2022 Movie Log: February

I mentioned in January that by month’s end, I was on pace to see 300 movies in the 2022 calendar year.

Of course, there was NO WAY I was going to keep that pace up. It’s ridiculous! Clearly I have better things to do than watch movies! I’d obviously settle down to a 250 pace–still intense!–and be fine.

Right?

Well, as of the end of February, I’ve seen 52 movies, which is a per-month pace for…

(where is my calculator app on this damn phone?)

Three-hundred and twelve.

Oops!

What am I doing?! For THIS I’m not getting any writing done?

I mean… yes. For this. That is… an accurate assessment.

My wife keeps trying to get me to watch TV with her; she gets upset when I tell her TV doesn’t accomplish anything, and I’d rather watch movies. “I watch things for enjoyment, not so I can log them and check a box. Is that what you do? Just watch things to fill out a list?”, she asked me.

Yes, I… yes, that’s the thing that I do.

I MEAN obviously I like watching movies. But TV shows… that’s an ENGAGEMENT! So many episodes at 30-60 minutes each! And I forget what happens for episode 1 to episode 6.

With movies… it’s two hours, bam! Easy peasy! Some are longer; I have had Saving Private Ryan and Seven Samurai on my playlist for about a year. I look at them, think “Not today!”, and find something that’s 90 minutes instead.

Like such as:

FIRST TIME WATCHES: Mom and Dad, Risky Business, Slapface, Children of Men.

That… is kind of a lie. I DID see Children of Men once before, but I did not enjoy it and do not remember it. I was probably on my computer with it on in the background. I’m not sure what I didn’t love about it the first time; it’s brilliant. The story is kind of a rehash–dystopian future everything sucks oh no what will we do–but the acting and directing are GENIUS. I’m such a mark for long single-shot takes, and this flick has several of them, none as good as a car chase scene that bridges the first and second acts.

Mom and Dad is one of those “Oh, this is 80-some minutes long? I will watch this” flicks that I just adore. It’s fun, if not truly great or anything. Nicholas Cage is in full NICHOLAS CAGE mode here, and he almost feels like they imported his character from an entirely different movie, but in that good way where his off-the-wall crazy cuts the tension just enough. Selma Blair is solid, as always.

I don’t know why what bothered me about Risky Business did, but I was incredibly upset that almost everything works out perfectly for Tom Cruise (who OH MY GOD is a child here; I just assumed he was born handsome, charming, and 25 years old). It’s wildly unrealistic, and I know it’s an 80’s movie, but I was kind of waiting for this tragic ending where he is just completed eff’ed. But nope. He fixes all of his messes and gets into Princeton. With twenty minutes or so left, I honest-to-god thought “I hope this movie ends with him killing himself because he is in too deep”.

What is wrong with me? I wanted tragedy! I’m not a good person! Why was this 1980’s movie made like a 1980’s movie?!

I’ve heard various good and bad reviews of Slapface, but boy… it did less than nothing for me. A slew of unlikable characters, a codependent witch whose motivation is never elaborated upon, plot points that don’t go anywhere, characterization that is inconsistent. And a weird post script that seems to imply the real witch is the bullies we met along the way or something?

REWATCHES: Airplane!, Role Models, Hot Shots!, Eternals

Airplane! is a weird one. I’ve seen chunks of that movie about a dozen times, but other parts I truly didn’t remember. I swear I’ve never seen the “That’s impossible; they have instruments!” gag before, and it was my favorite part of this viewing.

I watched Role Models in part because I was so put off by my rewatch of DodgeBall in January that I was afraid all 2000’s studio comedies may have aged poorly. Luckily, Role Models held up just fine. There are a few “gay = funny” jokes, sure, but mostly this one is clever and heart-warming. Whew! And the climax? Kiss-My-Anthia? So good.

Time for honesty: I remember seeing Hot Shots! in theater as a kid, and it was my first ever favorite movie that wasn’t aimed at kids. I just thought it was the cleverest thing ever made when I was ten years old. I remember watching the credits and seeing all the gags in their. KEY GRIP?! Hahaha, what a silly, made-up thing! As an adult in 2022, Lloyd Bridges remains hilarious here, but most the rest of the jokes fall flat. Oh well!

That leaves us with Eternals, and I got my wife to watch that because she skipped it in theaters. My opinion did not really change. The first act needs badly to be condensed by 20 minutes or so, and the third act needed more Kingo. But it’s not the worst MCU movie, guys, come on. Fucking Iron Man 3 still exists.

Wait, yes, I did say Saving Private Ryan is too long, BUT I’ve watched Eternals twice. Look, what do you want?

FIRST TIME WATCHES: Arrival, The Man With The Iron Fists, Hatchet 2, Truth Or Dare (1986), The Muppets, Sonic The Hedgehog, Hatchet 3

A lot of first-time watches here!

Arrival was terrific. I was a huge fan of that. It starts very, very slowly, and it took a while to hook me, and that’s the whole reason it lost the last whole star. Well that and I felt it cheated a bit in its storytelling convention, but maybe I’m wrong. But the story was fantastic; it’s an alien invasion story where the invasion is the least focused upon part.  It’s a story of humanity and loss and hopefulness and tragedy and predetermination and connection.

I did not care for Hatchet at all when I watched it, so why did I bother with Hatchet 2? Danielle Harris. That’s why. And I’m glad I did; it’s an ENORMOUS step up from its predecessor. This one was a lot more self-aware, silly, and free-spirited. Also, it had the following exchange between two people screwing in the woods:

“Do you like this more than Jesus?”

“That’s not appropriate”

“Do you like this more than baby Jesus?”

“I… about the same, I guess?”

Come on. That’s a winner across the board.

Sandwiched between the joy of Arrival and Hatchet 2 was The Man With The Iron Fists, which is an absolute snoozefest. There is a span of no less than 40 minutes in the middle of the movie that grinds everything to a god damn halt, and only Russell Crowe seems to be having as much here as everyone should have been. You’re not making an Oscar contender, folks; lighten up! RZA made a martial arts fantasy movie, and it’s BORING? How is that even possible?

Truth Or Dare (A Critical Madness) was the welcome return to weekend watch parties that a cult classics group I follow on Facebook does on the weekend. It’s delightful trash.

I had started hearing my buddies over at The Contrarians talk endlessly during their recent Muppethon about how much they adore the 2011 Muppets outing. I gave it a try, and… it’s fine. It’s fine. It’s just so middle of the road to me. It was sentimental, but didn’t make me anywhere near teary. It was funny, but I only laughed out loud two or three times.

A bit better than The Muppets–just a tiny bit–was Sonic The Hedgehog. Jim Carrey is just swinging HARD for the fences here with a return to his mid-90’s form, and it’s surprising how much that version of him was missed when he all but stopped doing it!

Hatchet 3 came around and split the difference between the first two. It was more beautifully outrageous than the first, but not as memorable as the second. Will I move on to the fourth installment? Time will tell!

(Danielle Harris is NOT in part 4, so time is telling me No right now)

REWATCHES: Hellboy (2019), Midsommar.

I watched Hellboy for an episode of Pint O’ Comics’ series “Trash, Tolerable, or Treasure”, where they look back at maligned films and see if they earned their rep. I gave it a Tolerable!

I put myself through Midsommar again because I wanted to rewatch some popular movies I have seen only once–but DESPISED initially–to see if my opinion has changed. Midsommar came up first.

It… nope. I just… sorry, guys. This is a bad movie. It is downright bewildering to me that anyone thinks highly of this. The story, characters, editing, and pacing are all nightmarishly bad. I’m not keen on the acting, either, but I’ll cop to maybe just being so angry at everything else that the performances don’t work for me, either. I think Florence Pugh is overacting here, but others think she’s great. So maybe that one is just me.

It LOOKS nice, sure. But lots of movies LOOK nice these days. I want more substance.

I’ve heard there is a director’s cut that is even longer than the theatrical release, and I can’t even fucking imagine sitting through a LONGER version of this already-meandering film. I would rather set my toes on fire.

Next up on my “is this as bad as I remember? everyone else likes it” tour: Fight Club. Eventually. Midsommar took a lot out of me.

FIRST TIME WATCHES: Life of Brian, Palm Springs, Werewolves Within, Eraser, House 2, Nightmare, Rurouni Kenshin

How on Earth have I never sat through Life Of Brian? I’ve seen Holy Grail about a million times. I just never got around to this one before. It’s funny–VERY funny at points–but it’s no Holy Grail. Which is an unfair bar to expect almost any movie to measure up to. The ending to this is infectious, though. I was whistling for days.

Why is the Groundhog Day formula so easy to do right? Groundhog Day. Happy Death Day. Edge Of Tomorrow. The Mystery Spot episode of Supernatural. Palm Springs. They are all great. This is basically its own sub-genre nowadays. The twist that Palm Springs takes is that there are a handful of characters caught in the timeloop, and it’s a welcome change.

I waited SO LONG to see Werewolves Within, and now it’s finally on a streaming service (Showtime) I have, and… it’s good. Just… good. I think I built this one up too much in my head (I love Milana Vayntrub and the director’s previous flick, Scare Me), and when I saw it, it ended up being a bit predictable and underwhelming.

Have I watched the 26 second scene of Milana Vayntrub dancing to “I Saw The Sign” about a dozen times since, though? Only my YouTube history knows for sure.

Why did I watch Eraser? I don’t know. It was there. I make weird and questionable choices. Even for when it came out, it feels like a movie out of time. It’s not tongue-in-cheek or fun or anything; it’s played as a straight Arnie action flick, but in 1996 when he had already done better movies that were smarter than this.

House 2 is a TERRIBLE follow up to the original House! Credit to this movie for being off the wall silly and just doing whatever the hell it wants to have a good time. I won’t say I didn’t laugh a few times (“Oh, here’s your problem: you got some kind of alternate dimension in your wall“), but the story makes no damn sense and is just stupid event after stupid event, with virtually no continuity or relevance between scenes.

Nightmare was another cult classic watchalong, and I’ve already erased it from my brain, just three days later. It was much less fun than Truth Or Dare.

Last of the new viewings was the live action Rurouni Kenshin flick, and honestly? It’s overlong, and some of the English dubbing (I didn’t have it subbed) was rough, but it’s actually well made! And the action sets completely work.

REWATCHES: End Of Days, Last Night In Soho

I only gave End of Days 2.5 out of 5, and that hurts me in my soul because I’ve seen this flick about four or five times in my life and always enjoy it. It’s got problems, but Arnold is clearly having more fun here than he did in, say, Eraser. And honestly? End of Days Arnie could get it. Maybe the only time I’ve ever thought “Wait, is Schwarzenegger hot?”

The rental price for Last Night In Soho dropped, so I could finally get my wife to watch it, too. On second viewing, I dug this film even more (though I kept it as 4/5; call it a 4.25 if LB let me do quarter-scale). The third act didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did the first time around, and everything on the way there is so gripping! I think this is another wonderful Edgar Wright effort.


And that, whew is “it”! Twenty-six movies in twenty-eight days.

What… what am I doing with my life?

Come back next month to see what terrible life choices I made in March!

Until next time… take care!

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