Trey berated me for falling off the pace of 150 movies in January. I only watched 12 instead of the 13 I need to average each month to see 150 new-to-me movies this year. Figuring that come September, most of my time will be devoted to football, he's probably right. So I doubled my efforts in February and watched 30 movies!

Since 30 movies is a lot to cover, I'm going to break this up into multiple posts, partly because I can't spend a lot of time typing this: I'm behind on a few projects now.

13. Faster (2010)
I think there is supposed to be a shocking twist ending in this revenge fantasy, but it was pretty obvious in the first 5 minutes of the movie. I still enjoyed the film, but I felt I should have checked my brain at the door.

14. Up in the Air (2009)
A fantastic film. I'm sure some people will find it to be a downer, but I found this movie about a professional hatchet-man who walks through life as through he was wearing a platinum-coated plastic bubble quite life affirming. Highly recommended.

15. The Book of Eli (2010)
Speaking of movies with unnecessary twists, I didn't realize that there was supposed to be a twist in the ending of this film until Trey told me afterwards. I admit that I was distracted while most of this film was running, partially because I had such a hard time buying into the premise. The action scenes were greatly entertaining but the directors seemed far less confident working the dramatic character scenes. I watched the "reveal" twice because I suspected I was missing the closure for Gary Oldman's weakly-defined character. (When Oldman is forced to play a pastiche of previous, better characters, you know the director and writer aren't giving him much help.) Apparently, since the mind-blowing twist wasn't necessary to the film, I wasn't missing anything.

16. Freakonomics (2010)
I stumbled into this documentary anthology about applied economics figuring that I could listen to it while do something else. That worked great for several segments, but the extended bit about the corruption in sumo wrestling had Japanese dialogue and subtitles, forcing me to pay full attention. I don't regret watching it, I just should have chosen something else knowing what I know now.

17. Strange Wilderness (2008)
Steve Zahn, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Ernest Borgnine: how can you go wrong with this cast in a Happy Madison movie? This movie tries. (It's still funny, but I did feel that an opportunity for greatness was wasted.)

18. Rio (2011)
Really, I think I'm sick of Jesse Eisenberg, and I haven't even watched Social Network yet. (It's on the DVR, but I haven't yet worked up the nerve to watch it.) He seemed totally wrong in the lead role here.

19. Zookeeper (2011)
I was working in the basement when Mom started laughing hysterically upstairs. I rushed upstairs to see what the fun was, and she was watching this movie. Later that week, Dad called me and told me that he had just watched the funniest movie ever: this movie. So I gave in and watched this movie. America, you need help.

20. Grand Hotel (1932)
To recover from Zookeeper, I watched a Hollywood classic. I feel the same way about Grand Hotel that I feel about Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays: by the time it got to me, I'd seen so many derivatives that were superior that the original felt lackluster. The original is not always the best.

21. Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus (2010)
Okay, so not every movie I watch is going to be a classic. I can live with that. There's still satisfaction in watching Urkel fight a size-changing crocodile with an assualt rifle.

22. Paul (2011)
Trey says that no movie in which a dog is killed is worth watching, so he'd best not watch Paul. The dog is killed at the beginning of the film simply as an excuse to explain why the alien has to get from point A to point B so that there are ample opportunities for misadventures. It's a little irritating once you realize what's going on.
On another note, my favorite part of this movie was Jason Bateman. Last month, Keith asked why I bothered to watch The Switch. My answer was Jason Bateman. He may have let me down there, but he was the main reason I kept watching Paul to the end.

23. The Back-Up Plan (2010)
This is the first movie that I watched that left me in a bad mood. Angry, even. Damn, thinking about it still pisses me off. I yelled at Mother afterwards for selecting this film. (Sorry, Mom. You didn't write, direct, or star in this turd.) Never, ever watch this movie.

24. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
The antidote to The Back-Up Plan. Cute, engaging entertainment.

25. The Apartment (1960)
I was surprised when this movie made a direct reference to Grand Hotel in the first 20 minutes. Both won Best Picture Oscars, and after digesting this honest film about dishonesty for a few days, I can see why.

26. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
I really enjoyed this film. It's like a courtroom drama set in the Old West where the jury is replaced by a lynch mob. Like The Apartment, the years have been kind to it.

27. Cat Ballou (1965)
Jane Fonda is the star of this comedy/musical/western, which isn't as clever as it would like you to think it is going to be. When the entire movie is stolen by a horse that crosses its legs in the last 5 minutes of film, it can't really be called a success. I'm sure some people find this film hysterical, but then again, some people seem to think there's nothing funnier than Zookeeper, either.

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To be continued...


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