We are at the penultimate! Which is great because I’ve pretty much closed in on my top 10 of 2019 (or at least as close as I will get until I manage to see certain hard-to-find things).
I did do a top 10 of 2018 this time last year, I don’t think I blogged it but it was definitely up on my Instagram and maybe Facebook.
But that doesn’t matter because this list is different!
Why? I’ve seen more of the 2018 films in the intervening year and, as I’ve had time and space to think on the films I saw earlier, surprising things have stuck with me while others have faded out a bit.
- A Quiet Place: A novel idea for a horror film, expertly executed. I’m looking forward to the sequel this year. Apart from the killer monsters with excellent hearing, it’s also about the importance of family, forgiveness, and sacrifice. And does anyone else have the hots for ingenuity in films? I love watching characters come up with resourceful solutions. It reminds me of when I obsessively read and reread Robinson Crusoe as a child.
- Hereditary: One of the best horror films of the modern era, more artful and deep than A Quiet Place. It has a lot of shock value on the first watch but is so multi-layered that it really rewards rewatches and interpretation. One of my favorite things about it is that even though the characters try to make the smart decisions, the non-stupid-horror-movie-character decisions, it’s not enough to save them.
- The Favourite: We talked about Yorgos Lanthimos yesterday, and, oh look, he made a psychologically twisted, erotically loaded costume drama. In other words, he made a film specifically for me.
- Spiderman: Into the SpiderVerse: It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s astoundingly beautifully animated.
- Bad Times at the El Royale: Weirdly prescient of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, down to similar soundtracks (Hush by Deep Purple is one of my favorite songs ever no lie), locations (Nevada/California), time periods (60s/70s), and plots (I see a murderous hippy cult leader). But if what you associate with Tarantino is non-stop violent action, this one is more Tarantino-y, despite not being the Tarantino film. Quite weird, quite overlooked. Look for Cynthia Erivo, Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, and Dakota Johnson.
- BlackKklansman: A suspenseful day comedy about a black man infiltrating the KKK. I’m going to marry both John David Washington and Adam Driver. And also Spike Lee. How was this only Spike Lee’s first Oscar win?
- Annihilation: A sci fi where the alien invader isn’t a ‘who’ so much as a ‘what’. Centered on women. With beautifully disturbing visuals and jarring perils.
- To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: A very warm and fuzzy-feeling teen drama that put Noah Centineo on the map. I believe this is another one that is getting a sequel this year.
- Game Night: Smart modern comedies are few and far between, but Game Night proves that when you get a good one it can be really really good.
- Upgrade: Wikipedia is describing this film as ‘cyberpunk action body horror’, which I’m not going to try to parse. Long story short, a paralyzed man goes on a revenge mission with a little help from a piece of implanted tech that allows him to move again- except of course that can’t be all that it does. Long story short, it’s excellent.
- Shoplifters: A Japanese drama film about the ties that bind a makeshift petty criminal family, it’s members assembled by need and necessity rather than by blood. It pulls your heart in all the best ways.
Honorable Mentions: Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, The Hate U Give, If Beale Street Could Talk, First Man, Incredibles 2, Eighth Grade, Ca You Ever Forgive Me?, Tully, Searching, Wild Rose, American Animals, Blindspotting, The Tale, Girl.
Haven’t Yet Seen:
2012 was a much better year in terms of movies than the one that came before.
My favorites as follows, in no particular order:
- The Secret World of Arrietty: An excellent Studio Ghibli animated film based on the book The Borrowers. A good watch if you, like me, are someone who likes imagining what you would do if you were very very tiny. I blame a childhood spent watching George Shrinks.
- 21 Jump Street: I don’t usually enjoy modern comedies, but this is one of the few exceptions. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are great together, the premise is good, and performances are good all around.
- Moonrise Kingdom: Moonrise Kingdom was my first Wes Anderson movie and one of the first movies where I really realized how amazing the theater experience can be. It’s an aesthetically beautiful movie, a musically beautiful movie, and my enjoyment of it was certainly aided by the freshness of never before having seen Anderson’s particular style of quirk. That all said, it’s one of his best and is probably one of the more important films in my movie-viewing history.
- Rise of the Guardians: This is an underseen, under-rated animated Christmas film that takes place around Easter. Long story short, a group of magical mythical heroes (The Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, and Jack Frost) must team up to protect the children and the hopes and the dreams from Pitch Black/The Bogeyman. The Easter Bunny is Hugh Jackman. Santa/North looks like a very Daddy version of Auguste Rodin. Jack Frost is also hot. Wholesome content.
- Skyfall: I very much like Daniel Craig James Bond and this is one of his better ones (Second to Casino Royale).
- Django Unchained: I used to think I couldn’t stand Quentin Tarantino but have come to a change of opinion, largely through Inglourious Bastards and Django Unchained. I was thinking recently about how some of Tarantino’s movies seem to show a desire to retcon history, to take injustices and rewrite them. I like him best when he plays in this sandbox.
I didn’t see: Monsieur Lazhar, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Magic Mike, Samsara, The Master, Looper, A Late Quartet, or Amour.
WordPress tells me the blog turned two today, which is adorable and I had no idea. As such, I have nothing more celebratory than the regularly scheduled Friday links post, rampant cramps, and a beauty hangover from seeing La Sylphide last night.
- The Eat Drink Vegan festival in Pasadena, California is tomorrow. It looks great fun and maybe someday I’ll go! (If that’s too soon for you (as it is for me 😉 ), the Salt Lake City VegFest is on September 8th.
- USPS is releasing popsicle scratch-and-sniff stamps, just in time for summer. By the way it’s getting up to 88 Fahrenheit here, today. I think I may need a real popsicle. It’s good that there’s some vegan Peanut Butter Mud Pie ice cream in the frigo.
- How RuPaul’s Drag Race is broadening the horizons of what it means to be gay in America. I don’t watch the show but I have a few friends who are absolutely devoted to it. I’m so glad it exists.
- So you want to date a New York Museum?
- The twin trick
- A smorgasbord of trailers I’m excited about: The Happytime Murders (all street, no Sesame), Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Mr. Rogers is iconic- and yes, I understand those two trailers shouldn’t be anywhere near each other), Hearts Beat Loud (so sweet!), Fireworks (from the makers of Your Name), and a Pope Francis documentary.
A links post with a one day delay. I’ve officially started on a two week break (but can’t get too excited because we have two exams the week we get back) and I’m debating whether I should go to The Catacombs today or take a joint trip to Maison de Balzac and the Monet Marmottan Museum. It’s a rough life full of hard choices.
- Yara Shahidi was on Stephen Colbert, is turning 18, having a voting party, and is an amazingly well-spoken individual. I know it’s a cliche to say this, but we need more people like her in the world.
- In spite of my issues with The Shape of Water, I do think it’s a bit unfair to sum it up as ‘the film where the woman has sex with a fish’. That being said, someone designed a dildo inspired by Fish God. You can find anything on the internet and this is why we don’t deserve nice things.
- The inspiring knitwear of Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2018 collection.
- The Obamas’ official portraits have been unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. They’re both pretty amazing, both from an historical and artistic standpoint.
Buuuut: here’s a counterpoint and a deeper reading.
- Wisecrack on how Monty Python shaped modern comedy (via postmodernism, the comedy of the absurd, and political satire).
- A thought-provoking personal essay about an ‘accidental wedding dress’ and accepting that life rarely/never comes with the closure of a settled and final happy ending.
- Similarly, this comic on the numerous ways to fill your heart and live a meaningful and love-filled life.
- A surreal video of a very fluffy doggo swimming underwater.
- The Louvre has created a Valentine’s-inspired Pinterest board. I’m particularly in love (no pun intended) the Antonio Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche.
- I’m not planing on watching the newly reimagined/animated Peter Rabbit film ever, but there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about a scene involving food allergies. I don’t think there’s much to be upset about but part of the reason I am steering clear of the film is that even from the trailer it struck me as being crass and mean-spirited. And I wasn’t even a Beatrix Potter kid.
- And… a Disneyland social club is being sued for using ‘mafia-like’ intimidation tactics. What even is this world and what are people? Watch out for the White Rabbits or you’ll be swimming with the… flounder?
- Reaffirming my goal to spend less time on my phone and computer.
- I didn’t cry at this animated short, but I won’t lie- it did give me the feels.
My links are 3 days late and I haven’t been posting but GUESS WHY !
I’ve been on a field trip.
More details coming soon.
- “We all harbor the knowledge, however covertly, that we’re going to die, but when it comes to small talk, I am the angel of death.”- What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death at a Party, by Kate Bowler (a woman struggling with Stage IV cancer)
- Game Over, Man looks terrible. But I kind of want to see it. ‘So bad it’s good’ potential?
- Speaking of ‘So bad it’s good’, do I need to watch the Oscar-nominated Boss Baby? Wisecrack just did a video on it’s ‘accidental’ philosophy, which I found really interesting.
- Some pretty jewelry– I’m particularly attracted to the thin gold chokers.
- I Had to Break Up With My Career Coach
- A hysterical survey of the problematic history of black actors dying (often first) onscreen. And congrats to LL Cool J!
- There is no snack more appropriate for the Me Too Generation than a chip that tells women to eat more damn quietly. Good job, Doritos.
Will there also be a super-crunchy ship so that we can all be alerted when a Real Man is eating?
Featuring movies I both have and haven’t seen.
Let’s say you’re the kind of person who prefers their Christmas light on the Christ. And also light on the mas(s). Thankfully some parts of the world have accepted Christmas as part of the non-denominational holiday season- a time when we celebrate not the mis-dated birth of our Lord Jesus, but rather our love for one another. Our family, our friends, cozy nights, festive lights, and a rapacious culture of consumerism.
One of my favorite traditions for holiday togetherness is the Christmas movie, whether it’s on in the evening while I’m curled up on the couch or its just on in the background while I decorate the tree (just kidding, you have to play the Nutcracker Suite while you decorate the tree. It is written).
While I’m usually all ready for a trite and sentimental holiday story, sometimes you just need something a little more subversive. If that’s you, here’s your list.
Films I’ve Seen:
- In Bruges: I honestly love In Bruges, a black comedy-crime featuring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (my real Santa Claus) spewing a never-ending stream of swears and spirit.
- Edward Scissorhands: This just treads the line with being actually Christmas-y, with the heartfelt themes of family, community, belonging, and the harm of isolation. But Johnny Depp has scissors for hands and Winona’s awesome.
- The Life of Brian: Biggus Dickus. ‘Nuff said.
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: There are a lot of families for which LOTR is a real Christmas tradition, given that the films were released around the holidays. For me it’s because I found the box set under the tree as a child after Dad and I read the series together. An Ent is the only real Christmas tree I need.
- The Harry Potter Series: Actually tender and fuzzy feelings with delightful magic and Christmas scenes. But because evangelicals like to burn the books, the series gets a spot on this list. *Christmassiness declines as the series progresses.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Multiple songs with references to murdering Santa.
Films I’ve Yet To See:
- Eyes Wide Shut: Tom Cruise on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery. Kay.
- Gremlins: My plan is to get this one watched this year.
- Die Hard: I didn’t finish this movie. I just don’t find it very interesting, mostly because of Bruce Willis. But if you can hang in there for Alan Rickman, do it.
- The French Connection: There are a few more Christmas-adjacent gang/crime films (Blast of Silence is another), but I’ll put this one on as the representative. But watch In Bruges first. I vouch for it.
I woke up too early for no reason so here’s a links post, on time for once!
- I’ve started following French Vogue online and I’m really enjoying their “Sunday with…” series. Credit to the Jeanne Damas one for introducing me to this song.
- Love this Classic Film Club idea. I’ve seen most of the film noir on the list, but this selection of Japanese film noir is completely new to me and really peaking my interest! Where to start?
- The Marrying Mr. Darcy board game. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged, etc…
Truly I have mixed feelings, but I’m curious.
- The trailer for “A Quiet Place“. Spooky. I like.
- The structural inequality within the comedy industry. “The solution is putting people in positions of power who are not male, not straight, not cisgender, not white. This is not taking something away unfairly — it is restoring opportunities that have been historically withheld.”
- You’ve heard of latte art, but how about smoothie art?
- My chosen candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
- My nihilistic sense of humor strikes again, but this time with cats. Super relatable.
- The pajama trend has been taken to its only logical conclusion and we can all go home now.
- The subtle misogyny of male incompetence. I’m surrounded by idiots.
- In at least 34 cases, unusually long Postal Service delays resulted in rejections of DACA applications.
- Choosing a different sperm donor is choosing a different child and a different future. What surprised this couple about their experience.
- I’m sorry, Blake Shelton isn’t even Gwen Stefani’s sexiest husband.
- Karen Brit Chick (who you completely should follow, I’m in love with her) on her favorite vintage shops in NYC. Saving this for my next trip.
- Deadpool mixed with Bob Ross. What’s not to love?
- Honestly it is not Teen Vogue’s time. It’s more relevant now than ever and I wish it had been in my time the politically active and interesting publication that it has been for the past year or so.
Sorry for using up all of your free NYT articles!
In honor of watching The Hitman’s Bodyguard yesterday and not hating it anywhere near how much I expected to (Okay, I actually liked it), I decided to put together a list of my favorite stupid-funny/funny-stupid movies (I think people call them comedies? I need to pretend I don’t know and am unfamiliar with the genre so I can keep my high brow sophisticate cred.)
The problem is that I was going through my movie ratings list and came up with TOO MANY comedies that I like (27).
So here are the criteria: The movies herein listed must be intended as comedies, and the comedic aspect must be the primary one. The main audience can’t be children.
That rules out The Princess Bride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Labyrinth, and Suicide Squad. No matter how funny I find these movies, and regardless of the fact that I could watch all of them (except Suicide Squad) infinite times and be completely at peace. (There goes my sophisticate cred.) Continue reading “My Favorite Stupid-Funny Movies (Comedies?)”
On May 25th, Vogue published a list of the 51 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time. That’s right- all time.
And of course I take exception to it, to put it mildly. Maybe I’m holding Vogue to unreasonable standards- it’s not AFI or anything- but the fact remains that of their 51 all time best romantic comedies, I agree with exactly eleven.
Why so few? First, tell me if you think The Graduate is a romantic comedy. (Hint: it’s not). How about Bridesmaids? Is Bridesmaids even romantic (No, seriously, asking- I couldn’t get through the first ten minuets it was so crass). And those are the two problems. The majority of movies are either 1) not romantic comedies or 2) not good, not to mention not the ‘best of all time’.
But of course this is all just opinion. If I were to make a list of what I think are the best romantic comedies (of all time), it would be the list that follows. The ones in italics are those I share with Vogue. Continue reading “The Best Romantic Comedies of All Time: Me vs Vogue”