Movie Reviews

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Recently, for an unknown reason, I organized all of my movies by release year. It worked out to around three-hundred and seventy movies. I ended up purging a few older Disney movies available on Disney+ that I didn’t feel the need to own anymore. Still, that’s a lot of movies.

I tend only to buy movies when I really like them. Sometimes if it’s a movie I liked and I find it cheap. Those movies tend to be digital, though. I’m hoping to find movies that I can get rid of, for space reasons. Because of my buying strategy, I don’t expect to find many.

My oldest movie is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which came out in 1937. Followed by The Wizard of Oz and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I want to make a blog post about each movie, but I might combine movie posts. If I’ve just got a couple of sentences worth of thoughts, I don’t see the point in posting. More than likely, I’ll end up varying because some movies I will have stronger opinions on.

I don’t know what spurred on this desire. At first, the compiling of the list was just out of curiosity. It’s not something I’ve ever thought about, and I wanted to know. Once the spreadsheet was created, it felt only natural to watch them all. So that’s what I will be doing in 2021. I doubt that I’ll do it all in one year, it will depend on the year, but my plan is to watch the movies in order with no jumping. At least now I won’t have to agonize over what to watch.

Christmas Movies I’ve Watched This Week – 12/20/2020

A California Christmas (Netflix) – If you’re looking for a mixture of the emotional Christmas movie and the hot city person coming to the country, then here you go. Wasn’t for me.

A Puppy for Christmas A ridiculously adorable puppy and a woman who does most things wrong and yet still stumbles into happiness. Again, wasn’t for me.

12 Pups of Christmas Oh my fucking god this movie was a mess. The dude was horrible. The woman was cold and unemotional one second and screaming at someone the next. Her fiancé cheated on her with her best friend and she found out on her wedding day. Then she moved across the country for a job where somehow she’s the only person to make super, super obvious fixes to a dying company. Apparently, finding homes at Christmas for 12 puppies is a difficult task. Then her best friend shows up and claims that the ex-fiancé manipulated her into cheating. It was a mess from beginning to end.

The Great British Baking Show Holidays (Netflix) – I’m not sure why the Derry Girls were in an episode of this and frankly I don’t care. It was great.

The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix) – I thought I’d already put this on a list, but apparently not. It was as good as I remember and has become a yearly re-watch.

Die Hard 2 This is as much a Christmas movie as the first one, though, not as good.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Another yearly movie that has a moment in it that I’d love to have edited out.

A Christmas Princess I feel bad for the actors in this one. The story and sets were god awful. This was easily the worst sets I’ve seen in a Christmas movie. It was honestly worth watching just to marvel at how bad they were. The story made no sense, but at first glance you’d think it did. The only people trying on this movie were the actors.

A Bad Moms Christmas This was pretty funny. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first movie and I certainly don’t have the same feelings about Christmas as these women do, but I laughed a lot. Do not watch around kids lol

Christmas Movies I’ve Watched This Week – 12/06/2020

A Princess for Christmas – I’ve watched this before and it’s as cute as A Christmas Prince. It’s probably better actually. It’s older by a few years and a nice sweet Christmas romance.

White Christmas – A classic with great music, you can’t go wrong here.

Holidate – I thought this one was funny. The couple had great chemistry and the side characters were good too. It wasn’t just a Christmas movie, though, so keep that in mind if you care.

Christmas Crush – This one was kind of weird. She made a wish for her neighbor to fall in love with her and it backfired. There was Christmas magic involved, but it was kind of eh. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a favorite and I won’t watch it again. Also, there’s no way a woman that loved Christmas baking as much as she did would use plastic bowls.

Christmas Catch – The dude was cute in this one, which was nice. The woman had intentional awkward moments. It was fine. I called the twist really early.

The Christmas Chronicles 2 – I liked the first movie a lot and this one was almost as good. Kurt Russell is the hottest Santa ever. No contest. Dude has got amazing hair.

Christmas with a Prince – I bailed on this one. The dude is so much older than the female lead, but he’s supposed to only be a couple years older. Seeing a close to fifty year old play a late twenties person was too difficult for me. Plus, there are kids with cancer. I tend to avoid the Christmas movies that are supposed to make you cry.

A Christmas Movie Christmas – I freaking LOVED the concept for this movie. Sadly, they didn’t quiet pull it off. One sister’s love interest acted way too childlike. It was disturbing. I might end up rewatching it next year cause I really liked the concept.

Die Hard-  Is it truly Christmas if you haven’t watched Die Hard?

Christmas Movies I’ve Watched This Week – 11/29/2020

I’ve been avoiding posting movie reviews because it’s just too much on top of my book reviews. But as soon as Thanksgiving was over, I started gorging on Christmas movies, and I wanted to post a little something about them.

I love Christmas movies, books, and TV episodes. They’re generally of lesser quality than their non-holiday counterparts, but I still can’t get enough. This year especially. So I figured I’d post weekly updates on what I’ve watched and short little snippets of my thoughts. Maybe I’ll even write a 2020 Best Christmas Movies list. Though, that might not be fair, considering it would end up just being older movies.

Home Alone (1990) – This is a yearly re-watch. When I was a child I enjoyed seeing Kevin handle business. Now that I’m an adult I go between horror that he was forgotten at home to completely understanding how it could happen.

The Grinch (2018) – I’ve never watched this version of the movie and frankly had no desire too. It was about what I expected and I’ll probably only watch this again if my kids want too.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – This version came out at the perfect time for me to attach nostalgia to it. I remember watching Regis and Kelly (yes I’m that old) when Jim Carey and the little girl were interviewing. I love the music, so this is a yearly re-watch for me.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) – Another re-watch that I got to enjoy with me kids for the first time.

A Christmas Prince (2017) – If I had cable my DVR would be full of these types of Christmas movies. I am so glad that Netflix has started making them. The movie isn’t perfect, but it’s fun to just have in the background watching.

A Christmas Prince Royal Wedding (2018) – I love the fact that a universe was born from the first movie. This one continues on with the feel of the first, though, it is a bit saccharine.

A Christmas Prince Royal Baby (2019) – Easily the worst movie in the Christmas Prince franchise. They pushed Amber past naïve and into stupid territory. Also, they did a freaking horrible job with her makeup. At 31 her crow’s feet should not look like that, I felt horrible for her.

The Princess Switch (2018) – My feelings for this movie remain the same as the first time I watched it. It’s not as good as The Christmas Prince. It’s a fine movie, but the prince is unimpressionable and boring. The man playing him is attractive, but he’s basically an accessory. There isn’t enough romance here. It’s hard enough to build a believable enough romance during these short movies for one couple, it’s pretty impossible to do it with two.

The Princess Switch 2: Switch Harder (2020) – Not the real title, but it should be. Romance wise this one is better than the first, but it really doubles down on my feelings for the prince. He comes off as pathetic and stupid and I can’t help but feel sorry for him.

Happiest Season (2020) – My favorite new movie of the year. Omg I nearly ugly sobed with this one, but in a good way. I could soooo relate to Harper in this movie and I felt such sympathy for Abby. Ughhhh I loved this movie. I’m going to re-watch it, not sure if I’ll do it this year, or every year from now. We’ll see.

Best Adventure Movies

I have, what I’m finding to be, a very strict definition of adventure movies. It follows the Wikipedia definition pretty closely, but apparently, that is not the definition other people seem to use; at least people that write lists and post them on the internet.

Wikipedia’s definition of an adventure movie:

Adventure films are a genre of film whose plots feature elements of travel. They typically involve protagonists who must leave their home or place of comfort and go to faraway lands to fulfill a goal. Settings play an important role in Adventure films, sometimes as big as the characters themselves.

Main plot elements include quests for lost continents and exotic setting; struggles and situations that confront the main characters, the creation of empires, characters embarking on treasure and heroic journeys, travels, explorations, quests and searches for the unknown usually also having to overcome an adversary. Adventure films are often set in a period background and may include adapted stories of historical or fictional adventure heroes within the historical context. Kings, battles, rebellion, or piracy are commonly seen. Adventure films may also be combined with other movie genres such as action, animation, comedy, drama, fantasy, science fiction, family, horror, or war.

The ending of the definition is where my opinion diverges, slightly. Adventure movies can, of course, be combined with other genres, but too often on these lists, adventure is the subgenre and has very little to do with the main parts of the movie. When I’m looking for an adventure movie, I want that to be the focus. Things get a bit sticky with films like Star Wars. It’s clearly sci-fi, but it’s also fantasy and adventure. It’s one of those rare movies that straddle genres very well.

Superhero movies will not be on my list. At least none I’ve seen as of September 2020. In my opinion, superhero movies have become their own separate genre. They have elements of action, sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure. The focus, though, is the superhero and all the superhero stuff. This is not what I’m looking for when it comes to an adventure movie.

Most action movies will not be on my list. If the purpose of the movie is to see people get beat up and shit blown up, for me, that’s action, not adventure. John Wick and The Raid are action. Sure, I could see how someone could argue they’re adventure, but, again, that’s not what I’m looking for in an adventure film.

*This definition is completely subjective and as the list grows longer will probably end up making no sense at all.

I think part of the reason I enjoy adventure movies is that unlike action, they often include female characters in more than a token role. Evie in The Mummy is a driving force in the story. Buttercup tries to save her true love and speaks up against the man in control of her in The Princess Bride. It’s Joan’s adventure that we go on in Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. Princess Leia, Abigail Chase, Elizabeth Swann, Yvaine, and Lamia have large parts in each of their movies. They each may not be the lead of their films, but their actions matter to the story.

Now that’s cleared up, here are the adventure movies I enjoy the most, listed alphabetically. More will be added as I remember them or watch them.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is about a man who is taken from Earth and forced to make his way through the galaxy with people he thought he knew. His initial goal is just to survive in his new environment, but it turns into a quest to find the answer to the ultimate question. It has a sci-fi setting and is a comedy, but the main purpose of the movie is Arthur’s adventure.

The Indiana Jones movies are my definition of adventure film. Indiana is an adventurer seeking treasures that belong in museums. Raiders of the Last Ark is easily the best. Temple of Doom still freaks me out a bit. Last Crusade has Sean Connery and is a bit of a rehash of Raiders, but I still prefer it to Temple of Doom. I actually don’t hate Kingdom of the Crystal Skull but I didn’t include a picture because the gallery looked weird on WordPress when I uploaded it.

Jumanji and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle both have kids completely out of their comfort zones fighting to survive and beat a game.

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, Return to King Solomon’s Mines, and Curse of the Judas Chalice are movies that were made for TV but they are very much in the vein of the Indiana Jones films. Noah is a professional student who finds himself chosen to work for the Library. He has to seek out mythical artifacts to protect them and the world. There is also a Librarians TV show that I love even more than the movies.

The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are once again very similar to the Indiana Jones movies. However, this time the female character has agency and an integral part to the story. Evie makes these movies, she has a larger role than O’Connell. She’s amazing. Also, everyone in this movie is gorgeous.

National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets have a team of people searching all over the country for treasure. They are being chased by bad guys and there’s a little bit of romance. It doesn’t have a historical setting, but it does have historical elements.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the best of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (Full disclosure I haven’t watched the last one or two). It has swashbuckling pirates, sword fights, and treasure.

The Princess Bride has fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, true love, and miracles. You can’t get more adventure than that, now can you?

Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile are two adventure movies that follow Joan Wilder, a super successful romance writer, and Jack Colton a man who just wants to buy a boat. They travel through treacherous terrain while being chased by a corrupt military figure, in order to save her sister. The sequel isn’t as good, but I enjoy it none the less.

Stardust has a lot of fantasy elements and I debated including it on my list. It’s one of my favorite movies, but is it more adventure than fantasy? I decided to go with yes. It has pirates. It has a young man on a heroic journey to find treasure for his love. The fantasy setting plays a roll, but the adventure story is what really drives the movie. It hits all the marks I love most about adventure films, but I could just be clouded by my love.

Star Wars just might be the most epic adventure story of all time. These seven movies are a saga that has yet to be surpassed. I know there are a lot of people that hate the prequels, but they came out when I was just young enough to attach some nostalgia. So apart from Clone Wars I enjoy them all. I also included Rogue One because it is the only new movie in the series that I have loved. It is one of my favorite movies, not only in the series, but period.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life have action elements, but Lara’s quest for ancient artifacts trumps that, in my opinion. Plus, I love being able to include female led adventure films. That being said, I wouldn’t call these favorites. I enjoy them and watch them when I’m not feeling strongly about anything, but there are many ways in which they could be better. I have not yet watched the newest, if I like it I’ll definitely add it.

Tomorrowland is another one of my favorite movies. This time, though, I’m pretty sure there’s no question of it’s adventure film status. Yes there are sci-fi elements, but the movie takes part mostly in the real world. You have a young woman searching for Tomorrowland, then trying to save the world. She’s taken out of her comfort zone on a quest for an artifact.