Archives for posts with tag: Film

I saw 114 different films in theatres in 2014, and that means that I had a lot to pick from. I did a lot of soul searching and I can safely say these are my top ten and bottom five films of the year, feel free to let me know your thoughts

First let’s start with my Top Ten

10. The Homesman
Seen 11/30/2014 with Dayle Decker

I had a very difficult time deciding on my top ten films this year. 2014 had no shortage of great films and as you can see I saw a healthy amount of them. While my top three films were very easy to identify, after that point I found I had to deeply examine each film I saw to see if it was worthy of being put up on the list. This rigorous process is how “The Homesman” just squeaked in at number ten. The acting in the film was phenomenal, as was the story, the editing, the sound, without question “The Homesman” is a well made movie. Unfortunately, it’s just not very interesting, it moves at a very deliberate pace, and large portions of it are dedicated to watching the protagonists slowly and silently cross the untamed wilderness of the old west. Despite all of this I still found myself enjoying everything that happened up on the screen, though it wasn’t until after the film had ended that I realized the profound effect it had on me. Sitting in my chair watching the credits roll, I heard the group of people behind me start to complain about what had happened in the film, how it was boring, and that Hilary Swank’s action near the end of the film didn’t hue in line with her character for the rest of the film. In that moment hearing these cretins miss the entire point of the film I began to weep uncontrollably. I just couldn’t help myself, I felt like the entire story had been for nothing and in that moment I was overcome with emotion on behalf of her character. The fact that the film had such an emotional effect on me is why I call “The Homesman” the tenth best film of the year in my opinion.

9. Top Five
Seen 12/27/2014 with Dayle Decker

I feel like I always end up with a film on my list from the last few days of the year, forcing me to pause and consider if it only made it onto my list because it is fresh in my mind. With “Top Five” though, the truth was easy to find, especially when you consider that since seeing it last Saturday, I have gone onto see four more films. “Top Five” makes it onto the list because as I was watching it, I knew that it would be one of those movies that I would always be suckered into watching if I stumble across it whilst flipping through the channels. It probably helps that it was a very well written film championing one of my favorite methods of storytelling, two people just walking around and talking. “Top Five” was so enjoyable to me that I know it will be something I will be watching with my parents as soon as the possibility arises and thus I have put an embargo on quoting the film so as not to ruin anything for them when that day comes.

8. Labor Day
Seen 2/15/2014

I tend to avoid other top ten lists before constructing my own, but since I raved about this film when it was named one of the worst films of 2014 by a few publications people felt it was necessary to bring that to my attention. Still I want to stick by my first instinct that this was the first film I saw this year that I knew would be a contender for my top ten. While the story may have been a bit cliché, the raw emotion that I felt for the characters on the screen still stays with me and even now as I write about the film again ten months later I am reminded of pain which I felt for Kate Winslet when she admitted to Josh Brolin why her husband had left her. This is a film I want to share with so many people and I hope that the negative buzz it received doesn’t turn people off to viewing it. In the interest of full disclosure this is the first movie I saw in the theatre completely alone, and that life changing experience of having the room completely to myself may have had an effect for this film being as enjoyable to me as it was.

7. The Drop
Seen 9/29/2014

Speaking of films in which I was the only audience member, my seventh best film this year also has the honor of falling into that category. I was initially wary of seeing this film, the final swan song of the deceased James Gandolfini, because of how much of a disappointment I found last year’s film “Enough Said.” While this was a much better film in general, and another great performance by Gandolfini, the true shining star for me was Tom Hardy. Before seeing “The Drop” I really only knew Mr. Hardy from his time behind a mask as Bane, but watching him in this film gave me a deep respect for the man as an actor. In addition to fantastic performances by the entire cast and a truly compelling story, one of the strongest aspects of “The Drop” was the setting. You just felt the weight that this world put upon the actors in every single shot. The amount of immersion present in this film helped to enhance the entire experience and when they finally reveal the truth that has been just outside your reach all film it hits you as an audience member just as hard as it hits the characters in the film.

6. Begin Again
Seen 7/23/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

I saw a lot of movies that featured Kiera Knightley this year. In addition to this, “The Imitation Game,” and “Laggies,” I also for the first time experienced the magic that is “Bend It Like Beckham.” This exposure to Kiera’s work made me realize just what a phenomenal actor she is. I never really thought of her as anything more than Elizabeth Swann from Pirates and that girl who that guy is in love with in “Love Actually.” I originally wanted to see “Begin Again” just for Mark Ruffalo, but it was his performance coupled with the work of Ms. Knightley that elevated this film to have a spot on my top ten. Additional kudos must be given for Mark and Kiera not winding up romantically entangled, I’m a huge fan of a love story not being a requirement for an enjoyable film.

5. Hercules
Seen 7/24/2014 with Kevin Thibault and Sejohn Serowik

It wasn’t until just now that I realized I saw my number five and number six films of the year back to back. Perhaps there was something going extremely well that week and it made those movies that much more memorable and enjoyable, but in truth it’s probably just a huge coincidence that things shook out that way. “Hercules” is one of two films made this year that tried to tell us a brand new story featuring the Greek alternative to Jesus, while the first was mired in mythology, this second film decided to ground itself in realism. This new take on “Hercules” is probably why I rank the film highly on my list of the best films of 2014. From the very beginning we as an audience learn that Hercules isn’t just a man, but a legend propagated by a group of several heroes with the titular character acting as the figurehead. The way that the film found a way to ground all of the fantastical stories of Hercules in truth was one of the coolest parts of the feature. The second best bit is that the film basically features as a remake of “The Avenger’s” set in ancient Greece

4. Chef
Seen 5/25/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

When I walked out of the theatre after seeing “Chef” I told my mother and sister that it was the best film I seen so far this year, and for a long time I thought it was a shoo-in for number one film of 2014. The reason is that the film just made you feel good, the story was uplifting, the cast was obviously having a good time, the script was super contemporary, and somehow the film was able to seamlessly weave social media into the narrative. In addition to all of that the food presented looked amazing, and reminded me just how good a “food movie” can be. It was also really nice to see John Favreau work on a small scale again, sure “Iron Man” was an amazing film, but Favreau really knows how to deal with the relationships between people in his films and “Chef” showcased that in spades.

3. Life of Crime
Seen 8/30/2014 with Dayle Decker

I loved “Life of Crime” absolutely loved it. I loved it so much that when I saw it at Wal-Mart I bought two copies without even thinking about it, and then almost went back and bought a third copy on Blu-Ray a few days later. Then two days after buying two copies of the film I ended up attending a taping of “Doug Loves Movies” and to my surprise the director, Dan Schechter, was one of the guests. My love of “Life of Crime” is so great that I tracked down a copy of the book it’s based on, Elmore Leonard’s “The Switch” and read it in a day. Seriously though, “Life of Crime” is very well shot and acted film. It also in my mind is one of the most faithful book adaptations I’ve ever seen. Every single word in the original text finds its way to the screen, while still allowing for the director the leeway to make the film his own. I was fortunate to get to see this film when I came across it playing at a small independent theatre while on my way back from visiting friends in Maine. Chances are you didn’t get a chance to see it when it was in theatres, but do yourself a favor and find a copy of this great film and simply enjoy it.

2. Whiplash
Seen 11/16/2014 with Dayle Decker

“Whiplash” almost didn’t make it onto my top ten, so the fact that it eventually wound up in the runner up spot seems almost surreal to me. The fact is that from the very first time I saw the trailer for the film, I knew that I would do whatever was necessary to see the film on the big screen. Discounting that fact that I am a huge fan of Miles Teller, and the fact that J.K. Simmons flat out impressed the hell out of me in two minutes, it was when you heard that line “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘Good Job,’” I knew I was going to see the film. The truth is that I always liked the teachers who were hard asses, the ones that wouldn’t settle. When I walked into my history class sophomore year in college and the first words out of the professor’s mouths were “You are going to hate me,” I immediately knew that I was going to do anything but. That teacher pushed me for one of the first times in my college career, which later made me take for fun a 300 level course on the American Revolution for FUN, and has had a lasting effect on the person I am in the world. Granted Professor Cohen was nowhere near as tough as J.K. Simmons was in this film, but my own desire to have someone in my life who actually pushes me, instead of just blowing smoke up my ass, really made the film hit close to home for me, and completely understand why Miles Teller would allow himself to be treated like that. In addition to all of those reasons why the film resonated with me, the soundtrack for this film was amazing, though if you aren’t a fan of Jazz Drumming, “Whiplash” probably isn’t going to be for you.

1. John Wick
Seen 10/25/2014 with Dayle Decker, Seen 10/27/2014, and Seen 12/23/2014 with Sejohn Serowik

“John Wick” is a perfect movie. I don’t usually say that about a film, I’m hyper critical and even if I love a movie there is usually something small that I can cite as a problem, that I can overlook. “John Wick” has none of that, and trust me I’ve tried to find something, that’s why I’ve seen it three times at the cinema this year. Fortunately, I have been thwarted in all attempts to find a flaw. The plot is so tightly woven, that there isn’t a single moment on the screen wasted, no plot threads are left dangling, the world is constructed quickly, efficiently, and with enough respect for the audience that you completely commit to the proceedings. When a friend who also saw the film told me it had a flimsy plot, I proceeded to explain that while it may be viewable as a flimsy premise the plot is a piece of true beauty. I don’t want to say anything about the film, because it truly is a film that needs to be seen without knowing anything about it beforehand. Just trust me that you want to see “John Wick” and go out and see it.

And now for my Bottom Five

5. Neighbors
Seen 4/23/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

“Neighbors” was a terrible film, for a comedy it only got one laugh from me, and that was during the (SPOILERS) Robert De Niro theme party (END SPOILERS). The best part of seeing “Neighbors” though was that it was a test screening and as I was leaving one of the moderators asked me for my opinion, I politely told her that she wouldn’t want it, then when she pressed me for it, I proceeded to deconstruct the film for eleven minutes. Afterwards, my Mother approached the woman and said in that matter of fact tone she has “He told you, you didn’t want his opinion.” Seriously, “Neighbors” is an unfunny boorish comedy, if you have to see a Seth Rogen movie from 2014 then seek out “The Interview,” now that was a good comedy.

4. Gone Girl
Seen 10/6/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

I’ve had a lot of conversations with strangers while waiting for shows to start in the tail end of the year, and it seems like the only movie anybody has seen since “Guardians of the Galaxy” is “Gone Girl.” Which pisses me off , because there were so many good films that came out in the tail end of 2014, yet people seemed to think they stopped at Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel. That is not why I hate “Gone Girl” though, the reason why I hate “Gone Girl” is because it is supposed to be a mystery, and I’m supposed to be dealing with an internal struggle of whether I should side with Nick or Amy. Fact of the matter is there was not a single moment during the film when I doubted Nick’s innocence, which means that the whole fun of the mystery was lost on me. The problem doesn’t stop there though, “Gone Girl” is also about 45 minutes longer than it needs to be. Seriously I did not like “Gone Girl.”

3. Jersey Boys
Seen 6/29/2014 with Dayle Decker and Dorothy Decker

Boring, “Jersey Boys,” a lavish musical about a band that I absolutely love and would love to learn more about was boring. That’s about it, I can’t think of a single moment in the film when I was happy I was watching it. I kept hoping that something would happen and guess what it doesn’t. The biggest trespass committed against me during “Jersey Boys” is that arguably the entire film is Frankie Valle’s story, and we hear from the other members of the Four Seasons, but never from him. That was what kept me going, this idea that I am hearing Valle’s story from his band member’s where arguably he is just a supporting character. Then with five minutes left before the credits, Frankie, speaks directly to the audience. A beautiful narrative device is destroyed and the film is left as a two hour waste of time.

2. Dear White People
Seen 10/29/2014 with Dayle Decker

All of these people are giving Justin Simien praise for his film, must not have seen it, because “Dear White People” is a mess. When the film doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, how am I as an audience member possibly supposed to interpret it. The worst part of “Dear White People” is that there are some moments of real beauty present in the film, but they are so few and far between that they come across as dumb luck, instead of an actual representation of talent. The moment that really stuck with me was the film major’s teacher giving her crap for her article comparing the gremlins from “Gremlins” to the encroachment of black people into a predominantly white suburb. This is a belief that has been championed since the film came out in 1984, yet the film teacher seems to have never come across it before in his experiences, because he is very dismissive of the idea, when he should as a teacher be upset that his student is basically just plagiarizing a popular idea without adding anything new to it. A film is allowed to build a world, and probably should if you want it to be an enjoyable distraction, yet when the world being built just makes characters stupid for the sake of plot, that’s not doing anybody any favors. The praise Simien has received will probably mean he gets to make another film, and I hope that he is able to focus in on presenting a cohesive story instead of a mish-mashed collage of ideas and ideals.

1. The Skeleton Twins
Seen 9/27/2014 with Dayle Decker

This is another film that was just a straight up mess, the only reason why is ranks as my worst movie of the year over “Dear White People” is because it didn’t even have to courtesy to maintain a sense of continuity for the characters let alone the plot. I’m still asking myself three months after seeing “The Skeleton Twins” how old the characters are supposed to be. Based on some of the comments made in the script it would be believable that they were in their late twenties or early thirties, but both of the actors portraying them are in their forties. Now I fully believe that age doesn’t have to play a factor when casting, but if you are going to cast someone that much older than the script cites, either adjust the script to make it believable or make sure that the actors can be believable in the roles they have been cast as. Worst of all is that I didn’t believe them as siblings, and since that is kind of the crux of the film, it just ruins the entire experience. I know a lot of people liked it and it got high praise from critics, but they must have seen a different film than I did, because “The Skeleton Twins” I saw was a complete piece of garbage.

There you have it the films that I though were the best and absolute worst film of 2014 in my estimation. If you agree or disagree again please feel free to let me know, because the only thing better than watching movies is talking about movies

It’s no secret, I did not see that many movies in 2012. I’m not sure why, it just seemed to happen that way. This year I realized that I truly do love movies and decided that I wanted to make sure that I saw a whole lot more in 2013. The result was seeing a total of Fifty-Six different new films in theatres and attending a total of Sixty-Nine screenings. What follows is my top ten films from those 56 unique films viewed in theatres. Agree? Disagree? Let me know how you feel about my choices.

Top Ten

10. About Time

9/26/2013 with William Fournier

11/5/2013 with Kevin Thibault

11/6/2013 with Dorothy “Mom” Decker

I had a bit of a struggle when it came to picking the tenth movie in my list. At the end of the day though it came down to the fact that I saw Richard Curtis’ film three different times in theatres  and was willing to see it at least two times more if scheduling had permitted.  While the premise is delightfully fantastical, “About Time” is really a story about making sure you make the most of every single moment you have on this earth. In reality, most of us don’t have the ability to go back have a do over when we mess something up, and seeing how Tim had to try certain events over and over again in order to make them perfect, was a fascinating way to tell the viewer that you have to make sure you live your life the way that you want to live it. If you want to have a piece of cake, then have the piece of cake. Want to strike up a conversation with a lovely looking young lady at the bar, then you might as well do it, because if you don’t then that opportunity will more than likely be lost to you for the rest of your days. In addition to tackling such a heavy philosophical message, the film also weaved a beautiful tale about family, and making sure you treasure your loved ones and not take the time you have together for granted. Plus it gave the world the ability to joke about how Rachel McAdams seems to exclusively be taking parts now where she is involved in relationships with time travelers, after doing this film on the heels of “Midnight in Paris” in 2011 (my top pick for the year) and “The Time Traveler’s Wife” in 2009. Personally I feel it is in an effort to keep the world from recognizing that she herself is in fact able to travel through time, but I don’t know if I should bother bringing that up. Since if it is true then she with use her chronologic abilities to prevent such a thing from ever being broadcast to the public.

9. 47 Ronin

12/28/2013 with Dayle Decker

I left the theatre after seeing “47 Ronin” turned to my sister and said “that movie will be on my top ten.” Don’t misunderstand, that isn’t the only reason why it’s on the list, it’s just being shared because it was such a good movie that I knew right away that it would be recognized by me for that fact. While a lot of people focused on the fact that Keanu Reeves was in the movie and how many jokes they could make about that fact, what they should have been doing is actually taking the time to watch this modernization of the ancient Japanese folk tale. The film makers were able to breathe new life into  well-trod territory while maintaining the sense of seriousness present in the original story.  Not only was the combination of fantasy and history well handled,  but the performances that were on display by all of the actors were truly top notch. Special acknowledgement should go to Rinko Kikuchi for her portrayal of the witch. She was so off the wall and crazy that every time she appeared on screen you were waiting with bated breath to see what insanity she was going to put on display. Seriously, don’t believe the hype on this film, go in with an open mind, and judge it for yourself. I think you’ll wind up pleasantly surprised.

8. Delivery Man

12/31/2013 with Dayle Decker

Going in I was expecting the kind of laugh out loud, easy comedy which the world has come to expect from Vince Vaughn. Don’t misunderstand, I was still quite excited to watch the film, I just didn’t expect it to be something that would stick with me. Luckily, I had underestimated this film and was treated to one of the most heartfelt and touching films from Hollywood in 2013. While it could be very easy to have made a 105 minute film about a man reacting to the absurdity of having over 500 biological children, they instead decided to approach it from all the available angles. Not every child was going to be a mini-Vince and thus prone to the same comedy pitfalls as him. In fact the majority of the children whose stories we hear are very difficult to handle as an audience member, let alone as the biological father of the person living with such issues. “Delivery Man” was a great film that brought a sense of realism to an otherwise absurd premise. It also delivered some truly memorable moments which I have found myself referencing many times since I viewed it. It also put Chris Pratt on my radar and made me that much more excited to see “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

7. The Spectacular Now

8/24/2013 with Kevin Thibault

“The Spectacular Now” was a film that I didn’t know a lot about going in, outside of the title. While, it would be easy to account for my love of this film on going in with no expectations, that would take away all the credit that is due to the actors for bringing such a hard story to life. In fact after seeing how well Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley handle such a heavy script with relative ease I can honestly say, that until they burn me, I will be going to see any film either one is attached to. Which yes, for those pundits in the crowd, does me I will be going to see “That Awkward Moment.”  Outside of the great acting, the film was so well made that I found myself deeply invested in the proceedings and as a result found myself hit that much harder by some of the moments presented in the film. I fully admit that I left the theatre with tears still in my eyes even after the credits had rolled. In fact this film was so good it was able to reinvigorate my love of going to the cinema, which briefly waned after a terrible experience at a theatre during the advance screening of “The World’s End.” If that’s not a testament to a film being worth seeing I’m not sure what is.

6. The Kings of Summer –

7/10/2013 with Dayle Decker & Dorothy “Mom” Decker

The award for film I traveled the furthest to see goes to the indie gem that is “The Kings of Summer.” Going in I knew nothing more than the fact that it was only offered in limited release and featured Nick Offerman and Moises Arias as actors. I’m glad that those three facts were enough to convince my mother and sister that driving ninety minutes from how to see a film was a good idea. “The Kings of Summer” is one of those rare movies that treats fictional teenagers like actual teenagers.  The anger and regret of these actors were put right out there on display, and in a medium where teenagers are often treated like children, the three young men in this feature showed that in spite of the age difference teenagers are really no different from adults. To top it off all of the actors gave fantastic performances and made this one of the most memorable films I saw in 2013. Not only that but the film was so good that I was fully willing to take a car load of friends to that same theatre to see it again a week later. Unfortunately, by that time it was no longer showing. Basically if you have had the chance to see “The Kings of Summer” yet (and let’s face it, you probably haven’t) I highly suggest you find yourself a copy and see a truly inspirational piece of independent cinema.

5. Fast & Furious 6

5/27/2013 with Dayle Decker

As much as I loved this installment of the beloved franchise, I find it hard to say that it was better than “Fast Five” and that is why like its predecessor it has landed solidly at the number five spot of my top ten.  Aside from finally convincing me that the events which took place in “Tokyo Drift” were actually canonical, this film did the impossible, and ramped up the action from the heist story of the last. People can nitpick and complain all they want about how long the runway was at the end of the movie, and can point out every little thing that were too absurd to happen in real life, but that isn’t why I go to the movies. Me, I go to the cinema to be entertained and “Fast & Furious 6” delivered in the entertainment department in spades. I am extremely excited for the next picture and again my give credit to a series that is six movies deep and still is able to create a sense of shock and awe every film and leave the viewer wanting more.

4. The Purge

6/7/2013 with Dayle Decker

I initially saw “The Purge” because I thought it had an interesting premise. By no accounts did I think I would leave the cinema feeling like I had just seen a great film. While it would be easy to think it may have something to do with my love for Ethan Hawke as an actor taking the foreground this year. I believe it has to do with the fact that film fully immersed me into the world it was creating. For 85 minutes I was transported to a world where every year for twelve hours all crime is legal, and after the film I wanted to continue the discussion about the further reaching effect such an event might have in the real world. Still I was disappointed when I heard that there was going to be a sequel to this film and I initially imagined it would wind up with a much lower ranking on my list. Luckily, while eating supper with some strangers recently the after dinner conversation turned to “The Purge” and it struck me that while a sequel in the same vein as the original would be terrible, if I instead focused on how other people spent the night without law and order and told more tales from a world where “The Purge” exists then there is a chance that my love for the original would only grow as we get to spend more time in the universe that was so beautifully constructed in the original. Plus that fact that I was able to engage in such a deep conversation about a film I had seen seven months prior, indicated to me that this film had earned the spot of fourth best film of 2013.

3. Escape Plan

11/26/2013 with Dayle Decker

As I was driving home from seeing “Escape Plan” I remember clearly saying that it was “a shame it won’t win any Oscars,” considering most people hated the film I could see that being a very polarizing comment. Still the performance given by Jim Caviezel, as the warden of the prison, was so clearly deserving of a nod from the Academy in the category of Best Supporting Actor that there was no other place on the list I could have ranked this underappreciated gem. A big part of my enjoyment of a feature is how deeply the actors are engrained in their characters. While Caviezel clearly gave the best performance and is the first reason I will cite when telling others to view “Escape Plan” kudos must also be given to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone for also committing so completely to their characters. Even as these two men embark on becoming septuagenarians it is clear to see why they were do representative of the action genre and that they should still not be counted out when it comes to making a great film.

2. Before Midnight

6/18/2013 with Dayle Decker

The joke has been made that I am the unofficial official president of the Before Trilogy Fan Club Which is unfortunately an accurate summation of my love for the series, which is pure video store employee gold. At least that is how I look at the now twenty year old experiment performed by director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Perhaps that’s because I was only exposed to the series while working at Blockbuster when “Before Sunset” was released. Hearing it was a sequel, and with the luxury of free rentals, I naturally took home the store’s copy of “Before Sunrise” and instantly fell in love. I had no idea that “Before Midnight” was even a movie, until I saw it on the marquee when I went to see “Man of Steel.” That same night I tracked down DVD copies of both “Sunrise” and “Sunset” and proceeded to submit my sister and myself to watching the films in anticipation of seeing the new film that coming Tuesday. Our reward was seeing a film that perfectly reflected where these characters would be after so many years of being in love. A film ripe with dialogue and moments that I can call to mind at a moment’s notice and be brought to a place of pure joy or utter sadness. This film is truly a cinematic achievement and only misses out on the top spot for requiring the viewer to watch two other films to truly enjoy its magic.

1. Fruitvale Station

9/10/2013 with Dayle Decker

It is a rare film that causes a person to get so caught up in the narrative that they forget they are already aware of the ending. While I have heard many critics critique the fact that they heard other audience members wishing that Oscar Grant III wouldn’t be killed in the end of the film. I personally feel that the ability to create such a likable and engaging story where audience members are willfully hoping that a well known outcome will be changed in the end, is something that should be praised not chastised. It would have been very easy to go into a film like “Fruitvale Station” knowing the ending and letting that dictate the viewing experience. Yet, the product which the director was able to create is so engaging you let go of the facts and just allow yourself to enjoy. In addition to the script the film also had exceptional cinematography and acting which is why as soon as I left the theatre the only phrase I was able to use to describe it was “Fucking Exceptional.”

In having seen so many movies this year I decided that I had also collected enough evidence to name the five movies of the year that I kind of wish I had passed on. Without further ado here are the worst films I feel I saw in 2013

 

Bottom Five

5. Frozen

11/28/2013 with Dayle Decker & Dorothy “Mom” Decker

I have been looking forward to putting “Frozen” into my bottom five films of 2013 since I left the theatre. The reason is simple dear reader, I went in expecting to see a movie and instead was greeted with a musical. Granted this is the kind of thing one may come to expect from Disney, but in the past while the films have included songs those songs were used in an effort to enhance the story, not outright tell it. “Frozen” put all of the storytelling into the music, which is why I made my earlier statement, to make matters worse none of the non-singing scenes really did anything to enhance the characterization of the cast, leaving them feeling hollow and one dimensional. I was truly disappointed by “Frozen” and after rewatching “The Princess and The Frog” and “Tangled” over the past two weeks I definitely feel that the responsibility falls squarely on it falling short as a film.

4. This Is The End

6/11/2013 with Dayle Decker

I went to see this film for exactly zero dollars and I still feel like I was ripped off. I especially felt let down considering the film was filled with actors that I originally fell in love with in the failed Judd Apatow television series “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared.” I think where the disconnect really began was the fact that the actors were supposed to be playing exaggerated versions of themselves, I think if instead they were portraying characters then it would have been easier to become invested in the story. The fact that the actors kept referring to one another by name took me out of the film each time. Combine an inability to lose yourself in the movie with a weak story and a poorly written script and you have a recipe for disaster, that couldn’t even be saved by the reunion of the Backstreet Boys in the final scene.

3. Evil Dead

4/6/2013 with Kevin Thibault

I love “The Evil Dead,” it’s one of those movies I remember having people over to the house on the weekend and watching over and over when I was in High School. It’s a piece of cinema that has had a huge impact on me as a lover of the art, but most importantly it has come to represent a pretty amazing time in my young life. I watched every film in the trilogy hundreds of times, I bought and read the comic books, and I even played the admittedly mediocre video games. Every year, we would hear rumours that a sequel was in the works and every year we would find that these rumours were false. Then this picture came along and we finally thought that the prophecy was going to be fulfilled. While it wasn’t the sequel we had all dreamed of “Evil Dead” as a remake still had me excited to revisit a world where the Necronomicon Ex Mortis is a real threat and demons would be waiting around every corner once the book bound in flesh was read, threatening to possess any foolish enough to do so. Unfortunately while I was hoping for an original take on the premise in the remake, we instead got a movie that for the first 80% was basically the exact same thing (with an added addiction plot point) and 20% a complete expectorating in the face of what they had already done. I admittedly was kind of alright with the film when it was just a crappy rehash of what had come before, yet when the script flipped and the formerly possessed sister became the heroine. I was left with such a sour taste in my mouth that this film lost all chance of being remembered fondly. While there is talk that this will be threaded into the original trilogy somehow. The downright terribleness of this film, have caused me to lose all interested in The Evil Dead series.

2. Enough Said

10/9/2013 with Dorothy “Mom” Decker

This movie was terrible… enough said. All joking aside, this was in fact a pretty awful example of entertainment. The script was contrived and unbelievable, there was nothing that interesting that happened within that stuck with me, and above all the best twist in the film was betrayed in the first few moments of the trailer. I was hoping that with such great leads a Julia Louis-Dreyfus and (RIP) James Gandolfini even knowing the central crux of the conflict going in wouldn’t keep it from being an uninteresting film to watch. What I was counting on was the film being so boring that I would instead find myself sitting in the theatre waiting for the big reveal and for the other shoe to drop. The worst offense was that they stuff the film so full of half delivered on side plots that the entire proceedings became ungainly to manage. Perhaps if the action had been more focused on the main plot this film would have been a bit more enjoyable. That or perhaps the director was so busy apeing Woody Allen’s style that it kept reminding me of his film and making me question why I hadn’t just watched “Annie Hall” again.

1. RIPD

7/29/2013 with Dayle Decker

That’s it after all that we have finally reached my least favorite movie for the year 2013. Is anybody really surprised? I hope not, since after seeing this abortion of modern cinema I was very vocal regarding my feelings about it. “RIPD” was such a mess of a movie, every single thing about the film felt half finished, whether it was plot points, recurring jokes, and even characterization. If it had been an original property, perhaps such transgressions would be easier to understand. Unfortunately, this film is based on a comic book, and having read that story I am at a complete loss as to how this is what they wound up with for the film. “RIPD” is a film that you should never… ever… ever  watch, seriously it is that bad. The single glimmer of light in this train wreck was Kevin Bacon, but even his appearance as a major player in the film wasn’t enough to gloss over all of the awfulness present within.

And there you have it my top ten and bottom five films of the year 2013. Just so you can see the other films that were eligible here is a list of all the films I saw in 2013.

1.            Identity Thief – Dayle

2.            A Good Day to Die Hard – Dayle

3.            The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

4.            Evil Dead – Kevin

5.            G.I. Joe Retaliation – Kevin

6.            Trance – Kevin

7.            42 – Mom, Dad, Dayle

8.            Pain & Gain  – Kevin

9.            Iron Man 3 – Dayle

10.          The Hangover III – Dayle

11.          Fast & Furious 6 – Dayle

12.          Run It

13.          Now You See Me – Kevin, Dayle

14.          The Purge – Dayle

15.          After Earth – Kevin

16.          The Internship – Dayle

17.          This is the End  – Dayle

18.          Man of Steel – Kevin

19.          Before Midnight – Dayle

20.          Monster’s University – Dayle

21.          My Little Pony: Equestria Girls  – Dayle

22.          The Heat – Mom, Dad, Dayle

23.          White House Down – Kevin / Geny, Mom, Dayle

24.          The Lone Ranger – Dayle

25.          The Kings of Summer – Mom, Dayle

26.          Pacific Rim – Kevin

27.          The Way Way Back – Michelle, Kevin / Dayle

28.          The Wolverine – Dayle

29.          RIPD – Dayle

30.          RED 2 – Dayle

31.          Turbo – Dayle

32.          Smurfs 2 – Dayle

33.          We’re The Millers – Dayle / Michelle

34.          Blue Jasmine – Dayle

35.          The World’s End – Dayle / Kevin

36.          The Spectacular Now – Kevin

37.          Kick-Ass 2 – Dayle

38.          Star Trek Into Darkness

39.          World War Z

40.          Fruitvale Station – Dayle

41.          In A World… – Dayle

42.          About Time – Will / Kevin / Mom

43.          Gravity – Dad / Dayle

44.          Enough Said – Mom

45.          Ass Backwards – Kevin

46.          Thor: The Dark World – Kevin

47.          Bad Grandpa – Kevin

48.          12 Years a Slave – Kevin

49.          Escape Plan – Dayle

50.          Frozen – Mom, Dayle

51.          Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – Dayle

52.          Dallas Buyer’s Club – Kevin

53.          Philomena – Mom

54.          Nebraska – Kevin

55.          Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Dayle

56.          47 Ronin – Dayle

57.          Grudge Match – Dayle

58.          American Hustle – Kevin, Sejohn

Wow, what a crazy weekend it has been. I do apologize for the lack of coffee commission, but I have been very busy over the last two days and this is the first time I was able to get to my computer to post. Not only that, but I wasn’t even able to pick up coffee ,even though I have two commission pending, and if I’m not drinking the sweet caffeinated beverage that America apparently runs on then it means I’m not writing.

Yesterday I wrapped on location filming for the film I mentioned a week ago. This whole thing is very close to being complete, only needing two more scenes filmed both of which don’t feature dialogue. It is truly exciting that despite all of the setbacks and delays we are so close to the finish line. “Northwood” is the name of this picture, and I’m sure I’ll be posting all sorts of information as soon as the film is done and submitted to the film festival.

In addition to filming yesterday, I spent the three hours before the shoot helping my Mother prepare for the annual Decker Family Solstice party. The best part about helping set up is that upon returning home I was able to reap the rewards of the food and beverage that was available to the guests. After the party, I went to a birthday celebration where I finally saw the entirety of “Christmas Vacation” and watched one of my favorite Christmas films (and holiday prerequisite viewing) “Die Hard” there was also a copious amount of alcohol imbibed by all in attendance and I didn’t return back home until (Big Apple) 3:00 AM, totaling twenty-one hours of solid consciousness.

Then today, I took part in what I thought was a well-known Devon Decker tradition, of shopping for all my Christmas gifts on the twenty-second of December. I’ve been doing it since 2005, but as my Sister wasn’t aware of it, I am beginning to wonder if it truly is an established fact that I wait until three days to Christmas to finally go shopping.

Before the shopping though I took care of the unfinished business that was making Dayle, watch “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and then going to the cinema to see my fifty-fifth unique film in the theatre “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” Overall I thought it was a very good film, but I kind of wish the last twenty minutes had played out differently. Still I say go see it and judge for yourself. Especially since Steve Carell, who was undoubtedly the best part of the first film somehow turned his performance up to eleven and gets the prestige of being the MVP in the sequel as well.

After that I thought I might get a chance to sit down drink a cup and write a little something, but when a college friend is in town from Ohio and invites you to play some billiards, you say yes! I quickly joined my friends and played some great games of pool and had some laughs as we spoke of the past. We also firmed up plans for something special I hope will become the norm going into the New Year, but again more information when it becomes available.

There you have it readers, a succinct reason for the lack of new material this week. Since I do want to reward you for finding this page I will include a little something written long ago that I hope you will enjoy.  Even though I never sent this letter, it seems appropriate because I just recently made very public my love of the Canadian television show “Being Erica”

February 27th, 2011

Dear Jana Sinyor,

I am writing because I am a huge fan of your show “Being Erica.” Ever since I saw a promo for this one of a kind show on Soapnet I was intrigued. At the time the second season had already started and it seemed impossible for me to see the first season. As we tend to do in this modern age I turned to the internet and found that it had been released on DVD. I was ecstatic at my good fortune, but this feeling of ecstasy quickly waned as I realized it wasn’t available for sale in America. I planned a trip to a Fry’s Electronics in Toronto to pick myself up a copy, but was unable to fulfill these plans and I thought my desire to watch the show was might just remain as such. Then I did another thing that has become common place in the modern world, I went to Amazon, the American site, didn’t have it available for sale, but a quick visit to Amazon.ca, proved to be fruitful and I finally found a copy of the show that I would be able to purchase. When I received my purchase, I sat down and watched the entire series and loved every moment of it. The show I had only invented expectations for ended up not only living up to them, but exceeding them. Initially I had only been interested in the show because of the concept, a woman traveling into her past in order to better her future. After watching the first season I realized that it was so much more than that. Not only was the time travel much more than I had imagined, the characters were realistic, the writing was superb, and the comedy was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. In fact the moment I always reflect to my friends about the first season is when Erica performed “Hit Me Baby One More Time” in the fourth episode, it was a beautiful and hilarious moment, which was only perfected by Erica’s rationalization of why it wouldn’t be a problem to Dr. Tom. After finishing the first season, I was excited to watch the second season on Soapnet. When I tuned to the channel for an episode I was surprised to see that it was episode 9 of the first season “Everything She Wants.” Being as it is one of my favorite episodes of the first season, I decided to watch it again, and am I glad I did. On that day I realized that despite appearing on a cable network, in order to protect our fragile American sensibilities they edit the crap out of the American broadcasts of the show. I decided despite wanting to spend more time with the characters who had so endeared themselves to me as soon as possible, and finally having the mystery of Dr. Naadiah solved. I would reserve myself to waiting for the release of the Second season on DVD. I finally got the second season in November and devoured it. I was especially impressed by how Erica’s relationship with Ethan played out. Unlike most shows, where the romance that you’ve been waiting an entire season for finally happens, their relationship didn’t stop the show from growing, in fact I don’t think the second season would have been half as good as it was if you hadn’t finally taken a realistic approach to their relationship. The fact that they wound up breaking up in the end was not only a believable choice in the realm of the show, but also something I was completely surprised by. Most media today thinks that a love story is necessary for any project, and to have these two characters that everybody was rooting to get together in the first season, end their relationship with one another completely by the end of the second, was compelling television. I wasn’t only surprised by that, but also by how the subject of Dr. Tom was dealt with. In a show called Being Erica, I was nervous that the past of her physician would be dealt with in one self-contained episode, especially when the first episode of the season was called “Being Dr. Tom.” Instead that episode only created more questions about our favorite therapist, that would only be partially answered, and even then in small bits throughout the rest of the season, still leaving further answers to be found in future seasons. I now wait eagerly for the DVD release of the third season. While I have found and watched it already on the internet, I do apologize, but I couldn’t contain my curiosity at what might happen after the amazing closing of the second season, and then finding out there was already a completed third season available to watch. Also huge kudos are due for the ninth episode of season three, talk about a game changer, and all of that happened before the theme song, caught me completely by surprise and yet didn’t feel forced or out of place.  Still when the DVD is released, I imagine sometime in September, I will log onto Amazon.ca that day, wherever I may be (I ordered season two, while having lunch in St. Maarten) and order myself a copy. I will then hunker down and watch through all three seasons again, because my enjoyment of this show is just that strong. Now enough doting and onto the real reason why I am writing you, a request: Yesterday I stumbled across the dual news that Being Erica has been renewed for a fourth season in Canada, and also that the fourth season will be the last. In addition to this I also read your statement that the fourth season will answer all of the questions that have been left unanswered. I was super excited and a little saddened to hear that the fourth will be the last season, but in addition to these feelings I was also inspired. I don’t and won’t pretend to know how casting or finding extras works for television shows, but I wanted to write you and see if there is any way that I can appear in the fourth season of Being Erica. I don’t want to be a main character, I don’t want to say something on camera, all I want is to be visible enough in background action that one day when I’m watching the final season of Being Erica on DVD with friends I could pause and say and there I am, that’s me ordering a coffee in the background of one of my favorite television shows. I figured there its free to make a request and that there’s no harm in asking, and if you’ll forgive the cliché, I think I would regret it if I didn’t take the time to write you this letter. I appreciate your time and wish you and your team all of the luck in the world with the fourth season. I would also like to thank you for creating such groundbreaking television. I am a creative minded person, and seeing that something so quirky and fun and so unlike the norms of conventional television not only made it to the airwaves but continues to be successful, inspires me to actual follow some of my own goals in life and gives me hope that audiences might also be receptive to my own work. Thank you again and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Devon D. Decker

To some it may seem counterintuitive to write about not having been able to get a cup of coffee today. In my estimations though it seems like the fairest thing is to admit what happened and own the fact that I was unable to get a cup of coffee today.

See I have been working on a film since the beginning of October as an actor, mentor, and all around utility person when it comes to the ancient art of movie making. Unfortunately due to some unforeseen scheduling conflicts our production had been on hold for a month only to be restarted today. As such I have been on set for the majority of the day, and upon wrapping shooting for the day, I found myself at home where I ate a large meal and then promptly fell asleep. I just woke up and am taking this time to explain why there will be no coffee commission today, I will then promptly be heading back to bed.

It was a pretty emotionally exhausting scene that was shot today and I guess I gave more of myself than I thought and find myself more than a little bit tired. The good news is that I was able to get three commissioners while on set today and you will have essyas based on ideas submitted by Brandon Lafleur, Justin, and Haley Pittman.

Thank you for your understanding regarding this matter and I will see you all tomorrow for a full blown coffee commission.

Day Three and due to the storm I had to turn in my Mother card far earlier than I had intended. Still considering the theme she has cooked up for me it may be a blessing in disguise. See she has asked me to write about my best memory, which takes these fun little blog posts I’ve been doing and makes the whole thing feel a lot more like homework.

I suppose that’s not really fair. I don’t think she did it maliciously (Note: I know she did it maliciously). Still when it comes down to memories I don’t really hold onto them, whether good or bad. I guess its part of learning to let the bad memories go, rather than try to hold onto any memories at all I just flush them away never to be heard from again.

I’m sure those out there who have had to sit through me telling the same overlong, overblown, and occasionally difficult to believe stories are yelling at their computer screens right now, but the distinction lies in the fact that while I have stories, I tend to categorize events in my life as either victories or defeats. Certainly I have a bit more fondness for the ones where I came out ahead, but when asked to look through the things that I have done through a completely different filter, a filter which forces me to rank all of the millions of memories I have made, over my twenty-seven years of life, from worst to best. The whole thing starts to reek of effort and effort is truly all homework is built to measure.

At this point if this was actually homework, the teacher would be angry because I have subverted the actual topic of the paper as a way to both increase the length and tell them exactly what it is I think of their stupid assignment.  Which is unfortunate because I think all of that backstory and rigmarole is not only important, but necessary to truly explain how difficult it was for me to focus on exactly one memory to write about today, and to fit the entire answer to the question into the realm of context.

Without further ado, my favorite memory:

My favorite memory happened on March fourteenth 1998. For those not blessed with the insane ability to calculate the day of the week, 3/14/1998 was a Saturday. I know this because Yoshi’s Story released for the Nintendo 64 on March 10th and I was able to rent it the following Saturday. Back before the new millennium, the Decker family was in the habit of doing Trailer Checks every weekend for the company, Theatrical Entertainment Services. Basically, we would go and record the audience reactions to the trailers that aired before an assigned feature and then as a bonus we would get to stay and watch the film. It wasn’t glamorous but it is definitely the reason why I have a love of the cinema today and why as a child I was exposed to so many different films.

That night the assigned film was an independent feature playing at the Avon Theatre in Providence. The title of the feature was “The Winter Guest” and it was the feature film directorial debut of Alan Rickman now best known for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, but always Hans Gruber in my heart. The film was given an R rating by the MPAA and since my parent’s didn’t start letting Dayle watch R rated movies until she was five, my Father told my mother to take me and he would stay at home with the little one.

This was pretty damn exciting for me. Of course as the age of twelve I had been to Providence before, but tonight was different, tonight we were going to Thayer St. which was just in its infantile stages of becoming the Hipster Haven it is today. We arrived early and walked around the stores and made fun of the stuff that we saw. Then we went into the Avon Theatre and I swear that was when I knew that deep in my heart I was truly in love with cinema.

See the Avon is an old style movie house. They still have a curtain over the screen that stays closed until it’s show time and then opens. The popcorn is freshly popped, the ushers dress in the little uniforms with the caps. The whole experience (at least back in 1998) felt like an old time visit to the movies, like you had not stepped into a movie theatre but instead had taken a step back through time to when seeing a film was an event and not just another part of your day.

The film was alright. Honestly, fifteen years later I couldn’t really tell you anything that had actually happened in it. What I do remember is that it was a film where there were four sets of main characters and each of them had a story to tell. The one I remember the best is the story of two children. who were roughly my age at the time I was viewing it, skipping school and having a good time. These two boys swore themselves hoarse and even had a great moment when they found a tube of Bengay on the beach and rubbed it on their genitals because they had heard it felt like having sex.

After the film, my mother and I crossed the street to try a new food restaurant that was making headlines across Rhode Island, Spike’s Junkyard Dogs, where I got a flatbread pizza and my Mother got a plain hot dog. Then we went back to the car. Once we were in the car, that is when the night truly became memorable and why it has achieved the glory of my best memory. My Mother and I the entire drive back from Providence spoke in English accents and swore like sailors. It was just such an action of the moment and something I don’t think could ever be achieved again without feeling fake and forced (like Doug on Disney).  Sure it might not seem like much but when asked to think of my best memory that was the one that came flying to the front of my mind, “My first night on Thayer Street.”

Sure it might not seem like much but it was  excellent at the time and something that admittedly I have tried unsuccessfully to emulate every night out since.