Saturday 8 January 2022
Way back in 2012, I arbitrarily decided that 150 was a good goal for new-to-me movies in a year. (That's about 3 a week, an easily achievable number, I figured.) For each year of the past decade save one (2016), I have soared way over that bar. In 2021, for the first time, I hit it exactly.
147. (2006.) Ron's Gone Wrong (2021)
This movie is really a series of gags that dance around the edges of several important ethical questions without ever directly addressing them (or even admitting that they exist). If the bots are sentient (like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit), aren't they being treated like slaves? And if they aren't (like C-3PO in Star Wars), why the big fuss to save one's "life"? The message seems to be "invasive social media run by huge corporations can be bad except when it isn't." I know it's a children's movie (financed by a huge corporation), but if I'm supposed to be ignoring what's on the screen, why am I watching at all?
148. (2007.) Peppermint (2018)
Jennifer Garner plays at being John Wick in a murderous revenge fantasy film that is only as good as Jennifer Garner can make it. Very violent second-class fluff.
149. (2008.) Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
While the previous two movies have problems, they also have some redeeming qualities. This one, on the other hand, is just bad. From the outset, it's schizophrenic, as though the studio wanted to remake 1978's Superman with dumber villains with the added specter of extinction event global thermonuclear war. The film's worst sin is abandoning the charming, optimistic Wonder Woman of the first movie for a more world-weary version (in ugly period makeup) who dourly broods and lusts for a lost love. (Why is this even set in the 1980s? Every single plot point would have worked better if it was set in the 50s.) The result is a haphazard mishmash of a movie with subject matter not suitable for little children and boring for adults: perfect drivel for tweenagers, I guess.
150. (2009.) Little Women (1994)
Now this is how you make a movie about wonder(ful) women. When I watched the 2019 adaptation of this movie, I wrote that I liked it very much and couldn't "imagine the 1994 [Winona Ryder] version could possibly be better." It isn't, though that does not mean that this movie isn't also good in its own way. This version has fantastic scenery and a great cast, especially Kirsten Dunst, who may be the best of all the Beths I've seen. I just happen to like the 2019 version a little better.
And that's all the movies I saw in 2021. While we're on the subject, let me add that the actor who appeared most often in those 150 movies was Doris Day (5 times). Second place was a 5-way tie between Jack Carson, James Gleason, Loretta Young, Robert Mitchum, and William Hurt (4 each). Who will it be next year? Only time will tell.
More to come.