2012 Media in Review: Other Movies

Time for the longest list of the 2012 Media in Review series: Movies on DVD/streaming. But let’s get the nerdy math stuff out of the way first. (I should be better at math for how much I kind of like it.)

In 2012, I watched 38 movies. Of those, 13 (34 percent) were rewatches, and 25 were new to me. Surprisingly, dramas led the pack with 15 films (39 percent), followed by sci fi/fantasy/horror, which I thought would be the lead given its genre inclusiveness, at 12 (32 percent). Action-Adventure clocked in at six movies (16 percent), half of which were from Marvel films. Trailing was comedy with three movies (8 percent) and “other,” which is just where I crammed Dream A Little Dream and Dream A Little Dream 2, because they are bizarre movies that could go just about anywhere.

I watched the most movies (8) in May and managed to not watch any movies in March.

Age-wise, 28 movies (74 percent) were released in the 21st century. The newest films I saw were actually released in 2012 and apparently went to DVD very quickly (21 Jump Street and American Reunion), and 11 were released in 2011. Four were released in the 80s, and five in the 90s. The oldest movie I watched was 1967’s To Sir, With Love.

On to the list! Some movies I felt like talking about. Others I didn’t. Italicized titles are my repeats, and all include the year of release and genre.

1. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), fantasy
I really love Fellowship and thought I might rewatch the whole trilogy in the months leading up to The Hobbit. But then I watched half of Two Towers and lost interest. Maybe this year I’ll finish it up.

2. Moneyball (2011), drama
Brad Pitt, baseball and math. Written by Aaron Sorkin. It was OK.

3. Public Enemies (2009) drama

4. Hollywoodland, (2006), drama
I’ve always been interested in this movie both for its George Reeves/Superman connection and because I’ve always liked Ben Affleck (shut up, don’t judge me), but I can’t lie. I moved it to the top of my queue when I realized Seamus Dever was in it, too. Then he had all of two scenes that were maybe three minutes total and I don’t think any lines. But, as expected, I enjoyed the rest of the movie, anyway.

5. Watchers (1988), horror
The dog steals the show in this movie that bears very little resemblance to the book on which it is based. But it’s got Corey Haim before his downward spiral and Michael Ironside at his creepiest, and the dog is awfully cute. So this flick about government military experiments gone horribly wrong is still pretty decent in my book. There are apparently a bunch of sequels that I’ve never seen and I’m pretty sure are all bad, but I keep thinking some day I’ll find the one with Mark Hamill.

6. The Conrad Boys (2006), drama

7. Inception (2010), science fiction

8. Johns (1996), drama
This stars David Arquette as a down-on-his-luck male prostitute in LA who’s trying to get out of town and follow his dream. I can’t remember if it’s better or worse than Speedway Junky, which I watched in 2010. It’s basically the same film but in Vegas and including Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Both were OK.

9. Failure to Launch (2006), comedy
This movie has the distinction of being the only film I’ve ever seen Zooey Deschanel play a likable character in (which is to say, the character is someone I would probably want to punch in the face if she were in my living room, but on my TV she’s kind of fun to watch). But she’s a side character, much like Bradley Cooper and Justin Bartha. Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker are their usual selves and Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw are awesome as the parents trying to get McConaughey to leave the nest. Funny, but now that I’ve seen it I never need to again.

10. Abduction (2011), action-adventure
Taylor Lautner realizes he was “kidnapped” as a kid, but his kidnappers are really his parents’ friends and are protecting him from some government thing and then he’s on the run, and none of it really matters, because it’s just a silly teen action movie with a dash of Jason Isaacs for credibility.

Cover of "Dream a Little Dream"
Cover of Dream a Little Dream

11. Dream A Little Dream (1989), other
Believe it or not, this is the one with the more reasonable premise: Jason Robards Jr., through some mystical tai chi, gets stuck in Corey Feldman’s body and has to reuinite with his wife who is unknowingly trapped in the body of the girl of Feldman’s dreams, but first they have to survive high school and all the tests, jerks and jocks that entails. And Corey Haim gets all the best lines. It sounds like it’d be comedic, and it is, but there’s really a lot of drama going on that actually gets a little dark in places. Plus, I say again, mystical tai chi. You tell me how to categorize it.

12. Dream A Little Dream 2 (1995), other
The far lesser sequel introduces magic sunglasses, where the wearer of one pair will do whatever the wearer of the other pair wants. Bad guys want the glasses, the Coreys have them, but Feldman doesn’t want them because he’s still all angsty over having his body jacked by an old man six years ago, and I don’t even know. It’s kind of entertaining in a guilty pleasure way.

13. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), science fiction
Very good and relatively rewatchable (I actually watched it twice this year: once on my own and once with my sister, but only the first one counts).

14. Fright Night (2011), horror
I can’t say it’s better than the 1985 movie, because they’re fairly different (aside from the “vampire next door” premise), but it’s just as entertaining, and also pretty rewatchable.

15. Iron Man (2008) action-adventure

16. Iron Man 2 (2010) action-adventure

17. Captain America (2011) action-adventure
I really like the WWII/origin story-ness of this. But ever since I saw the How It Should Have Ended skit, I’ve been asking myself, “well, why didn’t it end that way? This is kind of ridiculous!” But I don’t care. I love it anyway. I was not quite as enamored with Cap in The Avengers, though. I’m hoping that’s not just a consequence of leaving the 40s, and that Captain American: The Winter Soldier will be just as good as this was.

18. Watchmen (2009), science fiction/fantasy
I didn’t actually care for it. There were big long stretches that just couldn’t hold my interest, and then when the bits that did grab my attention came up, I didn’t really have a handle on what was going on.

19. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011), action-adventure
I thought I had seen the third one, but it turns out I hadn’t. So I was a little confused for part of this, but it’s not like I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Jeremy Renner was a nice addition, who brought the funny along with Simon Pegg. But he also brought some action, which Simon Pegg, not so much.

20. United (2011), drama
This true story about a soccer team caught on a fatal flight does not have as much soccer as I was expecting. But it’s also very good (and very sad).

21. J. Edgar (2011), drama
Leonard DiCaprio continues to impress, as he portrays FBI director J. Edgar Hoover from a young man to a very old man.

22. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part One (2011), fantasy
Bella gets pregnant with Edward’s baby and it nearly kills her. But it’s okay, because then she becomes a vampire, and Jacob falls in love with her baby (or something) and there’s a werewolf revolt. Like the Twilight movies before it, most of the film is crap. But like its immediate predecessor Eclipse, there are a few moments that make it mildly worthwhile for something other than mocking. But that’s fun, too, so either way it’s kind of a win, at least once.

23. The Penthouse (1989), drama
David Hewlett plays a creepy, murderous stalker. It has its ups and downs, but it feels and looks very much like the 80s movie it is.

24. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), action-adventure

25. Starship Troopers, 1997), science fiction

26. 21 Jump Street (2012), comedy
Surprisingly watchable, and even bears a tiny resemblence to its source material before going out of its way to poo all over it.

27. The 5th Quarter (2010), drama
Based on a true story, a college football player goes a little off the rails when his teen brother is taken off life support after a car accident, but then he turns things around and honors him on the field. There will be so many tears (mostly courtesy Aidan Quinn and Andie MacDowell as the parents) when the brother dies, oh my god. But then the movie falls far short of what it could be, and that’s irritating.

28. Domestic Disturbance (2001), drama

29. In The Bedroom (2001), drama

30. American Reunion (2012), comedy
As someone who actually really enjoyed the first three movies, I can honestly say this franchise is running out of steam. But if I were to someday find a four-in-one package deal in the $5 bin, I’d probably buy it.

31. Saint Ralph (2004), drama

32. Cabin in the Woods (2011), horror (sort of)
This pays homage to all the (mostly B and worse) horror movies that came before it while throwing in some evil string-pullers/satiate the gods’ bloodlust to keep the world spinning foofaraw. It’s charm fades pretty quickly.

33. The Terminator (1984) science fiction
Still great after all these years.

34. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), science fiction
Still greater after all these years. The story holds up, as do, surprisingly, the effects. But someday, I swear, I’m going to watch this and remember to look for an indication of what year it’s supposed to be. Because if they’re not saying it’s 1994, John’s age really doesn’t match the 10 that he’s supposed to be, let alone the 13 that all sequels blatantly disregard pictorial evidence to the contrary for. Welcome to my head. These are the things I think about.

35. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) science fiction
It doesn’t matter how much you love the Terminator franchise. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, trick yourself into believing T3 cannot possible be as bad as you remember. I assure you, it is.

36. Fluke (1995), drama

37. The Chumscrubber (2005), drama
This is an indie flick with a message, namely that nobody listens to anybody, everybody is too concerned about appearances and the kids aren’t all right. There’s really only one scene that feels real, and the rest just tries way too hard.

38. To Sir, With Love (1967), drama
Maybe it’s just because I have Stand and Deliver, a slew of mostly-lesser-but-still-OK dramas — and even the Mark Harmon comedy vehicle Summer School — to watch for my “good teacher helps ‘bad’ kids do good” fix, but I was mosly underwhelmed by watching Sidney Poitier take his students to a museum, yell at the boys for being heathens and the girls for being slutty and then they all adore him. Apparently there’s a 90s sequel (perhaps trying to cash in on the Dangerous Minds phenomenon?) that I will not be watching.

If you missed previous posts in the semi-annual media review, there’s one on books I read and another for movies at the theater.


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