Movies Reviewed, 2019
REVIEWS, BY YEAR:




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12/31/19
It's A Wonderful Life - one of the best ever. this is the first time the girls have seen it and it took three nights for them to finish it. an hour to get them hooked, another 30 minutes while we had the time and then finished it off on new year's eve. zoe bawled her eyes out at the end and merritt followed suit (though i think it was more in solidarity than anything else).
when i was younger i think i glossed over most of the movie and really hung onto the life affirming aspects of the ending...everyone coming together and george loving his family and all that. as i get older i really appreciate the degree to which george's life is suffering, sacrifice, and needless pain. he's surrounded by idiots like his uncle. he's constantly sacrificing his own life goals for those of others...or, more accurately - for the duty he feels to others to help.
of course all this is paid off in the end. his amazing wife rallies the troops and they lift him up when he's down. he's down in part because of them, sure, but that's also just how life is. living the solo life is kind of empty, right?
i fell in love with an on screen character once (lauren bacall in to have and have not), but donna reed might be #2 here. she's amazingly beautiful, but, more importantly, she so supportive and loving of george here. clarence is his angel, sure, but mary is his rock and the hero of the ending. she's amazing. A+.

12/25/19
A Christmas Story - really gotta appreciate the mother in this movie. the way she handles the fight that ralphie gets into really earns her an award. this is mothering at its best. then there's the soap sequence which is old school mothering. i hope they keep showing this movie as the years go on, but there are some outdated and less than woke moments that i could see people getting their panties in a bunch over if the woke-inati keep going like they have been. fantastic film. A+.
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise Of Skywalker - a good enough ending to an epic story that has taken 42 years to complete. the rise of rey skywalker was fun to watch. the emperor coming back to life was a bit odd, but i rolled with it. B.

12/23/19
Silicon Valley Season Six - good enough ending to a pretty good series. some great moments in the series and a lot of chuckles along the way. skewering the tech industry is also fun. all around enjoyable series that lost a bit of its mojo after ehrlich left the show, but was obviously entertaining enough to stick with it. B.

12/21/19
OA Part I - i hope this sci-fi is going somewhere. it's somewhat interesting in that it's novel and i keep wondering what's going to happen. i hope they have a plan and it all makes some degree of sense in the end. not sure how long i'll stick around...C+.
Parasite - had high hopes for this one. saw the preview a while back and thought it looked really good. finally got around to seeing it in the theater after the hype built up a bit and was disappointed.
i get some of the social commentary and symbolism, but i must be missing a lot. the ending wasn't particularly shocking or cathartic or scary. overall it was an interesting journey that took me to a place the left me wanting more. i just wasn't that into it. i don't know where it wanted me to go or what i was supposed to get out of it, but i didn't get there. disappointing. C+.

12/19/19
Richard Jewell - this dude got a raw deal. i had heard about him on a podcast and probably picked up a bit from the contemporaneous reporting, but didn't remember all that much until the podcast several months back. eastwood gets a great performance from a relative nobody. the bad guys are the government agents who are overzealous and the media that totally get the story wrong and run with it nonetheless. these kinds of stories are why the media is even worse than Trump. how many times do they need to pull this shit on innocent people or kill howard dean's campaign by playing a stupid scream over and over again or kill gore by playing his sighing at the debates over and over again? the media are ravenous and all consuming. the medium is the message and the medium of 24 hour news networks and (worse) twitter is about as shitty as one can imagine. we're fucked. B+.

12/14/19
Won't You Be My Neighbor? - fred rogers is one of the few people in public life who appears to be the genuine article. wysiwyg. he's corny and all that, but he's authentic and that goes a long way. the angle of it being about the author who writes about mr. rogers is novel and allows for you to approach him through that jaded lens. as a result it never becomes a hagiography. they are foils for each other and rogers is a foil for the author's dad as well. he's a foil for all of us in a way because he's practically perfect in every way (to borrow a phrase). zoe cried. B.
Succession Season Two - still good and worth the watch. good finale. next season should be just as good. i don't quite understand what keeps these kids coming back to their shit head father. B+.

12/07/19
Dark Water - erin brockovich type film where a guy goes up against dupont and teflon. this is what happens when power concentrates. we can't allow this as a society. the left is concerned about corporations and the right is concerned about governments. they're both correct. solid flick. B+.

12/05/19
After Porn Ends 3 - 3rd installment same as the rest but with different characters. just as good. B.

12/04/19
Knives Out - agatha christie-esque murder mystery. ana de armas was really good and it had me guessing the entire time. i thought it was going to be more twisted than it turned out to be. fun enough. B.

12/03/19
Fire In Paradise - short documentary about the camp fire. my uncle lost his home and possessions in this fire so it was a bit more personal knowing people who were affected by it. anytime it's closer to home you view it differently. these people went through hell and it was intense seeing their perspectives. B.

12/02/19
Halt And Catch Fire Season 4 - great series that i almost stopped watching about five minutes in. the opening sequences, wherein you are introduced to key characters, was pretty trite and didn't give me much hope for the rest of the series. aside from that, though, the series is really solid and interesting. i'm not a huge tech guy, but there seems to be a real love of tech and the tech talk made sense to me (though maybe it's bullshit to people who really know this stuff). brought back a lot of memories of the early gaming, internet, and computer community. just a hell of a ride and i really liked the series overall.
spoilers ahead...i didn't realize it was only a four season run so when i got to the final season i was pretty surprised by a lot of what happened and how it ended. i didn't foresee the death of gordon at all, and the way they did it was really great and impactful. definitely made me tear up thinking about dying relatively young with kids still growing up. really changes your perspective on all the bullshit that he battled and the relationships he had. great series. A-.

11/16/19
Halt And Catch Fire Season 3 - great series that i almost stopped watching about five minutes in. the opening sequences, wherein you are introduced to key characters, was pretty trite and didn't give me much hope for the rest of the series. aside from that, though, the series is really solid and interesting. i'm not a huge tech guy, but there seems to be a real love of tech and the tech talk made sense to me (though maybe it's bullshit to people who really know this stuff). brought back a lot of memories of the early gaming, internet, and computer community. just a hell of a ride and i really liked the series overall.
spoilers ahead...i didn't realize it was only a four season run so when i got to the final season i was pretty surprised by a lot of what happened and how it ended. i didn't foresee the death of gordon at all, and the way they did it was really great and impactful. definitely made me tear up thinking about dying relatively young with kids still growing up. really changes your perspective on all the bullshit that he battled and the relationships he had. great series. A-.

11/11/19
Halt And Catch Fire Season 2 - great series that i almost stopped watching about five minutes in. the opening sequences, wherein you are introduced to key characters, was pretty trite and didn't give me much hope for the rest of the series. aside from that, though, the series is really solid and interesting. i'm not a huge tech guy, but there seems to be a real love of tech and the tech talk made sense to me (though maybe it's bullshit to people who really know this stuff). brought back a lot of memories of the early gaming, internet, and computer community. just a hell of a ride and i really liked the series overall.
spoilers ahead...i didn't realize it was only a four season run so when i got to the final season i was pretty surprised by a lot of what happened and how it ended. i didn't foresee the death of gordon at all, and the way they did it was really great and impactful. definitely made me tear up thinking about dying relatively young with kids still growing up. really changes your perspective on all the bullshit that he battled and the relationships he had. great series. A-.

11/10/19
Terminator: Dark Fate - somehow this is #6 in the series. i think i missed #4 and 5. sarah connor is one of the more interesting characters in cinema history. her arc from innocent 20-something to bad ass grandma is something else. the shit she's gone through (mental hospital, time in mexico, globe trotting killing terminators, etc.) is pretty intense. good film. watched it on imax and i think that helped. cameron from halt and catch fire is the terminator and she did a fine job. she's a cyborg/hybrid type and that works. B.

11/04/19
Hangover Part II - pretty good follow up that would stand well on its own, but doesn't compare to the first. impossible to live up the first. B+.

11/02/19
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil - fine enough. small nap time. C+.
Hangover - classic comedy. doesn't get old. A.
Halt And Catch Fire Season 1 - great series that i almost stopped watching about five minutes in. the opening sequences, wherein you are introduced to key characters, was pretty trite and didn't give me much hope for the rest of the series. aside from that, though, the series is really solid and interesting. i'm not a huge tech guy, but there seems to be a real love of tech and the tech talk made sense to me (though maybe it's bullshit to people who really know this stuff). brought back a lot of memories of the early gaming, internet, and computer community. just a hell of a ride and i really liked the series overall.
spoilers ahead...i didn't realize it was only a four season run so when i got to the final season i was pretty surprised by a lot of what happened and how it ended. i didn't foresee the death of gordon at all, and the way they did it was really great and impactful. definitely made me tear up thinking about dying relatively young with kids still growing up. really changes your perspective on all the bullshit that he battled and the relationships he had. great series. A-.

11/1/19
Succession Season One - binged this one after coming late to the party. good series. this father is the definition of toxic. the family dynamic is an extreme version of what probably a lot of people feel their family is like. this is hilarious and awful. B+.

10/30/19
Murder Mystery - netflix, adam sandler, jennifer aniston. kind of a murder on the orient express type flick. pretty funny in fits and spurts. pretty much what you expect from sandler at this point. totally watchable. B-.

10/27/19
Fyre - same director as American Movie so it's already pretty good in my book. pretty epic failure of an event. i shed zero tears watching these rich entitled millennials not get the dream vacation they were hoping for after falling for a slick instagram video. despite the victims not being sympathetic, it was still pretty fucked up what went down. at one point there's a guy who is in charge of keeping the catering together and he went to a vendor's place fully intending to suck his dick to make sure that the catering would actually get done. it's really remarkable the lengths people went to to try to keep this fucking thing from totally failing. unfortunately it was really poorly planned and oversold from the very beginning. great example of what bad leadership leads to. good stuff. B+.
El Camino - slow and deliberate pace. great visuals. nice to see these characters again. not at the same frenetic level that the series was at, but was great to be back in the breaking bad universe for a while. B+.

10/24/19
Jack Of All Trades - documentary about a guy whose dad owned a baseball card shop. it starts out as a look at the baseball card industry (which brought back a lot of memories) and then evolves to be about the relationship he had (or didn't) with his dad. B.

10/22/19
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - interesting part of the story. well done enough and rounds out the star wars universe which is cool for those of us who don't follow the video games, comics, etc. B.

10/21/19
Big Mouth Season 3 - still pretty good. B-.

10/20/19
Jexi - adam devine comedy about a guy obsessed with his cell phone. passes the time and is basically on point about the central role the phone has taken in our lives and the consequences thereof. B-.

10/18/19
Joker - really great film and phenomenal performance. i thought there was no way that phoenix (talented as he is) would approach the genius performance of heath ledger in dark knight. and yet he did just that. i can't honestly say which is better. they are both all-time great performances and totally unique. amazing to think that jack nicholson (who is better than either of them) took this same role and didn't really do much with it. there's some revisionism in the telling of the early batman story (it wasn't actually the joker who killed him in this telling), but i'm not a purist or someone who cares about comic canon or anything like that. soundtrack was really good also. really, though, it's about phoenix's performance. great job. A-.
I'm Sorry Season 2 - still good. make more please. B+.

10/14/19
American President - early aaron sorkin flick that reads a bit like an early west wing draft. it's a quaint film nowadays. has its moments, but isn't a rewatchable. C+.

10/11/19
Addams Family - fine enough. never really loved the addams family, but the idea is fine enough. we all feel like the addams family sometimes...outcasts that aren't understood by everyone else. C+.

10/04/19
Now And Then - coming of age girls movie. pretty much the opposite of what i want to watch and not really appropriate for 4 and 6 year olds. oops. the sisterhood of the traveling tampon aspect is affirmational, though. D.

10/01/19
Shameless Season 9 - definitely into the absurd at this point and as good as ever. early on the series felt like it was excusing the behavior of these crazy characters. maybe it was more that it wasn't judging them like i felt it should have. now it's sufficiently crazy and i pretty much just laugh at these idiots making the same mistakes over and over. i guess we all have our faults or whatever. B.

09/28/19
Ad Astra - pinocchio in space. apocalypse now in space. rife with symbolism. slow overall, but worth it. we all live in the shadows of our fathers to some extent and this film takes it to the extreme - everything depends upon this one man chasing his father, going through a rebirth to find him, etc. it's all there. good film, but not for everyone. B+.

09/24/19
Dead To Me Season 1 - comedy/drama series that keeps you guessing and interested. good performances and good writing that doesn't settle into a familiar groove. second season should be a good test. B.

09/08/19
Mindhunter Season 2 - great true crime type series following the rise of the FBI behavioral unit that identified serial killers and their behavior profiles. acting is really good. has the david fincher style. good stuff. B+.

09/07/19
Train To Busan - asian zombie movie that was praised by edgar wright, but didn't do much for me. C.

08/31/19
Good Boys - good performances from the kids and it made for a good trailer, but it wasn't packed with laughs like i was hoping. overall pretty ho hum. C.

08/25/19
Dora And The Lost City Of Gold - nap time was pretty solid on this one. C.
Case Against Adnan Syed - hbo gets into the serial podcast story and basically does a rehash (with updates). not a lot of new stuff here. overall i lean towards innocence, but i could see it going either way. another in a long line of cases that we'll probably never know about. C+.
Last Chance U: INDY Part 2 - coach is good a recruiting and i think understands these kids pretty well, but doesn't provide the kind of model for success that i would like. couple that with the fact that he's not winning anymore and you get the inevitable conclusion of him being fired. i continue to like this series. next year is coming to laney in oakland. B+.

08/20/19
Big Mouth Season 2 - raunchy and oversexed comedy about coming of age. nails puberty about as well as anything else i've seen and so it's worth a watch just for that reason. reminiscent of american dad - specifically the alien character (roger) who is similar to the personification of hormones in this series. B.

08/18/19
Matilda - not as good as the book, but it's a decent shot at the source material. devito directs. this is kind of a kid's wet dream. C+.

08/17/19
Where'd You Go, Bernadette - liked it when i saw it. basically a mid-life crisis type movie with a quirky lead. some good comic relief. B.

08/16/19
John Wick - it's fine. C+.

08/13/19
Chernobyl - good short series that wasn't 100% accurate and overplayed the fears of nuclear, imo. i think if you really fear global warming then you have to have nuclear be a larger part of the mix. unfortunately we have a lot of people who want it all and so they get nothing. good luck with that i guess.
film shows the immense complexity of such a system, the multiple failures of the soviet system - and humans in general. no human system will ever be perfect, but it appears as though this was a confluence of really unfortunate things coming together compounded by the soviet system not wanting to show weakness and making the aftermath worse than it should have been. B+.

08/08/19
Big Mouth Season 1 - first few episodes are really treading new ground. B.

08/05/19
Rodman: For Better Or Worse - 30 for 30 about dennis rodman. one of a kind guy, that's for sure. worth watching for basketball fans. B.

08/01/19
Big Little Lies Season 2 -  don't really remember what happened this season. meryl streep was a bitch - that's about all i recall. should have ended where they originally had planned - at the end of season one. C+.

07/21/19
True Detective Season 3 - better than season two and not as good as season one. mahershala does a good job. goes beyond just the mystery by adding the dementia element, the marriage, the family, etc. B.

07/18/19
Confession Tapes Season 2 - more confessions from innocent people. i'll never understand why people do this, but i'll also never take for granted that a confession is real. if you can't believe people who are saying that they are guilty of committing a crime then what can you trust? logic dictates that that's the last thing a person would lie about and yet here's two seasons worth of people lying about their own guilt. we live in a post modern age. B.

07/13/19
Big Green - 90s sports movie. so so. C.

07/08/19
I'm Sorry Season 1 - curb your enthusiasm, but with a mother. she's funny and the writing is good. as an actor she has the same problem as seinfeld and larry david - she smiles all the time. i actually like it, but i think some people might not. looking forward to more raunchy honesty about everyday minutiae. B+.

07/05/19
Spider-Man: Far From Home - decent one. B-.
Good, The Bad, And The Hungry - 30 for 30 about joey chestnut and takeru kobayashi - eating champions. B.

07/02/19
Arrested Development Season 5 - has lost its luster over the course of its run, but there are some laughs and the familiar feel and characters keeps you coming back. C+.

06/29/19
Book Smart - superbad (vv). better trailer than movie. don't remember many laughs from this one. not unfunny, but nothing to write home about. C+.
Secret Life Of Pets 2 - nap time. C.
Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse - really good flick. didn't expect much here, but has a surprising depth. they got to the affirmative action spider-man, but did it in a thoughtful, instead of perfunctory/obligatory, way. B+.

06/23/19
Toy Story 4 - money grab. C.
Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley - another alex gibney documentary that i enjoyed. he's pretty reliable. elizabeth holmes is a psychopath. B+.

06/07/19
Harry Potter: And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 - can't remember one from the other at this point. overall the series was fairly watchable and worked in a joseph campbell hero kind of way. B-.

06/02/19
New Girl Season 7 - they really phoned it in for the final season. the show, overall, was pretty good with some funny characters and moments here and there, but it probably should have been 4 seasons. C.
Characters Season 1 - compilation series featuring a different actor each time. they were all new to me, but the best one was tim robinson. he's really wacky and hilarious. a bit reminiscent of tom green, but more controlled. B.

05/26/19
Harry Potter: And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 - can't remember one from the other at this point. overall the series was fairly watchable and worked in a joseph campbell hero kind of way. B-.

05/25/19
Wonder Woman - decent intro to the character. we'll see what they do with the franchise. B-.
Long Shot - documentary about a dodger fan who is accused of murder...don't want to say too much, but sometimes it's amazing how truth is stranger than fiction. check it out. B.

05/23/19
I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson: Season 1 - this guy is hilarious. see the characters review above for more. B+.

05/19/19
Avengers: Endgame - i've only seen a couple of the avengers movies, but this one was a must see event so we tried it out. fine enough overall. girls seemed to like it. no naps. B-.
Game Of Thrones Season 8 - inauspicious end to a pretty good series overall. definitely some issues with this season. the production level was still there, but some of the episodes lacked the intrigue that really made the series fun for me. i didn't get into the series because of battle sequences. overall, battle and fight scenes don't do that much for me...especially when it's these really long battles with nothing happening. B-.

05/12/19
Captain Marvel - got some goosebumps on this one. i pretty much love anything with the perseverance theme. she keeps getting back up to fight the good fight. that's what matters in life because life sucks and people will knock you down all day every day. B.

05/11/19
Hardcore Henry - shot in first person POV the entire time. somewhat novel, though delmer daves did it with bogey in dark passage in 1947 for the first portion of the film. fun film overall, even outside of the novelty of the shooting style. B.
Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much - documentary about a price is right contestant who was a savant a fan boy so he ended up on the show a few times and it got him in a bit of a sticky situation. worth checking out if you like the show at all. good watch. B.

05/10/19
Black Summer Season 1 - barely remember this teotwawki/zombie show. i remember liking it a bit here and there. not as good as the early seasons of walking dead, but worth finishing off the first season. we'll see what the next season brings...C+.

05/09/19
Rotten Season 1 - everything you eat or do sucks. you suck for living. everything that seems good sucks. you suck. die or kill yourself. but kill all the evil people in the world first because it's all around you. B-.
With Bob And David Season 1 - these guys are funny, but this one didn't do much for me. C+.

05/07/19
Five Came Back - good documentary series about 5 hollywood directors who participated in WW2 on some level and what happened before, during, and after the war. definitely worth the watch if you're fan of any of these guys or the golden age of film in general. B+.

05/04/19
UglyDolls - nothing much here. so-so nap time. C.

05/01/19
Santa Clarita Diet Season 3 - i think this is the last season and it's probably for the best. some of these tv shows start out with a good idea and good writing and then they seem to (understandably) want to extend their life beyond what the idea can hold. some shows should be one or two seasons and done...others can sustain 6-8 seasons. this one probably should have been a well-thought out 2-3 seasons and then done. the first season was strong - fresh, funny, good chemistry, etc. following seasons began to disappoint. C.

04/28/19
War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick - WW2 documentary. great look at WW2 over the course of 6 (?) hours. goes over a lot of the critical battles, the homefront, the life of a soldier, etc. could have been 3 times as long, but i'm glad it wasn't. finally answered for me why we dropped another nuke on japan. according to the documentary we asked for surrender after the first one and they refused so we dropped the second one 3 days later. my perception was always that we did it just because we were assholes. WW2 was probably america at its best internationally. saving the world again by ramping up production the way we did...everyone pulling together. must have been a great time to be a patriot. A-.

04/21/19
Us - not as good as i was hoping, but some good atmosphere and an interesting original story. probably need to see this again. it's been about 12 years since i saw C.H.U.D., but that plays a prominent referential role. B.

04/18/19
Trolls - the kids love it and i actually enjoy the music a good deal. the story is decent enough and there are some fun characters and funny interactions. one of the better kids movies. B+.

04/06/19
Dumbo - remake with danny devito. the animated version is the only version. was nice to see it with the girls and my dad, though. merritt loves elephants so much. C.

04/02/19
First Purge - prequel of the purge films. the films have a lot of potential, but none of them really fulfill it for me. i keep watching them, though, so maybe i'm just an apocalypse junkie. C.

03/15/19
Wonder Park - nice message and good enough to pass the time. nap time was decent on this one. B-.

03/08/19
After Porn Ends 2 - more conversations and profiles with former porn stars and producers. it really runs the gamut from happy they were in the industry and they think it fit their personality well to regret that they were a part of it. having seen all three of these documentaries, it seems like a) porn is not for everyone b) you need to be sure of yourself and your boundaries before doing it. interesting look into something that most people don't get to see. B.
Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes - i didn't really know the story of bundy until watching this. i knew he was prolific and i knew some of his tricks, but i didn't know that he escaped jail twice and i didn't know a lot of his background and how "normal" he was relative to guys like dahmer. i guess you just can never tell. as a true crime fan, something this in depth was enjoyable. B.

03/02/19
Greta - i love this kind of stuff. meryl was freaked out. B+.

03/01/19
Harry Potter: And The Half Blood Prince - can't remember one from the other at this point. overall the series was fairly watchable and worked in a joseph campbell hero kind of way. B-.
Innocent Man - series about two guys falsely accused of murder. grisham wrote the non-fiction book and appears in the documentary. these false accusation movies are so crazy because there are always so many layers to the story and so much conjecture and mystery. the truth is so elusive. it's maddening. B.

02/25/19
Bird Box - liked it. novel idea, post-apocalyptic setting, spare and atmospheric. good stuff all around. i should probably watch it again now that i know what happens to see if it stands up to repeated viewings. B.

02/24/19
Outside The Bubble: On The Road with Alexandra Pelosi - don't remember much, but pelosi's daughter is pretty fair overall. getting outside the bubble is good. here's a start. B.
John Wick: Chapter 2 - watched it while working, so not a great situation. it's a good enough action flick, but definitely not worth the online hype. keanu is fine. C+.
Stranger Things Season 2 - not a huge sci-fi fan and, though i grew up partly in the 80s, i don't necessarily love the throwback stuff for its own sake. i followed this series for two years hoping it would go somewhere, but it never does. much sci-fi never goes anywhere. it's just weird shit happening with partial explanation buried under more obsfucation. and that's what happens here...we find out the answer to one mysterious thing and then another comes up. one problem gets solved and another is invented. and since it's sci-fi, there's not any real rhyme or reason to any of it. i finally tapped out after one episode of season 3. the ride to that point was okay enough, but i don't see a payoff so i'm out. C+.

02/18/19
Super Troopers 2 - not at the same level as the original and overall a disappointment even with lowered expectations. the original was just such a perfect little indie film with a great marketing plan (they released the first full sequence for free online) and everything about it worked for me when i didn't have a care in the world. this one gave me some laughs, but just wasn't up to snuff. C+.

02/10/19
Splash - has a few funny moments, but overall i'd say it's more notable for its good cast/crew (hannah, hanks, candy, ron howard, levy). there is talent here and there are some moments that show potential in the writing and acting, but none of it really comes together for me that much. oddly it was nominated for a best screenplay academy. C+.

02/09/19
Ghostbusters - remake. this is one of those remakes that they did for the vagina having population. i'm not a big fan of the ghostbusters (vagina version) or ocean's 11 (vagina version) or lord of the flies (vagina version) or whatever. it really is a combination of two pathetic things: a lack of creativity from hollywood and an awful form of pandering that shouldn't be tolerated in the box office. this wasn't a very good movie and certainly wasn't up to the standard of the original. it has its fair share of digs at men and i guess that's payback for all that men have done to women, or something.
thankfully, most of the metoo movies are actually honest efforts at bringing more women into movies, but this isn't one of them. D-.
Harry Potter: Order Of The Phoenix - can't remember one from the other at this point. overall the series was fairly watchable and worked in a joseph campbell hero kind of way. B-.

02/08/19
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part - not much to write home about here. C-.

02/02/19
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch - really fun choose your own adventure type interactive movie. this is awesome stuff. i used to love the choose your own adventure books so having it in movie format is even better. it's not as interactive as a video game, but you do get to make real choices and see where things go. i could see more of this kind of thing coming out on streaming services. B+.

02/01/19
A Dog's Way Home - animal movies aren't my favorite, but the girls love animals so we gave it a shot. not bad for what it is. i probably took a nap so that's always nice. C+.
Stranger Things Season 1 - not a huge sci-fi fan and, though i grew up partly in the 80s, i don't necessarily love the throwback stuff for its own sake. i followed this series for two years hoping it would go somewhere, but it never does. much sci-fi never goes anywhere. it's just weird shit happening with partial explanation buried under more obsfucation. and that's what happens here...we find out the answer to one mysterious thing and then another comes up. one problem gets solved and another is invented. and since it's sci-fi, there's not any real rhyme or reason to any of it. i finally tapped out after one episode of season 3. the ride to that point was okay enough, but i don't see a payoff so i'm out. C+.

01/27/19
Surviving R. Kelly - this guy should have fled to france where they don't mind pedophiles so much, but he stupidly decided to stay in chicago. besides being a reprehensible person, he's also a low functioning moron who somehow has a lot of fans who give him money still.
the series does a really good job of showing how fucked up everything that touched this story is. the girls' parents/family are often complicit or willfully blind. the entourage he employs is reprehensible for covering up his shenanigans. the fanbase that supported him through multiple allegations is pathetic. the media and celebrities that continued to support and advocate for him... in the series pretty much everyone gets a hard look and everyone is shown for the part they played in him being able to continue to do this and continue to have success in the industry. this is the kind of stuff that really turns me off of the hollywood/entertainment industry. you have people like lady gaga who claim to be supporters of survivors, yet they collaborate with a known sexual predator because...? because she likes his music? because she sees the commercial appeal of the crossover? according to her it's because she was in a dark place in her life. take that for what you will. i don't know what it means. i think you basically have to assume all entertainers are attention whores and liars unless proven otherwise.
the series does a great job of exposing all that the sexual abuse was and all that went into allowing it to happen. sad stuff. B+.

01/25/19
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed - not a fan of the live action movies. always liked the cartoons. the girls love all of it so we watch these movies sometimes. doesn't do much for me (other than the hot girls [SMG and linda cardellini] in short dresses). D+.

01/19/19
On The Basis Of Sex - subpar direction and acting from the lead brought this down a bit. could have used a punch up. first "adult" movie we've watched with the kids in the theater. RBG and her husband start making out and she gets into her negligee...that was the most sketchy part for kids. other than that, it was perfectly acceptable for kids. they missed a lot, of course, but we talked to them about stuff afterwards and they just love being in the theater so it was okay overall. merritt dropper her hamburger before she had a bite and zoe cried because her burger was too spicy...so there's that. kids are the best. C+.

01/16/19
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire - shit gets real here. merritt was freaking out a little bit when we got to see voldemort, but she hung in there. B.

01/13/19
Dirty John - mini series based on the podcast, based on the real events surrounding a con man who got a hold of a naive woman. i listened to the podcast when it first came out and again after watching the show. the show really brings it to life, as the podcast is a bit flat at times. good series, well-acted. best thing Bravo has probably ever done. B.
Anon - sci-fi thriller that i don't remember much at this point. was happy enough to watch it at the time, but didn't stick. most films fit into this category for me. C+.

01/11/19
Making A Murderer Season Two - i'm writing these reviews a year later so there's much to be desired...what i remember from this season is that renowned defense lawyer kathleen zellner takes a central role in the case. i've seen her before in at least one other similar documentary (or maybe podcast) and she's apparently a pretty big deal in the exoneration community. not much seems to come of it in this case, however. dassey was released, but avery is still sitting in jail. this shit happens too much and it really should be a point of common ground for the left and right, yet it somehow isn't. big bad government ruining innocent lives seems like a no brainer area for reform. B.

01/09/19
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban - they all sort of bleed together for me, to be honest. this one was a bit confusing with who was good and who was bad and what the relationship was with sirius black and harry potter. entertaining enough. B.

01/06/19
Vice - adam mckay hates dick cheney and ist shows here. it's an obvious hit piece and it doesn't pull any punches. of course, cheney deserves most of it, but don't watch this expecting anything resembling fairness. it's a film about cheney as a flawed, aimless person early in his life who straightens out and finds a cause (power) worth fighting for. i think a more fair look at the cheney legacy would focus on his stated motivations at least a little bit. instead it juxtaposes everything bad that has happened in the last 40 years with the legacy of cheney. it's ridiculous on its face and it lacks context in many instances. but, hey, cheney is a true piece of shit so i'm not too upset by it. the film also is a good reminder how bad the bush presidency was when people today think trump is literally hitler and bringing armageddon. bush is still a way worse president when you look at actual things that actually happened (i.e., facts, not speculation). C+.

01/04/19
American Anarchist - documentary about the guy who wrote the anarchist cookbook. comes off as a pretty normal guy who mostly regrets his involvement with the now infamous book. basically seems like he went through a time in his life when he was really rebellious and it happened to be when things were politically very tumultuous. i remember reading the book in the library and thinking it was really cool. to see his side of the story and how it's affected him was pretty interesting. B.

01/02/19
Best Of Enemies - documentary about the vidal vs. buckley debates, and the people/politics behind them. interesting look back at an event that i knew nothing about. i knew of the two separately and i may have even heard of them butting heads, but i didn't understand the true nature of this debate until watching the film. if you're a political junkie then it's worth the watch, otherwise i'd skip it. interesting to see how things have/haven't changed. they were very much at each other's throats and were pretty nasty, but it was also a pretty substantive debate overall. B.