Category Archives: Media

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.


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 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.


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.


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 –


Pete’s Dragon

Media Update July – December 2016



  • 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


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



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


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



  • 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


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



  • 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


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

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy VII



  • 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



  • 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


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

Media Update April – June 2016



  • The Avengers
  • Batman: Bad Blood
  • Batman vs. Robin
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Hulk
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Iron Man 3
  • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
  • Justice League: Gods and Monsters
  • Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
  • Justice League: War
  • The Peanuts Movie
  • Son of Batman
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Thor


  • The Big Bang Theory – 2 episodes
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine – 4 episodes
  • Daredevil – 6 episodes
  • The Flintstones – 2 episodes
  • Jessica Jones – 13 episodes
  • Major Crimes – 3 episodes
  • Phineas and Ferb – 10 episodes
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – 9 episodes
  • Transporter: The Series – 1 episode
  • Young Justice – 4 episodes

Video Games

  • Mini-Mario and Friends: amiibo Challenge
  • Pikmin 2



  • Ant-Man
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Daddy’s Home
  • Deadpool
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Rocky
  • Rocky Balboa
  • Sisters
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • TMNT
  • The Wolverine
  • X-Men
  • X2: X-Men United
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Zoolander
  • Zoolander 2


  • The Big Bang Theory – 3 episodes
  • Castle – 14 episodes
  • Daredevil – 7 episodes
  • Major Crimes – 9 episodes
  • Phineas and Ferb – Phineas and Ferb – 22 episodes
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – 7 episodes

Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
  • Pikmin 3



  • Creed
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Newsies
  • Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • Zootopia


  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 12 episodes
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – 12 episodes
  • Star Trek: Voyager – 18 episodes
  • Transporter: The Series – 4 episodes
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – 13 episodes

Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Media Update January – March 2016



  • Jupiter Ascending
  • Star Trek: Generations
  • Star Trek: First Contact
  • Star Trek: Insurrection
  • Star Trek: Nemesis


  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 4 episodes
  • The Big Bang Theory – 2 episodes
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine – 3 episodes
  • The Flintstones – 7 episodes
  • Heroes Reborn – 3 episodes
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – 50 episodes
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation – 9 episodes
  • Star Trek: Voyager – 8 episodes
  • Transporter: The Series – 2 episodes

Video Games

  • Metroid
  • Metroid Fusion
  • Metroid: Zero Mission



  • 007: Spectre
  • Fantastic Four
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • The Martian
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl


  • The Big Bang Theory – 4 episodes
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine – 4 episodes
  • The Flintstones – 7 episodes
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – 14 episodes
  • Star Trek: Voyager – 25 episodes
  • Transporter: The Series – 8 episodes
  • True Blood – 1 episode

Video Games

  • Metroid: Other M
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  • Super Metroid



  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
  • I Love You Phillip Morris


  • Agent Carter – 10 episodes
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine – 2 episodes
  • The Flintstones – 12 episodes
  • Phineas and Ferb – 3 episodes
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – 21 episodes
  • Star Trek: Voyager – 18 episodes
  • Transporter: The Series: 1 episode

Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

My favorite (and not) movies of 2015

Here follows a list of my favorite movies of 2015 (and 2014, where I just got to seeing them in 2015).  It is in a quite particular order, only no one has explained to me which order that is.

– My favorites –


My wife and I saw this in Las Vegas during a summer trip to attend a Barenaked Ladies concert.  I generally enjoy Paul Rudd and this was no exception.  The MCU Marvel movies have so far failed to disappoint me, even with some less-than-stellar entries such as Iron Man 2.  I’m looking forward to more Ant-Man in the future.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Joss Whedon, you can do very little wrong.  I know he got a lot of criticism for the handling of Black Widow’s character, but I enjoyed almost everything about this movie.  The only thing I can currently think of that I would like to see changed is the expansion of Thor in the weird water cave, i.e. the re-insertion of the deleted scene from the Blu-ray.

Big Hero 6

From 2014; we watched this on Blu-ray when it came out in early 2015.  Disney has really been on a good streak with their main animated line lately.  I hope that the trend continues.

Inside Out

This may be one of Pixar’s finest, though that isn’t saying much given their track record.  Even Cars, my least favorite, was pretty enjoyable when I rewatched it recently.  The voice cast in Inside Out was excellent and the story was touching and I had just finished watching Parks and Recreation about a month before seeing Inside Out and Amy Poehler is just fantastic and that is all.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

I can’t decide whether the Mission: Impossible movies keep getting better or if they are just all maintaining a consistent level of quality (except for M:I II–that one just doesn’t do it for me at all).  I saw this theatrically and when I saw Ethan Hunt jump down into the cooling system, my inner Keanu Reeves said, “Whoa!”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Our family went to see the new Star Wars movie on opening weekend, and I must say, I expected the theaters in Utah to be much emptier on a Sunday afternoon.  I know there’s a lot of criticism regarding J.J. Abrams’ adaptations of some franchises, i.e. Star Trek and the aforementioned Mission: Impossible, I’ve generally enjoyed his takes on things.  (I could have done with many fewer lens flares in Star Trek.)  While hitting many of the same story beats as the original Star Wars, the new movie still had my attention and made it fun attention.  I just hope Kylo Ren isn’t the new Anakin Skywalker, e.g. super whiny.

– Other movies I enjoyed –


From 2014. I watched this on Netflix after reading a positive review.  It wasn’t disappointing and definitely was not hurt by Scarlett Johansson’s presence.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

From 2014. After enjoying Rise of the Planet of the Apes a couple of years ago, I watched the sequel and liked it too.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

From 2014.  I’ve enjoyed the Hunger Games movies so far, though I have yet to see the final installment.

Jurassic World

I really like the original Jurassic Park.  The sequels I could take or leave.  I saw Jurassic World theatrically with my dad and younger brother, and it was definitely enjoyable, I’d say second after the original film.  Chris Pratt is always fun to watch (I think I had only previously seen him in Guardians of the Galaxy, and a few months after Jurassic World I discovered Parks and Recreation).  One thing that surprised me though was just how much money Jurassic World made.  It was good, but I didn’t think it was that good.


From 2014.  Scarlett Johansson?  Check.  This was a fun little movie, though the ending was really kind of weird.


This was another movie we took the family to see in the theater.  My youngest child loves the Despicable Me movies, so this was kind of a no-brainer to see.  I laughed a lot, and laughed a lot again when we watched it on Blu-ray (though not as much as my son laughed).

The Skeleton Twins

From 2014.  I also watched this on Netflix after reading a positive review, and liked it.


I think the only movie I’ve seen before with Melissa McCarthy is The Heat.  I’m pretty sure that yet another positive review led me to watching Spy, and I was not disappointed.  I love the way that it sort of felt like a female-driven Bond film, with a serious plot and no small amount of hilarity.  Jason Statham as a pompous Topper-type character was fantastic.  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.

They Came Together

From 2014.  Amy Poehler + Paul Rudd + romantic comedy satire = fantastic fun.

– Movies that made me say “meh” –

Dumb and Dumber To

Much like the first Anchorman movie, I love the first Dumb and Dumber, and was not as impressed by the sequel.  However, unlike the second Anchorman movie, I found little to redeem Dumb and Dumber To 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?” –

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

This movie was just so, so bad.  Michelangelo was creepy and weird and really creepy.  The one scene that I enjoyed was the elevator bit.  It pains me that a sequel is forthcoming.

– 2015 movies I haven’t seen yet that I hope are good, or at least not terrible –

007: Spectre

The Good Dinosaur

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2