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.

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Thursday Movie Picks: Break-Ups

There’s something about the changing seasons, days getting shorter and the weather getting colder that makes curling up on the sofa with a hot drink and a sappy movie so appealing to me. So I guess it’s great timing that this week’s Wandering Through the Shelves Thursday Movie Picks theme is break-ups!

When I started scouring my Letterboxd account for possible choices, I very nearly created a theme within a theme of Ryan Gosling break-up movies, but changed my mind at the last minute! It was a good reminder that there are still far too many of his movies I haven’t seen yet, though…

But without further ado, here are my 3 picks for the week:

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The Break-Up (2006)

I know this seems like the laziest choice ever, but I actually really love this movie! Back in the day when I didn’t watch many movies at all, The Break-Up was the first rom-com I watched with an ending that surprised me, it totally bummed me out and I’ve never forgotten about it! Plus, it has my favourite funny argument between a couple ever. “I don’t want you to do the dishes, I want you to WANT to do the dishes!” “Why would I WANT to do the dishes?!”

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Begin Again (2013)

Excuse me John Carney, it’s been 3 years since your last movie, we’re due another! You can always count on a John Carney movie to be beautiful and have the best soundtrack ever. I loved Begin Again so much. Keira Knightly plays a talented musician who finds herself single after her long-time boyfriend makes it big in the music industry and leaves her behind. It’s just stunning in all aspects!

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La La Land (2016)

I will never, ever, get over the sadness that the ending to La La Land caused me. It’s just not fair. I thought I was over it, and then on holiday we were stuck in some Los Angeles traffic and I found myself singing ‘Another Day of Sun’ and it brought the pain back to me. I do like that the embarrassment at the Oscars where La La Land was announced as Best Picture just to have it corrected a few minutes later was kind of a parallel to what the audience to this movie ends up going through, though. The irony isn’t lost on me!

Thursday Movie Picks: Non-English Language Movies

Shame on me, it’s been forever since I took part in Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks. I got into the swing of it, came across a week where I had nothing to contribute, and then fell off the wagon, hard. Typically now I’m back off holiday this week’s theme is a real struggle for me, but I do (just about) have 3 movies to bring to the table this week.

The theme, of course, is Non-English Language Movies. I’ve largely avoided these movies for the majority of my life because…well. I’m from England where we rarely learn any other language at a high level, and the thought of reading a movie was offputting. I’ve widened my horizons in recent years though, and I’ll happily watch any movie that other bloggers are raving about, no matter the language!

Here are my 3 favourites that I’ve seen so far…

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Incendies (2010)

If you’ve seen any of Denis Villenueve’s other movies (Prisoners, Sicario, Enemy, to name a few) then you know you’re in for a wild, often brutal ride. There are no happy endings here. Incendies is the story of a set of twins traveling to the Middle East to discover their family history, and it was one of those endings that has haunted me ever since. 100% a must watch!

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Memories of Murder (2003)

Speaking of no happy endings…Joon-ho Bong’s Memories of Murder was an exhausting (but worth it!) watch. It deals with three detectives desperately trying to solve the case of multiple murders. If you’ve watched Wind River (2017) and found it a good watch, then this should definitely be next on your list.

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Roma (2018)

A weird choice, considering I wasn’t exactly singing it’s praises when I reviewed it last year, but despite Roma not being the most exciting movie I’ve ever seen, it’s stuck with me ever since. On the surface, it’s a quiet story of a housemaid and the life she leads, but there are some really powerful moments in there.

Thursday Movie Picks: Blockbuster Flops

Sometimes, after spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars on acting talent, special effects and marketing, a movie flops at the box office. More often than not, these movies are Blockbusters – those movies sometimes based on other movies, books or TV shows. Most of the time, the flop is justified. The movie was just downright terrible. But that isn’t always the case, and I guess this week Wandering Through the Shelves has set us bloggers the task of defending some of those failed movies.

I used this Wikipedia article to help me define what the biggest movie flops are, and these are 3 of those movies that I don’t think deserved to do so badly.

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Ghostbusters (2016) Production Budget: $144m Worldwide Gross: £229m

I loved the all-female Ghostbusters remake. Not because I’m a woman and I want women to have bigger roles in the industry, but because it was a fun movie and it made me laugh. In fact, it was the first Ghostbusters movie I ever watched, I watched the original for the first time last year and wasn’t that impressed (don’t @ me). What annoys me so much is wondering how much of a factor internet trolls were to the failure of the remake. If anyone’s seen the movie and hated it that’s fine, everyone has their own opinion, but to hate on a movie before even seeing it is just childish!

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Rise of the Guardians (2012) Production Budget: $145m Worldwide Gross: £306m

Honestly, I was shocked to find Rise of the Guardians in that Wikipedia list. I think it’s such a beautiful animated movie. It’s definitely geared more towards being a Christmas movie but it covers a lot of other holidays too. The voice cast is stellar (Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law to name a few) and the story is so sweet. If you’ve never seen it before please just do me this one favour and give it a try!

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Green Lantern (2011) Production Budget: $220m Worldwide Gross: $219m

Yeah, yeah, you rolled your eyes so hard I heard them! I know Green Lantern isn’t a good movie. I watched it before I got into the genre and didn’t know better. Anyone who’s ever read a Green Lantern comic could write a better script, and the bad guy was butchered in the development phases. BUT. Are you telling me that Green Lantern deserves a flop sticker when movies like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad are labeled as huge successes?

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.

Thursday Movie Picks: Period Drama

Happy Thursday, everyone! Brightburn is finally out in the UK today so I’m hoping to catch that tonight. I’m not setting my expectations too high, but I’m still looking forward to it. Anyway, Thursday also means Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. I had to do a quick Google search to define this week’s topic of Period Drama, as I’ve always said I hated the genre without really knowing what it is.

To my joy, Google defined it as “a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television”. Well blow me down, it’s a much broader term than I thought it was! Thanks to that revelation, I’m bringing a theme within the theme this week, as my 3 Period Drama picks all star Emma Stone!

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The Favourite (2018)

This, to me, is my dictionary definition of Period Drama. Women in huge, stuffy dresses and men going off to war. What convinced me to see The Favourite though was the cast, obviously including Emma Stone, and the fact that it’s directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, known for creating all things weird and wonderful. Olivia Colman won an Oscar for her performance in this, and she was so deserving of it! I highly recommended this one if you haven’t seen it already.

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The Help (2011)

It’s been years since I watched The Help, but writing this has reminded me how much I want to see it again. Emma Stone plays a writer called Skeeter who decided to interview the black women who look after wealthy families. Again, the cast here is stunning and it’s a shocking look into history. The Help is worth a watch if nothing more than to see Octavia Spencer deliver arguably her most famous line ever, “Eat my s**t”.

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Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

I only watched this one recently, but once I realised my first two picks shared Emma Stone in common I just had to see if I could make it a hat trick, and huzzah! Here we go. I’ve since learned that Woody Allen movies are an acquired taste, so this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I quite liked it. It had just the right amount of humour, romance, and mystery to satisfy me.

Thursday Movie Picks: Undercover

It’s probably about time I admitted that I’ve been undercover all this time. Secretly, I’m actually a great blogger who writes concisely and elegantly and keeps to a strict writing schedule in order to post consistently. Just kidding, sloppy, incoherent and inconsistent me is the real me – nothing is going to change about that!

I do always try, though, and keeping up with Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks is at the top of my list. This week’s theme is Undercover, and whilst there have been many iconic, serious movies that fit the subject (Reservoir Dogs, The Departed, etc) I’m not going to talk about those today. My picks are pure fun!

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21 Jump Street (2012)

2012 was a magical year for Channing Tatum. He was obviously already well known for the Step Up movies but in 2012 he not only stole the hearts of women everywhere with Magic Mike, he broke those hearts with the romantic weepy movie The Vow, and then cheered us all up with the surprise hit, 21 Jump Street. It’s a remake of an 80s show where Channing and Jonah Hill play 2 cops going undercover as High School students to take down a drug ring. It’s honestly one of the best comedies of the decade!

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Miss Congeniality (2000)

I just love Sandra Bullock. It doesn’t matter what the movie is, if she’s in it I’ll watch it. I haven’t seen Miss Congeniality in years but Sandra basically plays a tough cop going undercover in a beauty pageant, and it’s as funny as you can imagine. It must have done well at the time because they made a sequel, but it’s sadly nowhere near as good as the original…as always!

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Point Break (1991)

Sometime, a week will pass without me mentioning Keanu Reeves. This week is not that week. How can I not mention Point Break?! Keanu plays an FBI agent going undercover as a surfer to catch a group who are suspected bank robbers. I only watched it for the first time recently (before Keanu fever hit, thank you) but it was so much fun! I ended up watching the remake straight after and actually compared them – excuse the self-promotion!