You guys may not know this about me, but I keep a list of movies I want to watch. The problem is I watch movies so rarely that list just keeps growing. On the rare occasion I do knock a movie off the list, I just wind up adding two more in its place. It’s like a movie-going hydra.
But this month, for some reason, I was on the ball. I watched eight movies in January. Film critics, eat your hearts out! I’m coming for your crowns!
Okay, so I still know nothing about film. Regardless, I decided I’d do a brief wrap-up of all the movies I saw this month. I can’t say this will be a monthly thing, but I’ll try to keep you abreast of my progress and opinions. Let’s begin with the first eight movies I saw this year.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
I mean, it’s a choose-your-own adventure film. It’s fun, it’s well-acted, it’s dark— it’s everything I wanted it to be. It’s a really neat way to play with reality and the concept of parallel universes. This is probably one of the best films I’ll see all year.
This movie is apparently a divisive one. Half love it, half think it sucks. I really enjoyed it. Sandra Bullock’s character is an interesting protagonist, unlikable in the best of ways. I really like how the monsters are never shown, left only to your imagination. I thought it was a really effective tool. Oftentimes, monster reveals are disappointing. This movie finds and maintains its horror in the unknown. It’s unfortunate that John Malkovich’s asshole of a character is usually the one right about things, but what can you do? This was still a good horror/survival movie.
If I were to predict what my favorite book-to-movie adaptation will be this year, it would probably be this one. It’s able to make changes to the source material while still retaining the book’s essence. The film works with themes of identity. It also includes more action and character development for the supporting roles. It’s just… it’s a really good film, guys. I could see it potentially making my best list at the end of the year.
That’s right, it took me almost an entire year to watch one of last year’s most popular films. But I really enjoyed it! It’s a fun superhero movie steeped in African culture. I especially liked how well the film melds said culture with the more sci-fi elements of this story. Wakanda is what I wanted the world in Mirage by Somaiya Daud to feel like.
I did have some minor complaints, namely that the main villain is established as such a bit late in the story. It makes the plot feel unfocused. My other issue is I wanted T’Challa to have a big kingly moment during the final battle scene when the Wakandans are fighting each other. I wanted him to realize Wakanda was becoming like the outside world and call for a stop to the fighting. Instead, it’s W’Kabi who has this realization and he gets his army to surrender. It undercuts T’Challa’s role as a leader.
But, overall, it’s still a really fun flick. It’s also incredibly important to showcase people of color (in this case, black people) in leading roles, especially in popular genres such as this. I see why this movie means so much to so many. I wish the cast and crew well at the Oscars.
I discovered this movie when looking for dark academia stories. I wouldn’t really classify it as dark academia, but it does involve school girls running a heist. This was a fun comedy, if a bit outdated. Some of the bits wouldn’t fly today and there’s basically no character development, but what else can you expect from an adaptation of an old British comic strip?
I can’t remember where I first heard about this film, but it’s been one of the movies on my watch list the longest. I’m so glad I finally saw it. This should be what fairytale retellings are from now on. It’s just such a beautiful and heartbreaking story. I still feel so emotionally raw from it. Guillermo del Toro is an absolute genius. This movie will absolutely wind up on my best list at the end of the year.
Not only is this a cute movie, but it improves on the more problematic aspects of Insatiable and Sierra Burgess is a Loser. I especially loved the ending.
My only problem is with Willowdean Dixon, the protagonist. For the most part, she’s incredibly likable. However, a lot of her problems stem from her just being a brat. She claims her mom is ashamed of her and thinks she’s too fat, but her mom never says anything of the sort. She’s awful to her best friend Ellen because Ellen starts enjoying pageant prep. She drives Bo away because she’s fat and he shouldn’t like her, despite him explicitly telling her he has feelings for her and thinks she’s beautiful.
Yes, Willow learns and grows over the course of the film. And yes, she apologizes to everyone and admits she was wrong. It’s just that everything was so obviously her own doing and she doesn’t seem to feel any guilt until everything falls apart (unlike in The Edge of Seventeen in which Nadine knows she’s pushing people away but doesn’t know how to stop).
I get feeling insecure (trust me, I’ve been there and I’m still there), but this feels different. Still, Willow takes responsibility for her actions, mends her relationships, and grows as a person.
Also, Millicent did that!!!! Yes, girl!!!!!
Anyway, it’s a really cute movie. I just wish Willowdean’s arc could’ve been more nuanced and self-aware (since everything else about the film is). Regardless, I’m glad it exists and wish it would get the appreciation it deserves. A movie like this could mean so much to a young girl who sees herself in Willowdean Dixon.
My Friend Dahmer
I’ve wanted to see this movie since 2017, but it only got a limited release and didn’t come to my area. And then it wasn’t added to any streaming service. So I kept putting it off. Until this week, that is. And it was… fine? It’s fine.
I guess I just thought it would be more about how Jeffrey Dahmer became a serial killer, but it’s focused more on his high school days. It gives some insight into his psyche and shows his progression somewhat, but it’s not the focus.
Apparently that’s because it’s based on the memoir of one of his school friends, so it makes sense it’s more focused on that aspect. It’s just not what I wanted, so I didn’t feel very interested. What a bummer.
I also find it in kind of bad taste that the movie ends with Dahmer kidnapping one of his real-life victims. It feels like when a big franchise has fan-favorite characters make cameos in new films (i.e. McGonagall in The Crimes of Grindelwald). That’s such a weird vibe to have for someone who was actually, in real life murdered and cannibalized by Jeffrey Dahmer.
Ultimately, this movie was a letdown. I had such high hopes and at every turn they were destroyed. Ah, well. Maybe the Ted Bundy film will be better.
What movies did you watch in January? Have you seen any of the movies on my list? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!
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