Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2022

Hi all. I’m behind. Life is shitty. Thank god for movies! Wish more of them were better, though. Well, most of these weren’t too bad. Here’s what I watched back in August…

MOVIES WATCHED IN AUGUST (ranked best to worst):

Top Gun: Maverick – Finally managed to make it to see this. Have liked Top Gun since going to see it in 1986 so was excited to see what Maverick was going to be like all these years later (and if he was still as cocky).

Thought this was a great sequel. They stayed very true to his character and, although there’s admittedly lots of fan service, I thought it was all done very well & will have put a smile on the face of old Top Gun fans while also being just as enjoyable for a new generation. They even managed to get sweaty men playing sexy sweaty sports together again! Jennifer Connelly looked fantastic, the new generation of pilots were a lot of fun, and Tom Cruise proved once again that he’s a true old school movie star (I miss those). And their mission was great, edge of your seat action.

The film may have been a little overhyped but I think that’s because we get so few truly great blockbuster action films these days (that don’t involve superheroes…). Growing up in the ‘80s still has me expecting to get movies like this one all the time. Where did they go? They seem to have disappeared along with the really good rom-coms. Man, I miss movies. – 8/10

Easter Parade – Finally exploring more of Judy Garland’s work & she was again a delight to watch in this. What a fantastic performer she was. And it made me realise that I’ve also shockingly not seen much of Fred Astaire‘s work either so I really need to change that. Some fun numbers in this one, especially Steppin’ Out With My Baby, We’re A Couple Of Swells & the one with Astaire dancing in the shop with the drums. Good stuff! Kind of glad I’m too broke to watch many current films so am watching a lot of older ones which put all the modern movies to shame. – 7.5/10

Prey – This was surprisingly good. I’m not like “Oh my god this is the best thing EVER and better than the first film!” like some people. What?! No way. But I’m glad people enjoyed it. I think we’re all just happy to get a straight-to-streaming film that doesn’t suck. For me, it’s my third favorite Predator film but far superior to those I’d rank after it. Sorry, I really like Predator 2! But it was great to get what felt like a fresh take on an existing story. I guess that’s the most we can hope for these days, although I’d still prefer more entirely original standalone films.

Enjoyed Amber Midthunder’s performance & of course liked seeing a strong female lead in a role that worked perfectly & didn’t feel forced (I hate forced “girl power”). Liked that it didn’t wuss out on the violence either. I might moan a bit less about sequels if they were at least as good as this one. But I also have to admit that I’d probably not watch this one again – I’d rather just rewatch the first film. – 7.5/10

Thirteen Lives – This was really good & I think Ron Howard is great at making these kind of films. Even knowing the true story & how it ended, it was intense watching that amazing rescue. What a horrible ordeal. My only complaint is that we didn’t get to know the boys at all. I wanted more stories from their lives the way they gave us some backstories of the rescuers. Was disappointed that we didn’t even see the boys for a very long time after they disappeared. I thought we’d see more of their time together in the cave & what they had to go through while trapped & not knowing if anyone would ever find them. The movie is quite long so I think they could have easily had much more character development & a little less time spent on all the technical details of the rescue. Preparing for the rescue was of course fascinating but also something we can all read about as it was such a big story when it happened. – 7.5/10

Lightyear – I adore Pixar so wasn’t sure what to expect of this one as I knew it would feel quite different from other Pixar films. I liked it far more than recent releases Turning Red, Luca & Onward but far less (of course) than Pixar’s very best films which are all-time favorite movies of mine. I do miss the days when Pixar could do no wrong. 

I did enjoy this, though, and didn’t mind that it didn’t feel like Pixar to me. I keep going back & forth on my rating – I think it’s one I could do with watching again to see if my opinion changes but I originally gave it 3.5/5 on Letterboxd as I loved the cat Sox & really liked the sweet family moments with Buzz Lightyear’s second in command & her granddaughter. At least one or two scenes involving the granddaughter contained those “touching moments” that only Pixar can do so well. So those things originally earned this movie an extra half a star but, storywise, this wasn’t anything that special and certainly not as brilliantly inventive as things like Monsters, Inc & Toy Story. And I love sci-fi so I enjoyed the setting but was still a little bored by the story & also not a fan of the ending & the villain. 

I don’t know. Still a little undecided on this one. Think I’ll definitely try to watch it again soon. If I do decide to give it an extra half star, it’ll mainly be for Sox. So at least Pixar still know how to give us a fun sidekick. Will also see if its ranking changes but for now this is my full Pixar ranking. – 7/10

I Lost My Body – This was good. Some lovely animation but incredibly sad. Telling the lead character’s story from the perspective of his severed hand was certainly unique & I liked that. Although I spent the whole time hoping it was somehow someone else’s hand when it was so obviously his but, damn, I just wanted a happy ending for this poor guy! Thought the girl was far too hard on him & that what he did was very sweet. Probably deserves a higher rating but was just too much of a downer for me, which I could do without at the moment. But I appreciate the originality in its storytelling. – 7/10

Frenzy – I became a fan of Alfred Hitchcock at a very young age when I saw Rear Window as well as the TV shows he presented, which I adored along with The Twilight Zone. But for whatever reason I had never seen Frenzy. Possibly because it appealed to me the least as I’m not a fan of serial killer or gritty true crime inspired murder movies. And I love the look of films from the ugly ‘70s but it’s not what I want from a Hitchcock film. For me, it’s his stylish ‘50s & ‘60s films that I love the most. They’re gorgeous. If I want to see ugly, dirty ‘70s horror I’ll watch a Giallo film. At least the Argento stuff is much more visually appealing than Frenzy.

Frenzy has that sort of Giallo vibe, though (I think – I’m not an expert having only seen Argento’s work) so I’m not sure why I didn’t like it a bit more. As I said, I think it’s partly because ”trashy” is not what I want from a Hitchcock film. I think it also didn’t help that the characters were all so hateful. I didn’t really care that the guy was wrongly accused of the murders since he was such a prick anyway. Plus I’m never a fan of rape scenes. It depends how they’re handled but it seemed more gratuitous than necessary in this. I suppose Hitchcock was probably just thrilled to get some nudity on screen. And I’m sure the one rape joke in it won’t go down well with younger people who might watch this now but I judge these things based on society’s attitudes at the time something was made so it seemed accurate. 

Oh well. It’s still a well made ‘70s crime film & I did get some enjoyment out of the story but it certainly won’t be a favorite Alfred Hitchcock film for me. There are still plenty of his oldest films that I have yet to see but I suppose I should make a list ranking his films. I’m thinking that this one would currently be at the very bottom of the list. It just doesn’t hold a candle to his true masterpieces. I’m probably being a bit too harsh as this movie obviously had a lot to live up to, though. It just doesn’t seem like it could be from the same person who made Rear Window, Vertigo & Psycho

Slight spoiler: I thought the woman in the bed at the end was the mother, which would have been a better ending. Oh! And I liked that Billie Whitelaw was in this. The Omen is brilliant. – 7/10

Look Both Ways – This was fine. Safe. Wholesome. Nice. Bland. I should knock half a star off my rating as I know I’ll completely forget this movie in a year but it’s just so harmless that I’d feel bad doing that. Sliding Doors did a better job with this concept but at least we don’t have to watch Gwyneth in this one so that’s a plus.

Okay, I’m sounding way too negative for such a completely inoffensive film. It’s a pleasant, weekend afternoon watch. And it was nice having fairly likeable characters in this unlike the insufferable twats in other streaming recents such as Not Okay & Do Revenge. – 6.5/10

Bob’s Burgers: The Movie – I have no clue why I watched this as I’ve never seen the show. It would be like watching The Simpsons Movie having never seen that show. Well, The Simpsons Movie wouldn’t have made me want to watch The Simpsons and this movie hasn’t made me want to watch Bob’s Burgers, which is probably unfair as I’m sure the show is much better (isn’t it always??). But I did enjoy the story & got a few giggles out of it even though it’s not exactly laugh out loud humor. I can see why it has fans, though, as these characters probably grow on you. I liked the kid with the hat. Easily the best character for me (in the movie, at least). – 6.5/10

Licorice Pizza – I find Paul Thomas Anderson hit or miss (the only ones I really liked were Magnolia & Boogie Nights) but everyone kind of raved over this last year so I was eager to see it. I’m now not sure what people saw in this one? I found it boring & the two main characters were annoying. I liked the setting, as I always love the ‘70s, but that’s all this movie had going for it. So this is another PTA miss for me. – 6/10

Dog – I’m behind on reviewing movies & it probably doesn’t say much for this film that I forgot I’d even watched it when going through my diary to catch up. Channing Tatum is fine as a soldier with PTSD & I always like 1. Dog movies and 2. Road trip movies so this was an interesting combo of both. But Tatum’s character was a bit unlikeable so I cared much more about what would happen to the dog. The movie is fine – just a bit forgettable & very predictable. – 6/10

Moonfall – I admit I enjoy some of Roland Emmerich‘s films as guilty pleasures so liked the sound of this one & was expecting a dumb but fun disaster flick like 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow. Unfortunately this was all dumb & no fun. The characters were boring & the film wasn’t entertaining enough for me to be able to forgive it for being completely ridiculous. Waste of time. – 4.5/10

Movies Rewatched In August

The Sixth Sense – I think M. Night Shyamalan is a director you either like or hate (I’m a fan) but hopefully most people would agree that The Sixth Sense is a damn good film & easily his best. Rewatched this for the first time in a long time & still think the ending is fantastic & perfectly executed. Glad it got nominations, especially for Haley Joel Osment’s scarily good performance, since The Academy usually ignores horror. But was a little disappointed that my daughter guessed the ending well before the reveal. Guess she’s smarter than I was in 1999! – 8.5/10

Shorts Watched In August

I Am Groot – These shorts on Disney Plus are pretty silly but who cares? So is Guardians Of The Galaxy & I love it. Who doesn’t like Baby Groot?? He’s adorable. These shorts are cute & very much aimed at a much much younger audience than the Guardians Of The Galaxy films. Have to admit I’ve watched them all two or three times now… Wholesome fun.

Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation – These Lego shorts aren’t as good as they used to be. This was okay but a bit boring. There are two stories (if I remember correctly!). The second one is much better than the first. I think I just care less & less about the sequel trilogy characters as time goes by.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN AUGUST

Hmm. Actually watched a lot of TV in August. And managed to read two books…

TV SHOWS WATCHED

The Boys: S1 E5 – Still think this is great so far but struggling to find the time to watch it (while the daughter isn’t around as it’s super inappropriate).

Only Murders In The Building: S2 E7-10 – Still think these three characters are a lot of fun together & look forward to seeing more of them in Series 3. But Series 1 was quite a bit better than Series 2…

Ms. Marvel: S1 – This was fine. A great one for teenage Marvel fans. But I seriously have superhero burnout.

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law: S1 E1-2 – Well, I’ve seen much more of this now but as I’m so behind on posting these reviews, I won’t say much until the September post. I can’t say I specifically remember episodes 1 & 2 now. But I do remember that it was episode 3 with the twerking! I’ll only say this: People are WAY too hard on this show. Stop taking fucking superheroes so goddamn seriously! This show is MEANT to be silly. Hell, I kind of enjoy it. At least it feels different to all the other millions of Marvel films & shows.

The Twilight Zone (2019): S1 E1 – Finally checked this out as I ADORE the very first & original Twilight Zone. It’s my all-time favorite TV show. This new “Twilight Zone“? It fucking sucked. Episode 1 did, at least. It really doesn’t have me wanting to give any more episodes a chance…

TV Specials, Etc

Bill Burr: Live At Red Rocks – Trying to watch more standup comedy. Not sure why I never do. So watched this one after watching one of the Ricky Gervais specials. It was fine but I wasn’t exactly laughing out loud much. Preferred the Gervais one we watched. But don’t think either of these men will become absolute favorite comedians of mine, although I do like some of what Gervais has to say about things & life in general. And I liked him hosting the Golden Globes. But for standup give me George Carlin & Bill Bailey!

BOOKS READ

The Eyes Of The Dragon by Stephen King – I’m a big Stephen King fan & have read most of his work but just never had an interest in this one for some reason. It may be because I just couldn’t get into The Gunslinger, which is one of his only books I’ve read twice as I wanted to give it another chance to see if it could get me finally reading his Dark Tower series. But I still didn’t like it & I guess I then just thought fantasy wasn’t his thing compared to horror.

I loved this book! It’s very Game-Of-Thrones-Light & I assume aimed at sort of pre & early teens. A very simple but truly enjoyable story about two young prince brothers & an evil magician. Why have I never really heard much about this book? It would make for a fantastic family fantasy film, too. They’ve adapted so many King stories – why not this one?? A thoroughly enjoyable read. – 4.5/5

We Are All Liars by Carys Jones – This was fine. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Allie, Stacie, Diana, Emily and Gail have been by each other’s sides for as long as they can remember. The Fierce Five. Best friends forever. But growing up has meant growing apart. And little white lies have grown into devastating secrets.

When Gail invites the increasingly estranged friends to reunite at her Scottish cabin, it could be the opportunity to mend old wounds and heal the cracks in their friendship. But when a freak snowstorm rocks the cabin and one of the girls is found dead on the ice, their weekend away becomes a race against time – and each other – to get off the mountain alive.

It’s pretty typical of the books in this sort of genre. The characters are all quite unlikeable but at least I can say I wasn’t able to guess the ending to this one. I like when these mystery thrillers aren’t predictable. But I just didn’t care at all about what would happen to any of these women. – 3/5

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I’ll try to post my September roundup soon I fall behind on the blog but do at least keep on top of logging & rating what I’ve watched here on Letterboxd.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

I soooooooo need to see Everything Everywhere All At Once now that it’s on services. 😦 Won’t be making it to the cinema for anything soon as having to avoid Covid still. Missing going to see new releases!

To wrap up, here are Garland & Astaire doing A Couple Of Swells from Easter Parade:

Watched, Read, Reviewed: February 2022

Hi All. I managed to review all of the below so here’s what I watched in February…

MOVIES WATCHED IN FEBRUARY (ranked best to worst):

High Noon – Caught this on Film 4 & was happy to be able to cross another film off the list for my IMDb Top 250 Project that I started in 2013. And as with many of the films from that 2013 list, High Noon is no longer in the Top 250. I’m so glad I saved that much better list to work from! There’s far too much mainstream modern crap in there now.

Well, I can’t say I’m big on Westerns but I have really liked most of the Westerns in the Top 250 that I’ve forced myself to watch for this project. What I most definitely prefer are the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns with the lovely cinematography & kick-ass Ennio Morricone scores, though. Much more my thing than the old straightforward American Westerns like this one. I was slightly interested in seeing this as Grace Kelly is in it & I love her in stuff like Rear Window but she wasn’t given too much to do in this film (not that women were ever given much to do in Westerns). Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.” I tried to not be annoyed by the fact that the newlyweds had a huge age difference with Kelly being WAY younger than Gary Cooper (I looked it up – 28 year difference. Typical!).

This movie was fine but I wasn’t really feeling it & didn’t even feel much excitement over the big showdown. To be fair to the film, though, as I said already I’m not really into this genre plus life is really terrible at the moment so I’m probably getting less enjoyment out of movies overall. The character development could’ve been better & some of the lesser characters were actually more interesting, such as the woman who was a former lover of the big bad guy. Still had a good story, though, and I can see why it’s a highly regarded Western. For a similar movie in this genre that I watched for the Top 250 Project, I preferred The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. – 7/10

The Tender Bar – Watched this in my desperation to see something that was released in 2022 (in the UK, at least). Ben Affleck annoys the shit out of me but he was good in this role & even likeable so, yay. In fact, I’d say he was a perfect fit playing the loving uncle of the boy in this. The film is based on the real boy’s memoir of his time growing up in 1970’s Long Island with his mother & uncle who encouraged him to become a writer (which he did since he wrote this memoir, obviously).

It’s a “nice” film. I hate when I use that word as it sounds insulting but I don’t mean it that way (I’m not a writer! I suck with words). It’s just one of those pleasant “Sunday afternoon” type of movies to watch. It could have done with more character development overall but they did good enough with the boy & his uncle. Would’ve liked to know much more about his mom and extended family (and Christopher Lloyd as his grandpa! Love him). A tiny bit more time spent on the regulars at his uncle’s bar would’ve been good too. I preferred the start of the film when he was a boy to later on showing his college years. The film dragged a bit then & too much time was spent on a girlfriend who treated him like shit. His life with his family was more interesting, including his troubles with his complete ass of a dad. Oh, and this was directed by George Clooney FYI. It was a decent enough film to pass the time but also a little underwhelming. I admit that it’s the type of movie I know I’ll barely remember a year from now. Oh! I forgot to mention that I enjoyed the very ’70s soundtrack, though. Of course. – 6.5/10

Being The Ricardos – I had zero interest in watching this as, quite frankly, I thought it looked terrible. Then it ended up with three Oscar nominations for acting and I went “Shit, I’m gonna have to try to watch that now” as I try to watch nominees in at least the major categories before the ceremony. And I don’t know WHY I still do that as the Oscars have been a joke for years now. And the nominations for this are a perfect example. The acting is fine but it is NOT Oscar-worthy. Maybe worthy of Emmy awards if it had been a TV movie instead, which is what it very much felt like. And I see they nominated three out of the four who play the stars of I Love Lucy. Why didn’t they nominate the one playing Vivian Vance too? She’s just as good as the other three. Oh! Is it because she’s not a big name??? (I assume, as I’d not heard of Nina Arianda before). The Oscars need to get their shit together. It’s too phoney now.

And… Okay, I know that it’s probably difficult making movies about real-life people but I often find it hard to buy into someone playing a well known real-life person unless they’re really damn good. And I know the acting is very important too but, seriously, can they at least try to get actors who look like the real person?! Maybe I just have zero imagination but, sorry, they need to look like the person. Nicole looks nothing like Lucille Ball. It was distracting as hell. No one looked like the real people. It’s ridiculous. I’m not a Debra Messing fan but I’m with Twitter in that it should’ve been her – she looked exactly like Lucy in images while dressed as her. I could’ve bought into that but instead I felt I was watching a weird-looking Nicole Kidman the whole time & it was all I could focus on. Hell – I’m watching that cheesy Pam & Tommy thing but they’ve done a fantastic job with Lily James so it does feel like I’m watching Pamela Anderson (and Tommy to a degree, although he looks less like him, but his fun performance is selling it. Much more than Kidman’s in this!).

Okay, enough with the ranting. I’ll try to say something positive. Umm… the story was kind of interesting, I guess. I know nothing whatsoever about Lucille Ball & don’t know how accurate this movie is but that was certainly an interesting week for her (if that all did actually happen in just one week). I thought Alia Shawkat was good as one of the writers (probably helps that I know of no real life person to compare her to). Ball’s hubby was a cheating prick & they had no chemistry in this movie. I think what also bothered me was, while I know nothing about Ball, she was known as being the star of big comedy sitcom. But this movie was so dreary & dramatic & devoid of any humor. Is that what Ball was like in real life? No clue. This movie makes her borderline unlikeable. It’s also one of those movies where I finished it feeling like I didn’t know much more about the real-life person than I did before. What’s the point of that? Oops. I was trying to be positive! Okay, the story was kind of interesting. But, holy shit, it couldn’t have been more miscast & the character development was terrible. – 6/10

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) – Although I love most horror movies from the ’70s & ’80s, I was never big on the 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I don’t even remember it very well now & should really probably rewatch it someday. I didn’t think the 2003 film was too bad but I could’ve lived without it. And I didn’t really care about seeing the 2022 one & thought it looked terrible but there are so few 2022 movies on services so far that I mostly watched this just to see a 2022 film. Yep – it’s terrible. Ugh. Here’s the beginning of the full plot synopsis on Wikipedia: “Nearly 50 years after Leatherface’s killing spree in 1973, young entrepreneurs Melody and Dante, Melody’s sister Lila and Dante’s girlfriend Ruth travel to the abandoned Texas town of Harlow, to auction off old properties to create a trendy, heavily gentrified area.” Okay – just from that description I hate these characters already.

Admittedly, I’m OLD so can’t really relate to the early twentysomethings in movies now. But these characters are meant to be hateful, right? Except the girl from that dreadful Eighth Grade movie people raved about for some reason – her character is okay. So I guess, if you like seeing annoying youths violently murdered, you might like this movie. That’s the point of slashers anyway, right? So why is this movie so bad compared to the slashers I liked in the ’80s?? They’re the same thing. I don’t know – I really can’t think of anything to say about this movie. Poor character development, I didn’t care if anyone would survive, Leatherface is shown to have some feelings WTF?!, and a bunch of idiots livestream this maniac with a chainsaw and say something or other about getting him cancelled. Seriously. I guess the bus scene was somewhat entertaining but it was so ridiculous & so unlike the vibe of the original film. Oh well – who cares? This will just be another completely forgettable horror remake/reboot/sequel etc etc. I suppose there have been worse ones, although I’m struggling to think of one… – 4.5/10

Movies Rewatched In February:

Suspiria (1977) – I watched this once years ago but hadn’t seen it since. Then in the past few years I’ve tried to delve into the Giallo horror thing a bit & liked Argento’s Deep Red a lot, calling it the more “accessible” film compared to Suspiria. I’ve watched several other Argento films since as well, including the kooky Phenomena, but none of them have compared to Suspiria or Deep Red. I figured it was time to refresh my memory of this film & see how I really feel about it as I know its Goblin score FAR better than the film itself (god I love that bloody brilliant, loud & distracting score!!!).

I have to say that, on a rewatch, I think I may now absolutely love Suspiria. And I’ll stop now as I ended up doing a full post with a slightly longer review HERE last week, mainly so I could post plenty of images from this film as it has stunning visuals. The story is a bit of a mess, yes, but I really don’t care about that when a movie looks & sounds as good as this one does. – 8.5/10

West Side Story – Figured it was time to introduce my daughter to this classic musical before we see the Spielberg version. And I hadn’t seen it since I was a teen so I needed to see it again myself. I knew I liked it but it never became one of my favorites that I watched over & over again like like I did with The Sound Of Music & The Wizard Of Oz.

I still really like it but it’s still not going to be an all-time favorite of mine. There are some good songs but, overall, I feel the songs aren’t as strong as they are in most of my personal favorite musicals. The Romeo & Juliet story, although predictable, is always a winner (which is why it remains so popular). So I like that a lot plus I really like Natalie Wood for some reason, especially since watching the fantastic Splendor In The Grass (which I prefer to West Side Story). There are of course some great visuals, which as I said in my Suspiria review is something that’s always important to me. Like, I really liked Maria’s colourful door to her bedroom. Why do I live in such a drab house (and country)?! I love colors & pretty shit! Well, West Side Story is iconic & deserving of its status as an all-time classic musical. Am interested to see what Spielberg has done with it but am not expecting to love it as I see it as a bit pointless when this version exists… – 8/10

Three Fugitives – Watched this on Disney Plus with the daughter as I have fond memories of watching this several times with my mom when I was a teen as we both really liked it & thought the girl was adorable. Managed to talk my daughter into it after she said she thought Martin Short was funny in Only Murders In The Building (I’ll be mentioning that below). Still really like this one but, oh boy, it does have that cheesy late ’80s/early ’90s family-friendly comedy vibe. Especially with that score! Ha. That’s okay – I still love stuff from my teen years. Daughter seemed to like this one as well & also thought the girl was cute & she still found Martin Short funny. Happy I was able to share it with her the way I did with my mom. – 7.5/10

Sweet Home Alabama – Another movie I watched with my daughter. I also have fond memories of watching this one. It was in the cinema with the hubby & two teen/early-twentysomething girls would NOT shut the hell up so he chucked his (mostly empty) drink at their heads. They did shut up! This movie is fine. A typical lightweight rom-com but I did enjoy when Reese Witherspoon was making this kind of stuff. Not my favorite of her’s when it comes to this genre but certainly not the worst. Probably smack dab in the middle! Ohh… I just checked & had forgotten I ranked Witherspoon’s movies (here). Yep! It’s in the middle! Predictable story but Witherspoon helps sell it. And it’s a good song. – 7/10

Shorts & Documentaries In February

Three Songs For Benazir – It’s up for an Oscar & it’s on Netflix so I stuck it on. I fell asleep so I can’t really comment…

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED (not ranked)

The Book Of Boba Fett: S1 E6-7 – I wrote in my last post that I wasn’t really loving this show & it was a disappointment after how fantastic The Mandalorian was. Then the final two episodes were awesome! To be fair, they hardly featured boring old Boba Fett & I know some people complained that those episodes were really just The Mandalorian again. Fine by me! I got to see Grogu again! ❤️ AND R2-D2 & Luke! LOVED IT SO MUCH! I needed a Grogu fix so bad after a shitty shitty year so far. Luke looked excellent (I had no issues with how he looked in the final episode of The Mandalorian either, though). The only thing it could have used was more of Grogu & R2-D2 together since those two have been best buddies in my mind ever since the end of The Mandalorian. My two favorite Star Wars characters together!! Honestly, episode 6 of this made my year. No movie or TV show is gonna top that in 2022.

Pam & Tommy: S1 E1-6 – Can’t say I’m exactly a fan of either Pamela Anderson or Tommy Lee or ever gave much of a crap about their sex tape (although I did somehow see part of it at the time – God knows how! If I managed to see it it really must have been everywhere). But this show looked interesting. It really is just pure entertainment, though. I’m not entirely sure what the point of making this show was other than to see Pamela & Tommy’s crazy lifestyle?

I have to say that I think Sebastian Stan & especially Lily James are surprisingly good in this. Stan seems to be having a lot of fun playing bad boy Lee & they’ve done an amazing job with Lily’s look. As I said above in Being The Ricardos, the actors need to actually look like the real people (or be made to look like the person, like they have here as James looks nothing like Anderson in real life). They’ve done an okay job of showing Anderson as the victim here (which she was) and how upsetting the leaked personal tape will have been for her. Why on Earth have celebs made any sex tapes since then? They always get out. These two were careful, though, keeping it locked in a safe. It’s been interesting seeing the story from the perspective of the guy who stole the tape too (played by Seth Rogen). It’s an interesting show so far but, again, I’m not sure what the point was in making a TV series about this story.

Only Murders In The Building: S1 – After watching Stay Close & discovering that the kid really seems to like crime thrillers, we checked this out as thought she’d be interested since Selena Gomez is in this. She loved this show! And also now seems to think Martin Short is funny, as I said above in the Three Fugitives review. We need to get her liking Steve Martin now too! This show was a lot of fun & we’re all looking forward to Season 2. It’s quite “quirky”. It has good characters & I liked how we got some episodes with their own full storylines, such as one focusing on a deaf character which was also unique as so much of that episode was silent. The three leads work really well together & I like the music in the show plus the stylish opening titles. I think this will work as a continuing series where these characters have a new mystery to solve each season. It looks like that’s already the plan for a Season 2.

The Outsider: S1 – I’m a huge Stephen King fan & try to watch all adaptations of his stories. Been very frustrated in recent years at not getting the opportunity to watch so much of the TV stuff here in the U.K. on my services, such as Mr. Mercedes. So I was very happy to see this on NowTV (Entertainment) and binged it before it disappears. This book was definitely not a favorite of mine. Probably didn’t help that it got WAY too graphic about the murder of the young boy. King gets way too gross sometimes! But I suppose the overall story was okay. I thought this was a solid adaptation (and didn’t go into as much detail as the book did on the murder, thankfully). It fell apart a bit at the end but so did the book. I do find the ending to most of King’s stories disappointing, though.

I thought everyone did a good job in this, especially Jason Bateman in a smallish but very important role in the first 2 or 3 episodes. What I was most looking forward to, though, was seeing a favorite King character of mine that he’s now used in several stories: Holly Gibney. I wouldn’t say that Cynthia Erivo did a bad job or anything – I think the writers just really didn’t capture Gibney’s character at all, which was very disappointing. They made sure to point out that she’s “a little weird” but she really didn’t feel like she does in the books. Not happy! But, as I like that character, she was still my favorite character in this show & Cynthia Erivo was likeable as an awkward person who didn’t feel like Holly Gibney but would probably be friends with her at the very least. But, WTF, they gave her a love interest in this?!? Why?? I now really want to see Mr. Mercedes so I can see what they did with Holly’s character in that…

Well, I still really enjoyed seeing another adaptation of King’s work and thought it was pretty faithful (except for that stupid love interest). If you want more of Holly Gibney, read the (much better) Mr. Mercedes series where she’s introduced. She’s a smaller character in The Outsider – you really get to know everything about her in the three Mr. Mercedes books. And the title story in King’s If It Bleeds collection is a continuation of the story in The Outsider but has only Holly (and her friends from Mr. Mercedes) once again fighting this same evil. So definitely read that if you liked The Outsider.

The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window: S1 – This was okay but nothing special. I do appreciate them doing a spoof of my cheesy crime thriller guilty pleasures like The Woman In The Window & The Girl On The Train. The mystery wasn’t the greatest, though, and the comedy wasn’t good enough to make up for the story. The show was fine. It passed the time but I probably wouldn’t bother with a second season if they make one.

Community: S1 – Oh my god. I love this! Okay, I don’t rank TV shows in these posts in order of my favorites like I do with movies as it’s more difficult, especially when it’s sometimes only a few episodes I’ve seen of a show. I’ve seen all of Season 1 of this now and, so far, this would be at the top of this section. Definitely enjoying it more than Boba Fett, although nothing can top that full-on Grogu/R2-D2/Luke episode so I’d maybe still need to keep Boba Fett at the top.

How did I miss out on this show?! Actually, I have a good excuse as I was very busy with a baby & then toddler at the time. But why did no one ever tell me to watch this show that is so my type of thing?! I’ve been missing out! It’s hilarious & I LOVE these characters. Can I rank them?! You know I love ranking stuff!

1. Abed (the BEST! love his movie & tv-loving nerdiness)

2. Troy (knew I liked Donald Glover in other things but didn’t realize how damn funny he is too. his character in this is good but as a duo with Abed he’s hilarious & I love when they get the final little skit together, especially that Bert & Ernie one that put a big smile on my Sesame Street-loving face)

3. TIE: Shirley & Britta (Shirley is so sweet & lovable with this great naïve side that lets her say hilariously inappropriate things. Britta is the one I identify with the most as I’m sort of a buzzkill too & definitely angry a lot of the time. I can totally relate to her not understanding her fellow women sometimes, such as in the episode where she didn’t understand why women go to the bathroom together. All my teen girl friends wanted me to go pee with them all the time. Why?! Girls are weird sometimes)

4. Annie (she’s growing on me & is getting a bit less boring as the show goes on)

5. Jeff (I mean, he’s a jerk but he’s MEANT to be a jerk so it’s hard to know where to rank him)

6. Pierce (Hard to believe Chevy Chase has the most boring character so far but he still has plenty of funny moments in an extremely funny show. and the whole point is that this group of people have nothing in common so he’s needed in the group too)

There are some lesser characters but I won’t rank them at this point. Ken Jeong is as annoying as in real life so he seems to just be playing himself, although it’s fun when he goes completely overboard sometimes. And Jack Black was in an episode so that made me very happy. Oh, and we’re watching this as a family & my daughter is absolutely loving it too (Abed is also her favorite). So happy that we have the same sort of sense of humor. We’re binging this show like crazy. 🙂

And Just Like That…: S1 E10 – Ugh! I’ve bitched about this show enough in previous posts so no need to again. I’ll just say that episode 10 was no better than any of the rest. And I refuse to put an image into this post for it even though it’s annoying me that it’s the only one I’ve not used an image for in this section.

BOOKS READ

Not gonna use an image this time as I’m STILL just reading the same book I’ve been reading for bloody months (been too busy binging Community): A Song Of Ice And Fire: Book One – A Game Of Thrones. Less than 200 pages left!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

As I’m watching fewer movies, it’s been easier to put together these roundup posts. If all is going well in life at the start of April, I’ll hopefully post my March roundup.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See In March:

Excited to finally be getting some 2022 films on services that look like they could be good: Turning Red on Disney & The Adam Project on Netflix plus I think I’m gonna sign up for Apple TV again which has an adaptation of a YA novel I read called The Sky Is Everywhere. Then I can also finally see CODA & Finch! Plus Spielberg’s West Side Story will be on Disney so am hoping to watch that before the Oscars.

I should end this post with Goblin’s brilliant Suspiria score:

My Top Ten Books Read In 2021

Happy New Year! Here’s the first of my ranked lists for 2021.

Counting down to my favorite, here are My Top Ten Books Read In 2021 (Yes, way too much Stephen King this year! And 2022 will probably be nothing but Game Of Thrones as I’ve just started Book 1…)

10. The Eyes Of Darkness by Dean Koontz
9. Demon Seed by Dean Koontz
8. Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
7. Moon by James Herbert
6. Billy Summers by Stephen King
5. Later by Stephen King
4. Rage by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)
3. If It Bleeds by Stephen King
2. The Running Man by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)
1. The Long Walk by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)

I had to rank The Bachman Books separately as The Long Walk is sooo much better than Roadwork (which didn’t make my top ten).

Later I’ll be posting My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021 followed by My Top Ten Older Movies Watched In 2021 tomorrow then finally My Top Ten 2021 U.K. Movie Releases. Very disappointed with the 2021 movie releases! Ugh. At least I saw some great older films for the first time in 2021…

Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2021

I spent October posting (well, mostly re-posting) nothing but horror movie reviews. It’s fun but I always like getting back to reviewing every type of movie. Here’s everything I watched in October, including all the non-horror stuff…

MOVIES WATCHED IN OCTOBER (ranked best to worst):

Dune – Reviewed this in full at the link. Liked it a lot. Love Denis Villeneuve’s work & enjoyed reading Dune last year during lockdown so was really looking forward to the adaptation. It looked great and (most of) the cast were perfect. Especially loved Rebecca Ferguson as my favorite character Lady Jessica. I now have a new favorite 2021 film release. – 8.5/10

Dracula (1931) – I did a bunch of “my favorite horror movies” lists in October & one was My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies. I’d commented that it was shameful I’d seen so few to be able to make that list and had seen none of the classic “monster” movies such as this one. So I was very happy when the Horror Channel in the U.K. showed a bunch of them over Halloween weekend. I haven’t yet updated that list with these but I did do a quick post HERE with a very short review of each. Dracula was my favorite. They’re all so iconic & I’m glad I finally saw them. – 8/10

Frankenstein (1931) – I forced myself to read this book during lockdown as I must admit I don’t read enough classics. I love the overall story. It’s damn good. So I was expecting to like this movie the most but I think I ended up a bit disappointed as I didn’t realize how different it was from the book! I was just kind of sad as I didn’t feel this movie captured the creature’s complex feelings & turned him into more of a monster while the flawed Victor Frankenstein character is hardly explored at all. But, hey – it’s still a horror classic & gave us the iconic “Frankenstein’s monster” look we now all associate with the character. – 7.5/10

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) – This was a bit of an odd one to me but I really liked that, combined with the first movie, we get a little more of the story from the book. And I liked that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, starting to tell more of her Frankenstein story, as well as The Bride in the title of the film. Again, it was great seeing The Bride & her also now truly iconic horror look. Love that crazy hairdo! – 7/10

The Wolf Man (1941) – Enjoyed this one as well, although I don’t really know what to say about this or The Invisible Man as I knew the least about these stories (but of course know the werewolf legend). Yeah, I like werewolves almost as much as vampires when it comes to classic Halloween monsters so of course enjoyed this very straightforward werewolf story. – 7/10

The Invisible Man (1933) – I know the least about this story and, no, I’ve not read the H. G. Wells book. I enjoyed this but liked it a bit less than the more “classic monster” movies I watched Halloween weekend. I loved the special effects, though. I thought they were damn good for 1933! It was fun watching all of these & I’m happy I finally saw them. Thanks, Horror Channel! – 7/10

Black Widow – This was fine. I’ve said many times that I have “superhero burnout”. I do enjoy the Marvel movies and I’ve watched them all (and ranked them HERE of course since I’m obsessed with lists). I’ve put this one at 14 for now but think I was maybe being too generous as I liked getting another Marvel movie with a female lead and it’s about time that Black Widow got her own movie. But I might move it down a bit because, damn, I wish it had been a little better. It’s certainly not awful & I did enjoy watching it but, meh…

I liked the characters, though. I think it was the story that didn’t work so well. Scarlett Johansson was good as always and I did really like Florence Pugh even though I don’t get the obsession that younger people have with her like she’s the best actress EVER or something – she’s okay? I also really liked David Harbour & Rachel Weisz and their crazy little “family” but think the hubby wasn’t so happy with what they did with Harbour’s character. Or something. I dunno – I know nothing about the comics & these characters outside of the movies but I think that helps me to just enjoy the films since I don’t have to worry about how they adapt the characters.

This movie also did the exact same OTT action-filled ending as every single other Marvel film and seeing that same formula over & over again is getting boring. Man, I hate reviewing Marvel movies as I say the same things over & over again since it feels like I’m watching the same movie over & over again. They’re fun & I watch them as I do enjoy them while they’re on but I don’t tend to revisit them. I’m glad Black Widow got her own movie. I liked the characters & their fucked-up little “family”. The overall story was a bit dumb. Hoping Shang-Chi will be better? Think that’s coming to Disney Plus this week. I want to see something a little different. – 7/10

Tenet – First of all, I better say that I’m not a Christopher Nolan fan. As with Florence Pugh, I also don’t get the obsession with Nolan & people thinking he’s one of the best directors ever or something. He’s okay? I did love The Prestige, kind of hated Interstellar, and felt meh about most of the rest. Okay, The Dark Knight was decent too but, as with all his movies, it’s rated far too highly.

I unfortunately feel kind of the same about Tenet as I did Interstellar. I liked the idea behind the story but thought the execution was a complete mess by the end. I feel like Nolan tries too hard to make a story more confusing than it needs to be so that diehard fans can go “You just don’t get it” whenever anyone doesn’t worship a Nolan film & points out that it’s not as great as they think it is. John David Washington was fine as was Robert Pattinson. They did what they could with this story. I liked the story involving Elizabeth Debicki & her complete dick of a husband, although her character made some shitty decisions and, honestly, could’ve fucked up a very important mission.

I don’t know. I didn’t hate the movie. I thought the overall story was fine & enjoyed seeing things played out in reverse. But I also think the execution of the story was a bit of a mess. Again. Now thinking I should rewatch Memento again as I did like that at the time but don’t remember it being so messy? It seems like Nolan’s movies are getting worse over time. – 6.5/10

Class Of 1984 – This was kind of a weird one. I kind of liked it. I think. I watched Class Of 1999 (from 1989) several years ago and, man, that was pretty cheesy. That was about a school with a bunch of unruly delinquent students so secret robot teachers are hired to keep them in line. The Class Of 1984 school certainly could’ve used some killer robot teachers! It’s about a new teacher (Perry King) who starts at a school that is being terrorised by some truly evil students. When he stands up to them, they begin terrorising him as well. It’s one of those “based on true events!” movies where I’m thinking that’s bullshit as, yeah, some teenagers could be horrible but I don’t think they were this bad in 1984. I grew up in the ’80s – we were pretty nice!

I liked Roddy McDowall as a fellow teacher who gets pushed over the edge & it was fun seeing a very young Michael J. Fox from before he was famous (he’s a nice student, of course – not one of the bad ones). This movie goes very over-the-top at the end, though. I liked all of that sweet revenge but could’ve done without the long & drawn out rape scene. I know they needed to make us really hate these evil fuckers but I think anyone watching the movie hated them enough before that. The movie was more “extreme” than I was expecting. Not so much in showing actual gore & blood, which was mild, but the baddies truly were evil & violent people. Am assuming it was controversial at the time. I think it could’ve been much better. It kind of feels like a movie that thought it was tackling an important topic but the end was too over the top to take seriously. Enjoyed the revenge, though. – 6.5/10


The Night House – I reviewed this separately since it’s one of the few horror movies I actually watched in October. It was fine. Could’ve been better but I was very happy to be able to watch a new horror on Disney Plus. Had some good eerie bits, at least, and supernatural horror is always my favorite type. – 6/10

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit – I’ve never paid much attention to Wallace & Gromit. Not sure why. I’ve liked what I’ve seen, though. Halloween seemed like a good time to finally watch this one for my Best Picture Project. The focus of that is to of course watch all the Best Picture winners but I’d like to watch some of the foreign language winners as well. And I then noticed I’d seen all of the Best Animated Features except for two: this & Rango, which I’ve also now watched. Woohoo! I’ve seen all the winners in that category now! My life is complete!

Anyway. This was cute & funny & I’m sure Wallace & Gromit fans like it. I enjoyed it. I’ll be honest, though, neither this nor Rango were as good as the Pixar & Disney films that tend to always win so it’s obvious they weren’t up against those. Rango didn’t have much competition but, wow, I disagree with Wallace & Gromit winning over Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride & especially over Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle!! What?!? Well, that’s the Academy for you I guess. – 6.5/10

First Love – I was mostly interested in checking this out as it’s a Takashi Miike movie and his Audition film was certainly interesting. I believe a lot of his stuff is extreme so I was interested in this one as it was meant to be less crazy. But I found it a bit boring. I liked the young boxer & the girl he helps plus there were some fun, quirky characters including one pissed off chick who was amusing. But I was mostly bored & sad it didn’t live up to its really cool movie poster. Here’s the short Wikipedia synopsis (the poster is also at the link): “It tells the story of a boxer and a call girl who become unwittingly involved in a drug-smuggling scheme.” – 6/10

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers – I watched the “Loomis timeline” first 6 Halloween movies in October & reviewed them all in a post on Halloween (at the link) so no need to say much here as well. I’ll just say this: the first Halloween, as expected, is far superior to the sequels. The rest are below as I rewatched them but this & number 6 were first time watches for me. They aren’t great! I still far prefer the Elm Street movies. – 5.5/10

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers – This was the worst of these Michael Myers sequels but I’ve given it an extra half a point since adorable young Paul Rudd is in it (looking exactly the same as he does now). – 5.5/10

Terror Train – Since I was watching all the Halloween movies, it made sense to also check out this 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis slasher I’d somehow never heard of. I’ve reviewed it in full as well so I’ll just say it wasn’t great but seemed to have a pretty good budget for the time & I liked the train setting. It was like a slightly shit version of an Agatha Christie story. I don’t know why I’ve put it underneath Halloween 5 & 6 as it’s actually better than those… But they of course have the “Michael Myers/Halloween” franchise thing going for them I guess and I’m more likely to remember those than this somewhat forgettable horror. – 6/10

Movies Rewatched In October:

Halloween (1978) – This is obviously an all-time slasher classic from the great John Carpenter. And I adore his score, as I do in his other movies. The Halloween theme is absolutely brilliant and I’m convinced it’s what has actually made this such a popular franchise. I can’t imagine this movie without the music. – 8/10

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – This is one of those movies where I want to give it a higher rating as I love a few of the songs (especially Time Warp) and it’s SO iconic & it’s fun & Tim Curry is truly awesome. But, man, the final half hour or so of this thing has always been pretty sucky. Sorry! But I realize that’s kind of the point as it’s meant to be like a cheesy ’50s B movie. Should I up my rating?? I really should… It’s a classic. I’ll think about it! For now, I’ll leave it with this: – 7.5/10 (Re-watching this has made me further appreciate Phantom Of The Paradise too – both deserve their cult status)

Us – Appreciated this a bit more on rewatching it. It’s flawed but I really like the story & stand by my opinion that it’s much better than Get Out. – 7.5/10

Logan – I also stand by my opinion that I prefer the X-Men movies (bad as most of them unfortunately are) to the MCU movies. I just prefer the characters. Will be fun, though, if (when??) they bring them together? I don’t love Logan but it’s very good and certainly the best of the Wolverine films. – 7.5/10

Halloween II (1981) – The least sucky of the Halloween sequels since at least Jamie Lee Curtis/Laurie Strode is actually in the damn thing. – 6.5/10

Fun Size – This is a fun “teen” Halloween movie. Actually has some pretty raunchy jokes in it for a Nickelodeon movie! The best thing about it is the weird little brother – he’s funny. – 6.5/10

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers – At least this one is better than 5 & 6? Think it could grow on me as I like the character of Jamie Lloyd & liked the ending. – 6/10

Halloween III: Season Of The Witch – Oh man, I wanted to love this as I vaguely remembered liking the jingle from it when I saw it as a teen. But it’s really not good. However, I do wish they’d continued with this idea of having Halloween be a series of unrelated stories as I love horror anthologies. The story in this was also a pretty good idea. I just wish the movie itself was much better. – 5/10

TV Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales – These are always fun and it was a nice surprise when (slight spoiler!) they spoofed a “horror” favorite of mine: The Lost Boys. Wasn’t expecting that! Don’t think the kids watching are going to get those references, though.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Midnight Mass: S1 E2-7 – I like Mike Flanagan. I think I’ve watched every single movie of his, most of which I’ve really liked. But I have yet to really love something of his. Doctor Sleep & Gerald’s Game were my favorites, but is that thanks to the Stephen King thing since I’m such a big King fan? And I have to say that Midnight Mass feels very VERY much like a King story, such as Salem’s Lot (a favorite book), which is probably why I thought this was a pretty great show.

I tried to watch another Flanagan show but gave up after a couple of episodes as it was just too damn slow. No, I’m not someone with a short attention span but I also don’t really want to spend hours & hours watching a TV show. Think it’s why I just prefer movies. A good movie can do just as well with character development in less time as long as they do it right. So, Midnight Mass started the same way as most Flanagan stuff & I admit I wasn’t feeling it at all at first.

I’m really glad I didn’t give up on it as the end of episode 3 is when I went “Fuck yeah – something good is finally happening!!“. They then spent far too long talking in all the remaining episodes too, blah blah blah blah, but we got some great supernatural horror (my favorite!) in between all that blathering. The characters were good, especially Flanagan’s wife, and I loved this small, very Stephen-King-esque island community setting. That was great! I want to live there! You know, without the freaky supernatural horror stuff. And I absolutely hated the religious nut bitch (as you’re meant to) and her type of character also screamed Stephen-King-character because that’s the exact sort of character he writes so often. Same with the main guy with the tragic past. So, yeah, I probably liked this as it was so very much like a Stephen King story. Again, though, I just wish I could love a Flanagan movie/show. He’s getting closer!

Alice In Borderland: S1 E1-5 – After being absolutely obsessed with the brilliant Squid Game (I loved it! Watched the whole thing twice!), we decided to check out this Japanese show as it’s one of those they recommend if you liked Squid Game. I can see why, as it also involves people being forced to play games that can result in their deaths. It’s fun so far so but we’re only halfway through, so I’ll say more once I’ve finished it.

It’s definitely not as good as Squid Game, though. The characters aren’t nearly as well developed. It’s also very “youth aimed”, which is fine, but the majority of the people on this show are in their 20s whereas Squid Game varied more in ages. Also, it doesn’t have the same sense of desperation that the characters in Squid Game had as they were down on their luck & needing the big prize. The “players” in this show are (seemingly at this point) chosen at random to participate. I like the mystery of it, though, as it appears that everyone else in the world has disappeared so am eager to find out what’s going on with the overall story…

Never Mind The Buzzcocks: S29 E2-6– God, it’s like the old Buzzcocks from years ago had the soul sucked out of it completely. Very disappointing. Think they need new regulars?!

The Masked Singer U.S.: S6 E1-7 – This show is so stupid but I seem to keep watching it. I’m convinced that one dude is John Lydon…

MUSIC LISTENED TO

Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood – I liked this heavy metal band’s first album, where every song is about a horror movie, so was happy when they released this second album in time for Halloween this year. It’s just a bit screamy, FYI, if you don’t go for the full-on screamy metal stuff. I have to be in the right sort of mood but will always prefer classic metal, such as Black Sabbath, to this more modern stuff. The “horror movie” idea for these two albums was a great one, though.

Iron Maiden – SenjutsuCompletely forgot to mention this album in my roundup the month it came out so figured I’d mention it quickly now. Really like it. I streamed it shitloads while working that month, hoping to help it beat Drake to the number one spot. It didn’t. I’m still bitter & annoyed. Yeah, I know I sound like an old person. Don’t care! 😉 Drake did a version of I’m Too Sexy, FFS. Right? Seriously?! Ugh. I weep for the future. Kids these days! Glad mine loves a lot of great classic rock & can name loads of bands from the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s.

BOOKS READ

Billy Summers by Stephen King – Enjoyed this, as I do with most King books, but it’ll never be a favorite. I always prefer King when he’s doing his supernatural horror thing so, this straightforward “crime” story of a professional hitman hired to kill a bad guy on his way to court, wasn’t really my sort of thing. The character of the hitman (Billy Summers) was fine as you do feel some sympathy for him (plus he only kills bad people!). The relationship he develops later on with a character is a bit awkward. I think I’d have been a bit bored if this book didn’t also include a “story within the story” as Billy Summers decides to write a book about his life while waiting for the man he’s been hired to kill. So we learn about his life from a young age via the book he writes. I liked that & it was the best thing about this book. Oh! That and references to a well known place from one of King’s most famous books (and not in Maine!). – 3/5

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I might as well take this bit out of my roundup posts as I never really have any blog plans anymore. Watch movies, sometimes review them separately if I have much to say, otherwise just mention them in my monthly posts. 🙂

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Everything!!! Damn. Still not going to the cinema so missing soooooo many movies. Really want to see Last Night In Soho.

I’ll end today’s post with Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show…

My Top Ten 21st Century Horror Movies

I figured it was time to update this list that I first posted five years ago. I did update it a few times but I can no longer bring up the post in my WordPress phone app to update it. How annoying! (I’m too lazy to do anything on this blog that I can’t do in the app). So here it is re-posted with lots of new stuff added.

This was originally a Top 20 but I’ve had to make it a Top 40 this time. This is partly thanks to me deciding to include horror comedies in the list now. I already did a separate list of My Top Ten Horror Comedies but those have now also been added into all the lists I’ve been posting this week in time for Halloween:

My Top Ten Foreign Language Horror Movies
My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies
My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies

Here are some I’ve left out as I don’t consider them horror: The excellent Battle Royale & Under The Skin. Also these that I really enjoyed: One Hour Photo, Colossal, Turbo Kid, Hobo With A Shotgun & VFW.

And, like my 1970-1999 list, I’ve grouped some things together such as franchises & a few directors I appreciate. Also, as with all my lists, I’m sure I’ve forgotten to include some great movies. In this case, as I started my blog in 2012, it’s most likely I forgot movies before the year 2012 as I wasn’t keeping record of them like I do now.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten 21st Century Horror Movies:

Top Forty:

40. Rubber
39. TIE: Grabbers & The Final Girls
38. Color Out Of Space
37. The Conjuring Universe (The first film the best by far but I’ve liked the rest okay as well)
36. The Secret Of Marrowbone
35. Ti West (My favorites: The House Of The Devil & The Innkeepers)
34. Mike Flanagan (He has some higher on the list but I wanted to mention these too: Hush & Absentia)
33. TIE: The Hunt (2020) & The Invisible Man (2020)
32. Circle (2015)
31. Ginger Snaps

Top Thirty:

30. Trick ‘r Treat
29. Us
28. Ari Aster (I want to love his work more than I do but I find it interesting & want more of it, hoping to connect more with one of his films someday. I prefer Midsommar but Hereditary has some great moments)
27. Tucker And Dale Vs Evil
26. [Rec]
25. TIE: The Platform & The Host (2006)
24. The Girl With All The Gifts
23. The Purge (I’ve quite liked all of these films – I like the concept)
22. Gerald’s Game
21. Spontaneous

Top Twenty:

20. Shaun Of The Dead
19. A Quiet Place
18. The Village
17. The Orphanage
16. Final Destination (First film but the sequels I’ve seen have been pretty decent too)
15. The Others
14. Land Of The Dead
13. A Tale Of Two Sisters
12. Slither
11. Let The Right One In

****Top Ten:****

10. The Descent

9. TIE: The Mist & It/It: Chapter Two (Sadly, the first one was much better than Chapter Two…)

8. 28 Days Later… (28 Weeks Later also good)

7. Doctor Sleep

6. It Follows

5. Pan’s Labyrinth

4. Mandy

3. Train To Busan

2. The Babadook

1. Dawn Of The Dead

Lots Of Honorable Mentions:
30 Days Of Night (Remember really enjoying this but need to rewatch it), The Cabin In The Woods (Need to rewatch this too), Saw (First film only – hate the rest), Pontypool (Wanted to squeeze this into the Top 40), The Wailing, The Boy, Honeymoon, Cloverfield, What We Do In The Shadows, The Babysitter, Dead Snow, Teeth, Black Sheep, Splice, 1408, My Little Eye, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Ready Or Not, The Ritual, One Cut Of The Dead, Krampus, Ma, Horns, Child’s Play, Zombieland, Warm Bodies, Willy’s Wonderland, Vivarium, Malignant, Fresh

My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies

Oh man – this was a hard list to do since the majority of my favorite horrors are from the ’70s & ’80s. I’ll also have watched shitloads, so am sure I’ve forgotten to add some great ones & I’ll be annoyed I forgot them. Oh well – I can update the list if so!

Some Rules/Notes:

1. I’ve had to make this a Top Forty, and even then I’m missing some favorites. So I have some “honorable mentions” listed at the end. And the ’80s especially was the decade for “franchises” but it’s too hard to rank every single sequel in those cases plus I see each series as a whole. So, where I mention some, I kind of mean the series. I’ve only listed some specific sequels if any were actually really good (Dream Warriors!). And, let’s face it, the first movie is usually a million times better than the rest (Halloween! Almost wish it was a standalone film…).

2. Also, in order to do this, I’ve decided to leave a few films out that I love/really like but I don’t see as “horror” films…

Alien/Aliens (Two of my all-time favorite films. I don’t think “horror” with these – I think sci-fi)
Jaws (Again, I just think “action thriller”)
They Live & Hardware (Sci-fi)
The Crow (I’m not really sure what genre this one is but I adore this film)
Blade (See it more as a comic book movie)
Ghostbusters (Not horror to me – just comedy)

3. And I’ve added horror comedies into this list. I used to keep them separate (I did a list HERE). But… I figure they’re still horror as well. So some of these, including my second favorite, aren’t scary horror.

4. Finally, I’ll just add this (Is anyone actually reading my long & rambling intros?!): This list is absolutely ridiculous. There used to be a blogger I really liked who told me off one day for all the “ties” on my lists & that I need to number them differently if there are ties & I can’t have more than ten in a top ten. And I was all “My blog, my rules!”. He was awesome, though, and I’m really sad he completely disappeared. Anyway – he’d have a meltdown over this list. I mention 17 films in my top ten (seriously) and number 20 alone mentions 8. I admit that’s pathetic but, hey, I’m indecisive & also hate the thought of leaving anything out. Should I also admit that I go back & rearrange my old lists sometimes?! I think I have some sort of disorder. So I dedicate this list to that dude.

So here’s my ranked list counting down to My Top Ten 1970-1999 Horror Movies (but including way more than 40 movies):

Top Forty:

40. The Blair Witch Project (Yes, I liked this first film)
39. Night Of The Creeps
38. The Exorcist (Low, I know – not big on this, mainly just love Tubular Bells)
37. The Hitcher
36. Tremors
35. Waxwork
34. Hausu
33. The Craft
32. The Stepford Children & The Stepford Wives (Children is a cheesy TV movie & big guilty pleasure of mine)
31. Magic

Top Thirty:

30. Society
29. Children Of The Corn (Only the first one)
28. The Changeling (Probably deserves to be higher but in all honesty I need to rewatch it – would maybe move up then)
27. Friday The 13th (I’ve shockingly only seen a few of these, so only really the first couple of films for this one)
26. Child’s Play (First three – Yes, I liked the third one too)
25. Chopping Mall
24. April Fool’s Day
23. The Return Of The Living Dead
22. The Sixth Sense
21. The Wicker Man

Top Twenty:

20. David Cronenberg – The Brood, etc (Sorry for the big cheat but what do you expect from someone who mentions 17 movies in their Top Ten?? 😉 Other than The Fly, I’m lumping all the rest of Cronenberg’s films that I like together. Big fan of his style, although his movies aren’t ones I revisit like a lot of other horrors. In order starting with my favorite of the remaining films of his: The Brood, eXistenZ, Scanners, Videodrome, Shivers, Rabid, Crash. Need to rewatch The Dead Zone)
19. Don’t Look Now
18. The Amityville Horror
17. TIE: Phantom Of The Paradise & The Rocky Horror Picture Show
16. Scream
15. It
14. Fright Night
13. Pet Sematary
12. The Fly (Unlike the other Cronenbergs, I’ve watched this many times)
11. Night Of The Comet

****Top Ten:****

10. Dario Argento – Deep Red, etc (Did it with Cronenberg so might as well with Argento too! Deep Red is my favorite followed by Suspiria, although I need to rewatch that. Next is Phenomena, which isn’t nearly as good, but the rest of what I’ve seen of his wouldn’t make this Top 40 list)

9. TIE: Carrie & Halloween (Only the first Halloween film & honestly for the score more than the film itself)

8. TIE: Poltergeist & An American Werewolf In London

7. The Lost Boys

6. The Thing

5. The Omen

4. A Nightmare On Elm Street (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is also great – Love the whole series but these two by far the best)

3. The Shining

2. Gremlins (Do like Gremlins 2 as well but the first one is much better)

1. Dawn Of The Dead & Day Of The Dead (Dawn Of The Dead is my favorite horror film while Day Of The Dead may not be quite as good but it’s a lot of fun & I love it too. Obviously, the Romero “Dead Trilogy” tops my overall favorite horror movies list I may post on Halloween)

Honorable Mentions:

Stephen King (I have several in the list but I watch every King adaptation & even like most of the bad ones. I ranked them all HERE once – the top two not horror! – but need to add ones from recent years. Some more I liked: Cujo, Maximum Overdrive, Silver Bullet, Cat’s Eye, Misery, Firestarter, etc)
Body Horror (I did a separate list HERE as I find these fascinating but they’re not exactly Top 40 material: From Beyond, Re-Animator, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Altered States, Basket Case)
More: The Toxic Avenger (Didn’t feel right putting Troma in the 40 but I do like this one. Actually, I like the first three), The Evil Dead Series (Sorry, I don’t hate these but I never really got into them), Hellraiser Series (Also not really a fan overall but appreciate its fucking weirdness), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Not big on these either), Candyman (Meh), Arachnophobia, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, The Entity, Sisters, Dolls, Alice Sweet Alice, Pumpkinhead, The People Under The Stairs, From Dusk Till Dawn, Audition

Some I Need To Rewatch Again Before Really Knowing Where To Rank Them:

Stephen King (‘Salem’s Lot & The Dead Zone. Crazy I’ve not rewatched these when I’m obsessed with Stephen King & these are actually my favorite of his books – But I did rank them with the other King movies because my lists make no sense. Should also rewatch Creepshow, Misery, The Stand & Christine)
John Carpenter (Really liked The Fog but, again, need to rewatch it as well as these: Prince Of Darkness & Christine, as mentioned with King)
More: Ringu (I know I included it in my Top Foreign Horror Movies list but I really do need to rewatch it before knowing where to rank it here), The Hidden, The Blob, Phantasm, Near Dark, Black Christmas, Dracula

Want To See These!:

The Amusement Park
Martin
The Exorcist III
Puppet Master

The Bachman Books by Stephen King aka Richard Bachman (Book Review)

I re-read The Bachman Books this year (a collection of four Stephen King stories originally published under his pen-name Richard Bachman). I don’t normally re-read books but it had been over 20 years since I read these. I remember absolutely loving one & really liking another but couldn’t remember anything very specific from either. The other two stories I had zero memory of whatsoever. Weird how memory works. Here they are in the order they appear in the collection…

Story 1: Rage

I can’t believe I didn’t remember a thing about this story as it later became very controversial. In fact, it is no longer being published (which King requested) so I was lucky to get an old copy of The Bachman Books at a charity shop which still includes this story. The topic is one that makes me as angry as the whole social media & bullying thing I went on about in my review of that dreadful Unfriended movie: Guns. The massive gun problem in America in general but especially in schools.

Anyway, King wanted this to stop being published after it was too strongly linked to five school shootings. I won’t go into censorship here (oh boy, another fun topic!) but I’m mostly very much against it. It depends on the situation, though, and King made the right choice. In the story, a troubled teen boy brings a gun to school & holds his class hostage. As far as the topic of guns & school shootings go, that’s not really the focus of this story and the story doesn’t go how you’d expect. I’m trying to stay spoiler free but it’s more about the struggles of growing up & the things that shape you & mental illness & fighting back against authority (maybe – it’s not made all that clear).

I kind of made the story sound better than it is. I don’t think King quite gets his point across in this story as to why this boy does this. At least he doesn’t make you sympathise with the character, which would be very irresponsible as no one should think they have the right to bring a gun into their school. The ending also goes off the rails and I didn’t see the point of that either but at least it ends in an unpredictable way. It’s terrible to think it may have inspired real shootings as it’s not the point of this story (although I’m not sure what the point is) and probably not something King would have expected to come from this short novel. Overall, the story could’ve been better had it made its point a little more clear.

My Rating: 3/5

Story 2: The Long Walk

This was the story I remembered loving. My opinion hasn’t changed. This is a great story and could make such a fantastic movie. I know Frank Darabont had the rights to it for years & I’d been desperate for him to adapt it as he did such a brilliant job with The Green Mile, The Mist and especially The Shawshank Redemption. But I just looked into it and he’s lost the rights (oh no!). There’s a plan for it to now be made by Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark & Trollhunter director André Øvredal. I’m not happy! Did like Trollhunter but was very excited at the thought of Darabont making The Long Walk. Damn.

Anyway, the story is so simple yet so horrifying: In a dystopian reality, each year 100 teenage boys have to walk until only 1 of them is still walking. The final boy wins the big final “prize”. You get to know a few of the characters pretty well, which is what I most care about in a story. This is a short novel, though, so there’s less character development than I’d like and I think this could be one of those occasions where the movie could improve on that if done by the right person (Darabont would’ve been great with the character development!). Oh well. It’s still a great story & I still hope they finally make it into a movie.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Story 3: Roadwork

I can see why I didn’t remember Roadwork as it’s not one of King’s more memorable stories. It’s about a guy who goes off the deep end when a new road being built means both his house & his company will be torn down. I’ll be honest – I haven’t quite finished reading it but I’m almost done & am gonna just review it anyway. (FYI – as I’m re-posting this I’ve of course finished it now & my opinion hasn’t changed).

I think the story is far longer than it needed to be. It does drag on & I wasn’t eager to pick it up & keep reading, which is why it took me over a month to read a novella. While the reader does have some sympathy for the guy, especially as he had a tragedy in his past, he’s really hard to fully sympathise with overall (especially as he doesn’t care at all about ruining his wife’s life along with his). The story is okay, I guess. I always enjoy reading King’s writing but this certainly isn’t a favorite.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Story 4: The Running Man

The Running Man is my second favorite of these four novellas. I think it’s a good story & am looking forward to the new film adaptation from Edgar Wright (if that’s still happening??). But I did also really like the Schwarzenegger film which, if I remember, was nothing whatsoever like the book anyway?! Need to rewatch that now to refresh my memory of that too.

What can I say? I like dystopian future stories and I liked this world where people have to “play for their lives” on game shows. I didn’t find this story very far-fetched when I first read it over 20 years ago & I find it even more plausible now. The ending is maybe a little silly but, whatever – it’s Stephen King! Who cares. I’m a fan. I feel like I’ve read only Stephen King books in 2021, though. Hmm. Oh well – libraries were closed thanks to the pandemic & I mainly only buy King’s stuff these days so it’s pretty much all I have to read in the house. 🙂

My Rating: 3.5/5

If It Bleeds, The Colorado Kid & Later by Stephen King (Book Reviews)

For October Horror Month, I figured I might as well drag out some of my reviews of the horror stuff I’ve read in the past two years. Not gonna lie – the majority will be Stephen King books! But there will be a few other authors I’ll be posting this month as well.

Here’s a Stephen King collection of four shorter stories & two of his Hard Case Crime novels to start…

If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Four Story Collection: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life Of Chuck, If It Bleeds & Rat)

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book. I always love his shorter story collections. I’ll say just a tiny bit about each…

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – Really liked this very simple story of a boy who gifts an iPhone to an elderly neighbour. But the story of course gets a little more weird later on…

The Life Of Chuck – Thought this three-part story (told in reverse order) was interesting. The first story was really good & very clever when you later realise what’s going on. The second story was okay & the final one was good with the right amount of creepiness but also strong characters & not a full-on “horror”.

If It Bleeds – This is a short story continuing on from The Outsider (which I actually didn’t like very much). However, it revolves around one of my favorite new Stephen King characters: Holly Gibney from Mr. Mercedes. She’s a love her or hate her & I love her so like that King keeps using her as well as other likeable previous characters. So I enjoyed this story mainly because I got to revisit these characters again.

Rat – This is the most “Stephen King” story about a writer (shocker! can’t remember if he was also in Maine…) who makes a deal with a talking rat when he wishes to write a successful novel. It’s a twist on The Monkey’s Paw and is a better story than you’d think it could be considering it has a talking rat. But King can write the weird stuff well!

Not sure what to rate this book overall as it’s good but not as strong as some of his other collections. I suppose I’d give the whole thing this…

My Rating: 3.5/5

**Just going to add this bit from Wikipedia that I just read. Looks like at least three of the stories are going to be adapted: “On July 10, 2020, Deadline Hollywood reported that Netflix had acquired film rights to “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”, to be produced by Blumhouse Productions and Ryan Murphy. “Rat” was optioned by Ben Stiller, who intends to produce, star and direct. Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures has optioned “The Life of Chuck”, with Aronofsky to produce.

Wait. What? Darren Aronofsky?! What an odd choice. Okay, Ben Stiller is weird too. But Aronofsky doing King? I suppose it was a very strange story (the first part) that I can kind of see him doing after Mother!

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

My Thoughts:

Been wanting to read this for years as I really liked the TV show Haven which I knew was only very loosely based on this book. Loosely was an understatement! It just happens to be set in the same small town in Maine. That’s the only true link. At least I think it was Maine. It’s a King book – it must be Maine! It’s set in small-town fishing village Maine & I think I want to live out my elderly years in StephenKingesque small-town Maine. I read too much King.

This is one of his non-horrors and I really liked it. I often like his non-horrors where the focus is on good characters, and they were pretty well developed ones for what was a pretty short book. It’s not as good as the first one I read in this Hard Case Crime series, though (Joyland). Joyland was great! But I’d recommend both to King fans.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Later by Stephen King

My Thoughts:

This is the third novel of King’s in this Hard Case Crime series & I’ve enjoyed them all. They’re much shorter & “lighter” reads than his hefty horror tomes. This is probably my least favorite of the three, but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s about a kid who sees dead people (yeah, kind of like in The Sixth Sense but not really & they do reference that film in this). It’s a solid ghost story with a likeable kid. It’s possibly a little forgettable but it’s a quick & fun read.

My favorite in this series is still Joyland, which I loved, and second is The Colorado Kid which felt very different from King’s “horror” stories. Maybe I should check out some of the many non-King books in this series??

My Rating: 3/5

Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2021

Happy September. September?! Holy shit – when did that happen????

Here’s all I watched & read in August, spent mostly in bed recuperating after a hospital stay. So I was allowed to watch a lot of stuff (what else could I do??). 🙂

MOVIES WATCHED IN AUGUST (ranked best to worst):

Man On Fire – I reviewed this in full at the link. I decided to finally watch it after seeing a thread on Twitter of movies with very different audience & critic ratings (audiences loved it & critics hated it). I really enjoyed it. No, it’s not some good “Oscar worthy” film but it’s a very enjoyable revenge thriller. And it may be predictable but the friendship between Denzel Washington’s & Dakota Fanning’s characters was fantastic & they worked so well together. Plus Denzel is always absolutely perfect in this type of role. Don’t listen to the critics! They need to learn to just enjoy movies sometimes. – 7/10

Fantastic Planet (French: La Planète sauvage, Czech: Divoká planeta) – Well, this was bizarre!! I won’t say much about it here as I reviewed it in full at the link. This is the strange sort of shit I’m always searching for as I get so bored with mainstream movies since I watch way too many. I’m not sure what the hell was going on but I liked it. It had surreal artwork & a trippy, groovy score so was my type of thing. It’s on the Roku Channel in the U.K. if you’re interested. Here’s the plot synopsis for this animated allegorical tale (from IMDb): “On a faraway planet where blue giants rule, oppressed humanoids rebel against their machine-like leaders.” And I’ll give you one more image below to give you an idea of the animation style… – 7/10

Once Upon A Time In America – Being stuck in bed recuperating after a hospital stay made me decide to finally watch this almost-four-hour epic because what the hell else was I going to do with my time? It’s also a part of my IMDb Top 250 Challenge so it gets another movie crossed off of that list. I reviewed it in the full at the link so luckily don’t again have to say I didn’t love this film. Oops – Just said it! But I’m not a big gangster film fan & everyone was too hateful. I’m definitely a bigger fan of Leone’s Westerns but there’s no denying that this was still a good film even if I didn’t love it. – 7.5/10

Nomadland – And I watched this one while in the hospital as part of my Best Picture Project. Not gonna lie: It’s good but a bit boring. I’m gonna be real! Yes, I’ve ranked Man On Fire above this. Yes, Nomadland is certainly a better film than Man On Fire. But there are no butt bombs in this! I think it’s a deserving Best Picture Winner compared to the other nominees this year but, overall, it’s far from the best winner in the history of the Oscars.

I found the “houseless” lifestyle portrayed in this fascinating and guess I never exactly realized that there are people who live that way (but I’m a bit sheltered). I know there were real-life nomads playing characters in this & they were all very good. Frances McDormand, as always, was also very good as was David Strathairn. It’s not a film I can fault in any way & I thought they did a good job of portraying McDormand’s character’s heartbreak over the loss of her husband as well as her entire town & way of life. Yes, it’s a good film & deserves a higher rating. It’s just one of those movies that I feel I’ve seen once & have no need to see again. I miss having Oscar winning movies that I truly loved & enjoyed. – 7/10

Thrashin’ – Oh how I love finding ’80s movies that I somehow never saw at the time! I enjoyed this. Yes, it’s cheesy. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Two skateboarding gangs battle each other for supremacy, and a member of one gang falls in love with the sister of his rival.” It stars Josh Brolin as the main character with one of the two assholes from Weird Science (Robert Rusler) as his punk rock skateboarding rival. It also had one of the Lost Boys vampires, Sherilyn Fenn, and of course Tony Hawk with a cameo but it must have been very small because I didn’t notice him. Oh!!! And the Red Hot Chili Peppers were in this performing at some club or whatever. So that was cool – It made it feel a little more credible as this sort of California scene makes me think of the Chili Peppers. Romance & skateboarding rivalry in ’80s California. What more can you ask for from a movie?! I love the ’80s. I don’t care. I enjoyed this. (Kind of feel like giving it a higher rating but then it would be the same as what I gave a Best Picture Oscar winner….). – 7/10

Fear Street Trilogy: Fear Street Part One: 1994, Fear Street Part Two: 1978, Fear Street Part Three: 1666 – I reviewed this trilogy at the link so I’ll just say it was fun but certainly not perfect. It had a good soundtrack (especially 1978) & I’d say the overall story that runs through all three films does come together pretty well. Oh, it’s also super gory so don’t be fooled by the R.L. Stine name! These are full-on slashers. I’d watch more if they make more. The trilogy was clearly made by lovers of old school slashers & they did a decent enough job of trying to be like those. – Part One & Two: 6.5/10, Part Three: 6/10

Cruella – Also reviewed this at the link so I don’t have to bitch about it again here. Mainly, I was mostly annoyed that it didn’t totally suck like I was expecting. Okay – the story itself was stupid as shit & completely pointless. But, damn – it had some fun outfits and an absolutely kick ass soundtrack. Why did they have to use such good music in a stupid Disney live-action thing?! Ugh! I loved hearing so many good songs but, man, those songs deserve to be in far better films. – 6.5/10

The Goldfinch – First of all, I read this book and it felt like it took me FOREVER because it was so damn long (seriously – I think it took me about a year to read). It’s a long book and spends a very long time developing the characters and spans many years, so there was no way a 2 1/2 hour movie was going to do it justice. As much as I hate a mini series & dragging a story out for TV, I think this probably should’ve been a mini series instead. However, I thought the film did a surprisingly good job squeezing in so much of the story. It mainly skipped over the time the main character spends as a boy in Las Vegas which, to be fair, dragged on for way too long in the book anyway. The only thing that was a shame was that it meant cutting out quite a bit of the Boris character, who was possibly the best thing about the book (besides wondering what would happen with the painting).

I think the movie kind of made me further appreciate the book as it is actually a decent story. So I’m giving this a decent rating as the movie was far better than I was expecting. However, if you’ve not read the book, I think the movie would probably be difficult to follow as they really do gloss over stuff. I have a feeling that those who liked this movie did read the book first. But I’d only recommend the book if you like reading epic stories with fairly unlikeable characters. Not gonna lie – the book was a real slog to read. Maybe it’s why I quite liked the movie… I don’t know. It’s a hard one to recommend! I can understand why it got poor reviews but it’s a pretty damn good adaptation. I liked it. – 7/10

– Wonder Woman 1984 – Was glad to finally see this without extra cost but had extremely low expectations due to terrible reviews. Well, it’s not that bad. It’s certainly not as bad as its IMDb rating (5.4/10). Okay, it’s also not very good but I didn’t hate it. I thought the first Wonder Woman was quite good so it’s a shame this didn’t live up to it. I think Wonder Woman herself was perfectly fine in this, so they didn’t ruin the character, and the story wasn’t awful. I think the main two problems were 1. The movie was too damn long and 2. The villains were rubbish. Kristen Wiig’s wasn’t quite so bad & they did a decent job developing her character and letting us see her rise & fall. Pedro Pascal was terrible, however. I mean the character as well as the acting (sorry, I don’t think he’s very good despite loving The Mandalorian – that show would be just as good with a different actor). Oh – I also don’t think they did a very good job of making this look like it was set in 1984 just by throwing a few ugly outfits on people and having Chris Pine give a fashion show. And where was all the ’80s music?! Disappointing, as I love the ’80s. Meh. Whatever. There are far better superhero movies but also worse ones. I’m bored with them all. This one will just be very forgettable. – 6/10

Wish Dragon – This was fine. I don’t have a lot to say about this animated film other than that it was better than a lot of the stuff that slightly bigger studios such as DreamWorks put out. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Determined teen Din is longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities.” I liked the animation, the characters were likeable, and the dragon was fun (even though he was a bit too similar to Aladdin’s Genie). It’s also not quite as “kiddie” as it looks. It’s certainly appropriate for very young kids but I’d say preteens would be perfectly happy watching this too (the main boy & girl are 19 in this). Decent film for one that I believe went straight to Netflix? – 6.5/10

Bliss – I was really looking forward to seeing this as I really liked Mike Cahill’s Another Earth & especially I Origins. This one is unfortunately not nearly as good. I was intrigued by the concept & did like the story. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “A mind-bending love story following Greg who, after recently being divorced and then fired, meets the mysterious Isabel, a woman living on the streets and convinced that the polluted, broken world around them is a computer simulation.” It started out okay but the story got messy & it just didn’t work as well as his other films. The biggest problem was that it felt completely miscast. Owen Wilson & Salma Hayek were okay but just didn’t really work together. They’re also too famous – This would have been better with lesser known actors. Too bad Cahill didn’t use his usual favorite, Brit Marling. She’d have been good. Oh well – I did still like the story so it was worth a watch but I’d highly recommend his other films first. – 6/10

Black Christmas (2019) – Er. Um. UGH. Okay… This movie was mostly pretty damn terrible but for some reason I kind of liked it? At least at the beginning – that all went out the window at the very end. Holy hell! What a pile of shit ending!!! First of all: Yes, I saw the original but it was many many years ago so I should probably rewatch it. So I won’t be comparing them as I don’t remember that one well enough. I just wish Blumhouse would stop rebooting or remaking (or whatever you want to call it) old horror films. Well, that’s plenty of studios, actually. And these newer films are sometimes so different than the originals that I don’t understand why they use the same name. No, I lie – they use the same name because they’re more likely to make money from a known name. Pisses me off. Honestly, they could’ve given this one a completely different name from the original as I don’t think they’re very similar beyond the setting.

So. They kind of had a good idea here but just did such an awful job of cramming the agenda into this film. Spoiler: It’s basically about the rape culture at universities. Which is an important and serious topic not really suited for this seriously stupid horror movie. To be fair, it maybe could have worked if the film had treated the topic more seriously and if the ending hadn’t been laughable. It’s a shame as a well written film on this topic could’ve turned out well. Maybe a more serious type of horror such as Midsommar? Hell, that’s basically a toxic-male-hating film too about slightly inattentive boyfriends, right?

I did really like Imogen Poots in this so luckily the main character was fine. I like her in most things but I mostly think I just love that name. POOTS! Imagine having to grow up with the name Poots!! Her main SJW best friend (sorry to use that phrase but it’s the whole point of that character) was okay but very quickly gets on your nerves as you’d expect. I did kind of like the one friend who was really dumb (she was also good in The White Lotus). And one other thing I did really like in this movie was their song. That was a good scene. I like seeing rapists named & shamed. So the movie started out well…

While I do think this movie ended up being dreadful thanks to its ridiculously over-the-top ending, I think it has been unfairly rated way too low on IMDb. 3.4/10?! Okay, that will be those who see it as having a man-hating agenda. I suppose it does but I think it could have gotten away with it & done a better job of making its point if the ending wasn’t SO in-your-face about, um, toxic masculinity. Dammit! This movie made me use the phrases SJW & toxic masculinity. Phrases I steer WELL clear of on Twitter! And I’ve written waaaaay more than I wanted to about a pretty bad horror movie. I just wish it had done a better job of making its point in a more subtle fashion. Cramming your beliefs down viewers’ throats never works, even when viewers agree with what you’re trying to say (as I do). – 5.5/10

The Big Year – This was fine? A very safe & inoffensive movie. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “It was based on the 2004 nonfiction book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. The book followed three men on a quest for a Big Year – a competition among birders to see who can see and identify the greatest number of species of birds in North America (north of Mexico) in a calendar year.” So it’s an intriguing story. I had no idea this was a real thing that people do?! Of course the characters themselves are fictional (Owen Wilson is especially over-the-top in his bird obsession) but it’s still interesting that people do this in real life. As I said, it’s just a very safe film. Pleasant. The kind of thing you can have on in the background while visiting with family on a Sunday afternoon. So… somewhat forgettable but was a nice watch & I always love Jack Black. Steve Martin was also good but Black was the best character & he was very understated compared to his usual sort of crazy antics. – 6/10

Over Her Dead Body – This sucked. Cliché & predictable every step of the way. The story is about a controlling woman (Eva Longoria) who dies on her wedding day (you’ll see the obvious death coming a mile away). She then haunts the first woman who shows an interest in her husband-to-have-been about a year later & tries to keep them apart. I 100% watched this because I love Paul Rudd. Who doesn’t?! A controlling dead bitch wouldn’t keep me away from him either! But, of course, she sees the error of her ways and that she needs to let him move on with his life. Duh. I’d have given a spoiler warning there but it’s not a spoiler when you already know the stupid ending from the very start. Whatever – it’s a dumb romcom & not trying to win Oscars or something. So I’ll be nice with my rating since Paul Rudd was of course adorable in this. – 5/10

Movies Rewatched:

Rear Window – Finally convinced my daughter to watch her first Alfred Hitchcock film! 🙂 And I started her on my favorite. I’ve always loved Rear Window & how we get a glimpse of various peoples’ lives through their windows. I was always most concerned about Miss Lonelyhearts & loved the newlywed couple who kept their blinds closed for days. Plus James Stewart is always great & Grace Kelly is gorgeous & classy in all her fancy outfits. I know I always wear a dress & pearls around the house like in the above photo! Such a fun & stylish film. Trying to convince the kid to watch The Birds next. Let’s have another look at Grace Kelly… – 9.5/10

The Lost Boys – YES! Adore this movie. And, yes, it’s my favorite vampire movie. Of course – I was a young teenager when it came out & had a crush on The Two Coreys. I don’t know what else to say about it but you’ll either love this lightweight teen horror comedy or you won’t. The characters are fun, everyone is young & pretty & super cool, and it has great quotables. Death by stereo! Love it. Oh, and it has that greased-up saxophone player. Hubba hubba. Maggots, Michael! You’re eating maggots! –9/10

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Reviewed this in full already for the big John Hughes Blogathon I did years ago. Obviously, I’m Gen X so naturally a big fan of John Hughes (which is why I did the blogathon). Still think this one is great although The Breakfast Club is still my favorite. – 9/10

Wreck-It Ralph – I liked this one a lot the first time I saw it but it grew on me more & more and it’s now easily one of my very favorites of modern-era animated Disney. I think the story is very clever and I love the characters (yes, even Vanellope although I’m sure she gets on some people’s nerves). And I like the Sugar Rush song (seriously – I have it on my Apple playlist). Is it normal for me as an adult to rewatch these movies as much as kids do?! – 8.5/10

Robin Hood (1973) – For whatever reason, I’d not watched this Disney movie a million times like a lot of the others so figured it was time for a rewatch as I didn’t remember it well. I really enjoyed it! Not sure why I never watched it much. The characters and a couple of the songs were fun. Glad I gave it a rewatch after all these years. – 7.5/10

Spider-Man (2002) – Not sure if I have the energy but think I need to rewatch all these Spider-Man movies before the new film comes out. Mainly need to watch with my daughter who hasn’t seen any pre-Tom-Holland ones. Wanted to watch the second of these before rating this one as I seem to remember it being quite good? I like this one, though. We’ll give it a 7 & see if 2 is a 7.5! Don’t remember loving any of the rest. Still think the first couple of Tobey Maguire ones are the best, though, even though I think Tom Holland is decent. – 7/10

Attack The Block – I really like this one although I can’t explain exactly why as the main characters are a group of young criminals. But the aliens are quite effective and it’s a decent alien invasion movie, which I always enjoy. – 7/10

Practical Magic – A bit girly for me but I have to like chick flicks sometimes, right?? – 6.5/10

The Island – Think this is pretty decent for a, uh, Michael Bay film. Until it turns too Michael Bay-like at the end. But it starts out well & the story is fine & Steve Buscemi is in it & Steve Buscemi rules. So, good enough. – 6.5/10

The Hole (2009) – Trying to ease the daughter into horror as she’s not a big fan like I was at her age. Well, she didn’t like this one. It’s a very odd film. Expected so much more from Joe Dante as Gremlins is awesome. But this one is weird. It’s not really scary but it’s hard to know what sort of age it’s aimed at as it IS far too scary for kids at least. But teens & older would mostly find it silly. I don’t think it’s a horrible film – I think it’s just one that would only be liked by a small percentage of people if they’re just the right sort of age when they watch it. I just don’t know what age that might be! 10/11/12, maybe? – 6/10

Okay – as I was stuck in bed for most of August, I usually had movies playing in the background so put on a lot of favorites. I’ve already reviewed most of them in the past: The Wizard Of Oz, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats (I love this one & think it’s an underrated Disney classic).

Shorts:

Short Circuit Shorts: Season 2 – These are really good animated shorts on Disney Plus. Of season two, Going Home really stood out. It was heartbreaking but a great short film.

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Okay, I also watched way too many TV shows while stuck in bed. These are in no particular order…

The White Lotus – Enjoyed this! It’s certainly not for everyone but I liked the dark humor & the characters were good. And Jennifer Coolidge was as fun to watch as always. And, MAN, I hated that newlywed husband! What a prick. I also liked that it was a short series. I hate things that drag on for years. I think a new series will focus on new people? Will definitely check it out based on Season 1.

Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi, 僕だけがいない街) – This was quite good. I knew nothing about this Japanese anime series so am glad I gave it a chance. Here’s the IMDB synopsis: “29-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is sent back in time 18 years to prevent the events leading to his mother’s death, which began with a series of kidnappings while he was in 5th grade.” Again, I really liked the “one short series” thing.

Cruel Summer – This was kind of terrible and cheesy but I also kind of liked it? It was very “YA” and the acting was all pretty dreadful other than from the actress Olivia Holt. But I think I’ll forever be a sucker for YA drama. I don’t believe this was based on a book but this is exactly the kind of guilty pleasure YA stuff I still like to read. There’s a lot of back & forth as to who is telling the truth and you never know who to trust. It’s also set in the ’90s, which was fun, back when I was just a little older than these characters. It takes place in flashbacks all exactly three years apart in the two girls’ lives. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “In a small Texas town, popular teen Kate, is abducted. Seemingly unrelated, a girl named Jeanette goes from being a sweet, awkward outside to the most popular girl in town, but by 1995 she has become the most-despised person in America.

Dark: S1 E1 – The hubby & I have decided to start watching this but have only seen one episode so I can’t say much yet. I’m certainly intrigued, though!! Very good first episode.

Nine Perfect Strangers: S1 E1-4 – My god – look at all these “adult drama” TV shows I watched in August! Not normally my type of thing. I’m liking this okay but The White Lotus was much better than what I’ve seen of this so far. Still interested to see what happens, though, and I think the acting is very good. I especially like Melissa McCarthy in this much more serious role & Bobby Cannavale. They’re really good so far. And I’m interested to see what will become of Regina Hall’s character (and all the guests, really).

Monsters At Work: S1 E6-9 – Yep – I love this show!! Said more about it HERE. Hope there’s a Season 2!

Steins;gate: S1 E1 – Decided to check out this anime series after really liking Erased. Well, the first episode hasn’t grabbed me. Will try a couple more…

The Crown: S4 E3-4 – Finally watching the Diana episodes I’ve been looking forward to for ages! I’m enjoying them but I don’t buy into the person playing Diana at all. Which is a shame.

TV Shows Rewatched:

Star Trek: The Next Generation: S1 – This is an all-time favorite of mine so am enjoying revisiting.

The Golden Girls: Various episodes – Can always stick on an episode of this to cheer me up. 🙂

Grey’s Anatomy: S1 – Daughter wanted to watch this as it’s her friend’s favorite show. Oh boy – I’d forgotten how inappropriate some of it is. But it’s rated 12, so, oh well – I guess I saw similar shows at her age. Anyway – I’ve watched this show for 17 years & have a love/hate relationship with it. Seeing Season 1 again was strange. It really was a better show at the start…

BOOKS READ

If It Bleeds by Stephen King (Four Story Collection: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life Of Chuck, If It Bleeds & Rat)Oops. I read another Stephen King book… Well, I enjoyed it. I always love his shorter story collections. I’ll say just a tiny bit about each. Not sure what to rate it as it’s good but not as strong as some of his other collections. I suppose I’d give the whole thing this: – 3.5/5

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone – Really liked this very simple story of a boy who gifts an iPhone to an elderly neighbour. But the story of course gets a little more weird later on…

The Life Of Chuck – Thought this three-part story (told in reverse order) was interesting. The first story was really good & very clever when you later realise what’s going on. The second story was okay & the final one was good with the right amount of creepiness but also strong characters & not a full-on “horror”.

If It Bleeds – This is a short story continuing on from The Outsider (which I actually didn’t like very much). However, it revolves around one of my favorite new Stephen King characters: Holly Gibney from Mr. Mercedes. She’s a love her or hate her & I love her so like that King keeps using her as well as other likeable previous characters. So I enjoyed this story mainly because I got to revisit these characters again.

Rat – This is the most “Stephen King” story about a writer (shocker! can’t remember if he was also in Maine…) who makes a deal with a talking rat when he wishes to write a successful novel. It’s a twist on The Monkey’s Paw and is a better story than you’d think it could be considering it has a talking rat. But King can write the weird stuff well!

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans for September but am considering doing October Horror Month again since I skipped it last year. But it would just be me reposting reviews of all the horror movies I’ve watched in the past year.

**I end these posts with a good song from one of the movies I watched but the Fear Street Trilogy & Cruella had LOADS of good songs! Well, I already posted David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World & I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges in those reviews. So here’s Time Of The Season by The Zombies (which was in Cruella):

My Top Ten Stand By Me Insults

I thought it would be a good time to repost this top ten for one of my all-time favorite movies, Stand By Me, as today would’ve been River Phoenix’s 51st birthday (R.I.P. – I’m still upset over that celebrity death). I’m reposting some of the posts I did for blogs that are no longer running. You can currently still see this original post at Silver Screen Serenade HERE.

I find it difficult to talk about my “all-time favorite movies” as I could never do them justice. So, like My Top Ten Star Wars Dismemberments post for Silver Screen Serenade, I decided to just do another Top Ten of a favorite movie of mine.

I’d like to say a little bit about this movie, though. Stand By Me is very special to me. I love movies (obviously) but there aren’t too many that I’ve watched over and over and over and over again. There were really only two that I re-watched to a slightly disturbing & unhealthy degree: Aliens & Stand By Me.

Both out in 1986, these movies came along at a time in my life when I was a latchkey kid & only child (well, I’m still an only child). Our house was also very cold so my routine went something like this during the winter months at the ages of 12-14: Get home from school, turn the heating on, stick Stand By Me into the VCR (if it wasn’t already in there), grab a blanket, sit right up against the heating in the wall, and watch the 90 minute Stand By Me which would finish just in time for the parent to get home. It usually took until the junkyard scene for our old heating to finally warm me up.

Anyway, it was Stand By Me until I discovered Aliens. And to this day I’m still in trouble for having that playing when my mom got home one time & walked in to see the chest-burster scene. God, it wasn’t even that bad! It was much more tame than the one in Alien. At least she never saw my next after-school obsession: A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

Wow – I’ve just made my early-teen self sound really pathetic. At least I wasn’t drinking & doing drugs, right?! Or searching for dead bodies…

As for Stand By Me, I never got in trouble for watching that one. In fact, I made my mom & grandma watch it with me once and they loved it. Why? Because it’s really good.

You have Rob Reiner & Stephen King, my two favorite people in their professions. You have a coming-of-age tale (I’ve always liked those) with a group of friends who were the same age as I was when I first watched this (I had a crush on them all except Vern, of course). You have a great voiceover from Richard Dreyfuss, the always adorable John Cusack in a small role, and a beautiful, bittersweet ending that may have made me cry a few times (okay – it did). A movie’s ending is very important to me as I think so many get it wrong but the ending of Stand By Me is perfection (as is The Princess Bride’s – thank you, Rob Reiner!). Finally, I love the 1959 setting and the music that was chosen for this film (especially the title song). I think it’s something that helps Stand By Me feel timeless in a way and made it something that could be loved by an ’80s kid as well as by her mother and grandmother.

I did eventually stop obsessively watching Stand By Me but I’ll never forget walking back from a college party with a guy one night when he suddenly said “Did you hear that River Phoenix died?”. It wasn’t like now where you can easily go online to check so I hoped he was wrong until I later saw a news story confirming it was true. That will always be the one celebrity death that really upset me as he was kind of a big part of my own coming-of-age years. Phoenix was amazing as Chris Chambers, especially considering his young age, and I still wish we’d been able to see much more of his work.

Huh. I guess I actually said quite a bit about Stand By Me! One of the slightly shocking things about Stand By Me, at the time, was the amount of swearing. And I loved it. This is a coming-of-age tale involving a group of four small-town boys. Guess what? Boys actually swear & say horrible things to each other! These characters felt real to me – they weren’t made to be PG-rated characters we wouldn’t buy into. This was rated R, right? Pardon my French but that’s fucking ridiculous. This is a beautiful movie about life, death, friendship, and growing up. Every 13-year-old should see Stand By Me.

Now let’s take a look at some of the horrible things that young boys say to each other! Here are My Top Ten Stand By Me Insults:

10. Piss up a rope!

Okay – I’ve never been entirely sure if this an insult or even what the hell it means exactly. Gordie loses a card game & shouts “Piss up a rope!” so I was never fully sure if he was telling the other guys to do that or if it was a way of saying “Shit!“, Either way, I like it even though it doesn’t really make any sense.

9. You four-eyed pile of shit!

Full exchange:
Chris: You four-eyed pile of shit!
Teddy: A pile of shit has a thousand eyes.

With this one, it’s not the insult I like so much as the response. The two best characters, of course, are Wheaton’s Gordie & Phoenix’s Chris but Feldman was also great as the messed-up Teddy. He was slightly nuts & had some funny lines such as the one above, to the amusement of the other characters.

8. Then you won’t mind if we check the seat of your jockies for Hershey squirts, will you?

Full exchange:
Vern: I wasn’t that scared. I wasn’t. Sincerely.
Gordie: Okay. Then you won’t mind if we check the seat of your jockies for Hershey squirts, will you?
Vern: Go screw.

Ha! Hershey squirts. Pants-pooping! Hershey squirts is just a really funny thing to say…

7. I’m gonna rip your head off and shit down your neck!

Another Teddy line, this one isn’t funny but sad. Is it a horrible thing to say? Yes, but it’s a great Teddy moment and you can feel how upset he is when he says this to the man who has just called his father a “looney”. Seeing how these boys were all “damaged” in some way helped to make them all the more believable and helped the audience relate to and care about them.

6. You use your left hand or right hand to do that?

Full exchange:
Teddy: Okay, you guys can go around if you want. I’m crossing here. And while you guys are dragging your candy asses half way across the state and back, I’ll be waiting on the other side, relaxing with my thoughts.
Gordie: You use your left hand or right hand to do that?
Teddy: You wish.

Okay, I’m not sure if I entirely understood this one when I was young & watching this over & over again. But I think it get it now…. ! *no further comment*

5. Yeah, but you’re gonna be stupid for the rest of your life.

Full exchange:
Teddy: This is my age! I’m in the prime of my youth, and I’ll only be young once!
Chris: Yeah, but you’re gonna be stupid for the rest of your life.

This is actually a very sweet moment in the film & the line is delivered in a way that says “I love you guys but I can’t say that because we’re male so I’m going to tease you instead to show you that I care”. As the voiceover says “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?

4. Lardass! Lardass! (Boom-baba Boom-baba)

Again, it’s not so much the insult that I like in this case but the moment. I love this bit of the film. It’s so juvenile & immature but it’s exactly the type of story that I’d expect a group of 12-year-old boys to enjoy. And I love the disgustingly awesome revenge of “Lardass”.

3. Why don’t you go home and fuck your mother some more?

Is this an awful thing to say? Yes. Have I heard real-life boys say similar (and much much worse)? YES! Along with my number one choice, it’s an important part of the movie, though, which I’ll discuss a bit more when I get to that one…

2. I don’t shut up, I grow up. And when I look at you, I throw up!

Full exchange:
Teddy: You’re a real wet end, Lachance.
Gordie: Shut up.
Teddy/Vern/Chris: I don’t shut up, I grow up. And when I look at you, I throw up!
Gordie: And then your mother goes around the corner and she licks it up.

That final reply is good as well but I love the rhyming insult the three boys do together even more. Certainly much more innocent than the previous insult, I like the immaturity of this one and how it reminds us that these four boys are still just kids.

1. Suck my fat one, you cheap dime store hood

Anyone who has seen this movie probably already knew that this would be number one. It’s good for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s not exactly the greatest ever insult. Suck my fat one? Cheap dime store hood?? Nice try, though, Gordie! It’s likely something he’ll have read in some sort of pulp comic of the time and he’s trying to sound grown-up by saying it. And unlike a lot of the other insults, it’s delivered with absolutely no humor. Along with my third choice, this is the climactic moment in which these four boys have to make a stand (by me! ha!). It’s one of the many “growing up” moments in the film and these young boys deal with this in the only way they really know how at this age (by telling people to suck their fat ones & to go and fuck their own mothers).

Well, hopefully you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Maybe someday I’ll manage to do a proper review of Stand By Me and try to explain why I still love it so much.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: June 2021

Well, I posted a “Goodbye” post last week but I already had this post 90% written so there was no point keeping it in Drafts. I’ve now negotiated new marital terms & conditions and I might be allowed to watch some movies in July. So, yay, I guess maybe I’ll have some movies for a “July Roundup” post next month & this won’t have to become a cooking blog! Good, because I don’t want to learn how to cook.

So here are the SIXTEEN MOVIES I watched in June. Hope that number is acceptable!

MOVIES WATCHED IN JUNE (ranked best to worst):

Gandhi – I finally made myself watch a film that fulfils both my Best Picture Project AND my IMDb Top 250 Challenge! It was between this & Lawrence Of Arabia which I also really need to get around to watching. Gandhi won because, I’ll be totally honest, it’s about half an hour shorter. Well, this film is fantastic & I’m so glad I finally took the time to watch it. In fact, I can now say I have a new “best & favorite film watched in 2021” so I’m happy enough to take a small movie break now since I’ve finally watched a truly great film.

I’m absolutely rubbish when it comes to having, well, pretty much any historical knowledge. So I admittedly knew very little about Gandhi & can’t comment on this film’s accuracy, though what little I’ve read since seems to be what I saw in this movie. But, as a film, it’s excellent and fully deserving of a Best Picture Oscar. Remember when Best Pictures gave us truly epic filmmaking like this?! I miss those days. Let’s see what it beat: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Missing, Tootsie & The Verdict. Well, I’ve only seen Tootsie & E.T., which I love, but I think I can safely say that Gandhi is the clear winner here despite not seeing the other two. Gandhi won eight of its eleven nominations. Richard Attenborough also deservingly won Best Director & Ben Kingsley won for his absolutely brilliant performance as Mahatma Gandhi. It was worth watching just for his performance, as I thought it was truly one of the best performances I’ve ever seen (and I watch a lot of movies – just ask my family!). But, luckily, the movie lived up to its great central performance as well. I feel the actors can sometimes outshine a film & I prefer a really good film to a really good performance. I was very happy to get both in this case.

When it comes to movies like these, I don’t know what else to say. The awards were rightly deserved & I highly recommend it to all film lovers. A great film is a great film. What annoys me is that this film is shockingly not in the IMDb Top 250 anymore. I’m still working off the 2013 Top 250 list and classics such as Gandhi are being replaced by too many current releases now such as the Marvel superhero films. I think IMDb need to re-think how they determine what ends up in the 250! Infinity War is NOT better than Gandhi. Ridiculous! I know it’s just a stupid list but people do look at it & really good old films are now not getting the recognition they still deserve. – 8.5/10

Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Not entirely sure why but I really liked this movie. Just like with The Woman In The Window, I read the book in preparation for the film but then the movie took years to come out so I don’t even really remember the book now. Why didn’t this film come out in the U.K. until 2021?! So I re-read my mini-review of the book (HERE) & I was very meh about it. I think, in the film, I could just really relate to Cate Blanchett’s character. Not her genius, of course, because I suck at everything – I mean her social awkwardness & introversion. She’s a good character & I felt for her losing her way & giving up on something she loved. And I had completely forgotten this was a Richard Linklater film (so I may be in trouble for watching this alone as the hubby & I are both fans but I can’t see him liking this). It’s not as good as his best movies but it’s still a decent film – it’s just very unlike his other stuff. Not everyone will go for this but I think those who buy into Blanchett’s quirky character will enjoy it. – 7/10

From Here To Eternity – Another movie watched for my Best Picture Project! I’m on a roll! This was also good but not nearly as good as Gandhi. I of course have wanted to see this for years because of that kiss on the beach scene up there. It’s one of those scenes where, unfortunately, it’s not as romantic as I was expecting. In fact, the guy is sort of a jerk in the scene (but I know this was set during WWII and women were treated differently then – I don’t judge old movies based on modern values). Anyway, that’s now three Deborah Kerr movies I’ve watched this year so I’m on a roll with her too! I preferred the others, Black Narcissus & The Innocents, but she was really good in all of these & I’m amazed I’d seen her in so little before now. Everyone was good in this & I was surprised to see Donna Reed as she’s so linked to It’s A Wonderful Life for me. But I was most surprised to like Frank Sinatra’s character the most as I wasn’t really a fan of him as a person. But his character was a strong one & I thought he was really good in this. It’s a good film & probably worthy of its Best Picture Oscar but it’s not going to be a favorite of mine of all the winners. Here’s what it beat: Julius Caesar, The Robe, Roman Holiday & Shane. I’ve only seen the latter two but I’d say the three I’ve seen are equally good. – 7/10

Raya And The Last Dragon – Managed to review this in full at the link. I enjoyed this. I’m always excited for a new animated Disney film but this didn’t quite live up to other recent ones such as Moana. Still a fun film, though, and Raya as a character is a good addition to all the other strong female Disney characters. – 7/10

One Cut Of The Dead (カメラを止めるな!, Kamera o Tomeru na!) – This was fun! I found it weirdly…. Wholesome? Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility, when they are attacked by real zombies.” This is a Japanese horror comedy (or, I guess, a ZomCom) & it’s one where you’re better off not knowing too much before watching it. It also gets better as it goes along so stick with it – I really enjoyed the final act of this movie when it all comes together. The characters were good & I liked the family of three who are involved in the film (especially the mother who goes a little overboard). And it’s not at all “gory” so is worth a watch if you want a lighthearted ZomCom. This was on Film4 in the U.K. but, sadly, I think it has disappeared by now. Sorry! I should review movies while they’re still available to watch. – 7/10

Misbehaviour – I really enjoyed this film based on an interesting true story despite my weird hatred for Keira Knightley (her acting bothers me yet I seem to watch all her damn movies?!). I’ve already reviewed it in full so here’s the very basic IMDb synopsis: “A group of women hatch a plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London.” Recommended if you want to watch some women try to bring down the patriarchy & all that. – 7/10

Timecop – This is now the second Jean-Claude Van Damme film I’ve ever watched after seeing Bloodsport a couple of months ago. Goddamn, that movie was FUN! I liked it so much I gave it a full-length review HERE. It was cheesy & cliché & just the right amount of ridiculous to make it into that “so bad it’s good” category (like my beloved Road House!). Timecop, unfortunately, was not nearly as much fun but I did still quite enjoy it and also give it a full review at the link. I’m totally going to watch more Van Damme movies because I want to see how many different ways he can do those sexy splits. – 6.5/10

Shoplifters Of The World – I reviewed this as well. I liked the idea behind it but the way they shoved The Smiths & quotes from their songs very awkwardly into this story as much as possible sadly felt too forced. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia: “Set in Denver, four friends reel from the sudden break up of The Smiths, while the local radio station is held at gunpoint by a fan, forcing a disgruntled heavy metal DJ to play The Smiths all night.” Yeah, that’s a great idea and could’ve been a great movie if done right. I still enjoyed it, though, and liked hearing all The Smiths songs in it. But for a movie that better incorporated a band’s music into an interesting story, I far preferred Yesterday with all of The Beatles music. – 6.5/10

Kajillionaire – As I said recently in my Butt Boy review, I like weird movies. This is mainly because I watch so many films that it’s nice to see ones that aren’t so predictable for a change. But the weird movies are rarely good movies & some are just plain bad. I’m not sure how I feel about this weird one about a family of three who try to get through life by engaging in small crimes. It’s not bad but I found it a bit of a chore to sit through and it wasn’t weird enough to keep me truly interested. Evan Rachel Wood was interesting as the very awkward daughter & I liked her relationship with Gina Rodriguez who befriends her & joins the family in their petty crimes. They were fun but the parents were hateful. It’s an awkward film and the tone was all over the place. It’s a hard one to describe. I did enjoy watching something so different & unpredictable, though. Glad I watched it but I wouldn’t watch it again. – 6.5/10

Poms – I liked this! It was a bit dumb but fun. I’ve noticed I’m liking movies about old women more & more lately and I realised it’s probably because I’m getting soooo old & that’s depressing. But I’ve loved The Golden Girls since a young age so maybe I just like fun female friendships. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Poms is a 2019 American comedy film directed by Zara Hayes, starring Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Celia Weston, Alisha Boe, Phyllis Somerville, Charlie Tahan, Bruce McGill, and Rhea Perlman. The film follows a group of women from a retirement community who decide to start a cheerleading squad.” As you can see it has an impressive cast & I especially enjoyed the friendship between Diane Keaton & Jacki Weaver. The movie is a bit silly & slightly far-fetched at times but it’s a nice story about friendship & living your life. – 6.5/10

When A Stranger Calls – I’d been wanting to see this 1979 horror classic for years! “Have you checked the children?” Such a famous line & I think every teen in the ’80s knew where those calls were coming from even if we hadn’t seen this movie. And, yeah, the beginning of this movie is GREAT. The beginning, as a short story on its own, is a classic. I have a feeling that the beginning bit is all that anyone truly remembers because, man, this one falls apart in the middle. It kind of completely goes in a different direction & we don’t see Carol Kane again until the very end when it finally picks up slightly again. So I’m glad I finally watched this but it felt like I’d already seen it since I knew all about the beginning. Didn’t realize there would be so little of that good stuff & then the rest of the movie would drag. But I’m still giving it an extra half a point for having such a well known & often spoofed beginning. – 6.5/10

Saint Maud – Watched this British psychological horror as so many went on about it but it’s one of those films being raved over for the performance. And I agree that Morfydd Clark was very good so this was worth watching for that. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The story follows hospice nurse Maud (portrayed by Morfydd Clark), a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, who becomes obsessed with a former dancer in her care (Jennifer Ehle), believing she must save her soul.” The movie is fine but does drag a bit. I did like the slowly building tension, though, and thought the ending was good. Not one I’d watch again but am glad I checked out. I recommend it only if you like the more serious type of horrors with good acting. Oh! And was I going crazy or did her face do a weird Soundgarden Black Hole Sun video thing a couple of times when she was having one of her God orgasms?? That was kind of freaky fun. – 6.5/10

Martha Marcy May Marlene – This was okay but not really my sort of thing. I think I put it on as I’m always a little fascinated by cults. As in, I don’t understand how people end up in them. I barely like people as it is so why would I want to live with a bunch of weirdos and have to farm & cook & clean for the rapey men?? I wouldn’t say this film is a good exploration of cults & the thinking involved as you really get NO backstory on how Elizabeth Olsen’s character ended up in this cult or why she chose to stay or even why she chose to leave. I guess it’s a character study film & is more about the performances, which were fine. I suppose it’s a hard topic to explore, though, as I think it’s quite a hard thing for most people to understand. Well, as I said the performances were fine & Elizabeth Olsen gets naked a lot if you want to see that. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “The plot focuses on a young woman suffering from delusions and paranoia after returning to her family from an abusive cult in the Catskill Mountains.” – 6.5/10

Luca – This movie was very sweet & the characters were likeable and I don’t feel right saying anything bad about it as it was so wholesome. But I mostly just found it boring. Unfortunately, it’s just not up to Pixar standards (but those standards are very high). – 6/10

Antebellum – This was… Okay? I really like Janelle Monáe & she was the main reason I watched this so I wish it had been a better film for her. I think the idea for the story was good enough but the execution was pretty terrible. And Jena Malone was awful – I seem to always really dislike her acting (especially after she screwed the dead person in that stupid The Neon Demon pile of shit). I think her performance, as well as that of all the one-dimensional “baddies”, really hurt this movie. But more than anything, I think the big twist being SUCH a huge rip-off of a well known director’s movie really didn’t help (don’t want to name the director but you’ll know exactly what movie I mean if you watch this). It just made me think of how well the other director pulled off that twist & that it was a much better film than this one. Disappointing. – 6/10

Documentaries, Shorts & Miscellaneous

Concert Film:

Stop Making Sense – I don’t really know what to say about a concert film. Weirdly, as a huge lover of movies as well as music, I for some reason never really watch any concerts. But I love the Talking Heads and this has had such great reviews that I decided to check it out since it’s now on Amazon Prime U.K. Yep – it’s great! David Byrne especially is so damn talented & I’ll always love that brilliant voice of his. It’s fantastic how it starts out so stripped down with only Byrne onstage then continues to build & build. I loved it but, hey, you have to love the band to love the concert, right? I’d definitely recommend this but only to Talking Heads fans or to those who maybe don’t know their stuff but want to check it out (makes me sad to type that but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m super old & some readers may not have even heard of the Talking Heads). Hey, my preteen loves them! Especially Psycho Killer. Hmm. Does that make me a good or a bad parent?! (I think it makes me cool). 🙂 – 8/10

Shorts:

Us Again – Enjoyed this lovely short on Disney Plus (which I think was meant to be the one before Raya And The Last Dragon?). Could very much relate to the feeling of being old & not living life to its fullest. Also a nice love story in this one. Very sweet.

Launchpad Shorts On Disney Plus:

Watched this new series on Disney Plus as well. All good & worth a quick watch. I won’t go into the details of each but I’ll rank them starting with my favorite. The two kids were so cute in The Little Prince(ss)…

The Little Prince(ss)
American Eid
The Last of the Chupacabras
Growing Fangs
Let’s Be Tigers
Dinner Is Served

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN JUNE

BOOKS READ

The Running Man by Stephen King – Finally finished re-reading The Bachman Books collection. The Long Walk is still easily my favorite, Rage is okay, and Roadwork is a bit crap. The Running Man is my second favorite of the four. I think it’s a good story & am looking forward to the new film adaptation from Edgar Wright (if that’s still happening??). But I did also really like the Schwarzenegger film which, if I remember, was nothing whatsoever like the book anyway?! Need to rewatch that now to refresh my memory of that too. What can I say? I like dystopian future stories and I liked this world where people have to “play for their lives” on game shows. I didn’t find this story very far-fetched when I first read it over 20 years ago & I find it even more plausible now. The ending is maybe a little silly but, whatever – it’s Stephen King! Who cares. I’m a fan. I feel like I’ve read only Stephen King books in 2021, though. Hmm. Oh well – libraries have been closed thanks to the pandemic & I mainly only buy King’s stuff these days so it’s pretty much all I have to read in the house. 🙂 – 3.5/5

Later by Stephen King – Stephen King again! This is the third of his in this Hard Case Crime series & I’ve enjoyed them all. They’re much shorter & “lighter” reads than his huge horror tomes. This is probably my least favorite of the three, but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s about a kid who sees dead people (yeah, kind of like in The Sixth Sense but not really & they do reference that film in this). It’s a solid ghost story with a likeable kid. It’s possibly a little forgettable but it’s a quick & fun read. My favorite in this series is still Joyland, which I loved, and second is The Colorado Kid which felt very different from King’s “horror” stories. Maybe I should check out some of the many non-King books in this series?? – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Keeping what I say very short!!

Loki: S1 E1-4 – Enjoying this!! Liking it FAR more than The Falcon & The Winter Soldier but still prefer WandaVision.

Children Of The Stones: S1 E4 – Still liking this & wish the hubby would make the time to finish it with me!!! I reviewed what I’ve seen so far HERE if you’re wondering what the heck this is.

My Name Is Earl: S2 E5-9 – Still funny!

Grey’s Anatomy: S17 E10-13 – Still annoying!

The Masked Dancer U.K. – This was a bit stupid & I can’t for the life of me remember who won.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Need to watch fewer movies (not my choice!) but plan to be back in August with a post of what I watched in July.

I always end with music I liked in a movie I watched. Screw The Smiths – I have to go with something from Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense! BUT, I just have to go with this Kermit The Frog version of one of my all-time favorite songs: Once In A Lifetime…

Watched, Read, Reviewed: April 2021

Happy May! I watched way too many movies in April. I actually managed to review some, too! I’ll post the links to those & discuss the rest below. Here’s a quick list of everything I watched & read:

Promising Young Woman, Spontaneous, Swallow, Bloodsport, Battleship Potemkin, The Innocents (1961), Audition, Sound Of Metal, Cat People, House On Haunted Hill, Love And Monsters, Splinter, Palm Springs, Bad Girls, The Fundamentals Of Caring, Run, Teen Spirit, The House Of Tomorrow, Thunder Force, My Octopus Teacher, Pick Of The Litter, Tell Me Who I Am, The Sound Of Music, Cast Away, The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things, An American Tail, Gregory’s Girl, Happy Gilmore, The Present, A Love Song for Latasha, Two Distant Strangers, Dollar Babies Stephen King Shorts & the book Roadwork by Stephen King

MOVIES WATCHED IN APRIL (ranked best to worst):

Promising Young Woman – I managed to review this in time for the Oscars. I really liked this one. Full review in the link. – 8/10

Spontaneous – Also reviewed in the link. I loved this movie! Darkly funny & deeply upsetting with great performances from its two leads. – 8/10

Swallow – Another one I reviewed. It’s very disturbing but also a very beautiful looking film. I liked this one quite a lot but would be reluctant to recommend it (it’s about a woman who swallows dangerous objects). Along with the two above this, I’d say it’s one of my favorites I’ve watched this year. Full review in the title link and one more image below to show the look of this movie. – 8/10

Bloodsport – Reviewed this as well because I had so much fun watching it and seeing Jean-Claude Van Damme doing painful looking splits through the whole thing. It’s a terrible movie but I tried to explain in my review why I’ve ranked it above things such as the next two movies, which are classics & obviously much better films. But this one was more fun! Here’s a picture of him doing those splits… – 7.5/10

Battleship Potemkin – Watched this for my IMDb Top 250 Project. Think I’d been avoiding this as I thought it was a war movie but was intrigued when I realised it was a silent film from 1925. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel’s officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Mutiny! I like a good mutiny! I’m so glad I gave this a go. It’s a fantastic film. It’s one of those old films that’s just as relevant today. It has police brutality & people fighting back against unfair treatment. It’s surprisingly brutal for the time and a powerful film. It also has the above scene which I assume inspired a similar scene in The Untouchables (another brilliant film). I recommend this one, which is still on U.K. Prime. It’s also very short, not that it should matter, but it was easy to squeeze in a 75 minute film. I should also point out that the movie is based on the real Potemkin battleship. According to Wikipedia (if you want to read more about it): “The Russian battleship Potemkin became famous when the crew rebelled against the officers in June 1905 (during that year’s revolution), which is now viewed as a first step towards the Russian Revolution of 1917.” – 7.5/10

The Innocents (1961) – I’d been wanting to see this for years. It’s one of many adaptations of the famous 1898 story The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I’ve not read the story, although I really want to now, and I had somehow managed to completely avoid having it spoiled for me in all this time. I had an idea in my mind of what it would be about and I was way off!

This sort of story is so my kind of thing. I love supernatural and I love creepy and I especially love creepy kids (and they’re always extra creepy in old movies). Here’s the very simple IMDb synopsis: “A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.” I should say that I watched this live on Talking Pictures TV (U.K.). They have a really interesting selection of old films so I recommend checking out their schedule or following them on Twitter (thanks to the hubby for telling me about the channel!).

I don’t really know what to say about this one. For one thing, I want to stay spoiler free for anyone who’s interested in watching this. Secondly, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s a great film. It’s eerie, I loved the scary kids and not knowing what was going on, and Deborah Kerr was very good (that’s two movies I’ve seen her in this year, the other being the beautiful Black Narcissus). I want to read the story now as there’s some psychological stuff going on here and I’d like to see how it’s presented in the novella. This being an old British film, there’s some f*^ked up sexual repression going on here (old British films are the best at that). I think the story can be interpreted in different ways and I’m still thinking about the ending and its meaning. It’s probably why this story remains so popular and is still being adapted to this day (the latest being Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor). I’d watch this one again as I missed some of it (the joy of having to watch live TV! First world problems, I know). – 7.5/10

Sound Of Metal – Also reviewed this in full at the link. Good film & performances. – 7/10

Cat People – I’m loving all the classics on BBC iPlayer, especially old classic horror like this & the one below as I shamefully haven’t explored pre-1970 horror much (besides Alfred Hitchcock). This is a great story & I suppose a bit saucy for its time (1942). Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland’s fables if they are intimate together.” I did actually see the 1982 Cat People with Nastassja Kinski years ago but don’t remember a thing now other than I think it was a lot more “sexy” (obviously). Anyway, the girl in this is great (actress Simone Simon playing Serbian immigrant Irena) and I enjoyed the story and there was some cool creepy stuff going on with a panther stalking people (IS it a panther or is it actually Irena? Hmm!). Guess I should watch the sequel, The Curse Of The Cat People, sometime soon. – 7/10

House On Haunted Hill – I have another shameful confession to make: I’m not sure if I’ve seen an old Vincent Price movie before? I may have many years ago but too long ago to remember now. Which is odd, as I loved scary & creepy stories from a young age (my two favorite TV shows as a kid were the Alfred Hitchcock TV show & The Twilight Zone). But I missed out on these sort of films on TV as a kid, I guess. Being my age, Vincent Price to me is the cool voice from Michael Jackson’s Thriller & the awesome inventor in Edward Scissorhands (adore that film). Anyway, to show my age even more, the main reason I’ve wanted to see this for years is because I knew it was the movie the horror-loving character in my favorite Amazing Stories episode was playing on his TV. That was called Go To The Head Of The Class, FYI, and it RULES. It’s a short horror comedy starring Christopher Lloyd & Mary Stuart Masterson (I reviewed it very briefly HERE). I always assumed I’d had the ending of this movie ruined for me but it turned out the scene they used in Amazing Stories wasn’t the ending (phew). It’s a fun story with a lot of twists and back stabbing and you don’t know who can be trusted & what’s going on. Good stuff. I’d happily take recommendations of other old horrors to watch (I’ve always been curious about Hammer Horror films as well…). – 7/10

Audition (オーディション & Ōdishon) – Well, this was fucked up. To be fair, I knew it was going to be fucked up (it’s why I’ve wanted to see it for years). So I grabbed the DVD a few months ago when I saw it very cheap. I’d say it didn’t quite live up to the hype after all this time but I suppose there’s been more “extreme” stuff since this one (I was surprised it’s a 1999 film as I thought it was a bit more recent). I mean, we’ve since had films like Oldboy which was much more shocking. I absolutely hated Oldboy, by the way – it took things way too far and I found it disgusting but I do realise that it was made for shock value. I wanted to see Audition as I love foreign films & especially love Japanese films and I always like a good horror.

I’d say the movie starts out quite well as we watch this widower go about living his life with his likeable teenage son until a friend of his has the idea to set up a fake movie audition so the widower can interview a bunch of unsuspecting young women to see if any could be a potential new wife. Of course they’re all half his age. I’m always uncomfortable with hints of sexual abuse involving children in movies and wasn’t surprised to find that be a part of this as there needs to be some sort of explanation for a woman ending up being a complete psycho in a film. But does there? Does that always have to be the damn reason? Can we not just be CRAZY for no good reason, dammit?!

Anyway. It’s a good movie & I can see why extreme horror lovers like it as, even though it starts out as a pretty straightforward film, it goes batshit crazy at the end. I do like movies that have a sudden shift like that. But I didn’t like the development of the woman’s character in this. Well, I didn’t feel her character was very developed at all. Why is she doing this, besides the sexual abuse she endured which the movie happily hinted at? For some reason I’d heard this was a feminist film but I’d say it’s the opposite? Plus, the main guy isn’t a bad guy – he’s just lonely since his wife’s death and it was his friend’s idea to set up the fake audition anyway. And god I was SO worried about their adorable dog the whole time.

This review is all over the place… I’m not really sure how I felt. As I said, I think it’s a good film (as in well made) so I’m giving it a decent rating. I did really like elements of it but was disappointed overall as it’s not as good as the hype made it out to be. I’ve not seen any other Takashi Miike films but would possibly watch another based on this. First Love is on Sky & I’m curious about that one. Anyone seen it? – 7/10

Love And Monsters – This was a lot of fun but I weirdly have very little to say about it. Don’t know why. It’s a fun idea and the main character is sweet & likeable and OH MY GOD I loved the cute dog in it and there’s a fun robot and I LOVE robots (and cute dogs!) and there are funny big monsters and there’s honestly nothing to not like about this one. It also feels very original, which I can say about very few films these days. It’s a fun family film (well, not for really young kids but fine for slightly older ones). But I didn’t quite connect with it when I thought I’d really love it. I liked it. It’s good. Maybe I just need to watch it again sometime… Cool Robot above, Cute Dog below! – 7/10

Splinter – Was recommended this one (thanks, Film Miasma!). Didn’t really know anything about it but think I may have avoided it at the time as the poster looked so nasty and I’m a wuss with really gross stuff. Well, it is pretty gross to be fair. But it’s kind of borderline body horror gross in that sort of fake-looking way that I like from old Cronenberg movies so I was fine with this. The characters are also strong, which is important to me (especially as horror movie characters are so often rubbish & hateful). We even have a baddie who ends up not being such a baddie after all & I liked that. And the girl is pretty kick ass. It’s also mostly set in one place while they’re trapped in a gas station by this weird, um, parasite thing and I’m always impressed with movies that manage to stay interesting in pretty much just one location. Here’s the IMDb synopsis if you’re interested: “Trapped in an isolated gas station by a voracious Splinter parasite that transforms its still-living victims into deadly hosts, a young couple and an escaped convict must find a way to work together to survive this primal terror.” – 6.5/10

Bad Girls – How did I never see a Drew Barrymore movie?! I watch all her movies! We grew up together. She’s my buddy! Mary Stuart Masterson is in this as well & I love her too so I immediately watched this when it showed up on Disney Star. I’m being very kind with my rating as this movie admittedly isn’t the greatest. But I liked having four female lead characters trying to escape evil men in the Old West. Drew is the sexy one & Madeline Stowe is the badass smart one & Andie MacDowell is the girly one and Mary Stuart Masterson is the nice one. And there are two nice guys but the rest are a bunch of rapists and of course the four women were all prostitutes since that’s all women were allowed to be in the Old West (according to movies, anyway – I don’t know if that’s true?!). Anyway, it’s a fun but dumb movie and of course a bit dated now. I wasn’t that thrilled at the ending (not the very end but just before that). I wanted them to get more revenge. – 6.5/10

Palm Springs – This is one of those movies that all of Film Twitter was going on about & saying it was one of the best films of 2020 & I was just completely underwhelmed when I finally saw it. It’s good but I’ve certainly seen better. It’s yet another take on the Groundhog Day idea of living the same day over & over again. Which is fine as, actually, some of the movies using this idea have been quite good. Edge Of Tomorrow is great. Another movie, called The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things, just came out this year & was far more enjoyable than Palm Springs (in my opinion). Hell, I think I even enjoyed Before I Fall more and that was pretty cheesy. Then of course there’s Happy Death Day & its sequel which are fun but won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (my hubby hated those). Palm Springs is probably a bit better than those two but I just found the two lead characters stuck in this “same day” to be too self-absorbed & unlikeable. I didn’t really give a shit if they would ever escape their predicament as I didn’t care about them. The best thing about the movie was J.K. Simmons & I ended up caring much more about his character. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just too picky lately. The movie is fun and still manages to have (yet another) fairly unique twist on this same idea. Watch it if you like Andy Samberg, I guess (maybe I don’t). – 6.5/10

The Fundamentals Of Caring – This was fine. One of those fun “buddy” road trip movies that’s perfectly pleasant to watch but you’ll probably forget all about it in a year. Who doesn’t love Paul Rudd, though? He’s adorable. He’s hired to be the caregiver for the character played by Craig Roberts and Selena Gomez joins them on their journey to go see a big cow. Or something like that. See? I’ve already forgotten. – 6.5/10

Run – This one was “fine” as well. Man I’m bored with movies that are just “okay”! But I do love a good ’90s-style thriller and do love a CRAZY MOM (Margaret White is the best!). So I did enjoy this movie despite it not being very good. Actually, I should move it up a couple places as I probably enjoyed it more than the previous two movies but, nah, I’m too lazy and it doesn’t deserve it anyway. The young girl, Kiera Allen, was good but Sarah Paulson was a bit silly. I liked the story and the couple of twists at the end were fun. Okay, I’ve kind of talked myself into liking this one. Wish it was a better film overall. – 6/10

Teen Spirit – This was boring. It looked like a fun “teen talent search” movie so I watched it with my daughter but we ended up barely paying attention. Elle Fanning was fine but seemed very miscast. The director is Max Minghella so it’s probably hard to try to live up to his father Anthony Minghella’s reputation (I preferred Teen Spirit to that boring ass The English Patient movie, though! Hahaha!). This had some fun pop songs in it, at least. But, like, worse versions of those songs since they were sung by worse singers. It had a Grimes song too (sung by Grimes)! It’s funny – I absolutely loved two songs by Grimes on her 2012 album (the songs Oblivion and Genesis, which I wrote about HERE). Now they’re suddenly sticking those two songs in teen movies all the time lately since her weird Elon Musk relationship. Well, it’s one of those two songs again but I can’t remember which one. Also, I know this movie is set in the U.K. (well, Isle Of Wight to be precise) and I know we have no sun in the U.K. but, holy shit, why was this movie so dark?! Couldn’t see a damn thing! Whatever. This movie wasn’t bad just meh. Have to say I far preferred a quirky little film I saw recently starring Max Minghella (Elvis And Anabelle with Blake Lively). – 6/10

The House Of Tomorrow – This was even more boring. Don’t know why exactly, as it had some pretty big names & talent in it. I, again, just didn’t care all that much for the characters and the friend the main boy makes plus his sister are kind of assholes. Here’s the Wikipedia plot synopsis that talked me into watching this because it sounded really cool: “The film tells futurist, architect, and inventor R. Buckminster Fuller’s incredible story through two teens hoping to get laid, become punk gods, and survive high school.” I wanted way more punk music than we got in this movie. – 6/10

Thunder Force – Yeah… This was bad. Really bad. But I expected it to be bad, so, there you go. I dunno. I got a couple laughs out of this as there were some jokes totally aimed at ’80s kids (like, totally). No young people will have laughed at those jokes, I guess. And I kind of liked Jason Bateman having, um, crab arms for whatever reason I missed since I wasn’t paying much attention. Crab arms. Why?! Who knows! – 4.5/10

Documentaries, Shorts & Miscellaneous:

Documentaries:

My Octopus Teacher – Reviewed in full at the link. I loved this little octopus! – 7.5/10

Pick Of The Litter – This is a documentary following a litter of five puppies as they grow up and are trained to become guide dogs. This was fascinating as I’ve often wondered how they go about training dogs for such an important job. I didn’t realise that quite a few don’t actually pass the tests to become guide dogs. Watched this with my daughter & we loved it. We were really rooting for each of the dogs to pass all the tests! You get to know each of the dogs & their personalities so that was great. And it was so heartwarming when they decided what to do with one of the dogs who failed (I just about cried! I never do that). Plus, of course, these dogs were adorable and I was totally in love with all of them. Gotta add one more picture of one of these cuties! – 7/10

Tell Me Who I Am – Not gonna lie, I really have to force myself to watch documentaries and would rather just watch a film instead. I especially struggle to watch depressing documentaries: Watching cute puppies is more my speed. But I was intrigued by this IMDb synopsis: “After losing his memory in an accident, Alex Lewis trusts his twin brother, Marcus, to tell him about his past only to discover that he’s hiding a dark secret about their childhood.” Well, it wasn’t going to be a nice secret, was it, or else he wouldn’t have kept it from his brother for years. And it IS horrible and it’s a hard watch. The most interesting thing to me was wondering whether the brother who knew the truth did the right thing or not to keep it hidden. I honestly don’t know. I can see why he did it, but… I don’t know. It probably wasn’t the right thing to do. A very difficult situation for everyone involved. – 6.5/10

Shorts:

Saw loads of short films in April. First, I did very brief reviews of these three as they were nominated for Oscars:

The Present
A Love Song for Latasha
Two Distant Strangers

Stephen King Shorts:

Then there was a great online film festival in April put on by Barker Street Cinema (Twitter account HERE). Over three nights, they aired loads of Stephen King short films, called the “Dollar Babies”. These are the short stories Stephen King lets students and aspiring filmmakers have the rights to for just one dollar. I think that’s such a great idea and it was cool seeing a bunch of adaptations as I absolutely love King’s short stories. I’m just heartbroken they could only be aired that one time & they were on American time so I only caught the first ones each night as I couldn’t stay up all night long. I did manage to watch those listed below. They were all good (but you know I love ranking things so I’ve at least ranked them even though I’ve not reviewed them). My favorite was Red Clark’s Gray Matter from 2017. And I loved seeing the oldest Dollar Baby, The Last Rung On The Ladder from 1987, as that’s an all-time favorite King story of mine (and not a horror, just a sad story). You can read the tweets about each short film on the Stephen King Rules Twitter account HERE. (Oh, and I ranked all the King books I’ve read HERE if you’re interested.)

The Dollar Baby Shorts I Saw:

Gray Matter
The Last Rung On The Ladder
The Doctor’s Case
Dedication
The Boogeyman
L.T.’s Theory Of Pets
All That You Love Will Be Carried Away
My Pretty Pony
One For The Road
Paranoid

And finally, thanks to Emma at emmakwall (explains it all) for posting about this freaky short on YouTube called Curve (the image I posted at the top of this Shorts section). It’s about a woman who wakes up on a slippery curved wall over a black hole we can’t see the bottom of & it’s scary as hell. You can watch it HERE.

Movies Rewatched In April:

The Sound Of Music – Rewatched this with the kid one lazy weekend afternoon as we both love this film. What can I say about it? I think this movie is perfection & easily my favorite musical along with The Wizard Of Oz. LOVE IT. – 10/10

Cast Away – Enjoyed rewatching this as I’d not seen it since going to it when it was released in 2000. I actually liked it even more this time around. Think I could identify more with Tom Hanks & his relationship with Helen Hunt now that I’m 20 years older. Could really feel the heartbreak at the end. – 7.5/10

The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things – This is a 2021 film that I really liked. I wouldn’t normally rewatch something so soon but I rewatched it with my daughter as I thought she’d really like it too (she did). I think this is quite a good movie & a better twist on the “Groundhog Day” idea than Palm Springs was as the characters were far more likeable in this one. My full review is in the link. – 7.5/10

An American Tail – Hadn’t seen this in years but remember thinking that Fievel was adorable and have always loved the Somewhere Out There song (the version sung by the cute mice, not the boring radio version by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram). Nothing has changed. Fievel is still adorable & I still love that song. And now my daughter does too. The movie is good but it’s those two things that really stand out. Here he is singing it below – He’s so cute! – 7/10

Gregory’s Girl – This is a fun Scottish teen movie from 1980. Yeah, it’s very Scottish so you might struggle with the accents if you’re American (I did okay, though!). Obviously, it’s not one I grew up with as I only saw it after moving to the U.K. but I know it’s one that British people have fond memories of. It probably helps that it starts out with naked breasts. Besides that start, though, it’s actually quite a sweet movie about a boy with a crush. I’ll also point out that Clare Grogan from the band Altered Images is in this (I’ve always liked the Happy Birthday song & I Could Be Happy). Oh, and the director (Bill Forsyth) also did the very enjoyable Scottish film Local Hero that I could really do with rewatching as well. – 7/10

Happy Gilmore – I’ve said it plenty on this blog: I have no problem with Adam Sandler. I know it’s “uncool” to like him but I really like several of his movies (and admit that plenty do suck, yes). This one is okay – it’s somewhere in the middle of all those I’ve seen (I ranked his movies in that link). It’s not brilliant like The Wedding Singer but it’s got some funny moments. And Carl Weathers is in it! So that’s cool. – 6.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN APRIL

BOOKS READ

Roadwork by Stephen King (as Richard Bachman) – I’m re-reading the four stories in the original The Bachman Books as it’s been over 20 years since I read them. I remembered loving The Long Walk & liking The Running Man a lot but didn’t remember a thing about the other two. Well, I reviewed The Long Walk & Rage HERE last month.

I can see why I didn’t remember Roadwork as it’s not one of King’s more memorable stories. It’s about a guy who goes off the deep end when a new road being built means both his house & his company will be torn down. I’ll be honest – I haven’t quite finished reading it but I’m almost done & am gonna just review it anyway. I think the story is far longer than it needed to be. It does drag on & I’ve not been eager to pick it up & keep reading, which is why it’s taken me over a month to read a novella. While the reader does have some sympathy for the guy, especially as he had a tragedy in his past, he’s really hard to fully sympathise with overall (especially as he doesn’t care at all about ruining his wife’s life along with his). The story is okay, I guess. I always enjoy reading King’s writing but this certainly isn’t a favorite. – 2.5/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Children Of The Stones: Episodes 1-3 – This is a 1977 British TV mini-series available on YouTube. It’s about a small town with a mysterious stone circle which may be making the town’s residents a little crazy. Or something like that. I don’t know – I’ve only watched 3 of the 7 episodes so far but something weird is going on & I love weird. The people living in the town are acting like The Stepford Children at the moment and a father & son new to the town are wondering what the hell is going on. Strange race of people! No one knows who they were or what they were doing! And there’s this eerie painting of people dancing around the stones & great creepy-ass singing & chanting going on in the episodes. I’m enjoying it so far as this is SO my kind of thing. I love the supernatural & stuff like The Wicker Man & Stonehenge (which I made my hubby take me to a few times after moving to the U.K.). That might be partly to do with loving the Spinal Tap Stonehenge song too… (Oh, I’m totally going to add that song to the end of this post!).

If this sounds like your kind of thing too, it’s worth checking it out on YouTube. Here’s a bit from the Wikipedia page about it to maybe further convince you: “The series is today considered a landmark in quality children’s drama and has been called “the scariest programme ever made for children”. The series follows the adventures of astrophysicist Adam Brake and his teenage son Matthew after they arrive in the small village of Milbury, which is built in the midst of a megalithic stone circle.

It’s a real place, too (Avebury, Wiltshire). So I might have to go check it out & pretend I’m living in ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history

My Name Is Earl: S1 Episodes 1-13 – Finished watching all of Raising Hope on Disney Plus, which the kid loved, so talked her into watching My Name Is Earl next as it’s from the same guy. She’s loving this too. I was a big fan when it was on but, for whatever reason, missed the last season or so. I’m really enjoying rewatching this as I think it’s a really funny show (and Randy cracks me up). The humor is a little iffy so I’m not sure how this & Raising Hope haven’t been “cancelled” yet. So we better binge these while we can!

Grey’s Anatomy: S17 Episodes 1-5 – They FINALLY started showing the latest season here in April. God I hate myself for watching this show but I can’t stop now after spending 17 years on it!!! This season is about f*^king Covid. Thanks for the escapism, Grey’s Anatomy!!! Sheesh.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier: S1 Episode 4 – I’m sorry, I can’t get into this show at all. I’m not a huge Marvel fan but like everything well enough & have watched all the MCU films. But, after WandaVision being so fun & different, this show is a big disappointment. Also, I don’t remember now but I THINK episode 4 was the one that ended so violently?? Like, wow – that was very violent for something available to kids on Disney Plus. Well, I’ll watch the final two episodes eventually but it’s obvious I’m in no hurry. Always watched WandaVision ASAP…

Dinosaurs: The kid is watching this on Disney Plus. I tried to watch a couple of episodes. I wasn’t into the show back in the ’90s & I can see why. As my hubby pointed out, you’re better off watching short clips of the show’s funniest bits. It’s why the kid wanted to watch this, as she liked clips of the baby. Full episodes feel very long…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Well, I watched too much in April & it took forever to do this post & now I’m stressed out. I’ll slow down on the movie-watching (a little!) as I suppose I need to start mentally & physically preparing myself to re-join society in a month or two (do I have to?!). But I’m not off to a good start as I’ve already watched 6 movies in the first 3 days of May. Oops. Well, this is what I’ve watched if you’re interested. Maybe I should try to post full reviews of some of these through the month…

The Invisible Man (2020) – 7.5/10
The Hunt (2020) – 7.5/10
Happiest Season – 7/10
The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – 7/10
Good Boys – 6.5/10

The Crow – 9/10 (Rewatched this for the first time in years & I still love it).

And now I’ll end this post with Stonehenge by Spinal Tap since I keep thinking of it while watching Children Of The Stones.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: March 2021

Happy April! Hope everyone had a nice Easter. Here’s my monthly roundup of all I watched & read in March. As there was so much, here’s a list of everything I’m reviewing. So you can decide now if you can be bothered to scroll through all my blathering below… 🙂

Moxie, Elvis And Anabelle, Papillon, Annie Hall, Mank, Toys, Skate Kitchen, His House, Flipped, Coming 2 America, She Dies Tomorrow, Yes Day, The Hustle, Unfriended, Edge Of Tomorrow, Big Hero 6, Krush Groove, Can’t Buy Me Love, Deadpool 2, 10 Things I Hate About You, Dodgeball, WandaVision, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, Ted Lasso, Battlestar Galactica, Raising Hope, The Crown, The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us, The Long Walk & Rage by Stephen King

MOVIES WATCHED IN MARCH (ranked best to worst):

Moxie – Really enjoyed this one. I’ll always like YA movies and I’ll always like “fighting back against an unfair system” movies. In this one, the girls in an American high school fight back against sexism. The main girl is inspired by her mom’s “Riot grrrl” past & by a new outspoken girl at her school who doesn’t take any shit from the main sexist jock. She starts an anonymous ‘zine she calls Moxie after getting the idea when finding old zines from her mother’s past. Several girls who’ve had enough with the sexism soon join together & start trying to make a difference.

It’s sad to know American high schools are still like this? I remember being in high school in the late ’80s/early ’90s and the jocks in my school were exactly like the main prick in this movie. I also liked how the movie pointed out the way in which male athletes are rewarded and how female sports are completely ignored. Not that I give a shit about that as I hate sports & sucked at them all but I never understood the complete obsession with stupid male teen high school sports in small town America?! And the fact that no one ever gave a shit about the girls sports and, in my school’s case, the girls’ basketball team was far more successful than any other teams.

Obviously, I’m old now (more the age of the director & the mom in this movie, Amy Poehler). So I could relate to her but also to the daughter taking inspiration from her mother’s cool Gen X past. Let’s hear it for Gen X! I’m liking this Gen X & Gen Z (or is it Gen A??) thing. Same as with Cobra Kai – that show was loads of fun and the interactions between the two generations were great.

I think I enjoyed this movie more than I want to admit. I want to give it a slightly higher rating but think I’d not be taken seriously as a movie blogger or some shit. (As if anyone takes me seriously?!). But I still have more affection for stuff from my own generation and this reminded me again just how much I adore the film Pump Up The Volume. Watch that if you liked Moxie! This also gave me Whip It vibes. Love that too! Honestly, I just think I’ll never grow up and will always secretly want to be a riot grrrl/roller derby/pirate radio DJ chick sticking it to the man. – 7.5/10

**Decided to up the rating to 7.5…

Elvis And Anabelle – I have to thank Claire from Cinematic Delights for mentioning this one as I’d never even heard of it so would likely have never noticed it on Amazon Prime. Wonder why it’s not more well known? I always like an offbeat romance & this weird IMDb plot synopsis appealed to me: “Dying after being crowned Miss Texas Rose, Anabelle comes alive just before Elvis embalms her. He does his ailing dad’s work. Anabelle later returns to the embalmer’s farm to get away from her mom and be happy.” Macabre! I like that. It’s not creepy or anything, though. Blake Lively is lovely as always (she’s so pretty I want to barf – hubby thinks I have a girl crush on her but Drew Barrymore is my true love) and has a decent chemistry with Max Minghella in that “two lost souls finding each other” kind of way that only happens in movies. Joe Mantegna plays his father and he’s really sweet & likeable and it’s one of those movies where you just want everyone to be happy. It’s not overly soppy, though, which is great because I hate that. Have to say I really liked the ending as well. It was quite beautiful but not in a contrived sort of way. Very nice. A romance film done right. Hey, I have one to recommend if you like offbeat romances: Untamed Heart with Christian Slater. Ohh I love that one! Need to rewatch that. – 7/10

Papillon – I watched this as part of my IMDb Top 250 Challenge. As with many from the 2013 list I’m working from, this one is no longer in the Top 250. I’m not normally a fan of prison movies but some, such as The Shawshank Redemption & Escape From Alcatraz, are great. This one reminded me more of Midnight Express in that it’s GRIM but unfortunately doesn’t have an awesome Giorgio Moroder score like that one does.

I just didn’t connect with these characters. I don’t know if I missed something but… Why were they all in prison? Was Steve McQueen’s Papillon character (Henri Charrière) falsely accused? (Yes, apparently so – I just looked it up and it’s based on Charrière’s autobiography). The character development just wasn’t as good as in similar films, making it even harder to sit through the dreary realities of the horrible times Charrière & his fellow inmates had to endure in prison. McQueen & Dustin Hoffman were both very good, though, and had a good friendship along with another character I really liked named André Maturette. Together they formed an escape plot and I thought the final 20 minutes or so were very good. I’d say it’s one of those movies where you feel like you’ve gone on this terrible journey right along with the characters. I felt a bit drained by the end. It’s definitely a good film but it’s depressing and just didn’t work as well for me as the other prison films I mentioned. – 7/10

Annie Hall – I watched this one as part of both my IMDb Top 250 Challenge & Best Picture Project. Was hoping to like it despite really not liking Woody Allen. I’ve not seen enough of his movies to really judge what I think of his work yet, though (I’ve now seen three). I liked Midnight In Paris okay. I watched Manhattan a while ago as it’s also in the Top 250 and I definitely enjoyed Annie Hall more, especially as he’s not sleeping with a 17-year-old in this one. I won’t get into Allen’s life, though, as I needed to watch this for these projects so will just discuss the movie.

Diane Keaton is delightful in this but I’ve always kind of liked Keaton and her ugly trousers. Not sure if Allen’s whole neurotic humor thing works for me. Okay, I’m lying – it kind of does as I’m a bit neurotic too. I don’t hate Allen’s writing. Yes, I liked some of the humor & the conversations. Their relationship was fun to watch. I also like movies that are sooooo “New York“. I’ve never been to the city but I find it fascinating in that it’s the focus of so many movies and feels so completely foreign to me despite being American. I grew up in a tiny farming community in the Midwest so New York City is a mystery to me. I’d love to visit but, man, I’d hate to live in a big city. So I can’t fully relate to the lives of those in Allen’s films but I like that the city is just as much a character as are the actors. I liked this movie. I didn’t love it. It’s a well written rom-com & I can see why it has its fans, especially for those who can relate more than I can to these characters.

Let’s see what it beat to win Best Picture: The Goodbye Girl, Julia, Star Wars & The Turning Point. Wait… It beat A New Hope?! Okay, now I hate Annie Hall!!! (just kidding). But I obviously love Star Wars far more than Annie Hall. Wow – I’ve seen none of the other nominees. How embarrassing. – 7/10

Mank – Wank! Sorry, had to say that. I’m juvenile. No, Mank isn’t bad but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find this one pretty boring. Yes, I only watched it as it has so many Oscar nominations. My film taste is kind of all over the place. I absolutely adore some “Oscar worthy” films while I find others a complete snoozefest. I just feel bad that I’ve “reviewed” three worthy films in a row here and I was very meh about them. So I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea & think that I can’t appreciate a well made film (even if, yes, I’d rather watch something like Aliens). In fact, I’ve just now finished watching another Top 250 film I assumed I wouldn’t like at all (Battleship Potemkin). Wow – that was good!

Mank, as well as the film it’s about making (I wrote a rubbish review of Citizen Kane here), just aren’t my kind of thing. As I said when trying to explain this in my Citizen Kane review, I just prefer the grand, sweeping epics that used to get nominated for Oscars. Mank is a good film. I really like Gary Oldman and he was as good here as he always is. Amanda Seyfried was also very good and I don’t like her at all. The story was interesting and, being a film lover, I do like movies that are about movies or filmmaking (such as the one I named my blog after, the brilliant Cinema Paradiso). So I enjoyed that aspect although I’d have liked to see much more of the actual filmmaking process. Did they even show Oldman writing Citizen Kane at all, for crying out loud?! Probably – I just wasn’t paying much attention. The film does pick up at the end and the final couple of scenes were very good but it felt like it took a long time to get to them. – 7/10

Toys – I can’t believe I never saw this 1992 Robin Williams film as I really like Williams (RIP). I also love the ’80s & early ’90s & don’t think there are many movies I haven’t seen from then. Being in my late teens then, I may have skipped this as the name & cover made it seem like a family movie kids would like? Oh my god, this definitely isn’t a movie aimed at kids. I don’t think? Although some kids may have liked it. I don’t know who the hell this movie is aimed at?! It’s weird as shit. It’s also quite a terrible movie (I did wonder why it had such a low IMDb rating). But… I also kind of liked it despite thinking the story was a complete & utter mess. The movie itself has such a great look. I’m a sucker for that. If a movie looks beautiful & has a great score, I can ignore any faults (it’s what makes me love some of the Dario Argento horrors & Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns). Not that this movie is anywhere near the genius of those films but I did appreciate its atmosphere and quite liked Joan Cusack’s bizarre character. Hans Zimmer & Trevor Horn did the music for Toys and there are some catchy songs, including one at the beginning that fans of the film seem to really like. There’s also a fun sequence where Williams & Cusack make a music video that reminded me of Talking Heads & Devo videos and man I miss that era of MTV.

I just read at Wikipedia that this was nominated for Razzies as well as Oscars: “Director Barry Levinson was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Director. The film did, however, receive Oscar nominations for Art Direction and Costume Design.” Yep! I can see why. And here’s a bit about the design of it: “Italian designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti spent over one year designing the film’s sumptuous sets, which took over every sound stage at Fox Studios in Los Angeles. René Magritte’s art, particularly The Son of Man, is obvious in its influence on the set design, and in part the costume design, of the film.

So, yeah, this was a weird one. It’s mostly awful yet I can also see some people absolutely loving it (from the comments at IMDb, it definitely has fans). I think I’d have affection for this one if I’d seen it at the time. I think I may actually have some affection for it now – it’s one I think I’ve talked myself into liking more by writing about it. That happens sometimes. Would love to know other peoples’ thoughts if they’ve seen this? I do like when a movie is completely unpredictable & I definitely didn’t know what the hell was going to happen in this one. Unique films are always better than boring films. Toys is unique. – 6.5/10

Skate Kitchen – This was enjoyable but definitely not for everyone. It’s the kind of indie movie that I like, focusing on characters just living their lives. You know, one of those indie films that doesn’t really have much of a plot. If you like that kind of genre, you might like this. Here’s the Wikipedia plot synopsis: “Rachelle Vinberg stars as Camille, a teenage girl who befriends a group of female skateboarders in New York City. It is inspired by the real group of female skaters based in New York who call themselves “Skate Kitchen”, and features the group’s members playing fictionalized versions of themselves. It’s a drama so not as much fun as something like Richard Linklater’s “characters just living their lives” Dazed And Confused or similar. I guess I like at least a little comedy in this kind of movie. But I liked the friendships in this & it was nice to see a group of female skaters for a change. Ouch, though – that first scene made me glad I never tried skateboarding in my youth! – 6.5/10

His House – This was better than I was expecting. This is the Wikipedia plot synopsis, which makes it obvious what the film is really about: “The film tells the story of a refugee couple from South Sudan, struggling to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.” But I was hoping for a decent haunted house story as well as I love a good supernatural horror. I did enjoy that, although it took quite a while to get going and wasn’t as creepy or scary as I was hoping from the Netflix image of the face peeking through the hole in the wall. But then the story takes a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting at all and I liked that a lot. Movies rarely catch me off guard so I’m surprised I didn’t see that coming but I do like when a movie surprises me. The film could’ve been better overall but at least the ending made up for the slow start. I think most horror movies have terrible endings (why do they never know how to end?!) so it’s nice to see one that ends well. – 6.5/10

Flipped – This was… Nice? Safe? In other words: Boring & forgettable. I’d never heard of this but noticed it was directed by Rob Reiner, who directed so many all-time favorites of mine (Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap). Flipped certainly doesn’t live up to those, although it’s a pleasant enough “first love” movie. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Starring Callan McAuliffe, Madeline Carroll, Rebecca De Mornay, Anthony Edwards, John Mahoney, Penelope Ann Miller, Aidan Quinn, and Kevin Weisman, the film tells the story of two eighth graders who start to have feelings for each other, despite being total opposites.” Yes, that’s all it is. It’s a nice film. The girl is likeable & John Mahoney is great as the grandfather of the boy, who strikes up a lovely friendship with the young girl. – 6/10

Coming 2 America – This had some fun moments & I really liked seeing these characters together again. And James Earl Jones & Morgan Freeman & their VOICES together in one movie?! Excellent! Love them. But, man, this movie was disappointing overall and did they seriously include that Leslie Jones scene in this day & age?! They’d have gotten away with that if it had been in the 1988 film. The story (revolving around that scene, really) was just a bit lame and the comedy didn’t work the way it did in the first film. I suppose that kind of comedy is just too dated now? But I’ll always have affection for 80’s comedy so I’m not really complaining – I just imagine no one other than fans of the original would like this sequel.

As I said, though – it was good to see Eddie Murphy & so many characters from the first movie again plus we got some good new ones. Wesley Snipes was surprisingly funny and the oldest daughter of Prince Akeem was great & should have been given more screen time than the son (and the other daughters who were completely ignored). Leslie Jones was as obnoxious as always but Shari Headley looked amazing & they sang The Humpty Dance which I still love way more than I should (& is also probably inappropriate in this day & age but, whatever – I’m Gen X so not easily offended). They just needed to make this sequel much sooner – it would have worked better in the ’90s. – 5.5/10

She Dies Tomorrow – This one was a little too pretentious for my liking. Not gonna lie – I like this kind of thing sometimes. You know, the kind of films only movie bloggers like but the general public hate because they just want a movie to actually be entertaining? Who can blame them?? But I was intrigued by the plot (a woman thinks she’s gonna die tomorrow & it puts the idea into the heads of others that they’re also going to die – a really happy pandemic movie!). It’s just one of those movies where none of the characters are likeable, everyone is self-absorbed, and the story is just this meandering mess that gives us no answers. I’m not someone who expects answers in every movie, though – I just appreciate when I can at least follow the damn storyline. Like, there are bits with an old boyfriend that I didn’t realise were flashbacks (I think??). I don’t know. I didn’t know what was going on but I didn’t care. If you liked I’m Thinking Of Ending Things, you might like this one too. It’s got a similar vibe (although that one was definitely much better than this). I’ll give this movie credit for having an original idea, at least. – 5/10

Yes Day – I still like it when fun family films are made as it feels like this genre has really died off since the ’80s & ’90s. This genre is full of a lot of pretty shit films, though. Some are good & are movies that all ages can enjoy but this one doesn’t quite work for the whole family. I can see kids liking it much more than parents and the very best family films should be aimed at least a little bit at the adults as well as at the kids. It starts out okay & it’s at first fun to see the kids get their “yes day” where the parents can’t say no to anything they suggest (within reason). It results in some fun family adventures where the parents of course learn that they should make more time to just have fun. Where it falls apart in the end is when the kids go overboard and, overall, the kids were a bit too bratty to care about. I think the parents learned their lesson more than the kids did (except the older girl a bit). The movie is fine. I’m being a little harsh. It’s just quite forgettable & there are better family films out there. – 5/10

The Hustle – Ugh. This was pretty terrible. Not gonna lie: I quite like Rebel Wilson but I can absolutely understand how her comedy is definitely not for everyone. If you hate her, you’ll hate this. I got some enjoyment out of her usual ridiculous behavior but Anne Hathaway & her awful accent were hard to take. I agree with what (I think Wilson but maybe Hathaway) said about this in that female comedy doesn’t get the same respect as male comedy as I think they originally gave this a higher rating for some slightly crude humor that was no more crude than in similar male comedies that were PG. True. I do NOT love Bridesmaids but say all the time that I don’t understand The Hangover having a much higher IMDb rating when, as far as dumb comedies go, Bridesmaids is far better than that one at least. I don’t think anyone should use The Hustle in this argument, though, as it’s pretty damn bad. There are far better crude female comedies and, sorry, the male film this one is based on (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) is far superior in this case. – 5/10

Unfriended – Oh my god I HATED THIS. Almost to the point where I wish I’d never watched it. I’ll say it actually starts out okay & it was a decent idea for a film (but was done much better later on in Searching, which I really enjoyed). It’s all done via video chat, etc, so you’re looking at these twats on their screens the whole time. As with the found footage gimmick, this newer gimmick will be a “love it or hate it” for viewers but it works a bit better than you’d expect. The issue I had with the movie is that it became far too cruel & by the end I’d never wanted horror movie characters to get killed off as much as these assholes. And the final half hour was just those remaining all crying & SCREAMING into their screens and I just wanted them to shut the hell up.

I’m also extremely uncomfortable with the topic of Internet bullying. In this film, a girl kills herself after she is bullied when a very humiliating video of her is shared. It’s interesting that the film makes it clear she was a pretty terrible person herself but the point is that nobody deserves that treatment. And she killed herself over a video that the movie then shows in a very exploitative way, so it felt irresponsible that the film isn’t really at all making a point that you shouldn’t bully people so much that they commit suicide. In fact, the bullied girl is even kind of made into the villain of this story while (I think) we’re meant to feel bad for the bullies being killed off for their involvement? Not that we should be expecting a dumb teen horror movie to have a moral responsibility but the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way.

But I’m obviously from a generation where our every move wasn’t recorded & uploaded when we were teenagers. I am so thankful for that & hate that my kid is growing up in a social media world. I realise that here I am blogging to strangers and I do enjoy getting my geeky movie thoughts out into a world where there are other people with similar interests unlike anyone I know for real. But, man, I wish social media didn’t exist. I’d go back to the ’80s way of life in a heartbeat. High school was hard enough back then & I feel awful for anyone who now has to go through it during this Orwellian nightmare.

Wow, I say a lot about movies I hate! Barely said a thing about the “worthy” films in this post. I think Unfriended is now my most hated movie since starting this blog in 2012 although there are others I’ve given lower ratings. That’s because, for the throwaway slasher horror genre, this isn’t a truly bad film. The acting isn’t dreadful. And I’m not a fan of gore but, for those who are, this admittedly had some inventive kills involving household appliances. They were silly as hell and would’ve felt more appropriate in a horror comedy but at least the truly hateful characters were deserving of their dumb slasher movie deaths. – 4/10

Movies Rewatched In March:

Edge Of Tomorrow – Already reviewed this in full so don’t have to say much. Still think it’s a great sci-fi film & one of Tom Cruise’s best in years. Plus Emily Blunt’s character is fantastic. – 8/10

Big Hero 6 – This is a lovely film I’ve grown to like even more since seeing it several more times (it’s one of the kid’s favorites). Don’t need to say much as I already reviewed this too but will say again that I love Baymax. Lovable robots are the best! – 7.5/10

Krush Groove – This movie is a big guilty pleasure of mine. Here’s the Wikipedia plot synopsis: “This film is based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings and up-and-coming record producer Russell Simmons (renamed Russell Walker in the film), portrayed by Blair Underwood.” Check out this cast!: Blair Underwood, Sheila E., Run-D.M.C. & Jam Master Jay, The Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, New Edition, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Russell Simmons & Rick Rubin. The movie & story are fun but the music is great. Run-DMC are featured the most & have the most music in the film (classics such as King Of Rock, It’s Like That & Can You Rock It Like This). I also love Sheila E. performing A Love Bizarre. But my absolute favorite segment will always be The Fat Boys doing All You Can Eat. Love it. Good cheesy fun! – 7.5/10

Can’t Buy Me Love – This 1987 movie was also a huge guilty pleasure of mine in high school. Still is. I watched this so many times back then. Geeky boy pays popular girl to pretend to be his girlfriend for a while as he believes that will make him popular. FYI: Geeky boy is McDreamy Patrick Dempsey for Grey’s Anatomy fans. Honestly, I can pretty much quote this whole movie.

I think I could relate to the school in this film. My small town was one where there was only one school, so you went to school with the same people from the age of 5 right up to 18. Well, that’s not quite true – our town was so small that we combined schools with another even smaller town when I was about 11. So I made some new friends but still knew those from my own town my whole damn life. And we were all friends until the teen years when it became the popular vs the unpopular. Yeah, I certainly wasn’t one of the popular kids but I was one of those who kind of went off on my own & ignored it all. I got by as I mostly got along with everyone but I hated how some of the unpopular kids were bullied. I think I had it in my head that the popular jock assholes would watch this movie & turn into nice people & all would be right with the world. Ha! Didn’t happen, although I did talk to one of the biggest assholes several years after school & he basically apologised for being such a jerk through all of high school. So maybe that movie shit happens in real life sometimes.

Anyway – this is on Disney Plus U.K. if you’re interested. I still absolutely love it although I admit it’s very ’80s and hasn’t aged quite as well as other teen movies from that time. It’s still pretty relevant, though. Also, I so wanted to be like Amanda Peterson’s character, Cindy Mancini, at the time. I thought she was so pretty. I looked Peterson up a few years ago and she had a horribly tragic life after this film & died at the age of 43. Very sad. But it goes to show that you really don’t know what terrible things someone may be going through so we should all try to be a little nicer, yeah? – 7.5/10

Deadpool 2 – Still think this one is a lot of fun & more funny than the first film. 7/10

10 Things I Hate About You – I know this is a favorite for the generation after mine & I did really like this one too the first time I saw it when it first came out. I still like it although I definitely didn’t like it as much on the rewatch. What a shame. I like Julia Stiles but her character is a little too hateful at times. Even more hateful is her little sister, though. Didn’t remember her being so annoying. However, Heath Ledger (RIP) is still absolutely adorable in this movie so it was nice seeing him in this again. Still a sad loss. – 7/10

Dodgeball – Didn’t enjoy this one as much on the rewatch either. I remembered liking it at the time but thought it was pretty dumb on the rewatch. Who knows? Maybe I was just in a bad mood this time! Have to admit I’m enjoying movies less overall in the past year. Hmm. Maybe I need to get out of the house? – 5.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN MARCH

BOOKS READ

I am re-reading The Bachman Books (a collection of four Stephen King stories originally published under his pen-name Richard Bachman). I don’t normally re-read books but it’s been over 20 years since I read these. I remember absolutely loving one & really liking another but couldn’t remember anything very specific from either. The other two stories I have zero memory of whatsoever. Weird how memory works. I’ve re-read these two of the four so far:

The Long Walk by Stephen King – This was the one I remembered loving. My opinion hasn’t changed. This is a great story and could make such a fantastic movie. I know Frank Darabont had the rights to it for years & I’d been desperate for him to adapt it as he did such a brilliant job with The Green Mile, The Mist and especially The Shawshank Redemption. But I just looked into it and he’s lost the rights (oh no!). There’s a plan for it to now be made by Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark & Trollhunter director André Øvredal. I’m not happy! Did like Trollhunter but was very excited at the thought of Darabont making The Long Walk. Damn.

Anyway, the story is so simple yet so horrifying: In a dystopian reality, each year 100 teenage boys have to walk until only 1 of them is still walking. The final boy wins the big final “prize”. You get to know a few of the characters pretty well, which is what I most care about in a story. This is a short novel, though, so there’s less character development than I’d like and I think this could be one of those occasions where the movie could improve on that if done by the right person (Darabont would’ve been great with the character development!). Oh well. It’s still a great story & I still hope they finally make it into a movie. – 4.5/5

Rage by Stephen King – I can’t believe I didn’t remember a thing about this story as it later became very controversial. In fact, it is no longer being published (which King requested) so I was lucky to get an old copy of The Bachman Books at a charity shop which still includes this story. The topic is one that makes me as angry as the whole social media & bullying thing I went on about above: Guns. The massive gun problem in America in general but especially in schools.

Anyway, King wanted this to stop being published after it was too strongly linked to five school shootings. I won’t go into censorship here (oh boy, another fun topic!) but I’m mostly very much against it. It depends on the situation, though, and King made the right choice. In the story, a troubled teen boy brings a gun to school & holds his class hostage. As far as the topic of guns & school shootings go, that’s not really the focus of this story and the story doesn’t go how you’d expect. I’m trying to stay spoiler free but it’s more about the struggles of growing up & the things that shape you & mental illness & fighting back against authority (maybe – it’s not made all that clear).

I kind of made the story sound better than it is. I don’t think King quite gets his point across in this story as to why this boy does this. At least he doesn’t make you sympathise with the character, which would be very irresponsible as no one should think they have the right to bring a gun into their school. The ending also goes off the rails and I didn’t see the point of that either but at least it ends in an unpredictable way. It’s terrible to think it may have inspired real shootings as it’s not the point of this story (although I’m not sure what the point is) and probably not something King would have expected to come from this short novel. Overall, the story could’ve been better had it made its point a little more clear. – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Ted Lasso: Season 1 – Thanks to Eric at Film Miasma for recommending this as I would NOT have watched a TV show about an American football coach coming to the U.K. to coach a British football team. What?! F*^king SPORTS?!? I hate ’em all! But, damn, this show was super enjoyable! Funny, great characters who are really fleshed out including even those in small roles (and some of those small roles are my favorites), and a lot of feelgood shit going on without it feeling all soppy. I’m trying to think of anything bad to point out but I can’t. I even really like the character played by Juno Temple and I can’t stand her! And I love the characters of Nathan and Roy Kent. And of course Jason Sudeikis as super sweet Ted Lasso. I like all these people. I want to hang out with them. Other than the ex-husband, who we’re meant to hate. I want to punch him in the face! Oh, here’s a negative: that theme song sucks. It’s one of those cheesy American sounding sitcom themes. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe they’re being ironic? Ignore it! You can skip it anyway. The show is definitely worth watching (it’s on Apple TV+ in the U.K.). It’s just so damn likeable.

WandaVision: Season 1 Episode 9 & Making Of – I really enjoyed WandaVision despite not being a huge Marvel fan. It felt so different from the movies, which was great. It felt unique & I looked forward to seeing it each week. Didn’t absolutely love the final episode but still think it ended as well as it could have & assume it has been left open to carry on in the films. The Making Of episode was fine but filler. Overall, the show was a pleasant surprise in a shitty year.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier: Season 1 Episodes 1-2 – I don’t have much to say about this. It just feels like all superhero movies when they turn into one big dumb action scene after another but this time with lesser characters I never even really liked all that much in the films. I found these first two episodes truly boring. What a huge disappointment after WandaVision!

Battlestar Galactica (1978): Season 1 Episodes 1-3 – This is on the Horror Channel (huh??) in the U.K. so I started watching it as I never saw it. But as it’s live TV, I missed watching any more. Oops. It’s cheesy but fun so far. Rick Springfield was in it! I’ll watch the rest someday… It’s ’70s sci-fi so I’ll happily watch stuff like this anytime, especially if I missed it the first time around.

Raising Hope: Season 1 Episodes 12-22, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4 – Wow – Really binge watching this as a family! Oh well, there’s a pandemic & we’ve been stuck at home for a year. This is an easy thing to stick on anytime in the background. Have to say the show was damn funny at the start but the final season took a nosedive in the way most sitcoms do when they run out of ideas. Oh well – there were still plenty of laughs and I liked the final episode just fine. Gonna rewatch My Name Is Earl next! (Which I loved but never saw the end of. Assume it also took a nosedive at the end anyway…)

The Crown: Season 3 Episodes 4-6 – Man, I am still not feeling the change of cast at the start of Season 3. I went from liking this show a lot, despite it not being my type of thing, to really having to force myself to watch it just so I can get to the Diana episodes in Season 4… I miss Claire Foy & all the rest! They were much better. Sorry.

The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us – Watched two or three(?) episodes of this series on Disney Plus. It’s fine as I love reminiscing about the ’80s but it’s also a bit boring. How can they make the ’80s boring?! Hell, they even devoted a bunch of time to some hockey thing at the Olympics that I didn’t even remember. Was it that big of an event if I knew nothing about it?! It’s also very American – the hubby was bored during the hockey thing too (I think – maybe I’m wrong! He played hockey! But he’s not American). I think they’re just devoting too much time to a few very specific events, such as the Jane Fonda fitness craze (although I found that sort of interesting). I don’t know – I just think no one will get anything out of what I’ve seen of this series so far unless they actually lived through the ’80s. The kid was bored while this was on. Maybe it gets better…

The Golden Girls – I’ve not exactly ranked these “best to worst”. The Golden Girls would be ranked at the top! Love this show so much. Just added it as have watched a few more episodes after picking up the rest on DVD when Channel 5 showed all but the final few seasons during lockdown. Rude! I was so disappointed when I no longer had this showing on TV during my lunch breaks. I want to hang out with these kick ass ladies even more than the Ted Lasso characters.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Don’t have any plans other than watching movies. Was contemplating re-posting any reviews I’ve done of BAFTA or Oscar nominated films before the ceremonies. Very frustrating that we’re not able to see a lot of the Oscar nominees in the U.K. Badly want to see Promising Young Woman, Sound Of Metal & Minari. Will review any if I see them before the Oscars.

Okay, I have to end this post with the clip of The Fat Boys doing All You Can Eat in Krush Groove…

My Top Ten Books Read In 2020

Happy New Year! Here’s the first of my ranked lists for 2020.

As I read just 14 books, I’ll rank all of them. I also managed to do at least mini-reviews of everything this year, so I’ve added the links to those.

So counting down, here are My Top Ten Books Read In 2020:

14. Landline by Rainbow Rowell – 2.5/5

13. The Taking by Dean Koontz – 2.5/5

12. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – 3/5

11. Looking For Alaska by John Green – 3/5

Top Ten:

10. Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar– 3/5

9. Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira – 3/5

8. Edgar Allan Poe Short Story Collection

7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – 4/5

6. Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman -3/5

5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – 3.5/5

4. Flight Or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King & Bev Vincent – 3.5/5

3. Final Girls by Riley Sager – 3/5

2. The Colorado Kid by Stephen King – 3.5/5

1. Dune by Frank Herbert – 4/5

Tomorrow I’ll be posting My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2020 followed by My Top Ten Older Movies Watched In 2020 then finally My Top Ten 2020 U.K. Movie Releases. Very disappointed with the movies I saw in 2020! But it’s obviously been a strange year.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2020

Hi All. I’ll try to keep this one short. I just feel like I have to finish out this year by posting these monthly updates but they’re exhausting to put together. Here’s what I watched & read in August…

MOVIES WATCHED IN AUGUST (ranked best to worst):

Meet Me In St. Louis – First of all, I’ve been a big The Wizard Of Oz fan since I was a young girl. However, I wouldn’t say I was a Judy Garland fan as that was the only movie I’d ever really seen her in. I was always curious about this one. Well, I became even more interested after seeing Renee Zellweger as Garland in the film Judy. I liked that movie a lot & figured it was finally time to watch another Judy Garland film. It’s a fun film. But I don’t think it will make it onto any “top ten musicals” lists I might do (yes, I did my top ten movie musicals HERE). The main problem is that, other than the thoroughly enjoyable The Trolley Song, the rest of the songs just aren’t very memorable. But Garland is delightful & she really did have that special sort of star power that I wish more performers had. She also had a cheeky little brat of a younger sister in this – I liked how feisty that girl’s character was. They were the best two characters by far, though – no one else really stood out and the story was a little weak. But I’d happily watch more of Garland’s work now. – 7.5/10

The Peanut Butter Falcon – I liked this quirky little feelgood movie much more than I was expecting to. I was reluctant to watch it as I really dislike both Dakota Johnson & Shia LaBeouf. They were good in this, though, so I have no complaints. But the real star is Zack Gottsagen as the young man who escapes from his care home to go in search of his favorite professional wrestler. Here’s the Wikipedia plot synopsis: “Its plot follows a young man with Down syndrome (Gottsagen) who escapes from an assisted living facility and befriends a wayward fisherman on the run (LaBeouf); as the two men form a rapid bond, a social worker (Johnson) attempts to track them.” As to be expected with this sort of film, the focus is on the characters & you get to know them as you go on this journey with them. I always care about having strong characters in a film more than anything else & you want nothing more than to have Gottsagen’s character’s pro wrestling dream come true. He & LaBeouf had good chemistry & their unusual friendship worked well in the movie. A very pleasant film. This horrible year needs more pleasant films! – 7.5/10

Mid90s – I really enjoyed this film too. It’s probably tied with The Peanut Butter Falcon but I ranked that a little higher due to the “feelgood factor” of that film. This was written & directed by Jonah Hill, who obviously wrote about a time period he was very fond of. As much as I’m super proud of being an ’80s kid, my high school years were actually the late ’80s into early ’90s, so I’m also fond of that early to mid-90s time period too (the world turned to shit after that). So I can very much relate to this film despite it being about a bunch of west coast skateboarding dudes (I’m a Midwest girl). If I was about five years younger & had lived on the west coast, I’d probably have hung out with dudes like these back then. I think it’s because the attitudes of that time were similar for everyone in their teens & early twenties no matter where they lived in the States. It was a far simpler time (god I miss it!). The language in this is sweary as fuck (fuck yes!). You could swear back then & say offensive things. There’s a character whose nickname is “Fuckshit”. These boys swear a lot & do naughty things & are completely likeable (except for the bully older brother – what an asshole). Again, as I always say, it’s the characters I care about most in a movie. These are good characters. The main boy, young actor Sunny Suljic, was good but I have to agree with the hubby that it was Na-Kel Smith as Ray who really stood out. And he’s been in almost nothing since?! They need to stick him in more movies. He has a great presence. Anyway – I really liked this one. But it does help to be nostalgic for that time period. Oh! And the soundtrack was great too! Music from A Tribe Called Quest & The Pharcyde, among many others. The mid-90s feel like the final years of good music existing. Why is it that absolutely everything sucks now? – 7.5/10

The Wizard – Holy crap! Yet another ’80s/early ’90s movie I somehow never saw & never even heard of?! I said the same when I reviewed Wildflower the other day – I didn’t think there were any movies left from then that I’ve not seen (or at least not heard of). This was fun. I’d have liked it if I’d seen it in 1989. It has obviously not aged quite as well as some, though, as part of the focus of the film is on video games which are very dated now. Christian Slater is in this, too! One of my big crushes from back then. Look at this twat with his game glove thingy. Apparently this was a real thing? I don’t know – I was never a gamer.

This also starred Fred Savage, who I know, and Jenny Lewis, who I’ve never ever heard of. Hubby was like “WTF? You’ve not heard of her? She’s a big music star!” and I was just like “Isn’t she the girl from Troop Beverly Hills?” I badly want to see Troop Beverly Hills again – bet that one really hasn’t aged well! But I had fun watching The Wizard. I rarely dislike movies from that era, especially family films or ones focusing on kids or teens like this one. – 6.5/10

The Deep End Of The Ocean – I mainly watched this as it’s a Michelle Pfeiffer movie I never saw and I like her. I was intrigued by the story too, about a family whose young son is kidnapped and appears 9(?) years later knocking on his family’s door asking if he can mow their lawn. It appears to based on a fictional novel but I’ve always been fascinated (not sure that’s the right word) with true stories of kidnapping or when kids are switched at birth. I can’t stand the thought of it & the emotional trauma for the kids. This movie explores that but not as much as I was expecting. It felt a little “lightweight” for such a dramatic topic. I’m sure it was explored more in the book. It reminds me of a TV movie I watched as a teen that was a true switched at birth story where the families discovered the truth when the two girls were teenagers (after one of them sadly died from an inherited disease). It was heartbreak all around as the biological family fought for custody of a girl who didn’t know them at all and who loved the father she’d grown up with & didn’t want to leave him. Similar happens in this movie. It’s a good story with decent acting but, speaking of TV movies, it has a very TV movie feel to it. Maybe because this kind of story is such a Hallmark Channel type of film? I like that sort of thing when in the mood. I don’t normally go for Hallmark type “drama”, though. – 6.5/10

The Call – Again, a story about kidnapping. This stars Halle Berry as a 911 operator who takes a call from kidnapped teenager Abigail Breslin (calling from the trunk, or boot if you’re British, of her kidnapper’s car). This actually started out as a really good, fast-paced thriller as Berry does what she can to help keep the girl calm while also trying to think of ways to help her escape. Good edge-of-your-seat type stuff. Unfortunately, the movie takes a nose dive at the end when the characters do the stupid sort of things that only people in movies do. As much as I LOVE a good revenge thriller, it went a little overboard at the end. Still enjoyed the film & its intensity overall, though. – 6.5/10

The Nightingale – Fucking hell. This one was GRIM. I watched it as I absolutely loved director Jennifer Kent’s film The Babadook. I suppose it’s a good film with good acting but it’s just not my type of thing. At all. I don’t need to watch stuff like this & lose even more faith in humanity. Filled with violence, a lot of rape, death, and truly horrible, evil people. Watch it if you like a very gritty drama where even some revenge doesn’t give you any satisfaction as a viewer, as no one ends up any better off by the end of this film. – 6/10

X-Men: Dark Phoenix – Awful. I don’t have much more to say than that. And, sorry, but Sophie Turner is a dreadful actress. I’ve spent lockdown watching all things X-Men since my daughter has become a big fan. I love the characters. I wish the movies were as good as the characters. This movie is the worst of them all. – 5/10

Work It – Bloody hell – Forgot that the kid put on this teen dance flick one night. It was fine as far as teen dance flicks go so I’m sure younger girls like it just fine. It’s no Save The Last Dance, though! That was much better. Even Honey was better (and that’s not exactly great). Meh. Stars Sabrina Carpenter. Think she’s one of these Nickelodeon or Disney kids (or something). – 5/10

Freaks – Watched this 2018 supernatural horror on Netflix since I liked the sound of it & am a fan of that genre. I hated it. It started out strong, but… Well, this is one of those where I’m not sure why I hated it. I think it’s because the characters were so unlikeable. You start out rooting for the girl but by the end you don’t care what happens to her. Why should a viewer care what happens to hateful characters? Shame, as it was intriguing at the start… – 4.5/10

Movies Rewatched In August

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes – This was such a great series of films. Have started rewatching them again & think I enjoyed this one even more the second time around. – 8/10

The Legend Of Billie Jean – Clearly, I love the ’80s & have already mentioned in my review of The Wizard above that I had a crush on Christian Slater. Although I think I had a far bigger crush on Helen Slater in this one… Love her character & freaking love that Pat Benatar song in this (Invincible). I want to go back to 1985. – 7.5/10

13 Going On 30 – This one is a guilty pleasure. It always puts a smile on my face when it’s on & I liked rewatching it with my daughter. I was 30 when this came out & could relate 100% to the 30-year-old as well as the 13-year-old in 1987. Kind of love this movie even though it’s a little cheesy. But we don’t get these sort of family-friendly comedies anymore. What’s with that?! Oh, and a Pat Benatar song is featured in this movie too. Hell yeah! She ruled the ’80s. And The Talking Heads – still love them too. – 7.5/10

Daredevil – Hey, Jennifer Garner again! Preferred her in 13 Going On 30 – she was perfect for that sort of role. Watched this again as the kid is very into superheroes lately. The less mainstream ones, though – she’s not into the big MCU stuff as much. She never wants to like the most popular stuff! Absolutely refuses to ever read or watch Harry Potter as too many kids her age love it. Actually, that’s cool… She’s cooler than me. Anyway, the worst thing about this is that Ben Affleck is in it. I hate Affleck. Far prefer Garner! Did he dump her? Can’t remember. Anyway, the movie itself isn’t great but also isn’t exactly the worst superhero movie ever. There have been far worse. I’m just SO bored with superhero movies… – 6/10

Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You! – Ha! Oh yeah – forgot we all rewatched this one. Hey, I like Pikachu. So sue me. – 6/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King – Been wanting to read this for years as I really liked the TV show Haven which I knew was only very loosely based on this book. Loosely was an understatement! It just happens to be set in the same small town in Maine. That’s the only true link. At least I think it was Maine. It’s a King book – it must be Maine! It’s set in small-town fishing village Maine & I think I want to live out my elderly years in StephenKingesque small-town Maine. I read too much King. This is one of his non-horrors and I really liked it. I often like his non-horrors where the focus is on good characters, and they were pretty well developed ones for what was a pretty short book. It’s not as good as the other one in this Hard Case Crime series, though (Joyland). Joyland was great! But I’d recommend both to King fans. – 3.5/5

Landline by Rainbow Rowell – This was disappointing compared to Rowell’s book Eleanor & Park. That was some good YA. Not sure this one is YA? Is it still YA when the main couple are married thirty-somethings (with flashbacks to their college days due to a magic time-travelling phone)? I read it because I liked what it was about: A woman may have a chance to save her marriage when she realises that an old landline phone she’s using is calling her now-husband back when they were in their twenties & first dating. Great concept but I didn’t care much for the characters & the ending seemed a bit cheesy & rushed. It was okay but Eleanor & Park was much better. – 2.5/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

The Umbrella Academy – Started watching this but as of November I’ve still only seen a couple of episodes. Ended up too busy with the fantastic Cobra Kai & The Mandalorian! Do really like The Umbrella Academy so far, though, and want to get back to it. Great first episode & my kind of weird. So far. But I’m used to things on Netflix taking a big dump after Season 1 (like Stranger Things did).

X-Men (The Animated Series) – Can’t say I watched this at the time as it started when I was in my late teens/early twenties, so it wouldn’t have been on my radar. But as I said above, my daughter has suddenly become a big X-Men fan so we’ve started watching this. It’s good! I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Hell, it’s better than most of the movies. Dammit – Can they just start over on the movies and make some really good ones finally?! They’re just getting worse & worse. Oh, and the theme song for this show is super catchy! Gets stuck in my head for days after watching some episodes. I miss ’80s & ’90s cartoons. They were the best! (Although Gumball was pretty awesomely weird for a more modern cartoon…)

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I suppose I’ll attempt to post my September & October monthly roundup posts next week before my 8th blogiversary at the end of the week. I always put a blogiversary post together but am not sure I have the energy this year. I may just do a roundup post of my favorite movies I’ve watched in 2020.

I’ll once again end my post with good music from a movie I watched. There was a lot of good movie music in August. All that Pat Benatar! And the music in Mid90s! Let’s go with Pat Benatar’s Invincible from The Legend Of Billie Jean…

Watched, Read, Reviewed: July 2020

Hi All. Hope everyone is healthy & well. Guess I better catch up on these monthly roundups before the end of this shitty year. Here’s what I watched back in July. If I can remember enough to say anything about each of these all these months later… !

MOVIES WATCHED IN JULY (ranked best to worst):

Infinity Chamber – This was decent. One of those movies where the concept was better than the execution but they did well enough on what I assume was a low budget. Here’s the really short synopsis from IMDb: “A man trapped in an automated prison must outsmart a computer in order to escape.” I’m a big fan of sci-fi & of a good sci-fi story so I’ll watch anything in this genre if I like the sound of it. With these lesser known films, you sometimes find some gems (Circle was pretty great) and you sometimes get some duds. Infinity Chamber is at the better end of things but I’d only recommend it to fans of this genre. I was hoping for a bit more, though. I didn’t feel that we got to know the main character well enough & I wanted to be able to sympathise with this poor guy stuck in this automated prison. And, to be honest, I found the plot a little hard to follow. Although I admit I’m not the brightest & often get confused watching complicated sci-fi but the story could have been a little more coherent.

Speaking of lesser known films, though, this film starred Christopher Soren Kelly who was also in a movie I’m happy to have the opportunity to now mention again: The Frame. Another sci-fi film with a fantastic idea, I highly recommend The Frame (on Amazon Prime – I reviewed it HERE). So watch that first! Then watch Circle (not that crappy Tom Hanks movieTHIS Circle). I actually had the actors from both The Frame & Circle thank me on my blog & Twitter for praising those movies. I love when that happens! Those involved with these independent films appreciate it when you enjoy their work so I do try to support films like these. I want to give Infinity Chamber a higher rating than this as I do very much appreciate that stuff like this gets made. I’m always afraid that stuff like this doesn’t always get given a chance so, despite my somewhat “meh” review, do check it out if you’re a sci-fi fan. – 6.5/10

No Country For Old Men – I finally watched this to get it off of two lists I’ve been trying to work my way through: The IMDb Top 250 & Best Picture Oscar Winners. Guess I need to update both those ranked lists but No Country For Old Men will unfortunately be quite far down both lists. I’ve just never been a Coen Brothers fan. Sorry! Is that allowed for a movie blogger?! (FYI – I also hate Wes Anderson movies). Well, I don’t hate the Coen Brothers films. At all. I just don’t exactly like them either. I recognise that they’re good films and, once again, No Country For Old Men is a very good film with some brilliant acting and a truly despicable & hateful character. I guess Javier Bardem was deserving of his Oscar win since I did truly hate his character, as we’re meant to. What can I say? I’ve never liked “the baddies”. I’m always rooting for the good guy & I want to see evil get its comeuppance so most Coen Brothers films aren’t for me. Although I realise their films are never as simple as pure good vs. pure evil, as Josh Brolin’s character in this isn’t exactly a saint. But we see the bad guys win in real life enough so I don’t really need to see it in movies. Yet I love dystopian sci-fi & am a big pessimist & often a fan of a truly depressing movie ending, so… I don’t know exactly why I don’t get on with the Coen Brothers films. Hmm. It’s a good film so I’ll give it a slightly higher rating than I feel like giving it. Plus I don’t want to be yelled at. Not that anyone reads this blog… – 7/10

Wildflower – How the HELL did a movie exist in 1991 starring Patricia Arquette & Reese Witherspoon without me knowing about it?! I was still in high school at that point & this is the type of movie I’d have watched to death. I think it may have been a TV movie? But I somehow missed out on it. I can think of plenty of TV movies I watched to death at that sort of time: The Stepford Children, I Saw What You Did, In A Child’s Name, and this great little Winona Ryder thing called Square Dance, aka Home Is Where The Heart Is, which was kind of similar to Wildflower. Shit, I want to track down that Winona movie & watch it again! Bet it hasn’t aged well. But I’ll always be fond of it in the same way I’m sure I’d have been fond of Wildflower if I’d seen it in high school instead of now. And I thoroughly enjoyed Wildflower as I’m a fan of the actresses & am always happy to discover unseen movies from my teen years as I honestly feel like I’ve seen them all by now. Is it a good movie? Meh. It’s fine. The acting is okay. It does very much feel like a film with a TV movie budget. But I liked the characters and, as you can tell from my No Country For Old Men review, that’s important to me. I enjoyed this. Wish I’d seen it as a teenager. – 6.5/10

She’s Gotta Have It – This is an interesting film to follow the above two as, clearly, I often like films that I can “relate” to. Wildflower has actresses my kind of age (sort of) so I know why I liked it as I was that age in 1991 & it’s somewhat a coming of age story. I can’t relate to anyone in No Country For Old Men in any way whatsoever. But I also can’t relate to anyone in She’s Gotta Have It. However, I liked it much more than No Country For Old Men. I’d possibly even rank it higher (I find it hard to “rank” very different types of films when I do these lists). I of course love to see a strong, independent woman in a movie so I really liked the character of Nola Darling (played by Tracy Camilla Johns). I also liked the men all fighting for her affections as they had such different & entertaining personalities. I kept changing my mind on who she should choose (not any of these men, really – they were idiots!). I fully admit to not seeing many of Spike Lee’s movies other than Do The Right Thing, which I thought was a great film (I’d rank that far above No Country For Old Men). Of course I’m not going to exactly relate to his films being a small town Midwest girl but a good film with good writing is something I’ll always appreciate. I enjoyed the conversations in She’s Gotta Have It. It’s so New York. Or at least how I imagine that big city I’ve never ever been to. I think a lot of people in this world are probably a little fascinated with New York as there are SO many movies set there and I like seeing a slice of life so different from my own. I enjoyed this movie more than I was expecting to & would like to see more of Lee’s work, especially from that late ’80s/early ’90s time period. Any recommendations? – 6.5/10

The Borderlands – I love a good horror. We get so few good horror films these days. This one was… Okay. Not even close to being a great modern horror (like It Follows, Train To Busan or The Babadook). But it was a perfectly decent example of the found footage & religious horror subgenres & had a good creepy atmosphere. I also kind of liked the ending as it got a bit weird. I like some weirdness! The whole thing could have done with more of that. I have NO clue why but this one made me think of horror movie The Ritual. That was an odd one. Oh, probably just because they’re both British. Anyway, The Ritual has gone up a bit in my estimation since I first saw it. That one was better. But if you like that, you might like this. And vice versa. – 6/10

Blades Of Glory – Sometimes you want to chill out with a dumb comedy. I don’t give comedy films enough of a chance as I hate so many of them, especially nowadays. So I tried to be open-minded! But this was disappointing. A little too dumb. Maybe I chuckled once? Can’t remember. Saw this four months ago now & already barely remember it. Meh. Will Ferrell is very hit or miss & this was a miss. – 5/10

Step Brothers – Ugh. This movie was truly dreadful. I actually watched it immediately after Blades Of Glory as I thought it looked like it would be the better of the two and I like John C. Reilly sometimes. I was so wrong! I think it made me appreciate Blades Of Glory more. Dumb & immature jokes and two grown men acting like hateful teenagers. Another big Will Ferrell miss! I’ll stick to SNL Celebrity Jeopardy & Elf. And, hell, that Eurovision movie too as it was surprisingly enjoyable. Cheesy but enjoyable. Step Brothers was just painful. Do people not moan when grown women act immature in things like Bridesmaids?! Why is it okay when grown men do the same sort of so-called comedy? (For the record, Bridesmaids isn’t my type of thing either but the comedy in that was a hell of a lot better than in this piece of crap. I at least get some laughs out of Bridesmaids). – 4/10

Golden Time – This was an animated short on Netflix. I forgot about it until I noticed it listed here all these months later. It was fine. It was certainly better than those two dumb Will Ferrell comedies but it’s just a short so I’m sticking it at the end of my list. And I’m not rating it either. Because it’s four months later & fuck if I remember much about it now!! It was about a TV in a junkyard. I think. What an amazing review! Wow I suck at blogging these days. I probably liked it because there were anthropomorphic inanimate objects. A favorite thing of mine! I used to do a series on this blog called Anthropomorphic Cuteness. I miss doing those posts.

Movies Rewatched In July:

Already reviewed most of these in the past (in the links below). I seem to have spent lockdown re-watching movies more than watching ones for the first time. I’m missing first-time watches, but what’s on offer on the services isn’t great…

Weird Science – I will always love John Hughes movies (which is why I did a big John Hughes Blogathon here years ago. Ah – the good ‘ol blog days. Happy times…) – 8.5/10

The Truman Show – Finally introduced the kid to this one. Think she liked it. I think it’s a great film & that Jim Carrey was perfect for the role. I remember the movie seeming a little exaggerated at the time. Not now! We’re certainly living in this sort of reality show nightmare now. They tried to warn us! – 8/10

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 – Meh. The first two films (and books) are so much better. But the kid thoroughly enjoyed these films. – 7/10

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 – Still hate how this book ended… But still think Jennifer Lawrence was born to play Katniss. – 7/10

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective – Showed the kid the other (and main) side of Jim Carrey with this one. Should I admit that? It’s a bit inappropriate. Screw it – I saw stuff no less inappropriate at her age. And she of course loved it when he talked with his butt. Kids are so immature… (Speaking of dumb comedy like when I bitched about Step Brothers, I know Ace Ventura is dumb too. But I like it. – 7/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN JULY

BOOKS READ

Flight Or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales edited by Stephen King & Bev Vincent – Enjoyed this. I really like short story collections, especially in the horror or sci-fi genres. I’m not going to go into each story but, if you like Stephen King’s stuff (or his son Joe Hill’s), you’d like this collection of stories from various authors both well-known & not so well-known. They’re all stories revolving around airplanes and/or flying. So don’t read it while on a flight! Not that anyone can fly anywhere at the moment anyway… – 3.5/5

The Taking by Dean Koontz – I love Dean Koontz books. They’re a huge guilty pleasure of mine. I ranked them all HERE once. Well, I don’t love ALL his books. I sometimes really don’t like one. I didn’t like this one all that much. Not sure why. But, man, is it fucked up! I should love it. I like full-on supernatural weirdness. I have to say that, if it had been made into a movie, it could’ve been a kick ass body horror film! Again, I should like it as I have a weird fascination with body horror films (mainly those from David Cronenberg). I don’t know – I think maybe the characters just weren’t that strong. I usually like Koontz characters (Odd Thomas is great). I’ll give it an extra half a point for Koontz saying fuck it & going fucking crazy with this one. – 2.5/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Well, I made no notes here of what I watched so I guess I watched no TV shows in July. Let’s be honest – only The Mandalorian & Cobra Kai are worth watching anyway. Those are the only shows I’ve truly enjoyed in years.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Umm. Maybe I’ll attempt to post my monthly roundups for August, September & October? If I can be bothered. 🙂 I’ve watched nothing that great anyway. Except The Platform! That was good. Man, I can’t wait to see Pixar’s Soul at the end of December…

I always try to end these roundups with good music from a movie that I watched that month. Think I’ll go with something from Weird Science. John Hughes always chose the best music for his movies. This is my absolute favorite song from Weird Science & an overall Eighties favorite of mine – here’s Tenderness by General Public:

My Top Ten Books Read In 2019

Happy 2020! Here’s the first of my 2019 Top Ten Lists that I’ll be posting every day through Friday. I’ve hidden this one on Sunday since no one gives a shit about books on my movie blog. One of my resolutions this year is to read more books (and more quality ones) and to watch fewer movies (at home). Dune is the main thing I plan on reading in 2020.

I only read ten books in 2019 anyway. Here are My Top Ten Books Read In 2019 (from my least favorite to my favorite):

10. The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – 2/5

9. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – 2.5/5

8. The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn – 3/5

7. Shattered by Dean Koontz – 3/5

6. Elevation by Stephen King – 3/5

5. Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar – 3/5

4. The Rats by James Herbert – 3/5

3. The Institute by Stephen King – 3.5/5

2. Full Throttle by Joe Hill – 3.5/5

1. ‘-All You Zombies-‘ by Robert A. Heinlein – 4/5

Should a short story be number one? Fuck it – It’s my blog so I do what I want. FYI – my number one is the story that the fantastic movie Predestination is based on. I recommend the film to sci-fi fans.

These are the Top Ten lists I’ll be posting this week:

My Top Ten Books Read In 2019
My Top Anime Movies Watched In 2019
My IMDb Top 250 Movies Watched In 2019
My 2019 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked
My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2019
My Top Ten 2019 Movie Releases
My Top Ten Movies Of The Decade (2010-2019)

Watched, Read, Reviewed: November 2019

Happy New Year, everyone!

I never did my November Roundup post. So just to complete my 2019 posts, here’s what I watched & read in November 2019. I’ll try to post my December Roundup within the next few days. I’ll then do my 2019 Top Ten Lists next week before taking a blog break for 2020.

NOVEMBER 2019 MOVIES

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Judy – 7.5/10
Hustlers – 7.5/10
Joker – 7.5/10
The Farewell – 7.5/10
Frozen 2 – 7/10
I Am Mother – 7/10
Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.5/10
Last Christmas – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Miss Hokusai – I really enjoyed this anime film about Katsushika Ōi, artist & daughter of critically acclaimed artist Katsushika Hokusai (famous for The Great Wave off Kanagawa). The film has lovely animation and strong characters. I’ll try to review it at some point as it’s probably my favorite non-Ghibli anime that I’ve watched recently. – 7.5/10

Frozen 27/10

3 Idiots – I didn’t manage to watch all my 2019 Blind Spot movies but did watch 12 movies for my IMDb project. This is one of them so I’ll do a short post with all 12 sometime. I enjoyed this but don’t think it’s Top 250 material, although the second half is much better than the first. – 7/10

Last Christmas – 6.5/10

Support The Girls – 6/10

Locke – This was surprisingly boring. I remember being annoyed at missing out on this one in the cinema as it got really good reviews. It’s Tom Hardy in a car talking on the phone the whole time. It may have been better if he didn’t have some weird ass accent through the whole thing (maybe that’s how he really talks? Ha! Dunno). Anyway, it wasn’t terrible but it certainly wasn’t great and the character was a bit hateful, which sucks when he’s the only damn character in the movie. But I give them credit for managing to make a whole movie about a guy driving in his car… – 6/10

Brittany Runs A Marathon – 5/10

Re-Watched:

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Thanksgiving classic! Finally watched this with the kid as I have to make sure she sees some of the American traditions, etc. Think she liked it but it’s still a slightly more grownup comedy. The ending still makes me feel a little weepy. Loved John Candy (and of course John Hughes). 😦 – 7.5/10

Legally Blonde – I’m obviously revisiting films with the kid as she gets older. She liked this one (and a new one is coming out this year??). I’ll always be a fan of Reese Witherspoon & she’s adorable as shit in Legally Blonde. Jennifer Coolidge is also as funny as always. The movie is silly but it’s fun and has a decent message. – 6.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS

BOOKS READ

I read The Institute by Stephen King & half of Full Throttle by Joe Hill. Full Throttle is a short story collection, including two stories he wrote with his father (one being In The Tall Grass, which I reviewed HERE). I love both King & son Hill’s short story collections so I slightly preferred Hill’s collection to The Institute. But I of course very much enjoyed both and will read everything either of them write. I was unfortunately quite disappointed with the recent King book The Outsider so was very happy to get a better novel this time (even if the story is extremely familiar Stephen King territory). I may try to review these in full at some point (or at least Full Throttle as I like to discuss each story). – 3.5/5 (for both)

TV SHOWS WATCHED

None, as usual lately. However, I did manage to finally watch some stuff in December and am halfway through Watchmen. Not sure how I feel about that one yet.

MUSIC POSTS

I did a music post in November for the first time in years! Here are My Top Ten Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs.

BLOG PLANS FOR DECEMBER

My plan was to catch up on reviewing December movie releases & preparing my Year End Top Ten lists. But I haven’t yet & it’s now 2020. Oops. At least I caught up on reviewing most 2019 movies.

December Movies I Wanted To See:

I did see a couple. Links are below.

Jumanji: The Next Level – Saw it. Kind of loved it.

Black Christmas – Now kind of wish I hadn’t missed this as reviews are SO bad but they seem to be from people not liking the politics of this version? So I’d like to judge it for myself.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker – Saw it. Wanted to love it more.

Cats – HA! Think I dodged a bullet missing out on this one.

Spies In Disguise – Forgot about this one. Think I can live without it.

Little Women – I’m weirdly not bothered about this one now that it’s out. There have been so many adaptations already. I’m also not on the Greta Gerwig bandwagon with everyone else. Plus, Emma Watson is in this. Can’t stand her.

Here’s a trailer for Miss Hokusai. I recommend it if you’re an anime fan.

Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2019

Happy (middle of) November! As I did October Horror Month again this year, I only reviewed horror movies in October. However, I did watch some non-horror throughout the month as well. As most of my horror reviews were reposts & reblogs, I’m only listing those below that I reviewed for the first time in October. (The Princess Switch feels very out of place in this list!)

MOVIES IN OCTOBER

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) – 8/10
Doctor Sleep – 8/10
Ready Or Not – 7/10
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil – 7/10
Zombieland: Double Tap – 7/10
The Legacy – 6/10
The Addams Family – 6/10
Shocker – 5.5/10
The Stuff – 5/10
In The Tall Grass – 4/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Yojimbo – I bought an Akira Kurosawa boxset years ago and have been meaning to get around to watching more of his work as I love what I’ve seen so far. Ikiru & Rashômon are brilliant and Seven Samurai is a masterpiece. Yojimbo is also in the IMDb Top 250 so I might review it as part of my Top 250 Project. I was hoping to instead devote a couple of weeks to Akira Kurosawa on my blog but I think my blogathon days are over. I really enjoyed Yojimbo, even though I’d already seen the same story in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars. Which, apparently, didn’t originally credit Kurosawa & the other writer Ryūzō Kikushima. Naughty! (There was a lawsuit). Anyway, both films are great as the story is so damn good. I of course have to go with Yojimbo as it’s definitely the superior film but can see why it was made into a spaghetti western since the story was just as perfect in that setting. I highly recommend Kurosawa’s films to anyone who hasn’t seen any. Maybe I’ll manage to review his movies someday but I sure I wouldn’t be able to do them justice. – 8/10

Doctor Sleep – 8/10

The Great Adventure Of Horus, Prince Of The Sun (aka The Little Norse Prince) – As this is sort of a pre-Studio Ghibli film, I’ll try to do a full review of it at some point. I adore Studio Ghibli. This was made by Ghibli co-founders Isao Takahata (director) & Hayao Miyazaki (scene design & key animation). It’s a much older film, released in 1968 (17 years before the founding of Ghibli). However, it certainly shows the beginnings of the Ghibli style and has some of that great magical fantasy vibe that Miyazaki perfected in his Ghibli years. It’s not perfect but I enjoyed it and would say I liked it more than some of the non-Ghibli anime I’ve tried. I guess I just love Miyazaki’s style. The characters aren’t as strong as in Ghibli movies and it doesn’t have the beautiful weirdness of the Ghiblis but it’s a promising start and a fun story. – 7.5/10

Judy – 7.5/10

Joker – 7.5/10

Ready Or Not – 7/10

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil – 7/10

Zombieland: Double Tap – 7/10

Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.5/10

The Princess Switch – This was fine. My daughter had watched & liked it so I agreed to watch it with her one night. It’s a wholesome chick flick that’s predictable as F*^K but it won’t do anyone any harm. My daughter was amazed when I predicted the ending within the first ten minutes. Poor kid – I told her that her mom just watches many movies so tends to know how these sort of plots go. She probably thinks I’m a pain in the ass. Anyway, I sort of liked this predictable cheese. We all need some predictable cheese sometimes. And I’m not gonna lie – I’m SO going to be watching The Princess Switch: Switched Again when that comes out. And if there’s a surprise ending that I don’t predict within the first ten minutes, I’ll want my money back. – 6.5/10

The Addams Family – 6/10

The Legacy – 6/10

Shocker – 5.5/10

The Stuff – 5/10

In The Tall Grass – 4/10

Re-Watched:

Wayne’s World – I’m not going to do a mini-review for this movie. If I ever do review this, it needs a full post. This movie is and always will be an all-time favorite of mine. It speaks to me. It’s from my era, set close to where I grew up, I love the same music they do, I knew people exactly like Wayne & Garth, and it’s one of very few movies that I truly find funny. Okay – and I am the female equivalent of Garth Algar. I was a metal-loving, socially awkward nerd who could never talk to my crushes. I had similar hair. And I still wear Converse at all times (well, outside of work). This is the movie that I quote more than any other. I think it’s brilliant and if you badmouth it, you’re on my Shitlist and we can’t be friends. Anyway – I watched this once again the other day as my daughter loves it. She also loves Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. YES! Believe me – she doesn’t just humor me as she dislikes plenty of favorites from my teenage years. I take it as proof that these two films are timeless classics. Yes, I’m serious. Wayne’s World is a comedy classic. It deserves more love. – 9/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – Holy SHIT it’s never taken me so long to finish a book. It took months. What a slog. To be honest, it’s a good book. I suppose. At least, the story itself was good. It just honestly didn’t need to be so long. I wouldn’t have minded if the characters were more likeable but, after THAT many pages, you’d think you’d connect with or at least care about the main character. I can’t say that I cared although I did feel a little sorry for him & what he’d been through. His time in Las Vegas especially dragged. Good god. Luckily his friend Boris was highly entertaining, which helped keep me going along with wanting to find out what the hell was gonna happen with The Goldfinch painting. Apparently the movie was boring as hell too according to reviews. That’s a shame, as I think there’s enough content here to make a decent film. – 3/5

In The Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill – 2/5

Currently Reading The Institute by Stephen King – I’m really enjoying this one so far. I’ll probably be finished by the time this posts so I’ll review it soon.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Er, The Walking Dead has started up again. I watched an episode. Or did I watch two? Hard to keep track since nothing ever happens in this fucking show anymore. I know I need a new show to watch but don’t have the time to devote to anything new. What I miss are half hour sitcoms. Why don’t they make sitcoms these days?! I watch worthy enough films – I want lightweight TV so I can switch off my brain. But NOT reality bullshit. A good old sitcom like Seinfeld. Or Friends. Yeah, I like Friends – I’m not one of these anti-Friends snobs! Anyone have any recommendations??

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

November already?! Shit. I’m not ready for Christmas. It’ll be a quiet month on the blog as I’ll be too busy to do many posts. I’ll try to do a post for my 7-year blogiversary at the end of the month.

November Releases I May Want To See: (wow – a lot coming out!)

Brittany Runs A Marathon – Meh. Definitely one to wait for on Netflix.

The Aeronauts – This one looks… Odd. As in, it may be brilliant or it may be a steaming pile of shit. Can’t call it from the trailer.

Midway – War stuff. I’ll probably wait for Netflix. Never a favorite genre of mine, although I’ve loved a few war movies.

The Good Liar – Oh, this looks exciting from the trailer! I do love Helen Mirren & Ian McKellen. Proper ACTORS! Want to see this. (It’s out now. Damn – reviews aren’t good).

Luce – Don’t know much about this. Looks like it may be another one to wait for on Netflix.

Driven – Another one I don’t know anything about. Meh.

Le Mans ’66 – Is this seriously called Ford v Ferrari in America?? That’s a better name. Doesn’t really look like my type of thing but the trailer does look good. Want to see this.

Last Christmas – I’m not a big girly movie girl but do enjoy these kind of films when they’re decent. Plus this has the hot husband from A Simple Favor & Crazy Rich Asians. I’d be a liar if I said I had no interest in seeing this. Looks fun. (This is out now too and also has bad reviews. Damn!!)

Little Monsters – Another zombie comedy horror?? I’ll definitely watch this as it’s a sub genre I really enjoy. Sad to see the reviews aren’t the best.

The Report – I’m sure this will be decent but these kind of dramas are SO not my thing. I tend to only watch them if they end up being nominated for lots of Oscars.

Frozen II – Oh, I’ll definitely go to this. I happily admit that I still think Frozen is great. My daughter is getting to the age where she’s pretending she has no interest in going to see Frozen II. Think she’s slowly changing her mind…

Greener Grass – And another I know nothing about. I need to watch some trailers. It says it’s a comedy so, who knows? I hate most modern comedies.

21 Bridges – Cop drama? Again, not really my thing. Will see what reviews are like.

Judy & Punch – Maybe a Netflix watch.

Ophelia – Again, one for Netflix but would like to check out Daisy Ridley’s performance.

Knives Out – This is the one I’m most looking forward to in November. Hope it’s great! Love the star power in it.

Charlie’s Angels – Meh. May wait for Netflix. Give me Drew Barrymore instead!

Jay And Silent Bob Reboot – I’m middle-aged. I’ll of course watch this Kevin Smith film.

The Nightingale – A horror from the director of the brilliant The Babadook?? DEFINITELY want to see this.

I’ll end this post with with Judy Garland singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I thought Judy was a great film and I’m very glad I watched it.

2019 October Horror Month Roundup & My Top Ten

Happy Halloween! I’ve enjoyed doing Halloween Horror Month yet again but this was probably my last year. It’s too time consuming plus I’m now way behind on reviewing current non-horror movie releases. I’ve also once again watched WAY too many bad horror movies in the past year. Of those below, I only really loved the top two and thought the next few were quite good. The rest of the Top Twenty were decent enough to pass some time but my life would still be complete if I’d seen none of the rest (it might even be better!). I also have a few thrillers as well as full-on horrors on this list.

So, counting down to my favorite, here’s my ranked list of the 43 horrors & thrillers I’ve watched & reviewed since last October:

43-31:

43. Starry Eyes
42. In The Tall Grass
41. Better Watch Out
40. Winchester
39. Bird Box
38. Ghost Stories
37. Cam
36. The Love Witch
35. The Stuff
34. The Funhouse
33. Amber Lake
32. Unsane
31. Slaughterhouse Rulez

30-21:

30. Suspiria (2018)
29. The Sentinel (1977)
28. Shocker
27. The Monster (2016)
26. American Mary
25. The Legacy
24. The Addams Family (2019)
23. Happy Death Day 2U
22. Breaking In
21. Truth Or Dare

20-11:

20. Crawl
19. Curtains (1983)
18. Brightburn
17. Annabelle Comes Home
16. Repulsion
15. Greta
14. Zombieland: Double Tap
13. Pet Sematary (2019)
12. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil
11. Searching

Top Ten:

10. Single White Female

9. Ma

8. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

7. Ready Or Not

6. Child’s Play (2019)

5. Us

4. Midsommar

3. It Chapter Two

2. Doctor Sleep

1. Deep Red (Profondo Rosso)

I did also do (very brief) reviews of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep novel and King & son Joe Hill’s short story In The Tall Grass HERE.

I keep using Deep Red imagery in this post because it’s awesome. As is the fantastic Goblin score…

Now I can move onto reviewing the non-horror 2019 releases that I saw in the past two months. Here’s what I’ll try to review over the next month:

Hustlers – 7.5/10
Judy – 7.5/10
Joker – 7.5/10
The Farewell – 7.5/10
I Am Mother – 7/10
Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.5/10 (My review for this is written – I’ll post it tomorrow)

*Yeah, I finally got myself an Unlimited cinema card. I watch way too many movies…

Doctor Sleep (2019) Review

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Based on Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis

Music by The Newton Brothers

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.

My Opinion:

I watched Doctor Sleep today and don’t have a lot of time so I’ll keep this very brief. I wanted to quickly write something about it, though, since it makes sense to review it on Halloween. I adore Stephen King and try to read or watch at least one thing of his each October. I love that there’s SO much King content lately (Well, I didn’t love In The Tall Grass. Ugh.) You can find my very short reviews for the Doctor Sleep novel as well as the In The Tall Grass short story HERE.

I’m a huge fan of The Shining. And by that, I mean the Stanley Kubrick film that Stephen King hates. I of course love the novel as well but, as I saw The Shining at a fairly young age, it’s one of very few King adaptations I saw before reading the book. I hate doing it that way around but it can sometimes make you slightly prefer the movie as it’s the version you knew first. I love both the book and the movie but The Shining is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and will forever be one of my all-time favorite films. So I actually had the film version in my head more than the novel as I watched this sequel.

Doctor Sleep is good. From what I remember of the book at this point, it’s a faithful adaptation. Flanagan, who I’m starting to really like and whose adaptation of Gerald’s Game I thoroughly enjoyed, does a good job of keeping the fans of the novels as well as fans of Kubrick’s film happy. It’s no masterpiece, though. I do think it’s been hyped up too much by horror fans.

As for the story itself, I liked it but didn’t love it but I already knew that going into the movie. I far prefer the simplicity of the story in The Shining. I’m someone who does love the supernatural more than any other type of horror but the whole thing with The True Knot was always a bit too far out and silly for me, even for a Stephen King story. The Shining is far more scary as it feels somewhat more plausible and also leaves more to your imagination. Not only is it one of the best psychological horrors with a truly terrifying descent into madness, it’s also a damn good and thoroughly creepy ghost story. We don’t get many good ghost stories. Comparing just the films themselves, Doctor Sleep has none of the special atmosphere of The Shining. I’m not someone who is ever scared by movies but The Shining comes closer than most to being truly scary thanks to its tone and its score and its carpet and I suppose the fact that it was made by such a gifted director. The Shining is a work of art whereas Doctor Sleep is just a good horror movie.

Okay – I’m not sure if I’m making sense since I’ve only just seen this and I’m trying to post a quick review before Halloween is over. I enjoyed Doctor Sleep but it had a hell of a lot to live up to. To be fair, the novel itself didn’t live up to the first book either. I’m glad the movie stayed faithful to the book but am not sure yet how I feel about bits of Stanley Kubrick’s film being recreated. At first I felt a little warm & fuzzy about it but then I kind of maybe didn’t like it so much. Kubrick’s film is beautiful & so iconic. I’m not sure I wanted to ever see it with lookalikes??

Ewan McGregor is fine as Dan Torrance and Kyliegh Curran is likeable as Abra. Their friendship is great but I didn’t really feel a strong connection between them. The true star of this film is actually Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat. She’s awesome! She’s a horrible, evil bitch. Is it weird that I think I have a slight girl crush on her? She’s scary & sexy and one of the best villains we’ve had in horror in quite a while. So, I did enjoy her performance and I did like seeing the story unfold. I watch all Stephen King adaptations and always enjoy them, even when they aren’t so good (which unfortunately has been quite often). I’m happy to say that Doctor Sleep is definitely one of the better adaptations. However, it’s never going to be an all-time favorite of mine the way The Shining, Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption are. I liked this film but I was hoping to love it. I actually think that It Chapter One was a better King adaptation from recent years. Oh well – at least Doctor Sleep did turn out better than It Chapter Two.

My Rating: 8/10

**I haven’t yet added Doctor Sleep to My Stephen King Movie Rankings. I have to give it a bit more time to sink in before I decide where to put it. I’m thinking it’s probably around 9 or 10. I was really hoping it would be higher…

In The Tall Grass (2019) Review

In The Tall Grass (2019)

Directed by Vincenzo Natali

Based on In the Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill

Starring: Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr, Rachel Wilson, Patrick Wilson, Tiffany Helm

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, a sister and brother venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas but soon discover there may be no way out… and that something evil lurks within.

My Opinion:

I reviewed this Joe Hill & Stephen King short story earlier today (review HERE). They’re my favorite authors and I read and watch all things Stephen King-related so I of course had to check this out. Well, the short story is certainly never going to be a favorite story of mine from either writer. It has the movie beat, though. I know there have been some godawful King movie adaptations and In The Tall Grass is unfortunately one of the bad ones.

I suspected that it would go all wrong. This is a very short story so I knew they’d have to add stuff to stretch it out into a 1 hour 41 minute movie. Making shit up rarely works and the additional stuff they added was stupid as shit. Here’s what they added (SPOILERS):

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The boyfriend, who isn’t in the story AT ALL (don’t think he was really even mentioned) and that TIME LOOP BULLSHIT. WTF was with the time travel shit?! That’s not in the story! Also… that “happy” ending. Why? Can people not have unhappy endings anymore?? The movie adaptation started out fine and seemed to be following the story pretty closely. Then the boyfriend showed up and started bouncing around in time and they all found each other in the tall grass. What?! A main part of the story is that THEY CAN’T FIND EACH OTHER IN THE GRASS even when it sounds like they’re right next to each other!!!

Why, of all the stories to adapt, did they choose this one? And why, of all the additional things they could’ve added to this movie, did they decide to go with time loop shit? It was ridiculous and made zero sense. They took a pretty straightforward creepy story and turned it into a silly, incoherent mess. The characters also had zero development, which was pretty amazing considering the 40ish page story managed to do okay with the brother and sister but the hour and a half film left you knowing nothing about them. The acting was also dreadful, especially from the guy playing the brother and Patrick Wilson (but I’ve always found him a bore). The icky stuff that turned me off of the book was in this too but not really focused on (and undone with time loop bullshit anyway). Hill and King have SO many absolutely brilliant short stories. Why someone took a fairly bad one and decided to make it a thousand times worse by changing it so much is beyond me.

My Rating: 4/10

I need to add this to my ranked list of all Stephen King Movie Adaptations. It’s probably third from the bottom (out of 45). I’m seeing Doctor Sleep tomorrow. Hoping it’s MUCH better than this!

I’ll try to review Doctor Sleep tomorrow but, if I don’t have time, I do already have my review of Dario Argento’s Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) scheduled to post as this year’s Halloween review. I liked it a lot, which makes up for all the bad horrors I watched this year.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King & In The Tall Grass by Joe Hill & Stephen King (Book Reviews)

With Doctor Sleep coming out tomorrow, I thought I’d repost my mini-review of the book. I have my ticket booked for the film and cannot WAIT to see it! It looks fantastic in the trailer. I probably won’t have time but I’m seeing it early afternoon so I’ll try to review it late tomorrow (it seems pointless to not review it on Halloween).

I’ve also done a very quick review of King & son Hill’s short story In The Tall Grass. My review of that Netflix film will be posted later today.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

What It’s About: (via Amazon)
Years ago, the haunting of the Overlook Hotel nearly broke young Dan Torrance’s sanity, as his paranormal gift known as “the shining” opened a door straight into hell. And even though Dan is all grown up, the ghosts of the Overlook—and his father’s legacy of alcoholism and violence—kept him drifting aimlessly for most of his life. Now, Dan has finally found some order in the chaos by working in a local hospice, earning the nickname “Doctor Sleep” by secretly using his special abilities to comfort the dying and prepare them for the afterlife. But when he unexpectedly meets twelve-year-old Abra Stone—who possesses an even more powerful manifestation of the shining—the two find their lives in sudden jeopardy at the hands of the ageless and murderous nomadic tribe known as the True Knot, reigniting Dan’s own demons and summoning him to battle for this young girl’s soul and survival…

My Thoughts:

I gave some very brief thoughts on this book when I did a post of My Top Books Read In 2014 HERE. Here’s what I said:

Of course Doctor Sleep was going to be my favorite book read in 2014. No, it’s not as good as The Shining but I think it’s a decent enough sequel. I liked re-visiting characters from The Shining and liked the main girl, Abra, and her relationship with Danny. I also thought the “villains” (The True Knot) were very effective, especially their leader Rose the Hat.

This was the first book I read in 2014 so I finished it quite a while ago. I of course thoroughly enjoyed it while reading it but it’s already fading from my memory a bit as it just didn’t grab me in the way other King books have. I’m not sure why. It’s good but I think King has written better books in recent years. I think 11/22/63 is a better book overall plus I possibly enjoyed Duma Key slightly more than Doctor Sleep, although I’m sure I’m very much in the minority there. I also had a lot of fun with the book Joyland (check it out – it never gets mentioned!).

Doctor Sleep is certainly one of King’s better books overall but it’s probably not quite up there with my very favorites although I was hoping it would be. I’ve given it some thought and The Dead Zone is possibly my favorite King book although I also love Salem’s Lot, The Long Walk, The Shining, and The Green Mile plus I love his short story collections (almost more than his full novels sometimes). It would possibly be a big favorite except for one bit I really don’t like in it (I think everyone knows the bit I mean). Night Shift was the first thing of his that I read and that’s what got me hooked. I’m sure you all wanted to know my Stephen King history, right??

My Rating: 4/5

**Since posting the above mini- review in 2014, I’ve done a full ranked list of every Stephen King book I’ve read HERE.

In The Tall Grass by Joe Hill & Stephen King

What It’s About:
A brother and his pregnant sister go into a field of tall grass after hearing a kid’s cries for help. Then some fucked up supernatural shit happens because this was written by Stephen King & his son.

My Thoughts:

I clearly love Stephen King and am very happy that his son’s stories are almost as enjoyable as his father’s. I’ve maybe even preferred some of Hill’s writing, especially his short stories in the 20th Century Ghosts collection. As I loved that collection so much, I was very excited when his newest collection, Full Throttle, came out a few weeks ago. I’ve only read In The Tall Grass so far so I could then watch the Netflix adaptation. Well, I hope the rest of the stories are better than this one. At least it was short!

How could a collaboration between my two favorite authors go so wrong? It starts out great (as do most of their stories). It was eerie and I love how King manages to make everyday things so creepy. He’s made fields scary, for fucks sake! I’m never going into corn or grass ever again! Which is fine since I hate nature.

Now, I adore King and he’s one of my favorite people in the world and I want him to write hundreds of more books so that I never run out of Stephen King material to read. The same goes for Hill now as well. But every once in a while, although not very often, I think “this dude may be a little messed up.” There aren’t really any stories of his that I’ve truly disliked but some have been a little too gross or certain things have gone a bit too far for me. The group thing in It. The graphic rape in The Library Policeman, The Outsider & Under The Dome. The overall weirdness of The Lawnmower Man (nothing too gross there – just weird as shit from what I remember?). Hill also creeped me the hell out with a short story called Best New Horror, which was very disturbing but showed his skill at writing full-on horror. Well, I can add In The Tall Grass to the list of stories that went a bit too far for me personally.

To be fair, this felt very much like a King story so I didn’t hate it. The setting was good (I’m a rural girl so always appreciate the rural settings) but it was a shame we didn’t get to know anything about that church and the small surrounding community as the story was so short (I think around 40 pages?). I did very much appreciate the supernatural centerpiece to the story but we find out very little about that as well. We also don’t spend enough time with the slightly incestuous brother and sister to really care what will happen to them in the tall grass from which it seems they can never escape. Like most Hill (and especially King) stories, it just fizzles out at the end. Well, except for that super gross bit! As much as I love their writing, I do find many of their endings a little disappointing. In this case, as it’s a short story, I didn’t mind the loose ends so much as it added to the mysteriousness of the field. I just wish it had been a bit less… Icky.

My Rating: 2/5

**I’ll review the Netflix adaptation later today. FYI – It’s a dreadful mess and the short story is far better…

It Chapter Two (2019) Review

It Chapter Two (2019)

Directed by Andy Muschietti

Based on It by Stephen King

Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgård

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

My Opinion:

First of all, I’ll say that I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I love all his books. I love all the movie adaptations of his books (even the really really BAD adaptations, of which there have been plenty). I adored 2017’s Chapter 1 of It. It Chapter Two was my most anticipated film of 2019. And I liked it a lot, as I fully expected that I would despite some bad early reviews. So bear in mind that I’m a massive fan so, of course, I’m likely to have enjoyed it far more than anyone who isn’t a King fan.


I will have also enjoyed this movie far more than any full-on horror fans will have. Let’s face it – It is closer to Stand By Me than The Shining. It’s a great coming of age story with fantastic characters and strong characters are what really sell a story to me. Honestly, I don’t find either this or the 1990 adaptation at all scary. Skarsgård and Curry clearly had fun as Pennywise but I don’t care about Pennywise as a “character”. The story isn’t about Pennywise – It’s about the Losers Club and the strength of their friendship. This new adaptation is especially strong when it comes to the Losers Club. Each one of them is extremely well-developed, especially for a “horror” movie. And the casting was absolutely perfect when it came to the kid actors and almost perfect when it came to their adult counterparts. Is Chapter 1 better? Hell yeah! Of course it is, which I fully expected. A “coming of age” story works better when focused on the kids who are actually that age. It’s far more fun than watching them all grown up (which I’m sure the director & writers realized, which is why the kids ended up being in Chapter 2 a hell of a lot). By the way – They de-aged the kids which, apparently, some people found very distracting. I guess I’m just completely unobservant since I didn’t even notice that.

It Chapter Two is far from perfect, though, which I’m fully willing to admit. I’m just very forgiving of the faults as I like the characters so much. The horror elements are far too cheesy for me personally. I prefer a creepy atmosphere and “not seeing too much”. A little mystery is more scary to me than an actor in a clown suit. I also hate silly CGI in horror and there’s a lot of very dodgy effects in this film that had the audience laughing, especially at the end. Again, it didn’t really bother me too much as I cared more about the characters than the “scary” horror moments but I’m sure there will be plenty of horror fans who don’t like this movie thanks to the cheesy effects. I wasn’t a fan of director Andy Muschietti’s film Mama because of the cheesy CGI and, dammit, It Chapter Two looks very similar when it comes to the “monsters”.


Luckily, as I said, the characters are so good that it made up for the unsatisfying scares for me. James McAvoy was a bit “so what”, which was disappointing after he gave his all in Glass. Jessica Chastain was fine but I felt like anyone could’ve played that role and I actually had hoped beforehand that unknowns would be cast. But if going with big names, why not Amy Adams?! Adams looks exactly like Sophia Lillis! Chastain doesn’t. Oh well – Chastain was fine and actually better than I’d hoped (I find her overrated). No one did a bad job – Every adult actor felt like they truly did study the child actors’ performances to make it believable that these are the adults they became. As many have already said, though, it was James Ransone as Eddie & especially Bill Hader as Richie who really stole the show. Loved them! Their characters added so much emotion to this film; From laughter to heartbreak. It was nice to see the “lesser” characters shine instead of all focus being mainly on just Beverly (Chastain) and Bill (McAvoy).

Well, I enjoyed It Chapter Two. Yes, the first part with just the kids is definitely better and has a little more heart. But Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was better than Kill Bill: Vol. 2 in my opinion. It doesn’t matter – I see Kill Bill as one movie now and will see the two chapters of It as one movie from now on too. And it’s a great movie overall and a worthy Stephen King adaptation. Plus, it’s quite epic in scale… Five hours! No wonder we know the characters so well by the end. Now bring on Doctor Sleep! The trailer for that was shown before It Chapter Two and I’m now very excited for that one.

My Rating: 7.5/10


Watched, Read, Reviewed: April 2019

Happy (middle of) May, everyone! Why is it still cold?! Here’s what I watched and partially read in April…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Avengers: Endgame – 8/10
Dumbo – 7/10
Shazam! – 7/10
Pet Sematary – 7/10
Greta – 6.5/10
Unicorn Store – 6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Avengers: Endgame – 8/10

Wind River – This was really good. This was directed & written by Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote the brilliant Sicario and Hell Or High Water. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “A veteran hunter helps an FBI agent investigate the murder of a young woman on a Wyoming Native American reservation.” As someone who isn’t normally a fan of “crime dramas”, I loved all three of these films. I think this is probably thanks to Sheridan’s writing as the characters are so strong and so real. You can feel the grief of the parents of the murdered girl and the conversations, especially between Renner’s character & the murdered girl’s father, come across as very genuine. I often find that movie dialogue feels phoney so I love that Sheridan’s characters in these three films feel so natural & are so well-developed. And, yeah, it was kind of fun seeing Hawkeye & Scarlet Witch together in this. I highly recommend this movie if you like a serious crime drama that takes its time focusing on the characters, which is always important to me. If you liked either of the other two Sheridan films I mentioned, you should like Wind River too. – 7.5/10


The Hunt (Jagten) – Finally got around to watching this as I wanted to see Mads Mikkelsen‘s performance plus the film was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and is in the IMDb Top 250. It’s not a topic I’m comfortable with but it was handled well & Mikkelsen was fantastic. It takes place in a small community and focuses on how a little lie/misunderstanding goes too far & completely destroys Mikkelsen’s life. It’s a good film with great performances and I’d recommend it but you have to be in the mood for a serious drama. – 7.5/10


Cold War – This was a very good but not a great film. I was hoping for a bit more when people raved about this last year (it was up for the Best Foreign Film Oscar along with Roma & Shoplifters (which is the one I want to see the most). Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “In the 1950s, a music director falls in love with a singer and tries to persuade her to flee communist Poland for France.” I did enjoy the story and the look of the film plus I love when a storyline spans so many years (especially when it involves lovers separated & reunited over those years). I think the biggest problem for me was that, unfortunately, I didn’t like the female character. She was very hard to like and I didn’t understand why she did what she did (I’ll leave it at that as I’m obviously avoiding spoilers). I at first liked how headstrong she was but it was frustrating as her personality caused so much pain by the end. It was still a good film and I did like the male lead – I was just hoping to like them both and to want them together. Oh well – At least Cold War was much better than that snoozefest winner Roma… – 7/10

Dumbo – 7/10

Shazam! – 7/10

Pet Sematary – 7/10

Greta – 6.5/10


Repulsion – This film deserves to be higher on the list. It’s artsy fartsy & “worthy” but I can’t say I exactly enjoyed it. However, Catherine Deneuve was very good & it’s worth watching for her performance. I decided to watch this Roman Polanski film after liking Deneuve in a somewhat similar role in Belle de Jour. I haven’t seen her in much – I don’t know why she played a sexually repressed woman in both of these but she handles this type of character well. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis if you don’t know anything about Repulsion: “A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister’s boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence.” Obviously, having come out in 1965, it seems tame now but I would imagine this was a very shocking film at the time. The pacing is very slow & it does take a long time before much of anything happens, so bear that in mind if you choose to watch it. I have to say I preferred Belle de Jour. I was hoping this would be much weirder, based on that image I used at the top of this post of Deneuve in the hallway with all the hands coming out of the walls. It’s not, though – it’s a pretty straightforward story of a woman who may have experienced sexual abuse in the past (I think this is implied), which eventually drives her insane. Deneuve is great in these films, though, and I’d watch her in other movies based on what I’ve seen so far. – 7/10

Unicorn Store – 6.5/10


Eddie The Eagle – This was fine. It’s a pretty typical British feel-good family movie. I didn’t know a thing about the real life guy or his story so I found it interesting. He was certainly a character. The film itself is just okay, though. Yeah, it’s a little cheesy and I’d say the performances are a bit phoned-in but, hell, who cares? It’s a nice story and we could use more nice stories nowadays. If you liked Cool Runnings, it’s very likely you’d enjoy this one as well. And the final half hour makes up for the film being somewhat slow to get going. – 6/10


Black Snake Moan – I’ve been on a Samuel L. Jackson kick lately. Love him! So I figured I’d finally check this one out. Well, this was an odd one. And, man, I didn’t think I’d ever see Christina Ricci naked, which was disturbing as she’ll always be a little kid to me (despite not being TOO much younger than me). I’m not sure what to say about this film. At least it wasn’t boring? It was hard to like the characters to begin with but Jackson’s & even Ricci’s do grow on you, especially as you get to know why Ricci’s is as messed-up as she is. I liked the strange friendship between these two and you do want everyone to find happiness at the end. Also, the music was really good. Was that Jackson really singing?! That was a treat. Overall, I did like the film and enjoyed that it was so “different”. But I can’t say it’s one I’d have the desire to watch a second time. – 6/10