Sunday, January 1, 2012

Listomania!: Another Year in the Life of a Video Junkie


Yet another year down, so it means we'll throw up our highly anticipated (by us) year end "best and worst" lists.  My viewing total was 308 movies this year, down from last year's total of 362.  So, yeah, I was slacking big time.  I'd love to say it was quality over quantity, but we all know that would be a total lie.  I did try to make up for the slower volume by trying to cram in as much new stuff as possible.  Well, new to me.   Of the 308 movies viewed, only 65 of them were revisits.

Theatrical viewings keep dipping further and further with my new all-time low of 10 set this year.  To be honest, had our local theater not had $5 Tuesday matinees during the summer, it probably would have been even less.  And two of my viewings (DYLAN DOG and CREATURE) were merely self sacrifice missions for the internet when I found out that they had bombed so badly (with CREATURE setting a new record in terms of box office lows).  I'd go on and on about the sad state of affairs of Hollywood cinema (no joke, before SUPER 8 every trailer was for a sequel or book/comic/toy adaptation), but I'm sure you already know the deal.

First film seen in 2011: YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME (2005)
Last film seen in 2011: NEW YEAR’S EVIL (1980)
Films seen in theaters: 10 (my new all-time low after 11 last year)
IMAX viewings: 1 (TRON: LEGACY)
Double features in theaters: 0
Oldest film seen: THE UNKNOWN (1927)

Video Junkie Moment of the Year: 
Had to be seeing the "never got made" blog series on the IMDb's Hit List.  A kind mystery reader named "vertigo" submitted us and - someway, somehow - they found it worthy of sharing with the masses.  Not only did it bring thousands of readers our way, but it lit a fire under my ass to do even more detailed research.  We've got some even more amazing things lined up for 2012.

Video Junkie "What were we thinking" Moment of the Year:

Probably our impromptu dive into the sci-fi world of Italian cheap-o director Alfonso Brescia.  

Best film seen theatrically: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011) -- I actually think it is one of the best comic movies I've seen in years.  It is hard to champion a film that cost $140 million as an underdog, but I really think this flick had the deck stacked against it.  I mean, who wants to see a movie that properly sets up a story and takes its time establishing the character before the superhero finally shows up on screen?  I do, damn it!  And, thankfully, that is what we got with this.  So many great details and references (and I only know Captain America lore in passing). Plus, that reference toward RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was a hoot. Director Johnston does a great job at laying out the drama and the action. And, thankfully, the screenwriters kept it very simple, but with enough good pathos for the audience. I love a comic book movie (and PG-13 movie) that takes risks and actually has people die. The editing during the musical montage was great too. The cast is great too and Hugo Weaving really steals the show as the Red Skull. Easily the best thing I've seen this year in the theater.

Worst film seen theatrically: SUPER 8 (2011) -- Yeah, I saw DYLAN DOG and CREATURE in the theater, but actually thought this was worse.  This movie was just awful, awful, awful. Actually, I feel it isn't even right to call it a movie as it is literally scenes from every Spielberg movie from his peak period. I was leaning over to my friend every three minutes saying, "Okay, this is from JAWS...this is from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS...this is from RAIDERS...this is from E.T." He probably wanted to punch my annoying ass.  We're not talking homages here, we are talking full scene lifts with only the slightest tweaking. No wonder Spielberg produced it, he probably read the script and was like, "Damn, this is good stuff."  We have it all: the JAWS town hall meeting (I fully expected Quint to show up and interrupt); the sheriff inundated with townsfolk telling him their problems as he rushes from place to place (no parade?); the evacuation from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (sans canaries); and on and on and on. Even worse, Abrams seems to have lifted even the soundscapes of those earlier films (the gas station scene in particular). Even the minutia isn't safe. Let's put it this way - there is a family dinner scene where one of the unruly younger siblings is bashing some toys in the background just like CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. This is basically the movie version of sampling. Moviedom wept.

Biggest surprise in 2011: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) -- I seriously thought all my online movie buddies were pulling my leg when they said this was good.  The trailers looked terrible and didn't sell me on the film at all.  How could such a good movie be hiding behind such a banal trailer? I do find James Franco a bit of a weird guy, but he was never bothersome in this movie. And the effects and ape performances are astonishing. Loved the little nods toward the original POTA and I think they set up a sequel (well, remake) perfectly.  Of course, the jaw dropped is the performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar.  Seriously, it is groundbreaking and paving the way for when one might see someone who was never even onscreen get nominated for an acting award.  While I may be giving it a bit more praise for what it is not (namely, a jerky Michael Bay action picture or terrible Tim Burton remake), I do think this had more thought put into it than your average Hollywood blockbuster.

Biggest disappointment in 2011: ASSASSINATION GAMES (2011) -- Scott Adkins makes the list again after last year's NINJA disappointment.  To be fair, he isn't the lead star in this second co-teaming with Jean Claude Van Damme, but it does disappoint compared to his masterpieces.  Especially following the incredibly entertaining UNDISPUTED III (2010).

Theatrical viewings:
-TRON: LEGACY
-TRUE GRIT
-DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT
-X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
-SUPER 8
-CAPTAIN AMERICA
-RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
-CREATURE
-THE THING
-HUGO

Most in one month:
October: 33
Least in one month:
August: 20

From the 1920s: 1
1930s: 11
1940s: 18
1950s: 4
1960s: 4
1970s: 55
1980s: 98
1990s: 65
2000–2010: 30
2011: 21

Films watched more than once:
-BLOOD SHACK (1971) - twice

Directors most watched (individual films):
-Fred Olen Ray (8)
-Andy Sidaris (6)
-Charles Band (4)
-Jeff Burr (4)

Best films that I saw for the first time in 2011:
-THE TWO ESCOBARS (2010)
-INSIDE JOB (2010)
-CHIMERA (1991; UK mini-series cut down to 90 minutes as MONKEY BOY here)
-I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941)
-DON’T PLAY WITH FIRE (1980)
-THE LATHE OF HEAVEN (1980)
-COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT (1970)
-RED WHITE & BLUE (2010)
-MONEY MOVERS (1978)
-DEAD MOUTAINEER’S HOTEL (1979)
-SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939)
-THE BLACK CAT (1934)
-THE BODY SNATCHER (1945)

Worst films that I saw for the first time in 2011:
-THE LAST LOVECRAFT (2009)
-EVIL SPIRITS (1990)
-CARNIVAL MAGIC (1981)

Best “the kind of cinema I live for” I saw for the first time in 2011:
-THE SATAN KILLER (1993)

Moments of Clarity:

1 Reactions:

  1. Films seen: 349 (excluding films watched with commentary track)
    Films seen for the first time: 324 (excluding films watched with commentary track)

    First film seen in 2011: Mr. Majestyk (1974)
    Charles Bronson is an actor I made a conserted effort to get more famliar with in 2001. MR MAJESTYK was my least favorite film of his I've seen.

    Last film seen in 2011: Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)
    Had planned on watching NEW YEAR's EVIL but was in the mood for Girls, Guns and G-strings. Donna Spier, Hope Maria Carlton and Patty Duffek certainly delivered.

    Video Junkie Moment of the Year: Buns and Ammo drew me to the site, but the humor kept me coming back. "Never Got Made" is the most unique thing that really sets Video Junkie apart from some of the other great blogs.

    Best Re-Visit in 2011: Transporter 2 (2005)
    The French Uncut Blu-ray has signficantly better PQ than the US BD. It also removes the distracting censorship of Kate Nauta's nipples in the awesome Dotor's office shootout, adds a nice bare butt shot of Kate, add a few gore shots and improves some of the janky CG effects.

    Biggest disappointment in 2011: Killer Elite (2011)
    Still an enjoyable flick that's worth seeing but a film with Jason Statham vs Clive Owen has the potential to be one of the greats. It really is a dream showdown. It missed the mark becasue its known to the audience for the entrity of the film that both characters are being played for suckers. It gave me no rooting interest and underminded the potential awesomeness of the characters.

    Oldest film seen in 2011: The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959)
    Just my second Russ Meyer film and I absolutely loved it.

    Films seen in theaters: 6
    Best film seen theatrically: Fast Five (2011)
    Worst film seen theatrically: Cars 2 (2011)

    Most in one month: October (39)
    Least in one month: May (21)


    Best films that I saw for the first time in 2011:
    Seven Days (2010)
    Rambo (2008)
    Drive Angry (2011)
    Fast Five (2011)

    Worst films that I saw for the first time in 2011:
    Mother's Day (1980)
    Time Barbarians (1990)
    Land of Doom (1986)
    Captives (1988)
    Instant Justice (1986)
    The Prey (Uncut) (1984)
    Scream (1981)
    Voodoo Dolls (1990)
    Madonna: A Case of Blood Ambition (1990)
    Waitress! (1981)
    Blood Hook (1986)
    The Game of Death (1978)
    X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
    Conquest (1983)
    Keoma (1976)
    The Long Goodbye (1973)
    Alienator (1990)
    Satan's Sadists (1969)

    Best “the kind of cinema I live for” I saw for the first time in 2011:
    Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1976)
    Hanzo the Razor: The Snare (1973)
    Fallo! (aka Private) (2003)
    Alice in Wonderland: An Adult Musical Fantasy (1976)
    Happy Birthday to Me (1981) 8/10**
    Mermaids of Tiburon (1962)
    The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959)
    Nashville Girl (1976)
    The Centerfold Girls (1974)
    Stone Cold (1991)
    Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
    Woman of Straw (1964)
    Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)

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