In 2010, I watched 152 movies, and for no real reason I decided I wanted to beat that record in 2011. I totally did, but guess what my final count was? 198. 198!! Arghh, how frustrating is that number?? I planned to get it up to 200 in the last couple of days before New Year’s Eve, but I got busy with other things and wasn’t able to watch any movies! But, whatever, 198 is still a hell of a lot of movies, right? Right! Here’s what they were:
The Crazies (2010) (January 2)
In last year’s installment, I wrote how boring the original version of The Crazies was. The remake is much better, but still completely forgettable. In fact, I’ve forgotten almost everything about it, so let’s move on.
Comic Book Villains (January 4)
You might have picked up on the fact that I am a comic book fan, so when I stumbled upon this movie on Netflix, I thought it might be interesting. Comic Book Villains is about two rival comic shop owners who plot against each other to acquire a collector’s stash of vintage comics, and it’s one of the shittiest movies I’ve ever seen in my life. If America has produced a crappier and more unlikable actor than Michael fucking Rappaport, I’d be surprised. Fuck this movie.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (January 7)
Another dumb-ass Resident Evil movie, and another instance of me being ashamed to admit that I kind of enjoyed it. This sequel adds Chris Redfield to the mix. Like its four (!) predecessors, this film is dumb, unscary, offensively irreverent of its source material, and – goddammnit – pretty fun to watch.
Splice (January 7)
I wrote about Splice in this blog post, which actually got a response from costume designer Alex Kavanagh! This is a really interesting, creepy film that didn’t get the attention it deserved. It also features some amazing fashion!
Moon (January 11)
A spaceman is stranded on the moon. He’s really really sad and bored and his only friend is a robot Kevin Spacey. Also, there’s some big twist, but I forget what the twist is. Maybe the moon is really the sun? Something like that.
I Think We’re Alone Now (January 11)
This is a documentary about two demented freaks who are dangerously obsessed with 80’s pop icon Tiffany. The reason documentaries like Winnebago Man and Best Worst Movie work is because the lovable losers they spotlight are, in spite of their quirks, genuinely likable. You root for their success and happiness. That is not the case with the disgusting stalker lunatics in I Think We’re Alone Now. The only thing you root for is that these guys get thrown behind bars, or that Tiffany herself – who seems to have the patience and understanding of a goddamn saint in the face of these clowns’ harassment – would just tell them to fuck off already.
Trick ‘r Treat (January 14)
I wrote about this last year, and I think it’s a movie that deserves to be looked upon with reverence as a perennial Halloween classic. I am not exactly sure why I watched it in January, but whatever – every month could use a little bit of Halloween!
I spent a shocking amount of time pondering that question on January 17th. Ultimately, I think I’d have to go with frozen, because I think I could handle the situation a little bit better than the morons in this movie, but I don’t think I’d do any better than Ryan Reynolds did in the buried scenario.
I Am Comic (January 22)
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (January 22)
Jokes jokes jokes! I love The Sarah Silverman Program, but I’m not quite as crazy about her stand-up act. Still, Jesus is Magic is a funny enough diversion. I don’t remember what I Am Comic was. I bet it sucked.
The Burning (January 23)
My girlfriend made me watch this 80’s horror movie because, she claimed, young Jason Alexander looks exactly like me in it. And, god damn it, she’s right:
Besides the fact that I star in it, The Burning is a pretty fun movie. It’s a slasher flick about teens at summer camp, a description that could be used for about half the horror films of this era. This one rises above the pack a little bit, due to the novelty of seeing George Costanza in a role like this.
Terrorvision (January 23)
Terrorvision is a silly horror-tinged E.T. clone from 1986, and it’s pretty great. Hilarious puppet monsters, ridiculous special effects, and some of the 80’s-est characters ever make this a really fun ride.
Deadgirl (January 24)
Think back to your teenage years… if you had found the rotting corpse of a woman, would you have sex with it? If you did, would you tell your friends about it? Would they have sex with it too? I probably wouldn’t have had sex with the corpse, you guys. That’s how I differ from the kids in this gross, stupid, piece of shit movie. Eventually the corpse comes to life and kills them all, or something like that. Good for the corpse.
The Lost Boys (January 25)
I’d never seen this movie before! You probably have, so I don’t need to tell you that it’s awesome. Another big gap in my movie-seeing history, filled in.
The Signal (January 26)
I had to look this up to remember what it was. Now that I sort of remember it, I think I sorta remember kinda liking it? Rage zombies and whatnot.
Best in Show (January 28)
Doggies are cute, and this movie is funny.
Irreversible (January 28)
Even before the unimaginably brutal rape scene, this movie made me sick. And I don’t mean it disturbed me mentally or emotionally; I mean it made me physically nauseous. As I found out after watching it, certain scenes in Irreversible were deliberately designed to elicit this response in viewers. That’s pretty crazy! In spite of making me pukey on several levels – or, perhaps, because of that fact – Irreversible was a powerfully fucked up film. Everyone ought to see it at some point, but save it for a time when you don’t mind being sick and bummed out all goddamn day.
Trailer Park Boys (January 28)
I don’t know why, but I just don’t find this shit funny at all! Is there something wrong with me? Am I joyless or something? God, I hate myself.
Severence (January 31)
I checked out this movie because it was made by the same guy who made Triangle, which immediately became one of my favorite movies of all time after I saw it in 2010. With the bar raised that high, Severence was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t bad or anything, but compared to the pure genius that was Triangle, this was pretty run-of-the-mill slasher movie fare.
Crawlspace (February 12)
Holy shit, have you guys seen Crawlspace? It stars Klaus Kinski as a deranged Nazi landlord who stalks and tortures the tenants of his apartment building, and it is fucking awesome. I honestly have no idea why this isn’t hailed as a minor horror classic, but it ought to be. Go on Netflix and check this movie out; you won’t be disappointed.
Camp Rock (February 12)
Minutemen (February 13)
Princess Protection Program (February 13)
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (February 13)
Starstruck (February 14)
Perhaps in celebration of Valentine’s Day, the lady and I went through a serious Disney Channel Original Movie phase! I don’t really know what else to say except that all of these are basically the same exact movie, and they are all awesome. Prior to this, we listened to a hell of a lot of Radio Disney, and this marathon illuminated the origins of many of our favorite songs.
All-Star Superman (February 15)
What can I say about this? DC adapted Grant Morrison’s brilliant story into an animated movie, and it’s fantastic. Between this and a couple of other things I’ll talk about later, Bruce Timm and the DC animation team are finally starting to make movies out of the really good DC stories, and I am like a pig in shit.
Monster Island (February 25)
Here is the IMDB synopsis of this movie, which sums it all up way better than I ever could:
Six friends win a vacation to the Bermuda Triangle and become trapped with only an MTV Crew to help keep them alive. They have to rescue Carmen Electra escape while they all battle the monsters on Monster Island.
Add Adam fucking West to the mix, and you have a near-perfect retardo-fest suitable for any rainy movie night with friends who appreciate this kind of thing.
Let Me In (February 27)
This is the American remake of the beautiful Norwegian film Let the Right One In. This version follows the source material so closely that you have to wonder why the remake needs to exist at all, but what that means is that this is also a very, very good movie. If you’re in the mood for an emotional, heartbreaking coming-of-age tale featuring vampires and carnage, honestly, flip a coin to decide which version to check out.
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (February 28)
More Disney Channel! What this list won’t reveal is that prior to viewing the movie, we watched every fucking episode of the TV show. Selena Gomez is actually really funny, you guys! Who knew??
Spider-Man 2 (March 5)
I guess I watched Spider-Man 2 on March 6th. In this movie, Spider-Man battles Doctor Octopus. Here is a picture of a Doctor Octopus heroclix figure:
That’s all I got for this one, folks.
Drive Angry 3D (March 6)
The first Nicholas Cage movie of the year is always a special occasion, and this time I actually went to a movie theater and put on some 3D glasses to see Nic Cage break out of Hell, get into car chases, have sex, and shoot people in their heads. If you’re into this kind of shit and you haven’t seen this instant classic, shame on you! You’ve already snoozed and loozed on seeing it in 3D the way God intended, but that shouldn’t stop you from downloading this shit at your earliest possible convenience!
Night of the Demons (2009) (March 21)
On the flip side of the Let Me In coin is shit like this, which makes me feel like an asshole for ever arguing in defense of horror remakes. The original Night of the Demons was a pretty-fun-but-nothing-special 80’s schlockfest, but this cynical, boring remake saps all the joy and heart out of the original and replaces it with Shannon Elizabeth and people like that. Blechh.
Darkon (March 25)
Darkon is a documentary about nerds who LARP. If you don’t know what LARPing is, it stands for “live action role-playing,” which means these dudes dress up as wizards and monsters and whatnot, and battle each other in fields. I’ve never been more jealous of anyone in my life than I am of the people who participate in this activity. I mean, these dudes aren’t just getting together and play-fighting – they are creating a rich, sprawling mythology that evolves and changes in real time, based on actual events and relationships. You can call them nerds or whatever, but there’s something poetic and beautiful about this hobby, and more importantly, it just looks like a shitload of fun. Sure beats sitting around and watching TV or writing dumb blogs.
Rebecca (April 2)
Every now and then I say to myself, “Self, you haven’t seen enough Hitchcock!” and then I watch a movie or two, and love them, and that tides me over for a few more months. This time, based on a friend’s recommendation, I checked out 1940’s Rebecca. I haven’t seen a ton of Hitchcock, but I definitely have recognized a recurring theme of being haunted by one’s past, and this fits right into that mold. When it comes to Hitchcock, I find that there’s a thin line between “slow and tense” and “boring as shit,” but I also find that I don’t care about that line being crossed. I like boring. This movie is boring and tense and completely enthralling.
Teenagers From Outer Space (MST3K version) (April 2)
Looks like my first MST3K episode of the year was a Joel episode! I’m usually a Mike man, but lately I’ve been watching a lot of Cinematic Titanic, and my loyalties have spread out a little bit. Mike is funny as hell, but Joel has a weird, unique sense of humor that is completely inimitable, and I’ve grown to really appreciate it.
The Experiment (April 11)
I just stared at the IMDB page for this for two solid minutes, and finally accepted that I straight up don’t remember this movie. I guess I must have watched it, since here it is on the list, but I have literally no recollection of it. It apparently stars Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker in some kind of prison drama. I guess it couldn’t have been very good, right? Shrug.
Red Dragon (April 12)
This was okay. I mean, it’s no Silence of the Lambs but on the bright side, it’s no Hannibal either. It’s entertaining enough, but ultimately I just don’t think Hannibal Lecter’s cool factor had enough legs to make it past one awesome movie.
Dead End (April 12)
This stars Leland Palmer and the landlady from Kingpin as a married couple who take their family on a road trip to grandma’s house, and run into some horrory trouble. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a good movie or anything like that, but its unique setting (the entire film takes place in or around the family’s car, on one stretch of woodsy road) kept my attention.
The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (April 13)
Another documentary starring despicable, gross human beings who the world would be way better without. A lot of my friends praise this movie as a nonstop laugh riot, but I find shit like this more depressing than funny, so I can’t really echo those sentiments.
In the Mouth of Madness (April 13)
Dr. Alan Grant‘s mind correlates its contents and drives him maaaaaaaaaad in John Carpenter’s tribute to Lovecraft. This movie was pretty fun – not technically a direct adaptation of any specific work, but an entertaining regurgitation of many Lovecraftian themes.
An American Werewolf in London (April 13)
Yet another classic that I had never seen! For most people, this was the werewolf movie of the 1980’s, but I cut my teeth on Silver Bullet instead, and never looked back. Still, I’m glad I finally checked this one out, because it’s great!
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (April 14)
The torrent I downloaded of this was apparently some kind of unfinished cut of the movie, before the CGI effects had been added. I remember that there had been a huge stir when such a version of Wolverine was leaked to the internet prior to official release, but it’s crazy that the same thing happened with this silly little movie. Lots of scenes with visible green screens and actors just standing there after their heads were supposed to be chopped off, and shit like that. Probably not the ideal version for a first viewing. In any case, I think this movie is kinda overrated among horror fans! It has an interesting premise, but it’s never quite fleshed out as much as it should be. Still, a fun and unique idea is better than nothing, so I have to give this one an E for Effort.
The Langoliers (April 15)
We all sat through this movie as kids, but holy shit, have you seen it lately??? It is ridiculous! Shockingly horrible early CGI effects, an embarrassingly bad performance by Balki Bartokomous, and a story that goes nowhere and stays there for about four hours. Needless to say, I loved every goddamn minute of it. And the ending – oh, the ending! Well, see for yourself:
I’m so happy!!! .
Blackout (April 17)
This is a worse people-trapped-on-an-elevator movie than Devil, and Devil sucked.
The Other Guys (April 18)
I saw part of this movie being filmed on 24th Street and Park Avenue in New York City! I got to see a stunt where a car got smashed by a wrecking ball, and I can also confirm that The Rock is huge and stunningly handsome in real life! Anyway, unfortunately this is one of those comedies that can’t quite figure out what kind of movie it wants to be, and on top of that it’s only occasionally funny. Bummer.
Sint (April 23)
Troll Hunter (April 26)
A friend of mine volunteered for the Tribeca Film Festival, and therefore was able to snag free tickets for pretty much anything he wanted. I took advantage of this by seeing two excellent foreign horror/fantasy movies. Sint is sort of like a Dutch version of Santa’s Slay, with St. Nicholas going on a killing spree. For us Americans, this movie may come with a little bit of culture shock, in that it begins with Christmas traditions which are already foreign to us, and then subverts them further. At times, it’s difficult to tell where the actual traditions end and the subversion begin, but in spite of that, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun. But Troll Hunter was the real winner here, and has quickly become one of my favorite movies of all time. This great flick from Norway plays out like a perfect combination of The Blair Witch Project, Jurassic Park, and Jim Henson’s Storyteller. If that’s not enough, there’s also a lot of beautiful scenery to look at (who knew the Norwegian countryside was so fucking gorgeous??), and a healthy dose of comedy that transcends the cultural barrier. Both of these films were good, but Troll Hunter is an absolute must-see. It was available on Netflix last time I checked, so if any of this sounds even slightly appealing, please go check it out!
Sphere (April 30)
I went through a serious Michael Crichton phase after seeing Jurassic Park, and Sphere was my favorite novel of his. The movie version pretty much blows, though. Not as bad as Congo, but still pretty bad.
Insomnia (May 2)
Al Pacino plays an insomniac detective who has to solve a murder in an Alaskan town where the sun never sets. The movie itself is pretty meh, but it’s worth watching just for Pacino’s insanely impressive performance. Having pulled many all-nighters in my life, I know the feeling of sleepwalking through a day in a lethargic haze, and Pacino pulls off that role masterfully. Definitely worth checking out just for that.
Exam (May 3)
This is one of those movies where a bunch of strangers are locked together in a room and have to solve puzzles to figure out what’s going on. I am a total sucker for those kinds of stories, even the really bad ones. This is one of the really bad ones. I enjoyed it.
Thor (May 4)
My friends and I saw this at a special screening hosted by The Source magazine, and holy shit that was an entertaining environment in which to watch this movie! The five minutes of cheering every time Stringer Bell showed up on the screen was especially delightful! The movie itself was, of course, excellent. I would never have imagined that a Thor movie could actually work, what with all the magic and rainbow bridges and ice monsters and whatnot, but leave it to Kenneth motherfucking Branagh to bring this shit to life properly. Thor proves that no superhero property is too ridiculous or high-concept to turn into an awesome movie, and as such, no superhero movie from now on has any excuse to suck. Good work, Marvel!
Rammbock: Berlin Undead (May 4)
I raced out of the Thor screening and made a mad dash to another theater, where I had tickets to see Rammbock, a fun little German zombie movie. This was really entertaining, but clocking in at 59 minutes, it felt a little bit more like a great TV episode than an actual movie. As much as I enjoyed it, I felt kind of like a sucker for paying $13 to see it. It’s definitely worth watching for free on Netflix though!
The Hills Have Eyes (1977) (May 9)
The Hills Have Eyes (2006) (May 9)
I never saw either version of this before, and decided for some reason to have a marathon! Watching these back to back, it’s crazy how true the remake was to the original. At a certain point, it strays from the earlier film’s narrative path, but up until that divergence, it’s about as faithful a remake as I’ve ever seen. Both movies are good! The original is a little better! Duh!
Thor: Tales of Asgard (May 10)
The Punisher (2004) (May 10)
Howard the Duck (May 10)
A marathon of Marvel nonsense! Thor is a direct-to-video animated feature and it’s about as good as these Marvel cartoons ever get. The Punisher, despite being based on the best Punisher story ever, is unbelievably bad. Howard the Duck is really silly and fun, and Lea Thompson is super hot in it.
The Suite Life Movie (May 13)
Zack and Cody get captured by a mad scientist who wants to do crazy experiments on them because they’re twins, or something like that. The Suite Life is okay, but it’s my least favorite of all the Disney Channel kid-coms, and so this movie was a little bit of a bore. When it comes to comedy, these pasty-faced goofs aren’t fit to lick the boots of Selena, Raven or even Miley. Oh man, what the hell is wrong with me?
The Wizard (May 13)
Holy shit, can you guys believe there’s going to be a Super Mario Bros. 3??
Megashark vs. Crocosaurus (May 14)
Another SyFy Channel creature feature, this one featuring Steve Urkel. You already know whether or not you like these movies. If you do, this is one of them.
Taking Lives (May 15)
My old roommate left her DVD copy of this movie lying around, and I guess May 15th was boring enough that I decided to watch it. Angelina Jolie is all kinds of naked in this and it’s fantastic, but beyond that, this is a truly dreadful piece of crap. Why did my roommate own this on DVD???
The Lodger (May 15)
I really love Man in the Attic, a great suspense thriller from the 50’s which is set against the historical backdrop of the Jack the Ripper murders. This modern reimagining faces the challenge of being a modern reimagining of a story set against the historical backdrop of the Jack the Ripper murders. You would think the way to overcome this challenge would be to avoid making the movie altogether, but instead the filmmakers bumble their way through some pretty stupid and clumsy solutions. Skip this one and just go watch Man in the Attic.
Limbo (May 15)
Movies like Primer prove that ambitious and visionary filmmakers can take tiny budgets and turn them into brilliant mindfuck flicks. Movies like Limbo prove that sometimes ambitious and visionary filmmakers take tiny budgets and turn them into absolute horseshit.
The Thing (May 18)
I’d never seen this either! Holy shit, it’s even better than everyone says it is! Tense, visceral, and genuinely shit-your-pants terrifying even 30 years later, The Thing should be required fucking viewing for any filmmaker stupid enough to think that CGI monsters are an adequate replacement for fantastic practical effects.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror (May 23)
I ended up watching Birdemic about 5 times throughout the course of 2011, often forcing my poor, hapless friends to watch it with me against their will. This is pretty much my favorite thing to ever exist. Please watch it. Please?
Season of the Witch (May 24)
Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman play medieval knights tasked with transporting a woman believed to be a witch to a monastery, and get into lots of wacky hijinx along the way. This is some inspired fucking casting. Both Cage and Perlman randomly slip in and out of their British accents, sometimes mid-sentence… but that’s nothing compared to Stephen Graham – an actual British guy – inexplicably giving his character a Bugs Bunny-esque Brooklyn accent. This masterpiece is also notable for being the one thing Nathan from Misfits has done after leaving the show to pursue a film career. Oh yeah, and the twist ending is that the girl who they all thought was evil the whole time turns out to be evil.
Almighty Thor (May 24)
The Asylum, creators of such stunningly innovative motion pictures as Transmorphers and Snakes on a Train, offer up their own take on the legendary Thor, and oh boy is it a doozy. Richard Grieco delivers the performance of his career as Loki, and the role of Odin is expertly handled by wrestler Kevin “Big Sexy” Nash. Add in some crudely-CGI’d hellhounds, lots of guns, and a love interest whose accent is entirely unintelligible, and you have a recipe for pure entertainment!
Zombie Girl: The Movie (May 24)
This wonderful documentary follows a 12-year-old film buff who gets it into her head that she wants to make her own zombie movie, and god damn if she doesn’t actually do it! Her loooong road to getting the film made is hilarious, heartbreaking and incredibly inspirational. By the end, I was sort of in love with a 12-year-old girl. Is that wrong? Anyone who is even remotely interested in independent filmmaking needs to see this shit.
A Pig’s Tale (May 29)
A typical kid’s movie about wacky summer camp hijinx. It’s a safe bet that any movie fitting that description will be pretty fun, and A Pig’s Tale is no exception.
Airborne (May 29)
Young Seth Green and young Jack Black star in this early 90’s movie about teenage rollerbladers. It’s a ton of fun. May 29th was a pretty fun day for movies.
Cool as Ice (June 3)
Why the hell isn’t this a huge cult classic for fans of dopey bullshit? Holy shit, this movie is something else. From the multiple romantic montages that take place at an abandoned construction site, to every ridiculous, embarrassing attempt at coolness that comes out of Vanilla Ice’s retarded mouth, Cool as Ice is a total delight and should be required viewing for anyone who gets pleasure from stupid movies. Yup yup, yo!!
Phantasm II (June 3)
I still haven’t seen Phantasm I, but now I’ve seen Phantasm II. Was the first movie actually scary? This one wasn’t, really. However, it was weird and bloody enough to be entertaining, and featured a crazy flying pinball. I guess I should get around to checking out the first movie, huh?
The Parking Lot Movie (June 7)
Confessions of a Superhero (June 7)
Monster Camp (June 8)
Quirky documentary time! All three of these were pretty good. The Parking Lot Movie deals with parking lot attendants in Charlottesville, Virginia. These dudes have to deal with a constant flow of rude, drunk college assholes, which seems like a fate worse than death to me, but luckily the attendants themselves are douchey enough that I don’t really feel very sorry for them. Confessions of a Superhero is about the dudes who dress as superheroes and take photos with tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s equal parts charming and depressing, and oh man is Wonder Woman hot! Monster Camp is another look at live-action roleplayers. It’s not quite as good as Darkon, but it’s still really engaging.
Mega Piranha (June 26)
Sometimes when I watch these movies about huge monsters, I am disappointed that the monsters are not huge enough. That is not an issue with Mega Piranha. Look at these fuckers:
Those are some truly mega fucking piranhas! That alone makes this movie one of my favorites of the genre. Also, if there’s one thing I learned in 2011, it’s that Tiffany is always highly entertaining in films like this. More Tiffany vs. giant monsters, and less Tiffany vs. deranged stalkers, please!
Green Lantern (June 30)
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I really love DC Comics. I mean, I love superheroes in general, but my heart belongs to DC. So as much as I love the Marvel movies, the fanboy inside of me gets jealous that they can make brilliant films out of cornball characters like Thor and Captain America, while DC has pretty much been forced to rest on their Batman laurels. As such, I was super excited about the Green Lantern movie, hoping that it could be DC’s Iron Man. But, you guys, it SUCKED SO BAD. I can’t even really pinpoint why it sucked. Ryan Reynolds was okay as Hal Jordan. The portrayals of Hector Hammond, Sinestro, and Kilowog were all actually really good. I loved how the filmmakers weren’t afraid to get totally bonkers with the ring’s constructs. But as a whole, the movie still really, really sucked. Ultimately, I think Geoff Johns‘ involvement really doomed this thing, due to his usual habit of trying to cram way too much crap into his stories. Maybe if Johns could fucking shelve his Parallax nonsense for five minutes, and allow this movie to focus on Hal’s Oa training and earthbound superheroing, we could have had a really fun movie, with the possibility of more fun movies to follow. Instead he blew his load right away, and left a gross mess all over this franchise’s potential. Sorry, DC, but this one didn’t work out at all. I sure hope you keep trying!
Tormented (MST3K version) (July 2)
The Phantom Planet (MST3K version) (July 10)
Two more Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, a week apart. Tormented is kind of an unusual choice for MST3K, more suspenseful and Hitchcocky than their usual fare, which made for a somewhat unique (but still very funny) episode. The Phantom Planet, on the other hand, is run-of-the-mill material for these dudes, but is also typically hilarious.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (July 11)
Now this is more like it! This direct-to-video animated feature is a hundred times better than the theatrical film it was presumably released to promote. What we have here is a series of vignettes, each telling the tale of a Green Lantern throughout the history of the Corps. These tales are mostly adaptations of classic stories from the comic books, the most notable example being a retelling of Alan Moore’s incredible Mogo Doesn’t Socialize, one of my favorite Lantern stories. The movie is worth watching just for the Moore adaptation, but the other stories are all great too. Awesome.
Megapython vs. Gatoroid (July 19)
The title of this movie is Megapython vs. Gatoroid, but the real attraction here is Tiffany vs. Debbie Gibson! Tiffany plays the park ranger who wants to kill the giant monsters who have suddenly shown up, while Debbie Gibson plays the environmental activist who wants to save them. The movie alternates between them calling each other “BITCH!” and slapping each other, and horribly-CGI’d monsters causing insane carnage. So what I’m saying is, this is a perfect movie.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (July 20)
The Birds (July 27)
Every summer, Riverside Park in Manhattan hosts a “Movies Under the Stars” event where they play movies on a big ol’ screen, on a pier on the Hudson River. 2011’s theme was “Terror Through the Decades” and these movies were part of the program. My intention was to attend every single screening in this series (which included some other gems, such as Swamp Thing and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes), but as it often does, life got in the way of those plans. I made it out to see these two classics, however, and it was a beautiful experience. I even got to watch The Birds with my two young nephews. They were pretty bored by it, but they sat through that shit like troopers! I’m definitely going to go check this out again this summer.
Cedar Rapids (July 30)
You’ve seen me complain a lot on here about how I don’t enjoy comedies as much as other people do, but I loved this one. I think what it comes down to is that, these days, I need a little bit of heartbreaking depression mixed in with my comedy. Which I admit is weird as hell, but I can’t be alone in that, because otherwise movies like this wouldn’t exist.
The Giant Gila Monster (MST3K version) (July 30)
Soultaker (MST3K version) (July 30)
The Beast of Yucca Flats (MST3K version) (July 30)
More MST3K! What is there to even say about this anymore? They are all pretty much exactly the same, and they’re all great.
Captain America: The First Avenger (August 7)
This was the best superhero movie of 2011, narrowly edging out Thor. Taking a major Marvel property and making the movie version a period piece was a ballsy move, which paid off like crazy. This is simply unlike any other superhero movie ever made, and it retains all the charm and innocence of its source material. This version of the character seems so firmly entrenched in his era, that it will be really interesting to see him become a “man out of time” in the Avengers movie. I can’t wait!
A Mighty Wind (August 8)
This one isn’t quite as funny as Best in Show or This is Spinal Tap, but it makes up for that with seriously great music. I had this one stuck in my head for days:
Superheroes (August 9)
The “real life superheroes” introduced in this documentary generally fall into three categories: potentially dangerous lunatics, well-intentioned dreamers, and pathetic losers. However, it fills me with civic pride to report that all the coolest and most badass crime fighters seem to hail from my hometown of New York City. The New York Initiative in particular seems to be the only team in the movie who could ever kick anyone’s ass ever. Go New York!
Dakota Skye (August 10)
Dakota Sky is a teenage girl who has the superpower of being able to see through any lie, which has made her extraordinarily cynical (even for a teenage girl). When she meets a boy who actually never tells a lie, adorableness ensues.
My Future Boyfriend (August 10)
My friend Crystal has an awesome blog in which she analyzes shitty Lifetime Channel movies, and when she wrote about My Future Boyfriend, I knew I had to check it out. I could go on and on telling you how ridiculous this movie is, but Crystal already has, so go read that! And then read her whole blog!
Hobo With a Shotgun (August 19)
Do I really need to tell you that this movie is fantastic? You either already know this movie rules, or you’re some dumb shithead with no taste, and you should go back to watching How I Met Your Mother and jerking off into your own mouth. Fuck you..
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 20)
I didn’t really expect to love this as much as I did! The most interesting thing about this movie is how it basically switches protagonists halfway through, beginning as a low-key drama about a scientist and his Alzheimer’s-stricken father, and turning into a movie about a chimpanzee raising an army of gorillas to attack helicopters. It works surprisingly well, and I hope it’s just the first in a long line of Apes movies.
X-Men: First Class (August 28)
After the horrible shames that were X-Men 3 and Wolverine, this shit was a huge breath of fresh air. The fact that it came out in the same year as Thor and Captain America meant I didn’t give as much of a shit about it as I might have at another time, but it’s still a great movie and a huge step forward for the X-Men franchise.
Wild Cherry (August 29)
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore are both really attractive people, so it’s really surprising that their daughter Rumer Willis turned out looking like a hermaphrodite gargoyle. Honestly, her freakishness is really all I remember about this movie.
Spiral (August 29)
Just now, as I was checking out this movie’s IMDB page to refresh my memory, was the first time I realized it was made by Adam Green. I’m not really a big fan of that dude, so I guess process of elimination renders this my favorite of his films. Spiral is about a kinda-retarded telemarketer who develops a romantic relationship with a co-worker and then twisty suspense stuff starts happening. It’s not a great movie, but if you’re in the mood for that kind of thing, you could do worse. For instance, you could watch The Machinist.
The Machinist (August 30)
This movie fucking sucks. The physical transformation Christian Bale went through for this role is impressive as hell, but it’s pretty telling that that’s the only thing anybody remembers about the film. That’s because everything else about it is rote-ass mediocre bullshit.
The Expendables (September 3)
I finally saw The Expendables and it kicked just as much ass as I assumed it would. In fact, if you removed (a) Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s totally ham-fisted and self-masturbatory scene, and (b) the fifteen minutes of Mickey Rourke crying for no reason, this might have been the perfect action movie. As it stands, it’s simply almost perfect.
Cropsey (September 3)
This documentary doesn’t really know what it wants to be about. “Cropsey” is an urban legend local to Staten Island, a boogeyman that kids have whispered about for decades. Cropsey the film purports to be an exploration of various incarnations of this legend, but it quickly narrows its focus to the investigation and subsequent trial of a local child-murderer named Andre Rand. At this point, you might as well be watching one of those Court TV documentaries, and shit gets boring as hell. Every once in a while, the filmmakers seem to remember what their movie is supposed to be about and abruptly shift to some other aspect of the urban legend, but since the film has already become pretty specifically about Rand, those segments seem out of place. There’s some interesting stuff going on here, but as a whole Cropsey is kind of an unfocused mess.
Insidious (September 3)
Insidious is one of the best movies of the year, and one of the best mainstream horror movies in a long, long time. If you just look at its description and trailer, it comes off as just another in the long line of haunted house/possession movies that have been in vogue lately, but it’s so much more than that. Insidious doesn’t simply tell a story – it creates a big, rich, fantastical mythology that is brimming with possibilities. It features creepy-ass Cenobyte-esque humanoid monsters – something you rarely see nowadays, and which I didn’t realized I missed until I saw them here. More important than all that is that this movie is just plain pants-shittingly scary. If you’re a horror person, DO NOT miss this one.
Scream 4 (September 3)
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. Love it or hate it, the original Scream is undeniably one of the most important horror films of the past 20 years, and this sequel filled me with the appropriate amount of wistful nostalgia. Its premise, and the twist that eventually plays off its premise, are really clever extensions of the franchise’s theme of self-awareness. There are definitely some missed opportunities here (the character who films everything, for example, would have been the perfect catalyst to a satire/commentary on the “found footage” subgenre), but the movie is built on a solid foundation and is about as good as you could expect a movie called Scream 4 to be.
Attack the Block (September 3)
September 3’s marathon of pretty awesome movies continues with this awesome Spielbergian tale of thuggish British teenagers vs. aliens. Two things make this movie shine: the ridiculously fun and charming cast of kids, and the incredible-looking aliens (which were created with a very minimal amount of CGI, from what I’ve read). I’m tempted to post a picture of the aliens, but you should just go watch the movie and experience it for yourself.
Quarantine 2: Terminal (September 4)
I wrote about the first Quarantine movie last year, and expressed how much of an impact it had on me. The sequel wasn’t quite as special as the original; it was just kind of a run-of-the-mill dime-a-dozen zombie movie. But I generally enjoy run-of-the-mill dime-a-dozen zombie movies, so watching this was entertaining enough.
Red Riding Hood (September 4)
Probably the single worst movie I saw all year. A stupid, insulting, derivative pile of Hot Topic vomit. Fuck this bullshit.
Gamera (MST3K version) (September 4)
For some reason, I’d always kind of avoided the Gamera-related episodes of MST3k. I don’t know why, because this one was hilarious. I should watch all the others, right? Right.
Red State (September 7)
Ooooooof, this one is bad. Starting off as half-ass horror and shifting awkwardly to half-ass cop action halfway through, the one thing holding the entire movie together is embarrassingly juvenile social and political commentary. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when I absolutely adored Kevin Smith; now I’d just as soon see him stop creating art altogether. I still think the guy has some strengths as a storyteller, but between this and the fucking Widening Gyre, he seems to have completely lost his ability to channel those strengths into worthwhile entertainment. I’m sorry, Kevin Smith. Clerks is still great!
Hanna (September 9)
Hanna is a wonderful movie. The perfect mix of ass-kicking action and artsy-fartsy beauty, this movie makes for an uniquely exhilarating, almost hypnotic viewing experience. The first time I watched it, it was after I smoked some weed for the first time in at least a year, and it damn near ripped my brain out of my skull. I watched it again two days later, and was pleased to find that it was just as good when I wasn’t stoned (and it made a lot more sense). If you’re into action movies – hell, if you’re into movies at all – don’t miss Hanna.
Inheritance (September 13)
I don’t know what the hell compelled me to watch this. I have a feeling it was one of those nights where I browse around on Netflix for an hour, being all indecisive and picky, and then finally just force myself to watch something. I don’t really have anything to say about this movie (other than the fact that it was really, really bad), so I’ll just post the IMDB plot keywords:
Lemonade Mouth (September 17)
More Disney Channel nonsense, but this wasn’t one of the better ones. Some teenagers form a band while in detention and sing a bunch of songs that aren’t even very good. This isn’t awful or anything, but you’d be much better off watching one of the Camp Rock movies.
Inferno: The Making of The Expendables (September 18)
I’m usually not really into making-of features, but I had to check out the one for The Expendables. The main thing I took away from this is how passionate and dedicated Sylvester Stallone is as a filmmaker. For Sly, the production of The Expendables was pretty much THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT IN HUMAN HISTORY, and he expresses this sentiment with such heartfelt conviction, that I can’t help but agree with him.
Saw VI (September 18)
Saw: The Final Chapter (September 18)
I’d never seen any Saw movie all the way through, except for the original. When parts 6 and 7 popped up on Netflix, I figured I could watch them with no problem, because it’s just Saw, right? How hard could it be to pick up on? Well it turns out that between parts 1 and 6, a huge, complicated, convoluted mythology must have been developed, because I had no idea what the fuck was going on in the plots of either of these movies! Still, there were some great kills and crazy traps, and that was enough to compel me to soldier through my confusion. I guess now I have four more stupid Saw movies I need to check out!
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (September 21)
I love love love Conan O’Brien, but this film almost made me hate him. This documentary follows Conan as he embarks on a live tour after being canned from The Tonight Show, and the stress of the road seems to turn him into a mean, ungrateful, whiny, annoying asshole. It’s really a shame to see. I still love Conan as a writer and a guy on TV, but this shit made me realize how horrible it would probably be to have him as a real-life friend. Bummer.
Deep Blue Sea (September 22)
This movie is awesome! I’d always heard it was awesome, but for some reason never felt compelled to check it out. I finally did, and it was even more awesome than I imagined. That one scene with Samuel L. Jackson was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. You know the one I mean.
The Broken (September 26)
Sarah Connor from The Sarah Connor Chronicles stars in this boring, cliched, completely predictable thriller. Avoid.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (October 1)
Nightbreed (October 1)
Some friends and I headed once again to the Forum Theater Arts Center in Metuchen, NJ, to see another double feature presented by our friends at Crystal Plumage Films. This one featured two films I’d never seen before, and while I didn’t flip my life over either one of them, it was still a fun, magical night. If you live in New York or New Jersey, you should try to make it to one of the Crystal Plumage screenings; it’s always a fantastic time.
Devil (October 2)
Some friends and I decided to try to watch a horror film every single day in October. Having already fulfilled the requirements for October 1st with the Crystal Plumage outing, I decided to check out M. Knight Shamalamadingdong’s Devil on October 2nd. You know how you didn’t bother seeing Devil because it just looked so obviously shitty? You made the right choice.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) (October 3)
I ranted and raved about this excellent remake last year, and it was still just as great the second time around. If this is the Freddy Krueger of the future, I’m totally on board.
My Soul To Take (October 4)
Speaking of Nightmare on Elm Street, if you’re one of those jackoffs who is still all butt-hurt about the remake, and you think a Freddy film without Wes Craven’s input is a mistake… I dare you to watch this movie and still tell me that Craven should be in charge of anything. To be fair, My Soul to Take definitely has some entertaining moments, but as a whole, this is Craven totally phoning in a half-assed, nonsensical rip-off of his own past works. I’ll take the new Freddy over this crap any day of the week.
Hatchet II (October 5)
Hatchet 1 was obscenely overrated. Hatchet 2 was even worse. I can’t wait for Hatchet 3!
Child’s Play 2 (October 6)
Child’s Play 2 scared the living shit out of me as a kid. I don’t think I’m alone in this – in fact, my friend Charles had nightmares for a week just from seeing the poster for this movie outside of the local sixplex. It’s obviously not as scary as it was back then, but it’s still just as great. Chucky muttering, “Shut up and drive before I kick your fucking teeth in” is still among my favorite moments in cinema history.
Scream 2 (October 7)
Scream 2, in spite of its nostalgia factor, is a pretty crappy movie – especially after recently watching the far superior Scream 4. On the bright side, at least it isn’t Scream 3.
Spooky Buddies (October 11)
After an unbroken 7-day streak of spooky movies, I dropped the ball from the 7th to the 11th, but I like to think I made up for it by watching the Halloweeniest movie possible. I fucking love the Buddies movies. They feature adorable little golden retriever puppies, and one of them even speaks in watered-down hip hop lingo! Is there anything cuter than that??? Spooky Buddies isn’t quite as great as Santa Buddies, but it’s damn close.
Child’s Play 3 (October 11)
Between the jump ahead in time to the military school setting to the weirdo ending in a carnival spookhouse, Child’s Play 3 seems like a pretty wackadoo sequel on paper. But in spite of that, it somehow ends up really maintaining the feel of the first two movies. So I love it.
Catfish (October 12)
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (October 12)
October 12th brought two movies that can only kinda-sorta be considered horror. Catfish is a creepy and uncomfortable documentary about a facebook romance gone horribly wrong, and Cirque Du Freak is a Harry Potter-esque kiddie fantasy movie that is obviously meant to be the first in a franchise that will probably never happen. Neither of these movies really floated my boat, but neither totally sucked either.
The Cave (October 13)
This movie is a lot like The Descent, except this time it takes place in an underwater cave, which makes for some really cool setpieces. Also, these monsters turn you into themselves when they bite you, like zombies. The end result is a movie that’s nowhere near as scary (or as good) as The Descent, but is still pretty entertaining.
The Final Destination (October 13)
Just like all the other Final Destination movies, the kids in this one cheat death and then get killed in crazy Mousetrap ways. The deaths are fun, but without a tangible villain besides the abstract concept of deaaaaaaath, this series has always left me a little cold. I guess I need a hulking monstrosity to root against in flicks like this.
Batman – Year One (October 14)
I took a break from horror movies to check out the latest animated feature from DC, and holy crap this might be the best one yet! Based, of course, on Frank Miller’s classic Year One story, this adaptation is amazingly faithful. The animation beautifully reflects David Mazzucchelli’s art style, the story is completely in tact, and Walter White is perfect as the voice of Jim Gordon. My only complaint is that the guy voicing Batman kinda rubbed me the wrong way for some reason, but that was no biggie. If you love the original story, or even if you’ve never read it before, you need to see this. The best part about this movie? Batman doesn’t piss himself.
Dance of the Dead (October 15)
The post-28 Days Later flux of zombie trendiness has been a mixed blessing. On one hand, I love zombie movies so I find it difficult to be annoyed by a steady stream of them, even if most are pretty bad. On the other hand, most are pretty bad and that fact has created an annoying anti-zombie backlash among horror fans. That’s a shame, but a movie like Dance of the Dead proves that it’s all worth it. If I have to roll my eyes at a thousand shitty, soulless zombie cash-ins for every one wonderful movie like this, I can live with that.
Chillerama (October 16)
The description for this movie got me really stoked to see it – it seemed like a fun Creepshow-esque horror anthology, something you don’t see very often anymore. And that’s what it was, except that it was horrible. Not scary, not funny, creepily obsessed with schoolyard sex jokes, this movie is a self-conscious attempt to be a Troma movie without any of the charm. Oh yeah, and it’s also pretty grossly homophobic. Fuck fuck fuck this movie.
The Last Exorcism (October 18)
A great found-footage horror movie about a fake exorcist/scam artist who gets in over his head with what seems to be a genuine case of possession. Even after ten billion found footage movies, all of which play on the same tropes, I can still get behind a really good one. This is a really good one..
Halloween: Resurrection (October 19)
This is the one with Busta Rhymes, not the one with LL Cool J. It’s pretty crappy and stupid. I often wonder why people complain about horror reboots as much as they do, when the alternative is almost always garbage like this.
The Pledge (October 19)
Jack Nicholson as a 100-year-old retired cop who becomes obsessed with an old unsolved case, which turns him into an annoyance, a scumbag, and a lunatic, in that order. This is a pretty good movie, and I’m really sorry I just spoiled the fact that it ends with Nicholson going crazy.
The Ward (October 20)
While I’m spoiling things, I might as well tell you that The Ward ends with the revelation that it’s all just been in the protagonist’s head the whole time! How original!!
Megan is Missing (October 21)
Oh my god, this is one of the most horrifying, disturbing, fucked up things I’ve ever seen. I don’t even want to describe any of the specifics, but it involves very young girls getting abducted and goes into graphic detail on the things that happen after that. What’s really egregious about this movie is that at the center of all the visceral horror is a corny, exaggerated, unrealistic cautionary tale. So this is basically a modern version of something like Reefer Madness, with its shock tactics pushed to an insultingly extreme level. In that sense, the movie has effectively achieved its goal, but it’s a shitty goal to begin with. I wish I hadn’t watched this.
The Funhouse (October 22)
Typical 80’s horror fare where a group of teens get stalked by some carnies through a funhouse. Often when I watch movies like this, I find myself getting super jealous of how much fun the characters are having before all the bad stuff starts happening, and that definitely applies to this one. It seems like the funnest funhouse ever!! I guess it’s not fun enough to be worth dying for though.
Nite Tales (October 23)
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started this movie, so what I got was a very pleasant surprise. Nite Tales is an “urban” horror anthology, featuring Flavor Flav in the Cryptkeeper role. Here is a transcription of his opening monologue:
Hello everybody, welcome to Nite Tales – a brand new movie with your host: me, Flava Flav! Check one two, we got two movies pressed into one for you, ya know what I’m saying? So what I want yall to do right about now, I want yall to go get some popcorn, I want yall to go get some soda, some M&Ms and stuff, ya know what I’m saying? I don’t mean come back and have a food fight! Come back and have a fright night! Ya know what I’m saying? That means come back and check out what we got for you, ’cause it’s action packed and yall know what it do! Ya know what I’m saying? And never once in the history have yall gotten two movies pressed into one done, know what I’m saying? Cause I am the son – HAHA! That’s right, so go get your popcorn and soda. Come back. See your man. Nite Tales, know what I’m saying, hahaha. (pause) What yall still doing here? I said to go get your stuff, come back and see your man, aight? This is Nite Tales, a brand new movie! Your host – FLAAAAVA FLAAAV! Haha, yall gonna like this one!
How amazing is that??? As Mr. Flav points out, this film consists of two little horror stories. The first is kinda whatever, but the second one is actually pretty decent. If nothing else, at least check out the Flavor Flav host segments!
Don’t Look in the Cellar (October 24)
Super low-budget amateur slasher movie filled with ugly, ugly people. Not to be mistaken for the cult classic it shamelessly attempts to rip off, Don’t Look in the Basement. You guys, I could barely make it all the way through this one. But I did it, for you.
Grizzly Park (October 24)
Now this is a fucking movie! Hijinx ensue when a group of delinquints are sent to perform community service picking up litter in the woods, and are forced to deal with both an escaped serial killer and a ferocious grizzly bear! The characters are all fun, the humor is actually funny, the grizzly action is great, and the plot twists are genuinely surprising. I know it’s weird how much praise I’m heaping on Grizzly fucking Park, but it really was an all-around fun movie!
Grizzly Rage (October 26)
Obviously, I still had Grizzly fever, so I decided to check out another killer bear movie. This one sucked. I should have just watched Grizzly Park twice.
Breathing Room (October 28)
Remember earlier when I talked about the movie Exam? Just read that description again, because this is more or less the same thing.
Jason X (October 29)
Hellraiser: Hellworld (October 29)
Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled (October 29)
Halloween: H20 (October 29)
October 29 was “dumb sequels to famous horror franchises” day! I don’t have much to say about any of these, except that I think Jason X was actually a really entertaining movie. The rest of these were awful, particularly the Hellraiser one.
His Name Was Jason (October 29)
A documentary about the Friday the 13th movies. Not quite as expansive as the filmmakers’ Freddy doc, but still really interesting for fans of the franchise.
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (October 29)
I once wrote a song about how shitty I thought the original Cabin Fever was, so imagine my surprise when I found myself really enjoying the sequel! This one actually reminded me a lot of the aforementioned Dance of the Dead, which can never be a bad thing. I wonder if it might be time to revisit the first movie? Maybe it’s not as bad as I remember it? But if I were to end up liking it, I’d feel like an asshole because of that song! Yeah, I’ll just keep on hating it.
Last of the Living (October 30)
This fun and charming movie from New Zealand provides yet another argument against the zombie-haters.
Leprechaun in the Hood (October 30)
What else is there to say?
The Dunwich Horror (October 30)
The Call of Cthulhu (October 30)
I was apparently in a very Lovecrafty mood on Halloween eve, watching two very different versions of H.P. stories. The Dunwich Horror is a loose, boring adaptation from 1970, chock full of the afros and moustaches its era is known for. On the flip side, The Call of Cthulhu is a short film from 2005, created in the style of early silent movies. It is brilliant, by far the most faithful Lovecraft adaptation I’ve ever seen, and full of awesome-looking sets and creatures. Skip Dunwich, don’t miss Cthulhu.
Plasterhead (October 31)
The box art for Plasterhead reminded me of all the horror VHS tapes I used to stare at when I went to Blockbuster Video, so I decided it would be a cool way to close out my October spooky movie marathon. Too bad it completely sucked. Still and all, great October!
Trespass (November 1)
Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman are a rich couple who get home-invaded in this intensely crappy thriller. The movie is pretty boring overall, but it’s worth watching solely for one of the most Nicholas Cagey Nicholas Cagisms I’ve ever had the good fortune to witness. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I will say that I was so delighted by it that I had to rewind and watch it about ten times in a row, until I was crying from laughter. God damn I love Nicholas Cage.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (November 1)
A nerdy science whiz goes to college in New York City. He learns he possesses amazing powers and wants to use them to protect the world, but doing so is getting in the way of being with the beautiful girl he’s been in love with since he was a little kid. So he gives up on using his powers, hoping to lead a normal life. However, he soon learns that with great power comes great responsibility, and uses his amazing abilities to battle an evil villain played by Alfred Molina. It all seems strangely familiar, somehow.
TRON Legacy (November 3)
A big, empty, shallow special effects spectacle, just like the first movie. And like the first movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Blue Demon (November 4)
It wasn’t even three months ago that I watched this movie, and the only thing I remember about it is that the midget from Seinfeld plays the hard-ass boss character. Oh yeah, and something about sharks maybe?
For the Bible Tells Me So (November 4)
As a documentary about the relationship between organized religion and homosexuality, I expected this movie to just be a parade of hateful, despicable assholes. It was refreshing to see that the filmmakers approached it from a different angle, choosing to largely showcase instances in which the two worlds intersect in positive ways. Don’t get me wrong – the movie doesn’t gloss over the uglier sides of this issue (to do so would be irresponsible and dishonest), but it ends up being more hopeful and inspirational than rage-enducing, and that’s really really nice to see.
Small Town Gay Bar (November 4)
While For the Bible Tells Me So reaffirmed my optimism for a time when homophobia might be a thing of the past, Small Town Gay Bar often made me want to side with the homophobes. The film explores the struggles of gay communities within small towns, and unfortunately many of these communities react to the bigotry surrounding them by losing their fucking minds and becoming totally gross, sexually deviant, morally irresponsible shitheads. Even worse, the film seems to glorify this disgusting behavior by presenting it as a natural reaction to living in a hostile environment. It’s all really depressing.
Winnie the Pooh (November 5)
Retaining both the visual look and the spirit of the Disney’s classic Pooh material, this movie is everything I hoped it would be. I hope Disney keeps making these traditionally animated features, because both this and The Princess and the Frog are fucking magical.
Super 8 (November 5)
Unfortunately for Super 8, it’s hard to avoid comparing it to Attack the Block, with which it has a hell of a lot in common. While this nostalgia-fueled Spielberg tribute isn’t quite as great as that other one, it also happens to be very great, and has the additional advantage of Steven Spielberg’s actual involvement. Watch them both! Back to back!
Paranormal Activity 2 (November 5)
This is pretty much exactly the same as Paranormal Activity 1, except I think it has a baby and a dog in it. I don’t think these movies are bad or anything, but I find myself at a total loss as to how they somehow became, like, the horror franchise of the decade. Weird.
Conan the Barbarian (2011) (November 5)
I think I’ve made it clear that I’m not anti-remake, so I would be into a new series of awesome Conan movies. But this one was just kind of a big, dumb, pointless mess. Try again, Hollywood!
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (November 5)
If Indiana Jones was a smoking hot French lady who hung out with mummies and pterodactyls, he’d be Adele Blanc-Sec. If you’re into the adventures of Dr. Jones, and don’t mind your adventure stories being a little silly and cartoonish, then I’d be surprised if you didn’t like this movie at least a little bit. Also of note: this film is clearly designed for children, but the main character shows her tits in it. French people are weird.
Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (Rifftrax version) (November 7)
This movie rips off Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories wholesale, featuring interstellar travel via wormhole technology, a villain who is searching for the anti-life equation, and even Mother Boxes (here called “Answer Boxes”). It’s all really shameless, and I kept waiting for Mike Nelson and the gang to comment on it. They never do, so I guess that means I’m a bigger nerd than the MST3K crew?? That’s quite a rude awakening. In any case, this movie is great.
Cars 2 (November 7)
Everyone loves to bitch about Cars 2, heralding it as the end of the age of Pixar, and the first sign of the coming apocalyse. Hey guys, just because every other movie this studio made was excellent, and this one is merely pretty good, that’s no reason to freak the fuck out! It’s true that this is the worst Pixar movie, but it’s still action-packed, funny, and beautiful to look at. And guess what? The little kids I’ve spoken to about this movie actually claim to like it better than the first Cars. So fuck you.
Fright Night (2011) (November 7)
The original: okay, but overrated. The remake: okay, but overrated. Consistency!
Melancholia (November 7)
This film is a masterpiece. A fucking masterpiece. If you have an aversion to really slow-moving stories, or if you have trouble relating to super wealthy characters, you might not like it as much as I did. But if you can get over those hang-ups, you’ll find that Melancholia is a brilliant, moving, and ultimately strangely uplifting take on the subject of depression. If you’ve ever known someone who suffers from this affliction, this movie will break your heart. And hey, who knew Kirsten Dunst could act?? Not me!
Dagon (November 8)
Another Lovecraft movie, this one based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Surprisingly entertaining, and actually fairly faithful to the source material, Dagon might just be the best feature film adaptation of a Lovecraft story. Although, to be honest, that isn’t really saying much.
Breaking Dawn (November 8)
I watched this because the title seemed familiar, and I assumed I’d heard it in context of it being a good movie. Later I realized I’d heard the title because of the Twilight film of the same name, and so I watched this piece of crap for no reason at all. Spoiler alert: IT WAS ALL IN THE PROTAGONIST’S HEAD!
The Pixar Story (November 8)
“So we overcame all the unique challenges of the movie we were making, and then we were surprised when it turned out to be wildly successful. But then we had to face the unique challenges of our next movie…” Ready to hear that same story told by ten different people six times in a row? If so, you’ll love The Pixar Story as much as I did!
H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer (November 10)
This documentary is really poorly made, but the subject matter is so utterly fascinating that it doesn’t really matter. If you’re into serial killers, police procedurals, old-timey stuff, or any combination of the above, this is worth your time in spite of how amateurishly it’s all slapped together.
Super (November 10)
Dwight from The Office plays a regular guy who decides to become a superhero. Because of its premise, its ultraviolent aesthetic, and its sense of humor, this movie is doomed to be compared to Kick-Ass until the end of time, but that’s a shame because Super is a unique movie with a point of view all its own. It’s really great, and you should watch it.
Apollo 18 (November 11)
A found footage film in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace is an idea with a lot of potential, but the end result is kind of stupid and dull. The rock monsters that antagonize the movie’s astronaut heroes are pretty cool, but their extremely brief appearances are not enough to save this dud.
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (Rifftrax version) (November 13)
This might be the single strangest movie ever to be riffed by these guys. Created as a promotion for the (now long-gone) Pirate’s World theme park in Florida, this film is all over the fucking place. We begin with Santa Claus getting his sleigh stuck in the sand of a Florida beach. A group of children (which inexplicably includes Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn) stumble upon ol’ St. Nick and begin experimenting with various sleigh-removal techniques, most of which involve strapping some poor animal to it. Then the movie suddenly switches gears to an hour-long adaptation of the fairy tale Thumbelina. When we finally return to Santa Claus, he is suddenly rescued by a bunny rabbit driving a firetruck. It’s all somehow even more insane than it sounds, and it almost seems like the movie was tailor-made for the purposes of being riffed by Mike Nelson forty years later. If you’re only going to watch one Rifftrax this year, make it this one!
Hulk (November 14)
I absolutely hated this movie when I first saw it in the theater years ago, so I decided to give it another chance. Turns out it’s even worse than I remembered.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (November 16)
I’ve loved this franchise up until now, and on paper, this installment has all the elements that made the previous films so great. Something’s missing from this one though, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Maybe this is just one movie too many and the magic is gone? I dunno; it’s a bummer.
The Muppets (November 23)
I have nothing to say about the new Muppet movie that hasn’t already been said by every single person who has seen it. It’s every bit as heartwarming and charming as I hoped it would be, and I think it might actually be the funniest Muppet movie yet! An amazing achievement, and the best movie of 2011 by far.
The Great Muppet Caper (November 30)
I needed more Muppets! For some reason I hadn’t seen this one since I was a kid, so it was full of surprises for me. And the bicycle scene was amazing. How did they do that??
Santa Claus (MST3K version) (December 2)
To be sure, this is an intensely bizarre Christmas movie, but after sitting through Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, this one seems like Miracle on 34th Street by comparison. Still, it’s fucking weird. Lupita!!
Planet of Dinosaurs (Rifftrax version) (December 4)
Maniac (Rifftrax version) (December 5)
Voodoo Man (Rifftrax version) (December 5)
Night of the Living Dead (Rifftrax version) (December 8)
I decided to sign up for a trial of Hulu Plus and discovered that there are a bunch of Rifftrax movies up on there, and so I watched them all. The movies were great. Hulu Plus, however, really sucks and I’ve since cancelled my membership. How the hell is this shitty service able to survive with something like Netflix out there which is superior in every conceivable way? Anyway, all of these were great, but Planet of Dinosaurs was the best.
The Sasquatch Gang (December 10)
The Sasquatch Gang totally caught me by surprise. I was expecting another Pig’s Tale-esque kiddie pic, and there are definitely elements of that, but this movie’s sense of humor is so singularly bizarre that it feels unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. This shit was absolutely captivating from beginning to end, and I totally loved it.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (December 18)
Did you know that the Times Square Planet Hollywood has its own movie theater where you can book private screenings of any movie you want? Neither did I until my 9-year-old nephew had his birthday party there. He’s been obsessed with Roald Dahl lately, so he chose the Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for his party, and I have to commend the choice. If it weren’t for its crappy music (a rare misstep by Danny Elfman), I’d actually think it was superior in every way to the book’s earlier adaptation. It’s also worth noting that I’ve never seen my mother laugh harder than she did during the squirrel scene. I thought she was going to have a heart attack! For god’s sake, mom, it’s funny but it’s not that funny!
Holiday in Handcuffs (December 20)
Once again, I direct you to my friend Crystal’s blog, where she picks apart this ridiculous movie far more efficiently than I ever could. I will only add that a scene where Mario Lopez slips on ice made me laugh so hard that I had to pause the movie until I was finished cracking up. So yeah, maybe I was a little hard on my mother about the squirrels.
A Christmas Carol (December 21)
This version of Dickens’ tale is very faithful and gets a lot right, but I have two major issues with it. The first is that this motion-capture animation style is just plain ugly, and Robert Zemeckis needs to get that through his thick fucking skull. Scrooge himself actually doesn’t look that bad since his exaggerated facial features make him look more cartoonish than creepy, but holy shit Bob Cratchet looks like an hideous, ungodly parody of the human form. I’m sorry, Zemeckis, but this shit is not working out, and it makes your movies look instantly dated. Figure something else out. My other issue with the movie was the handful of long action scenes awkwardly inserted into the narrative, presumably as an effort to pad out the time. These sequences seem really out of place and inconsistent with the tone of the story. These problems are a real shame, because if they were handled differently, this could have been the definitive modern version of this story. Oh well.
The Magic Christmas Tree (Rifftrax version) (December 22)
Even more Rifftrax Christmas stuff! This one was funny too! Merry Christmas!
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (December 26)
This is the one with the psychic girl and Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s. It’s not my favorite Friday the 13th sequel (that would be Part IV), but it’s a damn good one.
Triple Dog (December 26)
Another of my favorite movie tropes is when old, out of touch writers attempt to write hip slang for their teenage characters, and this movie is overflowing with hilarious examples of this. Have you ever said “Yo, I’m peacing” as you left a room? The badass skater girl in Triple Dog has! It’s totes radburger, fauxtards!
The Alien Factor (Cinematic Titanic version) (December 27)
Cinematic Titanic is fantastic, way more reminiscent of the Joel episodes of MST3K than Rifftrax is of the Mike episodes. This one in particular really feels like an old episode of the TV show. I am going to see Cinematic Titanic live in a couple of months, and I can’t wait!
Watchmen (December 27)
I know a lot of people don’t like it for some reason, but I think the movie version of Watchmen is fucking perfect. From the wonderful Bob Dylan opening montage to the ending (which I think actually works better than the book’s ending, even if it is way less viscerally cool), this film captures the feel of Alan Moore’s masterpiece perfectly. All the other big screen Alan Moore adaptations have been stinky messes, but with Watchmen, they finally got one right.
The Room (December 28)
I’ve seen The Room about ten times in the past couple of years, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it. It’s just so chock full of staggeringly insane nonsense that every viewing feels like you’re experiencing it for the first time, and you’ll always find a new quote to latch on to. For me, this time it was, “Let’s go eat, huh?”
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (December 28)
Speaking of insanity, have you ever really thought about how fucking insane Gremlins 2 is? The first movie was a little bit weird, but the sequel is one of those movies where the filmmakers just threw up their hands and said, “Fuck it.” That usually makes for really great movies, and this is no exception. From the menagerie of genetically-enhanced gremlins (the gremlin made of fruit, the sexy lady gremlin, the gremlin who can talk, etc) to the random cameos by Hulk Hogan, Leonard Maltin and Bugs fucking Bunny, to Gizmo’s adorable Rambo impersonation, this movie truly has it all. What a perfect way to close out a great year of cinema!
So that’s every movie I saw in the calendar year of 2011. Which ones were my favorites? Here’s my Top Ten list of movies released last year. It should be noted that the only reason Troll Hunter isn’t on there is because technically it was released in 2010. Otherwise it most likely would have been #1 with a bullet. As it stands, here’s the list:
10 – Hobo With a Shotgun
9 – Winnie the Pooh
8 – Insidious
7 – Melancholia
6 – Thor
5 – Super 8
4 – Attack the Block
3 – Hanna
2 – Captain America: The First Avenger
1 – The Muppets
Man, look at that list! We’ve got some awesome horror, kick-ass action, two superhero movies, a Disney cartoon, and the motherfucking Muppets! All in all, a fantastic year for movies! I’ve seen 10 movies so far in 2012 – will this year prove to be as awesome as last year? Come back in twelve short months for the answer, kiddies! For now, I’m peacing.