Movie Review Roundup 2017, Part One: Confessions of a Netflix Addict

Netflix: Is it Inspiration Central for writers?

My name is Jessica and I am a Netflix addict. And a Stan addict. And Amazon Prime. Unfortunately—or fortunately for me—we don’t have Hulu or any of the others in ‘Straya yet, so I can be saved from consuming more of the timesuck that is online streaming. My fiancé and I recently caved in and signed up to Netflix early this year, and I’ve roughly guesstimated the number of movies I’ve watched on there, and elsewhere, and the count got up to at least 35. There are still 46 movies (and 135 books, but let’s try and ignore that for now) on my To-Watch list, so this addiction doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. Don’t worry, I do have a life. I’ve even managed to get some writing in!

So I’ve devised a solution. Alongside the book reviews, I’m gonna do a monthly catch-up of all the great and not-so-great movies I’ve been watching, and my reviews, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how trashy.

Warning: I have a slightly terrible taste in movies. A bunch of these are beloved and popular movies that I gave 👎👎👎 reviews. *Cough cough* I’ll ignore the various movies I’ve re-watched, ’cause clearly I think they’re awesome (Shrek 1&2, Fight Club, Sorority Row, Inglourious Basterds). Let’s get going!

Taxi Driver: The Fight Club of the Baby Boomer generation is, quite understandably, a classic of the 70’s.  The main protagonist Travis (Robert DeNiro) is a great anti-hero, and you’re not sure whether you should like him or loathe him, at least until the big confrontation at the end. A must-watch. 8/10

Orphan: I have watched a lot of cheesy thrillers over the years. Orphan won’t give you anything new unless you don’t know anything about the tropes. If you don’t have your hopes set too high, you’ll enjoy it as a quick, clichéd flick. 6/10

Teeth: Same as above, but with an indie budget. It’s a generic horror about a girl with the infamous ‘vagina dentata’, which I learned about far too extensively in first-year Literary Studies. It’s very typical of a B-grade horror, nothing new. 5/10

Se7en: Unpopular opinion here, but this movie, considered David Fincher’s greatest, just didn’t mesh with me. It was just a buddy-buddy comedy but as a thriller instead of the comedy element. The ending was shocking, but the killer (John Doe, really?) felt predictable and boring. I assume it would have been so much greater back when it was released in 1995, but it just doesn’t do it for me. 4/10

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things: I’ve been reading Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus’s blog TheMinimalists.com for almost four years on-and-off at this point, and most of the stuff in this documentary is just a rehash of their blog, while also advertising their latest book/s. I felt like it could have gone more depth into what is minimalism and how to opt out of the consumerist cycle. Also, there’s this bit, with Millburn reading from his book.: 5.5/10

Amy Schumer: The Leather Special: I tried to watch this with an open mind, I really did! But most of her jokes were pretty juvenile, and I can only take so many poop/vagina jokes. There’s also a reason why Holocaust/Anne Frank jokes are generally off-limits, Amy. However, it’s nice that she can mimic a machine gun so effectively. 3/10

Paris Je’Taime and New York, I Love You: I’m not generally a fan of general romances, but these two were both great in their own right, making you feel as though you are in Paris and New York, respectively. My only problem is the stories about the different couples falling in love weren’t longer, but that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it! 6/10

The Matrix Trilogy: Yeah, yeah, it took until I was 24 to finally get around to watching classic ’90s series, The Matrix. It’s about as overrated as Star Wars, but it’s still a great trilogy, and I watched them all in a day. The first one is the best, with the second and third trailing behind ever so slightly. They’re so distinctly 1990’s cyberpunk, it was hard to take the series seriously. I also don’t think it delved well enough into The Matrix itself as well as it could have. 7/10

A Beautiful Mind: A beautiful, Oscar-bait movie about the life of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who also happens to have schizophrenia. It’s not a movie I see myself watching again, but it was wonderfully acted and I felt sorry for John, and moreso his wife Alicia, especially in the scene with the baby and the water and…oh god! 7/10

The Wedding Singer: Jeez, I don’t even know why this was on my To-Watch list. Yet another Adam Sandler movie, but before his movies went to sh**. It’s clichéd and cheesy, but enjoyable for a quick flick to put on when you’ve got family around and you can’t binge-watch Rick and Morty. 6/10

The Road: I recall studying Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian back when I was at uni, so I kinda knew what to expect from this film adaptation of the book of the same title. I didn’t enjoy it at all, but kept sitting through ’cause of the sunk cost fallacy. I can see why others like it, but for me, it was dull and Oscar-baity. Give me some better post-apocalyptic, like Dead Set. Maybe some other time. 4/10

12 Monkeys: The Terminator crossed with Brad Pitt playing basically the same ‘character’ he later did in Fight Club. It’s about time travel, so of course it’s about the futility of time travel, but it’s also well-written and acted, and you want to see Bruce Willis’s Jame Cole succeed. 7/10

American Beauty: Better than I expected. You might have guessed that I don’t trust Oscar-bait films when critics say they’re great, because a lot of them are usually dull-as-dishwater and about the most contrived, ridiculous things just so they can get as many Oscars as possible. American Beauty deserves that hype. It’s a great film about the not-so-great secrets that lurk in suburbia, and Kevin Spacey plays his role as creepy suburban dad Lester Burnham well. 8/10

Reservoir Dogs: I had mixed-reservations about Reservoir Dogs, as I loved Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds, but didn’t really enjoy Pulp Fiction. Of course, since it’s a Tarantino flick, it’s violent, but it doesn’t seem to need a purpose. It’s got Michael Madsen in it, and it’s about a bunch of criminals doing criminal things. It had the same vibe as Grand Theft Auto, specifically V and Vice City, but also some of III. 7.5/10

Couldn’t think of an image to put here, so here’s my cat

Scary Movie: I’ve been a fan of the Scream series since 2011, when Scream 4 came out. Yes, I was late to the party. Even though I’ll enjoy most trashy parodies, Scary Movie was the original, where it was funny without resorting to being absolute trash, like the next movie on this list. Much better than Vampires Suck and Date Movie. The original great parody. 8/10

The Starving Games: … This movie was definitely watchable, but I’ll sit through most of these. I was like, Vampires Suck (the Twilight parody) wasn’t that bad, surely this one can’t be worse. I was wrong. 2/10

American History X: This is probably one of the best movies I’ve watched on Netflix this year. AHX is about Edward Norton as an ex Neo-Nazi (actual Neo-Nazi, not just a Right-winger you disagree with), who just came out of prison and is trying to dissuade his younger brother, played by Edward Furlong,  from falling down the same route he did. It’s emotional and endearing, and it’s just a great film in general. 9/10

Monsters University: Do I even need to give an in-depth review of this? The sequel to Monsters, Inc (2001) is just as great as the original, with the moral at the end being: It doesn’t matter if you graduate or not, you can still achieve your dreams! Don’t give up! 8/10

It Follows: A horror movie that follows all the tropes of “if you have sex, bad things will happen”. It was interesting, and had a few original ideas. Can’t actually remember too much about this, and I only saw it in April. 6/10

You’re Next: Australian girl played by an ex-Home and Away star and her boyfriend are invited to his parent’s anniversary get-together, it’s soon apparent someone is trying to kill off the family, but the family seems to focused on fighting each other to care. Pretty average for a horror film, but the protagonist attempts to break free of the tropes of a Final Girl by actually being badass and doing her best to hack apart the killers who are trying to kill her and her partner’s family. 6/10

Finding Dory: Same as Monsters University: how can this be reviewed badly? The only downside: it’s definitely not as great as the first one, and now I’m expecting future sequels. Finding Hank (2029) anybody? It’s what you expect from a Finding Nemo sequel with Ellen DeGeneres as the main character. 7/10

Stranger than Fiction: An interesting take on writer’s block, where a random guy played by Will Ferrell discovers he’s just a character in a popular author’s book, and what’s worse—she’s trying to kill him off. This is around the time of the Bewitched remake, so it was one of his last good recent films. 7/10

 

So there you have it. Expect Part Two near the end of next month, with the remaining ones alongside any of the new movies I’ve watched since then. There’ll be less on that list, I promise. Now it’s back to [definitely not procrastinating] and beginning Chapter Seven of my manuscript. Hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you more about it soon enough. Good luck with your writing…or your Netflix binging, if we’re being honest.

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