10 January 2021

Super Movie Reevaluation 2013 - 2016

 We are all about ranking things around here - we are a competitive movie blogging website, after all. What other purpose of life is there? But if there's anything more important than ranking, it is surely re-ranking as the slow march of time ebbs on through the mountains of yesteryear. We did this quite a while ago with a few earlier movies, namely every year since we came into existence - 2009. Back in 2017, here is where we ranked 2012 - 2014. And here is where we put 2009 - 2012 four days ago.

Back in 2017, 2016 had JUST happened, so this is pretty new territory, people. Remember when we thought 2016 was a horrible year? Anyway. It's got nothing on 1873! But since that moment each year when we rank all the best films of the year, we ALSO re-rank last year's ranking. This is common practice at this point. A year is a good time to catch up with films we missed, let things digest, and see what film really took hold and we still think about.

I hate to say that so often my far-out rankings reflect that - which films have stuck with me, which do I remember, and which hold up. This is, I think, distinct from the experience of first watching something. Sometimes what might feel fresh in the moment grows stale over time. Or maybe what seemed incredibly interesting fades over time. I loved District 9 (2009) so much when it came out, but I can't say it's something I enjoy returning to. I thought The Muppets (2011) was so new and fun, but now it seems so dated. Sitting in the theater I loved Moon (2009), The Lobster (2016), and Death of Stalin (2018), but none of these were particularly enjoyable re-watches. So, that is something I have to take account of - if I have a recent bad taste in my mouth, it's ranking is falling. I might note that I re-watched Haywire (2012) and Sorry to Bother You (2018) this year and those were just as enjoyable as the first time around.

Without further ado, let's get into this:


Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Spring Breakers
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Place Beyond the Pines
The World's End
Pacific Rim
Pain & Gain
This is the End
The Wolf of Wall Street

It truly, truly broke my heart to leave off Frozen and The Lone Ranger for the first time ever. But I also wanted to half-highlight out legit great Anchorman 2 is and also troll a little bit. Other than that, one thing we've noticed is that there is definitely a core of immutable films that never change, and 2013 is especially egregious with this. I was so high on Stoker in 2017, it's a great film, but definitely faded a bit in the last few years. What is with 2013 and crazy films about the excess of hubris like Wolf, Pain, Spring Breakers, and even Pacific Rim?


Guardians of the Galaxy
Gone Girl
Inherent Vice
The Interview
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Under the Skin

Something struck me with this list - This is based so damn much on the male perspective. The Skeleton Twins and Obvious Child were 12th and 13th, and I hate to say I want to stick with that with where I'm at right now. Maybe it's quite simply because I am in fact a straight white male that straight white male stories stick with me, but it also doesn't help that the vast majority of stories told are straight white male stories, which perpetuates itself on lists like this. It all makes me a little uncomfortable. But I also think Noah is super underrated as a bizarre cinematic experience (who am I kidding, it's an hour too long). It was definitely 11th. There are a lot of mainstays here that haven't changed. For my money, Under the Skin is also one of the greatest films of all time, so there's that for the female perspective. Sort of.


Inside Out
The Hateful Eight
The Duke of Burgundy
Ex Machina
Bone Tomahawk
Straight Outta Compton
Mad Max: Fury Road

Anyone remember Unfinished Business? This is really just a means of me to highlight underrated comedies of the past decade. That movie's great! It didn't make this list. It's so weird that the Best Picture winner was Spotlight. It is good, but is it that good? Also, I'm squeezing in honorable mentions, which I typically try to avoid. I actually think about Straight Outta Compton all the time, But Mad Max: Fury Road is still a movie that you can put in anytime, for anyone, at any moment and they will enjoy it. Mark my words! There is a good mix of big blockbuster and small indies no one's ever heard of here. AS IT SHOULD BE.


Captain America: CIVIL WAR
The Founder
The Neon Demon
The Love Witch
Swiss Army Man
The VVitch
American Honey

I really thought about this one. I don't want to completely discount super hero films and blockbusters. I think what CIVIL WAR does is really underrated across legitimate great movies. There's still six movies here from my original list, but it feels so different. Maybe that's because only four have been on every list. This year had a lot of films that are in that "haven't held up" zone like The Lobster, Green Room, and Train to Busan. I have watched others like Zootopia and Deadpool recently, and they certainly hold up, but not quite enough to warrant inclusion here. Maybe instead of arrival. I really wanted to add Popstar because it's by far the funniest and one that has grown in time, but it's also still a pretty shit movie that works better as an outlet to make a soundtrack than an actual satisfying plot.

So we still have 2017 and 2018 to think about. 2019 is a little too close to us, but it's worth it to aggressively reexamine these pretty recent but not that recent years. Stay tuned for more hard-hitting entertainment journalism, folks!

06 January 2021

Super Movie Reevaluation 2009-2012

Every few years we think it's worth it to fully re-evaluate the Top Films for every year we've been doing this site, which means starting in 2009. We first did this in 2014, then 2017. Coming around the bend to 2021 I thought it was worth it to really dive into each year and see which films have stayed with me and which have fallen by the wayside.

I found, to my surprise, that these early lists haven't changed all that much. The Top Films I liked four years ago are still pretty much the top films I like today. We've gotten to the point of canonization where there are a handful of immutable entries that I come back to over and over again. So, this unfortunately may be the last time we do this, at least with 2009 - 2012. At any rate, here we go!


Trick 'r Treat
Where the Wild Things Are
The Road
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
The Hangover
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man

The Feel-good movie of the decade!

Back in 2017 I still had Moon and Observe and Report listed high - I've re-watched those in the last few years and neither was as punchy or thrilling as they were on my first viewings. I've debated Funny People (2009) a lot, too, and while I like what it's about, it really isn't constructed well enough to earn a spot here. Over the years The Road, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, A Serious Man, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs have stood the test of time and been here over and over again. I can watch A Serious Man any day of the week and still pick out little nuances, to me it's one of the Coen Bros' most underrated films.


TRON: Legacy
The Other Guys
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The Fighter
Get Him to the Greek
Black Swan
Hot Tub Time Machine
The Social Network

American Icon

I can't deny The Social Network, especially in the past ten years its relevancy has increased rather than decreased. Having said that, 2010 is always comedy-heavy, and lacking any other real drama to soak up spots, some of my all-time favourite modern comedies take the cake. I didn't even include Due Date and Dinner for Schmucks that came out this year. My only debate is whether MacGruber should be higher. There are a lot of big studio efforts this year that shine through, and it's one of the last years to have these films genuinely entire my headspace. There isn't a change since 2017 besides Let Me In and Harry Brown being snubbed for TRON: Legacy and The Other Guys. I love those movies, but it's time to shift. I was legit so close to putting The A-Team (2010) on this list, folks.


Attack the Block
The Tree of Life
Inside Out
Take Shelter
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

2020: The Movie!

2011 has morphed a little bit. I originally had The Sitter and Fright Night on here, I may be the only one who loves those films, but they're great. I just watched Super again, it holds up, but is maybe tenuous here. My number one movie has also shifted dramatically, from Rango to Take Shelter to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which has consistently been one of my favourites of all time. I think it deserves it place here. The Tree of Life, Melancholia, and Moneyball have been other consistent presences.


Celeste and Jesse Forever
Cabin in the woods
Zero Dark Thirty
21 Jump Street
Django Unchained
The Master

I should watch this again

I love a world where I put 21 Jump Street ahead of Lincoln. I have begun to firmly believe in putting the best comedy of the year alongside any other great film, and that movie's re-watchability along with it being at this point one of the last great mainstream comedies, earns it that right. Argo is a big drop, along with The Five-Year Engagement, The Campaign, and The Grey. I was so into The Grey, maybe I've just matured beyond it at this point. Still, Zero Dark, Cabin, Django, and The Master are mainstays. I just rewatched Haywire, which is such a perfectly constructed movie that deserves more recognition. Along with Five-Year Engagement, 2012 was a year for weird comedy-dramas, and my fond memories of Celeste and Jesse Forever win out.

Stay tuned, folks, we will re-evaluate 2013 - 2016 in the next few weeks. More recent than that may need some more time to settle. We'll see.

05 January 2021

Let's Cautiously Look at Cool 2021 Things

This is going to be real, REAL cautious, folks. It was a tough debate to even do this again this year. Half of these are holdovers from our 2020 Anticipated List. Ahhh January 2020. What an innocent time to be alive. So, there's always a chance these don't actually come out this year, in addition to the super real possibility that everything sucks. Every year I tend to look at my list and think, "Wow, what the hell was I thinking?" We live in a state of constant disappointment, mostly connected to big blockbuster movies that always leave us spiritually unfulfilled. WE'RE PRETTY SURE THAT WON'T HAPPEN THIS YEAR.

So, in no particular order....

Oh, and we're not even bothering to put dates on these. Maybe odds that we actually see them, though!

#1: Godzilla vs. Kong
Odds on Watching: 100%

Did Kong grow a beard?

My strong number one. Listen, I'm a complete convert - this will likely be the last of these, there's just no way this series continues unless it makes a ridiculous amount of money, and its sentencing to HBOMax seems to be a death knell for that. Or maybe it will better expose the series. I feel like it's trying to so hard, each film has been competent and fun in its own way - amazingly, Godzilla (2014) may be the worst of the lot. But I also hate to say, four films in seven years isn't quite enough to sustain an interesting shared universe that is fresh in our minds. There is also no consistency in human characters, which should never matter, but it also feels empty. I clearly don't care about any of that, I just want to lean into the bonkers bent this franchise has taken and see it run wild without consequence.

Odds: 95%

DUNE is also set for HBOMax, but it's hard to tell what we'll look like in October. Might we all be over? Might our paradigms shift again to theaters? It's hard to tell exactly. I've never been a huge Duner, I haven't read the novel, I saw the David Lynch attempt and Jodorowsky's Dune (2013), and it's all cool, but my hype doesn't totally come from fandom. It mostly comes from Denis Villeneuve and Blade Runner 2019 (2017). He's the clearest master of contemporary thinking sci-fi. This movie will surely bomb but be awesome.

The Suicide Squad
Odds: 93%

This is another HBOMax hopeful, and one of the few superhero films I believe will not let me down. It's not very fair that DC just keeps getting free re-dos on all its movies, but I still have hype for this. James Gunn has proven himself time and time again, and the vibe feels like it's moving in a truer direction than Suicide Squad (2016), which makes me more angry each subsequent time I think about it. I am not a fan at all of movies playing with definite articles to distinguish themselves, I wish this just went weirder like Suicide Squad 1.5: Suicidier Squad but I am unfortunately not in charge of these things. The cast is bigger, weirder, more expendable, and the general attitude feels more irreverent in a way that fits the property. There has been a lot of good adaptations in other media, though, from the animated Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (2018), which balanced the kind of mission this group would do much better, the Harley Quinn TV show, which is close enough, and upcoming video games. I have high hopes.

The Tomorrow War
Odds: 86%

It's been an entire year and I know no further information about this. It's a movie about drafting people from the past to fight aliens in the future or something. Directed by Chris McKay, who wasn't done too much besides The LEGO Batman Movie (2017), but that's something and starring Chris Pratt, who needs to recharge his leading man status after a few years off at this point. It's supposed to drop in July, so it should be okay, right? Who knows. I'm always into original sci-fi, even if they are mostly terrible.

Venom: Let There be Carnage
Odds: 81%

Listen, I think the first Venom (2018) is pretty underrated. It's not like....good, but it's a pretty fun movie. The ending fight is just kind of whatever and feels like every superhero movie ever, but there is some really dire antihero stuff leading up to that. It's enough that I'm into another shot at this interpretation. Things that worry me - Andy Serkis is not a proven director after making the far inferior competing Jungle Book adaptation a few years ago. Woody Harrelson still feels egregiously miscast as Cletus Kassidy. And the main villain from the first one was an insane symbiote, so the main villain here is....an insane symbiote? I'm pretty much done with mirrored superhero villains. Why is this on this list? Well, I hope it has more brain eating I guess. If this doesn't make it into the theaters hopefully we'll at least get to see it on Crackle.

No Time to Die
Odds: 78%

I was really thinking about this. Do we need or want a new Bond film? But really, isn't it always a big deal when we get another installment in one of the most storied film franchises of all time? It should be. It is inconceivable that it's been six years since S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (2015), which ties the longest time without a new Bond since the series began in 1962. The only other time was in between License to Kill (1989) and GoldenEye (1995) and that pause was due to heavy fatigue, re-tooling, re-casting, and re-evaluation. Now, obviously this break wasn't that intentional, and I'm not sure if we should be destined to ALWAYS have a Bond film every couple of years, but it's also insane that Daniel Craig was playing world-wearied, old out of shape Bond NINE years ago now in Skyfall (2012).

I straight up don't count Never Say Never Again (1983), but if you throw that in, Connery played Bond for 20 years in seven movies (conversely if you are like me, he played the role in six movies over nine years). Lazenby was one and done of course. Roger Moore did seven movies in twelve years, Dalton two in two, and Brosnan four in seven. All this means that Craig's tenure over fifteen years is the longest ever, if you don't count Connery's '83 outing. He's only done five films, however, ranking under both Connery and Moore.

This was the first big casualty of the pandemic, the studio pulled it last April at the last second. MGM needs a streaming service, huh? Bond ownership has been all over the place. Maybe it'll be streaming somewhere. Universal seems to be creeping up, maybe we'll watch this in between The Office on Peacock.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Odds: 70%

Kristen Wiig hasn't really gone away - she's had Ghostbusters (2016) and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), but since Bridesmaids (2011) she's done far more tiny indie films than using its success as a springboard to comedy stardom like a Will Ferrell, or hell, even a Melissa McCarthy who DID use Bridesmaids as that springboard. This feels like the first movie where she's returning to that fun, broad comedy, and damn we need it. She's pairing with longtime writing partner but seldom seen on screen, Annie Mumolo for this. I'm excited. There is no real safety net here, though - we'll see if it gets to theaters!

The Last Duel
Odds: 77%

This is far off, set for October, when the world will obviously be healed and fine. Matt Damon is a medieval dude who wants to fight Adam Driver for supposedly raping his wife. That sounds like a fun time at the cinema if I've ever heard it. It's directed by Ridley Scott, which should be a good thing, like thirty years ago. He's still a good director, right! I forget that he did The Martian (2015). He's also 83 years old. He has pedigree with period pieces - Gladiator (2000) of course, Kingdom of Heaven (2005), uhh...Robin Hood (2010)? It's also written by Matt and Ben Affleck - these are Academy Award-winning writers, people. Affleck also plays the King of France. Do you love it when you just know that accent is not going to sound right? There's enough here that I am pretty interested. Mainly Adam Driver, I guess.

Army of the Dead
Odds: 68%

Zack Snyder directs a Vegas zombie heist film! What the hell is going on? This is like a B-movie but with the pedigree of a big time director. Well, at least a financially successful director. Dawn of the Dead (2004) is what made Snyder, man, this is going to be great. Or it's the high concept that sounds fun on paper but just falls apart because there's not actually anything there. But Zack Snyder is such a master of subtext and nuance - nothing could go wrong!

The Green Knight
Odds: 76%

This looks so cool! Another medieval movie! Why not? Dev Patel is an underrated actor, A24 despite recent flops is not far away from its perfect 2018 territory. It just looks silly and fun but also very serious and fun. I am hoping this can come in and be that underground film that really speaks to me and stays with me for a long time. Or it'll be completely bungled. Either way, this might be my #1 movie that doesn't feature a giant ape.

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