I am a Letterboxd boy now

Every year and every break-up — but I repeat myself — brings a new burst of pointless creativity. This year’s burst has been spent on Letterboxd, the handy film website that turns your experience into charts, lists, and data, all things I love.

Follow me there for a stupid amount of movie reviews.

Movies of 2017

It was a busy year, for reasons no one on the Internet needs remembering. The version of me that could watch 75+ new movies in a year is gone, long gone. The version that actually was around for first weekends of blockbusters and date movies, and had time to watch movies on planes — he’s still kicking.

Stuff I still need (or “need”) to see: I, Tonya; Call Me By Your Name; Phantom Thread; The Florida Project; Coco;? The Post. (No, there was no special premiere for all Post employees. There were several DC screenings and I wasn’t invited to any, NOT THAT I’M BITTER.)

  1. Get Out
    Everything about this worked for me — the enraging villains, the social mentary, the goofy friend and his cop-out ending.
  2. Lady Bird
    Greta Gerwig can do no wrong.
  3. I, Daniel Blake
    Prime Ken Loach, the sort of white-knuckle class war drama that nobody else can make without getting accused of ripping off Ken Loach.
  4. Blade Runner 2049
    Too long, and a few too many sops to the genre (why does the evil replicant hench-lady crush the memory stick instead of using it to see what K’s been up to? Oh, because she’s evil), but so gorgeous to look at. I am a sucker for world-building, and the work done here to take the decaying world of “Blade Runner” and make it decay further for 30 years was fantastic. Six months later I still can see those grey acres of wriggling “protein farms.”
  5. The Big Sick
    If Judd Apatow wants to keep handing the keys to younger edians with good stories, fine by me. Half winning, relatable rom-, half painful culture clash, and all of it works.
  6. Dunkirk
    It’s a good war movie, what else do you people want?
  7. Logan
    The kind of superhero movie that justifies the genre — though I’d say that about “Deadpool,” too, revealing how bad my taste is. I wasn’t sold on the X-Men ics being part of the movie’s reality, and it was a little on-the-nose to watch an ailing Hugh Jackman fight a brainless clone of Hugh Jackman at pivotal moments. But I haven’t felt this tense during a movie in years, and haven’t said “fuck!” as much in public as I did during moments when Logan and Lore brutally murdered the hapless henchmen who kept ing after them.
  8. Baby Driver
    Too long, especially since Edgar Wright has effectively made fun of the “you think he’s dead, no wait he’s back, no he’s dead, but what’s this” climax. The absence of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost means a lot less to sit with and quote back to your friends when it’s over. But extremely fun while you’re watching.
  9. The Disaster Artist
  10. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
    I for one embrace our Gerwig-Baumbach overlords.
  11. Spider-Man: Homeing
  12. Thor: Ragnarok
  13. The Shape of Water
  14. Oasis: Supersonic
  15. The Founder
  16. Okja
  17. The Lovers
  18. Logan Lucky
  19. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  20. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
  21. Beatriz at Dinner
    Extremely effective, if a little stage-bound, drama about clueless rich white people interacting with the underclass. One thing that stuck with me was how Salma Hayek was shot — not as the bombshell letting her hair fall over her?decolletage, but as a short, savvy woman loomed over by arrogant no-nothings. Also contains one of my favorite performances of the year —?David Warshofsky as a tightly-strung suck-up to John Lithgow’s clearly amoral real estate tycoon.
  22. A Ghost Story
  23. T2: Trainspotting
  24. I Am Not Your Negro
  25. Wonder Woman
    Far too long, but the World War I battle scenes make up for it.
  26. The Lost City of Z
  27. Darkest Hour
  28. Downsizing
  29. The LEGO Batman Movie
  30. The Beguiled
  31. Landline
  32. Kong: Skull Island
  33. Alien: Covenant
  34. Table 19
    Harmless and effective Duplass brother dramedy about a bunch of misfits who find happiness at a wedding no one wanted them to attend. Extremely ropey at times, but I shed an actual tear at the end of it, so respect must be paid.
  35. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
    It’s fine. The best parts add something new to the canon — Carrie Poppins! The worst parts make me dread how Star Wars movies will be part of our rote holiday tradition until Disney stops making money on them.
  36. Justice League
  37. Life
  38. A United Kingdom
    The kind of story that you can’t believe nobody’s adapted yet — as South Africa implemented apartheid, a black king of Botswana took a white, English wife, and was banned from returning to his country for years as diplomats alternately schemed and crapped themselves. It’s all very well told, but in a movie-of-the-week way. Also, how many more times do we have to watch Clement Attlee get owned in British historical drama? The man created the modern welfare state, and we have to watch him make inpetent grabs for power (“The Crown”) and cynically do the bidding of racists to acquire uranium (this movie).
  39. Split
  40. Colossal
  41. War for the Planet of the Apes
    These movies just leave me cold, and I guess I’m the only one.
  42. It es At Night
    Answering the question, at last: What would a post-apocalyptic drama look like if Terrence Malick directed it? The answer: Half tense, half pretty dull and un-engaging. Director?Trey Edward Shults has now made two very Malick-y movies that offer a semi-interesting spin on an established genre. Good for him, I guess!
  43. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  44. The Fate of the Furious
  45. Cars 3
  46. Free Fire
    “What if we spent an entire movie on just one shoot-out” is an idea that made sense to way too many producers and actors.
  47. Snatched
  48. Wilson
    “Ghost World” is feeling more and more like a fluke — the rest of Daniel Clowes’s wince-inducing slice-of-life edies do not work when transferred from page to screen. Lots goes wrong here — Judy Greer as the cute neighbor who will obviously set things right drains the misery out of the script — but probably the best example of what’s lost in translation is a scene in which Woody Harrelson’s titular misanthope sits and watches a tree lose its leaves. In the ic, it was a one-page gag; in the movie, it’s shot like one of those Qatsi movies, all shutter-speed and emotional string sections.
  49. The House
    There are moments when the ic actors are really grooving, and you wonder why critics said this was a formless mess. Then you get to the third act and it’s a formless mess.
  50. Ghost in the Shell
    Boy, this one wasn’t helped by the existence of “Blade Runner 2049.”

Let’s hear it for mediocrity!

Like many busy people, I spend roughly 40 percent of my waking life wasting time on the internet. The problem: The many mentators and reviewers who pollute the internet only ever talk about good TV shows and movies. Nobody wants to talk about the mediocre ones!

It’s a challenge, and I accept it.

“Apollo Gauntlet” (Adult Swim, 2017)

This defiantly stupid Canadian import began as a YouTube series and was picked up for a six-episode test run, a bit like “MDE Presents: World Peace,” but with less alt-right transgressions and more dumb pop culture references.?Myles Langlois’s vision was a parody of the detritus of 1980s D&D culture, sort of resembling the infamous CD-based “Zelda” game cutscenes but with choppier animation. Upgraded for a mass audience, it even more closely evokes those “Zelda” es, some of the most immediately hate-watchable entertainment of my generation.

The show itself is… fine? Langlois himself plays Paul Cassidy/Apollo Gauntlet, whose fortuitous discovery of magic talking gauntlets transforms him into the superhero for a generic fantasy world. His delivery is one of the best things about the show, lazy and distracted. It’s a bit like “One Punch Man,” a much, much superior show, in that the humor es not from setbacks but from a hero laconically conquering every challenge he es across.

I enjoyed the randomness of everything else, and the voice acting owns; Betsy Sodaro, a UCB veteran with a voice like a clogged paper shredder, is particularly good as the most petent member of the adventuring crew Gauntlet stumbles into leading. But too often, the jokes consist of out-of-place references and little follow-through. One example: When Gauntlet teams up with Dr. Benign, the James Urbaniak-voiced villain who sent him to this word, Benign suggests a plan that will be “just like ‘Shadow of the Collossus.'” It’s a video game, get it?

The punchline, delivered by Gauntlet: “Nobody understands your pop culture references.”

That’s it. Fine stoner entertainment, but not much more. Binge-watching will get you maybe through half an edible.

“I’m Dying Up Here” (Showtime, 2017)

My favorite hate-watch of 2017, a deeply flawed show packed with enough funny performances that I keep turning it on and suppressing my groans. Based loosely on what’s supposed to be a very good book about the alt-edy scene in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s, the show’s set largely in the fictional Goldie’s, owned by — get this — a woman named Goldie, played by Melissa Leo with dramatic chops and a lot of corny dialogue. Goldie’s is basically The edy Store, which, fortunately for set designers, has not changed since the 1970s.

Goldie presides over a sophisticated edy slave trade, where ics work for no pay for the right to hone their acts and maybe catch the eyes of producers. The plotlines that don’t resolve around personal drama usually focus on the workability of this scheme, which, in the pilot episode, is plicated by a edian (Sebastian Stan) getting a big break on “The Tonight Show” and then killing himself, because there was nowhere to go but down.

God help me, I was pelled to keep watching, mostly because of the performances that anchor the b-plots. The a-plots are often excruciating, usually involving Bill (Andrew Santino), Nick (Jack Lacy), and Cassie (Ari Gaynor) battle their egos — and in Nick’s case, every drug available in 1975 Los Angeles — to Make It. But the b-team of actors are funny in a way that overes the occasional drab script — Clark Duke, Erik Griffin, Jon Daly, and Al Madrigal as a edian who is, correctly, mocked for making every single joke about Mexicans. There’s a throwaway scene in which Duke and Daly argue over whether the drowning death of Daly’s father makes any sense as an analogy that’s one of my favorite things all year. (Another favorite: A hanger-on edian played by Dom Irrera walking absent-mindedly into a fight, kicking a sleazy radio producer on the ground, and only then asking “hey, who we