Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2019

Happy Almost-End-Of September! Where did August go?! I spent half of it in America & half of it mega busy with work but still managed to watch some movies (Six on airplanes – What the hell else can you do on a plane?!). Here’s what I watched & read in August…

MOVIES IN AUGUST

I saw Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood while in America & Crawl in the UK (links to my reviews are below). I also saw four 2019 UK movie releases on the plane trips so reviewed those in a separate post (also linked below). I’ve done mini-reviews of the rest…

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – 7.5/10


Green Book – 7.5/10


Sorry To Bother You – This movie was a little mental but, overall, fairly entertaining. It’s very hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t seen it and also one that’s absolutely impossible to recommend to anyone unless you know their tastes really well. Now, I absolutely love “weird” movies. The problem here is that it’s not weird enough. It’s quite straightforward through most of it – it only suddenly gets weird at the end (think From Dusk Till Dawn). I’d have liked more weirdness. Strangely, it gave me Joe Versus The Volcano vibes, though I have NO idea why (but only during scenes set in the dreary workplace office). It just reminded me that I badly need to rewatch that underrated film… But where was I? I’m getting off track! I have no idea how to review this film. I enjoyed it but it’s one where I can’t imagine ever watching it again for any reason. The strongest thing about it are the characters and I especially liked Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Steven Yeun (probably because his character Glenn was one of very few characters that I actually liked in The Walking Dead). Oh, and I loved Tessa Thompson’s funky earrings and cool sort of 80’s style. How did I not even realize that the smarmy guy was Armie Hammer? He just has such a nondescript smarmy face. Well, I liked this movie as a one-time watch and won’t forget it. It wasn’t perfect and didn’t fully work for me but it’s the kind of indie movie I’d like to see more of: Creative & highly original instead of just boring navel-gazing and hateful characters (I’m looking at you, Eighth Grade movie!). – 7/10


The Hate U Give – This was a fairly decent look at a very serious issue, albeit from a very YA perspective. I’d been thinking about reading the Young Adult novel first but never got around to it, so I can only judge this based on the movie itself. It’s certainly no Boyz N The Hood but I see no problem with raising awareness by aiming a story at a slightly younger audience. Amandla Stenberg is good – I enjoyed her in The Hunger Games & Everything, Everything (she’s certainly in some of the biggest YA stuff!). Other than her character, though, I’d say a lot of the others were a bit one-dimensional (especially her annoying school friend). I don’t mean to sound too down on this one as it’s a pretty good film but it does suffer a little bit from the YA feel and a slightly too perfect “things might be okay” sort of ending. But not everything has to be gritty – it’s good if this movie has given a more mainstream audience an insight into this issue. – 7/10


Bad Times At The El Royale – Well, this was an odd one and not quite what I was expecting. I’d been super annoyed at missing this after loving the look of a skinny, shirtless, Jesus-looking Chris Hemsworth in the trailers. Just FYI if you’re wanting shirtless Hemsworth – he doesn’t show up until an hour into the movie and his character is extremely hateful. Damn – how can you make someone as loveable as Chris play someone hateful?! I did like the strange atmosphere to this film and the 60’s setting and the mysterious & creepy hotel but the strangers’ stories were a mess and didn’t seem to have any sort of point. You also certainly aren’t made to care about any of them, other than maybe the two characters played by Jeff Bridges & Cynthia Erivo, who are the true standouts of this film and by far the best things about it. Dakota Johnson is as underwhelming as always and, as I said, can we not make Hemsworth a bad guy ever again? I love him but, honestly – it didn’t work. Sorry, Chris! It was completely unbelievable. Overall, I did like that this movie felt a little bit unique and thought Bridges and Erivo were great together and fun to watch but, man – the movie is just kind of a mess. – 6.5/10


Crawl – 6.5/10


Instant Family – 6.5/10


Can You Ever Forgive Me? – 6.5/10


Mortal Engines – Look! Yet another adaptation of a dystopian YA novel! Hey, I’m not exactly complaining since dystopian YA is a huge guilty pleasure genre of mine but I think the general public has had enough of it. I did read this book (mini-review here) and really enjoyed it but it was mainly because I loved the bizarre concept. Basically, the cities in this dystopian future are on wheels and go around devouring smaller cities (I suppose there’s some sort of political message there). The characters could’ve been stronger but the story was enough fun that I didn’t care too much. Well, shit – this movie was pretty terrible but I can’t explain why as, from what I remember, it’s a fairly faithful adaptation. I was just bored. It should’ve been Mad Max: Fury Road levels of craziness but it was bland and the characters were so underdeveloped and uninteresting, although that was a fault with the book as well. They also shifted the focus onto the girl in the film, which is fine, but it meant they spent far too little time on the boy who’s the main character in the book. By the way, the girl is also WAY more disfigured in the book so they really did try to make her “Hollywood pretty” in the film. It’s just a surprisingly forgettable movie for one with such a nutso concept and I can’t see this having done well enough to warrant any of the remaining books being adapted. What a shame. If you like the sound of this concept, just watch Howl’s Moving Castle instead. – 5/10


Eighth Grade – 5/10

Re-Watched:

Adventures In Babysitting Yes, I still love this movie. It’s a personal favorite. – 8.5/10

Big Daddy – I don’t care what anyone says about Adam Sandler. Yes, he has some really bad movies but he also has several that I really like. The Wedding Singer is his best by far and I love it but I think Big Daddy is good too and doesn’t get enough credit – It’s definitely one of his better films. I mean, come on – it’s quotable and the kid is cute. “I wipe my own ass! I wipe my own ass!!“. Ha. I love that bit. And we once again get a small Steve Buscemi cameo! It’s not as hilarious as his Wedding Singer cameo but it’s still fun. And it’s even a little bit sweet and heartfelt without being over-the-top saccharine and annoying. Plus, quite frankly, Sandler’s character is likeable in this one. I like this movie. I like Scuba Steve. Screw snobby film critics. – 7/10

The Dark Crystal (1982) – I watched this since the new series was coming up and I’d not seen this in years and honestly couldn’t remember a thing about it. I adored the look of it. Of course! It’s Jim Henson! I’m an 80’s kid so I’m a sucker for his work. This is no Labyrinth, though – I’ll be honest and say that I still far prefer Labyrinth. I might have even snoozed through The Dark Crystal a little bit. Blasphemy, I know! I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll watch it again sometime. I did watch the first episode of the new Netflix series so I’ll try to get back to that when life is a little less hectic. – 7/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Shattered by Dean Koontz – Well, as I said I went to America in August so I needed a light & easy read to bring with me. I love Dean Koontz but I have to admit that his novels are usually light & easy reads so he was of course my first choice of author to bring along. Shattered is one of his older books (first published in 1973 under the pseudonym K.R. Dwyer) so it was perfect as it was short since he didn’t get so overly wordy in his older books. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia: “Artist Alex Doyle and his new family, bride Courtney and her 11-year-old brother Colin, are moving from Philadelphia to San Francisco. Courtney’s flying out ahead to get the house set up. Alex and Colin are driving there in Alex’s new Ford Thunderbird. The cross-country trip starts out as a bonding experience, but their car is being tailed by a van; a van driven by a psychopath intent on terrorizing them.” This book was perfectly fine. For its short length, the characters were developed well enough (other than the wife, but there’s not much focus on her as she’s not the one being stalked on the journey). She’s a little too perfect & beautiful, though, like most female Koontz characters. My only issue with this book is that it ended way too abruptly. Loads of build-up and then, BOOM, it was over. Huh. Kind of like sex. – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Stranger ThingsUm. I can’t, uh, even make it through Season 3 of Stranger Things. I think I have only two or three episodes to go but can’t even be bothered to get back to them. Everyone seemed to love it, though. Are the hubby & I the only ones not feeling Stranger Things anymore?? So disappointing after Season 1 was so enjoyable.

BLOG PLANS FOR SEPTEMBER

Ha! Well, the month is pretty much over. Crap… It’s almost October! I usually do October Horror Month but don’t think I’ll have time. Maybe I’ll try to re-post mini reviews of the many horror movies I’ve watched this year.

September Movies I Want To See:

It Chapter Two – Seen it! Thoroughly enjoyed it. My review is HERE.

Hustlers – Well, I had no interest in this as the thought of watching Cardi B makes me cringe but it’s had such surprisingly good reviews that I just might check it out…

Ad Astra – Sci-fi is my favorite genre and I badly want to see this.

Rambo: Last Blood – Nah! I’m not bothered but thought I should mention that it’s out.

The Farewell – Looks good! Going to try to go this week.

Ready Or Not – Looking forward to this after it got great reviews. Looks a bit fucked-up! I love fucked-up…

The Goldfinch – Shit! Not happy this has had such terrible reviews as I’ve been working my way through the extremely long novel for MONTHS and I’m finally almost finished with the damn thing.

Poms – Looks a bit stupid but the cast is great so I’ll catch this one on Netflix when having a girly night alone.

There was no great music in what I watched in August other than Adventures In Babysitting (which has an awesome soundtrack). Here’s the Iggy Pop song Real Wild Child (Wild One) that’s in the film. Love it.

My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies

Happy Birthday to Steve Buscemi, who turns 60 today.

I love Steve Buscemi. What a great face! I like an interesting face. And I like when he’s in those Adam Sandler movies. I don’t care what people say – I don’t hate Sandler (but I don’t love him, either).

Anyway! It’s close to Christmas & I have a lot of bullshit going on & I don’t have time to dilly-dally (I love that word). So let’s just get to my countdown…

Here are My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies (ranked by how much I like the movie – not by performance). I’ve seen 24 in total, though, so let’s start counting down from 24 to be awkward.

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

24. Rising Sun
23. Domestic Disturbance
22. The Grifters
21. Mr. Deeds
20. Escape From L.A.
19. The Island
18. The Hotel Transylvania Movies
17. Grown Ups
16. Ghost World
15. 28 Days
14. Billy Madison
13. Airheads
12. Fargo
11. Armageddon

Top Ten:

10. The Big Lebowski

9. Big Daddy

8. Monsters University

7. Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

6. Big Fish

5. Pulp Fiction

4. Con Air

3. Reservoir Dogs

2. The Wedding Singer

1. Monsters, Inc.

Need To Re-Watch:
Monster House (I know I liked it at the time but don’t remember it now)

Some I’ve Not Seen:
Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Billy Bathgate, The Hudsucker Proxy, Desperado, Interview, On The Road

Honorable Mention:

I need to mention an episode of Tales From The Crypt called Forever Ambergris, which starred Steve Buscemi & The Who’s Roger Daltrey. I reviewed that episode in full a couple of years ago and, for some odd reason, it’s become my second most-viewed post of the past five years. A week doesn’t go by without it getting some views. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because of the nasty images from it that I posted (it was a pretty damn gross episode!). This is Buscemi and it’s not the worst he looks in the show:

Well, I have to say that I’m happy it’s one of my most-viewed posts since it’s one of my favorites. I went to town on that one! I actually made a half-arsed effort to make that one somewhat entertaining. What I mean is this: it sucks slightly less than my usual shit. So here’s a link to that post if you’re bothered. 🙂

Oh, and tomorrow afternoon I’ll do my best to post my review of a little indie film called Star Wars: The Last Jedi…. (I’m so damn excited!).

My Top Ten Adam Sandler Movies

Happy Birthday to Adam Sandler, who turns 50 tomorrow!

Ohh – Controversial list? I know a lot of people hate Adam Sandler. He’s done some very bad movies, yes. I don’t love him & I don’t hate him but I like him okay. He’s from what I consider to be “my” era of Saturday Night Live when I was in my teens & watched it religiously.

As I kind of grew up with Sandler, I liked his movies from that era just fine. But I admit that I just cringe when I see stuff like Jack And Jill being released now…. (No, I’ve not seen that one). Someone stop him!!! Oh well. You know you’d all keep making stuff as long as it was making money. Admit it. He has more money than any of us do! 😉

My number one may already be obvious as my username comes from it. That one stars my favorite actress so it’ll be more because of her than Sandler but that’s the one movie on this list that I do love. None of the rest are all-time favorites but I liked them & don’t think any of these ten are actually bad whereas I do think many of his other movies are. I’m happy to hear from those who want to tell me that they either love or hate Sandler! It’s fun to hear different opinions & I’ll be okay with you hating any of these. Except my number one, of course. 🙂

So here are My Top Ten Adam Sandler Movies, counting down to my favorite:

10. TIE: Happy Gilmore & Punch-Drunk Love

9. Hotel Transylvania

8. Billy Madison

7. Click

6. Airheads

5. Anger Management

4. Blended

3. 50 First Dates

2. Big Daddy

1. The Wedding Singer

Not Seen:

I never saw Funny People, which looks like it could be okay. I’ve not seen quite a few others as well but they don’t strike me as ones that would make my top ten anyway! I’ll watch Blended at some point since Drew Barrymore is in it but it certainly looks like no The Wedding Singer.

I did watch Pixels! I reviewed that HERE. I had some hope for that one but my hopes were crushed. Damn. At least my kid liked it, though, and it got her liking classic video games a lot more. So thanks for that, Adam Sandler!

**List updated March 12th 2017 to add Blended.