Monday, February 2, 2015

My Movie Challenge 2014: The Wrap-Up! (Part 1)

Holy cow, guys. I made it through. I MADE IT. With some alterations and a little bit late, but I made it.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, I spent 2014 doing a really intense movie challenge where every week I invited one of my friends to pick five new-to-me movies that I would watch that week. I watched them all, ranked them all on Flickchart, and then ended up figuring out their "average" Flickchart score from the five movies they gave me.

So whether you were following along with me in the Facebook group devoted to the challenge or whether this is the first you're hearing of it, here's how the year went down, from the worst-scoring week to the best-scoring week. There were a LOT of weeks so I'm posting half of this today and half of this tomorrow, replacing my regular Tune In Tuesday post.

#46: Billy's week

Billy assigned me Arlington Road, the original Dawn of the Dead, The Howling, Tombstone, and the Christian movie No Greater Love. Every movie but one scored below 1500 on my Flickchart in the end (out of 2300+ movies), and that one movie was Dawn of the Dead, which I liked OK (#870). When I announced that he'd placed at the bottom of my chart, he made some comments that hinted that maybe that was his goal. I told people they were welcome to just choose movies they thought I'd hate. His average Flickchart ranking was 1612, which is... yeah, really low.

Best movie of his week: Dawn of the Dead
Worst movie of his week: No Greater Love
Best special effects: The Howling
Movie I should have seen before now: Tombstone

#45: Ebenezer's week

I knew Eb's week was going to be tough, as it was all kung fu movies and that's not really my genre, though I was open to watching more and seeing if my mind changed. Until I recalculated the Flickchart scores based on what they were at the end of 2014, Ebenezer was at the bottom of the list. His movies were Ip Man, Fist of Legend, Muscle Heat, Dragon Lee vs. Five Brothers, and Bunraku, none of which made much of an impression on me. His final score was 1608.8.

Best movie of his week: Bunraku
Worst movie of his week: Dragon Lee vs. Five Brothers
Coolest visuals: Bunraku

#44: Carolyn's week

Carolyn was one of the very first people to jump into my challenge. She gave me Courageous, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Silent Movie, the original True Grit, and Gridiron Gang... and then I disliked most of them. A LOT. My favorite movie of the whole week was one she didn't like herself. For the rest of the challenge, we joked that if she liked a movie, I'd probably hate it, and vice versa -- and that turned out to be mostly accurate. Her final score was 1599.8.

Best movie of her week: Silent Movie
Worst movie of her week: Gridiron Gang, though Courageous was only 10 spots behind
Movie I should have seen before now: True Grit
Most fun live-tweet: All Dogs Go to Heaven
Most weirdly message-free Christian movie ever: Courageous

#43: LaToya's week

I haven't known LaToya very long, so I didn't know what kinds of movies she liked. Turns out she has a fondness for psychological thrillers, which I do sometimes too, but the only one I liked this week was the one that wasn't a psychological thriller. Her choices: The Lodger, Hush, Imitation of Life, The Good Son, and Premonition, and she got a final score of 1555.4.

Best movie of her week: Imitation of Life
Worst movie of her week: The Good Son
Most disappointing movie: Premonition

#42: Jennie's week

Jennie and I are very good friends, but as we learned this year, our movie tastes are very different. She gave me Mr. Nice Guy, 17 Miracles, The Watcher in the Woods, Enough, and War of the Buttons. Quite a few of them were from her childhood, but without the nostalgia factor they didn't do much for me. Her final score was 1532.6.

Best movie of her week: War of the Buttons
Worst movie of her week: Enough
Most confusing movie: Watcher in the Woods
The first of four Jackie Chan movies I watched this year: Mr. Nice Guy

#41: Timothy's week

Timothy's week was big on the modern blockbusters I'd missed out on: The Lone Ranger, Rambo, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Man of Steel, and Tears of the Sun. Turns out, most of them I hadn't missed much by skipping before. I did really like one of them, though, and that ended up raising his total score up to 1503.8.

Best movie of his week: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Worst movie of his week: Tears of the Sun
Most "whaaaaat?!" movie: The Lone Ranger
Most depressing visuals: Man of Steel

#40: Bruce's week

Bruce had been joking all year that he would push everybody out of the lowest spot, and while it's true I didn't love any of his picks, I only really disliked one of them. He went with a lot of B-movies and silly action flicks: Green Lantern, 2012, Metal Tornado, The Spy Next Door, and Shanghai Knights, and he ended up with a final score of 1471.4.

Best movie of his week: Shanghai Knights
Worst movie of his week: The Spy Next Door
Most pleasant surprise: 2012

#39: Mom's week

My mom gave me five movies she watched as a child and then, at the last minute, she swapped one of them out for a movie she watched randomly on a trip to Hawaii a month before. Turns out that was my favorite movie of the week, though, so that was a good plan. Her picks were Thermae Romae (the recent one), Stand Up and Cheer, The Black Camel, King of the Zombies, and Beach Party. This week certainly had a wide range, with the top-ranked landing at #530 and the lowest-ranked landing at #2058. She ended up with a final score of 1416.6.

Best movie of her week: Thermae Romae
Worst movie of her week: The Black Camel
Most surprising Oscar nominee: King of the Zombies, for music
Most confusing comedic routines: Stand Up and Cheer

#38: Alisha's week

Alisha went for nostalgic favorites and guilty pleasures, so I knew this could go anywhere. Her choices were Drive Me Crazy, The Cutting Edge, Deep Blue Sea, Center Stage, and Mannequin. This was another one with a huge range in how the movies fared on my Flickchart, ranging from #457 all the way down to #1915, so I think she did pretty OK for herself here!

Best movie of her week: Center Stage
Worst movie of her week: Deep Blue Sea
Most hilarious death scene: Deep Blue Sea
Weirdest James Spader: Mannequin

#37: Sarah's week

Sarah decided she should assign me movies I should have seen by now, and she correctly did just that -- and almost all of them happened to be from the 1980s: Flight of the Navigator, The Color Purple, The Searchers, Moonstruck, and Beaches. I don't really love any of them, and most of them clustered down in the lower half of my chart, but at least I finally watched them all! And that was partly the point of this challenge in the first place.

Best movie of her week: Flight of the Navigator
Worst movie of her week: The Searchers
Weirdest script by a writer who I usually like: Moonstruck

#36: Nathan-my-brother's week

The only duplicate names we had in the challenge were names of my siblings. We had two Nathans, two Bethanys, and two Elizabeths. My brother Nathan gave me Tekkonkinkreet, Rurouni Kenshin, Redline, Dragonball Evolution, and The Last Airbender -- all anime or anime/manga-inspired movies, including two of the worst adaptations of all time, knowing I'd hate them. Well, I did hate them, and I had a tough time with one of his other anime movies, but there were two others I liked a LOT, and that was a delightful surprise. And it didn't hurt his score either.

Best movie of his week: Tekkonkinkreet
Worst movie of his week: The Last Airbender
Most surprising: Rurouni Kenshin
Hardest movie to follow visually: Redline

#35: Randy's week

Frankly, I was not looking forward to Randy's week as soon as I saw his lineup: Smokin' Aces, The Boondock Saints, Swingers, Legend, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I didn't really anticipate liking any of them. But it wasn't so bad after all -- there were a couple I turned out to kind of like and none that I really loathed. So he did all right! Whoo!

Best movie of his week: The Boondock Saints
Worst movie of his week: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Movie that made the least sense: Legend

#34: Stephen's week

Stephen is Jennie's brother, and when she was talking about this movie challenge, he expressed an interest in joining in. So he did, and he assigned me the following movies: The Fall, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Mr. Hulot's Holiday, V for Vendetta, and Waking Ned Devine. It was definitely a mixed bag, with two I liked a lot, two I just didn't care for, and one that sat right in the middle. I mostly just felt bad that the one he was most excited about showing off was the one that I liked the least.

Best movie of his week: Waking Ned Devine
Worst movie of his week: The Passion of Joan of Arc
Most fascinating: The Fall
On my should-have-seen-it-by-now list: V for Vendetta

#33: Paige's week

Paige and I talked only occasionally before this, but she gave me a really fascinating selection of movies: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Willow, Blue Velvet, Where the Wild Things Are, and They Live. Nearly all of these were on my watchlist before this. In the end, though, only one of them really wowed me, but I'm really glad I saw them all.

Best movie of her week: They Live
Worst movie of her week: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
On my should-have-seen-it-by-now list: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
First movie I'd seen by a famous director: Blue Velvet

#32: Lisa's week

Lisa's one of my very best friends, and for this week she elected to give me some movies she herself had not seen, mixed in with some she had: Lust for Love, 10 Items or Less, Live-In Maid, Silent Hill, and Junebug. I believe the intention was to watch the unseen ones and discuss them with me, although that didn't really happen, but it was a cool idea. This group has the honor of having a movie that only made a mild impression on me when I watched it, but has stuck with me all the way up until now. And Lisa's week was pretty earlier in the year, so it was a good chunk of time. That movie was Silent Hill. Sitting on it for awhile helped fuzz away my concerns with the plot, leaving only the powerful atmosphere it created. Nice.

Best movie of her week: Junebug (even though I remember Silent Hill more)
Worst movie of her week: 10 Items or Less
Most Joss Whedon people in it: Lust for Love

#31: Rita's week

Rita's week was very evenly spread out. There were two I really liked, two I really disliked, and one that was somewhere in the middle. She assigned me The Crying Game, Eve's Bayou, Inkheart, The Art of War, and Vantage Point. Rita's week was also the first week where I got really far behind on my viewing, because when her week hit I was starting a road trip with my sisters and was gone for two weeks. I never quite caught up from that one.

Best movie of her week: Eve's Bayou
Worst movie of her week: The Art of War
Movie I should have seen before now: The Crying Game

#30: Abbie's week

Abbie was my very first participant in the challenge, and it was a great collection of movies: The Cowboys, The Librarian: Quest of the Spear, Dakota Skye, Crazy Heart, and The Great Gatsby. A nice blend of silly and serious, well-known and obscure. She stayed almost exactly in the middle of the challenge participants throughout the year, and then fell a little further once I retallied scores based on current Flickchart positions.

Best movie of her week: The Great Gatsby
Worst movie of her week: The Cowboys
First of many attempts to find a western I'd like: The Cowboys
Silliest movie of her week: The Librarian

#29: Josh's week

Josh is Lisa's husband, but they have pretty different tastes. He gave me Lucky Number Slevin, V/H/S, V/H/S/2, Star Wars Uncut, and Cropsey. I liked most of these a little bit only one of them a lot. I'm glad I got some horror movies assigned to me, though. I didn't get many of those throughout the challenge, and I'm not opposed to horror or anything. He was also one of VERY few people to assign me a documentary, and even though I ended up being disappointed by Cropsey, I'm glad he gave me that movie.

Best movie of his week: Lucky Number Slevin
Worst movie of his week: V/H/S
Most uneven movie: Star Wars Uncut

#28: Hayley's week

I'm, frankly, a little surprised to see this so high on the list, since there were quite a few this week I was just unenthused by. But the one movie I loved, I loved a LOT and it pulled up her average a bunch. So that's cool! Her movies for me were Keith, How to Deal, Take This Waltz, Double Jeopardy, and Ender's Game. I'd been meaning to watch Ender's Game since it came out, so that was a fun addition to the list.

Best movie of her week: Take This Waltz
Worst movie of her week: Keith
Most just-okay movie of her week: Ender's Game

#27: Christian's week

Three out of Christian's five movies were animated, and two of them topped my list! His choices were Princess Mononoke, Madagascar 3, The Forbidden Kingdom, Summer Wars, and Snatch. Snatch was one of those acclaimed movies I was pretty sure I wouldn't like (I was right), so I'd never gotten around to making myself watching. This challenge was good for that. :-) I'd also been meaning to watch Princess Mononoke for a long time and just somehow never did.

Best movie of his week: Summer Wars
Worst movie of his week: Snatch and Madagascar 3 landed within one spot of each other on my Flickchart, so they can duke it out.
First non-Ghibli anime movie I'd ever seen: Summer Wars

#26: Bethany not-my-sister's week

In my challenge, I had decided I'd refer to the people who shared names with my siblings with their last initials (Nathan C., Elizabeth S.) but then Bethany not-my-sister's last name also begins with M, so that is quite unhelpful. Anyway, Bethany gave me a really interesting group of movies; The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Coriolanus (the National Theater Live version from 2014 with Tom Hiddleston), The Last Unicorn, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, and Baby Mama. There were definitely a couple pleasant surprises this week.

Best movie of her week: Coriolanus
Worst movie of her week: Baby Mama
Biggest surprise: The Last Unicorn
Movie that I had the toughest time deciding whether I liked or disliked but eventually settled on liked: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

#25: Jenneh's week

I knew very, very little of any of the movies Jenneh assigned me: The Ramen Girl, Killing Season, Syrup, American Outlaws, and Neverwas. While all year I was guessing my favorite and least favorite, I had zero idea what I was going to think of any of these. Overall, it was a pretty solid week though, with a few dips above the average and a few dips below but no extremes. It was also an interesting mix of genres, with a fantasy, a western, a satirical rom com, a psychological thriller, and a heartwarming comedy/drama.

Best movie of her week: American Outlaws
Worst movie of her week: Syrup
Best surprise: Killing Season
Western I liked but felt guilty about because it wasn't actually that good but I just liked it: American Outlaws
Most wasted potential: Neverwas

#24: John's week

John had to make a last-minute substitution when I couldn't find his movies, but his list ended up being full of movies I'd wanted to see for quite some time: Eat Pray Love, Running With Scissors, Burlesque, Memoirs of a Geisha, and August: Osage County. My favorite and least favorite, if I recall correctly, were the exact opposite of what I guessed they would be. Overall, this was a good spread of movies. Even the ones I didn't love were movies I very well could have loved.

Best movie of his week: Eat Pray Love
Worst movie of his week: Burlesque
Movie that featured Benedict Cumberbatch speaking and singing with a southern accent which was very strange to get used to: August: Osage County
Movie that I really needed to see exactly when I saw it because it made me feel better about everything: Eat Pray Love

Continuing with 23-1 tomorrow!

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