Here’s day 2 of my year-end top ten lists. Onto the fun movie lists starting tomorrow! But I realised I watched more TV shows than usual in 2020 plus the top two are SO good that I decided these were worthy of a list this year even though I prefer watching movies. But I enjoyed The Mandalorian far more than any movies I’ve seen in the past several years.
I’m cheating a bit as I’ve only seen a few episodes of some of these. But, based on what I’ve seen so far, this is how I’d rank them. And god Grey’s Anatomy annoys me but I’ve been watching it for over a decade so I must like something about it. By the way – are we ever going to get to see the newest series in the U.K.??
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…