December was a very busy month for many different reasons. But, even with the holidays and celebrations in December I managed to see a lot of movies including all 40 Defining Movies of the Decade which I will be reviewing in 4 different parts sporadically throughout the year. Even excluding those films, I watched quite a bit of movies. Some good, some bad, either way, it was an interesting month to end the decade.
Watched in my English class, because we were reading Othello and boy, was it unconformable. Let’s just say that my class isn’t the most mature bunch unlike yours truly. Even despite that, this movie is terrible. One of the worst movies I saw this year, if not the worst. It was cringe, over-dramatic, and most importantly of all, it turns the nuanced and complex William Shakespeare’s Othello into a melodramatic teen drama. Not to say that older classics can’t be turned into teen dramas and still be good. Another Julia Stiles movie 10 Things I Hate About You is an adaption of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew and that’s one of my favorite movies ever. Not to mention, Clueless is an adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma and it is a very good movie. O is not a good movie, not even close. I highly doubt anyone is going out their way to watch O, but if you were, do yourself the favor and avoid this at all costs. I do not recommend.
8 Women (2002) (rewatch)
The best way I can describe 8 Women is it is a Clue-lite French murder mystery musical, oh and it is set during Christmas. I love this movie so much. I watched it the first time last year before ever watching Clue and immediately fell in love with it. It has an amazing cast, a great mystery because anyone could have done the crime, entertaining characters, good songs, and nice twists all throughout the movie. 8 Women was one of the first French movies that I fell in love with despite, the language barrier. I highly recommend it, it is so entertaining and worth checking out if you are able to find it.
Black Christmas (1974) (rewatch)
I recently talked about Black Christmas during Spooktober in October, so I don’t have too much new to add regarding it. Black Christmas is a classic and in my opinion, one of the best horror movies ever and one of my favorites. The fact it sets at Christmas only acts to the movie. I love revisiting it every year during Christmas time, it feels just festive but creepy enough to stand on its own as just a horror movie. If you haven’t seen the original Black Christmas, even without it being Christmas anymore I recommend watching as soon as possible. Especially, if you love horror classics like Halloween. I would argue it is even better than Halloween, but that’s a discussion for another day.
The Replacements (2000)
I caught this one of television for some reason. I had never even heard of it before I saw it but was sold the moment I saw Keanu as a football player. That was enough for me quite frankly. The movie itself isn’t anything special. I actually forgot I watched until I looked at everything I saw this month. The story is okay, the acting is what it is. It doesn’t excel at anything it does. I seen much more better sports movies than The Replacements, but it’s harmless. Unless you’re really into sports movies, I don’t recommend The Replacements. There are much better ones out there, that you would probably like better than this. I say all of this, but I don’t regret watching this because I got to watch Keanu dance to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, which made this movie totally worth it.
Another French movie and another movie I watched in school. This one in my French class, this one went over much better than O. However, I think I would have enjoyed this better if I had seen it outside of school by myself. It was a heavy movie with a range of different topics that was explored nicely, but the environment I watched this in didn’t take it as seriously as the movie probably wanted. I feel that affected the enjoyment of the movie that I didn’t like it as much as I probably would have otherwise in a different environment. I still recommend Girlhood, it is a great movie and well worth checking out.
The Apartment (1960)
I fell in love with The Apartment, like love at first sight. Jack Lemmon’s endearing performance would be hard not to be charmed by and then the rest of the movie quickly follows behind. It’s heartwarming, sweet, and overall just a delightful movie to watch. After finishing it, I immediately wanted to watch it again (still do). It’s that wonderful of a film. It may be too early to say this since I have only seen it once and that was a few weeks ago, but The Apartment might have become one of my favorite movies ever. Top 5? Top 10? Top 20? I’m not sure just yet, but it’s there. I absolutely adore this movie and don’t be surprised when watching The Apartment becomes an annual Christmas/New Year’s movie I watch every year. I more than just recommend it, if I could force everyone in the world to watch this movie if they have never seen it I would.
Die Hard 2 (1990)
I first watched the original Die Hard this past summer and had wished I had waited to watch it in December for Christmas. So, I rewatched it and I decided to also check out the sequel because it was also set during Christmas and I must say that bigger isn’t always better. Die Hard 2 took everything the original Die Hard and cranked it up way up. It’s not a bad movie, far from it, but the sequel mostly suffers due to the simple fact that it is a rehash of the first Die Hard. I mean seriously, how does this happen to the same guy twice at the same time of year. It’s too unbelievable for my liking. Die Hard 2 is still a lot of fun, even if it does ventures off into being goofy at times. If you somehow haven’t seen Die Hard 2, I recommend if you liked the first one because chances are you’ll like the sequel just fine. Just don’t expect it to be as good as the first, because it is not.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
I know, I know, how haven’t I seen this before. I just recently got into classic older movies and I have to say It’s A Wonderful Life is one of the best. It had a lot of hype surrounding it for me, with its influence on other movies and TV and everyone seems to love it. That made me a little nervous to watch it because I wasn’t sure if I would like as much as everyone else, but I did and I’m so glad I did. It’s A Wonderful Life is sweet and watching it feels like being covered with a warm blanket during the winter. I hate that it took me so long to watch it when I could have watched it every year for Christmas. Still better late than never. If you are anything like me and haven’t seen It’s A Wonderful Life, I recommend it. Just do yourself a favor and do it.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) (rewatch)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is not only the one movie I watch every year, but (mostly around Christmas time) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is also my favorite movie of all time. Yes, you read that right! This is my favorite movie of all time. I don’t like to think about putting labels on movies that I really enjoy, because it’s always changing. Whether I find a new movie I love, or I grow tired of an old favorite. My opinion is always changing. But, not with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I constantly revisit it and it never seizes to put a smile on my face every single time I watch it. I wasn’t a huge fan of movies for a long time simply because I didn’t know what I liked in them. Watching Kiss Kiss Bang Bang help me discover what I love in films, interesting plot, quirky dialogue, great acting, and most importantly them being fun. I would say that it was the first movie I really loved and like what many say “you never forget your first.”. And it just so happens, my first is still my absolute favorite. If you haven’t seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I can’t recommend it enough. It is always a joy to come back to and I love to introduce people who have no clue what the movie is or what it is about and watching them fall in love with it as I did so many years ago. So go watch it and fall in love with it and thank me later or you can hate it and tell me I have terrible taste. That works too, as long as you give it a chance.
The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)
The Dorm That Dripped Blood is a low budget horror movie set during Christmas break at a college. I will say that most of the movie isn’t anything special. It’s what you expect from a low budget horror film from the 80s. The only thing that sets it a bit apart from the others is that it is set during Christmas break. Though, that doesn’t come into the plot enough to make any real difference. I say all of this and yet The Dorm That Dripped Blood was worth it for me because of an incredible ending. It’s not about who the killer is because there were only a handful of options, it’s about the movie and a ending that horror movies today wouldn’t dare do and that was enough for me. If this at all sounds interesting to you, then I recommend if not then you probably should ignore it.
Christmas Evil (1980)
Christmas Evil sounds like a slasher, looks like a slasher, but in fact is not a slasher. It’s a character story about a man who obsessively loves Christmas to the point of committing murder to anyone who disrespects it. Though there aren’t many murders in the movie, I would say this was the most unsettling movie I’ve ever seen. It was hard to see a man who is obviously suffering from a mental illness and not getting any help from it leading him to murder. It’s scary because of the leading performance by Brandon Maggart is pretty flawless. You feel for him while also being creeped out by him. It’s a hard line to balance, but Maggart somehow is able to do it and he did it excellently well. I recommend.
Blade Runner (1982)
In order to finish my Defining Movies of the decade, I needed to first watch Blade Runner. I had tried to watch it several times in the past, but somehow never got far enough in it to finish. So I finally watched it in full and I feel my opinion may be slightly controversial. Blade Runner is classic, but it’s a classic because of its revolutionary developments in visuals, not the story. The movie is without a doubt one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. The visuals and the sound design are what makes Blade Runner special. Everything else about is fairly average, in particular, the story. I wish the story was as revolutionary as the visuals and sound design were. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie, but I couldn’t shake away the feeling of it lacking in some departments. I think I was expecting something more from the movie than it actually gave me. I liked it, but I wished I loved it. Still, it’s a classic even if it’s just for the visuals and that’s enough for me to recommend it.
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