Movies & TV Notes, July-December 2018

Brief notes on just about everything I watched from July to December 2018. Read more reviews.

A WRINKLE IN TIME (2018) — Distracting camera movement. Precocious brother. Completely useless side-boy. A plot climax so anticlimactic, I literally didn’t realize it had occurred until it was over.

ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM (2007) — A really terrible montage of people getting murdered. Like, kids and pregnant women. A really charming rom-com. One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

ANCHORMAN — Required rewatch every couple of years.

FRED ARMISEN’S ‘STANDUP FOR DRUMMERS’ — When anti-humor becomes so anti- that you’re just watching a dude fiddle around with drums for an hour because someone said he could.

BOOGIE NIGHTS — Hell of a cast. Happy ending.

BROOKLYN NINE NINE (s3-s4) — The rhythm of the episodes becomes a little annoying when I watch too many in a row. Captain Holt begins to break character so much it ceases to be breaking character. I miss Rosa’s eyeshadow.

BO BURNHAM’S ‘MAKE FUNNY’ — Really possibly one of the best stand up specials I’ve ever watched. I’m late to the game on him, and I dug this.

BO BURNHAM’S ‘WHAT’ — See above

CIDER HOUSE RULES — Me n Dana were like ‘oh that’s the movie that was shot in Northampton’ but then we were like ‘oh this movie isn’t good’ and ‘I do not care about these characters’ and ‘this music makes me want to die.’ [gave up after 25 min or so.]

CRIME ZONE (1989) — The plot takes a good 30, 40 minutes to figure itself out. As soon as Sherilyn Fenn hit the screen there was basically a countdown clock til when you’d see her boobs. The dude with the chin legitimately freaked me out, real uncanny valley stuff.

DAVE CHAPPELLE’S ‘EQUANIMITY’ and ‘THE BIRD REVELATION’ (2018) — Two quotes: “You have a responsibility to speak recklessly.” … “I didn’t come here to be right. I came here to fuck around.”

CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK — Wait, did this movie have a dude with a cool three-sided helmet?

COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE (s8-9) — Only Jerry Seinfeld would bring up a Paul Newman anecdote just to retell the joke he told Paul Newman.

DADDY’S HOME — Ferrell/Wahlberg. Two pretty talented guys at their most mediocre.

DOCUMENTARY NOW! (s2) — This is a super uneven series for me. I appreciate the craft but barely enjoy any of the episodes. The monologue episode stands out. Globe salesman & Talking Heads were technically nice to look at, at least.

DRAGON PRINCESS — “We’re both good karate men.”

EIGHTH GRADE — That girl was braver than I ever was.

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND — A mixed-up meditation on memory, regret, and loss. It’s got good heart. It is extremely 2004.

FAHRENHEIT 451 (2018) — This movie steps a few meters over the line into Overt Cautionary Tale territory. The sort of dystopia which chooses to completely sidestep consumerism and capitalism. Got bored about forty minutes in.

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS LIVE IN LONDON (2018) — ‘Low energy’ sounds too negative. A very *restrained* show. Quiet enough so you hear every word, which is a real trick. Very good.

FOOTLOOSE — Skinny Tie moves to a town of tight-footed wussies. Skinny Tie casually disregards domestic violence; rebels against authority by politely asking permission. Feet-loosened townsfolk celebrate liberation with locally-grown glitter.

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL — Heck of a cast. Russell Brand is a great prick.

FREAKS AND GEEKS DOC — A note to aspiring ‘underdog TV show’ documentarians: Less screen time for the network executives who didn’t ‘get the show.’ Give them ten seconds for context and then get back to the writers and actors the viewer actually gives a shit about.

FUNNY PEOPLE — An Apatow movie I’d started watching years ago and never finished. I tried again and didn’t finish. How and why is this movie this long?

HANNAH GADSBY’S ‘NANETTE’ — I mean, really. A hell of a performance. Put a bangle on a potato and watch it twice.

RICKY GERVAIS’S ‘HUMANITY’ — “Someone said this on Twitter so I said this back” is a weird format for a professional comedian. Ricky continues to be pretty impressed with himself.

HARD TO HOLD (1984) — Rick Springfield’s naked bum stars as a loveable rock’n’roll aggressive stalker.

HEARTS BEAT LOUD (2018) — I give Nick Offerman an A for being Nick Offermanish. I give the film portrayal of a record store a B- and the film portrayal of a record store closing an F. Glad The N’Off appeared to play guitar instead of wiggling his wrists off-camera in that way actors do.

HIT SO HARD (2012) — A special screening at Amherst Cinema with a Patty Schemel Q&A after. Very cool!

HOOPER (1978) — Roscoe! Batman! Hardcastle! Airwolf! Coors! Sally Fields in little white shorts! A scene from Deliverance! More Coors!

HOT ROD — (rewatch) Enjoyably stupid. Lonely Island guys are pretty great. Cool beans.

I HEART HUCKABEES — (rewatch) I like this movie more every time I see it. How is Donnie Wahlberg capable of greatness and why isn’t he great more often?

I KILL GIANTS (2018) — I don’t know what this movie was trying to be or was trying to say.

JANE — A very good documentary. It’s about Jane. You should watch it. You’ll like it.

JIM JEFFREY’S ‘THIS IS ME NOW’ — He’s a likeable enough prick.

DAVID LETTERMAN’S ‘MY NEXT GUEST…’ — I learned that Jerry Seinfeld’s parents were both orphans, and I feel like that explains everything about his worldview. The Tina Fey episode was a good ‘un.

MACGRUBER — (rewatch) On second viewing, I am struck by how awesome the soundtrack is. And the sex scenes. And the tape deck.

MID-90s — Suuuuuper good.

MINDHUNTER — The main dude is a weird mashup of like, Peter Krause and Dr. Who Matt Smith. The show reminds me of Masters Of Sex a bit (semi-secret project under the nose of old school bureaucracy). Cool lame-ass sedans.

JOHN MULANEY’S ‘KID GORGEOUS AT RADIO CITY’ — So good. Amazing stage/set design.

MUTE — Paul Rudd was pretty good. The main character was pretty good. The Sam Rockwell cameo was pretty good. The last 20-odd minutes of the movie wasn’t so good. Neither were earlier scenes. It was, I dunno… Ehhhhh, somehow not good?

PORTLANDIA (s8) — This season is as good as the other ones.

SILICON VALLEY (s1-5) — Funny sausage party full of weiners. I watched three seasons in two days when I was sick.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY — A few nice designs. Bad, bad dialogue. Excessive answering of original trilogy ‘questions’. Not enough cocky lopsided grins.

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (2018) — The side characters were a little underdeveloped for my taste (why was the best friend important enough to bring back at the end? Who cares about the union guy hooking up with the girlfriend?). Good typeface for the titles. Rad movie, one of the best of the year for sure.

SPACE TRUCKERS (1996) — If you have a latent desire to watch Tywin Lannister — patriarch of the House Lannister of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West and the lord paramount of Westerlands — as he attempts to start his robotic dong with a lawnmower-style rope pull, then I’ve got some great news for you.

SPEED RACER — I never saw this when it came out, and seeing it a decade after its release, I gotta say, the kid and the monkey lock this shit DOWN.

STEP BROTHERS — Is no Talladega Nights. I know people really like this one but it feels pretty throw-away to me.

SUPER TROOPERS 2 — They shot the opening scene at the Quabbin Reservoir. The film sort of went downhill from there.

TALLADEGA NIGHTS — How does a comedy have the budget to shoot such great racing scenes? High-level dumb.

THRONE OF FIRE (1983) — Featuring a stairway you can watch people walk up in real-unedited-time. There was a cursed well that’s pretty good, too.

ULTRA WARRIOR — No warriors, nobody particularly ultra. Just Dack Rambo. A film that has more narrators and flashbacks (scenes borrowed from other Corman movies) than I’ve ever seen. So bad it borders on original, truly original, but that is not the same as good.

UNDECLARED — My first rewatch in maybe fifteen years. A surprising amount of plot time is given over to dudes trying to get laid. The white male perspective, y’all. Their stories need to be told. The funny parts are still funny, and the list of cameos is impressive and relentless.

UNFORGIVEN (1992) — If you think about it, the kid with the bad eyes sets off a terrible chain of events and then is all like “Nah, this ain’t for me.” what a dickhead!

VEEP (s3) — Picked up where I left off a few years ago. A great ensemble.

WALK HARD — Much better than I remember.

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (2018) — The section of the documentary explaining Fred Rogers’ relationship with silence had stock music playing under it.

YEAR ONE — Pretty much a secret season of Game Of Thrones.

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