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Added by the giraffe on 25 Feb 2019 03:44
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Movies the giraffe watched in 2019: February

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Noteworthy: The best films I saw this month

The breakdown: 23 films watched
17 first views, 6 re-watches
8 via streaming, 9 via DVD/BR, and 6 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1960s-2010s

When I began this month the only definite plan was to get through the box set my friend had loaned me and which wound up being my focus. As the month rolled along, I tried to tie the films I was watching into the ones I'd watched before and that helped me decide what to watch next. You'll see this reflected in the "Threads" comments under most of the films listed here. It kept things fun, and I might try it again in the near future.

Overall February was a good month, with very few films I didn't care for. All of them had moments that made them worthwhile, even if the bulk of these I wouldn't sit through again. Which is to say that if any of these pique your interest, you might find something worthwhile as well.
First viewing - Feb. 17th

After The King of Marvin Gardens I took a break for dinner before diving into The Last Picture Show which was absolutely worth my time. I loved pretty much everything about it, and it's such a beautifully depressing and vibrant film. Plus it's set in Texas, and I'm usually a sucker for that. The cast is stellar, the music is excellent throughout, and it's thematically rich. My friend was absolutely correct that I needed to see this, and I'm glad he gave me the opportunity.
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People who added this item 61 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - Feb. 3rd

How is this not up for any Oscars? At the very least John C. Reilly should be nominated for his performance, as he really knocks it out of the park bringing Oliver Hardy to life. Coogan does an admirable job as Stan Laurel as well, and the film is both fun and heartfelt. I knew nothing about this period of their lives, and so it was completely worth checking out and I'll probably watch it again. It also served as a reminder that I need to catch up with some of Laurel & Hardy's films.
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Home viewings

Re-watch - Feb. 2nd

Due to temporary scheduling changes, I wound up keeping my daughter overnight on the 1st and we were expected to be at my ex's on this particular afternoon. My daughter was talking about it being Groundhog Day and mentioned that there should be a movie about it. I told her there was & we watched this together after lunch. I don't have any new comments for the film on my part, but I'm proud to say she enjoyed it.
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People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.3
First viewing - Feb. 4th

I've been trying for a while now to track down The Mermaid with no success. I might have caught it when I lived in Austin, but I didn't even realize it came out there until I noticed it while attending another film & I didn't get a chance to go back and catch it before it disappeared. I was very excited to see it given my long-time love for Stephen Chow's films. And while I'm glad I finally caught up with it, I can't say it lived up to my expectations.

There are some very funny moments throughout the film, and the story is decent enough. My main issue, however, was that I found the main characters grating at times and I struggled to fully buy into the central romance. The Mermaid never reaches the heights of Chow's other films, but it's entertaining enough for the most part. I doubt whether I'd go out of my way to watch it again, which bums me out, but I don't regret watching it.

Threads: I followed this with Head which opens with a sequence involving mermaids.
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First viewing - Feb. 6th

I think it was Edgar Wright who finally put this on my radar when he cited it among the influences of Baby Driver, though it seems like I've seen others sing its praises too. I can't say I was much impressed by it, but it's not bad either. Much like Baby Driver it's very music-driven (which allowed it to sorta follow Head) but unlike Baby Driver there's not much skill behind the use of music. It's mainly just "live" performances. Most of my amusement was found in recognizing actors because I went into this more or less blind and didn't know who would be in it. I didn't care much about the main character, which kept me from getting too into what was going on, and then Willem Dafoe shows up being awesome and gets minimal screen time. Sigh. I really didn't know what to expect from this so I can't say it failed to meet my expectations, but I did feel like I've seen all the ideas here better explored in other films. I suspect it's got a cult following, and I'm just not in that cult which is fine.
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People who added this item 5079 Average listal rating (3347 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.6
Re-watch - Feb. 8th

My daughter really wanted to watch a movie with me, so I figured I'd finally let her watch this one. I think she enjoyed it, at least she kept dancing around during Prince's songs and kept asking questions (mainly trying to figure out who Nicholson was playing until it was revealed). She didn't share my appreciation for most of the dark humor in the film, but that's fine. We'll see whether she insists on watching Batman Returns in the near future.

Threads: Not only does Nicholson tie this film to my monthly focus, but Batman is in the new LEGO movie and we wound up having a superhero connection all weekend long.
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Re-watch - Feb. 10th

Like I'm ever going to say no when my daughter asks if we can watch The Incredibles again. Possibly this was in her head because her step-brother watched the sequel this month. No complaints from me regardless.
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People who added this item 90 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.9
First viewing - Feb. 12th

So here's another '80s cult film I've been meaning to check out, and one that was reinforced by its use in Sorry to Bother You. I had more fun with this than Streets of Fire, even though it's often really cheesy. The acting is a mixed bag, as are some of the action sequences, but it's fun enough I barely minded its flaws. I don't know that I'd go out of my way to watch it again, but I'm glad I finally checked it out.

Just a thought: I now see where Busta Rhymes got most of his fashion ideas, and possibly some of his mannerisms as well.
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People who added this item 250 Average listal rating (155 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Feb. 15th

I can't honestly say why I didn't watch this back in the '90s, but regardless I skipped it. Turns out it was almost perfectly timed, as the day after I saw it was Ice T's birthday. It's an interesting and entertaining film, following both Snipes's character's gang as they rise to power and the undercover cop working to bring them down. There's some excellent social commentary about how the justice system works, and I really appreciated that aspect the most. Snipes chews scenery like it's a free buffet, which is amusing but also grating at times. Overall it's a decent movie, just nothing exceptionally great that I'd need to watch again.

Threads: Much like The Last Dragon, this is set in Harlem. It also connects to Destroyer by having an undercover cop at its center.
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People who added this item 28 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.8
First viewing - Feb. 21st

I don't recall if Hearts Beat Loud played any theatres near me last year, but I swear I've been seeing its poster for a while now. I finally decided to give it a look and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Granted it's got a father/daughter relationship at its center which automatically puts it in my wheelhouse (though thankfully I'm not to the point yet where my daughter is going off to college). Offerman and Kiersey Clemons both deliver strong performances, both acting-wise and musically, and overall I kinda loved the film despite it not quite crossing the line of greatness. I especially appreciated the fact that Clemons's character is biracial and a lesbian yet neither of those aspects is treated as a negative or even unusual. More films like this, please.

Threads: Much like Five Easy Pieces this centers on a musical family.
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Re-watch - Feb. 23rd

My daughter wanted to watch a film with me, and since she's into magic and fantasy I pulled this off our shelf. As I'd suspected she really enjoyed it. She got the story all around, and was really tickled by the humor in it. She also let me know she appreciated that nobody died. Of course I'll sing its praises to anyone who'll listen, as I love everything about it. I'm glad she dug it too, as perhaps that'll lead her to share it with other people down the road.

Threads: To some degree there's a common theme between this and The Last Picture Show as their respective characters face the impending demise of their town as they know it.
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People who added this item 692 Average listal rating (397 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Feb. 25th

I've seen a fair bit of praise over the past 10 years for The Informant! and thus have been curious to finally check it out. Turns out it's not as easy to track down as you'd think (or at least it wasn't for me), and so when I finally found it this week I jumped right in. The story is really fascinating, and I spent a lot of time shaking my head in disbelief at Mark Whitacre's actions. The film is consistently entertaining, and while I can't think of anything to complain about I also don't think I'd need to sit through it again. If someone else wanted to watch it with me I wouldn't object, but it's nothing I'd go out of my way to watch again as I feel like I got it. (Bonus points by the way for casting the Smothers brothers.)

Threads: This kinda ties back to Can You Ever Forgive Me? with some forgery, fraud, and a whole lotta lying going on.
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People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - Feb. 26th

I've mentioned before that I'm devoted to Mark Duplass and especially Duplass Productions in general, so when I found out this was released I watched it as soon as I could. As I'd expected it was really good all around, just a well-told and wonderfully cast story that we don't often get to see. This time around it didn't quite seem great, but I'd gladly watch it again to see if I think even more of it.
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Re-watch - Feb. 28th

I wanted to end the month on a high note and didn't have a lot of time to watch a movie before bed, so I decided to revisit Behind the Mask which I hadn't seen in 7 years. My thoughts from the previous viewing stand, and I geeked out over all the little details once again. At some point I need to add this to my collection so I can watch it any time.

Threads: I'm going with this one ties into Happy Death Day 2U for the slasher-related aspects (despite that film dialing them back).
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Monthly focus: Criterion Collection BBS box set

People who added this item 83 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.6
First viewing - Feb. 5th

I remember watching The Monkees' TV show when it was rerun on Nickelodeon in the late '80s...my sister latched on to it for a little while & I wound up watching it with her from time to time. I never got too into it, but vaguely recall it being entertaining enough and so I was curious what their sole movie would be like. Well, much like the show it's got moments but it's nothing I loved. Some of the songs are excellent, while others are tedious ("The Porpoise Song" is easily the best of the bunch). The film is really just a bunch of segments pasted together, which means it's a mixed bag. Seeing Micki Dolenz take on the Coke machine is pretty amusing, I dug how it occasionally broke off to show the film being made before returning back to whatever was next, and there's a diner scene that was kinda hilarious. I didn't appreciate the ways the female characters were handled overall, however, and overall the film is kind of a mess. I hope its goal was never to get more people into The Monkees, because if so it fails.
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First viewing - Feb. 17th

I hadn't seen any of Jack Nicholson's directorial works, so it's probably fitting that I began with his first. He does a very admirable job here I thought. The story overall was pretty interesting, and I appreciated that it gave a realistic portrayal of college life during the Vietnam War. The characters struggle with fears of being drafted, some protest the war, and free love is in full swing. It's all quite fascinating, and I thought the basketball sequences were extremely well put together. Some of the performances could be stronger, and it doesn't deliver enough impact to rank higher among the films I've seen, but overall I thought it was worth watching once.

Threads: I figured going from the college campus of Happy Death Day 2U to this one made sense.
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First viewing - Feb. 17th

I went from Nicholson being behind the camera to being in front of it, and had hoped this would be worthwhile given the cast. It starts out really strong and ends on a pretty strong note, but in between I found it quite tedious and dull. Indeed, I was falling asleep while watching it, and I started it around 4pm so it's not like I was really tired at the time. I guess seeing Nicholson and Dern play against type was interesting, but I just struggled to care about the story and characters. I wanted to like it more than I did, but in the end I felt like it wasn't really worth my time.
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Re-watch - Feb. 19th

I've loved Five Easy Pieces every time I've watched it, so I took advantage of watching it again on Blu while I had it. It's still a brilliant little film, and the only complaint I have really is a personal one that it's got more songs than it needs from Tammy Wynette. I'm not a fan of hers, but I won't argue that her songs do fit the film well enough.

Now it should probably be mentioned that there are two other films in this box set not listed here. One is Easy Rider, which I attempted to watch a while back and was completely bored with. I had no desire to give it another chance. The other is something called A Safe Place which stars Nicholson and Orson Welles, but after looking into it a little bit I decided I was probably better off skipping it despite that very tempting pairing. Thus ends my run of BBS films for now, and I returned them to my friend with no regrets.
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Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
First viewing - Feb. 3rd

I did kind of a period piece double feature on this Sunday afternoon, and here again we focus on someone past her prime. Much ado has been made of the performances of both Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy, and I can confirm they both slay all over the place. The story is fascinating, and I especially appreciated that they don't try to redeem her character. I highly enjoyed the film and would happily sit through it again some time.
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First viewing - Feb. 9th

Much like the original Lego Movie, I enjoyed this more than I expected to. The kiddo was very excited to see it, but the trailers failed to impress me. I had kinda forgot, however, that the trailers for the other one failed to impress me too. Much like the first film it's fun, humorous, and heartfelt in turns, and overall makes for a satisfying enough watch. I can't say I loved it, but it was worth seeing once and should the kiddo insist on revisiting it I wouldn't put up much of a fight.
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People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.2
First viewing - Feb. 16th

Believe the hype about Nicole Kidman's performance here...it's golden. Granted I can't think of a movie she doesn't deliver a solid to great performance, but this time around she really disappears into her character to the point where I forgot occasionally who I was looking at (credit also due to the makeup and hair team). The story is pretty good all around too, and I appreciated this rather different and fresh approach to a story we've more or less seen before. I don't know that the film crossed my line of greatness, but I'd probably watch it at least once more just for her performance.
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People who added this item 84 Average listal rating (59 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.3
First viewing - Feb. 16th

I was initially skeptical of how this would play out given the first film, but as it rolled along I eventually got on board with what they've done and wound up really enjoying it. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that it's more heavily a sci-fi comedy with horror sprinkled in as needed, rather than another horror-comedy hybrid. So don't go into it looking for another slasher. Jessica Rothe is a treasure, and she delivers at least one sequence that justifies the ticket price. Seems like not many people have turned out to see this sequel, so I'm hoping it fares better on home video because I really want the franchise to keep going for at least one more entry.

Oh yeah, and make sure you sit through at least the first half of the credits.

Threads: Uh, Groundhog Day, obviously.
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First viewing - Feb. 23rd

As anticipated, this was an entertaining and heartfelt entry in this franchise. It fits right in with the previous two films, including having an underwhelming villain (despite F. Murray Abraham's best efforts, and holy hell does he have a great time in the role). The themes and characters make up for any flaws though, and I was pretty pleased with the film. If it winds up being the final entry then it's going out on a strong note, and if not then they better have a really great idea to push it for another film. I'd be satisfied if it's the end though.

Threads: Focus on family/friendship, see also Hearts Beat Loud and Paddleton.
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