Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Listal logo
Added by the giraffe on 4 Jan 2020 11:17
1174 Views 1 Comments

Movies the giraffe watched in 2020: January

Sort by: Showing 29 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
Add items to section

Noteworthy: The best films I saw this month

The breakdown: 29 films watched
19 first views, 10 re-watches
18 via streaming, 6 via DVD/BR, and 5 in the theatre
Decades touched: 1930s-2010s

Turns out having some projects helps me stay productive. It also helps having streaming services that I don't intend to keep and wanting to clear my lists before they go. Starz has been worthwhile at the $5/month price point, but I personally don't find there's enough there to justify my hanging onto it once the price increases at the end of my three-month trial. That'll end in February then, and I intend to watch the films I most want to see beforehand. Hence the monthly focus for January, which wound up being worthwhile overall. Not as many trips to the theatre this month, but that's because January tends to be a dumping ground for films nobody should spend time and money on watching. Which is why instead I took opportunities to revisit two of my favorite films from last year instead. February doesn't look much better, but hopefully I'm wrong about that. And hey, look at how many decades I touched this month...nice way to start off the year.
People who added this item 302 Average listal rating (200 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
First viewing - Jan. 1st

I kicked off 2020 with Little Women, a film I typically wouldn't care about if I'm being honest. But it was on so many best of 2019 lists that I felt it was probably worth a look, and in all fairness I like the cast and Greta Gerwig so I took the chance. And as luck would have it I wound up loving it. Go figure.

It took a little time for it to fully hook me, but once it did it kept drawing me in further and stirred my emotions. The cast is absolutely excellent, and Gerwig's direction is superb (which made it all the more infuriating when the Academy snubbed her for the category...and then to give Todd Phillips a spot, ugh). The only thing missing was that perfect 10 feeling, but perhaps the next time I watch it I'll find it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 43 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - Jan. 4th

As you all know I've enjoyed this franchise over the years, so naturally I caught the new one on its opening weekend here. And it's a wonderful way to wrap up the series. I hear Donnie Yen is supposed to retire now, and if that's the case then he's going out on a high note. Everything fires on all cylinders, and while it's not quite great I'd gladly watch it a few more times.

Just a thought: I think it's safe to say that of all the franchises this one has done the best job of maintaining the same level of quality across all films.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Jan. 19th

I might have kept going with another Hitchcock film on this night, but I wanted to try something different since after dinner I had enough time to watch a longer film. So I took Duck, You Sucker! for a spin, and had a lot of fun with it. Coburn kills it at every turn, and watching him and Rod Steiger play off one another was a joy. It felt just a touch overlong to me, but perhaps now that I've watched it once it won't feel that way the next time around. It's absolutely worth seeing.
the giraffe's rating:
Add items to section

Big screen attractions

Films I caught in a theatre
People who added this item 728 Average listal rating (543 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.5
Re-watch - Jan. 4th

I wanted to take another spin with Parasite since it returned to theatres, and it's just as good the second time around. This is a film I'll keep thinking about and talking about in the years to come, and I'm glad it's crossed over to a bigger audience for Bong Joon Ho.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 67 Average listal rating (43 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
First viewing - Jan. 18th

Just Mercy is absolutely worth seeing. The cast is excellent, and the interactions between Jordan and Foxx form the heart of it all. The story is important and one that deserves to be spread far and wide. If there's a flaw here it's that the film takes a fairly standard and routine approach to the tale which works well enough but prevents the film from achieving greatness. I wound up liking it regardless.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 327 Average listal rating (245 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
Re-watch - Jan. 18th

On one hand I probably should've waited longer to revisit Uncut Gems because the suspense/tension levels weren't at the same place as my first viewing. That's the downside to knowing what's coming. On the other hand I found a lot of other things to better appreciate the second time around and it's safe to say I loved it even more as a result. It just might be my favorite film of 2019, but it's only got a slight edge over Parasite.
the giraffe's rating:
Add items to section

Home viewings

People who added this item 1025 Average listal rating (632 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1
First viewing - Jan. 3rd

Much ado is made about Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and I'm guessing that's mainly from people who were the target audience for it when they saw it. I'll concede it has some amusing moments, but the whole thing has been done far better. Of course the main strike against it now is how dated the whole film feels, but even as an '80s time capsule I think it's one of the weaker ones. Maybe if I'd seen this back in junior high or high school I would've appreciated it more, but now it's just barely watchable.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 73 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 6
First viewing - Jan. 3rd

I guess it should've been a warning sign that I'd never heard of this film given it stars Robin Williams and Kurt Russell. But when I saw that pairing I couldn't pass it up, and the opening stretch of the film was highly amusing before it settled into a very middle-of-the-road story with characters to match. And it doesn't take much to see where things are going and how they'll play out. So yeah, this wasn't really worth my time but at least it wasn't a complete trainwreck either.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 573 Average listal rating (357 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Away We Go (2009)
First viewing - Jan. 6th

If it wasn't for the central couple here I'd probably hate Away We Go. Krasinski and Rudolph have excellent chemistry and come across as believable and really endeared themselves to me over the course of the film. As a parent, I found it amusing to see their journey overall. But I couldn't stand most of the supporting cast, which I guess is the point but at times I found the way the minor characters are written to be frustrating. At times they're portrayed in an over-the-top manner which doesn't jibe with the more straightforward treatment of the main couple. And for a comedy there's a lot of time I wasn't laughing at all. Plus the transitions between the "chapters" of the story don't flow organically...sequences play out and end and then we jump to the next section with shots of the landscape with a title card (most of the time) as a segue. So yeah, it was worth watching but not without its share of issues which will prevent me from revisiting it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 645 Average listal rating (423 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
In & Out (1997)
First viewing - Jan. 8th

At the time In & Out came out (heh) I had no interest in it. But over the years I haven't heard too many people speak up against it, so I figured I'd give it a look. And it's fine. Tough to suspend my disbelief from time to time, but since it's a comedy I rolled along with it the best I could. It's definitely not essential, but I enjoyed some aspects of it (the reading of the Oscar nominees for Best Actor was hysterical) and have satisfied my curiosity so I won't need to watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 455 Average listal rating (324 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Re-watch - Jan. 10th

The kiddo's pick. I'm done discussing this one.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 3249 Average listal rating (2133 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2
Re-watch - Jan. 11th

The kiddo picked this out for us to watch together, and I liked it better the second time around. Looking back, last time I thought it dragged a bit at times, but that was not the case at all this time around. I found the pacing appropriate and wound up enjoying it more all around. I still don't think I'd go out of my way to watch it without her, but maybe if we watch it a couple more times I'll change my tune.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 847 Average listal rating (560 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
First viewing - Jan. 13th

I remember being curious about Don Jon when it came out, but for whatever reason I let it pass me by. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of my favorite actors, however, so I was curious to see what he'd come up with as a director. And I thought he did an excellent job his first time out. The story is timely and more thoughtful than you'd expect given the premise, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ideas it presented and how its story progresses to its resolution. It fell just shy of greatness, but I appreciated it and kept thinking about it for a few days after it ended.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 358 Average listal rating (249 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6
Dragnet (1987)
Re-watch - Jan. 17th

I can't tell you how many times I watched Dragnet when it was on cable, but I've always had a soft spot for it. I hadn't seen it in forever though, so I decided to see how it held up. And I think it's still a good time. There are parts that had stuck with me, and a few that I'd completely forgotten about, but story-wise it's solid. The humor is uneven at times, but when it works it works and you can tell Aykroyd and Hanks are having fun with their respective roles. It's nothing great or award-worthy, but I don't feel like it's trying to be either of those things either. Maybe I'll watch it again down the road.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 326 Average listal rating (193 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
First viewing - Jan. 18th

I feel like I've been hearing great things about Broadcast News for a long time, and yet for whatever reason I never bothered to give it a look until now. Having easy access to it definitely helps of course. And it's good, but I don't know that I'd go so far as to deem it great. The cast does a wonderful job, and I liked the dynamic between the three leads. There are some really amusing moments, some of which I suspect will stick in my head for a while. As far as films about network TV go, however, I feel like I got far more out of Network than this. I wouldn't mind watching it again some time, however, but it's nothing I'd watch over and over.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1356 Average listal rating (976 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Ant-Man (2015)
Re-watch - Jan. 20th

I stayed home with the kiddo for Martin Luther King Day, and this was her second choice. Her first pick was Ant-Man and the Wasp, but that's not on Disney+ right now whereas this one is. We had a good time watching it together, and I love that she geeks out over the same things I do (like the Thomas the Train scenes and the birthday gift).
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 141 Average listal rating (92 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.7
First viewing - Jan. 22nd

I'm not quite sure what to make of State and Main. On the one hand I was solidly entertained by it, and if you don't take it seriously then it's a good time. The cast is excellent, and I enjoyed the look at a film production crew trying to pull together to complete a project that seems to be doomed from the start. On the other hand, the central story revolves around an actor who can't stay away from underage girls and the way his arc gets resolved is rather icky. Granted given what's come to light about certain actors in the past few years it all seems very true to some extent, but it seems to treat the subject as amusing instead of wrong. I had problems with that approach, and thus it's not a film I'd revisit.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 202 Average listal rating (128 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - Jan. 26th

The kiddo's appreciation and understanding of humor has grown a lot, and we've had some conversations in recent months that indicated she was ready to experience the Marx Brothers. And I was correct in that conclusion. It was a joy to watch Animal Crackers and laugh along with her. She was less impressed by some of the musical interludes than I am, but overall she loved it so much that at the end she turned to me and asked if I have any other Marx Brothers movies we could watch.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 448 Average listal rating (286 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.8
Re-watch - Jan. 26th

Of course the answer to her question was, "Yes, I have all of them." And then she insisted we watch one more, so I put on A Night at the Opera for us. And she loved it about as much as Animal Crackers, so I suspect we'll be watching more of their films as the year rolls along. You'll hear no complaints from me.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 988 Average listal rating (596 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7
First viewing - Jan. 29th

I can't recall anymore why I skipped out on Charlie Wilson's War when it came out, unless it was just my tendency to generally avoid anything Julia Roberts does because I'm not a fan. It's on Starz currently though, so I finally gave it a look.

And I thought it was pretty good overall. The story is fascinating and the acting is really strong across the board. I kept feeling like Hoffman's character could've been played by John Goodman and there wouldn't be much difference, but this amused me rather than bothering me. And I wasn't initially prepared for Hanks to play such a super horny dude, which also wound up being amusing. The ending is kinda rushed though, and thus has to rely on title cards to drive home its final point which wasn't the best approach in my opinion. It took the film down a couple pegs, so I'm not sure I'd watch it again. Worth a look though.
the giraffe's rating:
Add items to section

Year-long focus: Godzilla's Showa era

I picked up the Criterion Collection release of Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 in 2019, and have decided to watch all of the films in it over the course of 2020. There are 15 films in all, so I'll watch no more than two per month.
People who added this item 570 Average listal rating (378 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Re-watch - Jan. 11th

Turns out the kiddo has agreed to join me on this endeavor, so she got to watch Godzilla for the first time. Amusingly she realized that they were using models for most of the big set-pieces. But I think she enjoyed it overall. I still think it's a great film, especially for its time.
the giraffe's rating:
First viewing - Jan. 26th

I had no expectations for this one besides that being the first sequel it wouldn't live up to the original because of course it doesn't. There are some entertaining moments along the way and I liked the major characters well enough. I appreciate that they introduced another Godzilla instead of pretending like the original wasn't destroyed in the previous film, as the latter approach would've turned me against it (and probably every other audience member giving it a chance). Kudos too for them setting almost all of the action in day time, which couldn't have been easy to pull off. In the end though it's nothing great, but I thought it was worth a look.

By the way, apparently I'd attempted to watch it before but it was a dubbed version and I didn't finish it. I'd completely forgotten until I went looking for an image to accompany this entry.
the giraffe's rating:
Add items to section

Monthly focus: Hitchcock filmography

I've got access to several of Hitchcock's films right now via the Starz app, so I'm going to watch as many of them as possible throughout January.
People who added this item 905 Average listal rating (569 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
First viewing - Jan. 5th

On this Sunday I decided to have a Hitchcock/Jimmy Stewart double feature, and led with the film I hadn't seen before. And yet, that's not entirely true because this is a remake and I've seen the original. I thought this truly improved on and surpassed that film though, one of the few times a remake hasn't been a disappointment at all. I'm not sure it's great, but it's excellent and I might have to own a copy.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1194 Average listal rating (799 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Rope (1948)
Re-watch - Jan. 5th

Rope remains one of my favorite of Hitch's films, and was just as good the second time around. It's so wonderfully well-crafted, and I can't find any fault with it.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 379 Average listal rating (251 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
Saboteur (1942)
First viewing - Jan. 19th

I knew nothing about Saboteur going into it, and wound up really enjoying it. The cast is especially good, and full of memorable characters. Watching Lane and Cummings play off each other is often a joy, but the supporting characters may be even better. The plot is fairly simple, but had enough surprises along the way that it works very well. It's not great, but I'd gladly sit through it again.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 236 Average listal rating (145 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
Topaz (1969)
First viewing - Jan. 19th

After Saboteur I wanted to watch Topaz since I knew just as much about it. Apparently it's considered one of Hitchcock's lesser films, and while it's far from essential I still thought it was a solid film overall. I found it quite fascinating insofar as it's tied to actual events, though if there's any truth to what unfolds I can't say. It also hosts what may be my favorite of Hitchcock's cameos. If the film falters in any way it's that there are a few pieces too many for it to juggle in a truly meaningful and rewarding way. The film runs just over 2 hours, but felt like there was enough material to justify another hour. Or perhaps it'd be best realized as a miniseries. At any rate I was engaged and entertained, and while I don't think I'll ever revisit it I thought it was worth seeing.

Just a thought: Totally annoyed me that the character Rico Parra, a Cuban, was played by Canadian actor John Vernon instead of someone who's actually Cuban. He's a fine actor, don't get me wrong, but I wish they'd cast the role more appropriately.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 634 Average listal rating (415 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
Marnie (1964)
First viewing - Jan. 23rd

Marnie is certainly watchable, but I ultimately felt like it was rather unnecessary to spend time on. Nothing against Tippi Hedren or Sean Connery, each of whom turn in solid performances overall. But while I was curious to see where it was going I can't say my curiosity ran deep or was especially rewarded. Maybe it's because I've seen similar tales to this & was able to figure out more or less what was going on. Not that the road to get there was dull, mind you, but it was underwhelming and were it not for the main stars and Hitchcock I probably would have given up on it. Odds are I'll forget in the next 5-10 years that I even watched it, which is too bad.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 327 Average listal rating (216 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
Torn Curtain (1966)
First viewing - Jan. 31st

I ended my month-long focus just as I began it, with a Hitchcock double bill. Torn Curtain is a solidly entertaining if slight addition to his filmography. Newman and Andrews don't have much chemistry which kept me from getting too invested in their journey, but there are some scenes that really shine despite this. The supporting cast performs very well, and the overall story was more engaging than Marnie. It's another one that I won't likely watch again, but I have no regrets about watching it either.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 298 Average listal rating (197 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Family Plot (1976)
First viewing - Jan. 31st

Hitchcock's final film may not be great, but it sure is a lot of fun. I had a blast with the story and the characters. The plot has its fair share of twists along the way of course, but while it's not very suspenseful I felt the humor throughout was really strong. Plus for some reason William Devane seems to be aping Jack Nicholson which I found amusing. There are some flaws though, such as the Mustang that gets in a wreck but then is back to normal far too soon, but I thought the highs outweighed the lows. As far as I'm concerned Hitch went out on a positive note film-wise, even if it wasn't a masterpiece.
the giraffe's rating:

Added to

30 votes
the giraffe's movie lists guide (195 lists)
list by the giraffe
Published 12 years ago 2 comments

Related lists

My Anime List
8 item list by Peter
19 votes 1 comment
The Movies of 1894 & Before
26 item list by vah!
17 votes 1 comment
The Movies of 1987
246 item list by vah!
8 votes 1 comment
The Movies of 1937
208 item list by vah!
6 votes 1 comment
The Movies of 1935
208 item list by vah!
6 votes 2 comments
The Movies of 2015
733 item list by vah!
11 votes 2 comments
The Movies of 2011
596 item list by vah!
24 votes 1 comment
The Movies of 2010
595 item list by vah!
6 votes 3 comments
The Movies of 2009
578 item list by vah!
7 votes 2 comments
The Movies of 2008
569 item list by vah!
6 votes 2 comments

View more top voted lists

People who voted for this also voted for

More lists from the giraffe