Month: July 2018

Follow up review

Our family gives Teen Titans Go to the Movies 8 thumbs up! It was laugh-out-loud funny for all of us. The boys have added its soundtrack to their regular rotation of Imagine Dragons, the Ninjago soundtrack, and Harry and the potters.

Movie Reviews

I was cleaning out the basement and came across my ticket collection binder.  I found this gem inside:


Ten years later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become my favorite pastime.  They jam-packed three great movies into the first half of 2018.  Now I have to wait all the way until May to see the next, Captain Marvel.  They haven’t even given us a teaser trailer yet!  Ugh!

Seeing the ticket made me think it would be fun to give a quick rating to the last year of movies we saw.  It’s not all inclusive, only my list from the Alamo.  See, the Alamo is my most favorite place to go.  Dark, air conditioned, food, laughter, and enforced rules for good behavior.  They have a membership program.  I’ve been hovering at Commandant for years.  You only need to go 13 times in a year.  To make the final TOP level you have to attend 50 times over the previous twelve months.  Ben has determined to chase the top level on my behalf, thanks to his MoviePass membership.  He’s got us down from 18 visits to 11 visits remaining:

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I do my best to contribute, we have been going almost every weekend.  Sometimes we want to see a movie they don’t have, or decide to take the kids to the nearer theater, such as earlier this summer for Incredibles 2, and Hotel Transylvania 3.

Ben has the Top Brass in his sites now.  This weekend we’ll take the kids to Teen Titans Go, and maybe do Mission Impossible mid-week next week.  If Ben can squeeze in The Equalizer 2, Eighth Grade, and Blindspotting, he’ll be in good shape going into August.

Anyway, here’s a quick recommendation NOTE: so I wrote this last night without putting a lot of thought into the reviews.  Ben was out seeing Eighth Grade.  This morning I discovered he has added his own reviews in italics, and completely outdid my pathetic reviews in substance and style.  So I rewrote my review.  Apologies if you already read this and didn’t get the full post.  

FRI 07/20 MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN – Surprisingly good, especially compared to its terrible predecessor.  The singing was better, the dancing and costumes were fun, and the ending got my emotional feels all worked up.

THU 07/19 UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB – Ben liked it I think. The best depiction of computer usage in a movie I’ve ever seen.  I thought it had a masterful blend of realism and fantasy to create some excellent horror.  I was SHOCKED to like this – I thought it was going to be garbage.

TUE 07/17 2D SKYSCRAPER – Ben said it was better than expected, but still a Chinese audience pleaser. There were some parts of this that had that Die Hard feel, but they didn’t really stick to anything long enough to get a cohesive vision together.  It was fun.

FRI 07/13 SORRY TO BOTHER YOU – Ben loved it.  This movie was incredible – I didn’t think movies like this would ever be made today.  Surreal, joyful and terrifying all at once.

WED 07/11 THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS – So much to unpack.  Reviews were glowing, so we were excited for the promised mystery.  But we thought it was so predictable and not nearly as sinister and they want us to believe.  The documentary was very manipulative of its audience and acted like this was a novel investigation they were embarking on.  Quick research when I got home revealed that this is actually the second documentary on the study (but somehow this one had the connections to premiere at Sundance, so it gets the press).  There’s also been a couple books.  And for some reason a lead researcher on the original study was never even mentioned.  The more we talked about this movie, the more we hated it.

WED 06/20 HEREDITARY – Ben said it was really good and I should never ever see it.  Delicious slow burn horror with stellar performances.  Rarely have I seen such powerful grief on screen.


MON 06/18 2D ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – The “dessert” to a trio of MCU films.  Light and very funny, it was an absolute delight.  I wish the Wasp had a more prominent lead role, and I felt the motivations given to Ghost were unrealistic (I know I know, it’s all fantasy anyway).  But aside from that I whole-hearted recommend it for a fun time.

WED 06/13 FIRST REFORMED – You’ll have to ask Ben, I think he said it was ok.  I still can’t decide if I hated or loved this movie.  It was certainly very slow and dour – but that was expected.  It did a really good job of showing the kind of fear and distress that can come from knowing something, yet being unable to do anything about it.  I would love it if that was the movie – but the ending confused me and disappointed me. Basically, I need to discuss this with more people, but I doubt that will ever happen 🙂

SUN 06/10 UPGRADE – Ben was surprised how much he enjoyed this.  This was a really fun movie, but it also had some substance that I didn’t expect.  It was a great vision of the near future that felt believable for the most part.  The action scenes were also some of the best fight choreography and filming I’ve ever seen.

SAT 06/09 ADVANCE SCREENING: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? – And eye-opening look at Fred Rogers’ life and mission, I really enjoyed this.  I only wish it talked more about his show (genesis, format, cast-member follow-ups).  He was a remarkable man and everyone came out of the theater smiling with wet eyes.

SAT 06/02 HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES – Ben liked it I think.  I did like this – I don’t think it was a particularly well constructed film, but it had a lot of heart.  I feel like it was trying SO HARD to be a classic / cult-classic but the intentional effort kind of put it off target.  

TUE 05/29 OCEAN’S 8 – Super fun throwaway caper movie, great cast and costumes EXCEPT for the Met Gala itself.

WED 05/16 REVENGE – You’ll have to ask Ben.  It was more ‘foreign’ than I expected.  Apparently it was a french production, but it FELT like an 80’s Italian horror movie a lot of the time, which was actually pretty awesome.  However – the other half of the time it kind of wandered.  The final ‘battle’ was too long, and pacing was generally off.

TUE 05/08 YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE – Again, I can’t recall.  This was a great movie that was hard to watch.  I think it was largely about the capacity for people who are generally good to become bad given enough stimulus in that direction.  Movies often have bad guys who are likable to some degree, but this felt different.  They were doing bad things to bad people for good reasons, but they still ended up becoming bad/evil because of their actions. 

SAT 05/05 DEADPOOL 2 – Ben enjoyed it, I decided to sit this one out.  Fun as usual, but it suffered heavily from sequel disease.  Too many recycled jokes.

FRI 05/04 2D SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY – Herm, overall fun, Donald Glover was perfection, the rest needed a lot of trimming and showed the scars of creative differences.

WED 05/02 THE ENDLESS – Wow, Ben saw a lot of movies and my memory gets murkier the farther back I go.  This movie started and I thought ‘what did I get myself into’.  It felt like a bad home movie.  However, as it got momentum, it really turned around.  Fascinating sci-fi ideas and very solid performances on the back half.

WED 04/11 ISLE OF DOGS – Wes Anderson’s stop motion films are a bit too twee for my tastes.  Ben loved it, no surprise, as it hit all his sweet spots for Anderson, dogs, boyhood, and Japan.

FRI 03/23 2D READY PLAYER ONE – Well, they changed it a lot from the book which was both good and bad; my main complaint is the style – the avatars look so dated and everything was gray and blurry you couldn’t appreciate the epic-ness we were promised.

FRI 03/16 2D AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – The rich “entree” of MCU this year.  Loved it, suprising no one.  So sad.  So good.  Can’t wait to watch it again at home.

TUE 03/13 2D TOMB RAIDER – A fine popcorn munching flick. Needs more Nick Frost, but that could be said of any movie.

SAT 03/10 2D A WRINKLE IN TIME – Super disappointing, do not recommend.  They took out many of the meaningful parts of the book, while adding in a lot of unnecessary backstory and focused on “beauty” and young girls’ obsession with it.

WED 01/10 THE POST – Solid performances design, and direction, but forgettable.

TUE 01/09 2D BLACK PANTHER – The exotic and arousing “appetizer” of MCU this year.  Beautiful and powerful, masterfully made. Worth all the hype, loved it.

THU 12/28 THE GREATEST SHOWMAN – The definition of “guilty pleasure,” worth it just to see Hugh Jackman enjoy himself immensely.

FRI 12/22 THE SHAPE OF WATER – This I remember, Ben loved it but it fell short of his expectations.  My expectations were too high and too skewed toward the monster movie angle.  It was NOT a monster movie, it was a love story.  Viewing it as a love story, I think it was wonderful and representative of the various forbidden loves.  The most notable thing to me about this film was the production design.  It was the best I’ve seen outside of a Carol Spier film.

FRI 12/01 2D JUSTICE LEAGUE – Wow, what a mess.  This movie has been dissected and criticized by many already and I have nothing new to add.  DC just can’t figure out what they want to do.

TUE 11/14 MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – Oh Branaugh, thank you for making a totally unnecessary movie with stellar cast and beauty, but as usual you went too far.


TUE 10/10 2D STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – Don’t believe the haters, this was a great movie.  Again, there’s millions of pages of discussion online that you can read, I have nothing more to add.  Movies with Mikey on youtube has a great discussion of the movie that aligns well with what I feel.

FRI 10/06 2D BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Ben liked it I think.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it like some.  It was long – but it felt like the right length.  More than anything it was BEAUTIFUL.

TUE 09/26 BATTLE OF THE SEXES – Pretty good, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone go out of their way to see it.   Odd casting that filled out the lesser parts with comedians in dramatic roles.

TUE 09/19 2D THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE – The kids loved it, we thought it was worse than the Batman LEGO movie, and far far worse than the original LEGO MOVIE, which was amazing.

THU 09/07 2D THOR: RAGNAROK – Speaking of amazing, I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO HARD.  I’m deliberately not watching it repeatedly so I can enjoy it longer.

WED 08/16 LOGAN LUCKY – Disappointing.  It had a lot of great character set-up and I always love a caper.  But something about it didn’t gel.

SAT 08/12 2D SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – I love this movie hard.  Somehow they made a worn-out character fresh.  Michael Keaton was terrifying (you know the scene).  A great portrayal of high school students too – they don’t over or underestimate them the way a lot of TV and movies do.  I saw it a second time with Jack at the Alamo and he loved it too.

Ben will probably refute most of the reviews I attributed to him.  I only count 37 visits here, I don’t know how they do the match exactly (sometimes we saw things twice, or bought separate sets of tickets, or maybe it dropped a couple titles from my history.  Hmm also it seems to be the purchase date, not the movie date).  All I know is when the servers ask if we’ve been to the Alamo before, we reply “Oh yes, all the time” with a smug smile to each other.

Shawn and Becca’s Wedding

Earlier this month we got to see two of our friends get married.  We met Shawn way back in the early 2000s, when we were doing Movie Saturday (blast from the past, here Shawn and I are onscreen together).  Becca has become a fast new addition to our movie dates and Oscar nights (and getting my sister her new teaching position!) .

The wedding was totally gorgeous, at a barn in Evergreen.  The night was especially fun as a reunion for many old friends!  We don’t get together nearly as often as we should, so it was wonderful to catch up with these wonderful people.

Shawn and Becca are on the far right while her former students sing and swallows fly overhead. 

Such Mountain Majesty!

Whoa, looking quite bedraggled. We are putting up with being outside in the summer as best we can.

The farm had animals all over, and RIGHT next to the reception, behind a fence was a pond with BISON!  Freaking bison!  

Mavi can’t stop grinning about the BISON!


Ah, so many fond faces!

We college pals had a primo table.  Becca sang a lovely song for Shawn. 

Time to say goodnight.  From left to right: Ben, me, Neil, Jeff, Brion, Trevor, Cate, and Mavi.


Jack’s Baptism

Jack was baptized on June 30th at our Stake Center.  Our stake does a wonderful little program.  Sam said “I’ll definitely need goggles and a snorkel” as we walked back from the font.  It was great having all the grandparents there for Jack.  We had tacos and pie afterwards at the house.

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