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What I Watched in 2022, Pt. 1
Cat Corner: Cold Face, Warm Butt
As mentioned in a previous newsletter, I keep a list of movies and TV shows in my phone’s Notes app. At the end of every year, I share brief thoughts about them at the end of every year. I don’t take the best notes, so these generally aren’t the best summations, and I’m not very critical; it’s not hard to entertain me.
Anyway, enjoy part one (of two)!
Movies I (and in most cases, Stephanie) Watched At Home in 2022
The Proposal: A rom-com and a favorite of Stephanie’s (we watched her DVD copy). It’s the kind of movie that doesn’t get into cinemas anymore, and one I had never heard of before she brought it into my life. I liked it, and so did plenty of other folks; it made $317 million at the box office in 2009 (that’s $440 million in today’s dollars).
I Married a Witch: Another rom-com, but much older. Effects are fantastic for its time, and the framing is, literally, fantastic.
Encanto: It’s a Disney musical — that’s all you gotta say to get me on board. This was the last movie Stephanie and I watched as a couple living in sin. We picked a great one to go out on.
Aftermath: Two movies with this name were released in the last five years; this is the one about a haunted house. It’s freaky, and was a bit unsettling to watch as a recent newlywed. I appreciated the ending and that the leading man in Animorphs is still getting work.
The Curse of La Llorona: We tend to watch a lot of horror movies over the course of a year, and some of them leave more of an impression on me than others. This wasn’t one of those.
The Tinder Swindler: I’m a sucker for a well-told true crime documentary, and this hit the spot early in the year. If you’re interested in observing how low humanity can go (and how gullible folks can be), it’s on Netflix.
Free Guy: Generally, the best “video game movies” are those with video-game theming but without basis in actual video games. This Ryan Reynolds vehicle is as good an example as any.
The Seventh Day: It’s hard for me to care about demonic possession on screen; I’d never seen The Exorcist until last year. We watched this at Stephanie’s behest. I think she enjoyed it, so that’s nice.
Scream (2022): I was super late to the Scream franchise, but not so late that I was unable to enjoy this wonderful-but-poorly-named sequel (damn you Halloween for starting a bad trend). Can’t wait for No. 6!
Turning Red: Pixar thrives at distilling “tough” subject matter down to its essence and delivering a powerful story. That it riled up a bunch of insecure “men” who couldn’t fathom the notion that they might relate to an 80-minute menstruation metaphor is a delightful bonus.
1922: Haven’t consumed much Stephen King content in my life, and I really oughta change that because I’ve enjoyed, on some level, all of it that’s come across my eyes. This was the second-best King adaptation I watched this year.
Intruder: I believe we watched this because Sam Raimi (who directed Stephanie’s favorite movies) portrays a character in it, and Bruce Campbell (who starred in Stephanie’s favorite movies) has a brief cameo — barely edged in briefness by his bits in Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, I’d guess. It was a good time, and the kind of flick that’s ripe for a Netflix remake that’ll have people over-singing the praises of the original.
Fritz the Cat: This is a weird-ass animated movie with which I had no familiarity prior to the day I discovered it on Amazon Prime. It also, I believe, has a sequel. I don’t know that I’ll ever seek it out, or that I’ll ever make time to watch this again, but the animation lover in me is thankful for the (again, weird-ass) experience.
The Twin: I had to Google my way to remembering what this movie was. The dubbing was decent?
Old: The twist here is somewhat comical, even by M. Night Shyamalan standards, but the journey is more satisfying than not. I think Shyamalan is a better storyteller than he often gets credit for; his flourishes just cast a big shadow.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: Starts with a banger of a vignette that never gets matched, but the entire anthology is a good time. Left this with two thoughts: there should be more anthology filmmaking, and I really need to watch more of the Coen brothers’ catalogue than I have.
Our Father: Documentary filmmaking through a horror lens — all it needs is multicolored spandex to really put it over the top for me, clearly. Watch it.
Colossal: This is from 2016, but it’s my favorite movie I watched this year. It’s weird — it’s totally bound for “cult classic” status and dissection in college film classes — but, man, it’s so on point with its message and how it’s delivered.
Last Night in Soho: Wanted to like this more than I did. That’s not to say it’s bad, it was just underwhelming in relation to its ambition.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore: Much like Harry Potter, movie No. 3 is the best of this series’ three entries, but I feel no more compelled to engage with this meandering franchise than I did before Stephanie and I finally got around to watching this on HBO Max. Just hurry up and give us the inevitable Harry Potter reboot as a seven-season TV show, WBD.
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Final Destination 5: I don’t remember what prompted us to do so, but Stephanie and I marathoned these ahead of Halloween. I’m glad the franchise is being revived, and with progenitor Jeffrey Reddick (an Eastern Kentucky native!) involved again. They’re all solid except for TFD, which at least tried to salvage itself with an interesting twist. My ranking: FD, FD2, FD5, FD3, TFD
Uncharted: It’s difficult for me to see Tom Holland as anything other than Peter Parker, and I don’t particularly love Mark Wahlberg on screen. Those challenges aside, this was a fine weekend Netflix watch with the in-laws.
Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much: Had to finish this the next day after Stephanie and I started watching it because I fell asleep. That’s more an indictment of me becoming an old man than the film, though the subject matter by the end seemed a bit too flimsy to warrant a run time of 72 minutes.
I Know What You Did Last Summer: SCREAM is a much better 90’s slasher movie, but this holds up nicely (I’d never seen it before this year). It, like SCREAM, seems ripe for a revival of sorts — maybe a TV thriller?
The Munsters (2022): Unironically one of my favorite movies of the year, less because of it’s quality — I'd hesitate to call it a good movie — but because of its qualities. Rob Zombie gave a full embrace to the original series’ campiness and made a flick that absolutely would have bombed at the box office in 1995 despite a $30 million marketing campaign with glass McDonald’s mugs. It’s a damn delight.
As Above, So Below: The “found footage” style of moviemaking is hit or miss for me, and this was more of a miss; I was into the ride for a while but it petered out by the climax. I only have so much affinity for ancient demons in me.
Village of the Damned (1960): Something I appreciate about older horror movies is that they’re often more subtle in their approach than modern fare. This was remade in 1995, and having not seen it, I’m sure it’s far less effective; there’s no way that the 1995 version’s children could be more believably evil than this edition’s, and the children are what make this stand out so much.
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone: This was the best Steven Spielberg adaptation I watched this year. Its overarching theme — smartphones’ consumption of our attention — is applied with a heavy hand, but it’s one that I’ve spent a lot of the last year thinking about anyway so I guess I didn’t mind too much. If you’re looking for “horror,” this isn’t for you, but there’s a tension that hangs over what is, ultimately, a solid story about friendship.
The Rental: Alison Brie can do no wrong, in my opinion, so this was always going to be a winner in my book. The entire ensemble lifts up what could have just been a run-of-the-mill home-invasion thriller.
Inheritance: I agree with many critics who said this takes too long to embrace its absurdity, and it’s riddled with plot landmines, but Simon Pegg is fun enough in an out-of-character performance to merit a watch if you’ve got nothing better to do.
Do Revenge: Stephanie and I watched 33-36 in succession on a random Sunday in October, so perhaps there’s some “last impression bias,” but this was my favorite of the foursome. It’s a coming-of-age black comedy that, I imagine, will develop a cult following.
The Mummy (1959): I need to give this another chance; I fell asleep about 30 minutes in and didn’t return.
Wendell and Wild: The best animated movie of 2022? It came out ahead of Halloween but, because Netflix is otherworldly terrible at marketing more than five or so properties within a given year, it came and went without much fanfare. I only learned about it because a friend’s retweet. Do you like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline? If “yes,” just watch it. If “no,” have you head examined.
Inside Out: I married Stephanie despite her never having seen most of the Pixar library, but she married me despite not ever having seen 90% of the most well-known horror movies ever made, so I guess it’s even? I love these movies, and now she does too!
Searching: Another couple of instances where I’d seen these prior but Stephanie hadn’t. Stylistically, they’re both adjacent to found footage — their stories play out entirely on screens — but they couldn’t be more different. Unfriended is a 2014 slasher movie already showing its age due to the pace of technological and societal changes; Searching is one of the best thrillers ever made and my favorite movie from the year 2018.
Don’t Worry Darling: This was way more decent than people gave it credit for.
The Faculty: Stephanie and I watched this at the recommendation of a friend, and thought it was a hoot. A good blend of camp and horror, I’m astonished that a sequel was never made. It’s another flick that seems ripe for future content-mining.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story: If you buy into the premise from the get-go, there’s no way this won’t tickle you. Daniel Radcliffe might quietly be the best performer of the 21st century.
Pumpkinhead: There are still eight days left in the year, so there’s still time to add to the list, but as of now this is the most recent movie I’ve watched at home. I’d never seen it and was in a mood to finally do it one evening in November. It was a much different movie than anticipated, and (I think) was better for it.
In part two, I’ll share thoughts on any other movies we watch at home, cinema-going experiences and some TV shows!
A winter storm that passed through Kentucky didn’t drop a lot of precipitation (thankfully), but did bring temperatures down to below zero.
We live in a split-level home with a downstairs thermostat, so I tapped into my hillbilly roots and curtained off the stairs using a pair of shoes and a Mario Kart blanket. Steamboat decided he’d like the best of both worlds this morning.
Earlier in the week, Maple got a hankering for some extra fiber.
Y’all be good and enjoy holidays!