At the beginning of the year I made the questionable choice of watching one movie per day, every day of the year. Good or bad, long or short, theater or streaming, indie or studio, all movies are fair game. 365 movies in 365 days had a better ring to it. Damn leap year. As a somewhat busy guy, I tend to watch movies in quick bursts. None for a couple days and then a quick marathon of 5 randoms off of Netflix. Probably not the best way to get any critical analysis done, but when much of what I’m binging is B movie indie horror, I don’t feel too bad about it.
Where to begin? Might as well start with the worst so far. Bad movies may be bad, but I feel that somebody has to watch them, if for no other reason than to warn others of a potential two hour time suck. Also, all movies took a lot of time and effort to be made by someone. If I must suffer for an hour and a half to validate some movie studio assholes’ life and career choices, the lukewarm feeling I get is sorta worth it. Popcorn is also the food of the Movie Gods so at least I can eat two tubs with “butter” and leave a theater full of stomach, if slightly more bereft of brain cells than when I entered.
Anyway, bad movie number one: Gods of Egypt. Yes I paid five bucks (early bird price; I’m not a complete moron) to watch Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) fight Gerard Butler and zing one-liners for 2 hours while surrounded by CGI that is outclassed by most Playstation 2 graphics. Ever since 300, Gerard Butler’s yelling and ab-building skills have, for whatever reason, been able to entice me to see nearly any movie he is in. Yes, I have seen Olympus Has Fallen, The Bounty Hunter, and The Ugly Truth. Yes, I may need some professional help.
Director Zach Snyder has also built enough good will with me through both 300 and Watchmen that seeing Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice on opening night was not something I could refuse. While Dawn has been getting panned by critics and even given Ben Affleck some of his worst Daredevil flashbacks ever, this was a “bad” movie I actually enjoyed. The fact that the movie is 2 and a half hours long and I didn’t check my watch once is all the evidence I need to show that I was thoroughly entertained. Sure there was some bad writing. Batman starts an opening monologue by stating something along the lines of “What falls is fallen.” Not exactly Aaron Sorkin-level dialogue. Yeah, the movie may have been a little bloated in run time. I didn’t really need to see a 2 minute sequence of Ben Affleck lifting weights in a gym so intense and manly it would intimidate even Gold’s Gym members. But hey, Batman was a favorite cartoon of mine as a kid and Wonder Woman is a goddamn boss, so I ended up liking the movie.
While I could give you a detailed list of every terrible movie I don’t think you should waste your valuable time on, taste is subjective, and who knows, you may like every movie I hate. But for goodness sake please don’t watch Final Girl (Netflix), The Hollow (Netflix), Indigenous (Netflix), Ouija (HBO), The Pyramid (HBO), or The Gallows (HBO). These are all terrible movies, and if you like them you should feel bad. But hey, I did just list the services you can view them on so maybe I’m sending mixed messages.
Whew! Crap movies are out of the way. Lets get on to some good stuff you can watch so I can redeem the part of my soul that Gods of Egypt sucked out. So far in 2016 I have seen 86 movies. Most have been solid pictures, if not that then just really fun pieces of glib entertainment. While I like Oscar films, movies don’t have to be high art to be entertaining. So yes, The Revenent, The Big Short, Spotlight, and Mad Max: Fury Road are all amazing movies, but I’m assuming you know that. I’m more interested in finding the slightly more hidden gems.
If you’re looking for a theater release with more plot than two caped dudes beating the shit out of each other, check out 10 Cloverfield Lane. Like the original Cloverfield, the hype behind this movie came out of nowhere. The film was given the code name Valencia and a very brief description: A girl gets in an accident and is abducted by a mysterious stranger. There is a lot more to the plot besides that but to tell you would be a disservice to the film. I highly recommend checking out the Original Cloverfield before you make your way to the theater. Besides the obvious similarities, you may notice similar themes between the two, including traumas that spur characters to heroic action. And if words like “themes” and “plot” make you think of lame Oscar bait movies that you hate, there’s also explosions and stuff so that’s cool.
I wish I had the time to go into every good movie I’ve seen this year but I’m currently binge-watching season two of Daredevil so obviously I have more important things to do. Here, though, are a few other solid, if slightly overlooked, films from 2015 and 2014 that are a great way to pass the time: Turbo Kid (Netflix), The End of the Tour (Amazon Prime), Macbeth (2015; Amazon Prime), Magic Mike XXL (HBO), Dope (Netflix), Rosewater (Netflix), Bone Tomahawk (Amazon Prime), and Slow West (Amazon Prime). Check them out. Or don’t. I’m not your mother. Make your own decisions.
Watch and Talk is an alternative look at film. It is a column that discusses movies from all different genres. Movies are not necessarily reviewed, they are simply talked about. Watch and Talk looks at not only the entertainment value of various films, but also the cultural aspects and impacts that films can have.