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Best of the Decade – Part 5 (10-1)

10) The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

Why? Wes Anderson is a director that took me a long time to appreciate. I didn’t really know much about him and his earlier work, but wasn’t a fan when I was younger. After Fantastic Mr. Fox, I was a fan, and it took a couple more to bring me to this one which made me fall in love with its insides.

After seeing it for the first time I have seen other films he did, still not all of them, and this is just the most spectacular to me. A larger cast, full of oddballs, love, and life lessons. And hell, the main character is not a great man, but Ralph Fiennes goes completely into this hotel madman and leaves nothing behind.

It is a film that is visually stunning and funny enough that it is easy to revisit over and over again with similar tummy bellows.

Favorite moment? The punch outs.

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9) La La Land 2016

Why? Musicals are hard to make and hard to make well. Slap some songs in a movie and we don’t always fall in love. Have choreography? Who cares, so do music videos. I need a good story, I need acting, and I need songs to move the story forward and not feel awkward.

La La Land feels like an attempt to make a more low key realistic musical, while still having the same show stopping type numbers. The first couple of songs in it are full on flash and color, but after that, we get our slower song for both leads to dance, and then it slows the hell down. It lets them breath, we get our main theme with reprises and add-ons, and it lets the story work.

I feel like I get the best of the both worlds, along with an ending I can hate while still respecting at the same time. Gosling and Stone, you are beautiful people who keep coupling in our movies. Thank you for that. This is my favorite musical of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Another Day of Sun.

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8) The Social Network 2010

Why? Here is a film a lot of people have called the best of the decade, and it is a wonder that it came out at the start of the decade. It is a film many say should have won Best Picture and are still annoyed by that fact today. And I get it, I love it too.

We combine David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, so of course we get some amazing creation they can call their own. Add in a great score, actors who were sort of just coming into the game, and some boy band experience, and it is a hard film to top.

It still feels timely, and likely will be for quite a long while given how little our online interactions have actually changed. It is the type of film that I feel I will always be down to watch, and was peak Eisenberg (but thankfully not peak Garfield or Hammer).

Favorite moment? The ousting of Eduardo.

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7) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 2010

Why? A lot of this list could be seen as “What films does this guy think are better than The Social Network from the 2010s?” And I will do you one better. What film from 2010 itself do I think is better? Scott Pilgrim, that’s what!

I will say this is a film where I had read all of the source material before the film, and it completely delivered six books in one film. You know, the type of thing books try to avoid since then. They wanna stretch it out. Edgar Wright instead filled it with action, game references, and totally captured the nature of the graphic novel. Sure, a lot is missing, and that is okay.

This is a stone soup of younger actors and actresses to piece together this strange story that is really just a complicated metaphor that tells us that people have baggage. Relationships are hard. And it can be difficult to let things go that have helped define us up to that point. And its funny. This is my favorite comedy AND comic book movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? CASUAL SEX! Okay, that’s the book. The Chris Evans and Vegan fights.

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6) Warrior 2011

Why? And now onto more serious things. I didn’t hear about Warrior until it was coming out on DVD as a recommendation from my brother. I wasn’t expecting anything, just another “boxing movie” but instead I got an extremely heartfelt story about two brothers, no longer in each other’s lives, both overcoming their own hardships and difficulties in life to do what they do best. Fight.

I will admit I don’t really like Nick Nolte in most films the last 20 years, but him being a hard to decipher mess of a human actually works for this movie. One of my favorite aspects of this film is that this basically introduced me to Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy in movies, and they have continued to show why they are both highly sought after actors.

UFC is new to the sports world still, and it found a way to take what would normally be just a boxing story and change things up, with different styles mirroring their lives and attitudes. And of course, when I see the ending, I cry every time. This is my favorite sports movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The four second fight, the final fight, the Marines song.

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5) Nightcrawler 2014

Why? Another film I never got to see in theaters, and I blame poor advertising on that. I blame the advertising on its lack of awards as well, because Jake Gyllenhaal should have been nominated and won those acting awards for his scary portrayal.

This film takes morals and completely throws them out of the window. Gyllenhaal rarely blinks and talks in a charismatic rapey way like he was born to be that person. But hell, Gyllenhaal has been one of the most consistent actors this decade, so it makes sense.

Nightcrawler is unsettling and questions our fascination with the news and what people want to see and hear. If anything, it predicted what people have started to do with features like YouTube/Facebook Live when it comes to unthinkable crimes, and hopefully if enough people see it and take its messages to heart, we can put to end to this nonsense. So, probably never. This is my favorite Thriller of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The home invasion and fallout.

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4) The Perks of Being A Wallflower 2012

Why? When I saw this film in theaters, I remember just sitting there in the theater, watching regular credits with music blasting, and finding myself unable to get up and leave. I had to deal with the emotions and thoughts running through my head. I had to wipe away tears and make sure I wasn’t a wreck of a man walking into the lobby. I noticed the few people in the theater were also not getting up right away. It seemed like a universal feeling.

What starts out as a story about a loner who wants to be accepted but is too introverted and shy to get out there turns into something bigger. Coming out of your shell is risky, and so is accepting others into your life. But even if we bring others in, there is still a lot hiding under the surface that they can never know about, to know what you are going through and subconsciously dealing with at all times..

The reveal about our protagonist and his past comes along shockingly, but when rewatching the film the hints are right there. Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller are great leads, and Emma Watson in this film helps break out of her Harry Potter sphere. It is so well acted with a kicking soundtrack, it should be a staple of its genre for hopefully decades to come dealing with timeless problems. This is my favorite coming of age story of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Truth or dare.

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3) Colossal 2017

Why? Colossal is a hard film to fit into any genre. It is a film that has plot holes and doesn’t try to explain all of its quirks. And that can rub people the wrong way.

But when taken as a larger metaphor for emotional abuse and substance abuse, and trying to overcome these issues with your body and past, it is a shining example of how someone can feel. Full of depression and anger in their own lives, it sometimes feels like there is a monster inside of them that is destroying others. And that can be literal if the monster completely consumes the individual.

Thankfully, this movie also offers hope. And I love that the answer isn’t just another man or a relationship. It is about fixing yourself and not relying on others to handle your problems for you.

Anne Hathaway I enjoy in most films, and she feels very vulnerable in this film Jason Sudeikis I also love, but plays the bad guy in a creepily realistic way. The twists and turns are wonderful. This is my favorite…uhh…fantasy film (?) of the year. Maybe romance? I don’t know. 

Favorite moment? The introduction of the Robot.

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2) Arrival 2016

Why? In 2016, this movie was the third on my list, right a different Amy Adams movie and a musical, and in those years since I have realized that Arrival is the better film. At this point I was more familiar with Denis Villeneuve and still blown away with the story put together in this film. Sure, it is based on a story, but the visual work and cinematography, and the alien design and the ORDER this story gives is mind blowing. It is a mind blowing film.

Amy Adams is probably the best actress of the decade. Just look at the number of nominations, the quality of films she has been in year after year, even the more silly and family friendly roles are above the curve. And I don’t think she has ever been better.

This film is a major gut punch when the whole story gets revealed and told and deals with a complicated timeline, but not shying away from complicated stories is a good thing. When we get original stories that don’t feed you through a straw the plot, we need to reward them and celebrate them. This is my favorite science fiction film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The death of the alien.

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1) Steve Jobs 2015

Why? And finally, the shocking moment, the one that will make people say huh. But probably not people who know me. When I made my top of 2015 list it made 4th, with the two above it not making my top of the decade, and the other one being The Big Short, further down this list. So HOW could a film like this move all the way up to my number one spot?

First of all, repeatability. Since I bought the film I have seen it probably twice a year always on a whim. I get a feeling, I want to see Steve Jobs again, so I do it. It being a film in three acts that mirror each other and grow is a rewarding watch, to see the connections, to connect it to history, to see how people grow.

Secondly, I can still tear up usually near the end each and every time. Having it be about a very mean and modern myth filled man, but actually a story about learning to accept your responsibilities as a father? That is a twist, and movies that deal with father/daughter relationships always get me now.

Thirdly, Aaron Goddamn Sorkin. I love the hell out of his dialogue, and the words come out at a pace with such passion that it is like an action movie…with words.

Strangely enough, I am in no way an Apple fan boy. I have had an iPhone for one year before they got rid of the Aux, so I went back to Android. I had an iPod way after they were cool and that is about it. I just can acknowledge that Steve Jobs was an interesting individual and did a lot of good with a lot of bad.

Fassbender should have won best actor over DiCaprio that year. Rogen was great. Winslet completely became a different person. Daniels molded his suave from the Newsroom into something similar, but different. And the other people involved are equally fascinating.

If it wasn’t for the several F-bombs, it is a film I would show my gifted students every year, so they could understand that being smart doesn’t mean one has to be a dick. A play that never was a play, Steve Jobs is my favorite drama, favorite “biopic”, and favorite movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? It’s not binary.

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Thanks for reading! Hopefully you check out the other parts and can tell me in the top 50 why I am stupid and missed your favorite film, or why you think Steve Jobs isn’t a great film. I might not listen, but I will still “listen.”

Click here for Part 1 (50-41)!
Click here for Part 2 (40-31)!
Click here for Part 3 (30-21)!
Click here for Part 4 (20-11)!

Best of the Decade – Part 4 (20-11)

20) Margin Call 2011

Why? Earlier in the list I already had The Big Short, which talked about the 2008 Crisis in a much different way than Margin Call. Margin Call did it dramatically, with a fake company, to showcase the ineptitude of those at the top, and how they could still screw over other people on the way to trying to save themselves.

I rated this higher featuring some good performances from various actors involved, and just in generally it is really thrilling for such a bland sounding topic.

Favorite moment? The day after.

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19) 1917 2019

Why? You try to pretend your movie is done in one take, and I am going to enjoy it. Flex away your cinematographic and directorial skills to put that together. The story is a simple one, and through it we get to see the realities of the trench, just how much they worked like any movie before.

We see a lot of the biggest aspects of WW1, including the fear, the excessive death, and how hard it was to find an eventual resolution. This is my favorite war movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The night time escape.

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18) Baby Driver 2017

Why? Another movie with Kevin Spacey in the same article, ack! This was really hard to place in its original top list, due to scandals, but honestly, I still love this movie very much. Edgar Wright pieced together a high energy film, with a unique soundtrack that made me want to speed down the highway myself. Okay, that’s bad.

But a heist movie where things go bad, the bad guys are various level of bad, and a journey for redemption? What a hero arc.

Favorite moment? Hocus Pocus Focus escape.

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17) Parasite 2019

Why? Come on, of course right? I mean, come on. Many are saying Parasite could be one of the best films of the decade, and there is a lot of reason for that. I often worry about getting caught up in “current year hype” and knowing how well 2019 films compare to the previous 9 is really hard. But I think Parasite is one of those keeper films. This movie will likely be fast tracked to some sort of American remake and it won’t be as good.

Thankfully, this version is so good, without going into too much detail, about Korean class warfare, that it feels universal regardless of where you are from.

Favorite moment? What’s in the basement?

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16) Waves 2019

Why? See above. I don’t know if Waves should be this high, but it was my number one in 2019. I haven’t been able to rewatch it, and don’t know if it has staying power. But like Parasite, it told a classic tale of a rise and fall, but also included the potential rise again after the fact. After tragedy, we need to cope and move on, and Waves makes sure to focus equal attention on that aspect as well.

Beautifully shot and acted, it brought me to tears several times.

Favorite moment? The party aftermath.

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15) Swiss Army Man 2016

Why? This film is one of the greatest and most original films I have seen in my life time. It is bananas to the wall, hell, to the ceiling, complete and utter madness. Paul Dano can practically do no wrongs when it comes to films in his career, and although Daniel Radcliffe is more hit and miss, this one is certainly a high hit for anyone who decides to accept its weird and give it a chance.

If it takes a lot of fart and masturbation jokes to discover what it means to be human, then sign me up for this evolved life.

Favorite moment? The soundtrack.

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14) Les Miserables 2012

Why? No! Not the french remake that isn’t actually based on the book that came out in 2019, the goddamn musical! I had never seen the stage musical before seeing this film and was only slightly familiar with one of the songs, so I wasn’t sure what to expect on that Christmas morning in 2012. This film made me cry four times my first time in theaters, and from that I went on to watch it at least three more times in theaters. It was a day one buy when it hit Blu-Ray and has been seen several times over.

The songs have complexity, and it just hits you over the head over and over about how shitty this time in France was. Time machine? No thank you. And by having the actors sing live for the movie added such a personal touch that can only be recreated in real life.

Favorite moment? One Day More and Javert’s suicide.

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13) Goon 2011

Why? It took a little bit for Goon to leak its way out of Canada into an American release, and I was excited to give it a shot. Little did I know it would become something I needed to see again after watching it by myself. I remember showing it to my dad later the same day due to how ridiculous it was, and funny, and strangely heart felt.

Seann William Scott made his career out of being a lovable idiot, and this role is another iteration of that, which he executes perfectly. An extremely quotable movie at points, it takes some extremes in the sport of hockey without breaking out into a musical.

Favorite moment? The Ross Rhea showdown.

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12) About Time 2013

Why? About Time felt like it would easily fall into “Creepy movie territory” real quick. A romance where the guy can go back and time and just try again until he makes it perfect? No! Rapey! ack! And then despite starting with those elements, they make our hero the perfect gentlemen, going back to help everyone he can, even if it means setting himself back.

And by the end, with the implications of his travels, it is hard to not cry over the relationship he has with his father and the family he has created. It is an incredibly smart film given the stipulations it put into its time travel and how one should try and approach life no matter their circumstances.

Favorite moment? Ping pong.

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11) Blindspotting 2018

Why? My top film of 2018 wasn’t able to make my top ten of the decade, despite being still a great film about an important subject matter. Gentrification is not an easy subject to make a comedy/drama about. So why not two people who have experienced it themselves growing up in radically different ways due to the color of their skin?

Daveed Diggs (who blew up thanks to Hamilton) and real life friend Rafael Casal give an emotionally charged performance in wake up police brutality, harsh sentences, and how felons are treated in our society. 2018 had a lot of social justice films that were top of the line, and this one was just on top of the pile overall.

Favorite moment? Post party arguments.

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Best of the Decade – Part 3 (30-21)

30) The Favourite 2018

Why? While not my favorite movie of the decade, this is my favorite of Yorgos Lanthimos, whom was doing really good in the last few years of the decade. A women centric cast, that is a bit absurd, while having some historical truth, it led to a lot of comedic gold moments that could only happen with a great script and great actresses to carry it all out.

Also, the camera work in this film was atypical, and a bit inspiring.

Favorite moment? Don’t look at me.

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29) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2018

Why? This is my “half” sequel on the list. Technically standalone, but also one of the realities is totally the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, so it takes place after them. Spider-Verse is on this list as my third (and not yet highest) rated animated film because of how blown away I was with the art style.

It offered something unlike any other animated film of that year or recent years, keeping it still feeling like a comic movie, and with stunning fight scenes and humor throughout.

Favorite moment? Alright, let’s start at the beginning.

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28) Sing Street 2016

Why? This is a film I expected almost nothing out of, and should have realized it was something special. The third music centered film by John Carney feels very personal and ends up being more than a strange pre-teen romance film.

It also deals with a strong relationship with brothers and how those older can pave the way for their siblings, taking on more burdens that the younger ones would never realize. And hey, the music is fun too.

Favorite moment? Basically every scene with Jack Reynor.

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27) 12 Years A Slave 2013

Why? 2013 called, it wants its number one movie back. 12 Years A Slave is a hard movie to get through. Torture, near death, and obviously enslavement does not equate to a movie you want to see over and over. Hell, I knew it would take me awhile to rewatch it after I saw it in theaters, and only rewatched it for this list finally, never really getting in that mood again.

Well acted, a terrifying real story, but one that is something I will rarely ever see again in my life.

Favorite moment? Favorite is a bad word here, but the “hanging” scene is the most powerful and shocking.

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26) Hereditary 2018

Why? I do believe Toni Collette was robbed for he performance in this film, and not given anywhere close to enough credit as she deserved. I knew she was a great actress, and this film really cemented it in my mind. A demented film overall, one that builds the fears inside of you overtime and masterfully at that.

Very few “jump” scares but instead an overall sense of dread and wondering how could things get worse or scarier. This is my favorite horror film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Dinner time.

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25) Whiplash 2014

Why? I don’t know if I need a long paragraph for this one? J. K. Fucking Simmons. There. That’s why.

Favorite moment? Tempo changes.

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24) Kubo and the Two Strings 2016

Why? Kubo is an animated film that tried to give me something I hadn’t seen before. Laika has been pushing the boundaries of their stop-motion films a lot over this decade, and I don’t think anything came out as fresh and stunning as Kubo. Combining characters both big and small, we got a fresh lead with an interesting story, and hell, some scary villains to boot.

It still felt like a good film for the family, despite its darker elements. Honestly, the only thing I hated were the names of the sidekicks. This is my favorite animated film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The magic origami.

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23) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 2014

Why? Another top film of its year that is getting surpassed by others, I will still attest that Birdman is a wonderful film, start to finish, really no faults. I love everything about it, from the meta casting choices, to the long takes and monologues, to the play within a play. The catchy drum beat that wraps up most of the film keeps it moving and on the edge.

It is a great movie and will be celebrated for a long time.

Favorite moment? Edward Norton.

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22) Gone Girl 2014

Why? Gone Girl is a thriller where the twist is revealed much earlier on than most thrillers. Hell, the twist turns it into almost a completely different movie, and makes it go places that would be very hard to predict. Affleck is wonderful as the distant husband, but Pike really gives a haunting performance, which elevated far past anything I’ve seen her do before. Mostly TV shows, notably.

Because the twist is so early on, it is still a movie worth watching over and over.

Favorite moment? What happened to Amy.

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21) Mad Max: Fury Road 2015

Why? Ah! Many people picked this their top of that year and top of the decade, and I will admit, this is an over the top film unlike almost anything else. The stunt work, the practical effects, the gruesome moments. It is definitely a story that doesn’t hold a lot of equals. And I can acknowledge all of it, and still want more from the actors and plot.

This is the only other sequel on the whole list, which is interesting as this one works very well as a standalone and just uses 1 character.

Favorite moment? The race back.

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Best of the Decade – Part 2 (40-31)

 

40) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 2015

 

Why? Besides being a solid A+ on the naming department, the title gives you everything you need to know about it. A movie dealing with teens dealing with death, the awkwardness of friendship and love in general, and how one can face the inevitable.

The Nick Offerman and love of movies in it doesn’t hurt it either.

Favorite moment? The movie reenactments.

 

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39) Aftershock 2010

 

Why? Partially picked because of how few people know about this film, Aftershock is one of the first lesser known films I watched that had a great emotional impact on me, and that was when I was still only 21 or so! The hard choice a mother faces can be seen as an allegory to the One-Child policy that China already had.

And the fact that we get to see so much of the events after the earthquake (you know, the Aftershocks) and how it affected so many lives is just heartbreaking.

Favorite moment? Hard to beat the initial earthquake scene.

 

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38) Life of Pi 2012

 

Why? Life of Pi, like The Martian, ends up being one of my go-to movies to show the youth of the world as a teacher when we have time, except I try to say it relates to math because of Pi. Life of Pi changed the way CGI worked in films forever, winning plenty of awards along the way because of how aesthetically beautiful it was.

It deals with a lot of hard topics in a way that those young and old can relate to.

Favorite moment? The “real story” being told.

 

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37) Uncut Gems 2019

 

Why? My first film from this year on the list (which was very hard to place in the decade, mind you) feels like a reminder that Sandler knows what the hell he is doing with the acting game, he just chooses to phone it in for easy paychecks. This film is an uncomfortable two hours, of people making bad and risky decisions for a payoff that may or may not be worth it.

It is excruciating in all the right ways, and a tense experience that is really hard to create.

Favorite moment? The final bet.

 

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36) Inside Out 2015

 

Why? My second animated film on this list, Inside Out hit me like a bag of trucks. First of all, it was led with Lava, which as a short made me cry by itself. But the journey of “emotions having emotions” through the guise of a pre-teen girl was its own a tear-filled experience, at least twice in theaters, and usually again when I watch it on my own or with my family.

It is a wonderfully weird concept, that sure, doesn’t make a lot of sense with scrutiny (see: many Pixar films), but a ride worth taking nonetheless.

Favorite moment? Bing bong bing bong.

 

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35) The Big Short 2015

 

Why? What’s this? My number 1 film of 2015 already on the list? That is okay. The Big Short is still wonderful, done in an exciting and informative way, and made me generally smarter about things I didn’t understand well. Hell, it still has good rewatchability. Just maybe that we are farther from the crisis in general, and there are other movies on the subject I like more (spoilers for this list), this felt like a good spot to land.

Adam McKay‘s heel-turn into Oscar nominated films was a shocker and a welcome one at that.

Favorite moment? The celebrity cameos to explain terminology.

 

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34) Get Out 2018

 

Why? After working on a whole lot of skits, Jordan Peele realized he knew what was missing in the world, and he gave us Get Out. With Us being good (and not as good), he has cemented himself fully as someone to watch. A lot of films in the late 2010’s deal with racial tensions in America, but almost none as creatively do it as with Get Out, in the guise of a regular horror and creepy film.

It fuses the truth, with horror and comedy to get people in the doors and more importantly, get people talking.

Favorite moment? The hypnotism.

 

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33) Before Midnight 2013

 

Why? Before Midnight is the first sequel on this list, and after examining the whole thing, there are only 2, maybe 2 and a half films that are sequels. So this is definitely the only end of a trilogy! The raw emotions that Linklater let these two do, just to talk, about love, and fear, and sadness, and hope. It is inspiring on its own. Add to the difficulty of creating the trilogy in sort of real time with 9 year gaps lets us come back to a couple we adore and want to succeed and cheer for.

There is a chance of a forth film in 2022, but as for now Linklater hasn’t told us anything.

Favorite moment? The argument.

 

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32) Prisoners 2013

 

Why? Prisoners is a movie I went in with no expectations, only a trailer, as I didn’t know who Denis Villeneuve was. Turns out, he is a director I love and is featured many times on this list. This is one of those films that really showed me for the first time how good of an actor Gyllenhaal and Dano really are. Already had my assumptions about Jackman.

A long, mystery, dealing with moral ambiguity and a terrifying conclusion. Prisoners changed the way I saw cinema for the next few years.

Favorite moment? Jackman losing it.

 

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31) Marriage Story 2019

 

Why? Marriage Story deals with a topic we don’t talk a lot about in films. Divorce! Getting married is easy, keeping it and ending it is harder. Two PHENOMENAL performances from Johansson and Driver, this is done in such a way that there are not too many overall scenes, but it is overall very awkward and sad.

I haven’t reseen the movie, but I have gone out of my way to rewatch various parts and I am able to with ease already knowing the full context. This will be a hard movie for me to rewatch and sit through beginning to end, but definitely one that warrants it at some point in the future.

Favorite moment? The court scene.

 

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Best of the Decade – Part 1 (50-41)

Welcome to my top 50 of the decade list! Every day I will do the next group of 10, according to all of the Staff here at Gorgon Reviews, on what we thought was the best of the decade.

We decided to not include documentaries, as they are much harder to compare, but you will see films represented more than one country at least.

50) The Martian 2015

Why? To me this movie is entirely pro-science in a fun and exciting way. We have smart characters, who solve problems by being smart, despite obstacles in their way. Smartness isn’t played as a joke, it is appreciated, and a lot of care went into making most (not all, that is fine) of this movie at least somewhat realistic.

I have seen this movie usually many times just showing it to my students near the end of the year.

Favorite moment? While the ending is very emotional, I enjoy most when they finally get communication up and running.

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49) Chi-Raq 2015

Why? I want to make some statements with a top 50 list, and not be incredibly boring. This movie rolled a few of my jams up in one. Lyrically spoken, it brings back an Ancient Greek play into modern times, to deal with modern problems, and it is dripping with satire.

It gives new light to a problem. It doesn’t actually offer real solutions, but it is still making great points with its power.

Favorite moment? Samuel L. Jackson laying those smooth lines down as the narrator.

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48) 50/50 2011

Why? Coming out earlier in the decade, this felt like the perfect blend of a comedy/drama for me. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed some more. Joseph Gordon-Levitt really showcased his emotional range and showcased how someone might deal with a surgery that didn’t technically have a favorable outcome. He isn’t in it for the sympathy.

Favorite moment? When his mood shifts right before the surgery. Tears every time.

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47) I, Tonya 2017

Why? I, Tonya does a few things for me. It gives me a very different view of a story that I just had assumptions about (I was 4-5 at the time) and that is likely true about a lot of people. And it also finally let me see Margot Robbie in a different light as an actress that I had never seen before. You know, acting.

Favorite moment? The scenes where Tonya/Jeff’s relationship blossomed into an abuse for all.

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46) Nocturnal Animals 2016

Why? Strangely enough, this movie probably dropped the most out of any film compared to their respective rankings in top of the year lists. For 2016, I had this as my second favorite movie, a harrowing experience I never wanted to experience again.

However, on a rewatch, it is still extremely well acted and an interesting movie, but without the surprising fear elements, it didn’t sustain as much interest.

Favorite moment? It still has to be the highway scene.

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45) August: Orange County 2013

Why? Take an all-star cast of incredible actors, have them act a popular play, and sure enough, we will get emotions and wonderful acting. I hadn’t heard of this play before hand, so it was shock to me when I realized what was going on.

Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are wonderful together, in that they bring out each other’s worsts.

Favorite moment? Hard to beat the dinner scene as it brings everyone together and everything full front.

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44) The Greatest Showman 2017

Why? Honestly, I loved this movie when I saw it. The worst part about it for me was how short it was (and still is). It was my most anticipated film of 2017, and I knew I was getting a fictionalized story about the real man, but didn’t care. It gave me a sense of fun and wonder that a circus was meant to give its audience, and honestly, as he deceived them, you could argue it was meant to deceive us about the real man.

This would be much higher if it was a little over 2 hours long.

Favorite moment? My favorite song shifts constantly, so at the time of the writing, I will go with The Other Side.

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43) The Witch 2015

Why? I was completely shookith with this film when it came out, appreciating how much the director went for realism in a story dealing with the supernatural. The clothes, the house, the language. Anna Taylor-Joy has started her career off really with this film, escalating her into several other horror/thriller roles.

The introduction of the film started things off very bleak from the beginning, and it was the struggle throughout that made it just that much more horrifying.

Favorite moment? The ending scenes with our goat.

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42) Moana 2016

Why? Our first animated film on the list, and not the last, Moana felt like they finally perfected the “modern Disney Princess” film. Trying to fix the backlash of their older films with problematic narratives.

Tangled and Frozen were obviously stepping stones to get there, but Moana has it all, including a banging soundtrack with only one overall dud in my eye. Looking at you Shiny.

Favorite moment? The ending reveal/victory I didn’t see coming and it still holds up in repeated viewings.

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41) Bodied 2018

Why? Likely to be one of the more controversial films on this whole list, because this damn thing is a controversial film. It has so many elements going on in it that SHOULD lead to it being something we should avoid, that it somehow mashes together to make an uncomfortable masterpiece.

When I rewatched this movie, it still made me captivated, and cringe at all the right moments.

Favorite moment? I am going to say I love/hate the ending.

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Click here for Part 2 (40-31)!
Click here for Part 3 (30-21)!
Click here for Part 4 (20-11)!
Click here for Part 5 (10-1)!

Worst Films of 2019

(dis)HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Just a few this time! A Hidden Life, for having me waste my life with another Terrence Malick movie. We have Dumbo, for being a soulless remake from Disney, with bigger eyes cause of Tim Burton. Skin, which surprisingly isn’t in the top 15, because I always like to include ones people maybe never heard about before, so they don’t stumble into it in the future. And The Last Astronaut, which I don’t know if it counts as a 2019 release, because I saw it at a festival and it was a snooze.

15) Jexi
Why is it on the list? Honestly, a vindictive Siri like app on a phone could be interesting or funny, but it went there in all of the worst ways. Bumper can’t lead a movie on his own.
Least favorite moment? Wasting Michael Peña.
Any Worst Awards? Worst digital sex scene of 2019!

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14) Breakthrough
Why is it on the list? This true story becoming a religious miracle is pretty week. Very little happens, except for a boy laying around in a hospital bed, while people discuss what to and not to do.
Least favorite moment? Unnecessary young hip pastor and religious conservative overcoming their differences.
Any Worst Awards? Worst film about people sitting around and waiting of 2019!

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13) A Dog’s Way Home
Why is it on the list? A film like Homeward Bound, but with less personality, and a whole lot weaker story. They could have made this with a pit bull and had a bigger message overall.
Least favorite moment? The cartoon-y dog catcher.
Any Worst Awards? Nope. Turns out I have similar films that are like this but worse, so it gets nothing out of me.

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12) The Secret life of Pets 2
Why is it on the list? This movie is a jumbled mess of various plot lines that get badly wrapped up together at the end. They repeat the mistakes of the first, and go even worse with it.
Least favorite moment? The farm subplot.
Any Worst Awards? Worst animated movie about pets of 2019!

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11) A Dog’s Journey
Why is it on the list? In order to maximize tears, this sequel gives us four dog deaths and a real person death at very predictable times! That is the point of dog movies right? For them to get home or to watch them die.
Least favorite moment? Any conversation with the mom.
Any Worst Awards? Worst movie about actual pets of 2019!

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10) Dark Phoenix
Why is it on the list? This movie is so bad, they dropped “X-Men” from the title. If at first they don’t succeed, make a worst version of it over a decade later I guess.
Least favorite moment? Stairs.
Any Worst Awards? Worst superhero film of 2019!

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9) Overcomer
Why is it on the list? Oof, this guy has never made a film that can stand on its own. It could have been an okay sports story. But since they made it up, went heavy on religion, and pretty much set up an elaborate ploy to cheat, I don’t know who would enjoy it.
Least favorite moment? Where the dad yells at his loved ones.
Any Worst Awards? Worst sports movie where they win by cheating of 2019!

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8) Poms
Why is it on the list? Completely low energy, boring performances, and a cookie cutter feel good cast with villains who are villains because poor writers.
Least favorite moment? The “wow the video has gone viral!” scene.
Any Worst Awards? Worst sports movie of 2019!

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7) Playing With Fire
Why is it on the list? A film straight out of the 1990’s or early 2000’s, that includes a popular wrestler, who is too cool for kids, and has to deal with kids. Hah! Hilarious!
Least favorite moment? The end of the birthday party is tied with the wedding scene.
Any Worst Awards? Worst wrestler in a lead role, worst use of MLP, and worst comedy of 2019!

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6) Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Why is it on the list? The first one shouldn’t have been remade, to redeem a character who means evil. But then they did it, and doubled down on her being evil. Because why not. Also let’s have the plot be very similar, but bigger.
Least favorite moment? The forever lasting final battle.
Any Worst Awards? Worst fantasy, worst sequel, and worst live action “remake” of 2019!

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5) Playmobil: The Movie
Why is it on the list? Not just feeling like a bad lego movie, it has poor animation, weird voice acting, and a plot that is meant for only those who have practically no attention span.
Least favorite moment? The parts where it was animated.
Any Worst Awards? Worst advertisement film, worst partial musical, and worst animated film of 2019!

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4) Cats
Why is it on the list? Lacking a plot worth talking about, this movie musical is just a series of introductions until it finally ends, with visuals that you will never get used to.
Least favorite moment? The boat rescue.
Any Worst Awards? Worst CGI, worst furry fantasy, and worst musical of 2019!

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3) Climax
Why is it on the list? I will admit the movie is disturbing which it set out to do, and sure, a horror/thriller. But disturbing doesn’t mean its also good. This movie is a crime against my eyes.
Least favorite moment? All the terrible set up for child trauma and rape.
Any Worst Awards? Worst horror, worst sex scenes, and worst dance movie of 2019!

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2) The Fanatic
Why is it on the list? Well, Travolta is actually acting in this movie. But the movie is so stupid and pointless, a shell of a potentially greater film, that it feels awkward when one person is trying to swim, but everything else is shit.
Least favorite moment? Our fan first asking for the autograph.
Any Worst Awards? Worst thriller, worst t-shirts, worst “event to make the plot start” of 2019!

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1) Unplanned
Why is it on the list? There is a lot of things wrong with this film. Being a religious film doesn’t make it inherently bad, but increases the chance of being really low quality story wise. Couple that with a giant attack against one of the best organizations around to try and help provide support to those who don’t have it because our country’s health care sucks. And of course the lead character is a hypocrite, who had abortions and was grateful for those choices/abilities, and now actively makes sure that others can’t? Sounds like a raging asshole.
Least favorite moment? Any moment her boss, the straw woman, talked about needing to up those abortion numbers because of money!
Any Worst Awards? Worst religious movie, worst “real story” film, worst drama, and worst movie of 2019!

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Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Best Films of 2019

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
My honorable mentions this year are a bit weirder. These are 100% just movies I didn’t get to see, and wanted to, and maybe would have made my list if I saw them. None of these have reviews at the time of posting!

Honey Boy, Richard Jewell, Ford v Ferrari, Weathering With You, Judy, Hustlers, Clemency, and Just Mercy.

Okay fine, one review almost made the list and didn’t. Sorry, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? but you were number 16!

For the rest of the reviews below, just click on the title to get the original review of the movie!

15) Long Shot
Why is it on the list? Good question! Usually my 15th movie is questionable. This one was just the feel good rom com I need at the time after a long string of bad movies. But the leads just really make it work.
Favorite moment? Basically every time O’Shea Jackson is talking.
Any Best Awards? Best RomCom of 2019!

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14) Booksmart
Why is it on the list?  In a year where two films were hailed as spiritual successors to Superbad, this is the one that reigned supreme to me and made me giggle the most. I liked Good Boys too, just these gals sealed the deal for me.
Favorite moment? The graduation speech.
Any Best Awards? Best comedy of 2019! (Yes the next films are all bleak).

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13) Joker
Why is it on the list? Great performance from Phoenix, unexpected plot line, and a pretty fun ending. Plus, it helps prove the only thing that DC films know how to right are related to Batman.
Favorite moment? The subway revenge scene.
Any Best Awards? Best origin story of 2019!

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12) Ad Astra
Why is it on the list? Visually a winner of a film, that takes its time to tell a personal story despite the great lengths and really respects the setting of outer space. Also, Pitt carries the universe of troubles on his face, and I love that misery.
Favorite moment? The baboons.
Any Best Awards? Best purely Sci-Fi film of 2019!

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11) The Farewell
Why is it on the list? Awkwafina showcasing she can do anything she wants in the media world, and we just have to take it. Beautiful story, learning a lot about another culture, and telling us there are many ways to say goodbye.
Favorite moment? The Wedding
Any Best Awards? Best excuse for a wedding in 2019!

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10) Bombshell
Why is it on the list? Three women give wonderful performances with two of them delving so deep into their real life counterparts, I forget who was acting. It is an important
Favorite moment? Robbie‘s restaurant breakdown, and the beginning debate.
Any Best Awards? Best real story of 2019!

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9) At the Heart of Gold / Leaving Neverland
Why is it on the list? First of all, I am allowed to have two things in the same spot if I want. It’s my list. Secondly, both of these documentaries came out around a similar time on HBO about similar subjects, sexual assault and unfortunately with different outcomes.
Favorite moment? The reading of accounts from the gymnasts in At The Heart of Gold, and the men describing when they finally realized what occurred in Leaving Neverland. Both very powerful moments.
Any Best Awards? Best documentaries of 2019!

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8) Paddleton
Why is it on the list? This film flew completely under the radar, appeared on Netflix early in the year, and captivated me with its simple story. If you aren’t crying by the end, you weren’t paying attention. Romano continues to rock it in these more dramatic roles.
Favorite moment? The ending.
Any Best Awards? Best heterosexual life mates of 2019!

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7) Avengers: Endgame
Why is it on the list? I feel like this one is rather straightforward. Much like the first Avengers, it feels like all of the build up, which was fun along the way, was brought together for these moments. And you know what? They were very creative with this film. No one expected how a lot of it would have gone down. The wait was worth it.
Favorite moment? Avengers Assembling.
Any Best Awards? Best superhero film of 2019!

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6) Midsommar
Why is it on the list? Although not as good as Hereditary, Midsommar gives me a horror film unlike any other in an unexpected setting and all in daylight! The director’s cut isn’t worth seeing just for the differences, the original stands on its own. Pugh has a great year for an actress, and this was her crowning achievement.
Favorite moment? The fertility blessing.
Any Best Awards? Best horror film of 2019!

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5) 1917
Why is it on the list? Incredible cinematographic films will always catch my eye, including ones with a bold premise like this one. Mostly real time, seemingly one shot, huge sets? Oh my goodness, all of my pants come pre-wet for this premise. I was going to dismiss it as just another war film, but the technical style and skill behind it are a sight to behold.
Favorite moment? The night time village.
Any Best Awards? Best war film of 2019! Best action film of 2019!

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4) Marriage Story
Why is it on the list? Rarely are actors so realistic with their emotions and passions as our two leads here. Couple that with fantastic dialogue and a story that should be told, that never gets told, leads to an unforgettably unpleasant and sad, yet beautiful story.
Favorite moment? Most of them? The intro, Laura Dern‘s first scene, the courtroom scene, the argument, the inspector.
Any Best Awards? Best divorce of 2019!

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3) Uncut Gems
Why is it on the list? Sandler can bring it when he needs to, and he brought it and more with this Safdie brothers flick. An intense thrill ride of uncomfortable scene after uncomfortable scene.
Favorite moment? The final bet.
Any Best Awards? Best Dark Comedy of 2019!

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2) Parasite
Why is it on the list? A lot of reason Parasite is on here is due to how shockingly original it is. A tale of class warfare that is specific to South Korea but able to resonate with everyone. And it tells a story that is impossible to figure out ahead of time.
Favorite moment? The basement reveal.
Any Best Awards? Best foreign film of 2019! Best thriller of 2019!

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1) Waves
Why is it on the list? The film changes so much throughout. From calm to extreme and back. It gives us time to grieve and to heal. The cinematography is inspired, the acting is great, and the heart break is real. Also, the soundtrack is so immersive, it is a full cinematic experience given.
Favorite moment? The party scene and the last wrestling scene.
Any Best Awards? Best drama of 2019! Best film relying heavily on music of 2019! And of course best movie of 2019!

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Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Interview with Stephen Merchant – Fighting With My Family

Merchant

Stephen Merchant did not grow up watching wrestling. He didn’t start watching wrestling in his adult life either. In fact, his interests in wrestling were close to none. So how did he come about directing what seems one of the first biography wrestling movies?

Well, we can blame the Tooth Fairy for that.

That is where Merchant met Dwayne Johnson, formerly The Rock, a man larger than life it seems. Johnson first heard about Paige’s upbringing in a documentary about her household, The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family. He loved it, wanted it to be a feature film.

According to Merchant, he was contacted by Johnson with the idea to make the film. Merchant believes because he is potentially one of the few British directors/writers he knows. Below are some exerpts from our talk, including how he got into writing and directing at all, how that developed into directing Fighting With My Family, and various aspects of nerd culture in film.

Family

Stephen Merchant is SM, Gorgon Reviews is GR, and Other Interviewer is OI.

GR: “You said before you got your start writing reviews at a local paper, and they sent you to the movies that they didn’t know about or didn’t care. And that after you saw the movie Swingers, it sort of changed for you and inspired you to get into writing yourself, can you speak upon that?”

SM: “I don’t know if you’ve seen Swingers but it is Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, just like a real gang of friends. That was a movie about handsome guys dating in LA, trying to inspire to be actors, and I’m this geeky kid in Bristol, in England, and yet that felt like it could have been my friends. It was so specific, to LA, the way they spoke, all that stuff. And yet it felt completely relatable. The observations felt authentic and true and they rang true. And I just thought that it was really inspirational to me, ‘Oh maybe I can do this.’ So I did some student films at the university, and then got into comedy and the radio, always with that thought that if we got the right gang together we can do this ourselves.”

“And in a way that’s how The Office was made. ”

GR: “You got Ricky,”

SM: “Yeah we had a similar sensibility, just hunkered down, did it ourselves, BBC left us alone, they didn’t know what we were up to and away we went.”

OI: “I love that they hired you and let you both do it alone.”

SM:“That was the thing about having Ricky, because Ricky was…14 years older than me. He was in his mid-30’s and I was in my early 20s when we did The Office, so I had all this sort of youthful excitement, enthusiasm, and ambition, he had the kind of [attitude] like, ‘I don’t care, I’m not going to do a dance for these people,’ he had that confidence! Just to walk out of a meeting and go, “Alright guys, no no no, if you don’t want to do it this way, it’s fine, we will just go elsewhere,” and I’m like ‘what are you fucking doing, idiot!’ ”

“But at the same time I got this weird, sort of youthful arrogance, where I remember at a meeting where they said, ‘Why should we let you and Ricky direct it?’ and I said, ‘We might be the next Orson Welles!’” And in my mind it didn’t even sound crazy, none of us know! Well maybe, we’ve never done it! We might be! Who knows?”

merchant

OI:“How did you go about directing these bigger stars on what to say, and deliver the level of intensity needed?”

SM: “Well I first of all really encouraged improvisation and I wanted that going on. Vince is the master of that, it goes back to the fact for Swingers, (which was an amazing thrill for me) and I wanted that character to have humor because the guys she trained with for real are really tough, they put you through the mill, because wrestling fans are abusive. If they don’t like you, they will tear you to shreds. You have to be made of iron to survive. It seems to me that Vince needed to be someone that trash talked all the time, as a way of testing your metal. ”

“When Florence [Pugh] went out in front of the real wrestling fans to recreate that match-up, they were giving her shit. She said she was on the mat at one point, and there was like an eight year old boy just shouting, ‘You suck!’ to her and shes an actress, not even a real wrestler. And what do you do? You use it as fuel I guess.”

GR: “On that note, you’ve been to cons before due to some of your past work, you’re aware of certain people’s intensity in these subjects and video games. How do you think those type of fans compare to wrestling fans in terms of their passions?”

SM: “I think if the internet and twitter existed when I was 17 or 18 I’d have been one of those people. I remember being so angry when the original Tim Burton Batman came out because they made the Joker the person who killed Batman’s parents, like ‘No, that was Joe Chill, what are you talking about?’ And I was FURIOUS! Like If I could have tweeted Tim Burton, I would have been all, ‘Oh you asshole, how dare you!’ I would have been one of those guys. ”

“And as times have gone on, and I made movies and TV myself I understand that passion but I also understand that when you’re on this side of the fence, there’s no malice. I’ve had to make choices in this movie. The real story took place over four years, I can’t press even half of all that into a movie. They changed the WWE logo in the middle of her story, they changed the name of the NXT…like, I can’t put that in the movie. No one’s going to be able to follow what’s going on. So you know, you have to make choices, but I am sure there will some fans like, ‘Well that doesn’t make sense! That logo was different in 2010…’ Well okay you guys, you’re right, you got me. I’m going to fan jail. ”

“If you’re making a Batman movie, you’ve got what is it, 60 years of that character now? You can’t get every factor of him the same, you’ve just got to make choices, and that’s what I did.”

————-

Fighting With My Family is getting a wide release on February, November 22, and my review of the film can be read here.

Worst Films of 2018

Blah blah blah, worst movies! boo bad movies!

So you know the drill, here are some honorable mentions. Honorable what?

(dis)HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Some of the worst movies of the year that did not make the list include the animated films Peter Rabbit and Sherlock Gnomes. Another documentary that did not make the list was Deadly Deception, Exposing The Dangers Of Vaccine, which only didn’t make it because under 100 people even saw it probably. Also films like The Nun and A-X-L as I haven’t even felt like writing them yet, as they are bad, but not bottom 15 bad.


15) Samson

How bad is Samson? Well, first off, it is the regular amount of bad. That is important to note. Second off, after seeing it, I wanted to make a whole theme week of Christian related films that I had missed. But that felt like torture, and I only ended up having 2 of the 5 films ready.

Then, I forgot to review it. I probably won’t. Let this stand as a review. This is a long film, made to look darker with filters for gritty realism or something, but it is one of the most boring films to try and get through. It is basically torture, similar to the torture that goes through the main character, except this torture is real.

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14) Slenderman

A rushed film, with a lot edited out, and surprise, it makes the list! Trying to make horror films out of extremely modern things, memes, games, whatever always tends to turn out poorly. But why did this one turn out more poorly? It has no real scares and is just a mess.

Because of Joey King. If she is in a movie, that movie is going to be terrible. That has to be the rule at this point. Another of her recent horror films, Wish Upon, also made my worst of the year list. Coincidence? Or Joey King?

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13) Show Dogs

Ah yes, a film with controversy. I saw the trailer for this film a long time ago, months before coming out as part of a market research group, and talked about how much shit this movie would be. And guess what, it was shit.

Grooming kids for sexual abuse aside, even the edited version doesn’t change a whole lot from the movie. We got all the fart jokes, all the poop jokes, all the things that make this seem like a 90’s TV movie and nothing else.

Every part of this film is bad, it has no redeeming qualities, and somehow ended up being the worst movie about dogs this year.

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12) The Darkest Minds

Oh no, Amanda Stenberg, what are you doing? This is a film that came out in August, like a strange wannabe X-men, with terrible plot twists and a ridiculous explanation for…most things. And just a few months later, she came out as the lead in The Hate U Give, which made my best of the year list, and relatively high up.

Such a year of extremes for her. But for this movie, acting wasn’t the problem, just everything about the plot and ending and whatever we want to call between those things.

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11) Fifty Shades Freed

Oh for goodness sake. It is finally over, done with, kaput! Donezo! Outta here!

The trilogy is done, and it ended out how the first few began. Poorly, without plot, with bad acting, and gratuitousness amounts of cuts in montages about boats.

What’s the next terrible franchise to fill this hole? I can only cry and stay up late at night wondering. Of course, they could always make spinoffs or more, probably takes about an hour to throw up one of these scripts.

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10) The Nutcracker And the Four Realms

Ah good, with the final 10, I can include Disney films and feel like a badass.

I honestly can’t imagine how this film even made it out. It must have cost a bundle to make, with the effects, costumes, some high named actors. There are probably some ballet rights it had to afford too. They probably needed to release it assuming it would take a hit at the beginning, but get some nice streaming/tv rights in the future around Christmas time from TBS or something.

This is a film that is hard to follow, because it has a shit plot, and it should really feel bad about its effort.

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9) Teen Titans Go! To The Movies

This movie is legitamately the only one I was mostly shocked to make it on the list. If you showed me posters/trailers whatever for the rest of these, I would have nodded my head “Yeah, I can see that sucking,” and not be shocked.

But a modern animated movie, made by a big studio, about a tv show? Worst of the year? You betcha.

This movie is basically the worst parts of the internet. This is the memes of movies, going for some ultra-meta thing, which really comes off as annoying, over, and over, and over again. Constantly reminding me you aren’t that original, with some fart jokes, is in no way a movie I will ever want to see again.

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8) Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare

I believe this movie was one of the first 0 out of 4’s of the year for 2018. Besides having the unnecessary title, it does a lot wrong with its horror concept. Changing the rules randomly in the movie? That’s lazy. Not explaining why some people can have their turn skipped and it still messes with other people? That’s bad writing.

This film wanted to be the next Final Destination, but the scenarios are so stupid, and it is extremely hard for us to really care about the truths, it just is. They might make people mad, but certainly the viewers too, mad at the screen.

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7) The Kissing Booth

Oh what’s this? A Netflix original film? That’s like picking on the runts of the litter, right? Like the kid with crutches who decided to play dodgeball.

But this film is important to bash and important to bring up. It has terrible relationship goals and highlights them in a positive life. Shit, that man is abusive in training, preventing others from talking to her, solving everything with violence.

Oh, wait, what’s that? The lead is…Joey King?! Twice in one year? Damn, in 2019 are you going for the Turkey?

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6) The Misandrists

How the hell am I going to write about The Misandrists? How the hell did I already write about The Misandrists?

I rarely try to put titles up here that most people would have never heard about, but holy shit, this film is something else. I tried to go in with an open mind, I tried to see it as some cool feminist message. But this is a strange movie, that I could recommend to only one person and that is it.

I mean, the idea is original? That’s a plus?

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5) Hotel Transylvania 3

A lot of animated films have hit trilogy status lately, and most of them are terrible. Cars 3, Despicable Me 3, This one, maybe some more this year, who knows. And this one is really bad.

It didn’t have a good idea for a plot, and spent most of the time…well, being bad. It is just a vehicle for all these actors to act silly, and introduce nothing important to the franchise, and bog us down with the Macarena.

This is the worst animated movie of 2018.

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4) Mortal Engines

Possibly the most ambitious movie on this list, Mortal Engines had Peter Jackson involved! Okay, not really, but his name was attached a bit and some of his money!

Trying to be the next big teenage dystopian film franchise, this went for a story that could only be made by shredding up dollars at actors and CGI artists until something close to competent appeared on the film strip. And even though they shred a lot of money, what we got was still an ugly mess and what should be one of the biggest horror stories when it comes to box office bombs this year.

Not every book needs a movie, nor can every book be a movie. This should have been left entirely on the cutting room floor.

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3) The 15:17 to Paris

Hey, you know what people like? Real stories! You know what else people like? Heroes!

So let’s make a real story about heroes! And since people like heroes, let’s let them play themselves! Save money on actors, get those true accounts, and it will feel authentic.

And that is how The 15:17 to Paris was made. And that is how in a movie that is about a scene that only takes a few minutes to happen, we get to see non-actors pretending they are traveling around Europe and seeing the sights for the first time. Most of this movie is them traveling and getting to the train. What kind of trash do they think we want to watch? Holy shit, just make a documentary, but this is not something that should be okay to produce.

The worst biography, drama, action film of the year.

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2) The Happytime Murders

Speaking of movies that should have never been made (most of this list), we have a movie that COULD have actually been good based on the initial idea, but the execution made it one of the worst. They said they wanted to make an adult movie with muppets. Apparently adult just means have some sex and violence, with a weak plot, and extremely weak jokes.

Adult movies could have had a comedy with some nuance. It could have had a wide variety of humor levels, it could have deal with real issues still. Instead, this adult movie was made for no one except the pre-teens who want to watch things like this to feel edgy. A very small fraction of the Deadpool fan club.

In any normal year, it would have been the worst film of the year, easy, hands down. Instead, it is just the worst comedy, and worst mystery. And worst use of muppets.

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1) Death of a Nation

Okay, okay, if using a Netflix movie was cheating, then this sort of film to end the list is most definitely cheating. If Dinesh D’Souza makes a documentary in a year (which at this point has been every other year), then of course, of course his documentary will probably be the worst thing put together in that year. I think generally he has made this list, and usually near the top if not the top.

But just because something always happens, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t happen again if it deserves it. There is a joke about Tom Brady in there somewhere.

The documentary is trash, lies, and worst of all, it is repetitive from his previous work. It isn’t even full of new lies, its the same boring old ones and stories that don’t matter in the slightest.

Get this trash out of our universe.

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Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Best Films of 2018

I don’t need a long introduction anymore, I have done a few of these already! I don’t even have a significant list of missing films to talk about, even better!

So you know the drill, here are some honorable mentions. Honorable what?

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Like every year, I had quite a few 4 out of 4’s to choose from. Top 15 lists are more exciting and besides, 10 is an arbitrary number. But what films couldn’t make the list? Things like Love, Simon, Widows, and Isle of Dogs. Officially only three honorable mentions, keeping it little this year.

There are no foreign films in the top this year, but that is because I only saw two major ones, and neither were 4 out of 4s for me. I also will say I didn’t get to see Beautiful Boy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, A Private War, Destroyer, At Eternity’s Gate, and Mirai.

And click on the title to get the original review of the movie!


15) American Animals

I always try to make sure there are a few weirder films in my top 15, and this year was harder than most. I didn’t think we had as many strong weird films, because there were so many great films. And this year, American Animals is probably my only real surprise.

American Animals is a film I expected nothing out of, and barely even watched it to review as it was an online screener. I had some time, sat down, and was floored by the story and its presentation of facts versus the real situation. It was done so creatively, and it makes the viewer think. What more could you want?

American Animals


14) RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has grown to fame over the last few years as being someone who is unmoving in her convictions and always willing to fight for the oppressed. But it turns out, she has been doing it her whole life, coming from hard beginnings, a law school that didn’t care about women, and over a decade of being unable to even join a law firm despite wild talent and smarts.

This is a story that we should be showing our daughters when encouraging them to be anything in the face of oppression. This is a story that hits all of the right notes and gives a powerful role model still doing as much to change the world as she can in her 90s.

Although RBG is here and amazing, and a must watch (more so than On The Basis Of Sex) it is not the best documentary of 2018.

RBG


13) If Beale Street Could Talk

In the making of the list, If Beale Street Could Talk was the last film I watched before deciding on the final block of 15. It is so fresh in my mind that I still haven’t wrote a regular review about it. I just knew I had to see it from its Spirit and other awards accolade, and needed to make up my own mind before it was on DVD.

And it is a powerful movie in a year of powerful film. It is about race, love, and family. Another portrait of how the black man is never given a fair shake at things, but putting it set further back when it was more common to see these injustices. It was a story we could relate to, while also focusing firmly on the characters involved and what they were going through during the events. I loved everything about this movie, and even more notable was the soundtrack. A nice collection of jazz to fully embrace the viewer in this setting.

if beale street could talk


12) Hearts Beat Loud

Hearts Beat Loud is one of those breath of fresh air movies. I went in seeing it and I didn’t even know I was seeing it, as it was a mystery screening. This is the perfect sequel to Sing Street, despite having nothing in common creatively from Sing Street.

It is just about a father. And a daughter. Trying to make some music before they have to separate and go on with their lives, in a scary world. Change is hard. But family bonds can last forever. And the feelings I felt with Hearts Beat Loud I hope I can experience again and again with every new viewing.

Hearts beat loud


11) Avengers: Infinity War

For those that hate superheroes, might want to skip the next three entries. Avengers: Infinity War is meant to be a cross over to end all cross overs. Well, the first Avengers was that ambitious goal, the second one was more of the same, but this one? This was like times three, so many more people, from parts across the galaxies, gotta team up and go after this bad guy.

And it was beautiful. It had the action scenes, humor, real struggles, and of course, the ending. The snap.

The only thing that takes away from it is knowing that the snap itself, which can make a grown nerd cry, is temporary and thus, a little bit meaningless. Once we see who is lost, and with the movies coming out, we know that it doesn’t fully matter. Only a little. And so it does feel like a bit of an annoying cliffhanger.

But what do I know? Maybe with the new one in 2019, it will elevate the first half even more.

avengers infinity war


10) Spider-man: Into The Spiderverse

In 2017, the animated movies were mostly shit. Deal with it, it is true. In 2018, we have a lot of duds as well, from our trusted companies. Must be playing it safe.

Spider-man: Into The Spiderverse is the opposite of playing it safe. Tons of main characters, a weird stylistic approach, meta humor, comedy, and strange aspects of the Spiderman lore to devote a whole film around on the first go. When it works, it really works. When it doesn’t, well, that doesn’t exist. It always works.

From start to finish this is the best Spider-man film in some time, and was almost nearly the best Superhero movie of the year, but instead will just be the best Animated film of the year.

spiderman into the spiderverse


9) Black Panther

Black Panther was the first superhero movie of 2018, coming out in February (you know, Black History Month) and felt like a breath of fresh air in the superhero world. It told a powerful story, with a memorable non-throwaway villain, and of course, a cast of characters celebrating cultures not normally celebrated on the big screen.

It was an early favorite of mine, and it became a tent pole to judge other super hero movies by. And at the end of the year, I still think it is on the top. I have to ding Avengers a little bit for having a plot that I know won’t fully matter in a year. But Black Panther is a secluded story that is important and will be the gift that keeps on giving for Marvel in a few years.

This is the best superhero movie of 2018.

black panther


8) Searching

When Searching came out, there were only a handful of examples of films that were done in this way. Basically, some horror ones, and like, a TV episode. The ideas were sound, and cool, but never were they fully great and up to the level people were hoping for.

Searching said no, let’s do it right. Let’s use the technology correctly so that there are no (or extremely few) technical issues. Let’s make it a thriller/mystery, so that the audience is on the edge of the screen with them. And let’s let John Cho do his thing and act like a worried dad.

And acting he did. A film was created. And an amazing experience was had. Take a ticket for this ride. This is the best “computer based” movie of 2018.

searching


7) Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

And then there was Rogers. Fred Rogers. The manliest gentleman ever to be on television. He had a vision in the 60s for TV that was heartfelt and not stupid, and he carried his passion with him for decades. In hard moments, he became the person to address the youth about hard times, and he always accepted the mantle when the time was right.

It is easy to see his passion through the archival footage, and coming from someone who never watched the show in his own youth, this is a documentary that will make you cry.

They got everything right about this documentary, making it the best documentary of 2018.

wont you be my neighbor


6) The Hate U Give

What can we say about The Hate U Give that wasn’t said by most people when it came out? Powerful, modern, topical, well acted, and of course, a family film. Or as family centric as a film on this topic can get, since most of the films that would deal with racial inequalities and problems will easily earn R ratings, despite being felt by people under 10 all the time.

I cannot wait to show my family this film, and it should be really soon after the posting of this article. It is easy to see all the different perspectives, and although not based on a real event, it is clearly a combination of similar events and a buildup to the natural conclusion. Shit getting real.

Also, I think Russell Hornsby should get an award for this movie.

the hate u give


5) Bodied

It is very hard to talk about Bodied and why it deserves to be on a best of the year list. It has no A-listers in it, it is relatively strange, and it is probably the first movie I have ever seen that had its premier on YouTube Red. And last, because it has been re-branded already.

But despite its strangest, it goes hard into the political, and PC nature of our changing environment. It deals with very hard topics, like race appropriation and culture vultures, while making the viewer uncomfortable and not sure who to root for. It is a sports movie in a sense, without a clear answer or best case scenario. It is a musical, more than anything else on this list, with the how much of the film is focused on rap battles (and seriously, it is most of it).

The last half hour had me spell bound, and I didn’t want it to end, while cringing all over the place at the same time. Making something like Bodied takes a lot of passion, and a lot of courage. And it is a movie that should be seen.

Bodied is the best musical of 2018. And its the best sports film…?

Bodied


4) Hereditary

From watching the trailers, early in the year, audiences should have expected something special from Hereditary. Well, audiences who weren’t expecting jump scares.

I didn’t see any of the trailers for Hereditary, but with the title, my mind went a lot of different places, and somehow it didn’t go anywhere I could ever expect. It was dark, and it got on every last of my nerves, and it is one of those movies I just could not bring myself to rewatch before making this list. Hell, its been out forever now, but I knew it just wouldn’t be the same as my first experience, and I don’t want to think less of it due to distractions.

I do want to think more about how Toni Collette nailed her role, and how she clearly gave the best Actress performance of her life, and of the year. The next two movies on this list feature four very strong actress performances, but this one is definitely on the tops. Completely unnerving.

Hereditary is the best horror film of 2018.

hereditary


3) Ben Is Back

My theme for most of these top films is great acting, as you have seen, and will seen, and few films have a better pairing than Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges in Ben Is Back. Not to diminish the other actors in it, who are also fine, but hot damn, these two are so fine, you couldn’t seen their individual grains with a scanning electron microscope.

That was fun to write, and Ben Is Back was not fun to watch. It was downright depressing. It was great critically, and to be amazed at how the two carried themselves and these characters. How we get to learn about so much history and weight bearing down on them to get them to this point. So much that they have to go on their journey as a way of maybe, finally, getting closure.

And despite it all, Ben Is Back isn’t even the best drama of the year. Although, this is the best drama if drama’s are not allowed to have humor.

ben is back


2) The Favourite

When it comes to Yorgos Lanthimos, every year I say I need to see his earlier work, and this year I might finally mean it. The Favourite is only his third movie I have seen, and it is by far MY favourite, and almost my favorite movie of 2018.

It has everything I could love in a movie: history, witty dialogue, comedy, amazing outfits/scenes, and an excellent cinematography that is going for something special in the movie. It is also led by three terrific actresses who showcase that they can be masters of their craft.

Goodness, I better see Dogtooth this year, or else…you know, 2020. The Favourite is the best comedy of 2018.

the favourite


1) Blindspotting

I don’t want to sound too preachy or too political (just kidding, lets do it), but this has been an amazing year for showcasing black talents and cinema, accurately representing the struggles they face in America in a variety of ways. We already talked about the subtle (and not so subtle) nature of it decades ago, and we talked about it on a more family friendly level. Hell, we almost talked about it on this list with the bizarre with Sorry To Bother You, but it just didn’t make my top.

And with Blindspotting we get to talk about it in a new way. About areas changing, gentrification, and perceptions of white and black men who can be very similar, and very different, yet perceived in completely different ways.

Our two leads are amazing, even if Casal is annoying, he is played to be that way. Diggs and Casal made this passion project after years of work, and it really shows, as this is the first time Diggs has gotten to showcase his talent since he was Jefferson in Hamilton.

Blindspotting is real, uncomfortable, and tells a strong message, with not a simple answer. I loved it, and want to show it to as many people as I can. This is the best movie of the year, and the Best Drama of the year. A few more raps and it could have been musical of the year.

blindspotting

Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.