Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog, or has the unfortunate mark upon them to do both, knows that I love a good challenge. Sadly, I also love idiotic challenges, and that can get me into the occasional bit of trouble.
6 days into the month of May, I realized I was on pace to watch 31 movies in 31 days. Some might look at 6 movies in 6 days and say, “Well, you’ve still got 25 days to go…that might be a bit ambitious to think you can watch that many more. After all, you’re still fortunate enough to be working, and you have other obligations in your life.”
Obviously, I chose to be substantially less logical than that and went for it. I’ve blogged 30 days in a row before, and I’ve blogged more than that. I’ve done several Tough Mudders. I’ve conquered a lot of fears, though I still think flying is stupid. I’ve even been brave enough to challenge someone else’s opinion on social media more than once!
I also logged the movies I’ve watched in a single month before. When the reports started coming in about how it was necessary to lock down unless the guy with the doomsday modeling wanted to get his willie wet, I decided to share the movies I’d watched in March 2020.
That was daunting enough! I watched a lot of movies that month. I split them in to Good, Bad, and Ugly. It seemed like cheeky fun at the time, and I guess this desire to watch 31 movies in 31 days was forming then.
I’m not going to divide them into categories this time, which I’ll likely regret. I will still include links to my Letterboxd reviews, though. I recommend you connect with me there if you like what I write, as I always log what I watch there.
I still want a “Craigula Awakens” movie. Get cracking on that, Disney.
The List and the Brief Summaries
The Dead Pit (1989) – This is one of those enjoyably-awful movies that was during the collapse of the horror genre before its 1990s meta-rebirth with Scream. I mean, I have to emphasize that it’s awful, but in a silly way that’s reminiscent of something like Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.
It (2017) – I’ve never read the book, but this was enjoyable. The conclusion gets a bit silly, but worth seeing.
The Blues Brothers (1980) – If you do not find this film funny, I can’t help you.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) – I had to rescind my earlier, lower opinion and acknowledge that it is, in fact, a magnificently crafted film created by one of the greatest directors.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) – There’s a reason it’s regarded a key moment in the history of film. It’s wonderful. There are parts far funnier and sweeter to me now than they ever were when I was a kid.
Soul Plane (2004) – Absolute garbage. I couldn’t finish it, but it still counts because it was an excruciating 25 minutes. Only movie in ages I couldn’t get all the way through. I mean, it’s offensively bad. Makes you wonder why they couldn’t donate that money to poor kids type of bad.
Clue – (1985) A comedy classic! Oldest wanted to watch it, so I gladly obliged. When someone asks, “But why would you turn a board game into a movie?” this movie is Exhibit A in why it’s OK to try. It might actually be the only exhibit at all, but it’s proof it can work.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) – But the most horrifying thing was…Richard Milhouse Nixon getting elected! (Seriously, can we give it a rest already please? The bit is extremely tired.)
The Transformers: The Movie (1986) – Basically a TV exercise to sell toys that was written so well, it’s actually a truly good movie.
Strange Brew (1983) – The spiritual forebears of Beavis & Butt-Head and Wayne & Garth set about hijinks in a very self-aware take on Hamlet. Co-starring Max von Sydow, of all people.
Ghostbusters (1984) – The original and, to date, the only truly good movie with “Ghostbusters” in the title.
Cutter’s Way (1981) – The 1980s had a lot of demons to work out about Vietnam. This one has John Heard and Jeff Bridges.
Juggernaut (1974) – There’s a bomb on the Britannic and only Richard Harris can save them! Also Omar Sharif, Anthony Hopkins, and Ian Holm help out, along with a ton of other actors and actresses you recognize. Clever but disjointed. True tension and drama at points. Directed by Richard Lester, the guy who took over Superman II and…well, that’s a different thing.
The Monster Club (1981) – It’s supposed to be a funny parody of horror movies. It isn’t. I’m sorry for Vincent Price and Donald Pleasence that they decided to be in this.
First Man (2018) – Terrific film about Neil Armstrong and the race to the moon. Tremendous score by Justin Hurwitz. HIGHLY recommend.
In the Mouth of Madness (1994) – This was the last film I saw in a theater with the first girl I truly loved. I didn’t like it then, but always wondered if it was because of the bad memories of the breakup that happened soon after. Turns out that no, it’s just not very good. Carpenter had turned a corner and didn’t bring his “A” game to this one.
Hondo (1953) – This John Wayne western had always attracted me by its name, and not just because it’s the name of one of my favorite Star Wars characters. It’s a bland and forgettable Western, but the first screen appearance of Geraldine Page. And it was in 3D, which of course doesn’t do anything to help it now.
The Final Countdown (1980) – A faint childhood memory of my dad using this as a chance to ask the question about historical repercussions if you went back in time and tried to change the attack at Pearl Harbor led to me watching it. Turns out the answer is, not a great movie.
Batman (1989) – A script worthy of an R rating is given a Tim Burton treatment to turn it into a PG-13. Don’t kid yourself that it was a PG that was darkened. There’s an argument that this is the darkest Batman script to date, but Burton made it a commercial thing.
Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero (1998) – It’s not what it could be if the running time fleshed out a bit. Still, it’s arguably the best Batman film after 1989 until Nolan came along.
Message from Space (1978) – Vic Morrow and Sonny Chiba in a cheap rip-off of Star Wars. Still better than Battle Beyond the Stars.
The Lords of Flatbush (1974) – Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, Perry King, and…other people. Super nostalgic look back at being a greaser in the 1950s. Very cinema verite in its approach
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) – I’ve never seen the remake, but it’s definitely better than this.
Delirious (1991) – Amusing comedy with John Candy as a soap opera writer/producer who gets trapped in his own creation with a magical typewriter. Just go with it.
The Death of Stalin (2017) – Josef Stalin was one of the greatest monsters in history and the USSR is a bloody stain on the story of human progress. The movie is darkly funny, though.
The Italian Job (1969) – If you ever wondered why Michael Caine had a career, watch this film. His charm is like a fiery candle in a comedy heist caper that I think had a lot to do with how films like Ocean’s 11 (both the original and the remake) approached the genre.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996) – I will always remember seeing this in a movie theater in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, with my friend Joey. We were both big fans of the show, and there were pillars in the seating area. It’s a funny movie, but definitely a love letter to the fans.
THX 1138 (1971) – I rewatched the 2004 Director’s Cut/Special Edition, which is an objectively better version of the film. My appreciation for it has grown each time I’ve watched it.
Gone Girl (2014) – It’s a solid four to four-and-a-half stars, and then the last twenty minutes secure it that “perfect” prize. Fincher knows how to stick the landing.
The Sender (1982) – Bucking the ‘slasher’ trend of the era, a cool movie about a telepath who gets locked in a mental hospital and hijinks ensue.
I can understand why some of my more hipster-type friends get so cynically “burned out” on movies. Watching in an insane volume definitely skews your perceptions. But…
I also seem to have picked a fair number of good (or at least solid) movies this month. I have a strange theory beyond The Algorithm as to why that is, and it’ll be the focus of my next post.