Another year wherein I loved to watch a movey! Felt like I barely watched any new releases, but I did literally watch more movies that last year. Anyway, it’s fun to look back on how I spent [REDACTED] hours of my life in 2019.
FIRST MOVIE OF 2019
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Saw it again in theaters on New Year’s Day with two of my friends who hadn’t seen it. It still absolutely owns!! Peter B. Parker is my ideal man (im not joking) and I am deeply grateful that he added “I’m not very liquid right now” into my daily vocabulary!!! Great way to start off the year.
An Aside: I lost my debit card at this movie theater which ultimately turned out to be a good thing because I got mugged a couple days afterward, lmao! Thank you, Spider-Verse. I look forward to what blessings you will bestow upon me in the future.
Audition (one of the greatest pieces of horror of all time, at the Music Box!), Drag Me To Hell (also at the Music Box!), The Nice Guys (Ryan Gosling truly kills me in this), Moonlight and Pan’s Labyrinth (double feature in Millennium Park! a lovely time)
LATE TO THE PARTY BUT STILL REAL GOOD
Eighth Grade (“I don’t know, I just think if she turned out like me that being her mom would make me really sad.” oh guess i’ll die), Burning, Tickled (INSANE…INSANE!!!!!!!!!!), Ordinary People, Looper, Bound (love it), Miracle Mile, Logan Lucky (I saw Channing Tatum the night after I watched Logan Lucky but couldn’t tell it was him because he looked like an asshole lmao), Whisper Of The Heart (love when Country Roads is a significant part of the narrative), Robocop, Terminator (ok so everyone in the Music Box laughed when Kyle Reese said “I came across time for you, Sarah” but i legitimately thought it was a really sweet and romantic moment!!)
MOVIES I DON’T KNOW WHERE ELSE TO PUT
Drinking Buddies, Triple Frontier, The Kindergarten Teacher, Border, The Debt Collector, The Skin I Live In (uhhhhhhh), In the Shadow of the Moon (oh i hated this one), Hell Or High Water, The Rider (I literally don’t remember watching this), No Country For Old Men, Wildlife (not bad but just not for me)
As you may or may not know, I truly love horror. I watch what could be considered “too” “much” horror / thriller stuff, so here’s just, everything I watched that I don’t really have much to say about.
Bite, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Howl, I Saw The Devil, Welcome To Willits, The Mummy, Overlord, Malicious, The Axiom, Treehouse, Down, I’m Just Fucking With You (these last three are all from Hulu’s horror series and they made me feel insane in a bad way), Mercy Black, Lovely Molly, Wrong Turn, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (if you think watching the sequel means I liked the first one, you’d be wrong!), The Perfection (I generally liked it but even I’m confused why Film Twitter went bananas about it on release), Friday The 13th , I’ll Take Your Dead, Brightburn (heavy groaning), Cold Skin, Monster Party, Body At Brighton Rock, Stake Land, Hell Fest, Abattoir, Witches In The Woods, The Nightshifter, Just Before Dawn, Almost Human, Halloween II, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, The Fly II (pleasantly surprised and charmed), Pumpkinhead, Haunting On Fraternity Row, Tales From The Lodge (sincerely hate it), Hagazussa (an indie horror that people are buzzing about that I didn’t care for), The Barn, Carriers, The Dead Center, Burn, From The Dark, Some Kind Of Hate, Harpoon, Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight, Vacancy, Dark City, Head Count, Bad Moon, Haunt, Polaroid (sincerely love Teen Horror), Isolation, Villains (fun with a solid emotional core), The Shed
Last year my friend told me he was amazed and horrified at how many movies I watch and how many of them end up being truly mediocre if not outright bad. I hope I can elicit the same reaction this year. There are a couple of movies in here that I really do like, but I think I’ll talk about them some other place.
HORROR FROM BYGONE DAYS THAT I REALLY LIKED
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
I know I’m really stretching it by including this film noir in here, but what are you, a cop? Absolutely loved this movie, by the way. Desert noir rules, especially when it grapples with toxic American masculinity. Also: the two main characters are gay and in love. “They talk about having wives-” yeah it’s an inside joke they have, sorry, I spoke to Ida Lupino and she basically confirmed it. Bye!
I haven’t watched much giallo, but this convinced me that I should start.
Extremely chaotic color palette and soundtrack! I also desperately want this psychologist’s green blazer.
The Stuff (1985)
It’s a huge bummer that this current wave of 80s nostalgia with Stranger Things and the like has chosen Not to bring along the anti-capitalist, anti-military, anti-corporation sentiment that characterizes a lot of “Campy 80s Classics.”
Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)
I wrote like 2,000 words on this on my Horror Blog!
Cold Hell (2017)
“You don’t know anything about God. You only have one god, and it’s very, very small.”
Feels rare to see any kind of movie thoughtfully grapple with Islamophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny (and the intersections between them), but Cold Hell does it!
I know this movie was divisive amongst fans of the original, but I mean . . . it’s just a different movie. I enjoyed it, and I appreciate how its way of honoring the original is by sort of doing the opposite of the 1977 Suspiria(ex: using muted color design instead of the super vibrant nightmare palettes of the original)
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)
One time at work, this guy came up to me and asked what time the bar closed and in my head I was like “is this R.L. Stein?” and then later my manager told me that I had been talking to Jack Black. Anyway, I love all-ages horror!! More!!! MORE!!!
2019 HORROR OF NOTE
(a couple of 2019 horror movies under my Best Of 2019 because they rule)
I have seen zero people talk about this movie, but it’s a fun little thriller that reminded me of a YA novel in the best way. Home to the only good Murderous White Teen because he uses his Kill Powers to get rid of rich people and cops.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
The creature designs in here are wild!! I appreciate how the movie is intended for a younger audience and doesn’t hold back on the nightmarish imagery.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
A brutal, ambitious fairy tale. I’m excited to see what Issa López does next.
Stylish, cool little thriller that’s very comfortable leaving a lot unsaid. One of the best Monster Reveal scenes of all time. And of course, I’m a sucker for a Fish Monster.
I love a horror movie that’s intentionally about toxic white American men and how they treat other people. It’s subtle and weird and apparently divisive, but I dig it and Babak Anvari’s style (he also did Under The Shadow, which rules.) Also like Armie Hammer is [REDACTED] in this one. I’m sorry, I know his character is a scumbag but he’s also On.
The Banana Splits Movie
Horror can have a little fun, as a treat.
Surprised there hasn’t been more buzz about this one. It’s hard not to compare it to Hagazussa and The Witch because they’re all period pieces about Something encroaching upon a woman in isolation, but The Wind is leagues better than both of them, lmao!
DEFINITIVE HOTNESS RANKINGS OF THE MALE CATS IN CATS, THE 2019 MOVIE ADAPTATION OF THE STAGE MUSICAL ‘CATS’
Cats wasn’t nearly as weird as everyone said it was. Still, it was definitely illegally horny. Nothing about the movie is hot and I hate the horrible scuttling sex imps that we’re supposed to call “cats”, but if you can’t admit that some of them were hotter than others, you’re a coward and a baby. Grow up. The only people allowed to argue with these rankings are those brave enough to make their own lists and attach their name / face to it. Fortunately for everyone, there really aren’t any good screengrabs of the characters, so this list will be mostly imageless. In ascending order:
Bustopher Jones (the James Gordon cat) - easily the worst
Growltiger (the pirate cat) - i forgot he existed. He’s still higher tier than bustopher jones
Mr. Mistoffelees (the magician cat) - big incel energy, deeply disappointed in the choice of him as the primary love interest. Your mileage may vary if you’re one of those Magician Fuckers of myth
Rum Tum Tugger (the Jason Derulo cat) - described to me initially as “The Sexy Cat,” Rum Tum Tugger is most assuredly Not Sexy At All. Also his song was just him, bragging about how he does nothing / can never make up his mind? Sorry, indecisiveness isn’t hot. He has an iota of panache. That’s all he has going for him.
Gus The Theatre Cat (the Ian McKellan cat) - seems like he’d be fun to drink with, was probably a looker back in the day, maybe has a silver daddy thing going on for him
Mungojerrie (the twin / thief cat) - crime is hot
Macavity (the Idris Elba cat) - He had a shot at being my Jellicle Pick [For Hottest Cat] but then he took off his coat and my eyebrows shot through the roof of the theater. I’m so sorry, Idris Elba…If only they had let you be James Bond! Then this never would have happened!!
Munkustrap (the narrator / guide cat) - My initial pick for Best Boy. He’s strong, reliable, confident, and is always happy to lend a helping hand. A pillar of the community. Most likely would be a great boyfriend.
Skimbleshanks (the train cat) - I knew he was gonna be the hottest the moment I saw him on screen. The mustache, red pants, the suspenders, and the conductor’s cap regrettably give him big[Leather] Daddy Vibes. I don’t know what else to say.
FER THE BOYS
A palette cleanser for myself, because sometimes I do truly only watch a movie for a boy.
Sweet Virginia (2017)
Netflix’s Daredevil endeared me to Jon Bernthal (who played Frank Castle aka Matt Murdock/Daredevil’s boyfriend,) and that’s literally the only reason I watched this. It’s a crime movie that doesn’t do anything new, but it’s solid. Back to what matters, I’m mad Netflix cancelled Daredevil before we got to see Frank and Matt being domestic and what not. “that was never, never going to happen” sorry i can’t hear you
A fun, messy sci-fi horror movie that I watched on a whim because it’s streaming on Shudder and I had a feeling (call it “intuition”) that I was gonna like the main guy. And I was right! He’s a pleasantly scuzzy dude who starts fighting ghosts. I’m simple!
Glad to see Jake G is still “On One” and shows no signs of stopping. Truly enjoyed Velvet Buzzsaw. It’s wild there aren’t more weird horror movies about the world of High Art. Still appreciative of the thread in the movie that grapples with Art Critics Who Just Don’t Even Like Art.
As a bonus, Jake wears an incredible sweater during an interview about the movie.
No Escape Room (2018)
So Mark Ghanimé might be one of the more obscure Boys. He was in a horror series called Slasher that I absolutely hated BUT he played a gay rich dude so I like him at least. Too bad he dies in like, the second episode. In the Just Fine SyFy original horror movie No Escape Room, he plays a dad doing an escape room with his daughter. I feel like, that’s all, I need to say. goodbye.
As we all know, Chris Evans has been one of The Boys since Snowpiercer (which is still his best look.) It’s cool that the evolution of his characters through the years, from “dumb but nice jock” to “grim, hardened man with strong sense of duty” to “smug bastard,” has tracked with the kind of content I want to see. But let’s be real, I still want to see all of it. Also like, Cellular legitimately slaps?? It’s real fun. Home to one of the best chase scenes I’ve seen in recent memory.
I also watched The Losers (2010) for Chris Evans, which was like, fine. Gonna get Avengers: Infinity War out of the way here too and say that: 1.) it was fun to watch in a theater, 2.) why’d they shave him, and 3.) extremely weak and homophobic of the movie to not keep Bucky and Steve together.
Warrior (2011) / Legend (2015)
The absolute boy. My number one. What more can I say? Warrior ruled, Legend was actively bad.
final thoughts: god i watch too many movies about white men
BIG BOYS (MOVIES WITH CREACHERS)
finally, i can talk about the boys that actually MATTER
My favorite of all the movies I saw during the 2019 Music Box Of Horrors. Was upset when they killed the alligator because he was an extremely good boy. Also: yet another “Campy 80s Movie” that has anti-corp/anti-capitalist sentiment at its core!
Deep Rising (1998)
there’s a huge lack of contemporary Infernal Deep Sea Creatures AND Abandoned Cruise Ship movies
The Meg (2018)
This movie fucking rules, I can’t believe people were trying to tell me it “wasn’t fun.” There’s a really big shark in it!!
A haunted house movie with some scaly boys instead of ghosts. Alligator walked so Crawl could run.
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
anyway stan Mothra
ACTION / THRILLER
The Night Comes for Us (2018)
Quite possibly my favorite action movie of all time. Solid, extremely blood and brutal movie with incredible fight choreography. The fight scene between the two lesbian assassins and the biker lady who radiates Intense Bi Energy is legitimately the Best Movie Fight Scene I’ve ever watched and also the Gayest!
The Villainess (2017)
John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum
Fun! The think the second is solidly my favorite. JW2 is insanely stylish(having a fight outside a Victoria’s Secret just as an excuse to bathe everyone is pink lighting still owns), but JW3 shies away from that and leans more into the Violence / Action. Oh well!
Steven Universe: The Movie
I loved it! Steven Universe occupies a special place in my heart for being Extremely Queer and Very Fun. My favorite song is Pearl’s part of “Happily Ever After” that lasts like 20 seconds but goes So hard.
I watched this because my good friend Jamie said I’d think Klaus is hot and, the movie is lovely and charming and beautifully animated.
I’LL NEVER BE A REAL CINEPHILE
The section dedicated to movies that lots of people are talking about that didn’t really do it for me. It’s honestly a little bit of a bummer that so many Big Discussion/Conversation movies were a miss with me. I feel left out! But also, I didn’t really like these!
I thought it was boring and was waiting for it to end, sorry!! I liked when Idina Menzel dragged Adam Sandler tho!!!
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
So there are a TON of scenes in this one that I really, really like (Rob Pat bludgeoning a seagull, Triton’s Curse, Rob Pat’s accent and general presence) but as a whole I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it. Whoops! I appreciate it and I definitely don’t dislike it like I do Eggers’ The Witch.
gah!! I just haven’t seen it yet!!!
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
this has been an annoying year re: “i can’t watch the movies everyone is talking about / the movies that look really good because they’re just not playing anywhere”
sometimes women be little
The Last Black Man In San Fran
big oversight on my part
The Irishman, Marriage Story, Ad Astra
im gonna be real, i will never watch these, and this is presumptuous but i’m pretty sure they’d end up in that previous section
I’VE GOTTA MENTION
Thunder Road (2018)
Truly thought this was a 2019 movie until I looked it up before writing this! I hate cops and there’s a scene at the end that I really don’t like but I love this movie. The funeral scene is one of my favorite sequences of all time. Something about this movie really resonated with me. Is that what they call “movie magic??” Floored and furious that Jim Cummings wrote, directed, and starred in this.
BEST OF 2019
In ascending order . . .
Pokemon Detective Pikachu
You can read my Letterboxd reflection for all of my thoughts about this one. Jokes aside, this movie brought/brings me an extreme amount of joy which is why it’s on here. Detective Pikachu is so cute, I want to DIE.
Utterly wild. I love so much and everything about this movie, from Lupita’s performance to the class disparity interpretation to the jokes to the Main Family dynamics to the general aesthetic…Feels like a horror movie made by someone who truly loves horror.
“Pas de deux” made me understand what it must have felt like to hear the original Halloween theme in 1978.
One Cut of the Dead
An extremely loving, sincere ode to the magic of movie making, the joys and terrors of creating art as a team, and understanding “better finished than perfect” but wanting to give your absolute best effort anyway masquerading as a found footage zombie movie. Loved it.
Not everyone’s thing but it’s absolutely my thing. The most fun I had in a theater all year. I love a convoluted whodunnit with a heart that also understands rich white people are Evil.
Also: I liked the “CSI: KFC” joke!! Sue me!! The joke is that Rude White Men aren’t funny!!
(alright, these next three aren’t ranked. I know the fact that there’s inherently an order makes it hard not to think of them in a hierarchy, but decolonize your mind!!)
eep, truly horrific! Everyone laughs when I tell them I was hoping for a happy ending, but . . . that’s what’s so good and hard about this movie. Poverty cripples your imagination, literally makes it hard or impossible to imagine a future for yourself. But things are so fun and go so, unimaginably well for the family in the beginning. They get caught up in it and so did I!
The scene I think about the most is when Ki-Woo is looking down at a garden party and comments that everyone looks so natural, so put-together, so good, even though this was a last minute shindig. It’s such a quiet scene that I felt in my bones. It is very hard to express the feeling (that still flits in and out of me every now and then) that this scene manages to do so effortlessly. Love it!
This is a horror movie set in 1970s Paris about a slasher targeting members of the queer community who act in gay pornography. Someone gets stabbed with a retractable dildo-knife in the first 5 minutes. The picture I’ve painted with those two sentences is the impression I had of the movie when I started it. I was not expecting such a deeply tender, emotional movie. Your mileage may vary, but I teared up twice and I’m still rolling it around in my head.
Despite being a movie about a killer targeting gays, I have not seen a movie that has more compassion for the queer community than this one. There’s so much here! It’s insanely horny and sexy and it grapples with a queer collective memory / unconscious and the inheritance of our community’s trauma and what it means to be empathetic. I say some more stuff here. There’s so much more left to talk about though! I’m gonna write a lot about this one.
I literally just watched this and I think it’s perfect. Not sure how to talk about it. I keep wanting to bring up my grandma who recently died! I think that’s a sign of something good, that you can’t talk about it with gently reflecting on yourself and your own life too.
And that’s it! Thanks for reading. See you next year!