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2016: The Year in Reviews (June)

End of the year, time to recap. Every January, I go over everything that’s schedule to come out, and a bunch more stuff that isn’t yet scheduled. Based on what I know at that time, I guess my eventual ratings for them.

So what ends up happening is, I watch everything over the course of the year, writing up reviews articles every four months, recapping and rating all the films I saw during that period. Then, in December, I post these articles, which contain both the initial guess and the actual rating, along with a final rating, which is based on how I feel about the film having had time to sit and digest it for a period of time.

I do it to see how accurately I can guess ratings for movies a year in advance, but really it serves as a way to give a complete picture of my feelings about each movie I see.

Today we’re recapping June:

Here’s how my ratings system works:

* * * * * (5 stars) — I really loved the film. Five stars essentially guarantees the film a spot in the top ten. I’ve never had a five star film not make the top ten. (2015 examples: Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Steve Jobs.)

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars) — I loved the film, but not unconditionally. Four and a half stars means a likely top ten appearance, and for sure a top twenty spot. Rarely does a four and a half star film fall below top 15. (2015 examples: Anomalisa, Brooklyn, The Revenant, Sicario, Son of Saul.)

* * * * (4 stars) — I liked the film quite a bit, but it’s not one of those that I would automatically say is a top ten film. It could end up being one, but typically a four star film is one of those that I’ve solidly liked and will openly say is a great movie. Three and a half, I’ll say that I really enjoyed it. But four stars is where I’ll say that it’s really good. Four star movies are either in my 11-20 or tier two. It’s also not unheard of that a 4 star movie makes the top ten, especially after a year or two. (2015 examples: Beasts of No Nation, Bone Tomahawk, Crimson Peak, Dope, Grandma, The Walk.)

* * * ½ (3.5 stars) — The film stood out to me as being particularly solid. I always differentiate three and a half from three by saying that three stars is for a film that I just enjoyed enough to give it the thumbs up. Three and a half is when I go, “That was really solid and I enjoyed it quite a bit.” It’s not alway a mark of “this was better than I expected” or, “It’s better than you think.” Sometimes it’s just, “That was really solid,” or, “That was awesome,” even though the film itself wasn’t particularly a masterpiece. It’s a very versatile ranking. Three and a half star films never make it above tier two (though not many will end up there), and most of them are tier three or four. (2015 examples: Cop Car, The Danish Girl, It Follows, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Mississippi Grind, Spy, Tangerine.)

* * * (3 stars) — Three stars is for films that were pretty good. Usually for a three star movie, I’ll say, “I enjoyed it well enough.” Or, probably the most common phrase I use is, “You can get through it.” But without qualification. For a two and a half star film, I’ll say, “You can get through it, but…” Three stars don’t have the qualification. Mostly three stars is for a film I enjoyed enough to say it wasn’t bad. I found it watchable enough that I wasn’t completely indifferent toward it. (Though I still might hate it. That’s a completely different discussion.) If I give a film that seems like it should have a higher rating three stars, then it means I didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else. And if there’s something you’d think was a piece of shit at three stars, it means I thought it wasn’t actually that bad. But most of the time, three stars just means, “Yeah, it was okay. I enjoyed it well enough.” They’re just entertaining enough for me to not be indifferent. (2015 examples: 45 Years, By the Sea, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, San Andreas, Southpaw, Trainwreck.)

* * ½ (2.5 stars) — Two and a half stars is my ultimate indifference ranking. I didn’t necessarily think it was a bad film, I just didn’t give a shit about it whatsoever. Nothing to make me like it, and it wasn’t bad enough to make me dislike it. It wasn’t memorable to me in any way. Odds are, if a “classy” movie is here, it means it was particularly disappointing, and if something that seemed like an Unforgivable is here, it means it actually wasn’t the piece of shit we were all thinking and was actually just about passable. It’s also my way of saying, “You might have liked this, but I certainly didn’t.” And also my way of saying, “This wasn’t very good, but at least it was competently made.” But for the most part, two and a half stars means I just didn’t care whatsoever and will not remember much about the movie in two years. They may also be Unforgivable, depending on my reasons. (2015 examples: The Age of Adaline, I Smile Back, Minions, Paper Towns, Pixels, While We’re Young.)

* * (2 stars) — Two starts means that I just did not like the film. For the most part it’s competently made (though not always), but it’s either part of a genre that I don’t like (horror movie, shitty thriller, Nicholas Sparks), I was utterly bored by it, or it’s one of those movies that really annoyed the shit out of me. Decent chance it could be Unforgivable. (2015 examples: The Boy Next Door, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hot Pursuit, Seventh Son, The Visit.)

* ½ (1.5 stars) — One and a half usually means the film was terrible, but it’s not a surefire Unforgivable. Probably because it’s a shitty thriller, a shitty horror movie, or a horrible sequel in a franchise that has churned out nothing but horrible films. Or it’s for films that could have gone two stars, but I just have a particular dislike for them. These have a pretty good shot at the Unforgivables list, and should for sure make my bottom 25 list. (2015 examples: Superfast, Vacation.)

* (1 star) — I really didn’t like the movie. It was so bad it was almost unwatchable. Typically a one star film is certain to be Unforgivable. Sometimes one star movies get saved by virtue of being a sequel or being something that’s too easy to make Unforgivable (like a Friedberg and Seltzer movie. One we knew were gonna be a piece of shit going in). But in any case — they’re really awful movies that shouldn’t exist. (2015 examples: none.)

0 stars — It means I hated the film. Guaranteed Unforgivable. It’s a film that should never have been made, and has actually lowered the bar for cinema as an art form and has actually detracted from a culture that’s in the toilet to begin with. A film with no redeeming qualities whatsoever and one that physically made me angry while watching it. (2015 examples of 0 star films: none, thankfully.)

June

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2

What I said about it back in January:

“The first one was such a piece of shit. And this one is being directed by the guy who did Earth to Echo. Oh boy.”

“They’re bringing in Casey Jones, Bebop, Rocksteady and Kraang. Because why not?”

“I can’t imagine I’m getting anything more than 2.5 stars out of this. Even if this is better than the first one, we’re still looking at a maximum of 3. But I don’t even think we can go that high. Because they just do not care with this franchise.”

What I thought about it:

“Maybe it’s because I saw this in theaters (I know, I paid for this. I saw this opening night, in the Cinerama Dome, with about maybe fifty people. Total. For reference, the theater seats about 850 people), but I was okay with this.”

“While this was not a good movie by any stretch, and while I was openly laughing at how ridiculous and stupid so much of it was, I actually laughed more than I thought I would, and it was so ridiculous that — fine.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Not good, but I enjoyed it well enough. They clearly have no idea what they’re doing with this franchise though.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

What I said about it back in January:

“So The Lonely Island are making a movie. It’ll have a bunch of people in it, but will it be funny?”

“Based on knowing absolutely nothing about this movie, I guess I’ll say 3 stars. 2.5 seems pretty likely, but we’ll go 3.”

What I thought about it:

It’s a decent film, and is probably a 3 star movie. But this annoyed the living shit out of me. This is supposed to be making fun of music culture and where we are in pop culture, but in doing so, it subjects me to all this terrible fake music and references to things like TMZ’s show and people like Justin Bieber. And I’d rather just block all that shit out from my life and be happy. So having to sit through all that — I’m not sure what the point of it was. I didn’t see it lampooning that stuff so much as recreating it for comedy. And that’s not for me. So not for me. We’ll just leave it at that. For now.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I hated this. I may have hated this enough to tell you more about it soon. But we’ll see.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

The Witness

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

I liked it enough. Interesting little crime story from the 60s that was pretty famous. The doc was okay. Much more a personal exercise by a family member more than anything. But watchable.

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Fair enough, as docs go. Didn’t particularly move the needle for me.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Me Before You

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh boy.”

“I kinda want to assume 3 stars because it’s British and I just assume it’ll be classier that way and not fall into all the same traps as American failed Oscar bait, but I can’t even do that.”

2.5 stars. Has to prove itself to me. Being held over a year doesn’t inspire much confidence.”

What I thought about it:

“Nothing like a good romantic comedy about euthanasia. Emilia Clarke is charming as fuck and the movie mostly works because of her. Otherwise, just decent.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Outside of Emilia Clarke, this is generic, sappy romance shit. I like her in this though.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Approaching the Unknown

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Kinda tough to have a ‘one man alone in space’ movie right on the heels of The Martian and have it be remembered.”

“This isn’t a bad movie at all, it’s just… no one’s gonna see it and no one’s gonna remember it after an initial watch.”

“It’s an easy watch, but the script or the direction isn’t particularly great. It’s a movie that’s perfectly fit for a VOD release. Most people will happen upon this on cable and on Netflix, and that feels appropriate.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Decent for VOD, otherwise pretty forgettable as a film.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Urge

What I said about it back in January:

“It sounds interesting. No idea if it’ll be any good.”

3 stars. Slight concern about going that high, but fuck it.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s probably more like a 2.5, but whatever. I paid attention.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

You know a movie was a winner when the best thing I can say about it is “I paid attention.”

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Hitler’s Folly

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Maybe this shouldn’t have been an hour long. It doesn’t sustain the premise.”

“It’s a funny idea that isn’t really fully realized. Especially considering this is an animation director and the film contains almost no animation.”

“Wasn’t the worst hour I’ve spent this year.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

That last comment says a lot about how I’ve spent some hours this year.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Blackway

What I said about it back in January:

“Cool.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s a small movie. Stakes aren’t high, the drama isn’t overdone, and it’s a decent enough watch.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Meh. Fair the once. Never gonna watch this again.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Conjuring 2

What I said about it back in January:

“Didn’t see the first one. Or did I? I don’t know. I can tell you that I will not see this one.”

“(But 2.5 stars. You know, for the cause.)”

What I thought about it:

“I’m surprised I even watched it.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I’d have skipped this if it weren’t for the 100% completion thing.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Now You See Me 2

What I said about it back in January:

3 stars.”

“The first one was entertaining, probably not great on the second watch. This one I imagine will be fun but not as good as the first. Which is fine.”

What I thought about it:

“Not as good as the first one, but still very entertaining.”

“They didn’t even bother making it realistic. They just went for the full entertainment factor.”

“Pure fluff, but that’s not always a bad thing. This was more entertaining to me than X-Men was. Big fan of this franchise.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s entertainment. Can’t ask for much more than this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Warcraft

What I said about it back in January:

“Man, does this look terrible. Did you see that trailer? Holy shit.”

“What the fuck is this movie supposed to be? How can this be any good whatsoever?”

“If I get more than 2.5 stars out of this, I will be shocked. This looks abysmal.”

What I thought about it:

“Just started Warcraft. Let’s see how long before I have to drink.”

“You aren’t? You just started Warcraft and I’M drinking.”

“I almost don’t want to give it any advantages… I also have no idea what’s going on. And I’m paying attention.”

“Ever play Warcraft? Like, not World of Warcraft, but Warcraft 2 or 3?”

“None of them. I always just assumed it was a giant game where you ran around in the woods and called other peoples’ characters faggots when you ran into them.”

“That’s World of Warcraft.”

“I just watched orcs run through a magic portal and a pregnant orc lady just O-Lan’d out a baby in a rice paddy. But the baby was dead so they killed a deer to keep it alive. So deer asshole. Check.”

“I think it’s the whole… the orcs are displaced from their homes. The humans hate the orcs. But now the undead are coming.”

“Hate it when that happens. If there’s one thing that can ruin an exodus, it’s the undead.”

“So there needs to be a reluctant alliance. Which was the Warcraft 3 plot.”

“My feelings on this so far are that it isn’t bad, just expensive, unnecessary and derivative. Which is probably how I’m gonna feel about it in the end. This text exchange, by the way, is going to be my review of the movie.”

“I’m gonna go grab a third beer.”

“… and I’m bored.”

“Aren’t there orc titties?”

“You could only do so much with orc titties. It’s been all humans for a little while. One guy has a Dark Mark that acts as a GPS/Geiger counter, Ben Foster is doing magic. It’s fucking chaos.”

“Too bad they didn’t do Starcraft instead. At least that’s space.”

“Or Starfox.”

“A Starfox movie would have even less plot. Might as well.”

Shit, you can come up with a story for that. Easy. The question is making it entertaining. I’m watching an orc have a horse chase with a human. This is not entertaining. Rather than enjoy it, I’m thinking about how they shot a guy in a mo cap suit on a horse and added it all later on and not whatever the plot is supposed to be.” 

“And again, I think it’s because they’re going for people who have already been taken in by this fantasy world. The movie just gives it to them in HD and without clicking. If you haven’t played the games, it’s Unforgivable. If you have played the game, you’re unforgivable.”

“I still don’t think it’s Unforgivable. I’m too intrigued by it to hate it. It’s like that Dungeons and Dragons movie with Marlon Wayans. It’s not good, but I’m too fascinated by how they thought it would be worthwhile to dislike it. Or that Vin Diesel Witch Hunter movie last year. It’s like — who thought this would be good?”

“It’s like Twilight 4. Too little to go on without knowing the background, too much b.s. exposition to be good for people who have the background. And just bad otherwise.”

“And deer asshole. All This and Deer Asshole Too.”

“At this point I lost concentration and started thinking about other things. My big note from the rest of the film was: ‘I like how one of the characters is half-human. Because we needed someone to jerk off to.'”

“We do all need someone to jerk off to.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I basically wrote my final thoughts after I wrote the text exchange, so I’ll just put those here:

“It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not good. Mostly I’m fascinated by the idea that someone is going to enjoy this and someone thought this would appeal to a lot of people. I get why this was made on a lot of levels, yet also — too expensive, too unnecessary, too generic, and too derivative. I can’t say it made me angry so much as it made me weirdly fascinated and disappointed at the same time that $200 million was spent on this and at least three years of Duncan Jones’ career was taken up by this movie. And at best what this is gonna get out of people is, “Ehh, it was okay.” I honestly don’t think I can make this movie Unforgivable, because it didn’t make me angry. Just frustrated. Because they made this purely for a Chinese market, and the Chinese market devoured it. So we’re left with a movie we can’t really do anything with. I can’t like it and I can’t hate it. And I’m not really sure why it exists. But it’s trendy to hate it, so most people will. I guess what I’m saying is, this is the Nickelback of movies.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Music of Strangers

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“We got a screener. I watched it. Didn’t like it as a documentary, but the music was nice.”

Final Thoughts:

That about covers it.

How close was I?: N/A

King Jack

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“It was great. This is a really strong debut for Felix Thompson. Great performances and a very grounded film.”

“If you like these kind of coming of age movies, this is one you should check out.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Solid little indie worth a watch.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

De Palma

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This is a documentary I can get behind.”

“Just De Palma on screen, only him talking, and just him discussing his movies, with clips all over the place.”

“The best decision they made was not having anyone else on screen but him. That’s what makes it soar.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

One of my favorite documentaries of the year. Brian De Palma is the man.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Genius

What I said about it back in January:

“Good cast, interesting premise. Do I go 3 or 3.5?”

“First time director. Written by John Logan, who is usually good for a solid script.”

“So 3.5 stars. Let’s see what we get. Solid cast, good writer. I’ll go 3.5.”

What I thought about it:

“With the subject matter and the cast, it was gonna be real difficult to not pull out a 3.5 star rating from me.”

“I gravitate to this stuff, and this was an adequately classy adaptation.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It was fine. Most people will be indifferent or think it was just okay. And it’s probably just a 3 star movie, but something like this is more up my alley than most.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Central Intelligence

What I said about it back in January:

“Surprisingly looks kinda funny. The trailer was charming enough. This could work. Or it could suck.”

“I’m leaning toward it being okay.”

“Not gonna guess too high, though, because comedies always find ways to disappoint.”

3 stars. I’m hopeful this can go higher. But let’s wait and see.”

What I thought about it:

“This movie works because of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart’s interplay. Otherwise it’s a giant piece of shit.”

“The problem with this is the same as all other comedies — the humor is so broad that I worry for anyone who actually finds it funny. Especially in the beginning. Comedies nowadays are terrible at setting up the exposition.”

“”There’s a halfway decent story, and there’s a weird theme of acceptance in the end that’s actually kind of sweet in its own way. So ultimately I didn’t hate this. But I do hate what comedy has become nowadays, and really wish we had stronger comedic voices that could make funny movies that will actually be remembered in twenty years.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I’ve seen worse. But this left a bad taste in my mouth, given how unfunny it was and how it seems representative of what people seem to want to watch.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Finding Dory

What I said about it back in January:

“It’s Pixar. Yes, it’s a sequel, but it’s also Pixar.”

4 stars.”

“I’m not excited for this, but I feel like they can make this good enough for me to like it.”

If I can get a movie that I actually give a thumbs up to other than the Monsters University, ‘Yeah, whatever it was good,’ then I’ll be happy.”

What I thought about it:

“I had doubts that this would be great.”

“The movie was lovely. I like that it was low in stakes, really. It was more about the emotional journey and Stanton didn’t stray too far from that.”

“Even though the third act is utterly ridiculous (which is the case with most Pixar films), it’s still a worthy sequel.”

“I’m not gonna say it’s better than the first film, or a masterpiece, but it’s very good and quite enjoyable, and as far as Pixar sequels go, this is second only to the Toy Story ones.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s not a top ten or anything, but I was pretty delighted by a lot of this. It’s a worthy Pixar sequel and a pretty solid film overall. I’d compare it to Toy Story 2. I think that’s the weakest of the three, but is still a solid film on its own. This is like that.

The key with Pixar is if the movie is entertaining enough to make you not think about how insane their third acts are. The third act of this movie is an octopus driving a truck. Aside from a passing moment of, “There is an octopus driving a truck right now,” I didn’t really care. So I’m okay with this movie.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

Did I not write a review of this? Weird. These Netflix documentary watches do sometimes end up falling through the cracks. But since I didn’t preview it, it’s not so bad.

This was fun. I loved seeing the actual film, and the documentary showing how it came about was fun. Not groundbreaking work, but fun. Gotta love a bunch of kids doing something like this.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It was fun. Definitely liked it.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Tickled

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This was FUCKED UP.”

“If you know nothing about it, then just put it on and watch it.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Trust me, just put it on and watch it. The first act is weirdly interesting, the second act draws you in, and the third is just nonstop revelation after revelation, each more outrageous and stunning than the last. This might be my favorite documentary of the year. Because what the fuck?

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Weiner-Dog

What I said about it back in January:

“Todd Solondz is making a movie about a dog. Wonder how that’s gonna go.”

“I haven’t seen any of his other movies. But this has a cast and is about a dog, so I’m interested.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“This is my first exposure to Todd Solondz.”

“This was enjoyable as hell.”

“I don’t know why this is the story, but I didn’t care. The stories all made themselves interesting and never overstayed their welcome, the editing and shot choices added humor to the whole thing, and it’s so cynical and deadpan.”

“I like when the filmmaking is part of the storytelling.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this. This is an 85 minute movie with an intermission/musical number. There’s a thirty-five second tracking shot of dog diarrhea in this that was just hilarious. Big fan of this movie.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

The Fundamentals of Caring

What I said about it back in January:

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“I liked it. Some people might think it’s overly sentimental or whatever, but I was perfectly entertained.”

“Not a masterpiece, but it’s not like I needed it to be anything more than it was.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s fair enough, even if it’s not reinventing the wheel or even selling a branded version of one.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Hunt for the Wilderpeeple

What I said about it back in January:

3.5 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s so understated and hilarious.”

“Do yourself a favor and see this movie immediately. It’s one of the funniest movies of the year and everyone will enjoy it.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I loved this. I don’t know what to say about it except, go watch this. You’ll enjoy the shit out of it.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Frank Zappa was interesting, therefore I enjoyed the documentary well enough. Didn’t do a whole lot for me, but I did end up enjoying it.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Thumbs up.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Breaking a Monster

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“This was fascinating.”

“A couple of 13 year old black kids form a metal band, which is interesting on its own. And they’re good! Which is even more interesting.”

“And then it’s about them getting into a record contract and having to deal with that stuff. It’s fascinating watching this giant machine try to take them on and them having no fun whatsoever dealing with all of that. Good stuff here.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I liked this. This could make an interesting satire of the music industry as a feature.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Phenom

What I said about it back in January:

Nothing.

What I thought about it:

“Not bad. A pitcher can’t seem to throw strikes anymore, so he has to see a psychologist. And we get into all the stuff that made him this way.”

“Doesn’t really seem to delve into it all, or have a real resolution, but the journey is good enough to make it worthwhile.”

“I could have used a little more actual pitching and/or cohesion, but as it is, I got more than I would have expected to. So that’s okay.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Decent enough, although overly about therapy more than anything. I enjoyed this to a point. Solid as far as VOD movies go, but not something I loved otherwise.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Swiss Army Man

What I said about it back in January:

“Directed by the guys who made the ‘Turn Down for What’ music video.”

“Seems weird. Not sure if that means I’ll love it or appreciate it. So we’ll say 3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“It’s a movie about a farting corpse, so it’s always gonna be of some interest. But this was just weird. Overly weird.”

“When you find out what’s actually going on, it makes sense, but it’s also really disturbing. I’m guessing that’s the point, but this just wasn’t for me.”

“I was fascinated by its weirdness to a point, but it lost me after a while.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

We’ll always have “farting corpse movie.”

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Neon Demon

What I said about it back in January:

3.5 stars. Sure. I’m usually willing to give the half point for style over substance.”

What I thought about it:

“This looked gorgeous, visually, but I don’t know what the fuck it was about.”

“There’s a scene in this movie where someone fucks a corpse. Why? I don’t know! But it looks great.”

“His movies work best when he has a writer. Without a story, I couldn’t follow this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

The best looking corpse fucker movie I’ve seen.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Free State of Jones

What I said about it back in January:

“A Civil War movie. Okay, cool. Gary Ross directing. Even better.”

“I should say 3.5 stars, but based on Ross’ track record, I’m going with 4 stars. This sounds right up my alley.”

What I thought about it:

“I was predisposed to liking this. I wanted it to be great. Things I’ve learned over the past year led me to figure it might not have been.”

“I guess I was hoping for another Patriot. It’s not that. It’s just a solid movie about a good story that unfortunately comes off a bit too much as a white savior story.”

“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about with this one, except maybe the fact that it came out and nobody saw it. And also that they blatantly stole a track on the score from The Assassination of Jesse James and expected nobody to notice. I almost deducted points for that one.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I still kinda want to deduct points for that Jesse James thing. But otherwise I sort of enjoyed this, even though it wasn’t great. Thinking about dropping it to 3, but since I don’t remember it and that would probably be more of a reaction to the word of mouth on this, I’m gonna leave it as is. Either way, one of the biggest disappointments of 2016 for me.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

The Duel

What I said about it back in January:

“WESTERN. Woody Harrelson western.”

3.5 stars.”

“Crazy excited for this.”

What I thought about it:

“I so wanted to go 3.5 stars here, but even with the western bump, all I could get out of this was a very solid 3.”

” I got enough out of it to call it a solid 3, but if I wasn’t so into westerns as I am, this would have been pretty hard to get through.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

It’s a tough film to get through. It’s so relentlessly boring that it tries to turn you away from it. It takes a dedicated fan of the western to make it through this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

The Shallows

What I said about it back in January:

“Oh. This is not what I though this was gonna be.”

“The director has made almost entirely 3 star movies. Orphan, Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night. So I have no other choice, really.”

3 stars.”

What I thought about it:

“The premise makes it more interesting than it normally would be.”

“There’s no mood or tension build up, and a lot of the dramatic moments are really generic and on the nose. But overall it does what it needs to. I’m fine with that.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

Does what it needs to, otherwise a pretty generic movie.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Independence Day: Resurgence

What I said about it back in January:

“Are we all not terrified about this? Because I sure as shit am.”

“The trailer was not good.”

“Roland Emmerich is back, but Roland Emmerich hasn’t made a good movie in 15 years.”

“Look, I’m not gonna go less than 3 stars with this, but man, does this have the possibility of being fucking awful.”

What I thought about it:

“I’m trying not to laugh as I write this, because holy shit.”

“Between the China pandering (which is as obvious as product placement in a Michael Bay movie… which now also feature China pandering too!) and references designed purely for people who saw the first movie, I’m almost impressed.”

“I enjoyed this for all the wrong reasons.”

“I can’t tell if I really hated this or respected its conviction for ridiculousness.”

“If I didn’t already know these characters from 20 years ago, this would have been unbearable. And even then, parts of it still were.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final Thoughts:

I want to write them, but I also kinda want to leave well enough alone.

This sucked pretty hard, which we kinda saw coming.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is July.

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One response

  1. “It’s a decent film, and is probably a 3 star movie. But this annoyed the living shit out of me. This is supposed to be making fun of music culture and where we are in pop culture, but in doing so, it subjects me to all this terrible fake music and references to things like TMZ’s show and people like Justin Bieber. And I’d rather just block all that shit out from my life and be happy. So having to sit through all that — I’m not sure what the point of it was. I didn’t see it lampooning that stuff so much as recreating it for comedy. And that’s not for me. So not for me. We’ll just leave it at that. For now.

    I hated this. I may have hated this enough to tell you more about it soon. But we’ll see.”

    =====
    Dude, it would be unwise to put Poster anywhere near your Unforgivables list just because it annoyed you. Don’t blame the film for that. Blame today’s music industry. In fact, I daresay that it was actually and horrifyingly accurate about where the music industry is today. Sometimes if the state of something is so laughably horrible, one shouldn’t have to do much work to show the world how horrible it is. (Not that The Lonely Island didn’t put work into this film.) They just have to show it, and that’s what Popstar did. Of course they made an obvious political song a la Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” (I personally prefer “Equal Rights” over “Same Love.”) Of course they made fun of Apple and U2’s automatic free album download scandal.

    If Annie managed to escape your Unforgivables list for being an accurate rendition of that classic story in 2014, then Popstar should also escape your Unforgivables list for accurately portraying the state of the pop culture music industry in 2016. Come on, there are more offensive films out there that deserve to be in your Unforgivables list. Not this.

    December 21, 2016 at 2:23 pm

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