Monthly Archives: January 2017

Stuff not from my 2016 goals

Introduction mostly foregone, not included here are movies from my 2016 favorites list.

TV

Hadn’t seen before:

  • Phineas and Ferb (season 4)
  • Transporter: The Series (seasons 1-2)

I was so glad when Netflix finally added the last season of Phineas and Ferb.  It’s one of my favorite cartoons ever.  We first started watching it on Netflix in 2011 on the recommendation of my best friend, and not a single episode was a disappointment.

I love the first Transporter movie, like the second one, and watched the third one once and was unimpressed.  My wife and I decided to give the TV series a go.  The first season was pretty fun, and Inspector Tarconi is a character I never tire of.  The second season wasn’t as enjoyable; it seemed there was less actual transporting going on.

Movies

Hadn’t seen before:

  • Batman: Bad Blood
  • Creed
  • Daddy’s Home
  • Get Hard
  • Gravity
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • I Love You Phillip Morris
  • The Iron Giant
  • Justice League: Gods and Monsters
  • Justice League vs. Teen Titans
  • MacGruber
  • The Nice Guys
  • Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday
  • The Usual Suspects

Had seen before:

  • Ant-Man
  • Batman vs. Robin
  • Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
  • Cinderella III: A Twist in Time
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
  • Galaxy Quest
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Inside Out
  • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
  • Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
  • Justice League: War
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
  • Love Actually
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Robin Hood
  • The Santa Clause
  • Son of Batman
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • TMNT

There are a couple of movies that I’ve long heard were good and wanted to watch, and I finally got around to them.  The Usual Suspects was, I think, Bryan Singer’s first feature film, and I’d heard it was good and liked his X-Men films and Superman Returns (even if I’m in the minority on Superman).  It was pretty enjoyable, and I enjoyed the twist ending even though I saw it coming.

I Love You Phillip Morris was one I’d seen a trailer for a few years ago, and it looked interesting, but I just never watched it.  After finally seeing it and learning it was based on a true story, and not very exaggerated from the truth, holy cow.  To find out those events actually happened blew my mind, as the kids say.  It is probably not for the PG-13 and under crowd.

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, well… I liked Pee-Wee’s Playhouse as a kid and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, though I never warmed to Big Top Pee-Wee.  When Netflix produced a new movie after all these years I decided to give it a watch.  It was enjoyable overall, but I think my favorite part was seeing Stephanie Beatriz in a very smiley role after watching her for 3 seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Video Games

First-time plays:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
  • Mini-Mario and Friends: amiibo Challenge

Replays:

  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Final Fantasy IX
  • Metroid
  • Metroid: Other M
  • Pikmin 2
  • Pikmin 3
  • Super Metroid
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Final Fantasy VII is my favorite in the series (I’ve played IV through X-2).  It was the reason I bought a Playstation back in 1997, and it may end up being the reason I buy a PS4 when the remake comes out.  A couple of years ago I started replaying it, but after a few sessions I got sidetracked by other things and never made it back.  So a few months ago I decided to try again and it was just fun.  I followed it up with Final Fantasy IX the next month, which is another of my favorites (I don’t really enjoy VIII; I played it through once for the story, which was good, but the gameplay was not my thing).  This year I may replay FFX, another one of my favorites (basically my favorites are all of them except VIII).

Metroid: Other M gets a bad rep for its characterization of Samus, but it never really bothered me, and the gameplay is pretty good.  I also replayed the original for the nostaliga factor.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass was released for the Wii U Virtual Console, and since I don’t have a 3DS I downloaded it and gave it a whirl.  The controls were a bit hard to translate to just using the WiiU game pad, but overall was a fun 2D Zelda title.  Spirit Tracks was also released for Wii U VC and I think I’ll try to play that one in 2017.  I also replayed Zelda II on an emulator, because even though I have it on GameCube, that game is ridiculously hard and I need save states and I’m not afraid to admit it.  I had to do some Googling on editing the save file at one point because I missed getting the winged boots before completing the palace they were in, so it was that or start over, and let me tell you, I was not going after the hammer again.

I love the Pikmin games, especially Pikmin 3, so I replayed a couple of those.  A year ago I mentioned that our family had about 30 Pikmin figures.  We’re now up to about 110.  If Pikmin 4 is announced for the Nintendo Switch, I will be helpless not to buy one.

2016 Goals Update

How did I fare with my goals for 2016?

Books to Read

I failed miserably.  Like a big fat 0.  This year I really hope to do better.  Like, for reals.

TV Seasons to Watch

Haven’t seen before:

We’ll call this 2.9/7.  I finished Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, five seasons of Star Trek: Voyager, and 1 season of The Flintstones.  I’m going to finish Voyager this month, and I’d really like to finish The Flintstones this year, since I’ve had the DVDs for so long.  The others, we’ll have to see.

Have seen before, but haven’t yet watched my BDs/DVDs:

Also a 0.  Justice League: Unlimited is definitely on my list for this year though, possibly after a rewatch of Justice League and even more possible after a rewatch of Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series (and maybe even Batman Beyond).

Have seen before:

1/3.  I watched Life, and was reminded again how wonderful that show is, and how wonderful Damien Lewis is.  I’d like to revisit Alias again soon, but I think Pinky and the Brain should take higher priority, and that my children should watch it with me.

Currently airing/will air this year:

I watched them all, with the exception of Homeland season 6, which is actually airing this year.

Movies to Watch

From last year [2015]:

Watched them all.

From previous years, already seen or not:

Watched them all.  Holy crap, was Interstellar fantastic.

New this year:

Watched them all.

BDs/DVDs I [try to] watch at least once a year:

Watched them all.

BDs/DVDs I [try to] watch at least once every other year:

Watched them all.

BDs/DVDs I haven’t watched since 2012 or before:

61/63, almost 5% better than last years 46/50.  This year maybe I’ll hit 100%.  The two I missed were Castle in the Sky (which I watched a few days ago) and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (which I’ll get to soon).

Video Games to Play

First-time Plays:

100% of 1.  I so can not wait for Breath of the Wild this year.  I may experience a few more first-time plays this year, depending on how the Nintendo Switch does.

Replays:

100% of 4.  I had a fun time revisiting some Metroid titles, along with Skyward Sword.  Did I mention that I so cannot wait for Breath of Wild this year?  (Hint: I did not, because the first time you’re thinking of I said “can not” instead of “cannot.”)

Other

I don’t think there was even a token poetism commentary entry this past year, and only one “Greatest Talks, Etc.” entry.  I think I should get try harder in the upcoming months.  It would certainly be difficult to be less productive.

My favorite (and not) movies of 2016

Here follows a list of my favorite movies of 2016 (and 2015, where I just got to seeing them in 2016).  You need not try and order the results; that is impossible.  Instead, only try to realize the truth: there is no order.

– My favorites –

Captain America: Civil War

I was really looking forward to Civil War.  It didn’t disappoint me on any level, really.  I saw this twice in the theater: once with my wife, and once with my oldest son for his birthday.  The standout moment was when Spider-Man exclaimed, “Holy s***!” and my son repeated it and started laughing hysterically.  I recognize that they’re not the deepest movies ever, but darn it if Marvel just isn’t killing it, generally speaking.  The casting is usually excellent, the stories are fun, and I just love the MCU.  I really wish DC could get their act together with respect to their film universe, but I guess it’s not meant to be until the next reboot.  Wonder Woman looks good though.  Please be good, Wonder Woman!

Doctor Strange

The only thing I knew about Doctor Strange going into it was what I had learned from LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and The Super Hero Squad Show, none of which I actually remembered.  I came out of it just in awe that Marvel can pull off these great movies with their lesser-known characters.  Also, I really hope that Doctor Strange and Everett Ross meet in a future MCU film, because that would be awesome.

Ghostbusters

Last year I said regarding Spy:

It doesn’t surprise me that Paul Feig, the writer and director, also wrote and/or created and/or directed some other things I found funny, such as The Heat, Bridesmaids, and Freaks and Geeks.  I’m looking forward to his version of Ghostbusters now.

I was not disappointed with his version of Ghostbusters.  I like funny women.  I found three of the four women in this movie very funny, and the other funny enough.  Also, Chris Hemsworth.  Ironically enough, the only parts of the movie I found lacking were the cameos from the original Ghostbusters.  I really appreciated that the story was not just a rehash of the original Ghostbusters.  It did its own thing, and was better for it.  I have taken to referring to Pringles as “salty parabolas,” and hope to continue doing so for the forseeable future, and then some.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Whiny Anakin Skywalker aside, I’ve never really been too disappointed by a Star Wars movie.  There’s just something magical about it that has continued to capture people for almost 40 years now.  For me, Rogue One struck an interesting balance of feeling like the original Star Wars movies while benefitting from more modern filmmaking techniques.  Aside, of course, from the really, really distracting CG Governor Tarkin and (spoiler alert) Leia.  I’m generally never one to be taken out of a movie by CG, and Tarkin is one of the only times I can remember thinking that a video game character was standing next to real people.

I also was not a fan of (spoiler alert?) Darth Vader’s appearance in the middle; it felt forced to me (the end was just fine).  Barring those two minor nitpicks, I can’t think of anything that would have made the movie better.  I was also really surprised (in a good way) that (another spoiler) everybody died at the end.  It seems like a rare occurence that a big budget movie depicts that level of sacrifice without finding some way to save the Good Guys at the last moment.  (That is one of the things I really liked about the end of the Matrix trilogy, too.)

Star Trek Beyond

Along with Captain America: Civil War, this is one of two movies I saw twice theatrically.  Considering how little I go to the theater, I suppose that’s saying something.

We are fans of Star Trek at my house.  In 2015 we watched The Next Generation as a family (my daughter now loves it more than I can describe), and I’ve watched all of the original series and Deep Space Nine.  Coincidentally, I am watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager as I type this.  (Voyager is not my favorite.  Save for a few really good episodes, it’s been kind of hard to get through.)  I really liked 2009’s Star Trek and Star Trek Into DarknessStar Trek Beyond was just fantastic.  I saw it opening night with my wife and some friends, and then a couple of days later again with my two older children (the youngest hilariously “hates” Star Trek, finding Star Wars superior in every conceivable way).  And like the end of Rogue One, I’m glad that the villain wasn’t redeemed.  I really thought for a second that he was going to change his mind and help Kirk.

I really hope that new Star Trek movies continue to be made with this cast, and I will miss Anton Yelchin.

– Other movies I enjoyed –

007: Spectre

From 2015.  While Quantum of Solace was comparatively weak, I have really enjoyed Daniel Craig’s run as James Bond.  I really liked the opening “Day of the Dead” sequence.  I’d put this third after Casino Royale and Skyfall.

Central Intelligence

I’m not sure why I put this on my Netflix DVD queue, but I did, and I really liked Dwayne Johnson in it.  The story itself was nothing special, but his character and performance just did it for me.

Deadpool

Deadpool got great reviews, and I heard good things about it from some friends, but I was still skeptical that I would like it as much as I did.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.

Finding Dory

This was a worthy follow-up to Finding Nemo.  Ed O’Neill was a great casting choice for the octopus Hank.

The Good Dinosaur

From 2015.  If it’s Pixar, it’ll probably make the enjoyable list (possibly Cars 3 will this year, I don’t know; Cars is not my favorite).  The visuals were amazing, even if the story wasn’t the finest to come from the Pixar shop.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

From 2015.  I’m glad to say I liked all the Hunger Games movies.

Jason Bourne

This might have made the “Meh” category, but I couldn’t stomach putting Bourne in the same category as Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad.  The movie was serviceable enough, with nice action sequences and fights as expected from a good Bourne entry, but it wasn’t quite on par with the original trilogy.

Kung Fu Panda 3

In my opinion, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon remain Dreamworks’ best, along with a few of the Shrek entries.  I don’t think I’d mind if they kept making them for a while.

The Martian

From 2015.  I am a Matt Damon fan, and he was great in this.

The Peanuts Movie

From 2015.  I love the Peanuts TV specials that I watched growing up (and still do, especially A Charlie Brown Christmas).  The Peanuts Movie really captured everything I love about them, with the only downside being that it often felt like a “greatest hits” compilation of what’s come before.  Not that that’s a bad thing.

Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping

I love me some Andy Samberg.  This movie was over the top, hilarious fun.  I cannot recommend it enough, except to people who would probably be offended by it, which group is many of the people I know.  They should probably secretly watch it, too.

Sisters

From 2015.  I love me some Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  I think they should have played each other’s character, though.

X-Men: Apocalypse

I found this to be the weakest of the X-Men films directed by Bryan Singer, but still pretty enjoyable overall.  As with Days of Future Past, Quicksilver’s slow motion scene was a standout.  Unfortunately, Wolverine felt a little bit shoehorned in.

Zootopia

Disney continues to produce great animated films in their “main” animated line the past several years.  It’s kind of like being a kid in the ’90s again.  I find myself looking forward to each of their films and not being disappointed at their arrival, and that is a good feeling.

– Movies that made me say, “meh” –

Batman: The Killing Joke

There was much hype about this film being made, based off one of the alleged greatest Batman stories ever (which I haven’t read, and therefore have no basis for comparison).  It was DC’s first R-rated animated film.  It featured Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and the Joker, who have been nothing short of stellar in those roles for 25 years.  The story was definitely interesting.  It just didn’t really move me, much like most of the recent DC Universe animated films (the last one I really liked at lot was Superman vs. The Elite, though the New 52 stuff hasn’t been terrible).  And seriously, Batman and Batgirl having sex on rooftop?  Weird.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Two films featuring Batman made my “meh” list in the same year.  This is huge step up from 2013 when Man of Steel stomped on my heart so very, very much. (I still shudder a little every time I see a copy of the Ender’s Game film at the store.)  The good about Batman v Superman: Superman didn’t kill anyone (I think), and Ben Affleck was overall pretty good as Batman.  The meh-to-getting-bad: Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, finding about the Justice League members by email, and Bruce bordering on Trump-level paranoia regarding the possiblity of Superman’s threat level (“…if there is even a 1% chance that he is our enemy we have to take it as an absolute certainty!”).  The thing that broke the movie: “Save… Martha!”  Come on.

Suicide Squad

Sorry, did I say two films featuring Batman?  I guess I meant three.  Deadshot and Harley Quinn were the only characters that interested me at all, and I maintain that Deadshot was only interesting because he was played by Will Smith.  The story was pretty stupid: “Let’s get some bad guys together to save stuff.  What?  One of them already betrayed us and we have to stop her?  Shoot.”

Zoolander 2

I suppose I’ll just quote myself from last year’s thoughts on Dumb and Dumber To:

Much like the first Anchorman movie, I love the first [Zoolander], and was not as impressed by the sequel.  However, unlike the second Anchorman movie, I found little to redeem [Zoolander 2] from the halls of Meh-dom.  It was just sort of there, occasionally amusing, and ultimately forgettable.

– Movies that made me say, “Why on earth did I watch this?” –

Fantastic Four

From 2015.  Sure, the Fantastic 4 films from the previous decade were nothing to write home about, but you know what they had?  Chris Evans.  You know what the new one had?  Nothing interesting.  At all.

– 2016 movies I haven’t seen yet that I hope are good, or at least not terrible –

Moana

Pete’s Dragon

Media Update July – December 2016

July

Movies

  • Brave
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
  • Galaxy Quest
  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Star Trek
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Whisper of the Heart

TV

  • Life – 11 episodes
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – 38 episodes
  • Star Trek: Voyager – 10 episodes
  • Star Trek – 1 episode

August

Movies

  • The Bourne Identity
  • The Bourne Supremacy
  • The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Chicken Little
  • Daredevil
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • Inside Out
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • Robin Hood
  • Yes Man

TV

  • Life – 12 episodes
  • Star Trek: Voyager – 14 episodes
  • Transporter: The Series – 2 episodes

September

Movies

  • Captain America: Civil War
  • MacGruber
  • The Nice Guys
  • Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • The Whole Nine Yards

TV

  • Life – 4 episodes
  • Star Trek: Voyager – 23 episodes
  • Transporter: The Series – 6 episodes

October

Movies

  • Across the Universe
  • Bambi
  • Batman: The Killing Joke
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Beverly Hills Ninja
  • Black Sheep
  • Cinderella
  • Cinderella III: A Twist in Time
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Ever After: A Cinderella Story
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
  • Fun With Dick and Jane
  • The Great Mouse Detective
  • Happy Gilmore
  • Interstellar
  • The Iron Giant
  • A Lot Like Love
  • Mr. Deeds
  • Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • The Rescuers
  • The Rescuers Down Under
  • The Rundown
  • Stardust
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Waterworld
  • The Wedding Singer
  • X-Men: Apocalypse

TV

  • Life – 5 episodes
  • Star Trek: Voyager – 5 episodes

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy VII

November

Movies

  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • As Good as it Gets
  • Big Fish
  • Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  • Fantastic 4
  • Fever Pitch
  • Finding Nemo
  • Finding Dory
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Jumanji
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • Jurassic Park III
  • Justice League vs. Teen Titans
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
  • The Mask of Zorro
  • The Legend of Zorro
  • Meet the Parents
  • Meet the Fockers
  • Muppets from Space
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • A Night at the Roxbury
  • Pinocchio
  • Pocahontas
  • Signs
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Superman Returns
  • Tommy Boy
  • The Truman Show

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy IX

December

Movies

  • Batman Begins
  • The Dark Knight
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Doctor Strange
  • Central Intelligence
  • Get Hard
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Jason Bourne
  • The Karate Kid
  • The Kid
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Love Actually
  • The Matrix
  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • The Matrix Revolutions
  • Pete’s Dragon
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • The Santa Clause
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Serenity
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  • Spider-Man
  • Spider-Man 2
  • Spider-Man 3
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Suicide Squad

TV

  • Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60
  • Firefly – 14 episodes
  • Kevin Hart: I’m a Grown Little Man