Bob’s 2018 Retrospective: 200 Mini-Reviews [Part 3: The Best and the Worst]

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Happy New Year fellow geeks!

Introduction (repeated on all parts)

I can’t believe another year has passed! For this site, we’ve only been here since September, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not watched movies all year! You can find my reviews before September at AGeekNamedBob and WatchPlayRead.

I watch a lot of movies. This year I banked 208 2018 films. If you count, you’ll see this list is little shorter than that. I removed festival films that will be wide released in 2019 and those I watched for Crypticon Film Festival. (hey, go to Crypticon!)

And because I love you all, I went through all all of those movies and wrote up a short statement for EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

There are still many I want and need to see, as I watch them over coming years, I’ll update and leave a note for them.

At the end of the year I took all those movies and separated out into a 1 through 5 ranking overall. Hard picks to do – five seems right, but often a 3 can be a bad movie with just enough good to push up, or a good feature with some issues. Thus, the little write up.

Without further ado: I present…

Part 3: The Best and the Worst

Btw, Part 1 here & Part 2 here.

You’ve made it through the mediocre and the pretty damned good and kinda bad end of things. You’ve likely been “oh really, that’s only there” for Infinity War and Mary Poppins Returns. And now what everyone cares most about – the top and the bottom. Unlike the previous portions which were alphabetical – these ARE ranked. I still have 2018 films to see – you’ll note there is no If Beale Street Could Talk or Vice on here yet. Check back for updates. – I’ll post changes above.

THE TOP OF THE LIST!

We made it so many movies of varying quality, and we’re at the best!  

JUST KIDDING. Before I talk about the best, we must discuss the worst!  (nothing’s keeping you from scrolling on past to the top but let’s play along).

All in all in the rankings, I had 14 films that scored the dreaded one out of give. I focused more on the positive films this year than I normally do. There are so many movies I know are godawful that I didn’t get around to like Life itself. Without further ado, the bottom 13 from best (heh) to worst.

14 Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare – DRUNK REVIEW

Goddamn what a mess of a movie. I have a hate for movies when rules are set up and then fucked away if the plot needs it.  A set of insufferable college kids visit an abandoned mission in Mexico and play a . gasp. Cursed game of Truth or Dare. Bad snapchat filters, awful exposition, and manufactured drama are son to follow. Is it bad that it wasn’t as bad as I expected? We waited to watch when we can drink, I wrote a drunk review. It’s bad but not as god awful as I wanted, thus the top of the bottom.

13 Ruin Me

Great idea, shitty execution. A guy forces his horror-hating girlfriend to go on a weekend campout that is supposed to simulate a slasher. As one would guess, a real killer shows up but no one believes here. It’s an idea but so underdone as a film. There is no way this company can run the way it does (even with the info we find out late on). Four people with a small amount of set up. It’s like the people who made the movie do not know slasher films at all. It’s frustrating.

12 Mute

Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie, made Moon in 2009. For this he’ll always have my attention. Source Code was a solid thriller. Warcraft was a mess. Mute seemed to be a  return to form (and in the same universe as Moon). And what a let down. The world building is a mess, the characterization all over the place. Alexander Skarsgard is robbed of the ability to speak but he does nothing else to make himself of interest. So fucin’ bland. Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux are two actors who are usually amazing, but just flounder. It’s like everyone was drunk watching Blade Runner.

11 Winchester

As a paranormal fan (and a member of AGHOST with Kim), the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California is one of the most well known “haunted” houses. I’ve been there, and it’s fascinating and beautiful. It’s more legend that it is truth, whether it be the Sarah Winchester story, or the ghosts. There isn’t’ much haunting the house itself, but that doesn’t stop folks from making a haunting movie out of whole cloth and tossing into the rambling structure. I’ll admit, it’s a great setting. If this was a better movie, I could likely push the fictional story with one real name in a real house portion to the side and enjoy it. Winchester is not a good movie. After setting up the Winchester story, we see just about five rooms of the hundreds mentioned, ignoring large swatches of the home. The film does keep reminding us how big the place with with pans over the real home cut into the filmed-on-reconstruction movie home. This is jarring as the real home in the overheads looks different than the movie home, mostly in you can tell the real one is 130 years old. Jason Clarke is a man going through the loss of his wife; he’s sent to the home to determine if Helen Mirren (in a wasted use) is insane for her beliefs and has to have the company taken from her. There he uncovers secrets, ghosts, histories, etc. ALl underwritten mixed in with badly set up scare sequences. It’s a lot of loud boos and little build or tension. And it just drags. Sorry Helen Mirren. This wasn’t your year. You started the year with Winchester. And ended it with… well, you’ll see

10 The Titan

Remember Sam Worthington? Ten years ago Hollywood tried to make him the next big action star, but he was too boring to really hit? He’s back, baby! Eh, kinda. He’s the lead but this is such a pile of crap he’ll fade again. He’s part of a family with Taylor Schilling from Orange is the New Black and goes through experiments in order to be able to visit Titan. It goes off the rails pretty quickly, with annoying leads and bad acting. I’m gonna have to stop myself right here because I don’t’ remember much of the movie besides just HATING it as I watched.

9 Keep watching

After sitting on the shelf for three years, this piece of shit was dumped on us in early 2018. A mysterious group chooses a houseful of what I guess are robots pretending to be humans – that from the words they speak and how they speak them – and make them do unspeakable acts to each other, filming it for streaming. A good idea, been done a few times – including Framed which played at the Crypticon film fest this year. This one is head pounding stupid and slow. Feels almost like a short stretched to feature.

8 Holmes and Watson – REVIEW IN SHORT TAKES

A late addition to this list – actually writing this long after the rest of this list. Holmes and Watson is a misfire from a ton of people who should know better. There are some jokes that work, or almost do, but really flawed delivery sinks them all. Will Ferrell has this godaawful accent that’s not only distracting but ruins his delivery, sticking him a rut. John C. Reilly tries and gets all the laughs the movie did get. It’s a parody about seven years too late, focusing on the Guy Richie duology. It’s not as head desk bad as I expected, but is not a good movie on any way.

7 Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms – REVIEW with Cody

And here’s Helen Mirren’s end of the year suck fest. By golly, this is a mess. But damn if it’s not entertaining. But I fully admit, if Cody and I were not alone in the theater and I had to keep it to myself I’d likely have not been so entertained. Everything is just wrong. How did something this disjointed, badly acted, badly written, Episode 1 CGI background hell make it through any sort of quality control? Both directors of this pile are fine directors, the cast is normally good to great – Keira Knightly can be hit and miss, but Robert E. Grant I’m disappointing in you. Helen Mirren isn’t allowed to chew the scenery nearly as much as we’d want as the non-villain. Her Rat King monster is pretty cool though. Motivations, backstory, and more general plotting change from scene to scene. Get drunk and watch it with friends.

6 The Possession of Hannah Grace – REVIEW with Cody

Dumped like a pregnant mistress into theaters when no one was looking, this bland horror film brings absolutely nothing to autopsy table we haven’t seen in other movies – especially the brilliant Autopsy of Jane Doe.  The whole thing feels like it was made on a weekend bender after people watched that movie had an empty Brutalist building to film in – seriously, there are “horror movie hospitals” that are empty and don’t seem to be running hospitals and then there is this monstrosity. The plot hinges on so many steps being skipped that would never happen in a real world – an alcoholic ex-cop is hired and trained in one night to take photos of and check in bodies in the graveyard shift of a Boston hospital. As apparently staffing isn’t a thing, the next night as she is ALONE on the FIRST DAY ON THE JOB – a job that you think would require a fuck ton of clearances – she has to deal with a possessed body and the insane dad of the body trying to burn it. Not one thing works in its favor from the ground up. Want more? Review here.

5 The Vanishing of Sidney Hall

A rare misfire from A24.  Stories about writers can so easily be up their own ass. Oh Bowie, is this one full of itself. Plodding in plot and full of shit characters, not to mention misogynist as hell this was a chore to get through.

4 Day of the Dead: Bloodline- REVIEW

Let’s just forget for a moment this an inane remake of my favorite zombie movie. Remove it from the source, and it’s just a badly made movie. Add the Day of the Dead connection back in, and it makes me angry.  It shares aspects of the plot from the original (unlike the other films stealing the Day of the Dead name), as if someone had the plot of the first read to them and they wrote the movie from that memory a week later. Fuck them for making Bub, the world’s best zombie, into a rapist douchenozzle. Fuck their stupid decisions and the annoying as hell kids at the compound. Fuck the awful zombie design. Fuck them again for what they did to Bub. 

3 The Clapper

An unfunny comedy is far more painful than an unscary horror film, or a badly done drama (badly done dramas are often more dramatic than normal…) Ed Helms and Amanda Seyfriend star in this creepy, unfunny drama of a man who somehow makes a living as an audience member on infomercials. When he gets some notoriety for this, he uses it to try to hunt down a girl he was essentially stalking/nice-guying who got suitably freaked out and took off. In no way is this romantic, or his a charming loser. It’s creepy and awful and Helms is so off base with every aspect of his performance. This is worse than Cedar Rapids. Do not seek this out, you will hate yourself the whole time.

2 Demon Within – REVIEW

How not to shoot a movie; shoot everyone’s butt and facing away from the camera. (not in Rob Zombie loving his wife’s ass way) How not to act in a movie, zero emotion from everyone. How not to structure a movie – leave out the information that would make us care for anyone until the end. There is absolutely no drive to anyone and anything in this hunk of shit. Just chugs along, suddenly remembers it’s an exorcism film, does that. Ends.

 

1 Slender Man

It’s no surprise to anyone films are often re-written during filming, changing aspects that may not be working for whatever reason. When this happens, there are reshoots of previous scenes to make a consistent product. No one told this to anyone involved with this movie version of the world’s most famous creepypasta. Rules change from scene to scene. Characters change within those said scenes and absolutely flip flop throughout. Not in an arc sort of way but suddenly like we’re missing swatches of information.For example – Cody and I, after watching separately, were both confused by Joey King’s character. In one scene she yells at the other lead girl (which one is the main protagonist seems to depend on which version of the script we have in this scene) saying “Slender Man isn’t real! It’s some dude fucking with us!” and the NEXT SCENE she’s now yelling at that character “Slender Man is real and is going to kill us unless we do [whatever stupid ritual is now part of the rules for the next five minutes].” There is no new information or interaction to change her thought process. It just us. The inciting incident – a student disappearing – is so poorly done I had no idea it happened until several minutes later. We are dropped into and pulled out of scenes with no grace at all, often coming in two early and leaving before the action as finished for the sequence. Characters drop out of narrative for no real reason (we wondered if a particual actress just quit and walked off set for how her character is wrapped up) The only thing that almost works is a library based scare sequence. For one fleeting moment, people had it together. Or maybe they didn’t but I’m just latching on to a sequence that had some competence so I thought it was decently done rather than the crapfest we had before. For a good Slender Man movie, watch the documentary instead

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