Galavant (2015, season 1); first viewing for Thomas & Beau’s 2nd.
Hotel Transylvania 3 (2018); second viewing for Thomas & Beau’s first.
Sand Sharks (2011); first viewing for Thomas & 3 for Beau.
Inkheart (2008); first viewing for Thomas.
Klaus (2019); second viewing for Thomas, and first for Beau.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966); first for Thomas.
Cats (2019)*; first viewing for Thomas and Beau.
Bo Burnham’s “what” (2013); first viewing for Thomas.
Bo Burnham’s “make happy” (2016); first viewing for Thomas, Beau’s somewhere high number count viewing.
The Witcher (2019); all of season one, first viewing for Beau and Thomas.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017); first viewing for Beau and 2nd for Thomas.
I, Frankenstein (2014); first viewing for Beau, and 4th for Thomas.
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019); first viewing for Beau, and 3rd for Thomas.
Hey and welcome to another ‘Things I Watched’ post. We have done 8 of these so far and isn’t that kind of wild? Me (Thomas) & Beau watch so many movies together and also apart. I am writing the reviews today for this post. Klaus is a big emotional journey of a movie for me, Velvet Buzzsaw is silly good. It does not deserve to be as much fun as it is. Finally, we round out the written reviews with the first season of Galavant which Beau has seen and turned me onto, so it comes with all of our thumbs up in the fun department.
As always, and before getting into the recommendations. At the end of each blurb there is a link to the website Does the Dog Die? which can be used to search for triggering content in movies. Highly recommend this website and answering questions for movies that you have seen to help others.
I have included YouTube videos that are related to each in this post to mix things up a little bit. I hope you enjoy these movies half as much as I do! Because then you’ll end up falling in love with them.
Klaus (2019); What can I say about Klaus? Would me saying that it is a touching Christmas movie that gives me renewed hope for animated Christmas movies mean anything? Well it is that and more. It’s a charming movie about a postal worker who solves a remote towns blood feud (Hatfields & McCoys style) through the power of presents for depressed children. The movie is touching. The titular Santa Klaus is played by J.K. Simmons if you are looking for a fun voice actors involvement. The movies attention to environmental detail reminds me of the colorful palettes of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009). Blending together 2D with shading techniques so well that I was tricked into believing it was the best 3D animated movie I had ever seen. Overall, this movie is gorgeous and uses 2D animation in a way that will hopefully catch on and is now one of my must watch holiday movies. Check it out over on Netflix! Does the Dog Die.
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019); Velvet Buzzsaw is a ridiculous horror movie that is a delight to watch. It has both goofy and weird kills, where monkeys pull people into paintings, and graffiti crawls up someone’s skin until it goes into their mouth to suffocate them. It stars a bisexual (?) Jake Gyllenhaal as an art critic. He is extremely over the top and everything in this movie, consistently just lounging around nude while doing research on artists and struggling to maintain his latest relationship as she becomes a rising star for her artistic find. But what she (the woman who found the art that is by a guy who she saw die) doesn’t know is that the art is cursed! It kills all who attempt to profit off of it! Velvet Buzzsaw is a ridiculous movie that is only available on Netflix. If you want a goofy horror movie that is very re-watchable, this movie is worth the 113 minutes. Does the Dog Die.
Galavant (season 1); This is the singing King Arthur TV show that was cancelled too soon. There are two seasons of it, but if you just want to have a fun romp this is where it is at. Watch Galavant singing through his quest to win back his girl from a peppy and rich Timothy Omundson as King Richard. Galavant wants his happily ever after. King Richard during this season meanwhile is just trying to win over his new queen Madalena by taking on love and confidence tips from his burly hitman murder henchman Gareth. The episodes aren’t long at 22 minutes apiece and the show is very lighthearted. If you don’t like silly musical conversations then this one isn’t for you. If you like silly musicals, fantasy, and need something that isn’t screaming about how intense it is then join me (Thomas) as being a big fan of the amazing Galavant. Does the Dog Die.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 (2020): first viewing for Thomas.
Stalker (1979); first viewing for Thomas.
Antichrist (2009); first viewing for Thomas.
GANTZ:0 (2016); first viewing for Thomas.
Psycho (1960); first viewing for Thomas.
The Exorcist (1973); first viewing for Thomas.
The Birds (1963); first viewing for Thomas.
A Serious Man (2009); first viewing for Thomas.
Hail, Caesar! (2016); first viewing for Thomas.
The Other Guys (2010); second viewing for Thomas.
The Hateful Eight (2015); first viewing for Thomas.
Mindhunter (2019); watched Season 1 and Season 2, first viewing for Thomas.
Killing them Softly (2012); first viewing for Thomas.
Holy Cow and hello this is just Thomas talking for this post. Me and Beau have been watching so many movies lately, but have also had some trouble finding time where we can write out our movie recommendations. We actually have another post in draft status that has dozens of movies in it. That is too many movies for a single post, so we will be breaking it up into more posts so that we can make sure all of the movies that we want to recommend can get equal word counts.
The first portion of the movies that are being broken apart are of movies that only I (Thomas) have watched without Beau. I have been watching some classics, getting in some Coen Brothers goodness, and have made use of my Criterion Channel subscription. Watching Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, enjoying the communist Channing Tatum in Hail, Caesar! and admiring the bird attacks in The Birds.
As always, the movie list is of everything that I have watched. The movies that I go into detail on aren’t the only good movies on the list, just the ones that I would recommend to the widest audience. While I think Antichrist was a good movie and thought provoking, that doesn’t mean it is a movie that I would recommend widely or except to a very specific audience.
As this blog has used in our previous posts, at the end of each movie blurb is a link to the website Does the Dog Die? which can be used to search for different triggering content that is in movies or TV shows. This website is highly recommended as a tool to be aware of any disturbing or sensitive content before diving deep into a show. There will be spoilers of course, but on this website we are PRO spoilers.
Tombstone (1993); Tombstone is a movie that stars both Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer as gunslingers in a wild west frontier town. It has Kurt Russell forming a posse out for vengeance for the death of his brothers (including the amazing Bill Paxton). I am not trying to sell the idea of tombstone, but I am here to sell a wild west Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. Where there is a subtext of homoerotic togetherness as Val Kilmer’s character, despite being in the process of dying will be there for Kurt Russell’s character. It’s a fun and bloody western that is worth the time if you are a fan of both Russell and Kilmer. Does the Dog Die.
Stalker (1979); This movie is slow and supernatural in how it moves. It quietly, but extremely loudly is full of desperation. Its shots are beautiful and show the Stalker taking his clients, the professor and the writer into the zone to a room that grants wishes. A place that is the last hope for the hopeless. This movie is fairly long and requires the viewer to sit quietly and let it envelop their entire body. It talks about respecting the danger and death of an environment, that in our steps we should understand what has occurred in a place over all time. This movie is a must watch if you are a lover of the subtle strange. If you want to watch this movie, it can be found on the Criterion Channel streaming service, and also from their disc collection. Does the Dog Die.
The Birds (1963); I watched two Hitchcock movies in the same day. The first was Psycho and the second was this one, The Birds. Both are pretty good, but if I had to pick one to recommend to everyone it would be 1963’s The Birds. This movie starts by following a young women performing an elaborate prank on a young man but then becomes trapped in an apocalyptic north coast bay as waves of birds attack townspeople. The movie is tense and becomes an end of the world sequence by the end as people are being pecked to death as the birds attack in waves. Bursting through windows and pecking through wood until they can find a human to slay. Why should you watch this movie? Each bird attack is different and filmed in a different way, the tense moments are quiet and hold up as scary. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, the climactic ending sequence is a creeping horror sequence that shows loud booming soundtrack terror isn’t necessary for a horror movies ending. Does the Dog Die.
Hail, Caesar! (2016); On my playlist of what I watched during this post, I have A Serious Man listed. It was an excellent movie that made me feel things that I need to read more about to figure out. But, Hail Caesar is different. It was just a funny good time that involved a singing sailor Channing Tatum being a secret soviet agent that loves and saves a dog. This entire movie has a plot about how George Clooney has been abducted by socialist movie writers who are upset about their lack of compensation for their labors in Hollywood. Clooney’s character then as the kidnapped becomes a socialist and goes along with the plot. It was just a weird movie with funny visuals, and a quick pace that tracked its multiple funny characters. Everyone in this movie feels weirdly like a side character and that works, as its a big rube goldberg machine turning and cranking away at funny situations. If you haven’t seen it, and like the comedy found in coen brother movies I’d recommend giving this one a chance. Does the Dog Die.
Black Christmas (1974); first viewing for Thomas and Beau.
The Man who killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot (2018); first viewing for Thomas.
Overlord (2018); first viewing for Thomas.
Pooka (2018); first viewing for Thomas.
My Bloody Valentine (1981); first viewing for Thomas.
I, Frankenstein (2014); second viewing for Thomas.
47 Meters Down (2017); first viewing for Thomas.
Deep Blue Sea (1999); first viewing for Thomas.
Ronin (1998); first viewing for Thomas.
Interview with a Vampire (1994); first viewing for Thomas.
The Nice Guys (2016); fourth viewing for Thomas and second for Beau.
Black Christmas (2019)*; first viewing in theaters for Thomas and Beau.
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (2018); first viewing for Thomas, and second for Beau.
Spirited Away (2001); first viewing for Beau and unknown viewing for Thomas.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)*; first viewing for Beau and Thomas.
While coming up with the reviews for this list we have already started another post because we saw that this one was getting long. Beau helped with the recommendations, for some of them since I (Thomas) only saw the movie the recommendation is solely mine.
As before, at the end of each there is a link to the website Does the Dog Die? which can be used to search for triggering content in movies. We highly recommend this website and answering questions for movies that you have seen to help others.
Ronin (1998); I (Thomas) had not seen this movie before but scrolled past it while droning through free streaming channels on my Roku (there are so many free streaming channels with ads but they have the other movies most of the time). I think Ronin is a good movie, when I say good I mean that I was imterested during the entirety of the movie. I was there for these mercenary contract specialists who were doing watever gigs they could for money. The back and forth of every character with each other felt strong and with purpose. They acted like they knew what they were doing and gave off the energy of someone confident but careful in their work and planning. These aren’t flashy characters either, these are Dad khakis and Dad jeans mixed with the beige color section of the paint department in Home Depot. They could blend in, which added to tone it felt like for me? They could be nobody and their status was mercs with burned ties looking for money and use for their skills. Summary, the car chases were good. The action was good. And the dealings were tense. Warning though as it does deal with alot of IRA content as you discover in the movie the criminals that are being worked for are leadership for the group. While there isn’t a page for it on Does the Dog Die, Movies with Mikey has covered it in a video which may assist in determining if this movie is for you.
The Nice Guys (2016); This is a Shane Black movie. The fights are fun to watch and pack a punch without resorting to excessive camera perspective changes and shakey fight cam. It stars my favorite detective duo, a drunk Ryan Gosling and a bruiser wannabe P.I. Russell Crowe. The movies soundtrack is fun and perfectly the aesthetic that is being sought, a sunburnt L.A. with smog filled air and a porno theater on every corner. Angourie Rice plays Goslings daughter in the movie and pushes these two rough and tumble big boys to be better and do better. Russell is teased with a friendship and the possibility of straying too far she would cease to be friends with him. This movie would not have the sideplot vibes of a P.I. detective family of two divorced dad’s and a daughter if it wasn’t for her excellent acting and characters screentime. Both of us would recommend The Nice Guys as a fun P.I. movie for grownups, fans of Shane Black will not be disappoimted. As a warning though, it has the indigenous peoples sensitivity of the 70s and the alcohol abuse sleaze of the time period as well. Does the Dog Die.
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (2018); Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse is a masterpiece of artistic and technical design, highlighting multiple styles in the various starring Spider-Men and Spider-Women, with an amazing soundtrack and a complex but heartfelt plot that brings most nerds to tears at least once while the bright colors and brilliantly-executed use of words-on-screen (bagel! sound effect included) keep them locked on until the last credit has rolled. Miles Morales is a believable and sweet kid just trying to find his way, and he touches the lives of all of the people he interacts with in this film – some, with a cheeseburger, others, with a bus. The multidimensional story is rich and is also finally a story that doesn’t leave Black and Latinx culture in the cold, reflecting it all through Miles, his family, the art, and the music. Marvel needs more of this, every day. Does the Dog Die.
Overlord (2018); Overlord is weird. It has mega strong Nazi zombies and Nazis creating zombies for a thousand year Reich plots. In this movie you follow from the eyes of Private First Class Edward Boyce, the son of Haitian immigrants who moved to the states. Boyce is a paratrooper which means exploding planes and dead soldiers hanging from forest trees come into the movie early on. While so much occurs (a torture a Nazi interrogation, medical experiments similar to those in the movie Event Horizon in how horrific they are) the big thing I liked in the movie was Boyce. Boyce was the fudging best, a strong character that had principles they held dear. That there was a way to do things, and acting like the Nazi enemies was not the way to do it. The path forward was to think of not just how to stop the Nazi experiments, but also to make sure that the US does not get their paws on these secret gross blood elixirs of undead super strength. Throughout the Boyce has to work under a disillusioned commander whose sole philosophy is finish the job whatever it takes. By the end though, Boyce gets through to him. That there are more ways to get the work done, without having to become who they are fighting. Would recommend for those into zombie movies, even if it is a movie about zombies with little zombie shootouts and gun downs. It is also visually stunning, I imagine this is due to Bad Robot doing work on the movie (JJ did not direct). Does the Dog Die.
Black Christmas (2019); Black Christmas is a significant change from the original 1974 film of the same name in that not only does the film empower the sorority women to fight back against the threats they face, but it also more clearly and more intentionally calls out toxic masculinity as something some men carry with pride and force onto other men who would rather be doing the right thing. Cary Elwes is suitably creepy in his role as college professor, and every single one of the women – Riley, Kris, Marty, and Jesse – outshines him with their heart and their intensity. The backstory of Riley’s sexual assault that is mentioned is brought forth in a second instance of a halted sexual assault of another woman, Helena, and featured in some flashbacks later that focus on Riley, her experiences, and her pain. It is overall handled very well, and doesn’t stray from the point – that this was a cruel act and that the experiences of the women are paramount. Overall, a great film to watch if you are able to work through some of these difficult scenes – and the violence that inevitably takes center stage. Does the Dog Die.
We are so close to that time of year. Trees are being thrown
away and replaced by new ones because the older ones died a week ago and the
kids want a tree that isn’t so sad. And the parents want one that won’t explode
into fire and flames due to the nearing proximity of the crackling heat of neon
Over Christmas I (Thomas) will be spending some time to
visit Beau and also have the opportunity (we hope) to watch two movies while
they are still in theaters. The first being the new remake of Black Christmas
and the second being the final movie in the latest Star Wars trilogy. For the first,
the holiday trailers have me hyped to see some ladies kick fraternity cult ass
to save the day and stop the murders.
For the second, I am hopeful for as good a movie as The Last
Jedi, but am a little worried that it may work to erase what has been set up so
far. I am not so invested that it will ruin the movie I enjoyed, but I want
better than worse if you know what I mean? It will be a big budget pretty movie
with fight set pieces and one on one battles with psychic space wizard swords.
This sounds like a holiday setup that would guarantee
something good comes my way, and it is. As long as the ships and fights are
pretty Star Wars will succeed enough for me. But, there is a little more that I
want from Black Christmas…
As a heads up, this entire post is full of spoilers for Black Christmas. So, go ahead but this was the warning.
The original Black Christmas
At the time of writing this article, I have questions. Deep
questions that poke and prod at the side of my brain, like, “I know Peter isn’t
the killer but he fucking is though?” The reason for these questions and others
like it are because me and Beau watched 1974’s “Black Christmas” for the first
After having difficulties setting up our computers so that
we could even watch the movie with audio that was synced with the video
(remember rabb.it? Turns out it is hard to find a replacement that works with
anything other than YouTube). We found that Black Christmas, which is described
as a horror movie classic is in fact a well-made movie (with some warnings
needed before proceeding), but it was well shot and well-acted. The various
leading actors (the sorority girls) all feel like they are distinct individuals
that are each their own person.
Each and every one of them has their own individual
motivations for how they act and react to what is going on around them. The
short summary is that the sorority house has been receiving some very nasty and
explicit stalker phone calls and then suddenly murders start to occur in the
house. As far as the police and even the surviving gals in the movie are
concerned though, people are missing or running away. When in fact they are
being murdered and dragged into the attic. The movie leads the viewer to
believe that one of the sister’s boyfriends (some dirt bag named Peter who is given
a sweater he doesn’t deserve to wear). But men throughout the movie either
don’t listen or are slow to respond, but not everyone.
In the movie there is a detective with stunning eyebrows who
is doing what they can to get to the bottom of the situation. It is important
to know that this detectives actions are guided by hearing about disappearances
and one murder in the park, and even thinking that the murderer could be inside
the house is a pretty large leap of logic. With all of this, the movies end message
is that no one will ever be safe. Those around you hurt you and even strangers
will. The murderer could be anyone and
even if they’re dead there will always be another.
With that out of the way, here are the detailed warnings…
Throughout the entire movie there are phone calls that are
listened in on where the murderer on the other end screams and cackles while
speaking explicitly derogatory language towards whoever listens. This murderer
kills each girl, but never sexually assaults any of them, and hides out in the
attic as they pick one off at the time and drag the victims up to where they
can be arranged (not all, just a few).
One of the main girls in the movie (Barb) after hearing one
of these explicit phone calls makes a gross comment about how it’s not a hard R
word to sexually assault certain types of people. This same character at a
later moment is slurring words and drunkenly describing animal sex at a zoo in
an emotional breakdown. This isn’t the only character that is constantly
drinking thought. The house mother is half putting lipstick on and sneaking
hard liquor around the house constantly as she keeps bottles stored and hidden
everywhere. Alcoholics are abound in this movie.
Jess’s boyfriend, named Peter, who tries to manipulate and
control her and make the choice for her on whether or not to keep her baby
using threats of violence and verbal abuse. Peter eventually dies, but then
with the way that the movie ends we are left with the fact that the killer is
still alive. And although we were led along the entire way to think that it was
Peter, the credits roll as the phone still rings. The core message of the movie
driven home. Be afraid.
What of the person who is the actual killer that calls and
stalks through the phone while sneakily living in the attic without anyone
being aware? The movie makes it seem like the intent or reason for the
character’s behavior is either due to a long since passed trauma being brought
back up or a mental disability. This is done through the explicit phone calls
by using multiple voices over the phone, taking on the voices of different
characters to replay a scenario (including screams) of childhood murder. And we
never learn of who the character is beyond what they say and the way they speak.
The reason for not explaining who the killer was up to the director Bob Clark
who wanted to leave people the space to go to their own conclusions.
That is the warnings for the original Black Christmas! I am
only describing them in this level of depth because I think that with the
remake coming out it is important to know what the original movie had for
potentially troubling content. Even with the content that I described, when it
comes to horror movies this would be considered less severe and in a lower
amount (this isn’t to say that these aren’t troubling on their own, just that
it normally is so much worse for horror as a genre). Even the amount of words
that I am using to describe these is more than most would mention in a review.
This is not a review. This is a recommendation! If you can’t
watch it due to the warnings that I have described there is nothing wrong with
that. If you can though, I do think it is a well-made movie that did something
different for its time, it’s messaging may be one that has been retread over so
much that the grass has become pavement, but it did what it did do well. If
nothing else the 70s outfits are great and deserve recognition alone for their
style and flair (as in flare jeans).
It’s a good slasher movie that doesn’t go as hard or
offensive as most. There are specific points that can be deal breakers, but for
me I was able to go through it and feel like I understand why the movie is
considered a classic of the horror genre by nerds for horror movies.
What do I want from Black Christmas
The original Black Christmas is good. The overall direction
that was being gone for was that you (especially sorority girls) are not safe
anywhere, not even inside your homes. And even further that you are not only in
danger from those that are close to you but casual random people that climb
your lattice work. A fact presented in the movie used to chill and scare.
It works for that movie to some success, the direction being
gone for was clear. Then me and Beau had a chat after watching though about
what we’d change and one of them is to have Peter be somehow connected to the
actual murderer because it’d track better and provide a more satisfying ending
that could be pondered about. It would not modify the message of the movie, but
it could leave more questions at the end of the movie. It would push the point
further that not only are the agents of fear alone in their actions, but they
at times conspire.
The ending we have is consistent with what is good. And it
was good then. It is still a good movie now, it just would have been
interesting to see what this type of change would have on the movie.
Other lines have less of an effect now as they did before,
just as I am certain lines from western movies had more impact when western
movies were young or a trope originated. This is an effect of time that I can’t
hold against the movie, but that shouldn’t be ignored as something that is in
the brain of modern audiences.
They even said that “the
call was coming from inside the house” in this movie. Time has not helped
this line gain more strength due to overuse. And it would be wrong to assume
that it would land with the same effect, or at least to assume it would land
with the same effect with as wide an audience.
Which is why I am
excited for the new Black Christmas and my excitement is met with a trailer
that looks pretty darn great (the 2019 one, not the 2006 remake which
sounded like it was pretty bad based on online writings about it). If you
haven’t watched the trailer just yet, then take a moment to watch it.
The girls fight back and it looks like it will be just as
strange if not stranger than the original. The conspiracy subtext angle is the angle this time. And at the end
where the girls are prepared to slay together? I’m excited to see how the movie
gets to that point and what comes after. It reminds me a bit of the fighting
back in Ready or Not but this is going to have a frat cult involved?
Sign me up! I love cults and I love this new strain of
horror movies where there is more chaos and action being injected into them. If
this remake was just going to do the same movie over again without any
updating, I think it would not do well. But this furthering and doubling down
on messaging but followed by “what’s next” makes me giddy.
I really cannot wait to see this one in theaters and hope
that it will be just as fun as “Ready or Not” was. If it can nail the cults and
it can be weird then this movie is going to be something that I will enjoy and
likely want to watch again and again.
More Jedi, following The Last Jedi
This is a long post. Really it is. As I type these words out
here, the new Star Wars movie is premiering and I am watching “Deep Blue Sea”
for the first time.
I know that it would appear like I would want more from Star
Wars then I would from the new Black Christmas, but I don’t. I expect Star Wars
to be big and pretty with great environments and bombastic fight sequences. I
expect a silent moment with only abandoned death star ruins ambience sounds.
But there are a few things that I do want to see:
Don’t erase the
message of The Last Jedi. I thought it was a good movie and it was one of
the recent movies that I enjoyed the most (enough to watch multiple times after
buying it digitally). It was also the first Star Wars movie from the new Disney
set that made me want to rewatch the older movies. It hooked up on the nostalgia
of watching the original trilogy on VHS every time I would visit my
grandmother’s house. The reason I liked Star Wars is it felt like anyone could
be one with the force, and the ending of The Last Jedi brought that back to the
front for me. This directly leads to my next point.
Don’t tell me that
Rey’s parents are special and magical. I really do not want Rey to be some
long lost relation of a Jedi bloodline. I am tired of the bloodline B.S. and if
they have it occur it puts to rest a message that felt empowering to me. That anyone can be the hero, the chosen one
is whoever choses themselves.
That is pretty much it. Again, even with these two points I
am not so diehard of a fan that them being done differently or being done at
all will make me sign off. The Last Jedi cannot be ruined for me by a sequel, I
can just be let down with the change in direction. But, even then, I likely
will still enjoy the new Star Wars. Its laser wizard space rumble after all.
I will just enjoy it in a different way. An aesthetic
appreciation rather than a love for the doubling down on the points that anyone
can be the Jedi hero. The love for the continuation and strengthening of the
core feel that everyone can be powerful in this power fantasy.
Now to wait to see these.
That is the summary of what I am looking forward too! I am
definitely more of a horror movie person, so my Star Wars excitement is a bit
lower than others probably. But I was still a kid who loved the Star Wars and
since I have seen the other two in this trilogy so far in theaters I am
definitely going to see the last one as well. I hope everyone else is just as
excited as I am for both! Even if it is for different reasons, let’s agree to
give it the fairest shake and have a good time at the theaters.
I will be sure to let you know what I think of these two
once I have seen them. As well as I expect Beau will have words to say about
either or both once they see then as well.