My 2022 movie watchlist with comments.
- Don’t Look Up (2021)*
I liked Vice and The Big Short a lot, but this just wasn’t it. Once they decided to go full “get it, the President is Trump” it was over for me and it felt like they were missing their own point. Dems are ruining the planet too, dude.
- I Heart Huckabees (2004)
Holds up, but I had to pause midway through to watch the David O. Russell meltdown. Jason Schwartzman does not come out of that video look well.This might be my favorite non-Boogie Nights Wahlberg.
- Unleashed (2005)*
YO! THIS MOVIE!
I’ve been a huge Jet Li fan since I took my girlfriend and her friend to see Romeo Must Die in 2000. I’d seen the trailer for this one, but thought it looked real dumb and never watched it. I was very wrong. This might be the best English Jet Li movie.
- Doomsday (2008)*
Found this movie off a Reddit list of Mad Max-like movies and, yes, they definitely wanted this movie to be Mad Max. It wasn’t.
- Bellflower (2011)*
Another off the Mad Max list, but this one doesn’t really want to be like Mad Max. It’s about characters who want to be in Mad Max and it is much better for it.
The first half of this movie had me thinking this is one of the best movies I’d seen in a long time and I was pissed at myself for missing out on it for 10 years. Then the second half happened and I kind of get why I missed it. Just uncomfortable and not the place where I wanted to go with these people.
Still, I’ll probably watch it again sometime and I’m excited to see what director (and fellow Wisconsinite) Evan Glodell does next.
- To Live and Die in LA (1985)*
I’ll watch anything described as “neo-noir” and this one has an original soundtrack from Wang Chung.
I liked almost all of it and my jaw dropped at one point in a way that a movie hasn’t made my jaw drop in a long time, but I’m already starting to forget about it. Above the law cop movies just don’t hit like they used to.
- The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988)*
This movie got a five-minute standing ovation at Cannes, but I was fighting sleep throughout. I kept waiting for it to click with me and for it to show me why people are so high on it. That moment never came.
- Normal Life (1996)*
I am a Luke Perry completist so I had to track this one down.
This is probably his best film role and Ashley Judd is great as well. It probably deserved a better shake when it was released, but there were a few times that the movie just felt kind of cheap and I never fully engaged.
- The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
The first time I saw this was in 8th grade social studies. I was an asshole who always got into trouble, but I really got into this movie in that class and it has always stuck with me. This was my first time watching it in full since that class and I still loved it. I won’t go as long without watching it again.
- Bulworth (1998)
This kind of ruled and it’s absolutely crazy that it was made. (Apparently, Beatty just kept the politics part secret when he pitched it.)
Warren Beatty is a king for being this lifelong Democrat and then just burning it all to the ground by speaking facts here. The scene at the church in South Central is probably the best example of what I mean.
I was having such a good time here and nodding my head along until the end scene where they kind of just throw it away. This movie is 24 years old so I’ll just spoil it. Bulworth is talking to Halle Berry and feeling like he’s not good enough for her because he’s white. Then Halle Berry tells him it’s okay because “you know you my (n-word).”
lol, seriously. The movie wants you to know that Bulworth was a real one because he got the n-word pass.
- Mortal Kombat (1995)
One thing I am trying to do this year is use the shuffle feature on Plex and just watching whatever it brings up which is why I found myself watching Mortal Kombat. You know what this movie is. The CGI is so bad, but they are very confident in it for some reason and just have long scenes of Goro hanging out. Very odd.
This movie isn’t very good and every time I started to feel like it wasn’t good, they would play the Mortal Kombat theme song and I would get back into it. My review of this movie is that it sucks unless that song is playing. It is one of the best action films of all-time when it is playing.
That song kicks so much ass. I listened to the song in full through the credits, played it again on YouTube, and then YouTube autoplayed a one hour long version of the song and I listened to the whole thing.
- The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
I saw this movie when it came out on video and maybe once or twice after, but I didn’t remember any of that this time around.
All the lead-up and con stuff is great. Dialogue, casting, and acting were top notch, but probably could’ve used more Ricky Jay. (But so could every movie ever.) The ending fell a little flat to me, but that’s to be expected with a con movie. It was still a good time.
- Shogun Assassin (1980)*
This is a movie that it felt like I had seen before, but once I started it I knew that I hadn’t. (Maybe I just listened to Liquid Swords.) The director took the first two movies of the Lone Wolf and Cub series and chopped them into one movie with new dialogue over the top. Just writing that makes it seem like it could be cringe, but I think they treated the source with a lot of respect and made a pretty banging movie out of it.
The action is pretty great for the time with some wonderful practical effects, but the kid’s voiceover is what makes this work. You never really doubt his father’s chances against the ninjas. You do worry about his son’s safety. Intended or not, the boy’s voiceover has this sense of impending dread to it where you’re not sure what type of ending he’s going to have.
- Rumble Fish (1983)*
This the first “I am mad at myself for not seeing this sooner” movie of the year. (It could’ve been yours, Belflower.)
I had a teacher give me The Outsiders in middle school when I was getting into a lot of trouble because she thought it would connect with me. She was right. I read every one of them when I was suspended. I thought I had seen all the movies made from her books, but somehow I missed this one which is a shame because it might be the best of them all.
- Deep End (1970)*
I didn’t know this until after watching, but Deep End was one of Edgar Wright’s inspirations for Last Night in Soho. After watching, I’m feeling even more letdown with Wright’s movie. Spoiler: This woman goes through some shit just because she’s beautiful, just like Last Night in Soho, and the thing you take away from that is: yeah, a woman like that should be the heel? Fuck off with that twisty nonsense.
If you can watch a movie about a 15-year-old obsessed with an older woman and turning into a total sex creep, this is a good one. It has a kind of car crash waiting to happen can’t look away vibe that just builds throughout. You aren’t rooting for a happy ending here, you’re sticking around to see how badly it ends.
* = first time