Thursday Movie Picks: Super Long Titles

It’s Thursday again! It’s actually Thursday whilst I’m writing this too, because unlike last week where I was super organised with blog posts, this week is not going to plan. There was so way I could miss Wandering Through The Shelves’ weekly game this week though, the topic is too much fun. See, some weeks I’m scratching my head and trying to think of something clever, but this week’s theme is Super Long Titles, and so I’ve scoured my Letterboxd diary to see what I’ve watched that fits.

It’s annoying trying to actually talk about a movie when the title is so darn long, but I think I prefer it to super short, one-word titles. Mainly because I inevitably end up confusing movies for other ones because their names are too similar. I’ve watched Coherence (2013) and Compliance (2012) and I can’t tell which is which to save my life!

Before I give myself a headache and eventually look them both up, here are my 3 picks this week:

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

It’s a good job most people know what movie you’re on about if you simply say Birdman because I can never remember its full title! Regardless, I haven’t put together my lists for the best movies of the decade yet but Birdman would most likely be my #1 choice for 2014!

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

2 movies from 2014? What was going on, writers? Anyway – this movie wouldn’t make any of my Top 10 lists mainly because it was pretty ‘meh’ and forgettable. That said, I will never forget about it’s title because I use it as a joke waaaay too often. Just pick any movie character who had a rough time in their story and add it to the title, boom! Guaranteed to make me laugh.

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Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996)

I saved the biggest till last, wink, wink. Fun fact, Don’t Be a Menace is probably my husband’s favourite movie of all time. When he was a lovable dork back in college he would quote it all the time, and somehow I managed to only watch it for myself 4 months ago. I mean yeah, it’s got some hilarious jokes in there but I mostly had to watch it whilst my husband watched me, waiting for me to laugh!

Thursday Movie Picks: Adaptations

I refuse to believe it’s Thursday already, mainly because it isn’t – I’m just organised for a change and have all my posts this week written in advance! Anyway, another Thursday means another of Wandering Through the Shelves’Thursday Movie Picks. This week’s theme is Adaptations. Basically, movies that have been adapted from other works. There are so many to pick from I’ve decided to go with a theme within the theme.

It’s been a very festive week so far and so all of my picks this week are Christmas movies adapted from books! And yes, my #3 choice is a Christmas movie, don’t you try and tell me otherwise.

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It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

My local cinema had a showing of this a few years back that me and the family went to go and see. I’d never watched it before and although I really enjoyed it, it’s a tough movie to put into my annual movie rotation for December. It’s based on a short story called The Greatest Gift, by Philip Van Doren Stern. Apparently the Director Frank Capra read the story and bought the film rights straight away. The names of all the characters were changed for the movie.

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The Polar Express (2004)

It feels to me like The Polar Express is only a few years old, and yet I’ve watched it so many years in a row it almost feels like it’s always been around. Almost 20 years before the movie’s release, The Polar Express was a children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg. By 1989, the year I was born, it had sold a million copies!

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Die Hard (1988)

Is there ever going to be a year where we aren’t arguing about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie? Probably not, but if you’ve watched the movie so many times you can’t bear it any longer, perhaps you might want to read the book it was based on, Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. Just to confuse you as well, Nothing Lasts Forever is a sequel to The Detective, which also got an adaptation in 1966 starring Frank Sinatra!

Girl Week 2019: Female Directors of 2019

For now the 5th year running, Dell at Dell on Movies is celebrating all things female in the movie world with his Girl Week Blogathon. Last year I decided to write a post about my favourite female directors of the year, and came to a shocking discovery that out of the 47 2018 releases I’d seen so far that year, only 4 were directed by women. FOUR. Can you believe that? It meant that instead of writing about my favourite 4 movies directed by women, I had to talk about literally the only 4 movies directed by women that I’d seen!

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So this year it seemed only right to check my stats for 2019 so far and see if there’s been any difference. At the time of writing, I’ve seen 70 of this year’s releases so far, and 8 of them have been directed by women. That’s still shockingly bad, isn’t it? 2 of those 8 are co-directed by women, too.

To be completely honest – I don’t make a concentrated effort to find female-directed movies. I’d had to look up each movie in my diary on Letterboxd because I don’t pay much attention. Next year, I think I owe it to my fellow gals to actively watch their movies!

Still, 8 gives me a big enough number to at least do a Top 5, so let’s crack on with that. Missing out on my Top 5 are:
#8 Wine Country, Directed by Amy Poehler
#7 Someone Great, Directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
#6 Little, Directed by Tina Gordon Chism

Which leave my Top 5 as:

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#5 Late Night, Directed by Nisha Ganatra

I’m of the opinion right now that Emma Thompson can actually do no wrong. Even in the most mediocre movie, her mere presence lights up the screen. I missed Late Night in the cinemas because of the luke-warm reviews but gave it a chance in the end. Whilst I didn’t love it, I still laughed a lot. There’s plenty to like here, even if it does get a little heavy on the politics at times.

Nisha Ganatra has also directed Chutney Popcorn (1999).

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#4 Captain Marvel, Directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Bowden

It’s that time of year now where I sound like a broken record, “NO WAY was this released this year” but seriously, does Captain Marvel feel as recent as it is to anyone else? Perhaps it’s just because the trolls have been crying for over a year now. I’m well overdue a rewatch of Captain Marvel but flaws aside I really enjoyed it, and I thought Captain Marvel made a fine addition to the team in Endgame, too.

Ryan Fleck and Anna Bowden also directed Half Nelson (2006).

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#3 Always Be My Maybe, Directed by Nahnatchka Khan

2019 has to go down as the year of Keanu Reeves, right? Can we all hand-on-heart honestly say we would have watched this little Netflix gem if we didn’t know Keanu Reeves had the best cameo of all time in it? Keanu aside, whilst the movie world is flooded with lame romcoms, Always Be My Maybe is one of the good, if not great ones, and is equal parts hilarious and heart warming. Well worth a watch if you haven’t already.

Always Be My Maybe (2019) is Nahnatchka Khan’s directional debut. 

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#2 Frozen 2, Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

I haven’t written my full post for Frozen 2 yet because it’s one of those movies that I really enjoyed, but ask me to talk about it and I can only nitpick at the parts I didn’t like. It IS good though. It has a big theme around growing up, and maturity, which is fitting really for it’s main audience who are 6 years older than they were when the original came out! Can you tell I’m completely avoiding talking about my feelings towards it? Watch this space…

Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee also directed Frozen (2013).

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#1 Booksmart, Directed by Olivia Wilde

This one sure divided opinions, huh? There’s a ‘this is the next Superbad’ camp and a ‘this is entirely overrated’ camp from what I could tell. I was never a huge fan of Superbad to be honest, but I loved Booksmart. Not all the jokes landed, but it was a perfect representation of female friendship.

Booksmart (2019) is Olivia Wilde’s directional debut.

Finally – if you don’t already follow Dell on Movies you should right that wrong straight away, keep an eye out on his blog for a Girl Week roundup next week!

Thursday Movie Picks: Scientists

There are so many Thursday Movie Picks themes that I end up skipping because I can’t think of enough movies I’ve even seen to fit – let alone 3 great choices that I can recommend. That is, until Thursday rolls around, I read everyone else’s posts and realise that I’ve watched more than I thought…and then kick myself for not picking them myself!

I almost did the same with this week’s theme of Scientists. Then I made myself sit down and think, and lo and behold, I have a list as long as my arm! I’ve whittled that down to 3 choices with a slight mini-theme. These 3 movies are ones that I really enjoyed, but something stopped them from being amazing.

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Annihilation (2018)

A mysterious, creepy movie with a stellar female cast and Oscar Isaac? I mean, this movie couldn’t be awful if it tried. Annihilation made a lot of ‘Best of 2018’ lists, and rightly so, to be honest. The scene with that bear creature mimicking the scream was downright terrifying and a moment I’ll never forget, but the movie lost me at the end. I love a weird ending but this one was just too much.

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Downsizing (2017)

I’m still so gutted about how much potential Downsizing wasted. A future world where humans can be shrunk in order to save the planet, and all the fiscal and political issues that arise as a result? This could have been a smashing TV series, but it doesn’t work at all as a movie. Too much plot got packed in with not enough time, and a lot of threads just lead nowhere. I love the idea of it all though, and I hope the story gets picked up and done better sometime.

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A Cure for Wellness (2016)

I feel like in the run-up to this movie’s release, there was so much hype, and then…the movie came out, and no one made a fuss. I didn’t even see it in the cinema, but I’m glad I still watched it. It’s long, but it’s got the creep and mystery factor that keep you going. I shamefully can’t even remember the ending, but I know it was one that you either loved or hated.

Thursday Movie Picks: Teen Horror

Spooky season has well and truly arrived! The nights are getting darker, the air is getting colder, and you can’t go to a supermarket without being confronted by pumpkins or sweets! It’s the perfect time of year to hibernate indoors with a hot drink and a scary movie. This week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme is Teen Horror, and since finally welcoming horror movies into my life I’ve seen quite a few!

Here are my three favourites:

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It Follows (2014)

Also known as the supernatural STD movie, It Follows is one of the few movies that genuinely scared the crap out of me both whilst I was watching it and for days afterward. Basically, it starts with one girl after a sexual encounter. ‘It’ follows her, only ‘It’ can take any form it wishes and moves at a slow pace until it finds you and kills you. You’re the only person who can see ‘It’, also. The only way to stop ‘It’ is to have sex with someone else and pass it on to them.

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Happy Death Day (2017)

I’m so fed up with Groundhog Day-style movies that I avoided Happy Death Day until this year. It’s so good though! You can probably guess the plot, a teen girl is murdered one night and then wakes up at the start of the same day, only to die over and over again. It’s a bit jumpy, but it’s also quite funny and the sequel is surprisingly even better than the original!

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Midsommar (2019)

It only feels like yesterday that Midsommar was released but I’m starting to learn that with Ari Aster’s movies, you aren’t likely to forget about them anytime soon. After suffering a family tragedy, Dani travels to Sweden with her awful boyfriend and his friends to visit a fabled mid-summer festival. It’s a quiet movie for a horror, and a lot of the worse moments happen off-screen, but it’s a glorious movie.

Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon

Originally posted at Drew’s Movie Reviews to kick off his blogathon. Go check out Drew’s blog now if you don’t follow him already!

You try saying that title after a few cups of eggnog! Does anyone actually drink eggnog? I’ve heard it in Christmas songs I’ve seen it in Christmas movies…but I’ve never actually had any! I guess there’s a first time for everything. Speaking of which, this is certainly not the first time I’ve taken part in Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon, but it IS the first time I’ve sent my post to him on time! For…any actual Blogathon he’s hosted, actually. I’m so sorry Drew!

It’s getting tougher each year to pick a topic for my post, but after last year when I defended Die Hard’s status as a Christmas movie my theme for this year has picked itself out. I’m going to list my Top 5 Non-Christmassy Christmas movies! You know, those movies you find yourself watching in October or November when the festive vibes are kicking in, but it’s not socially acceptable to be in the festive spirit yet!

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#5 Die Hard (1988)

Defending Die Hard’s Christmassy status is difficult enough, but last year Bruce Wilis himself declared that it wasn’t a Christmas movie. C’mon, man! When the winter months are filled with sickly sweet family movies, sometimes you need to see Bruce Willis kick some ass whilst still feeling festive.

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#4 Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

I love a good rom com, and Bridget Jones’ Diary is up there with the best of the very best. Bridget is just so relatable, and the scene with her and Mark Darcy with his ugly Christmas jumper is brilliant!

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#3 The Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)

Christmas features very sporadically in all of the Harry Potter movies but for years now, the main UK TV channels feature them heavily in December, and so for that reason, it’s sort of become a tradition to watch them annually at that time of year.

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#2 Shazam! (2019)

This year has actually brought a new movie to my annual Christmas watch list! (I’m going to have to START in July at this rate). Shazam! has it all, it’s a cool and funny superhero movie, it has some touching family moments…and it takes place at Christmas! Winner winner, turkey dinner.

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#1 Just Friends (2005)

I’m a huuuge Ryan Reynolds fan, and Just Friends features Ryan Reynolds at what I consider one of the best moments in his career. Embarrassingly, I could probably recite the entire movie to you, I’ve watched it that often!

Now, as part of Drew’s blogathon, he hosts a huge celebrity party (ever the hostess with the most-ess) and we’re allowed to bring any guest we choose. I seem to have worked my way through the entire male Star Wars cast…but I don’t think you need more than one guess as to who I’m bringing this year…

Keanu, we are going to have a most excellent time!

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Thursday Movie Picks: Parenthood

For a while, I scoffed at movies all to do with being a parent. Everything was either over-dramatised or made to look far easier than it really is. Now, I’ve come to realise that’s the way it has to be. No one wants to part with their hard-earned cash to watch a pair of adult actors pick up half-chewed cereal scattered across the house, reading the same colourful book 5 times in a row, trying to work out why pasta was the best food ever yesterday but disgusting today, and traipsing around the park all afternoon in an attempt to wear the little devils angels out.

You guessed it, this week’s Thursday Movie Picks theme is Parenthood. It’s a huge topic, but I’ve narrowed my choices down to simply my favourites.

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Away We Go (2009)

As seems to always happen with these themes, I only watched Away We Go for the first time last month. It’s a beautiful little movie starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph all about becoming parents for the first time, and all the worries and anxieties that come with it. There are so many moments that made me laugh out loud, like poor Maya being told constantly how huge she looks. People! What is it about pregnancy that makes it totally okay and normal to call a hormonal woman huge?!

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Captain Fantastic (2016)

Everyone has their own ideals about how to raise children, and Viggo Mortensen plays a Father who, with his wife, has raised his children in the mountains, teaching them how to hunt and forage for their own food and how to treat injuries. They have home-schooled all of their children also, to the disgust of the kid’s grandparents. When the family is forced together after a tragedy, the inevitable conflicts emerge. Captain Fantastic is such a touching movie, I loved it.

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Instant Family (2019)

This is one of the many movies released this year that has taken me by surprise. I expected a fairly average Mark Wahlberg comedy about how adopting foster children can ruin your relationship, but Instant Family was so sincere and strangely real and honest about the whole process, from the struggles that the children themselves go through to the judgments that your own family can make about it all. It balances the drama and comedy really well, which I think is so hard to do.