GirlReaction Goes to the Movies: Favorites 2014

Turns out I haven’t told you about my favorites since 2011. So I thought I’d drop a quick note to ya about 2014 while I’m waiting for my hair to dry. You are welcome! 🙂 HA!
I saw 29 movies in 2014, thanks to Project Life for reminding me of some of the titles as I sorta lost track of keeping up my list OOPS.
1, 2. My favorite two movies in 2014 were Only Lovers Left Alive and Words & Pictures with the former maintaining a slight lead over the latter were I forced to name an absolute favorite. They were both movies about relationships; about both who and what we choose to have in our lives; about the importance of art, words and music; about what maintains us across time; about how we have to live within our own choices and our weakness, and while sometimes that does damage, sometimes that’s a place to have strength. They were both filled with lovely performances and I loved them to pieces.
3. My third favorite movie was Guardians of the Galaxy, by far the most fun I had in the theater (both times!) all year. I’ve already watched it at home, I’ve listened to the music a million times (after I put the soundtrack into the correct order-it-was-played-in-the-movie order; that IS the music of much of my childhood, I was born in ’68 after all); and it only furthered the extreme goodwill I have had toward Chris Pratt since Everwood (where he got to play a *slightly* more layered character than his Parks & Rec tour de force as Andy Dwyer).
4. Calvary. Wicked powerful performance by Brendan Glesson. Very moving.
5. The Imitation Game. Love Cumberbatch, love Knightley, LOVE Matthew Goode (LOVE HIM, WATCH THIS!) Bring a kleenex for the ending–and I don’t mean the ending of the war. Lords of kobol, the horrible things we have done to people for so-called morality are just sickening.
6. Begin Again. I just rewatched this after recommending it to a friend for the James Corden performance as she’s geeking out into him in Into the Woods. This movie, like my numbers 1 and 2, is really about choosing what’s important to you and then being forced to live with that decision, through good and bad. I read an article recently about how this director (who also did Once, which I did NOT like, too sappy por moi) does all these films about unrequited relationships and how weird that is (how he thinks that’s what true love is, some unconsummated-esque state of being). I actually thought this movie was NOT about a relationship between Knightly and Ruffalo and that what happens romantically in HIS life in the movie was truly perfect. If you’ve ever seen Kevin Williamson defend the idea that Dawson was indeed Joey’s soul mate even if Pacey is her forever relationship…well I don’t think the Knightly/Ruffalo characters needed to be in love. That was my take anyway.
I also REALLY like: A Most Wanted Man (we sure are assholes, us Americans); The Grand Budapest Hotel (fantastic, but not as good as the fabfabfabulous Moonrise Kingdom, the standard against which all his movies shall forever be judged); Wish I Was Here, even if it stretched the reality a bit for Kate Hudson to be Zach Braff’s wife (doesn’t it seem Judd Apatow-esque to always have the homelier guy have the most gorgeous girl); Rob the Mob, which was fun and had some great performances from lesser known peeps; Wild, which I found oddly affecting; Magic in the Moonlight; and Edge of Tomorrow which was HILARIOUS. I mean the first 35 minutes of that movie are magically funny. Boyhood is definitely worth seeing, although maybe not deserving of its mostly format-based hype.
I liked but ultimately found unsatisfying Snowpiercer and Birdman.
I saw some other movies that were OK or fine but not horrible. You can check the list and ask me if you’d like to know about one or another in particular, I obviously am happy to share opinions/thoughts. HA.
What I did think was HORRIBLE was: Wolf of Wall Street, what an egotisitical piece of utter bullpucky; Under the Skin, monotonous and bizarre but not bizarre interesting more like bizarre this director told, showed and gave us NOTHING HERE; and sadly the new Chris Rock movie Top Five which I really really wanted to like because I think he’s a comic genius (and wicked smaht, yes please say that with a Boston accent) but ultimately was a big hot steaming mess.
AND BONUS:
I saw 30 movies in 2013 and my favorites were: Flight, Zero Dark Thirty; Much Ado About Nothing (LOVE!!), Mud, Fast & Furious 6 (YES I SAID IT), Fruitvale Station, American Hustle, and it’s a tough call between Dallas Buyers Club and Philomena. Least favorites were: Byzantium (overwrought), What Maisie Knew (sadly not very compelling), To Rome with Love (lame)….I don’t know, looking over that list right now nothing jumps out as me as SUCKING AS MUCH AS WOLF OF WALL STREET. So maybe I just didn’t really see many bad movies in 2013.
I saw 34 movies in 2012 and my favorites were: the aforementioned Moonrise Kingdom; Silver Linings Playbook; Skyfall (SO GOOD); Cabin in the Woods (damn smart); A Separation, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Least favorites: Magic Mike (so disappointing), Killer Joe (so disgusting horrifying); and Battleship (so so so so bad). OH WAIT I actually wrote a post about my 2012 faves. I guess my memory has changed things, eh. HA.

GirlReaction Goes to the Movies: Favorites 2011

You know when you mention a movie you saw recently and the person you’re talking to says “Oh you saw it in the theater? Really? I haven’t been to a movie in the theater since…” ? Yeah, that happens to me a lot. My dad is a huge movie buff, we’ve been going to them as a family my whole life, I’m never going to stop going to them, and people need to STOP COMMENTING ON IT. 🙂 Heh.
I saw 35 movies [in the theater] in 2011 which is exactly my average over the past 12 years, which means it’s not as many as I wanted to see, but still a fair amount considering what the last year of life has entailed time-commitment wise.
I’ve been thinking about it and thinking about and it turns out my very favorite movie in 2011 was The Guard. I know I said in that review it was probably top 5 or 2 but yeah. I was wrong.
Here’s the list of my favorites with links to Snip reviews and very brief commentary. [Although be warned, a bunch of them got reviewed in the same Snip post so they’re quite succinct. Heh.]
1. The Guard – black humor, yet heartfelt.
2. Tree of Life – throw out that 30-minute visual creation OH HAI dinosaurs in the middle and this would have been #1. The family stuff was super compelling.
3. Red State – Kevin Smith’s masterpiece.
4. The King’s Speech – technically a 2010 movie for many people I’m sure. Quite lovely.
5. Beginners – the previews were so twee, I was leery of it. It was so sweet and really touching.
6. Midnight in Paris – really a movie about the joy of movies and art and connections. quite good.
7. Take Shelter – paranoia. discomfort. anxiety. but good movie making. [email me if you need the password for that review. it’s the same pword that was formerly used to leave comments on Snip.]
8. Haunters – one of the most original movies you could ever possibly see. Spooky but sometimes sooooo funny.
9. True Grit – another one others saw in 2010. Really great. Gritty in the best possible way.
10. Somewhere – a slow (SLOW) but lovely exploration of how celebrity steals away one’s real life.
Unfortunately movies can be a little harder to choose than books and I also saw some real doozies in 2011. The WORST movies I saw were Hanna (the dialogue was horrible, the plot had so many holes), The Green Hornet in 3D (overdone, dumb–heh, sounds like I didn’t quite dislike it as much in my original review as in my memory. I guess it got worse with time!), Bridesmaids (I HATE THAT MOVIE. I’m SO SICK of people talking about how it’s finally the movie that shows how girls are. NO IT IS NOT) and The Company Men a ridiculous movie that misread its possible audience in such a huge way.
Biggest tearjerker: Buck
Most nostalgia creating: Super 8
Cleverest dialogue: Young Adult
Most ridiculous scenario: Cowboys & Aliens
Best house lived in by main character: The Mechanic
Made me feel most voyeuristic and icky: Blue Valentine
Felt most like 89 movies I’d seen before: The Fighter
Made me super mad: Black Swan
Movie I really liked that no one else in the world saw: Somewhere
Possibly the best EVER use of 3D with some of the world’s most annoying voiceovers: Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Best action movie: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Best song sung by lead actor: Martha Marcy May Marlene
Also best introduction of a new actor: Martha Marcy May Marlene
And that’s it for 2011. I have my first two flicks of 2012 lined up for today and tomorrow (VERY LATE for me, last year I saw 7 movies in the first 7 days of January) and I can’t wait to see them!

Duff’s Favorite Movies 2008

Why no I don’t find it odd at all to be doing my best-ofs in March, three months later. But thanks for asking.
And it’s probably worth mentioning once again that this represents WHAT I SAW in 2008. Not what was released in 2008.

So I saw 40 movies in the theater in 2008 (only counting the first viewing, per my usual) which would be pretty good…except for the fact that 15 of those were seen in 10 days in October at the Chicago Film Festival. So the rest of the year I saw only 25 films which averages out to two a month. Kinda lame. I don’t blame the lack of good movies however (come on); it’s really my preference for lying on the floor doing nothing that gets in the way. Bygones.
The Best Movies I Saw in 2008 Were:
(linked to my Snip reviews)
1. Iron Man. WIthout a fucking doubt. This SHOULD have won awards.
2. Milk. So well done.
3. Let the Right One In. Spooky!
4. Zach and Miri Make a Porno. Hilarious. Yet sweet.
5. Wanted. AWESOME. With a few plot holes. Bygones.
6. Hunger. So sad.
7. The Dark Knight. It wasn’t as good as IronMan. But it was good.
8. Tropic Thunder. Fucking pure hilarity.
9. Atonement. Gorgeous. Just as good as the book.
10. Leatherheads. Beautifully filmed. And I really do not care for Renee Z., yet she was unable to ruin it for me.
Other Movies I Really Liked, Include:
Redbelt. True, I may be the only person who saw it.
Cloverfield. COME ON PEOPLE. Monsters are good.
The Fall. So pretty.
The Duchess. So sad.
Sparrow. Quirky.
Burn After Reading. Look at the layer beneath.
Movies I Thought Were Overrated, Include:
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Too pretentious. Too teenage.
Sex and the City. Too long, too superficial.
Two Lovers. We saw this at the aforementioned festival. It pretty much sucked. Now it’s out in theaters and getting RAVE reviews. SRSLY PEOPLE IT SUCKED.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day. So wrong. Read the book instead.
There Will Be Blood. Great performance by DDL. But I don’t ever need to see it again. EVER.
Vantage Point. Too much of a mess. The more time you spend thinking about it, the more the filmmakers fucked this one up halfway through.
Movies I Thought Were Underrated:
Quantum of Solace. Yes, he needed to take his shirt off more. Yes, it’s a lot like Bourne. AND THAT’S A GOOD THING.
Be Kind, Rewind. Fun. and Sweet.
Wanted. Too many Jolie haters need to get over themselves.
The Worst Movies I Saw in 2008 Were:
Made of Honor. Too fucking horribly bad.
Two Lovers. See “Overrated” above.
North Starr. Too amateur.
Random Factoid
I actually saw TWO animated flicks in 2008 (Wall-E and Bolt!). And sort of enjoyed them. A little. I believe that’s unprecedented.

Duff’s Favorite Movies 2007

I went to 57 movies in the theater in 2007 (full list here). (Technically more if you count the ones I went to twice, which I don’t.) I’d say that’s higher than recent years but certainly not my BEST year.
The BEST movies I saw in 2007 were:
1. Grindhouse
2. Juno
3. A Mighty Heart
4. No Country for Old Men
5. American Gangster
6. Control
7. Blackout
8. In the Valley of Elah
9. The Bourne Ultimatum
10. Gone Baby Gone
If I were to add to that list, the movies I ENJOYED the most in 2007, I’d have to add:

  • Music & Lyrics
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Sweeney Todd
  • JUMP!

If I were to add a foreign films category, I’d have to add:
  • The Lives of Others
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • La Vie en Rose

I saw a bunch of bio pics this year, some done traditionally (“La Vie en Rose” – Edith Piaf; “Control” – Ian Curtis) as well as less traditional ones (“The Last King of Scotland” – Idi Amin [not REALLY a bio pic but feels like one]; “I’m Not There” – Bob Dylan). I saw 7 not-likely-to-see-these-elsewhere flicks at the Chicago Film Festival and some ’70s flicks on the big screen thanks to the Chicago Humanities Festival.
I saw great performances in movies that I didn’t love (George Clooney in “Michael Clayton”; Claire Danes in “Evening”; my boyfriend Joaquin Phoenix in “We Own the Night”; Will Smith in “I Am Legend”) and great performances in movies I thought were good but just didn’t beat out others on the lists above (Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War”; Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” [as well as in aforementioned “Gone Baby Gone”; Casey Affleck was really a standout performer for me this year!]; Viggo Mortenson in “Eastern Promises”). I saw sweet movies that weren’t great but were still enjoyable (“Dan in Real Life”; “Catch and Release”; “Stardust”). I went to sequels (“28 Weeks Later”; “Pirates 3”; “Oceans 13”). I really liked a couple documentaries ([the aforementioned] JUMP! and Helvetica) and it was good to see Alien-like sci fi return to the theaters (“Sunshine”) as well as Westerns, dang I’ve missed those (“3:10 to Yuma”; aforementioned “Assassination of…”).
I did NOT like some movies that were highly praised by others:
  • Margot at the Wedding (worst movie of the year)
  • The Lookout
  • Knocked Up
  • The Walker (second worst of the year)

And thought some were OK, but didn’t live up to the hype:
  • Waitress
  • Once
  • Transformers

There are reviews up on Snip, you can search by name or sort by “watchin”.
And 2008 has started off quite nicely with “Atonement” being a movie that would have been very high on my 2007 list had I seen it before the end of the year.

Duff’s Favorite Movies 2006

[originally posted at Snip]
By far, the best film I saw this year was “The Departed”. For drama, I also highly recommend “Inside Man” “The Queen” and I personally loved “Marie Antoinette”. For a smaller film “Come Early Morning” was very well done. For comedy “Scoop” and “Clerks 2” were both quite funny, in their own ways. “Casino Royale” was the Best Bond, perhaps ever. And “The Prestige” was a good movie about just how horrifically awful human beings can be. So you’d have to keep that in mind, should you choose to see it. There were other movies I liked also.
I’m pretty good at not going to movies I can tell I’m not going to like, in my old age. I’d have to say “Last Kiss” (yuck) and “Match Point” (“Scoop” is so much better!) were my least favorite movies in the theater this year and “The DaVinci Code” was about how I expected: not good, but not as bad as I had heard. Average. Middling.
For Keanu lovers like myself, there wasn’t a damn thing wrong with “The Lakehouse.” You can see the whole list of what I saw here or you can view Snip by category “watchin”; although I oddly forgot to write up a LOT of the concerts I saw, I pretty consistently reported back on movies.
And I’ve already seen my first movie of 2007 although I haven’t written it up yet. Soon! 🙂