In 2018, I kept track of all the movies I watched throughout the year. This 3-Part Series is my quick reflections on those movies and a labor love. Love of myself. Love of movies. Love of progress towards my dreams.
Looking at the list of movies I watched between September and December, I remember how busy I was at that time. I didn’t watch nearly as much content as I usually do because I was focusing on my schoolwork. The few movies that I did enjoy show what I choose to watch when I have to be very selective.
If you haven’t already read my reflections on the movies I watched between January and April 2018, you can take that opportunity here.
If you haven’t already read my reflections on the movies I watched between May and August 2018, you can read those here.
Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Mamoru Oshii delivers an underrated masterstroke with this film. The film delivers so much that it would be a grave mistake to not give the film it own article. Stay tuned throughout the year for this article to appear.
I Am Not Your Negro
This documentary, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, is the result of the unfinished final book from author and civil rights commentator James Baldwin. SLJ does a great job of narrating without his own celebrity detracting from the subject matter. This documentary gave me a glimpse at a man who I had never learned about. James Baldwin’s perspective on the Black Experience and his doubt about his own ability when stacked against those of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X resonated deeply with me.
I do not believe myself capable of being on the frontlines of conflict. I do not belive myself capable of peacefully enduring physical violence for a cause or even committing extreme acts in the fight for equality. I would never be able to make peace with the fact that I am going to die in the way that MLK did. But I am a writer. I can comment and shed a light on what is happening when I see it. I can search for the truth in the face of information warfare. I can discuss the issues of today through fiction. That is my place in the world. That is how I justify my choice to be a writer in a world on fire.
This live-action adaptation had the odds stacked against it when I watched it. Bleach was my first anime. I first watched Bleach one late night at my cousin’s house on Adult Swim’s Toonami. He didn’t want to watch it, but something about the anime glued me to the screen I’ve read the manga. I’ve seen all the anime movies. I’ve seen all the filler episodes (except for the Bount arc). I’ve watched fan-made versions of the final arc. I’ve even made my own Bleach shinigami character and RP’d with him online.
Put that with the fact that live-action adaptations, have all been notoriously panned by critics and you see the struggle of being a Bleach fan. Bleach and its fans have gone through enough hardship with the cancelled anime, the rushed manga, and Shonen Jumps attempts to hide the anime that was once part of The Big Three with One Piece and Naruto.
Tite Kubo has an undeniable art style and an incredible sense of character design. Each character has his or her own feel to them and the entire franchise has a dark edge to it that stood out when placed beside One Piece and Naruto. There has yet to be a popular anime that has matched the unique kind of enjoyment that I got from watching Bleach.
I watched this movie on Netflix and felt the same joy that I felt as a child that day. The movie definitely took some small liberties with the film. These changes still felt true to the film. I hope that they make another film. The next film they do would have to be even more careful since the Soul Society Arc is chock full of new characters, worldbuilding, and incredible displays of action used to drive the plot forward. On top of all of that is the set up for pretty much the rest of the anime. I look forward to seeing them pull it off if they decide to do another film.
True Grit (2010)
I did not enjoy this movie. I found myself very bored at parts of it. I have not yet seen the original film. But legacy is not an excuse to give a sub par film Oscars recognition. This summer I will elaborate on this point while trying to sound like more than just another angry person on the Internet. Stay tuned.
I watched the Anita Hill documentary in 2017 but this HBO movie first came to my attention during the Spring of 2016. I had gone to San Antonio for Oyster Bake and saw some of this on the TV in my uncle’s hotel room. (I cherish that memory and I miss him everyday).
The timing of me watching this, however, had everything to do with the Dr. Blasey Ford Brett Kavanaugh confirmation situation. It is disappointing how little has changed in regards to our senators’ (and some of our fellow citizens’) refusal to belive a brave educated woman’s allegations of sexual assault.
Kerry Washington and the entire cast tell the Anita Hill/ Clarence Thomas Confirmation story well.
You Were Never Really Here
I am just going to share the comments that I shared via twitter as a bonus to my article “The Oscars Problem”:
Batman and Harley Quin
This movie was fun to watch. DC animated movies are usually fun to watch. I’ve harked on this point in the May to August Movie Roundup. There is one part that I did not enjoy as much. Nightwing and Harley Quin have sex. The fact that they knew each when he was a child and the fact that he was strapped to the bed feels incredibly creepy. Almost as creepy as Batman and Batgirl having sex in the animated adaptation of The Killing Joke. Neither of these made me hated those respective movies, but their existence made me uncomfortable. I understand why they were included in the context of those movies, but I do not believe that they were necessary.
A Star is Born
I love this movie. I want Lady Gaga to win an Oscar and I still think they nominated the wrong song for the Oscar. I’ve briefly discussed this in the same Twitter thread as I discussed my enjoyment of You Were Never Really Here. I plan on writing an entire analysis of the film through its music very soon. But until then, here is the Twitter thread of my thoughts on A Star is Born:
This movie was mediocre and does not deserve and Awards recognition. I recently started ranting to my DM about the movie before we started our game. I enjoyed the movie when I watched it, but it is insulting to more deserving movies that Bohemian Rhapsody was nominated. It further sullies the reputation of those Awards.
Batman: Bad Blood
Another DC animated movie. The most surprising thing about this movie was the Damien Wayne clone. Batwoman was interesting. Nunjas is funny. There is no way that Talia is dead.
I’ve also tweeted about this movie. I Tweeted while I was watching it. It is a very weird movie that took a lot of chances in its storytelling. I did not get what I expected from it and would likely benefit from a second viewing. Here is the beginning tweet on the thread. (I still have not seen Raw. For that I am ashamed.)
Kevin Smith: Silent but Deadly
I love Kevin Smith with all of my heart. He is one of my heroes. His voice and advice has helped me through a lot of struggles in my life. Through his work and podcasting life, I have been introduced to Kinda Funny, Marc Bernardin, and many others. A lot of the entertainment I consume can probably be placed on a six degrees from Kevin Smith chart.
I wrote about the random circumstances that led to me watching this special when I did on Letterboxd. This is what I wrote (I’ve edited it since I first wrote it to fix a very glaring error to the content):
“My body woke me up in the middle of the night and my calf Charlie-horsed.Took the opportunity to finally watch the comedy special that was recorded just before my childhood hero nearly died of a heart attack. A lot changed for me when he nearly died. I changed my eating habits, lost weight and was reminded of how quickly life can be taken from any of us.
As far as the special itself goes, I’d watch/listen to Kevin Smith do pretty much anything at this point. One difference was that Kevin’s tangents had a much nicer flow to them than usual. Like I said the man is one of my heroes.”
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I’ll be back in two weeks with another article about the entertainment and news I give my life away to every day. There is also a Content Update coming to the blog today! Keep your eyes peeled.