19 December 2016

2016 in the Black Mirror - What Sucked and What Rocked?

Each and every year for some reason we make horrible, horrible predictions about what we're looking forward to most in the upcoming annus. Often times we're pretty jazzed up about some great bit of pop culture only to be thrown into the mud like the hopeless, fruitless consumer we are. This year wasn't all bad, though. We were certainly looking forward to a lot, and for the most part, pop culture delivered. To see our original amped-up list, go ahead and click, to see our reactions a year after the fact, read on, noble warrior:

Deadpool- February 12, 2016

Thank you, Deadpool, for being everything we thought you could be. What's most insane is that not only was this a refreshing spin on contemporary overwrought superhero films, but also genuinely hilarious, demented, and a perfect means of bringing a character with a difficult tone to nail down to life. It not only satisfied common nerds but also made a ridiculous amount of money. It's the #1 X-Men Movie of all-time! What in the ass?!

Hail, Caesar!- February 5, 2016

I was a bit disappointed by the Coen Bros' latest, although it seems to have found its fans, like just about all of their films eventually do. It seemed like it didn't quite know what to do with itself, with a story that wasn't nearly as deep or clever as some of their other work, even their funner doofier stuff like Burn After Reading (2008). Still, there is some standout work here on the acting side, even if it's not much more than what was in every trailer. So...let's go with kind of good?

X-Men: Apocalypse- May 27, 2016

Heh. Okay, now listen, I wasn't nearly as down on this as most of the rest of the world seemed to be. It was crowned the Worst Superhero Film of All Time by more than a few outlets. I wouldn't go that far, and there is some pretty fun stuff here, even if the actors' ages, Apocalypse's powers, and character motivations (particularly Magneto, which all seems forced) don't really make sense. Ultimately, even though this definitely gets comic book-y, it seemed lost in the wake of subversive Deadpool - like a 2001 superhero film that nobody cares about now. That's kind of unfortunate based only on context, but nothing here is as bad as the reviews would indicate.

Suicide Squad- August 5, 2016

Then again...now this was a total disappointing pile of garbage. I wanted to like this so bad. I didn't even totally mind the on-the-nose pop-rock soundtrack, the trashy flashing colors, or the army of faceless bubble monsters. I just wished that the plot made sense, the Joker wasn't completely superfluous, and the film as actually as much of a renegade as it wanted itself to be. I can't think of a better scene that emphasized everything that's wrong with this film than Will Smith's gun range scene. Everything starts off with great anticipation, minor cleverness, a damn good matching Kanye song, and a good demo of his skills that ultimately leads...exactly where we'd expect it to. Nothing elevates it to anywhere notable or interesting and instead of him making a cool pattern or sweet move, he just shoots some holes. It's a lack of creativity and impulse to go from good to great that has handicapped DC for this whole shared universe experience. Sucked.

Dr. Strange- November 4, 2016

I JUST wrote up a huge thing about this, but needless to say this is also an "okay" movie. It certainly delivered on the weird, and among the horrible Superhero films I was pumped up about this year it stands far above Apocalypse and Suicide Squad, but it's probably not notable enough to warrant being super-excited about.

The Nice Guys- May 20, 2016

The Nice Guys still stands out for being unlike any other film that's ever made these days, but that we saw all the time in the 80s and 90s. A few months down the line, though, I struggle to really remember much about it, except how goofy Ryan Gosling was (showing ridiculous range), and how this is totally just older L.A. Confidential (1997) Russell Crowe. Neither of that is bad. I'd slide this more into good territory, and it sure as hell comes close to being in the Top 10 or Top 15 flicks for the year, but probably not the Top 5 that I thought it could be.

Zootopia- March 4, 2016

I was really just into that Sloth trailer, which I think everyone was, since this blew up to be one of the most critically lauded and financially viable films of 2016. In a year where animation was dominant more than any year ever, Zootopia stood out like a giant rhinocerous in a field full of rabbits (or perhaps it's apt to call it the other way around?). So far this is actually just about the only film on this list that I'm really grateful I was looking forward to this year.

Passengers- December 21, 2016

The marketing seems more obsessed with how Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence can prank each other than anything to do with the film, and it ended up getting a drubbing from just about everyone. It wasn't nearly as bad as all that, and actually a pretty engaging premise and film that is probably more romance than sci-fi with a tacked on trope-filled ending. Beyond that, though there's some fun here, even if it somehow ended up much less than what the sum of its parts ought to have given us.

The Bad Batch- TBA, 2016

Haha, so this is clearly the film that the world forgot. All we have to go on is this weird super-homoerotic trailer / scene embedded above. There's another even vaguer bit with star Suki Waterhouse in a car. Listen, I'm still excited for this one, which premeired at Venice and TIFF and will likely get some Netflix distribution and hopefully a theatrical run of some kind later this year. Until then, my insane #1 most anticipated flick of 2016 will have to wait a few more weeks.

More Shit:

Here was a quick rundown of everything else we thought might not suck:

Ghostbusters - Face it, sucked
Rogue One - Ruled
Sausage Party - Ranges from okay to great depending on cannabis ingested
The Girl on the Train - sucked
Neighbors 2 - okay
Zoolander No. 2 - sucked so much
Silence - Pretty good
Lost City of Z - Pushed to 2017
Story of Your Life - You may know it as Arrival (2016), it ruled
High-Rise - Ruled
Eddie the Eagle - Do you remember that this movie came out?
Neon Demon - wtf did I just watch?!
Yoga Hosers - sucked

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