Comfortable and Furious

My Year in Reviews – 2018 Edition

Resistance is futile.

My Year in Reviews - 2018 Edition
And we thought 2017 was painful.

Is it just me or does 2018 feel like it has lasted about a hundred years?  Between hurricanes, forest fires, racists, sexual harassers, gun massacres, and the systematic destruction of reason, decency, and ethical governing by the elephant party and the worst president this country has ever seen, I’m surprised aliens haven’t finally intervened on behalf of the rest of the appalled universe to put a stop to the human experiment.

If that sounds familiar, it is because that is the opening paragraph from last year’s “My Year In Movies” piece, with only the year changed. Except, 2018 has been exponentially worse on many fronts. Individual-1 has proven there is no low that he cannot slink under. Tariffs against everyone but Russia. Immigrant children separated from their parents and held in prison camps (two children have now died under the care of Homeland Security). Hate crimes have risen for the third year in a row (remember, the GOP and Trump claim to be the party of law and order?), including a massacre at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. An alleged rapist was confirmed to the Supreme Court. The military used as a campaign prop to continue stoking racism in order to garner votes. A spike in the deficit due to the asinine and very ill-advised tax cuts passed by Congress. Great Britain falling apart at the seams as they continue to insist on leaving the Europe Union, despite the majority of their citizens wanting a do-over on the Brexit referendum. The rise of far-right demagogues across Europe.  And finally (though certainly not the end of the list of horrors of 2018), the worst forest fires in terms of death and damage ever seen in California (and possibly the country).

(Stay with me, I promise I’m going somewhere with this.)

On the plus side, the Mueller investigation has uncovered dozens of crimes, secured a host of guilty pleas and convictions, and is undoubtedly leading toward exposing far more corruption and criminal activity related to the 2016 elections. We also managed to prove as a country we aren’t completely lost by booting forty Republicans out of the House and seven from governorships (not to mention dozens upon dozens at the state legislature level). I am sure the next two years promise much more of the same attacks on democracy, free press, human rights, and science that we have witnessed the past two years, but at least some actual oversight will be conducted by the new House majority and desperately needed investigations into many of the corruptions (basically the entire Cabinet) and mismanagement of posts and events (Puerto Rico and Virgin Island hurricane response). Sadly, a recession appears to be on the horizon and we will most likely have to wait two more years before ridding ourselves of Drumpf and his enablers in Congress. With so much negative shit this past year and more looming on the horizon, what else can we do but turn to movies to escape reality for a couple of hours?  As my co-Ruthless writer J.J. Duquesne might say, HEY LOOK MOVIES!

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(Still with me?)

Of course, sometimes even movies do not offer a complete escape from reality. Take Aquaman, for example. You just want to watch a movie where a quasi-sea god kicks some ass and, uh-oh, the bad guy wants to kill everyone living on the surface due to climate change and ocean pollution. Now, pretend that you are one of those people who thinks climate scientists are conspiring to get money by saying humans are driving global warming. Also, pretend that you are one of those assholes that flicks cigarette butts out of a speeding car because you think the world is your ashtray. Congratulations, you are now able to have Aquaman ruined for you because of thirty seconds of throw-away exposition (and not because Aquaman is an atrocious movie).

I am sure you or someone you know has complained about politics in movies and how it made the movie worse, saying something like “I just don’t want politics in movies.” Two things. One – all movies contain a degree of politics, whether it be literal politics, social issues/commentary, religion, etc. Two – what that person is really saying is they don’t want politics they disagree with in their movies, especially when they don’t know it’s coming. When the movie is overt about its politics (like Vice or Left Behind), those people only get mildly upset, bashing the movie from a distance while avoiding actually watching it. When a movie sneaks it in on them, ho-o-o-o-boy, the movie might as well have made fun of their mom.

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Which is not to say politics cannot ruin movies, just that some people use it as an excuse to ignore a differing viewpoint. Doing so means admitting that global warming might be our fault or that gun legislation might actually prevent school shootings. To certain people, that acknowledgement is simply unacceptable, thus fill-in-the-blank movie sucked.

The key is the context in which the politics are presented and how much time is spent talking about the issue. Regardless of how you feel about climate change, nobody should be happy with an action movie spending more than a couple of minutes discussing it. Avengers: Infinity War threads this needle well, using the issue of people wantonly destroying the planet through resource consumption as Thanos’ motivation for mass murder. Thanos lays it out in a couple minutes of monologue, then the action resumes. It never feels like lecturing and does not change the point of the film (superhero action). If Thanos had frozen all of the Avengers and forced them to listen to a thirty-five-minute defense of the Paris Agreement, we would be justified in hurling tomatoes at Josh Brolin.

So, if you find yourself getting upset because a movie brings up abortion, or civil rights, or gay marriage, or a pointless wall, or whatever else you feel strongly about, take a breath. Chances are high you are overreacting to something that is no more than a plot device that is only slightly trying to make a point. Enjoy the action, drama, mystery, twists, comedy, visuals, acting, and dialogue. Be upset that Aquaman is a fetid swamp of a film because it does everything bad, not because King Orm is pissed about whaling. In short, don’t be an asshole.

My Top 5

For me, 2018 featured several outstanding films that were all very close in quality, which made the choice of a top five a bit tricky.  So, I (finally) decided to take my own advice regarding how to pick best movies, choosing five movies (out of the seventy-seven I watched this year) from different genres. 

  • A Quiet Place – Co-winner of best movie of the year and sole winner of movie most likely to give you an ulcer. I cannot stress enough how amazing it was to be so captivated by a film with almost no sound and a tension level set at a solid eleven.
  • Avengers: Infinity War – Co-winner of best movie of the year and sole winner of movie that managed to exceed impossibly high expectations. As a bonus, Thanos (Josh Brolin) may be the best villain on the silver screen since Heath Ledger dressed up like a demented nurse.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – After The Lego Batman Movie got shafted out of an Oscar nomination, it would not surprise me to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse suffer the same fate. It is easily the best animated film I saw this year, and, Like A Quiet Place, Spider-Verse is sneaky-great and a genuine surprise.
  • BlacKKKlansman – If any movie is going to piss off people over politics it is going to be BlacKKKlansman or Vice, but both are fantastic films. I’m giving the edge to BlacKKKlansman due to a scene where Adam Driver (a cop pretending to be a white supremacist) scolds a Holocaust denier by saying “Are you high? Why would you deny the Holocaust happened? The Holocaust was fucking beautiful.” Contradicting a Holocaust denier by pointing out that anti-Semites should think the Holocaust was a positive thing is sheer brilliance.  Bravo Spike Lee. Bravo.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – My six-year-old son loved this movie and asks to listen to Queen music now. Enough said.

You Almost Made It

If you named any of these next few movies as being in your top movies of the year list, I would just nod at you. The difference between these and my top five is very little. 

Science Fair – As a bit of a science geek myself, Science Fair really hit the spot with me. I love that kids are out there busting their asses over science as hard as any athlete does over sports. If our country gave as much of a shit about science as it does about sports, we would have solved climate change, fully switched to renewable energy, and might even have warp drive by now. But, hey, cars going in circles for four hours is worth the trade off, I guess.

Vice – Speaking of politics, did I mention that Republicans suck? This is not a new phenomenon, they just don’t try to hide it any more. Vice nails this sentiment to a tee. Plus, as great (and maddening) as the story is, the portrayals of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell), Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), and Lynne Cheney (Amy Adams) are spectacular.

First Man – The title is a bit lame, but the film itself is a really good telling of the infancy of the U.S. space program to its apex when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. What elevates this film is the emotional angle we see rather than what is usually a clinical and rah-rah subject in school.

Ant-Man and the Wasp – Twenty movies in and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is as strong as ever. Helping matters is Marvel bringing another female superhero to the forefront in the form of Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), who is superior to Ant-Man in every way except one-liners. I love Ant-Man as well, but if I’m picking a starting lineup, Ant-Man is riding the pine.

Game Night – I want to see Rachel McAdams do more comedies and less dramas (see Disobedience below). She has fantastic timing and delivers jokes with the best of them, making Game Night the best pure comedy of the year.

Deadpool 2 It would be easy to miss all of the political jabs in Deadpool 2 through the forest of bloodshed, dick jokes, and the Basic Instinct homage, but there are plenty of them there. Diversity, white privilege, humans fucking the Earth into oblivion (to paraphrase Cable), and white guys in power committing sexual assaults, to name a few. There is also the same level of quality action, comedy, surprises, and uniqueness as the first film, to Deadpool 2 the best sequel, maybe ever.

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The Squirmers

These movies were very good, but every one of them is tough to watch for one reason or another. And, just like the previous category, rewatchability played a big factor in my rankings here. So, they get a separate category so you don’t mistake them for family affair.

  • Red Sparrow – Watching Jennifer Lawrence get the shit kicked out her is brutal, but refreshingly realistic. Red Sparrow is also one of two movies in which an A-list actress does a nude sex scene. What makes this scene worth it is Lawrence causing a dude’s dick to go limp while standing there naked, daring him to fuck her in front a room full of spy trainees.
  • The Bleeding Edge – Want to be pissed off and terrified at the same time? The Bleeding Edge is about the medical device industry and how the vast majority of those devices make it to market. The film focuses on a few specific devices and the moral of the story is do not get sick in America. If you do, it will probably bankrupt you and may even kill you. It is like an extended episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, but without the humor.
  • Free Solo – If you are prone to vertigo or have a fear of heights, watching Free Solo might put you in a coma. Beautiful shots of mountains and cliffs bookend footage of a lunatic free-climbing El Capitan (for the first and only time). It is a very well-done documentary (if not a reality show) with people you really grow to like. Except the main character, who was kind of a jerk and oblivious to everyone around him. I admit that the part of me that enjoys hockey fights was kind of rooting for him to fall off the cliff.
  • Tully – Good on the make-up and costume designers for making Charlize Theron look like hell. In this case, hell is a mother to three (including an infant and a developmentally disabled son) and wife to a completely hands-off husband. Parents can relate and empathize, though I do not recommend dealing with the situation the same way Tully does.

Surprisingly Decent

It’s almost impossible to go into a movie without some sort of expectations. Usually, it’s due to something you saw in a trailer, actors who are in the movie, or the director. In this case, my expectations were all low or guarded expectations going into them and I was pleasantly surprised at the end. Some of these were even better than decent.

  • Den of Thieves – Of course I thought a Gerard Butler film was going to be a dumpster fire. That he had two movies that were not embarrassments this year (Hunter Killer being the other one) means that either there is hope for humanity or the rapture is imminent.
  • Destroyer – Amazingly, Nicole Kidman looks worse in Destroyer (as a strung-out detective) than Theron did in Tully. Kidman also delivers just as strong a performance. But, the truly impressive part of the film is the reveal at the end, which turned an otherwise unremarkable film into a worthwhile watch.
  • Tomb Raider – Best adaptation of a video game, hands down, and a fun movie to boot. Rather than continue to beat the dead horse that is Indiana Jones, I would much rather see more Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft doing more Indiana Jones-like things.
  • Ready Player One – Like Ender’s Game, the degree of difficulty of adapting Ready Player One into a film while not pissing off the fan boys is off the charts. That Spielberg was able to accomplish that feat is a testament to his talent. Yes, it could have been better and a little more faithful to the source material, but those are critiques, not complaints. This is a movie I will watch many times over.
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor – As a kid, I preferred loud and inane cartoons to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, but I appreciate it much more after watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor. If it wins best documentary, this year, it will have earned it.
  • Blockers – No way. This must be a typo. There is a scene where Jon Cena gets a beer enema. *Checking my notes.* *Checking my notes again.* Well, I’ll be damned.
  • American Animals – I like that American Animals comes across like a documentary with reenactments. It is a refreshing take on a heist movie and “based on a true story” movie. Just try not to get too angry about being asked to feel a pinch of sympathy for the white-privelege poster children.
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Movies for Me

Many of these movies are for you too. A couple of them are even really good and probably belong in the You Almost Made It category. For the other ones, I believe everyone should have guilty pleasure movies. This is how you know I’m not a film snob, even when I do gush about documentaries.

  • Welcome to Marwen – The only good explanation I can think of for the beating Marwen took with most critics is that they watched the Marwencol documentary first (which I have not seen). I admit there were some pretty shallow characters, but the film is much better than it is getting credit for.
  • Annihilation – I really need to watch this film again to see all of the things I am sure I missed. Until that happens, all I can say is I enjoyed the film for making me think a lot and being the most interesting science fiction film this year.
  • Mortal Engines – There is always one movie here that makes you look at me funny.
  • Kin – Ok. Maybe two movies.
  • Hunter Killer – Gerard Butler is on a roll. I cannot wait until his next mediocre, but watchable movie comes out. It sure beats slogging through shit like Gods of Egypt or 300. Yeah, I said it. What? Come at me bro.
  • Operation Finale – I am a history junkie and I like movies that teach me things I know nothing about. As historical dramatizations go, this one is definitely not the most interesting or intriguing.
  • OverlordOverlord kind of craps itself at the climax the way A Cure of Wellness did, somewhat ruining the film. That said, I dug the idea of basically turning the game Wolfenstein into a movie.
  • Tag – While not as good as Blockers, Tag was just as surprisingly watchable. Though, the idea of using a miscarriage as a way to avoid being tagged is as unfunny in practice as it had to have been on paper.
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Meh…(or Movies Not for Me)

Flip a coin on these films. All of these movies were decent, though a couple of them are wildly overrated (you may notice they are a bit heavy on the indies and award nominee hopefuls). None of them spoke to me in any way, but maybe they spoke to you.

  • A Star is Born – Great music and acting, but not much else to speak about.  I was satisfied, but nothing more. Kind of the definition of meh.
  • Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asians only somewhat sells the crazy part and is overly shallow about the rich part. They did manage to get the Asian part right and one out of three ain’t bad.
  • Isle of Dogs – I am not a Wes Anderson film. His films bore me. I tried to get into this film because it was different than other animated features. I am still bored. Now I am boring you. Moving on.
  • The Favourite The Favourite is starting to resemble The Shape of Water in the way people are overrating it. How do I know it is overrated? Rachel Weisz flashes moments of a brilliant villain, but the screenplay suffocates the character in a pile of quirk and ye olde English. It thinks it is far more clever than it really is, which is disappointing after director Yorgos Lanthimos’ previous and brilliant The Lobster.
  • The Death of Stalin – The first half is exceptional, wrapping its arms around the dry satire (loved the puddle of pee scene). Unfortunately, it releases its embrace, playing the second half straight. It is a solid movie, but we need more satire to counter a man (Stalin) that our feckless President would have sucked up to.
  • A Simple Favor – This movie made so little impression on me that I had to read the entire wiki page to jog my memory of everything that happened in the movie. Once I did, I remembered that I kind of liked it, but that it was very predictable. Please don’t ask me about this movie again.
  • The Old Man and the Gun – What if elevator music robbed a bank?
  • 12 Strong – The kind of movie you watch on an airplane and take with a massive grain of salt. Yes, there were soldiers who rode horses in Afghanistan. No, the horses are not important to the story at all. Ironically (in the context of this entire piece, at least) the film was criticized for its lack of politics.

We’re Really Only in it for the Money

Better known as ‘popcorn flicks,’ these are the movies that are uninspired, big-budget, CGI-heavy blockbusters. All of them were very short on story, incredibly redundant, or just plain lazy. Sadly, people are still failing to recognize these films earlier and are plunking down gobs of cash. Like many current social topics, we are not nearly as far along as many of us thought.

  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout – Too many movies seem like the writers never saw or read any of the previous material. What happened to the levity provided by Simon Pegg? Why are we back to the fake faces? Why are we rehashing the same Tom Cruise-has-gone-rogue-shut-down-the-whole-agency story for the umpteenth time? Why is there another wildly obvious mole in a covert government agency?
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – Where Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a decent breath of fresh air in the Potter-verse, leave it to J.K. Rowling to take that little bit of goodwill and flush it down the toilet. Like most of the Potter stories, Grindelwald is filled with redundancies and a dearth of creativity, as well as turning the viewer against previously liked characters. But, hey, mama needs a millionth pair of new shoes.
  • Super Troopers 2 – Credit is due for Broken Lizard making a valiant attempt at a decent sequel. But, this film is a classic example of why there should be a rule against making sequels to comedies. It is time to stop meow.
  • Ocean’s Eight – Everything in this film is way too clean and convenient. At no point did I ever think the crew might fail. Plus, I forgot about this film approximately thirty seconds after walking out of the theater.
  • VenomVenom reminded me a lot of Spawn from 1997. That is not a compliment. Both movies are kind of entertaining despite being what would happen if Tim Burton had a baby with a Rob Zombie song.
  • The Equalizer 2 – It is fun watching Denzel Washington continue to dispense vigilante justice, but it is not fun watching a movie with a half-assed plot. The surprising thing is that this sequel was made at all. The Equalizer came and went with no notable fanfare and nobody was wondering what happened to Bob McCall after that.
  • Early Man – Cavemen playing soccer against medieval warlords.  On paper, this should have been so much worse, so I guess this is a win. Wait, nope, tie game.
  • The Grinch – Easily the most benign version of The Grinch to date. Not bad like the Jim Carrey version and definitely not good like the original. Just there.
  • Aquaman – DC and Warner Brothers refuse to change tack on the DCEU, including canning the talentless Snyders (Zack and Deborah), so we keep getting dreck with every entry in the franchise not called Wonder Woman. This time, we were forced to put up with an Aquaman that only a stoned frat-bro could get behind and a meandering and barely coherent plot that only a Snyder would get behind. 
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We Decided We Weren’t Just in it for the Money

These movies are no less money grabs than the films you just read about, but they actually tried to provide some solid entertainment for your money. A couple of them are even getting award talk, though I’m not sure that should be anything more technical awards.

  • Incredibles 2 – There was little chance Incredibles 2 would match the incredibly (sorry) high bar set by its predecessor, but it got really close. I could pick a couple nits, but I’m just happy a sequel happened at all.
  • Bumblebee – I am still in shock. Give me a minute.
  • Black Panther – I maintain that the climax of the film should keep Black Panther from any serious award consideration, but it was a very good movie otherwise. If there was anything I was really bummed about was how little we saw of the titular character in Infinity War.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet – I definitely did not fall asleep for a few minutes during the second act of this film. As a cybersecurity professional, what I stayed awake for made me grin. A lot.
  • Christopher Robin – Like Hook, but without pies to the face. We need quiet, lovable films like this to give us a breather once in a while.
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The Letdowns

The second category where expectations are key. This time around, I had high expectations (foolishly) and walked out of the theater (or away from my DVD player) grumbling. It’s their own damn fault though, mostly by just being plain lazy on some fronts, especially story.

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story – Easily the most disappointing film of the year. Solo would have been far more interesting if it were Calrissian: A Star Wars Story. We could have finally gotten a fleshed out Lando, but Disney was more interested in telling us how the Millennium Falcon got that notch at its front.
  • Widows – You know a movie is a letdown when you can see during the movie exactly how it could have been great.
  • Suspiria – The closest thing to a foreign language film I watched all year. Based on the decades-old film style and muddled story-telling, it might as well have been in Klingon.
  • HereditaryHereditary was the movie most hyped to me be friends and was decidedly underwhelming. I thought the movie was campy and the supernatural aspect weak. It felt like Nicholas Cage’s The Wicker Man, but with expectations.
  • Sicario: Day of the Soldado – Another film that inexplicably got a sequel, but jettisoned pretty much everything people liked about the first film. Except Benicio del Toro. He’s still there.
  • Gringo – I thought this film would be much funnier than it was and at least a bit charming, which it was not. It did have some really good performances, which kept it from being a complete waste of time.
  • Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle – I hope you like your Jungle Book dark and murder-y. I was hoping this version would be a better take than the uninspired Jungle Book remake from 2016 and now you know why it was a letdown.
  • Aquaman – Yeah, Aquaman is on this list twice. My expectations were rock bottom and it still managed to disappoint me.
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A Waste of Time

At least ‘The Letdowns’ contained some entertainment value. The next few films were all very boring, not the least bit entertaining, and lacked any plot beyond the initial premise. They are the very definition of “two hours of your life you will never get back.”

  • First Reformed – I hope you like politics because First Reformed includes abortion, terrorism, climate change, and political corruption, wrapped in a big ball of religion and cancer. Yahtzee!
  • Disobedience – The second film with an A-list actress in a nude sex scene, this one features both Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams doing things usually reserved for late-night Cinemax. Unlike Red Sparrow, this scene was wildly gratuitous for no reason, including the two sucking each others’ breasts, masturbating each other, and Weisz spitting in McAdams’ mouth. Seriously, that happened, which means they read both read the script and went “sure, okay.” If they were on my list, that list just crumpled itself up and jumped in the fireplace.
  • Mary Poppins Returns – Not Just a spoonful of nostalgia, but a cauldron dumped all over you, ice-bucket-challenge style. If ever a movie was forced, this was it. Emily Blunt was exceptional, which is why this movie is only a waste of time.
  • The Commuter – This movie literally features a train wreck and I still wanted to look away. Ladies and gentleman, Liam Neeson, the king of January films not being promoted for Oscar nominations.
  • GeminiGemini was barely able to keep me from falling asleep on a flight. Then, the terrible ending happened and I was too annoyed to sleep for the rest of the flight. It was not a long flight, but still. Principles, people.
  • Fahrenheit 451 – This is a film afraid of embracing its own content. Fahrenheit 451 is about a future fascist society that burns books to keep people stupid and believing in officially-sanctioned propaganda/bullshit. Sound kind of familiar? Or a possible near future? It is a good thing President Pussy-Grabber does not (or possibly cannot) read or watch anything not featuring himself or we might be fighting another unconstitutional executive order.
  • Aquaman – Oh, I am not done with this disaster. Even as a brainless popcorn flick, this movie failed to offer anything approaching worthwhile entertainment. Even the special effects and fight scenes were terrible. How do you screw that up?!
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Not the Worst, But You Sure Tried Hard

The challenge with this category is convincing you of the one redeemable quality for each of these films that kept them out of the cellar. Good luck to me, right?

  • The Nun – Jesus Christ’s blood is referred to as holy shit. Even though most of this movie was hot garbage, it knew what it was for about fifteen seconds.
  • Robin Hood – Like The Nun, Robin Hood knows what is, sporadically. If Robin Hood had embraced more scenes like its Matrix-lobby-shoot-out-scene, it would have at least made it into “Movies for Me” if not “Surprisingly Decent.” Obviously, it took the opposite route.
  • Mile 22 – Iko Uwais is the next Jet Li. Mark Wahlberg is still Mark Wahlberg and Ronda Rousey might as well be a house plant for all the action scenes she was given.
  • The Darkest Minds – I am a sucker for dystopian future movies. I am a sucker for superpowered-human movies. I am a sucker for watching The Darkest Minds in its entirety.
  • Rampage – The giant lizard and flying wolf were pretty but dumb. No, wait, that’s pretty dumb. I know. I am really reaching on this one.
  • Aquaman – Haha. Just kidding. See below.

Pooping on the Silver Screen

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for – the five worst movies of the year. The first two might have a case as fun-to-watch-when-drinking, but the other three all but dare you to set your money on fire.

  • Skyscraper – I will keep watch films featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, if only because of the occasional Jumanji pleasantly surprising me. Skyscraper was not a pleasant surprise. Nor, really, a surprise at all.
  • The Meg – Only the second dumbest movie featuring the ocean and fictional sharks this year. Think about that one for a minute. Actually, don’t think about it. You will only hurt yourself.
  • A Wrinkle in Time – What a piece of garbage. I actually did go back and read the book, and what a piece of garbage. I did not think anything would be as bad as this film until I saw…
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Best described as what the fuck was that? This was like buying tickets to a hockey game and watching the players sit on the ice and perform taxidermy. I did not think anything would be as bad as this film until I saw…
  • Aquaman – Worst movie of the year. Maybe the decade. Everything about this film represents the worst aspects of bad film making. As an extra kick to the crotch, it will most likely crack $1 billion at the box office, so people apparently had no issues with the political content, as long as Jason Momoa is feeding it to you.

Pooping on the Silver Screen: The Sequel

This is the bonus category for movies that were made as sheer money grabs, but were also terrible movies in general.They are the shitty sequels, prequels, and franchise entries that keep getting made because you won’t stop watching them.

  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – The best trend in theaters is the conversion to bar/restaurant. Now, you can bury the shame of spending money on insipid garbage like Fallen Kingdom in margaritas and supreme nachos while watching said film.
  • The Predator – How are these movies still getting made?  All but the first one have been barely profitable at the box office. All but the first one have been progressively worse. All but the first one have featured guys that peak Arnold Schwarzenegger would have crushed between two fingers. For the love of Bill Duke, please stop.
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising – Director Guillermo del Toro caught lightning in a bottle when he made Pacific Rim. Director Stephen S. DeKnight poured ketchup, horseradish, and chocolate syrup into that bottle, ate it, then crapped out Pacific Rim: Uprising.
  • The Cloverfield Paradox – This is the weirdest franchise. Two sequels, both of which allegedly were not originally Cloverfield movies, but tied in during production as marketing gimmick. I am all for more Cloverfield movies, but how about making one that is an honest sequel?
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure – At least this franchise is finally over, now that the final (really bad) part of the trilogy has come and gone through theaters.What? There are two prequels in the book series now?  Come on!!!!
  • Aquaman – FU-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-CK!!!!!!

In terms of movies, 2018 might have been slightly worse than 2017, but there were literally hundreds of movies I did not see. There were good movies, bad movies, mediocre movies, and Aquaman. DC took massive steps backwards and Marvel continued chugging along. This is the second consecutive year I did not see a great science fiction film, so if you know of one, please share. 2019 promises a bunch of movies to look forward to, good, bad, or otherwise. Yes, there are more sequels, remakes, and franchise flicks coming and, unless you stop paying to see them, at least stop complaining about them. There will be plenty of original fare as well, you just have to read past the main marquee at the theater to get to them.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the lack of doomsday predictions for theaters this year. The global box office set a new record for gross revenue, so the usual hacks had to keep their traps shut about the inevitable death of the film industry. No blaming Rotten Tomatoes, too much CGI, remakes and sequels and franchises, or lack of creativity in every other movie article.  There was just talk about the movies themselves. That and movies were two of the few things about 2018 that did not completely suck. So, here’s to 2019 being better and, remember, politics aren’t going away in your real life or movie life so try not to be an asshole in either of them.



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