Saturday, January 4, 2020
We've already shared the breakdown of all the movies we watched last year, so now it's time to talk about some of our favorite things and to drag some movies we maybe didn't like all that much.
We don't just talk about movies that came out in 2019, we try to talk about all the "new to me" movies we saw, and maybe a special selection or three of movies we'd seen before, but which deserve special mention.
The Mellies are nominated by and voted upon by the only opinion that matters: mine. They are also not reflective of the panoply of films released in any given year - because I may watch a lot of movies, but I don't have that kind of time. And, honestly, I'm just not that interested in a whole lot of what comes out.
Friday, January 3, 2020
Well, 2019 was certainly a year that we mostly lived through. As years go, I'm not giving it very high marks, but I did watch a lot of movies. Which, boys and girls, is not so much an achievement as a thing which occurred.
In 2019, I watched 204 movies (click that link to see the spreadsheet). This is likely a lifetime high, and I don't really know how or why that happened, because 204 is a good 20 more movies than last year.
I also wrote a post or recorded a podcast for, I think, every movie I watched in 2019.
This 204 number includes movies I saw more than once. Example: I saw Avengers: Endgame three times this year, so it is counted thrice.
The figure does not include partially watched films, half-watched Hallmark Christmas movies, or matter that I watched on TV that some people might consider a film, but I happen to not consider a film.
As always, I may have missed a movie or two. It happens. The data is accumulated from the blog - so if I forgot to post on a movie, it is not reflected here. Also, dates watched on a movie reflect the date upon which I completed a movie, as I watch many movies broken up over 2-3 viewings.
Now, into the nitty-gritty.
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
Not to be overly dramatic, but after seeing Frozen II (2019) the first time, I knew I'd need to watch it again before I'd do my usual posting.
The reviews were kind of lukewarm, so going in, I had my expectations set for "it'll be okay", and so... when the movie ended and I was having all the reactions I deeply *want* to have after seeing a movie, I'll admit that I kinda-sorta didn't trust my own reaction and figured it would fade after a day of thinking about (or forgetting about) the movie.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Format: HBO Streaming
A while back our own PaulT - who does many things in the film and TV industry - worked on a documentary called Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops (2019). I believe he was a/ the sound mixer on the film, which - in documentary land - is no small feat. Especially when you're talking police situations, moving cars, and open classrooms. So, hats off to Paul.
The movie is currently streaming on HBO, and, if you get a chance, give it some time. The movie follows two police officers from the San Antonio Police Department's Mental Health Unit at work and in their lives.
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Eddie Muller introduced Criss Cross (1949) as an exemplar of noir and an underrated movie, and he's absolutely right. I'd seen this movie a while back, and it's absolutely stuck with me - so when it made the programming list for Noir Alley, I was thrilled to watch it again.
Monday, December 30, 2019
I don't know that I need to write up Tangled (2010). But here's what I think:
This movie is a letter of permission for some young women to realize that maybe their relationship with their parents is kinda toxic.
By that I do not mean that all young women have a toxic relationship with their moms, but dang... there is a reason that this movie ends with a young woman cutting off her girlish long locks as she severs her relationship with the woman who has been gaslighting her and filling her head with bad ideas for her entire life. And I think we've all sorta known that young woman who went to college, realized maybe the world was not the place she'd been taught, and wound up shaving their head by second semester.
There is some phenomenal character animation in this movie in the classic Disney tradition - I mean, Maximus is a frikkin' delight - and I really enjoy the number by all the tough-guys singing about their dreams. The new stuff was in the effects - sure - but the movement and camera work in the movie is kinda breathtaking when you watch Rapunzel zipping around like Spider-Man on her own hair. They really make the space inside the tower work, as well as in the construction-site sequence.
But, yeah, this movie is going to hold up for a very, very long time as it works with timeless themes, for both Rapunzel and Flynn, and the animation may look marginally dated by Frozen II standards, but I'll argue the Disney styling will keep it fresh for decades.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Format: Criterion Channel
Look, it's possible Bette Davis is one of 5 or so finest actors to have graced the screen, at least in Hollywood films. Yeah, she is "of the era" on some things, but - man, even in not-great films she's a power house, and then in something that plays to her range and strengths?
Format: Amazon Streaming
Decade: So, so 1990's
Prepping for New Year's Eve, AmyC and Ryan return to the indie film scene of the 1990's when Tarantino could do no wrong and Miramax was the hottest game in movies. But what if they decided to Voltron their talent into a single, unimpeachably delightful and quirky movie made up of four separate segments by four separate auteurs? It'd be great, right? ...right?
Vertigogo - Combustible Edison, Four Rooms OST
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
I've been aware of Victor/ Victoria (1982) since, probably, college. Just never got around to seeing it. The movie is famous for it's plot of "woman posing as a man presenting as a female impersonator (re: Drag Queen)", but you hear little else about it. It had no radio hits from the songs and hadn't really permeated the culture the way many-a-musical will.
Thursday, December 26, 2019
Format: BluRay (Warner Archive)
I finally got around to watching my new Thin Man (1934) bluray from Warner Archive. I won't talk about the movie's plot, because I've done that a few times. Also, it's one of the most famous movies that ever was, so if you don't know about it or haven't seen it - well, you're bad at movies. No, I'm not kidding or taking that back.
So why did I buy this movie? Again? Well, I'd heard the transfer and restoration were really good - and even if you enjoy the hell out of The Thin Man, sometimes the print or transfer could look a bit rough. The movie is 85 years old. That's gonna happen. But, dang, this BluRay looked phenomenal. And who doesn't want to see Myrna Loy kinda glow even more? See her in even more detail?
We could or should have easily covered this movie for our "Holiday Adjacent" podcasts, but did not. Maybe next year? It'd be fun to talk about this movie for a long time while Day Drinking.
Viewing: God. Too many.
For longtime readers of the League of Melbotis and Signal Watch blogs, you will know that the 1987 sci-fi opus, R.O.T.O.R., holds a special place in my heart. I first stumbled across the movie on late-night basic cable, and every few years I revisit the film, and, like any fine piece of art, find new things to appreciate and enjoy.
This Christmas Eve, Doug and I chose to punish ourselves by re-watching this movie, but this viewing was enhanced with the power of RiffTrax, some of the same fine fellows who you may know from their work on Mystery Science Theater 3000. And, I am, of course delighted to have the help as I'm watching the movie.
Look, I love a movie that leads to more questions than answers as the thing plugs along, and that's ROTOR in a nutshell. The movie is a phenomenal collection of odd-ball movie cliches, dialog tics, generic Texas racism, inevitable dashes of pretension, unexplored but tedious romance, and 1980's non-union talent. The plotting/ pacing is wild, and an amazingly inept filmmaking on a budget. That the movie was finished seems like an act of sheer will and a sort of bright-eyed Hollywood dream backed by nothing but wantin'-to-put-on-a-show that can make for some of the brightest spots in movie-dom.
RoboCop managed to spawn a *lot* of bad knock-offs. It's not actually clear this was one of them as both films came out in 1987. But who knows? There was just something magical in the air of Dallas, where both were shot!, that produced futuristic policing cyborg movies, I guess.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Format: Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane
(Our most NSFW episode yet!) We hit the Alamo Drafthouse, settled in and ordered up some cocktails, for we were watching "CATS" - the adaptation of the 1980's musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber! Join us in a Day Drinking the Movies episode as we discuss 2019's favorite (and deserving!) movie punching bag - with special guests Doug and K!
Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats - Cast, Cats OST
Memory - Jennifer Hudson, Cats OST
Monday, December 23, 2019
We've all seen this movie, and the weirdest part to me is still that they got Michael Caine to sing and (kinda?) dance.
I like it, too. It's probably as safe a bet as you've got for introducing your kids to the notion of A Christmas Carol, which they might as well get to know at some point. But it is genuinely a sweet movie, even if not my favorite adaptation of the book (the George C. Scott version is incredible, the Patrick Stewart version surprisingly moving, and I'm always in the bag for Scrooged).
But, hey, you get penguins ice skating, some great muppet-eering, and Paul Williams providing excellent musical numbers. The sets are absolutely mind-boggling, and the "let's put a ton of Muppets on the screen" approach totally pays off.
Anyhoo, I'm a fan.
Sunday, December 22, 2019
It's a Signal Watch Stocking Stuffer! SimonUK and Ryan watched the 2010 Finnish sorta-horror import "Rare Exports" (2010), all about Santa maybe not being the fun-loving fellow who drops down chimneys to drop off presents, and maybe more a bit of "hold my beer, Krampus".
Holiday 2019 Playlist
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
I'm not writing this up. I might podcast on it at some point, but I don't feel like a first viewing of this movie is quite enough to give it a thorough thinking-through.
Thanks to a very special secret pal who secured me tickets dead center of the theater! My seat was shaking during the last reel of the movie. It was awesome.
I will say this: I thought Anthony Daniels was fan-freakin'-tastic in this episode, as always, and I wished for way more C3PO over the course of the movie.
I'll get around to doing something at some point, but, for now - acknowledging that I'd seen it.
Also - here's me outside the theater.
|crazily, the two Jedi thought I didn't want them in the picture. They looked rad as hell!|
Format: Netflix streaming
I am pretty sure I've written up this movie a half-dozen times, because I watch it every year or two.
I will say this for this viewing - the last time I watched it, I was watching a restored version, and I don't think that's what Netflix has. And, it's weird. The cast looks way rougher with the tint in the film. Look for the restored version.
Friday, December 20, 2019
I still like Force Awakens both in spite of and due to its many flaws. It's a good level of goofy, and has a few great bits that supersede a lot of the clunkiness and retreading of New Hope.
I genuinely liked the characters a lot in this film, and cared about what happened to them. The lightsaber flying into Rey's hand is the Star Wars stuff that gives me chills. As was Finn lighting it up to protect his friend.
It has it's fair share of issues, but overall - I liked it as an adult - and as a kid, I think this movie would have hit me where I lived. I'm still wow'ed by how close to the plotting of Episode IV it hews (unnecessarily!), but I do appreciate the differences.
Viewing: Unknown. 7th?
It's Christmas Noir! From a first-person-perspective! It's kinda weird, honestly! Join Jamie and Ryan as they discuss "Lady in the Lake", a movie about murder with a very twisty mystery, with a lot of the story taking place on Christmas! For some reason. And Ryan finally gets to talk about Audrey Totter, noir and whatnot.
Holidays 2019 Playlist:
Gallery of Ms. Totter in Lady in the Lake (1947)
Sunday, December 15, 2019
PODCAST: "Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996) w/ SimonUK, Jamie and Yours Truly! It's a Holiday Adjacent Special!
Format: Streaming - Amazon
The Signal Watch hearts Geena Davis. And here she is! In a movie that takes place at Christmas - because it's written by Shane Black. SimonUK, Jamie and Ryan talk this mid-90's actioner that predates Jason Bourne movies but post-dates the Bourne books about a secret assassin recovering her memory as the baddies movie in.
Long Kiss Goodnight Intro - Alan Silvestri, Long Kiss Goodnight OST
Signal Watch Holidays 2019:
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Format: Alamo Mueller Movie Party
I saw Gremlins (1984) during its original theatrical run back when I was a kid. I wasn't someone who watched any horror yet, so I do recall the movie scaring the crap out of me in one or two scenes, but as the same kid who thought Ewoks were *great*, I also loved me some Gizmo.
In fact, I started 4th grade with an official Gremlins backpack that had Gizmo screenprinted on the outside like I was Billy Peltzer chasing me down some Stripe with my little buddy.