Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MovieQuest 2014: January-June

As probably most of you reading my blog are aware, this year I'm doing a crazy movie adventure where, each week of the year, one of my friends chooses 5 movies I've never seen before for me to watch. They can choose personal favorites, movies they think I'll love, movies they think I'll hate (my husband and my mother both threatened to do this), or movies that they just think I should have seen by now. For the most part, I've been keeping up with this fairly well, so I figured I'd do a quick rundown of what I've watched so far for anyone who hasn't been following this on Facebook.

For each week, I'll list the movies in order from my favorite to my least favorite and make any interesting notes about the week. I also ended up ranking each week by averaging out the Flickchart scores of all the movies, so I'll post where they land in the first 24 weeks.

Week 1 (January 13-17)
Assignee: Abbie
Movies: The Great Gatsby (2013), Crazy Heart, Dakota Skye, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, The Cowboys
Thoughts: I warned people early on that westerns would be a hard sell for me. :-) And, indeed, The Cowboys with John Wayne ended up being one of my least favorites of the year thus far. On the other hand, though, Gatsby ended up being one of my favorites. So that evens out nicely!
Rank: #14

Week 2 (January 20-24)
Assignee: Emil
Movies: Repulsion, He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not, Do the Right Thing, Show Me Love, Crank
Thoughts: This was a really awesome week, with only Crank landing below the middle of my Flickchart, and three landing in the top 25%. Repulsion is easily my favorite thing I've ever seen by Polanski.
Rank: #2

Week 3 (January 27-31)
Assignee: Carolyn
Movies: Silent Movie, True Grit (1969), All Dogs Go to Heaven, Courageous, The Gridiron Gang
Thoughts: This was... not such an easy week. Carolyn and I have joked ever since this week that everything she loves I hate, since my favorite movie of her week was actually the only Mel Brooks movie she didn't like -- she just assigned it to me to see what I thought. She unintentionally chose three of my all-time least favorite genres (western, sports movie, and Christian movie), so it's not that surprising that I wasn't crazy about any of hers. I did like Silent Movie pretty well, though.
Rank: #23

Week 4: February 3-7
Assignee: John
Movies: Eat Pray Love, Memoirs of a Geisha, August: Osage County, Running With Scissors, Burlesque
Thoughts: I would never have predicted Eat Pray Love to jump to the top of my list, but it really was a delightful surprise. The next two flicks were okay, while the last two didn't really make an impression. But falling in love with a movie I didn't expect to like is always a wonderful experience. Totally worth it.
Rank: #13

Week 5: February 10-14
Assignee: Derek
Movies: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Agora, What Maisie Knew, Bound
Thoughts: Another really solid week, with only Bound getting a below-average ranking. Three of them were almost entirely unknown to me, and Perfume ended up getting a 4.5-star rating from me, which I typically only give out fewer than 10 times a year. Good, good stuff.
Rank: #3

Week 6: February 17-21
Assignee: Stephen
Movies: Waking Ned Devine, V for Vendetta, The Fall, Mr. Hulot's Holiday, The Passion of Joan of Arc
Thoughts: This week was taken by the brother of a good friend. I didn't know him very well, but he was very passionate about his movie choices. Unfortunately, the one he was most excited about ended up being my least favorite. I don't deny The Passion of Joan of Arc is an incredibly-made movie, but I had a viscerally negative reaction to seeing her tortured emotional state, and couldn't get into it at all. Waking Ned Devine was definitely the week's winner, a delightfully morbid little comedy. Liked it a lot.
Rank: #16

Week 7: February 24-28
Assignee: Lisa
Movies: Junebug, Silent Hill, Live In Maid, Lust for Love, 10 Items or Less
Thoughts: Although the ordering I gave there was the order in which I ranked the movies then, the one that has stuck with me most since this week is actually Silent Hill, and I would happily move it up above Junebug now. It built SUCH a vivid atmosphere, and I still find myself thinking about it from time to time. (Unhelpfully, it sometimes happens on nights when I'm alone in the house. Meep.)
Rank: #15

Week 8: March 3-7
Assignee: Matt
Movies: Watchmen, Muppet Treasure Island, Gandhi, Black Snake Moan, JFK
Thoughts: This was the first Muppet movie I've ever seen. Seriously. Also, Matt picked long movies, with the majority of them at or approaching three hours. They were pretty much all on my watchlist, though, and overall I ended up really liking them. Gandhi was the surprise choice this week, as I hadn't thought I'd like that much at all.
Rank: #6

Week 9: March 10-14
Assignee: Henry
Movies: Reefer Madness: The Musical, Shaolin Soccer, Jesus Christ Superstar (2000), Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Whisper of the Heart
Thoughts: You can't go too wrong giving me three out of five musicals :-) Shaolin Soccer was an unexpected favorite, a goofy but occasionally laugh-out-loud funny flick. Whisper of the Heart ended up being my least favorite Studio Ghibli movie to date, but overall a really good week.
Rank: #4

Week 10: March 17-21
Assignee: LaToya
Movies: Imitation of Life (1959), Hush, Premonition, The Lodger, The Good Son
Thoughts: It's almost as fun for me when I dislike most of the movies I'm assigned. I'm fascinated by why people choose the flicks they do. That was the case here, as LaToya and I definitely have very different tastes. Imitation of Life was a solid flick, but even it only landed just barely above the halfway point. Everything else landed well below.
Rank: #22

Week 11: March 24-28
Assignee: Megan
Movies: Om Shanti Om, Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, Now You See Me, Kiki's Delivery Service, The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Thoughts: My first Bollywood movie! And I loved it. It was a pretty solid week overall, with a LOT of movies I'd been meaning to see for a long time.
Rank: #5

Week 12: March 31-April 4
Assignee: Jennie
Movies: Mr. Nice Guy, The War of the Buttons, 17 Miracles, Enough, Watcher in the Woods
Thoughts: I dearly love my friend Jennie, but our taste in movies is most definitely not the same. Still, it was somewhat shocking to me when she ended up at the bottom of my list when I averaged out her scores, since I didn't hate any of her movies. I'm really interested in seeing how she does when I check for adjusted Flickchart scores at the end of the year.
Rank: #24

Week 13: April 7-11
Assignee: Bethany
Movies: The Blind Side, Camp Rock 2, Born Yesterday, Ben-Hur, Camp Rock
Thoughts: My sister Bethany took this week and assigned me... only movies beginning with B and C. I'd been meaning to see The Blind Side and Ben-Hur for AGES, so it was nice to finally knock those off the list -- and I was much more impressed by both than I expected, especially Blind Side.
Rank: #8

Week 14: April 14-18
Assignee: Sarah
Movies: Flight of the Navigator, The Color Purple, Moonstruck, Beaches, The Searchers
Thoughts: A very 80s-centered list, it was pulled together as a list of movies Sarah felt I should have seen already. And I am glad I finally saw them. Flight of the Navigator was a cute and delightful movie, but I wasn't really crazy about any of the rest.
Rank: #21

Week 15: April 21-25
Assignee: Hayley
Movies: Take This Waltz, Ender's Game, How to Deal, Double Jeopardy, Keith
Thoughts: Take This Waltz reeeeeeally stuck with me, and the more I mulled over it, the more I liked it, even though it was heartbreaking. I liked hearing Hayley's explanations of why she liked each of these movies, especially since most of them I didn't particularly care for -- it gave me better insight into them hearing her talk about what she liked.
Rank: #17

Week 16: April 28-May 2
Assignee: Randy
Movies: The Boondock Saints, Smoking Aces, Legend, Swingers, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Thoughts: Gotta admit, I didn't know if I would like any of these movies. To my surprise, I ended up enjoying The Boondock Saints a ridiculous amount. The rest were... not my favorites, although I found Legend to be entertainingly wacky.
Rank: #20

Week 17: May 5-9
Assignee: Travis
Movies: Dick Tracy, 9, The Minus Man, The Matador, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time In India
Thoughts: Travis also assigned me the short film Acting for the Camera, but I didn't end up ranking it in Flickchart, although I though the film was interesting. This was a fun week because Travis wanted to specifically engineer the perfect week for me. And it certainly paid off. Every single one of these movies landed well above the average ranking, and Dick Tracy is, thus far, my favorite friend-suggested movie of the year.
Rank: #1

Week 18: May 12-16
Assignee: Elizabeth M.
Movies: Suspicion, Knight and Day, How Do You Know, The Switch, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
Thoughts: My sister Elizabeth assigned me one Hitchcock movie and four romantic comedies from 2010. The middle three movies here all ended up within 25 places of each other on Flickchart, while I liked Suspicion significantly more and My Girlfriend's Boyfriend significantly less.
Rank: #7

Week 19: May 19-23
Assignee: Rita
Movies: Eve's Bayou, The Crying Game, Vantage Point, Inkheart, Art of War
Thoughts: I'm glad I've finally seen The Crying Game. It was the only one of these that I'd really planned on seeing. Eve's Bayou was mostly unknown to me but I was really impressed with it. The last three didn't fare so well, however.
Rank: #19

Week 20: May 26-30
Assignee: Aaron
Movies: My Name Is Bruce, Cannibal! The Musical, Revengers Tragedy, Love's Labour's Lost, About Last Night... (1986)
Thoughts: A really, really interesting lineup, with several being musicals or based on stage plays, though my favorite of the week was actually neither. The only one I actively didn't like was the last one listed here, and I really enjoyed the top two, with the third and fourth being very ambivalent -- parts I loved and parts I hated.
Rank: #11

Week 21: June 2-6
Assignee: Naomi
Movies: Waitress, Spanglish, To Be or Not to Be, The Barkleys of Broadway, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
Thoughts: Somehow, four out of these five movies all dealt with infidelity or suspected infidelity. (Naomi confirms this was an accidental pattern.) Waitress was clearly the runaway hit here, though Spanglish could have been higher if anyone but Adam Sandler had played the lead guy. To Be or Not to Be and the Barkleys of Broadway landed 6 spots apart on Flickchart.
Rank: #9

Week 22: June 9-13
Assignee: Elizabeth S.
Movies: The Joy Luck Club, Oscar, Cool Runnings, Paint Your Wagon, Quigley Down Under
Thoughts: Unsurprisingly, the two lowest were both westerns, even though one was a musical. The Joy Luck Club was easily one of my favorites of the year, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun Oscar was.
Rank: #10

Week 23: June 16-20
Assignee: Erika
Movies: Away We Go, I'm a Cyborg But That's OK, Adam, Swing Kids, Albert Nobbs
Thoughts: This was a very in-between selection of movies, with none I was crazy about but none that I hated. I'm a Cyborg was the most interesting of the bunch, although I was so dissatisfied with the ending that it lowered its ranking for me quite a bit.
Rank: #12

Week 24: June 23-27
Assignee: Josh
Movies: Lucky Number Slevin, V/H/S/2, Star Wars Uncut, Cropsey, V/H/S
Thoughts: Watching both V/H/S movies was a bit of a challenge, but the second one far outranks the first. Lucky Number Slevin was another awesome surprised -- I'd never have expected to like that one as much as I did. Star Wars Uncut is a great idea that was... a bit long and clumsy to actually watch. I like the idea much more than the execution.
Rank: #18

I'm already a couple weeks into the second half of the year, and I'll post a recap of that probably next January.

Movies coming up soon include Princess Mononoke, the original Dawn of the Dead, the original Planet of the Apes AND Rise of the Planet of the Apes (in two different weeks), Titanic, an entire week of kung fu movies, an entire week of Tom Hanks movies, Viva Las Vegas, and some movie my mom watched when she was a kid called King of the Zombies. It's going to be a fun six months coming up.

Which of the movies I've watched so far this year do you love? Which ones do you hate? Which ones do you think I am absolutely wrong about? :-)

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