DOES BILLY BOB THORNTON WANT TO KILL THIS FOREST GOD?!”.
It wasn’t as well-crafted as Grave of the Fireflies, but it also doesn’t take a crap on your soul and remind you life is a hell nightmare that will crush your spirit. The world is a lot of fun here and the characters are vibrant. Good Ghibli project!
Logan Lucky has been on my watchlist for a while, and I finally settled in for it. It’s enjoyable and charming, even if I run very hot-and-cold on heist flicks. A lot of the movie’s ills are solved by casting Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, and Adam Driver as the leads. Their chemistry works, and all three are quite charismatic.
After having watched more Zack Snyder movies in 2021 than movies by any other director, I watched YET ANOTHER early this month with Sucker Punch, and you know what? It’s not terrible. It actually manages to very successfully blend a truly dark story with fun, vibrant visuals and imagination.
The story doesn’t work if you think about it for 5 seconds, and it tries too hard at the end to want to be poignant, but those are always Zack’s weak spots. On the bright side: it looks glorious. His strength!
Not much to say on these. I DID watch them, and that was because they were pulled by future guests of the Stew World Order podcast! You can subscribe to it wherever you listen to pods to hear my thoughts on these (and others)!
I rewatched The Final Girls to reaffirm my love for the movie. It’s a horror-comedy whose real genius lies in its heart. I CARE about these characters, and Malin Ackerman doing a striptease to “Bette David Eyes” shouldn’t be so emotional, but… here we are. It’s a funny-but-respectful tribute to the slasher genre.
I might have more of an affinity for The Monster Squad if I had seen it as a kid, but… I didn’t. This was my first watch. While it’s good enough, it also has some truly awful dialogue and dire acting performances. That said? When Scary German Guy is told he really knows his monsters and responds with “I guess I do” and then looks at his Holocaust tattoo? SHIT did that scene deserve to be in a better movie.
The Matrix Resurrections sure lived… down (?) to its hype. It’s actually got a very interesting meta commentary first act, and the whole “Wait, what IS real?” could have worked as the real plot… but then it just becomes a Matrix Sequel with all the grimy and boring “real world” stuff and overdone fight scenes we’ve come to expect. It grades out better than Reloaded or Revolutions, but… how COULDN’T it?
I watched Dave Made A Maze because I heard John Morrison was in it. And, I mean, he IS. But barely. I probably need to start taking drugs to appreciate this movie. And it feels like the creators behind it probably thought they were making the hottest thing ever. Just… I picture so many high fives while this was getting produced. It’s absurd, but not… funny.
In what I can only explain as the BIGGEST HALF-A-STAR GAP EVER, Scream is a 3.0 while Matrix Resurrections is a 2.5? That doesn’t sound accurate at all. If I could do quarters, that would be 3.25 to 2.25. The new Scream is far and away the best of the series since the 1996 original recipe. I really quite liked it. Why did I give it only3 stars? Probably because of predictability. It’s only the second Scream (Scream 4 being the other) where I was confident in who the killers were early on.
Oh my, that’s a lot. Okay!
The Last Thing Mary Saw: Nothing about this is BAD, I guess, but it meanders around at a leisurely pace, and I couldn’t keep fighting the urge to play on my phone instead.
Inception: I had never seen Inception before; can you believe that?! But I had a day where I was like “I feel like settling in for a two and a half hour long movie” (which is rare for me), and here we go. All right, I’m the fool. This is EASILY as great as I’ve heard. This is going to be hard for any other movie to unseat for the #1 position of First Time Watches for 2022.
Krampus: I always thought this was a C-tier cult classic, but nope… it’s a competent effort with real stars like Toni Collette. The characters start off as one-dimensional flats, but as of the second act, everyone fleshes out and actually does what real people would do. More scary than funny, but it works.
The Princess Bride: “You’ve seen this before, right?” “A lot. But sometimes… you just have to rewatch The Princess Bride” – my wife and I when she walked in on my watching this. Best 1980’s movie, and that is saying something. Relentlessly charming.
Perfect Blue: Back on the anime wagon for Perfect Blue, which does not start off seeming like the mindfuck it turns out to be. The animation is surprisingly the weak point, and that’s all that holds this gripping film back from 4+ star territory. Oh, and it’s funny in 2022 to see a movie made in 1997 where one character has to learn how to use a computer mouse. I used to teach elderly people how to use computers back in 2001-2002. The character trying to explain double-clicking really took me back!
Halloween Kills (Extended Cut): Man, I just don’t hate this movie, guys. I know EVERYONE ELSE EVER ANYWHERE does, but I actually dig it. It’s definitely top five in the franchise for me. It has problems, yeah, but Judy Greer is a fucking dynamo here, just pulling the flick on her back and doing her damnedest to make it worth something.
DodgeBall: Haha, holy SHIT has this movie aged poorly. Ben Stiller is doing godlike work here to bring all the joy this thing has to offer, but the scenes without him are miserable.
The Devil’s Advocate: Another two-and-a-half hour movie! Where did I find this willpower?! Anyway, this is a movie that spends 90+ minutes being tactful and creepy and kind of mysterious, and then it just goes FULL ON NUTS in the third act. Hammy fun.
Hatchet: If you tell me I grade horror (especially horror-comedy) on an easy curve, I point to Hatchet, which is… not good. More of “A Slasher With Bad Jokes” than a real horror-comedy, Hatchet just feels lazy and entirely uninspired.
Sorority Row: Probably the best remake of Prom Night that isn’t really a remake of Prom Night and that came out one year after the ACTUAL remake of Prom Night! I think the selling point here is “hot girls”, and I mean… sure. Yes. Good salesmanship. But there’s nothing else to stay for.
I’ve already seen two movies starring Jamie Chung this year, and that’s strange.
So it’s 1/31/22 as I was writing this article, and I thought “Surely I won’t watch another movie tonight”.
And then my wife asked if I wanted to, which… OBVIOUSLY.
So we found Housebound on Shudder, and WOW am I glad we did. This is a tremendous horror-comedy from New Zealand and the year 2014. It’s not a straight comedy at all; it’s more of a pure horror flick with just… quickly moments, but those moments made me laugh out loud over and over. The writer/director, Gerard Johnstone, has seemingly done NOTHING ELSE (according to Rotten Tomatoes), and that’s a damn shame. 4.5 / 5 (since my Letterboxd picture isn’t up yet).
It’s 10:51pm. I REALLY don’t think I’m going to watch another movie now.
So until next time… take care!