What’s this My Moviepass Year business all about?
Similar to an old blog series I ran briefly from 2013-2014, My American Movie Life, this latest venture is a weekly round-up of things I’ve watched. The difference is, this time I’m blogging my first year of subscribing to MoviePass.
Well, Moviepass is a subscription movie theater pass that allows you to see unlimited movies for a fixed monthly fee.
On this here blog I will chronicle each week of 2018 in terms of what I’ve watched at the movie theater, and what I’ve watched at home. Other services I use at home include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and DVDs borrowed from my local library.
The overall plan is to increase my cinema trips from last year. The goal?
See 104 movies at the theater.
That’s 2 movies a week.
Is it crazy, or is it genius? It’s both. I’ll be writing all about it here. Think of these blogs as less like movie reviews, and more like the ramblings of a squalid mind attempting to keep a movie-watching journal. Ready?
Week 1: January 1 – 7
Cinema movies: 2
Home movies: 4
January 1, 2018. I kick off the new year with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Why Jumanji? Two reasons.
1: Dwayne Johnson has a spell on me that I refuse to question.
2: My in-laws recently saw it and loved it. My father-in-law hasn’t been to the movies in years, and he called my wife to tell her how much he enjoyed the experience of being at the cinema with his two grandsons – our nephews. Picturing the boys chuckling away kinda sold us both: we were in!
Perhaps it’s my age which has allowed me to avoid the grip of nostalgia associated with the first Jumanji. Or perhaps it’s simply because I thought then – as I do now – that it was just okay. We entered the cinema with no hopes and exited 90 minutes later cheery and pleased.
Johnson’s perfected his niche of playing self-aware beefcake types, while somehow remaining utterly charming. Jack Black playing completely against type operates on a level that I refuse to spoil. He’s traversed a cycle in his acting journey that’s witnessed him go from skibbidy-boo-bop-ker-AZY to a more assured comic. I like him in this. Yet, the biggest laughs for me come from Karen Gillen.
There’s a personal snag for me to many of my favourite movies, a tie back to youth, when I’d hunker in my bedroom watching films on my portable TV, the night ageing around me. A brand of life reflection only permitted at a late hour, when there’d always be a movie on Channel 4 at some oddly specific time.
Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead is one of those films. My affection for the movie itself is twinned with my memory of watching it.
From the synth-heavy score – echoing shades of the divine Heathers – it’s completely and utterly a product of its era. Purchased as part of a giant batch of cheap DVDs around Christmas, it was well worth the rewatch. The bad haircuts, the bratty kids… and Christina Applegate being a badass. I, in particular, love Joanna Cassidy’s character; the chain-smoking, it’s-all-good vibe that pervades every scene.
Buried inside the film is a quaint notion that all teenagers entertain, whether they’ll admit it or not: all it really takes to figure out your entire life is a couple of weeks without parental supervision. This wild abandon appealed to me as a youngster, and now, as I watch teenagers and tweens behave selfishly, I feel a million miles away from them.
Moving things along, a film I’ve been meaning to watch for some time, and finally did: The Zookeeper’s Wife. It’s not quite as punishing as it could be. There’s an edge that’s lacking. It’s more quietly dramatic than turbulent. What saves it from being merely okay is yet another stellar turn from Jessica Chastain. Someone give her an Oscar. Please.
Heading into the weekend, I handed off the viewing selection to my wife, who chose from our Netflix queue Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I’m all for a good seafaring romp, and the first Pirates movie is, in my eyes, highly underrated. While attempting to knock the ‘best adventure movie ever’ crown from Indiana Jones’ head is futile, it remains a slice of solid summer action.
This sequel, however, is not. Elements are intriguing – the long-lost son of Will Turner could have actually meant something, other than a convenient plot-pusher – but the ghost pirates seeking revenge? A little tiring, now.
A film such as Lady Bird I approach with caution. Dripping with critical acclaim and a preponderance of 5-star ratings; is it really going to rock my casbah?
Well, it did.
Hype can sometimes derail me from genuine enjoyment, as I somewhat ridiculously impart pressure on myself to seek out the same joy that others have felt before me. Wanting to like a movie when everyone else likes it. It’s silly and irresponsible. I’ve stopped doing it and as a result, have learned that it’s totally okay not to be madly in love with Star Wars yet still enjoy it.
Luckily, Lady Bird lives up to the acclaim. It’s simply put: brilliant. It’s everything I want out of a movie; it takes me out of myself, it offers insight and a fresh angle on a topic, and most of it, it entertains. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and possibly even flat-out bawl.
Christopher Reeve. Time travel.
That was all I needed to know about Somewhere in Time. My wife told me about this film years ago and after spying it on the returns cart at work I figured it was time to give it a bash.
It’s an oddity beyond batshit.
It defies typical categorisation. Based on a Richard Matheson novel, it’s a genre-bending film that somehow combines sci-fi, romance, history, and hypnosis into a somewhat compelling feature. It’s compelling purely because who doesn’t want to find out what happens when Superman convinces himself he lives in 1912 so he can date Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman?
Standout comments from our couch include repeated mention of how handsome Reeve is, and how Keira Knightley’s entire career has been one long Jane Seymour impression.
Until next week, dear readers.
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