2019 Oscars

So the Oscars are tonight. Huh. I won’t lie, I really don’t care about this years Oscars. When the nominations were first announced I was disappointed with them, mostly the nominations for best picture. The Oscars moved a few years back to allow up to 10 movies to be nominated for best picture, this year they chose only to nominate 8.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, Green Book, Roma, The Favorite, Blackkklansman, Vice, and A Star is Born. We all know I feel Black Panther is overrated so it’s placement here is entirly because of its cultural impact and not on it actually being a quality film which is fine I guess, but films like Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice have no real place in this category, They’re above average (Ok Vice is actually just average) movies for sure, but to say that they should be considered the best movie of the year while First Reformed, Eighth Grade, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, First Man, Creed II, Isle of Dogs and A Quiet Place are ignored is just tragic. It’s the worst-kept secret that money and campaigning determines most if not all of who wins the actual awards, but to not even nominate some of these while nominating others is just plain stupid.

Take a look at Vice, it tried to emulate the style of The Big Short, but playing a biopic about Dick Cheney so fast and loose just doesn’t work at like all. It’s nominated liberal Hollywood elites watched it and thought to themselves, “Yes I also think Dick Cheney was a bad guy who abused power, therefore this movie is good!” It’s so stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t-a fan of Dick, but that doesn’t make an average movie really good all of the sudden.

Oh well, what can I do about it? Not watch probably. I’ll still make some predictions though.

Actor in a leading role: Christian Bale will win for Vice, I know I just bashed the movie a lot, but Bale’s performance is so good it elevated what is otherwise a bad movie to average. It’s exceptional.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali will win for Green Book and they’ll be 100 articles more written about the historical inaccuracies of Green Book.

Actress in a Leading Role: Glenn Close, The Wife. End of story.

Animated Feature Film: Incredibles 2 will probably win because Disney/Pixar always win, but Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse is miles bedtter.

Directing: This is a toss-up for me, I’m tempted to say Alfonso Cuaron for Roma, but I also really want to say Spike Lee for Blackkklansman. I’ll stick with my initial gut and go with Alfonso.

Original Song: I’M OFF THE DEEP END, WATCH AS I DIVE IN… Shallow’s got this locked up as far as I’m concerned even though I think there are better songs in A Star is Born than it.

Best Picture: I’m gonna go for Roma on this one, I know Netflix really really wanted to win a big Oscar like this and so they probably campaigned super hard and as I said before, money really wins these things.

Adapted Screenplay: Blackkklansman, they gotta give Spike Lee something.

Original Screenplay: First Reformed is actually nominated for this so I’m really tempted to go with it, but something like Green Book will probably win.

No one cares about the rest of them so I won’t make predictions. Someone let me know how I do because I’m not watching. Later.

5 Least Favorite Movies: 2018

2018 was a pretty great year for movies, but even in this sea of greatness, there are surely a few turds floating about. I hope and pray that you all missed these movies, but if you had the displeasure of seeing them, I guess we can get some satisfaction by mocking them together.

#5: 7 Days in Entebbe

I won’t lie to you, I really wanted to like this movie. Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl are two of my favourite actors and I always want to see them succeed. This movie is just not very good though. Like it’s that bad either, but it is remarkably mediocre in its execution. I do think that Brühl and Pike’s performances are worthwhile, but everything else is just below average and the action sequences are honest to goodness pitiful. Like you could probably scrounge up some random film students who could piece a better action scene together. They’d also do it for a whole lot less money. Hollywood take note.

#4: Red Sparrow

Do you know what I remember about this movie? Jennifer Lawrence is in it, the writing is really bad and just like 7 Days in Entebbe holy crap is it boring. I think I said this when I reviewed it, or maybe I tweeted something about it, I don’t remember. What I said though was that for something with as much violence, sex, and betrayal I can’t believe how unengaging this movie was. It’s just boring all the way through, like eating a whole loaf of white bread, it’s edible, but you just know there are a million ways to make it better.

#3: Gringo

I won’t lie, when I went and saw this movie I had pretty low expectations. It’s a comedy about weed essentially, you’ve seen what Seth Rogen makes, something like that. Here’s the big problem with that though, if your jokes aren’t funny, the whole movie just falls apart and Gringo isn’t funny. I sat and watched this movie silently with the occasional break to chuckle to myself. Do yourself a favour and watch a clip of Pineapple Express on Youtube, it’s 100x better than anything Gringo had to offer. Seriously, this could have been a really funny movie, but an endless series of half baked (pun intended) jokes leaves it thourougly lacking.

#2: The Happytime Murders

This movie has a cool premise, puppets are real people and interact with the world. What does that world look like? However this movie takes the premise and totally throws it to the side in favor of telling horrifically raunchy jokes severally lacking in creativity, intelligence, or any sense of decency. This is a movie that decides to tap into the most depraved parts of the human psyche, but since its puppets doing it its funny right? I think if I had walked into this movie expecting to be horrified and disgusted I would have actually said it was a good movie because it does those things quite well. However, it called itself a comedy so I have to judge it as a comedy and in that sense it stinks big time.

#1: A Wrinkle in Time

I really had to debate with myself for quite some time about whether this or The HappyTime Murders was the worst movie I saw in 2018, ultimately I decided that this enormous piece of garbage was the absolute worst. This film has exactly one redeeming quality, sometimes the CGI looked really neat, sometimes. Everything else about this movie just fell flat on its face if you ask me. Acting? A Wrinkle in Time is a perfect case example of the risk of child actors because some of them just suck at this. (Remember its not the kid’s fault, they don’t have enough formal training to be blamed if a child actors performance is bad, it’s on the casting director and the director) The story? Totally lacking. The book this film is based on has some heavy Christian themes that were removed for the movie, and that’s all fine. You just have to replace it with something, and A Wrinkle in Time the movie didn’t, which left the second half of the film feels much like an empty void. Which is like a really bad thing in a movie, in fact, its the worst thing, you should always feel something in a movie and that feeling shouldn’t be a mash-up of boredom and frustration. The truth is that A Wrinkle in Time is just plain old empty filmmaking.

Ooof, sometimes it feels bad to come down on something you know people worked really hard on, but that’s life, isn’t it? Oh who am I kidding, I enjoy ripping on bad movies just as much as I enjoy praising great movies. I feel pretty ok about that though because these pieces of crap took two hours of my life, so I want to try and get something back from them. Later.

5 Favourite Films: 2018

Another year has come and gone and it’s time for me to put up my lists for favorite films from the past year!


This year though I have to make a confession. I didn’t see as many movies as I normally do. Something about actually getting a social life managed to eat into a lot of my movie-going time. Unlucky I suppose, but friends are also nice as well.

Still, though, I did end up saw quite a few movies and need (yes need) to talk about them, even though most of them I already talked about. I’ll be going from 5-1 because I can’t give away the secret of my favourite right away, can I?

#5: First Reformed

This is definitely a movie a lot of people didn’t go see, it was a small production with a pretty limited release, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to watch it. Ethan Hawke gives one of his best performances as the tortured priest of a small congregation in upstate New York. I’m not afraid to admit that I have a lot of personal bias towards liking this film. It deals with subject matter very close to me as Hawke’s character struggles to reconcile his faith with the tragedies of the world around him. There are sections of this film that are deeply uncomfortable, but I appreciate this movie for having the gall to go there.

#4: Love, Simon

Yeah, the campy teen rom-com about a gay kid is in my top five of the year. What are you gonna do about it? This movie is spectacular, it’s fun, heartfelt, and well-crafted. It manages to stay relatable to an older audience without making it’s characters feel out of place. They feel like high schoolers, I mean don’t get me wrong there are a few moments that are just spectacularly cringy, but I think that was intended, because high school as a whole is a pretty cringy experience. It’s got big goals for itself and it meets those goals almost effortlessly.

#3: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

Gah! This movie was just awesome. The animation is almost perfect, (there are a couple of times that it didn’t really vibe with me, but that’s mostly me nit-picking) the casting is beyond brilliant, the story is engaging, heartfelt, and really funny. Into the Spider-verse, along with Guardians of the Galaxy, is proof that with love, care and skilled filmmakers even the weirdest parts of superhero stories, like the existance of alternate dimensions and corresponding spider-mans can be made into a fantastic films.

#2: Upgrade

Alright, back to the kind of movies you’d expect me to rate really highly. Upgrade is a dark, gritty and violent revenge thriller that absolutely no one saw. It’s a surprisingly great performance by the lead, Logan Marshall-Green who blends the line between grief-stricken husband and curious avenger remarkably well. The plot stays just interesting enough that you don’t get bored without getting too convoluted to confuse you. It finds this nice happy place so that people focus on the incredible action and camera-work rather than getting caught up in the nitty-gritty details of the story.

#1: Green Book

I’ve pointed out a few times on this list how impressed I was with the performances given by these films. Green Book stands out to me in part because it presents not one, but two phenomenal performances. Can we all just agree that Viggo Mortenson is just the best and that Mahershala Ali just oozes brilliance on screen? This movie just works so well and it’s mostly because of the brilliant chemistry between these two actors. Not to also mention that it’s got a tight well-written story that keeps things going at a wonderful pace. If I were to make any complaints about this movie it would be that it ended.

Ok that’s my list. Hopefully you haven’t seen some of these movies you’ll go check them out. I really think they’re worth your time. Later!

Pika Pika

Something I’ve come to realize over the past couple of weeks is that not only do I see significantly more movies than the average person, but I also follow movie news much more closely, especially when it comes to trailers. I’ll be totally honest with you, I thought most people watched most trailers that came out for movies. There only a couple minutes long and they’re these little snippets of films to come. I love em! A good trailer can really take a person from somewhat uninterested to genuinely hyped for a film. This is the case for me with Detective Pikachu.

Yeah no, you can still read. There is a Detective Pikachu movie coming out next year. When I first heard about it I immediately thought, “This is going to be amazing with how weird it is or an absolute train wreck right from the get-go.”  Just think about the premise of it.

1. A live-action pokémon movie, already pretty nuts.

2. Pikachu is a detective in it. What?

3. Pikachu is played by Ryan Reynolds. Actually, this one makes a lot of sense.

With all these things considered if really feels like the movie should be just a total mess. Then the trailer for it dropped today. Here it is.

I don’t know about you, but I’m leaning on it’s going to be amazing with how weird it is line of thought. First off, the pokémon largely look really good. There’s a little bit of questionable/uncanny feeling for some of them, but for the most part were in a good spot, especially with Pikachu him… her… do pokémon have genders? I don’t know, but the point is that Pikachu looks friggen adorable. Also, this movie looks genuinely entertaining, and I can say that with some level of authority because for whatever strange reason my parents didn’t let me or my siblings play pokémon growing up so I don’t really have those rose-tinted glasses who just wants to see pokémon in real life. This trailer has actually got me excited to see this movie, although I (and also everyone else) shouldn’t be putting this much stock into a trailer, we’ve all seen great trailers that turned into dumpster fires of movies. I’m looking right at you Suicide Squad, now go back to your dark corner and think about what you did. Later.

First Man: First Impressions

Ok, I literally just got out of seeing First Man, if you haven’t heard about it yet get out from under the freaking rock and check out this trailer!

I’m going to be doing a full review of this thing over the weekend probably, but I NEED to let people know right away.


Holy mother of all that’s good in this world is this movie an absolute masterpiece. Damien Chazelle is an absolute master of film and I am permanently a lifelong fan of him. This thing blows every other movie I’ve seen this year way way-way-way out of the water. It’s gorgeous to look at, the acting is impeccable, it’s intense, its riveting, it’s deeply emotional. Even though I identify much more closely with being Canadian, it made so outstandingly proud to be able to call myself American. Seriously I can’t recommend this thing enough, go see First Man as soon as you can. Later.

Falling Into Films

Hey! Remember when I talked about movies? Yeah me neither, regardless fall is already upon us and that means a whole new slew of films that are going to be coming out. It also means that awards season is nearly upon us so for the next couple of months we’ll be moving away from big blockbuster movies to all those artsy, pretentious ones no one ever sees and then are mocked when they win all the awards. Fun right!?

I’m actually pretty excited, but that’s because I love those pretentious films and I even see them too! I’ve managed to put together a list of 19 films I’m excited to see before the end of the year, assuming I find the time to see them. Honestly, I’m gonna consider myself lucky if I find the time for like 10 of these. Tangent aside the 19 remaining films of 2018 I’m pumped for are:

1. A Star is Born 2. Bad Times at the El Royale 3. Beautiful Boy 4. First Man 5. Creed II

6. If Beale Street Could Talk 7. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse 8. Bohemian Rhapsody

9. Ralph Breaks the Internet 10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (I spelt that without using google, let’s go!)

11. The Old Man & and The Gun 12. Welcome to Marwen 13. Erased Boy 14. Vice

15. The Sisters Brothers 16. Green Book 17. Johnny English Strikes Again

18. The Hate You Give 19. Mary Poppins Returns

I could try and go into detail about why I’m excited about each one of these but good lord we don’t have all day do we? I don’t, thats for sure. Later everyone.

The Happytime Murders

So the Happytime Murders was released in theatres this weekend and I saw it.

Oof. This movie was just plain old frustrating to watch. My personal takeaway from this movie is how utterly unrefined it was. And not just in the fact that it takes the idea of a raunchy comedy and leans heavily into it like so much that it was the only thing they marketed about it, but it felt like every joke and story point never made it past a first draft. Like something would get suggested by the writers and at no point did anyone ask, “Can we make this joke better? Does this really fit into our story?”. This resulted in a story absolutely full of cliche and holes, and an endless supply of jokes that fall horrifically flat and even worse most of these jokes that fall so flat are repeated over and over again because it’s not like anyone could be bothered to write unique jokes to fill out the runtime of this movie.

Just to give you an idea of how little thought went into this script there is a scene where Melissa McCarthy’s character, a detective for the LAPD is told by an FBI agent to “turn in her gun and badge”. The fact that no one in the writer’s room thought to point out that it makes no sense whatsoever for an FBI agent to demand the badge of someone in an entirely different police department just highlights how thoughtless and dispassionate everything about this movie is.

I honestly don’t want to spend that much more time thinking about this movie because it was such a piece of garbage. The performances are all brutal, once again the talents of Melissa McCarthy are utterly wasted. There is absolutely nothing interesting happening with the camera in terms of cinematography or camera movement.

To put it simply, this movie is like if I jumped on a grenade not to save others from the explosion, but rather just to confirm that it was, in fact, a grenade and now it’s blown up in my face. I hope I never have to hear another word about this dump of a movie again unless its to see it win a “worst movie of the year” award. Screw this garbage, 1/10. I gotta go rewatch some good movies to cleanse my palate.

Y’all Ready for This?

Is it just me or is it bonkers that I’m nervous about reviewing a movie about the Ku Klux Klan in 2018 because people might think it’s too touchy of a subject? Like that’s nuts right? Freaking 2018 is way to weird for me…

For those unaware, the movie I’m speaking of is Spike Lee’s new movie/joint Blackklansman. It stars John David Washington as Ron Stallworth and Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman, two detectives that go undercover to investigate, infiltrate, and inevitably foil a terrorist attack by the Ku Klux Klan in an utterly bizarre story that is somehow based on actual events that took place in the early 70’s. Yeah, it’s a wild ride, but well worth it if you ask me.

Now the most obvious thing about Blackklansman is its social commentary. This movie has a lot to say, particularly about race in America, and it’s totally unafraid to just go right for the throat with it’s messaging. This combined with some frankly blunt and overt comparisons between whats happening in the movie and whats happening in our current political climate. I know for a lot of people that can and will be a major turn off. Politics and identity politics, in particular, is a really toxic environment and one that is forced down our throats, so why would anyone subject themselves to a whole movie about it voluntarily? Hear me out though.

Despite the very heavy layer of commentary and messaging taking place, none of that comes close from slowing down the wildly entertaining ride that is Blackklansman. There are just some incredible moments of tension and drama just like what you would find in any other great film, and that doesn’t even take into account some absolutely gut-busting laughs placed and spaced nearly perfectly throughout the runtime. You could pretty much ignore all of the politics going on here and still come out having enjoyed this wonderful film as a stand-alone product.

Also, the performances from the two leads! OOOHHH they’re so good! John David Washington nails a wonderful portrayal of a man caught between two identities that seem to be contradictory and you just feel his struggle between that throughout the movie. Adam Driver is also in top form, but frankly, I haven’t seen anything from him in the past few years that wasn’t top form so I’m just going to start assuming that this is his default level of acting. If you’re a fan of either of these guys this is a great movie for you.

Also Topher Grace is David Duke, that’s neat.

This being said, there are a couple of things you should really know before considering a ticket for this movie. The language is very explicit, not like in a way where they’re dropping F-bombs left and right, (although there are plenty to go around) but more in the sense that this movie doesn’t shy away from the nastiest kinds of hate speech and racial slurs. Like I don’t normally notice language too much in films and am bothered by it even less often, but there were a couple of moments where I was made deeply uncomfortable by what was being said. Personally, I really enjoyed that the movie challenged me in such a way, but for a lot of folks that’s something you’re not looking for at all.

Lastly, there is the ending. By the way, this I suppose has to be considered a spoiler so like you’ve been warned. I’ll put all the spoiler stuff in bold you can really tell what to skip.


Remember when I said this movie takes its messaging and goes for the throat with it? Yeah, the ending is more like they take a bazooka and just obliterate you with it. So if you were sympathetic to the alt-right protests in Charlottesville from a year ago, the ending of this movie is going to really tilt you, actually, the whole thing will probably tilt you, but especially the ending.

Spoiler over

So while there are certainly some things I know that people would find objectionable about this movie I do think that as a whole it’s very much worth seeing, the message is one that is somehow still very needed in 2018, and it’s delivered in an impeccably well-contructed manner as well. Blackklansman is a top shelf kind of movie everybody. Later Y’all.



The Dumpster

Ok, so I sat down yesterday to start writing out the final post looking back at my 8 months with MoviePass. I was planning on talking about the 8 worst movies I saw in that time, but as I started working through it became really clear to me that I only wanted to talk about one of these movies. So that’s what I’m gonna do, just keep in mind that while I’m only specifically talking about one movie, there are 7 others that I feel just as much contempt, disappointment, and anger towards.

So Trek: The Movie, what a mess.

Now before I jump down this movies throat lets get something clear. I didn’t expect this to be some Oscar contender. It’s a Mormon movie, and I expected the typical fare that you see in Mormon movies, cringy humour, a host of flat side characters that serve no purpose other than to be objects in-jokes or soundboards for the lead characters to talk to, yatta yatta yatta. Even with those lowered expectations this movie thoroughly disappointed me, so just relax, I’m not hating this movie because it’s not Schindler’s List. I hate it because it fails on nearly every level.

For those unaware, there is a genre of film that I can only refer to as “Mormon films” that are focused exclusively on the experience of being a member of the Mormon church, it’s super niche stuff. A couple of them are actually pretty good, (Singles Ward, The Best Two Years) but most of them range from average to mediocre. That’s not too surprising since most of these movies are more focused on appealing to their niche audience rather than creating an interesting or lasting story. A lot of Mormon movies from my observation tend to suffer from huge tonal problems as 2/3’s of the film is super light-hearted ensemble comedy, and then in the final act they suddenly become overly dramatic stories of faith and it often feels like I’m watching two entirely different movies, which if you don’t know, is like a bad thing usually. Some movies can make those tonal shifts work, but in order to do so, you need really well-established characters, a clear understanding of what motivates them, a very well written third act, and good performances from your actors. Trek: The Movie has none of those things, although the performers are clearly trying to salvage this thing, so kudos to them I suppose.

Trek’s problems are exacerbated by a plot that largely has no idea what it’s doing. There are like 5 different plots happening in this movie, and in an attempt to make them all work the movie loses track of its main story and simply leaves it half-baked. The pieces aren’t even properly set up to even make an attempt at this big tonal shift for the final act. It would be like setting up for a hail-mary play but forgetting to put your receivers on the field.

What truly frustrates me about this movie though is that they absolutely had the opportunity to get their pieces in place, but due to nothing but pure incompetence doesn’t happen. There is one scene in particular that I think really illustrates this.

This scene happens about halfway through the movie as we’re beginning to try and make our transition from comedy to pure drama.  Our lead character, Tom Jensen, has just been in an argument with a close friend and has separated himself from the main group. Anna McDowell, another lead character and Tom’s love interest follows him and tries to comfort him, but he’s having none of it and after berating her he storms off again. Classic scene to push your two leads apart so the events of the final act can bring them together in a more meaningful way.

How does this scene look though? It should look something like this,

Trek Normal version.png

The focus is on the characters, you can see their body language and facial expressions, it lets you know how the others words are affecting them, then after Tom leaves you to pull back to a wide shot to make Anaa small and emphasize how powerless she feels in the situation. That’s what you’d do if you had like a basic understanding of blocking.

Here’s what Trek actually did,

Trek actualk version.png

Do you see the problem? By leaving the whole thing in a wide shot you miss all the important non-spoken language between these characters that actually give gravitas to the scene. This crude drawing doesn’t actually show how bad it was in the real film, because the lighting was really dim so you couldn’t even tell which one was which without really squinting in on it. Good lord what a giant pile of laziness and/or incompetence this scene was.

This crap would be forgivable if it was like a one-off thing, but it isn’t. This happens level of failure happens consistently throughout the film and makes it made it just an aggravating experience for me to endure. Screw this movie. Later Y’all.

Hoo Boy

Thus far as I’ve looked back on my time with MoviePass I’ve focused on movies that I liked. Now we’re heading into less pleasing territory. What I call the “Hoo boys”. I call them this because these movies are just good enough that some people like Love them, but they’re generally pretty bad movies, at least to me. So when people mention to me that they loved something like Life of the Party or Equalizer II and it’s like just their favourite movie ever. I have the mentally go “hoo boy” before moving forward with the conversation. Because if I’m not careful they’re going to think I’m some pretentious movie snob, which like I kind of am but it’s not something I’m trying to advertise to people.

The defining trait of Hoo Boy movies that they’re reasonably enjoyable while you’re in the theatre, but pretty much as soon as you walk out you begin to realize that there were some serious problems if you remember anything about it at all. Examples of movies that seem fine in the moment but fall apart very quickly would be like Rampage, Tomb Raider, Uncle Drewand Overboard. When I say they fall apart I mean that their plots are filled with more holes than swiss cheese, character motivations don’t stand up to any sort of inquiry or everything was so thoroughly average it convinces you for the briefest of moments it’s actually decent, and then the credits roll and reality sets back in. Hoo boy

The more forgettable ones would be The Post, Darkest Hour, Chappaquiddick, and I Feel Pretty. The forgettable ones are actually some of the hardest movies to talk about because recalling the movie’s failures and successes are just a real challenge and since I know I generally didn’t like them I’m not particularity motivated to try and remember them.

Among these four films I mentioned, I do want to point something out. 3 of these movies (The Post, Darkest Hour, and Chappaquiddick)  are about real-life stories of some significance, yet their films were so forgettable that I would’ve rather simply read the Wikipedia pages about each event. Also probably worth noting that even though I disliked the films as a whole each of them had performances worthy of some proper recognition.  The Post displayed that even everything feels phoned in and lazy Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are just a pleasure to watch. Darkest Hour really does an Oscar-worthy performance from Gary Oldman and Chappaquiddick is a good case example for why Ed Helms could really develop into a strong dramatic actor in supporting roles.  I bring these up because, after all this time, that’s pretty much the only thing I can remember about them. Maybe they’re actually really good, ehh probably not though.

Alright, that’s for the Hoo Boys next up is the big granddaddy of this thing. The absolute bottom of the barrel, the worst of the worst, the “COME ON” ‘s. (really unsure of the grammar there, but oh well.) Later.