Blogathons

Against the Crowd Blogathon 2021

If we all felt the same way about every movie, there would be no point in discussing them, would there? That’s the basis of Dell’s annual blogathon, Against the Crowd. If you aren’t familiar with Dell on Movies, check out his blog now and give him a follow, his knowledge of movies is so enviable! I’ve only taken part in Against the Crowd once before I think, but I’m already looking forward to taking part again next year!

I won’t try and explain the rules because 1, I’ll mess it up and confuse you and 2, Dell has already done a wonderful job himself, so here they are for you now:

  • Pick one movie “everyone” loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have score of 75% or more on rottentomatoes.com (or at least 7.5 on imdb.com). Tell us why you hate it.
  • Pick one movie that “everyone” hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of 35% or less on rottentomatoes.com (or 4.0 or less on imdb.com). Tell us why you love it.
  • Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.
  • Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own (just include all the pertinent details), or just mention this blogathon if using an audio or visual medium.
  • Let us know what two movies you intend on writing, vlogging, posting, or podcasting about in one of the following ways: Comment on this or any AtC 2021 post on this site, tweet me, or hit me up on instagram @dellonmovies, or e-mail me at dellott@yahoo.com.
  • Publish your post on any day from Friday, September 10 through Sunday, September 12, 2021, and include a link to this announcement. If you’re a podcaster or YouTuber that is interested in participating just talk about your chosen movies during your closest podcast and/or video to those dates and mention that you are taking part in this blogathon.
  • If posting on social media, use the hashtag #AgainstTheCrowd2021

I very nearly picked a pair of quite recent movies where the tomato meter score shocked me, but I hand-on-heart think most of you could agree with my views and that’s not quite so fun, so I’m going with a couple of older movies. One very old, and another that just makes me feel old. I apologise in advance for my views, and it was great having you as a follower up until this fateful day.

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Casablanca (1942) 99%

Yikes, I knew Casablanca would have a high score, but I wasn’t expecting it to be 99%. I watched it around 6-7 years ago for the first time back when I was determined to watch all of IMDB’s Top 250 movies. I never made it, but one day for sure. I straight up hated the movie, I’m sorry. I’m not a lover of old movies to begin with, but there are of course exceptions to that rule. I love a bit of romance, but I’m too modern and I need more substance and excitement on screen to really hook me.

What I hated the most was the famous line, “Here’s looking at you, kid”. First of all, ‘kid’ isn’t an endearing term to me. That’s what one of my neighbours calls out to me when he’s out walking his dog. Secondly, it felt like it was already decided that was a great line that would be famous, so it was going to be stuck into the movie as many times as possible. As the youth of today would say, it gave me the ‘ick’.

So yeah. I’m really sorry – but nothing about Casablanca appealed to me at all.

Here’s the importance of doing your homework before writing a blog post. I’d already decided my ‘hated’ movie was going to be Twilight but I’m looking it up now to find the score and it’s higher than I expected! So good in fact, that it breaks the rules if I chose it. So if you’ll allow me some desperate scrabbling time…

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Bubble Boy (2001) 31%

So I delved into some of my favourite actors and sought out which ones were rated bad. As last month was Jake Gyllenhaal month here it seemed fitting to pick one of his movies and I was APPALLED to learn that Bubble Boy was rated so low. What more do you people want?! It’s a charming little romcom from 20 years ago featuring an adorable baby-faced Gyllenhaal playing a boy forced to stay inside because he has no immune system. No one can stay inside forever however, so he designs himself a bubble suit to enable him to go outdoors and let’s face it, the way the world is heading this movie might not be so fictional after all.

It’s just a cute movie. Is it great? No. No it isn’t. But it’s charming and entertaining and I’d watch it 10 times back to back before I watch Casablanca again. In fact, it has a better romance than Casablanca, and it even has a better memorable quote. “Dog poo?! This is awesome!”.

Thank you Dell, for allowing me to ruin any credibility I might have had. I’ll accept the abuse likely to be thrown my way in the comments!

Blogathons · Movie Reviews

Arthur Christmas (2011) – Christmas in July Blogathon

There might be a long-awaited heatwave in the UK right now, but today we’re talking about Christmas! It’s July, and that means it’s time for another of Drew’s Movie Reviews’ Christmas in July Blogathons! I’ve taken part for a good few years now and it’s something I always look forward to, I just love Christmas so much! Check out his original post here to find out more about the blogathon.

In previous years I’ve made lists, drawn posters and generally tried to think outside of the box. But this year I’m keeping it simple and I’m bringing you a movie review of Arthur Christmas (2011). It’s a movie I’ve never seen before but it’s been on my watchlist for 5 years now. I know it’s something I would enjoy but once November/Winter comes around, there’s so much going on and there’s so many beloved movies to watch that I’ve never found the time for something new. I’ll always pick an old favourite like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) or Jingle All The Way (1996) before I take a risk on something new. So the blogathon was the perfect opportunity for me to watch Arthur Christmas and see if it’s worth it.

arthur-christmas-movie-posterArthur Christmas is an animated movie made in collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations. If I’d known all along that Aardman was involved I would have seen it immediately, you can always rely on them to pack in a ridiculous amount of detail into their work. The animation is a beautiful blend of claymation meeting digital, it’s nothing that stands out against today’s animations but it’s still gorgeous.

It also has a wonderful voice cast. James McAvoy plays Arthur, one of Santa’s sons who works in the post room and has so much passion for making Christmas perfect for each child. He reads every letter and always makes sure the children get exactly what they ask for. Hugh Laurie voices Steve, Santa’s other son and heir to the suit. Steve’s worked hard to modernise the night of Christmas Eve with technology and efficiency, but he cares more for numbers and stats than the magic of it all. Santa himself and his wife are voiced by Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton. I’m sure they’ve done so much more but they will always be Slughorn and Umbridge to me.

Arthur Christmas is, I guess, a very to-the-book Christmas movie whereby Christmas is in danger of being ruined and it’s up to the underdogs to save it. I don’t have a problem with that as long as it’s done well and Arthur Christmas absolutely smashes it. The best Christmas movies are those that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and this is one of them. It’s the subtle jokes like the elves delivering presents and switching the oven on because the adults had forgotten after putting the turkey in before bed. That’s just one very small example off the top of my head.

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If I had any complaint at all it would be this question. Did the people involved in making this movie have young children AT ALL? Find me a child still asleep on Christmas morning past 7am and I’ll eat the laptop I’ve been using to work from home with. By 7am the presents are already opened and the house is chaos!

But anyway – in conclusion, Arthur Christmas will 100% be re-watched many a time in my house, when the real Christmas is here.

Now, my favourite part of Drew’s blogathon is the party he hosts at the end of it. We all get to bring a guest of our choice, someone we’d like to meet under the mistletoe. I’ve been very fickle and brought a new guest every year and 2021 is going to be no different. There’s only one person on my naughty list this year and the god of mischief himself, Loki, aka Tom Hiddleston. Drew, if we’re allowed to come in costume I’ll put together my very best Sylvie outfit!

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Blogathons

Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2021

Drew and Kim are back again with their Ultimate Decades Blogathon! In previous years they’ve covered the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s – but rather than go back further in time this year they’re switching up the format and are focusing on years ending in a 1. You can find a list with all of this year’s entries here. With so many movies in so many eligible years, it was impossible for me to pick just 1 movie to talk about so instead I’m bringing you 5 of my favourite movies spanning 5 decades!

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1971 – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

I’ve watched very few movies from the 70s but one of those just so happens to be one of my childhood classics. Watching it now, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is quite a terrifying story but as a child it was magical. Didn’t we all just wish we could visit the factory and eat all the sweets and chocolate we could?

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1981 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

This blogathon serves as a perfect reminder that I need to have an Indiana Jones marathon soon. I remember watching the Indiana Jones live show at Disney World as a child and thinking I was watching the real deal. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve seen every movie in the franchise yet so watch this space but in the meantime, can we all agree Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best of them all?

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1991 – Beauty and the Beast

I talk about this amazing, greatest of all time Disney movie far too much so I’ll keep this brief but come on, this was the only option for me. My Mum likes to tell me that this movie was played so much when I was little the VHS tape was worn to nothing but as it’s also her favourite Disney movie I’m not convinced that it was me who demanded it be played daily.

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2001 – Donnie Darko

There were a lot of movies I wanted to pick for this year but it has to be Donnie Darko. It opened my eyes to a movie genre that wasn’t animation, action or comedy and was basically the beginning of my love for weird movies. There’s something new to discover with every watch of Donnie Darko.

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2011 – The Muppets

Yes, I know this is an odd choice. There were some fantastic movies released in 2011, but I’ve realised that subconsciously I’ve been picking movies that mean something to me on a deeper level rather than simply great movies, and so I had to pick The Muppets. If I were to explain my sense of humour to you – this movie is it. It’s essentially me in movie form. And fun fact – at our wedding we walked back down the aisle to ‘Life’s a Happy Song’!

Blogathons

Hidden Gems Movie Challenge 2021

For at least 3 years now I have tried and failed to complete a full year of the Blind Spot Movie Challenge. I don’t know what happens but something just stops me. It was great, then, when last year one of my favourite movie bloggers Mettel Ray announced that she struggles with the same challenge, and so created her own – the Hidden Gems Movie Challenge. Check out her original post here to find out more, but I’ll explain briefly too.

Mettel Ray was kind enough to let me take part in the challenge myself for 2021 and I couldn’t be more excited. The idea is that each month you pick an actor or actress of whom you’re a big fan of, and watch 3 of their movies you haven’t yet seen, with the hope of finding a hidden gem. If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know I tend to obsess over a star and then consume as much of their filmography as I can so this should absolutely be a challenge I can keep to and enjoy!

The hardest part is picking who to focus on for each month! Like Mettel Ray, I’m going to pick 6 actors and 6 actresses. There are 3 names who, as much as I love them, aren’t going to be included, and that’s simply because I’ve already watched so many of their movies there either aren’t even 3 left or there are only 3 or 4 that I haven’t seen. Those names are Adam Driver, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.

So, without further ado, here are my picks…

hidden-gems-dan-stevensJANUARY – Dan Stevens 

hidden-gems-kristen-stewartFEBRUARY – Kristen Stewart

hidden-gems-keanu-reevesMARCH – Keanu Reeves

hidden-gems-michael-b-jordanAPRIL – Michael B. Jordan

hidden-gems-margot-robbieMAY – Margot Robbie

hidden-gems-paul-ruddJUNE – Paul Rudd

hidden-gems-nicole-kidmanJULY – Nicole Kidman

hidden-gems-jake-gyllenhaalAUGUST – Jake Gyllenhaal

hidden-gems-octavia-spencerSEPTEMBER – Octavia Spencer

hidden-gems-emily-bluntOCTOBER – Emily Blunt

hidden-gems-emma-thompsonNOVEMBER – Emma Thompson

hidden-gems-oscar-isaacDECEMBER – Oscar Isaac

Blogathons

Girl Week 2020: Female Directors of 2020

For 6 years now, one of my favourite movie buffs Dell at Dell on Movies has hosted his Girl Week blogathon, celebrating females in the movie industry. Many bloggers have been posting this week and I’ve snuck in at the last minute with a post of my own. If you want to find out more check out Dell’s announcement post and give him a follow if you haven’t already.

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In 2019 and 2018 I posted about the female directors of that year so far, and it feels right to carry on with that theme. At this point in November in 2018 I had watched 47 new releases, and just 4 of them were directed by woman, which shocked me. In 2019, I’d seen 70 new releases, and only 8 were directed by women. That’s still really bad, isn’t it? I told myself after that I would make a concentrated effort to improve that figure by you know, 2020 happened and I have to admit I haven’t kept track. So with that in mind, allow me a minute (or 20) to look at my Letterboxd account and run the figures.

Number of 2020 releases watched so far: 77
Number of 2020 releases watched that are directed by women: 16

You know what? I’m reservedly happy with that number. Of course I wish it was higher but that’s double the number of last year when I’ve watched roughly the same number of movies overall. I think it’s mainly due to having virtually no blockbuster movies this year, freeing up my time for indie releases. I’ll list all 16 for you now, and I may as well do a top 5, right?

365 Days – Barbara Bialowas, Tomasz Mandes
Emma. – Autumn de Wilde
Mulan – Niki Caro
Misbehaviour – Philippa Lowthorpe
High Note – Nisha Ganatra
Desperados – LP
The Old Guard – Gina Prince-Bythewood
She Dies Tomorrow – Amy Seimetz
Unpregnant – Rachel Goldenberg
On the Rocks – Sofia Coppola
American Murder: The Family Next Door – Jenny Popplewell

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#5 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend – Claire Scanlon

Chosing a 5th place was tricky because looking back at my film diary, I ranked a lot of these 7/10. The one I had the most fun with though was the interactive Kimmy Schmidt movie. The show cheered me up during the tough days of having a newborn baby, and now the movie is here cheering me up in a terrible year!

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#4 Birds of Prey – Cathy Yan

It almost feels surreal that I was at a cinema this year to see Birds of Prey. I don’t generally rate the DC movies but this was so much fun, and Margot Robbie is the perfect Harley Quinn. It sucks that WB didn’t give it the marketing it deserves, and now it’s been hailed as a flop.

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#3 Kajillionaire – Miranda July

Kajillionaire just represents everything I love about indie movies. Great characters, great acting and a weird as heck story. I’m so glad I got to see it at the cinema before they closed again, and I’m hopeful that a streaming service picks it up soon so I can watch it again.

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#2 The Broken Hearts Gallery – Natalie Krinsky

I’ve seen The Broken Hearts Gallery twice now and loved it just as much on a rewatch. There are hoards of average romcoms released every year but every now and again there’s a diamond in the rough and this is one of them.

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#1 Happiest Season – Clea DuVall

I haven’t written a proper review of Happiest Season yet (that’s coming next week) but there’s just no way I wasn’t going to enjoy it. I’ve always been a Kristen Stewart fan, I would walk on all the LEGO barefoot for Aubrey Plaza and these last couple of months I’ve binge watched an unhealthy amount of Schitt’s Creek for Daniel Levy so it would have taken a disaster for me to not love this movie.