Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

I relentlessly present with you my 8th annual Oscar predictions!

As always, I suck at this so if you copy me in any way, shape or form, you will do no better than the average monkey. Average monkeys are smart on occasion, especially in how they acquire and fling feces, so don’t fret too much.

For evidence of my suckage, see my results over the last 3 years:

  • 2016: 4 (correct)/11
  • 2015: 8/11
  • 2014: 10/11

I only predict 11 categories (of the 24 total), or what I consider the major categories.

So coming on February 26th, we have the 89th Annual Academy Awards!

You’ll be pleased to learn, I’ve seen all 88 of the previous Best Picture winners…so might as well make my way through this year’s nominees.

So far, I’ve seen 5 of 9.


Best Picture – Up for 14 nominations (tied for most all-time with Titanic and All About Eve), it’s not a stretch to say La La Land is the favorite. Plus it’s filthy with music and dancing and hope and heartbreak.



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Something, something movies.

With 2016 I got back into the swing of watching movies. I saw over 100 movies, the most since 2009. Get it.


11. Brooklyn – A women finds love and a new life in America, but will Ireland draw her back?

10. Eye in the Sky – This moves more like a legal, ethics class, but I found myself fascinated by the drama and lengths they went to decide of ‘should they’ or ‘should they not’ launch a missile strike. And no real feel good results.

9. Creed – Maybe all the boxing movie tropes have been done and re-done by now, but watching Rocky become the mentor/trainer for his dead friend’s son, it still feels okay to watch them.

8. Captain America: Civil War – Punch, Pow, Pop! Superheroes mildly fight each other over a difference of opinion. It’s a total geek out, and you will be entertained.

7. The Shallows – So the premise is Jaws vs. Blake Lively. But what you thought might be a throw-away horror movie is nothing to throw away and is highly suspenseful.

6. Hell or Highwater – Chris Pine is basically in everything these days. With Jeff Bridges as a Texas Ranger chasing them, two brothers join together to rob banks to save their farm.

5. The Jungle Book – I didn’t expect all that much from a Disney re-make, but this is actually a damn fine movie. Bill Murray as Baloo? Idris Elba as Shere Khan? Scarlett Johansson as Kaa? Christopher Walken as King Louie? Heck ya.

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Good, I’m tempted to buy all the toys like I had as a kid for the first three movies. Darth Vader’s castle is cool. Now I need to see it again in IMAX 3D.

3. The Martian – Matt Damon on Mars! I need to watch this again, I just decided.

2. Spotlight – Wow, the Best Picture winner is the true story of the exposé of the Catholic Church in Boston. Haunting and sad and it makes you angry.

1. Sicario – Gritty, with a dark, underlying tone, this movie looks at US-Mexican border policies and how the US fights the drug cartels, but all is not as it seems. All is not rosy.


5. Scary Movie 5 – Let this franchise die. It’s not funny. Maybe if they made an actual funny parody movie (not that the first one was brilliant but it had its moments), we can keep it alive. But now please let it be offed in the most horror movie cliché possible.

4. Gymkata – Hahaha! I watched this during a ‘bad movie’ night. It was fun to pick it apart and laugh at all the WTF moments. Watch it with a group of snarky people, and you will find fun where there should be none.

3. Zoolander 2 – Don’t do it. Okay, you will if you saw the first Zoolander. But you will still regret it. And I will have told you so.

2. The Lobster – I hate this movie. I’ve often been annoyed with Colin Farrell as an actor and the films he’s been in (yet there are good ones like In Bruges), but this takes the cake. Weird, oddball, strange are words you could use to describe this movie. I choose the word ‘terrible’.

1. Joysticks – I listen to a podcast called Stack of Dimes. They started a new series of episodes to review bad movies that somehow made it to Blu-ray. They featured this one, which is supposed to be a Porky’s knock-off from 1982. Not so bad it’s good. Just so bad.


Stats on Movies Watched

  • 111 movies watched in 2016
  • 26 on a plane (whoa, I must have lived on a plane…)
  • 27 repeat viewing (and therefore not eligible for the best/worst list)
  • 3 Bill Murray movies
  • 6 Liam Neeson movies (I went through a phase…)
  • 11 movies in the theater (Haven’t been going to the theater that much…)

Extra Special Bonus Time (All 111 movies)


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Epilogue: I picked 4 out of 11 correct! 64% wrong! Fantastic and amazing results! 

It is time.

The moment you’ve been waiting for!

My Oscar picks. The best 8.8 seconds of your day.

I know this is a celebratory moment of epic proportions, but calm down. Please.

Hold still long enough to read the rest of the this post.

It’s just the 88th Annual Academy Awards ceremony hosted by Chris Rock.

Last year I picked 8 of 11 correctly. (I don’t do them all…that’s too much work!)


Best Picture – When they are big and short, we like the odds.

  • The Big Short (My pick)
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight (Winner)


Best Actress in a Leading Role – Let’s see what Brie is doing in that room.

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room (My pick) (Winner)
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn


Best Actor in a Leading Role – Matt shined as a Martian, but Leo was the king of the wilderness.

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (My pick) (Winner)
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl


Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Danish girls deserve the spotlight.

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (My pick) (Winner)
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs


Best Actor in a Supporting Role – The Italian Stallion wins for his second acting nomination for the seminal role of Rocky.

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies (Winner)
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed (My pick)


Best Director – Maybe Alejandro could win two years in a row…but actually there’s something Mad about the Oscar race this year.

  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road (My pick)
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, The Revenant (Winner)
  • Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight


Adapted Screenplay – I only read one of these books, so that has to win, right? Right.

  • The Big Short (Winner)
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian (My pick)
  • Room


Original Screenplay – Rapper’s paradise.

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight (Winner)
  • Straight Outta Compton (My pick)


Best Animated Feature Film – Pixar dominates! Never doubt!

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out (My pick) (Winner)
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There


Cinematography – Hard to say, but I think there is some Mad Max fury to be had.

  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (My pick)
  • The Revenant (Winner)
  • Sicario


Best Foreign Language Film – I can only embrace the inevitable pressure of failure.

  • Embrace of the Serpent (My pick)
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul (Winner)
  • Theeb
  • A War
Things will only escalate from here.
Feel free to witness picks from previous years here.

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It is the holiday season once again. Ho ho hum.

And almost time for my annual sojourn to Washington state!

Let’s start a new tradition. Every December, a new To Do List. Okay, I say that now, but check back with me in 3 years.


Goal for December: Do all 13 items (for luck) on my specially curated To Do List.


December 2015 To Do List

  1. Go skiing – Last year I hurt my back, so did not get to ski. This year that situation is rectified.
  2. Attend three Seattle Seahawks games – Boom! One in Baltimore and two in Seattle.
  3. Visit Portland, OR – I hear they could really use a force like me.
  4. Experience Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Maybe even up to five times if it’s good…
  5. Visit two new breweries – There are so many new ones, so let’s get it on!
  6. Eat a Dick’s Drive-In (Seattle) Deluxe burger – This will go on every future To Do List forever and ever.
  7. Enter a cabin – Preferably one that we rent, but I’m not adverse to a little B&E if that’s what it takes.
  8. Try 12 new beers – Burp.
  9. Hike a hike – I need to get outside!
  10. Eat at one of Seattle’s best restaurants – According to this list here or even this one.
  11. See Book of Mormon – Want to. Will try.
  12. Attend and write-up two concerts – Minimum.
  13. Wild Card – Something fun or dumb, that I can’t think of right now.


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I recently journeyed from DC to Kuala Lumpur via Emirates. I also did the return flight, for the symmetry. But I somehow ended up in St. Louis, so my symmetry got flummoxed. That is a different tale.

Emirates had so many of the summer movies I failed to watch from my furious Summer Movie Guide, that I could barely contain my semi-perceptible serenity. Did I have enough time to watch them ALL? 13 + 7 hours. Then 7 + 14 hours. Was it possible? There is only one way to find out.

Already, I can sense your confusion. What does San Francisco have to do with any of this? Well…

For whatever reason, San Francisco featured in some fashion in many of the films I witnessed. Inside Out, Terminator, Ant-Man (filmed in), AND there was a movie playing in the seat in front of me that kept showing the Golden Gate Bridge. I looked it up later, it was Playing It Cool with Chris Evans, minus his Captain America shield.


Flights: IAD-DXB-KUL

Inside Out – In. I have yet to find a Pixar movie I didn’t like. A lot. (Correction: Cars 2…) This movie is a clever way to show adolescence and the pain and joy of growing up. Many people claimed to have teared up a bit. I won’t make that claim, but since there were no witnesses (that will come forward), you should take me at my word and move on! (Grade: B+)

Mad Max: Fury Road – Frenzied. The title says it all. There was no joy and no let up at any point. Crash after crash after crash. How they performed some of the stunts, and the results on-screen were stunning. The plot didn’t have the same drive, but all in all a pure popcorn action movie to get on board with. PS: The flight attendant did NOT give me popcorn! (Grade: B)

Terminator Genisys – Not Back. Arnold’s acting in movies again. He gave this reboot a try, but nothing else around his so-called ‘Pops’ Terminator character was worth looking at. The story sucked. The casting choices sucked (can I tell you how much I dislike Jai Courtney? Okay, I just did.) The new timeline arc sucked. The good guy is the bad guy reveal sucked (haha, spoiler alert). Give me the first two Terminator movies all day, every day. I’ll even take the third one, but skip this one and Terminator Salvation(Grade: C-)

Spy – Uproarious. I say that unironically. I laughed out loud, the real kind not the LOL kind. Let Melissa McCarthy tickle your funny bone with her spy flick. Okay, sorry for that, but see it anyway.  (Grade: B+)


Flights: KUL-DXB-ORD*

Aloha – Headscratching. I don’t know what happened here. I’m not going to blame jet lag, because I had none at the point I saw this. So much potential with the cast. Bradley Cooper! Emma Stone! Rachel McAdams! Bill Murray! WTH happened? Anyway, don’t watch it unless you want to take the time to explain it to me. (Grade: C-)

Ant-Man – Ruddy. I like Paul Rudd. And many of his movies. Did I ever tell you I saw him on Calvert Street NW in DC a number of years ago? He was filming a movie (How Do You Know, I looked it up later) and standing on the sidewalk chatting with a person with a clip board. I was three feet from him as I walked by. I could have stopped and said something or got a photo, but he was working and really? Who needs to do that? Oh yeah, digression, this is a Marvel movie. You already have or will see it. Or you won’t. And if you don’t, Marvel will make more superhero movies without you! (Grade: B-)

Tomorrowland – Ho hum. I like the idea of this movie. I don’t like the execution. Or George Clooney’s acting. But I totally want to blast off in the spaceship that is the Eiffel Tower! (Grade: C)

Maggie – Biting. Apparently, I’m investing in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s oeuvre. This is a story about how a father mourns and reacts when his daughter is diagnosed with a terminal disease that takes weeks to manifest. It’s quiet and brooding and stark. And actually pretty decent. Oh, did I tell you that the disease is actually to turn into a zombie? It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world grappling with the disease as it eats into (no pun intended) people’s loved ones. Yet, it is really NOT a zombie move in the traditional horror movie sense. (Grade: B-)


* What the reader is probably thinking, “That’s not the St. Louis airport code! What is going on here? Is everything you said up to this point a lie??” (Editor’s Note: The author left no notes on this issue, but consensus is building towards yes.)


Golden Gate from Sausalito

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I recently journeyed to the Philippines and back. All manner of movies were at my fingertips. Although, flying Korean Airways for the first time, I was slightly disappointed with the selection of (a mere) 35 or so movies. Thanks Emirates for tainting my expectations. I still watched. Of course I did.

I coincidentally witnessed two movies with Oscar Isaac. Who? Well, this guy is having his moment, because he’s also in the upcoming Star Wars movie AND he plays the villain, Apocalypse, in the next X-Men movie. Well played sir.

There were a few other movies I was eyeballing, like Big Eyes and Still Alice, but they seemed to be more ‘think pieces’, which I just didn’t need as I slogged through 14 hour flights.


Flights: IAD-ICN-MNL

Kingsman: The Secret Service – Cracking. As in skulls and bones. A fine entry into the spies and gadgets film canon.  (Grade: B+)

Ex Machina – Eerie. Oscar Isaac as a reclusive genius trying to create life-like artificial intelligence. You won’t like what’s inside his head. (Grade: B-)

Jupiter Ascending – Turd. I’m being kind. Dear Wachowski brothers…err, siblings…thank you for a pleasant dilemma. Should I stop watching and make this the first movie I ever failed to power through? Almost. I finished it. But I feel dirty. (Grade: D-)

Run All Night – Same, same. Liam Neeson in an action movie with a special set of skills. His 300th take on Taken. (Grade: C+)


Flights: MNL-ICN-IAD

A Most Violent Year – Snooze. A most boring movie. Was Oscar Isaac trying to channel Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone or some such? Not really his moment, this. (Grade: C)

Casablanca – Usual suspects. No need to review this, kid. (Grade: A)

While We’re Young – Limp. There are good Ben Stiller movies and there are very bad ones. This fits firmly in the latter category. Not funny, if that was at all any part of the point. And not dramatic, if there was even a point. (Grade: C)

The Avengers: Age of Ultron – Hulky. The second time I’ve seen this. I just needed to round out that last few hours of my trip. Serviceable superhero stuff. (Grade: B-)

Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac

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In 2014, I straight skipped my annual list of summer movies to see. No one batted an eye. The world kept spinning.

Time to bring the world to a screeching halt! The world needs this. More than I do.

Based on Entertainment Weekly’s Summer Movie Preview, I am cognizant of many upcoming films. 86 to be exact.

Will I see them in the theater? Given my recent track record, I’d answer that question with a hearty no. Maybe on a plane. Maybe on that Netflix thing. Maybe never.

But, let’s do this list of movies to see or not to see anyway. I have nothing better to do. Apparently, you have nothing better to read. Well, you could read this?


Totally going to happen

  1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road
  3. Jurassic World (Never say no to dinosaurs that can eat you.)
  4. Ant-man
  5. Inside Out (I love Pixar. I do!)
  6. Terminator Genisys (Completely unnecessary, but Arnold is BACK. He said he would be.)
  7. Tomorrowland
  8. Aloha


It just may happen

  1. Vacation
  2. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation
  3. Pixels
  4. Pan
  5. Slow West
  6. Ted 2
  7. Masterminds
  8. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
  9. Dark Places
  10. Z for Zachariah
  11. Southpaw


Not a chance

  1. Magic Mike XXL
  2. Poltergeist
  3. San Andreas
  4. Fantastic Four (Superhero fatigue and they already had their chance)
  5. The D Train
  6. Furious 7 (I missed movies 3-6, so best to let it ride.)


Pour some butter on me!

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