I set a lot of goals for myself in 2018. One of those goals was to keep track of the movies I watched throughout the year and to write about them on the MM17 Blog. The following 3-Part Series of articles is my fulfillment of that promise. I do this as a labor of love. Love of myself. Love of movies. Love of progress towards my dreams. This is not an analysis of every movie I watched in 2018. This is my quick reflections on those movies and my reasoning behind watching them.
The movies and comedy specials that I consumed from January to April accurately show my enjoyment of crude behavior, violence and out of the box story concepts. Whether or not those elements always add up to a good movie depends on the amount of care put into them.
Without further ado, here are my thoughts about the 13 movies I watched from January 1st to April 30th in 2018.
Tom Segura: Disgraceful
I love Tom Segura and his wife Christina Pazitsky. They are both good comedians and incredibly entertaining on the Your Mom’s House Podcast. I enjoyed the comedy special when I saw it, but it did not stand out to me in the same way that other Netflix specials have in the past. Other than the internet being outraged at one of his jokes using the word “retarded”, I do not remember much about this special.
I often have a hard time with older movies because of their slower pacing. Blade Runner takes its time exploring the visual wonder of the world without any regard for keeping untrained audiences fed constant action or suspense. Blade Runner demands that viewers not take for granted the dystopia of the world in between moments of plot.
Blade Runner is not a high concept franchise either. Every single moment of the film is important to understanding the world and how it informs the story. Just like one of my favorite fictional properties, Ghost in the Shell, there is always more to analyze the deeper you pay attention to the aspects of the film. This is a film that demands your full attention and deserves to be studied.
Sadly, I did not prepare for the daunting task that is Blade Runner when I watched the Final Cut of the film (I don’t want to get in an argument about which version is best. Please just…no). I will watch Blade Runner again with pen and paper in hand and maybe even with the Wikia page open.
The last time I had seen Marianna Palka and Jason Ritter in a film together was when I saw Good Dick as a child. Obviously not the best film for a mother to watch with a growing young boy, but it remains one of my favorite movies. Bitch is a weird movie by comparison. A stay at home mom has a psychotic break that makes her behave like a dog, the only path to freedom left available to her. The bad husband/inept father is forced to take on the responsibility of caring for their children
Reading the initial premise of the movie makes you think of some major studio’s PG movie starring Tim Allen. Surely, the plot would be neatly paced and tied with a bow by the end. But this is not a mid-sized budget film. Certain parts of the story drag on for too long while others are quickly glossed over. Bitch is an enjoyable movie, but I wish to one day find a happy medium between crazy concept and sensible pacing without a major studio squeezing the soul out during pre-production.
This movie was fun to watch. It was definitely one of those movies that got steamrolled in the box office shuffle. Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, and Adam Driver give great character performances in this unique take on the modern heist film. The family storyline of Tatum’s character and his daughter is the best part of the movie I may have even teared up a bit when the daughter sang West Virginia at the pageant. This movie is better than it probably should be.
It embarrasses me to say that I almost didn’t see Black Panther in theaters. It had been so long since I first got hyped on the trailers that my excitement for the film had waned. A breakdown of the Casino Scene by Ryan Coogler revitalized my interest in the film. In that video, I caught a glimpse at how much attention to detail was put on everything in the movie. It made an English Major like me have a nerdgasm.
In my eyes, this film deserves all of the awards it receives. It is currently my choice for Best Picture as of before the Oscar nominations are announced. This film made me proud as an African-American. Better yet, it is only part of a modern renaissance in intellectual, Black Art.
There is so much that can be said about this film. Luckily I have an analysis of the film in the works for 2019 as part of the Heroism and the Black Experience series of articles.
Chris Rock: Tamborine
I do not have much to say about this comedy special. Chris Rock has always been an insightful person to me. Not necessarily the funniest. This did not change things. He’s clearly grown beyond his hungry days as a comedian, but still feel the need to rely on his old gimmicks like “Yeah, I said it” for no real reason. His outrage comedy isn’t outrageous anymore. His discussion about his divorce was interesting. Besides that, it was forgettable.
Your time would be better spent watching Top 5. The movie star Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson. It is funny, Black, and romantic. Definitely a movie worth watching instead of Tamborine.
This was my second viewing of this film. It is likely one of the best films from the last 10 years. The plot, artistic direction, pacing, and acting are all marvelous. I wanted to share the stylistic savagery of this film with my mother. Tom Ford is an amazing director. You can tell that he takes his time spinning the tapestry of his work in film and (I assume) in fashion.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
This was another movie that I was interested in despite how hard it tanked in the box office. Valerian is a very ambitious comic book, let alone a feature film. A film like this would have to deliver story and spectacle while remaining accessible to the unfamiliar and challenging to the existing fanbase. Sadly, Luc Besson mistakenly believed that spectacle would make the bland acting and uninteresting plot not matter to critics and the box office.
I had this movie on my shortlist for so long that I thought it would be a lot better than it actually was. Triple 9 has a star-studded cast of actors, plot twists, and the heist genre on its side. It should have been easy to knock out of the park. But Triple 9 did not deliver the way that those elements should have.
A Quiet Place
Magic happens while watching A Quiet Place in the theaters. The plot and sound design entrance the audience to create the perfect atmosphere and the ideal theater experience for this film. Everyone was afraid of making noise in the theater. I had never looked at manipulating sound in an entire film like that outside of playing music. Films like this make me want to give the horror genre more chances in the future.
After this film and the Jack Ryan series, John Krasinski has a blank check with me. That said, I am worried about the sequel they are developing. I can’t fathom a sequel that wouldn’t tarnish the world of A Quiet Place. The lightning caught by A Quiet Place is not usually caught twice.
One movie that I have obsessed over is Sicario. Every element of that film came together perfectly to tell a layered story about power and perceived control. One of these days I will get in the mud with Sicario and analyze every part of it. I bring up Sicario because one of the many gifts my obsession gave to me was Taylor Sheridan. Sheridan can write the hell out of a script. The level of tension and character found in Sicario would not be possible if Sheridan hadn’t laid down the groundwork first.
That is true with Wind River. Elizabeth Olson and Jeremy Renner star in this wintry murder thriller. Taylor Sheridan wrote and directed Wind River. I was interested in what a Sheridan script would look like in his own hands compared to in the hands of Denis Villeneuve. Some important beauty was missing in Wind River, but the strength of the screenplay kept me hooked into this story on the modern American frontier.
Clear and Present Danger
I have been slowly watching my way through the Jack Ryan franchise for the last few years. Harrison Ford and Willem Dafoe give great performances in this movie about an illegal war waged in the drug heartland of Colombia. Dafoe stood out to me more than anything else. Most people my age would recognize him from Spider-Man, but I recommend watching him in the 2011 movie, The Hunter. That movie was one of the first films that made me understand my enjoyment of a slow-burning plot
The Little Hours
This movie is insane. It’s the type of movie adaptation that makes absolutely no sense on paper but completely works in practice. Aubrey Plaza, Kate Micucci, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and the entire cast give incredible comedic performances in this asinine take on The Decameron. I would love to see an adaptation of The Canterbury Tales done in this style.