I’m a lucky girl and have Movie Pass, which allows me to pay $9.95 a month (I actually pay less because I got in on a special yearly pass for $89.95) and then go see movies in the theater up to once a day.
In December I took advantage and went to the movies 17 times! Here is my loose rating of those movies.
1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO. Wow, I am not a stranger to violence in movies but this was aggressively violent. I don’t know if it was actually that much more violent than other flix, but it was always so shocking! Like, there’d be a really funny scene where we were all laughing and then all of a sudden someone would do something horrifically violent and the chuckles in the theater would sort of slowly die off. Don’t get me wrong though, it was excellent! A+, loved it! Frances McDormand was, as always fantastic. The story line deals with a truly impossible situation for so many people and it made me feel that impossibility in a very real way.
2. The Disaster Artist. This was such a terrifying experience for me. I’m an uberfan of The Room, the movie on which the making of is the basis of The Disaster Artist, but I also have a long and abiding disgust for James Franco. Like, people who know me casually probably know three things about me: I like to read, I hate James Franco, and I’m not to be trusted as a safety marshal. This movie though, was fucking GOOD. I laughed and laughed through the entire thing. Consider yourself redeemed, Mr. Franco.
3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I mean, do you need my hot take on this movie? I got goosebumps as soon as the epic music started at the beginning. I did lots of clapping and cheering. It was a great movie! Yes, there were flaws but overall it was a lot of fun.
4. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. I am alarmed at how genuinely funny this movie was. I saw it by myself the first time and had super-low expectations. I laughed so much and just loved the damn thing. A week or so later, I went again with my partner and loved it even more that time, partly because he was there and he has the best laugh in the entire world and partially because the theater had many more people and we were all loving the damn movie together. Chalk this up as my biggest surprise of 2018 so far.
5. Wonder Wheel. So, this one is a little hard because, you know, Woody Allen. I generally avoid the work of people who disgust me on a personal level but for whatever reason I make concessions for Woody Allen. Probably because Annie Hall has long been my favorite movie, and maybe just because I don’t know of other filmmakers who fill me with so much nostalgia for places I’ve never been. Wonder Wheel, which starred the worst Belushi and also Kate Winslet and Justin Timberlake, was a movie that I don’t imagine would appeal to the general public (In fact, based on its horrid box office numbers and its 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, it didn’t) but it scratched an itch for this Woody Allen fan.
6. Coco. I loved this movie so much I saw it twice – once alone and once with my partner. The visuals are gorgeous, the story is sweet (though, I hear a little scary for children), and I’m big into better representation in Disney movies. Also, there was a great dog who was constantly shaking his head so hard that his tongue got tied up around his ears. This is a sweet, beautiful film that I’m encouraging everyone to see – though be glad that theaters stopped showing that 20+ minute Frozen “short” that made me want to jump out the window (thankfully there are no windows in movie theaters).
7. The Square. Dudes, this movie was bizarre. If you’ve ever been to a modern art museum and been like, “Well some of this is beautiful and some of it is literally a strand of lights lying on the floor, how stupid,” then you will be charmed by this film. It was totally nuts, confusing, terrifying, and funny. I loved it but there is a short list of people I’d recommend it to.
8. Darkest Hour. If you’re a fan of WWII movies, or I guess just war movies in general, then you’d love this movie. I liked it very much. It was interesting, thought provoking, and excellently acted. It was also a little slow and was very much playing the long-game, which meant that some parts were better than others. I would recommend it for someone who likes long biopics but this is not a movie that’s going to bring new fans into the genre.
9. Allegiance. Not actually a movie, Allegiance was a live broadcast of the Broadway musical (which stars George Takei). The subject was the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and it was exactly as depressing as you’d imagine. The set design was interesting and the performances were all very good. My favorite was the solider whose head was always super-sweating (I can relate).
10. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. This 1967 film is epic and I recommend all people who are interested in race relations in the United States give it a watch. Starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Portier (as a youngish man), and Katherine Hepburn, the story is that of a young white woman who married a black man and brings him home to her unprepared parents. The daughter keeps assuring her new husband that her parents won’t care – they’re liberal, after all! – but (spoiler alert!) her parents do care. This is the type of movie that you want to be able to watch and laugh at and say, “Remember how stupidly racist and backwards the U.S. was in 1967?!” but instead it’s all too relevant to today’s world. Also, though, real talk: Why were all the women’s eyes SO WET the entire time? Like, constantly! Dry your eyes, gals!
11. Elf. Our local Marcus Theater did a Halloween movie of yesteryear thing where they screened a bunch of holiday movies. This was my favorite of them. I’d seen it before but my partner never had. He was working that day but got off early and surprised me by showing up. It was a lot more fun watching it with him laughing so sweetly next to me. I love this move, it’s just fun and funny and great.
12. The Polar Express. It was beautiful, from a visual perspective, and certainly a fun kids movie. However, I was constantly annoyed with the children in the movie and would really like for them to learn how to grab things better, on account of almost every challenge they had to overcome was the result of dropping a train ticket and then not being able to grab it even as it floated in front of their faces.
13. It’s a Wonderful Life. Believe it or not, I’d never seen this film before. I can see why it’s a classic but I found it a little overrated, but only in that way that old movies always are. My main issue was that there was way too much face / check smooshing. My favorite part was when George ran down the street at the end maniacally screaming “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!” to inanimate objects.
14. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I LOVED this movie as a child, as any child should! Unfortunately, it didn’t hold up quite as well as I would have liked. It was still fun to watch but the humor was much more based on prat falls than I remembered.
15. Downsizing. Wow, this movie was so terrible. It was like being lectured at for two hours and even thought I agreed with the purpose of the lecture (we’re heading for environmental disaster and need to make major changes to accommodate for that) this movie was awful. The commercials made it look like a comedy but it was not. The first 20 minutes were interesting and then it went from a story about a weird place these tiny people were living to a story about a dude trying to figure out his purpose in life. It was a total yawn fest, though I did actually stay for the entire film.
16. Father Figures. If the idea of watching a grown man and a child urinate on each other for a full minute cracks you up, then this is the movie for you. For me, this movie was so non-funny and non-interesting that I left about half an hour before it was over. My expectations going into this film were extremely low and it didn’t even meet those. Hard pass.