Last year I did a thing every handful of months where I made a post with short reviews of the films I watched within that time period, this year I meant to and just never did. Ironically, I watched more movies this year than in 2019, so I missed at least one or two more posts worth of content. Thanks to how things have gone though, my AOTY and GOTY posts will probably be lacking and shorter than ever, so I figured I’d just retrospectively go through the films I watched over this whole year in several posts (so it’s not insanely massive) over the last bit of the year to at least give you something in this year where my content has been extra slow. Plus, I dunno, I like talking about movies and the reason I saw more than usual was because they’re much easier to focus on and digest compared to anime or games. Thanks to Letterboxd (if you look at it, some of these are missing because I just hadn’t added them in the past but didn’t actually watch them for the first time now) having a way to track the days you watched stuff (and an easy way to sort it that way) I’ll be going through these in the order I viewed them. Because of how long it’s been for some of these, pardon shortness or simply forgetting/misremembering some stuff.
I have to admit, it’s a little weird to go through this year in films for me too. For many reasons this year has been really rough for me even compared to what I’m used to – and not just due to the “””””pandemic””””” (though sometimes things that happened from it, like how VRChat has been taken over by fucking normies) but many reasons and, as usual, a lot of failed relationships. Everything feels so fucking long ago, but instead of going on and on in some narrative set up like women and ‘journalists’ do, let’s just get to it;
The Intouchables (2011)
A French film that is pretty fun very by-the-book buddy comedy movie in pretty much every possible way except lacking the usual annoying forced drama arc shoved in near the ending of every one of those movies. It’s basically just fun the whole way through with short bits of drama that don’t linger too long. My biggest problem with this is that this is based on a true story where a French guy who was a quadriplegic hired a French-Algerian man to take care of him and he was sort of a typical rags-to-riches type of guy in real life. In the movie, instead of a very pale chubby Algerian…it’s a black guy. Because of course it is. Not only is it blackwashed but he is also a turbo-stereotype; lazy as fuck who literally just fakes applying for jobs he knows he can’t get, walks in and is a dickhead, all for his master plan of being able to get on government handouts for not being able to find employment. Yes, that is literally his canonical official backstory. He wants gibs, he doesn’t want to work, and he loves hip hop and wearing his pants low. They did this for one reason; rather than being a ‘racist portrayal’ of a black, this is an attempt to showcase the White guy realizing black bullshit is fun and “hip” and such. It works for the comedy that this is, I’ll give them that much, a lot of this film’s fun comes from either character trying to fit in more with the personality and culture of the other – mixed with a bit of ‘touching’ moments that show the wall between their worlds crumbling (again, very by the book).
Tooth Fairy (2010)
A movie where The Rock is the tooth fairy. Take that as you will.
Right At Your Door (2006)
I saw this on January 27th. I had known about the Wuhan Chinese Virus since a few weeks prior even, which is hilarious given the media and every nation on the planet keeps pretending this thing didn’t exist until like March. I watched this SPECIFICALLY because I was scared and already bought all my prep gear and storable food and such and was in the mood for something that, well, you know when you’re scared sometimes things that strike fear in you help lower your fear. I did the same thing with Resident Evil 0 awhile back where I was having a lot of anxiety and panic at the time so I played it to sort of alleviate some of that. This was similar, though dealing with a dirty bomb in LA rather than a pandemic the situation was the same and also boils down to radiation issues which similarly meant the government locking people in their homes, barricading them in even, killing some, everyone wearing masks, soldiers in the streets, having to tape all the ways anything could get into your air, etc and I felt like the ending was pretty good too (though there are mixed feelings from many on it). This isn’t a pandemic movie but it sure feels like one. I actually enjoyed this – it’s a simple low budget (seeming at least, not sure of its actual budget) movie that does a good job making it work anyway because 90% of the film is just in this guy’s house or within a few blocks of it. It is not amazing but I felt it was worth the time I put into it by the end especially in the context I was watching it in.
Good Time (2017)
Good Time is pretty alright, but not amazing. If this was directed by someone with more talent it could be great but all of it’s attempts to make it “moody” and “A SLOW BURN!” really just do not land and instead come off as poor decisions or even outright bad or boring moments. The things that make this actually a good movie though is that it has this fantastic sense of non-stop aggressive high stress anxiety that you get consumed by as the viewer, the acting is great, and you are completely engrossed from start to finish. Even with the problems it has, even with it trying to mimic films like Drive and failing horribly, even coming off like the directors jerking themselves off TO THE POINT THE BROTHER OF THE MAIN CHARACTER – AND WHY THIS FILM HAPPENS – IS “ACTED” BY ONE OF THE DIRECTORS, even with a lazy ass ending, this still was worth watching just for the ability it has to make you feel so much like the lead character in his constant frantic fleeing from danger.
The Running Man (1987)
Pretty good Arnold movie, one of those you always hear about from his filmography, and I can understand why. This is all the stupid over the top fun bullshit you expect from a film with him mixed with a dystopian society where the murder of prisoners is a fun TV show (we should try this out in real life) with psychopaths chasing them down in creative ways for the joy of the audience. Both Arnie and Jessie Ventura are great in this as well as everyone else – though I think my favorite thing about this movie, and something I doubt we’ll see happening again, is that Richard Dawson plays pretty much literally himself in the film as the main antagonist who runs the show and hosts it just like his main claim to fame in real life. It was a great casting decision, but an even greater choice on his part to actually take the role knowing he’d be the villain. There isn’t much to say about the content because it really is just Arnold running and killing bad dudes in fun ways and saying really lame one-liners that are always so fun from him.
The Frozen Ground (2013)
You’ll see a good number of Cage films in the coming posts, but this is the first of 2020 I watched – Nicolas Cage is and always has been my comfort food right alongside Taco Bell, there is nearly nothing else that makes me feel as at peace as watching Cage act, he’s just such a familiar and enjoyable person to watch except in the absolute worst films he’s in (or those that pretend he’s in them but he’s there for like 10 minutes, such as we discussed in 2019’s film posts because I found a few of those that year).
This is one of Cage’s middling works, it’s not great, but it’s totally fine. It’s a VERY cliche-filled suspense/thriller about cop Cage trying to protect Vanessa Hudgens (who from time to time looks cute in a trashy way) from being the next victim of a serial killer in a small Alaskan town. It also has 50 Cent with hilarious hair for no real reason at all, but he’s there and he looks ridiculous.
Joker is something I expected to laugh at and to meme all over the place with (I still do the latter), instead it turned out to be a phenomenal film. Joaquin’s depiction of this character is great and makes him really feel legitimately mentally ill without playing it up in such a way that it turns into something like Leto while also facing the way people treat those who are different and the damage it causes. This is – as many have mentioned at this point – a character study and watching that character descend into a broken human being much like Taxi Driver (a mediocre movie) or Falling Down (a fucking great movie), and it does it REALLY FUCKING WELL. It’s not a super hero/super villain movie, it’s not really a Joker movie, it’s an Arthur Fleck movie and Joaquin makes sure you never forget that with his skillful acting keeping you as on track as the great writing.
The main complaints I see about this film (aside general shitting on it or memeing about GAMERS RISE UP) is shit about how it’s “harmful to disabled” or “presents a dangerous view of the mentally ill” – plus a whole lot of bitching about how Arthur’s character change “doesn’t make sense” to them – and this pisses me off, so I’m going to quote my letterboxd review for the rest of this one even though it’ll make it extra long;
You are not meant to understand Arthur, and that’s the point – you don’t understand him, you don’t understand anyone with mental problems, and you sit there complaining that they do not line up with your normal mentally healthy logic and thought processes even when they are a character made to point out that you do exactly that. That is THE POINT that you claim doesn’t exist, and you missing it just proves how loudly that point needs to be yelled and how important it is that that point spreads because until it does people like you will treat people like me as if we’re just fuck-ups who have no right to be here, ironic given most people complaining about this movie are from the “tolerant” side of world views as far as they see themselves yet while they argue a normal black person will never be understood by a normal white person, they can’t grasp that a normal person will never understand a mentally ill person.
Then there’s the big line of “You wouldn’t get it” which also encapsulates this idea, an idea that anyone with a serious mental disorder or illness can tell you is true. A normal human being with a remotely healthy mind can not come close to understanding people with our sort of problems. It is a literal impossibility, like trying to imagine an alien that has no features or concepts that are anything familiar, the human brain is simply not capable of thinking of certain things and trying to think like or understand things in the way a mentally unhealthy person does is not a task a normal person can take on – and yet even that is something the normal person will not accept as true, and then it goes back to the journal text I quoted earlier. A vicious cycle that this movie is all about and that somehow goes missing to so many viewers because as people who enjoy a life where their brain works “the way its supposed to” they don’t understand it and so it is bad. I’m sure they’d praise the terribly offensive depictions of mental disorders like Rain Man or A Beautiful Mind though, as they depict mental health issues as some kind of god given gift.
Living like this is absolutely fucking terrible especially if you are remotely self-aware of your situation vs the situation of others – both because of your own head constantly being at war with you stopping you and ruining everything for you outside of your own control or choices AND because of the way people treat you and how the closest thing you can get to help is someone who just wants a check and sits there asking how your day was – and this is the first time anything out of western media actually bothered to show that.
Uncut Gems (2019)
The Safdie brothers are not very good directors, they got lucky with Good Time but seeing this a little later just made it even more obvious what a fluke that was. They are two “filmies” who are more fan than creator and all they do is rip off popular arthouse films without understanding why they work. This is more apparent than ever in Uncut Gems, a film rotten with unfitting and poorly made attempts at arthouse being fronted by fucking Adam Sandler portraying the same character he has in every single shitty comedy film he’s ever been in.
Somehow he is basically the ONLY positive thing about watching this because he’s so fucking terrible yet so up-his-own-ass; you can tell every moment just how much he thought he was doing this incredibly dramatic performance – that at least 3 Oscars were guaranteed. Yet, as an outside viewer and not Adam Sandler, all you see is him SCREAMING AND DOING EVERYTHING HE’S DONE IN EVERY FILM HE’S BEEN IN IN THE SAME TONE SAME BODY LANGUAGE SAME FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. He is a GOD AWFUL actor and this movie in its entirety is nothing but a showcase of just how fucking terrible he is but made so much more enjoyable than just watching his bad acting because it tries SO FUCKING HARD to portray it as powerful. This is another one I need to just quote a chunk of my review for because I can’t really reword this and I already wrote my thoughts anyway;
It makes it so confusing because you have Sandler just yelling dumb shit like he’s in Happy Gilmore again contrasted with The Weeknd getting his ass kicked by a Jewish guy and then some lanky dude playing basketball for 30 minutes nearly uncut while Sandler continues yelling like he really wants those football players to know why water is better than Gatorade. There is a point where instead of yelling he attempts to act out a scene where his character is finally just totally broken and he’s crying and so screwed up but it literally had me chuckling because of just how inept he is at doing anything, instead he – as I’ve said multiple times already – just comes off as if he’s in another comedic role where a character cries and it’s done in a really hammed up jokey way on purpose yet here it’s meant to be this really powerful emotional moment.
The main antagonist you think is this relative of Sandler’s some goyim who married into the family of Jews (and thus is hated by the family, which was for no reason brought up in one of many pointless meandering scenes) and that Sandler owes loads of money to or something, but its actually some random goons he hired to get that money who seemingly take no orders from anyone even their boss and have no motive or backstory or explanation of who the fuck they are at all. To make it worse, like everyone else in the film, they can’t act whatsoever. They’re just complete EYYY BADA BING BADA BOOM IM FRUHM BROOKLYN BUDDY FUHGEDDABOUDIT JUST GIMME DA MONEEHHHH stereotypes by people who never got any training in how to play a role.
In fact, that’s another serious problem this film has – it’s very brazenly offensive both racially and ethnically. Every Jew in this movie is obsessed with money, every guy from Brooklyn is an EYETALLYAN EYYYY mobster, and every black is not only quick to violence but COMPLETELY unreliable with the entire plot relying on black stereotypes of being thieves to even happen in the first place.
90% of the movie is just a mindless cinematic rambling of nothing at all aside “look how aesthetic this is” without it even fitting that at all. The story is equally stupid and could be summed up and directed into a better properly edited ~30 minute film that would still be terrible but at least 2 stars instead of the point 5 of a star I’m giving it. This was an abysmal waste of time.
Hard Boiled (1992)
The absolute peak of John Woo, just fucking fantastic badassery nonstop the entire runtime. There is nothing to say about this aside IT’S FUCKING COOL and is THE quintessential John Woo film…well, okay, Face/Off is better but still, it’s also super clearly where the inspiration for The Raid came from and fuck that movie is great so thank you based Woo.
Oh, and yes, Chow Yun-Fat is constantly fucking flying over things and sliding down shit and jump-diving nearly nonstop all while blasting everyone to death like you’ve been lead to believe. It’s fantastic.
The Disaster Artist (2017)
Genuinely one of the most interesting things I watched this year because I knew so very fucking little about the man behind The Room aside all the jokes since it got made, but the story and Wiseau I knew fuckall about. This was crazy, and looking up the real world facts about it all it’s actually very accurate at depicting it all and just how fucking insane this entire production was and how mysterious (there is still no fully known verified information on where Wiseau was even born or even his age, as far as I can find) Tommy Wiseau truly is. So much of it seems impossible, made up in the “this was based on a true story” way, but no, you look it up and it is just actually how this or that thing happened. You also wouldn’t really expect it, but James Franco does an amazing job at pulling off Wiseau and his way of speaking and overall mannerisms, making it all the more enjoyable to watch. It’s super interesting because it doesn’t feel like it could be real but it is. I thought this movie would be cringe, some kind of shitty very-late cash-in on the memes and ironic love for the film that has gotten even stronger lately with many, but it’s genuinely really good, super interesting and I definitely recommend it.
I’m gonna keep to 10 per post so these don’t get insanely long, so part 2 soon! Edit: Part 2 is here!