Archive for the Movie Board Category

My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2020

Posted in Blog Series, Movie Board, movies with tags , , , , , on January 15, 2021 by Paxton

Movie Report

2020 was an odd year for movie viewing, to say the least.  Typcially I would’ve seen nearly 50 movies in the theater.  This past year I think I saw two.  And both of those were old movies; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on 2/16 and The Godfather on 2/23.  The theater by us was going to show all 8 of the Harry Potter movies starting in Dec 2019 through like May 2020.  I was going to take the kids.  Unfortunately I missed the first two movies in December 2019.  But I caught Harry Potter 3 right before the pandemic.  Then everything shut down and I won’t get to complete that marathon with my kids. Which sucks because they really connected with Harry Potter (books and movies) over the quarantine.  It would have been nice to take them to the theater to see them.  Anyway, that’s my 2020 sob story about seeing movies in theaters.

Anyway, I keep my list of movies watched (with some small reviews) in two places, similar to my books list.  The first is the usual Google Spreadsheet.  That list is easier to get an overall view of the year and pick out favorite entries because I have it all color coded based on rating and year released.  The other place I keep a list of the movies I watch is over on Letterboxd.  So check me out there.  Friend me.  I need friends.  I’m lonely.  SO LONELY.

But now, let’s dig into my list.  Rules are like my books, only movies new to me in 2020 are eligible. Normally, I’d start off giving you a list of my favorite “released in 2020” movies. But, surprise, surprise, things being how they are, I didn’t really watch a lot of “2020 movies”.  So I’m going to mix this list up and do ten of my favorite movies that I watched for the first time in 2020.  And they may not all be movies.  I may include mini-series as well.

So let’s see what my favorite things to watch in 2020 were. I got most of my images and links from Wikipedia.

Ip Man 4
Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019)
– I’m going to start with this one because it leads directly into the next one.  I love Donnie Yen.  I think I first noticed him in his all too brief appearance as Snowman in Blade II.  I’ve followed him ever since.  And this Ip Man series has been fantastic.  Yen is just *awesome* as Ip Man.  The first one is still my favorite, followed closely by the second.  The third one is still good, but not one I love.  However, Part 4, is amazing.  It might be my new favorite after the first.  But tied with the second.  And one of the reasons why is the villain, played by Scott Adkins.  He is brutal and amazing in this.  He has such a powerful screen presence.  I’ve only ever seen him in one movie before this and I remember being underwhelmed.  I may have to revisit that movie now because I was wrong.  This is a great capper to the Donnie Yen/Wilson Yip Ip Man series.  And Scott Adkins is now someone that I’m going to dig more deeply into his filmography.


Scott Adkins movies – 2020, for me, has been about watching movies with my dad. Things have been really rough this year for my dad and I’ve been going back to Alabama to help him with medical stuff and to just spend some time with him, which has been in short supply these last few years. Anyway, he and I watched a TON of movies together this summer. I caught up on a lot of stuff I’d never seen before and discovered a lot of new things. One of those things, thanks to Ip Man 4, is Scott Adkins. Now, being an action/martial arts guy, I’d totally heard about Scott Adkins. This guy is a machine and puts out a ton of movies every year. I’d always meant to catch some but never have. So, my dad being a lover of the action genre, was interested in also checking him out. Especially after I spoke so highly about Scott in Ip Man 4.  So we binged like 5 of Scott Adkins’ movies. And they were AWESOME. We watched The Debt Collector, the sequel The Debt Collectors, Avengement, Close Range, and El Gringo.  And Adkins delivers in every one.  Especially the ones where he gets to show a little personality.  Of these, my favorites may have been The Debt Collector, and its sequel, Debt Collectors.  Adkins and Louis Mandelore have such great chemistry and it was fun watching them get in over their heads in the debt collecting business.  Avengement is awesome because it’s brutal.  He starts off a normal guy and SO MANY bad things happen to him he’s pretty much a different person by the end of the movie.  It’s one bad ass revenge flick.  El Gringo felt like a Robert Rodriguez movie.  I mean that in a good way because I’m very hit or miss on Rodriguez’s output.  Oh, one other movie we saw had Akins in it, but it was a surprise.  We also watched American Assassin with Michael Keaton, Dylan O’Brien and a small but important appearance by Scott Adkins.  Very good.

Palm Springs
Palm Springs (2020)
– Time travel. Andy Samberg. JK Simmons. I don’t think I have to say anything else.  I’m a sucker for time travel movies.  Especially if they are doing something creative or different with the idea.  And this definitely does that.  Plus it has classic Andy Samberg and a hilarious appearance by JK Simmons.  This is great.  See it.

The Last Dance
The Last Dance (2020)
– This was a documentary produced by ESPN and Netflix. I’m a huge sucker for 80s-90s NBA stuff. Books, documentaries, game footage. This scratched every single itch I have for that kind of content.  It’s so good.  It mostly covers Jordan’s career and how he approached the game of basketball but it touches on so many other things like competiveness, drive, how much is too much, and what it costs to be the best.

Once upon a time...
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
– I’m always interested in what Tarantino’s next movie is.  Even if it doesn’t look good I’ll check it out.  This one totaly looked good and I finally sat down to watch it.  And loved it.  I love the atmosphere, I love the time period, I love the performances.  Leo and Brad are fantastic.  Margot is great, and beautiful, and plays Tate with surprising sadness.  I really felt for her.  And the ending, in typcial Tarantino fashion, goes bananas.  I loved it.  I’m picking up the novelization that Tarantino is writing later this summer.  What a fun movie.

Ford v Ferrari
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
– I’m not technically a “car guy”. I admire some styles of cars; especially mid-to-late 60s american muscle cars. But this movie caught my eye not because it’s about racing, but because of the cast. Christian Bale and Matt Damon in the 50s-60s tearing up race tracks and taking on the Italians? Yes. I’m on board.  And I loved every second of this movie.  Damon and Bale are fantastic as always and the action was packed.  There was also a surprising amount of humor which I love.  I was interested to see this movie, but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.

Ready or Not Guns Akimbo
Ready or Not (2019) – I thought the premise of this sounded fun so I streamed it on a lark one night when I had nothing else to watch. And so begins my obsession with Samara Weaving. This move was so fun, but also unexpected at the same time.  Lots of crazy, kooky characters.  And a crazy cool premise.  Samara Weaving finds herself on the run from her new husband’s family in a series of deadly games due to a curse that they believe was put on their family.  It’s so much fun and Weaving is pretty great.  After watching Ready or Not, I jumped into another Samara Weaving movie, Guns Akimbo.  Which is even more crazy and over the top.  Guns Akimbo also has Daniel Radcliffe who is forced into a weird viral game against other crazy characters to kill each other.  Samara Weaving plays the top bad ass character and she’s so awesome.  Both of these movies are pretty over the top but in kind of the best way possible.

We also wound up binging a bunch of TV shows in 2020. So here are three shows we loved watching in 2020.

The Great
The Great
– I heard buzz about this, but I saw it as something like that dreamy and weird Marie Antoinette movie from 2006, which my wife loved.  And I didn’t.  Therefore I didn’t want to watch it.  However, being a good husband, I gave it a chance.  And I was wrong.  SO WRONG.  This is a period piece.  Yes.  But it has more akin to A Knight’s Tale than Marie Antoinette.  It weaves in so much grown up humor, lots of sex, lots of language, and backs it all with a modern music soundtrack.  People like to throw around irreverant, but considering that this movie is ostensibly about Catherine the Great’s rise to power in Russia, it is absolutely irreverent.  And doesn’t care one bit about the actual history (which sounds worse than it actually comes across).  Elle Fanning is amazing in this.  Nicolas Hoult as Peter is so awesome.  This surprised me to my core.  I loved it.


11.22.63
– My wife and I read the Stephen King book back in 2012. And it made my 2012 year end favorites list.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Time Travel.  I’m a sucker for it.  But this series is really good.  James Franco discovers a time warp in the back of a diner that leads to the early 60s.  There are a whole bunch of rules to how it works but he agrees to a plan with the diner’s dying owner to go back in the time warp and try to stop the assassination of John F Kennedy.  But to do that he’ll have to survive and live for two years in the past.  And during those two years while he’ll be preparing to stop the assassination, time itself will do everything it can to stop him.  It’s a cool premise.  Great cast.  And loaded with suspense.  Just like the book.

Queen's Gambit
Queen’s Gambit
– Like The Great, this was another series I’d heard buzz about but wasn’t necessarily excited to start watching.  But again, I was wrong.  The cast in this is so strong.  Ana Taylor-Joy?  Are you kiddding me?  She’s awesome.  Set mostly in the 60s, it centers on Ana Taylor-Joy’s character who turns out to be a chess prodigy.  And in the 60s, chess was not considered a girl’s game.  But Ana Taylor-Joy has a few issues, mostly due to her unideal home life.  And it manifests in drinking.  And pills.  Can she maintain her high level of chess play while shoving booze and fistfuls of pills into her mouth?  Watch to find out.  If I was pressed really hard, I may even say that this was my favorite thing I watched this year.  But only if I was pressed.

My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2019

Posted in Blog Series, Movie Board, movies with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2020 by Paxton

Movie Report

Yesterday, you saw my favorite books/comics I read in 2019 list.  Had lots of fun with it?  You agree with everything I put on the list?  Tough.  It’s my list, sucka!  And now it’s time for another list.  This time we are looking at my favorite movies list.

I keep a list of the movies I watched with some small reviews in two places, similar to my books list.  The first is the usual Google Spreadsheet.  That list is easier to get an overall view of the year and pick out favorite entries because I have it all color coded based on rating and year released.  The other place I keep a list of the movies I watch is over on Letterboxd.  So check me out there.  Friend me.  I need friends.  I’m lonely.  SO LONELY.

Anyway, I think it’s time to dig into my list.  Rules, like my books, only movies new to me in 2019 are eligible. I’ll start with my list of favorite movies released in 2019, then I’ll do a list of favorite movies I watched in 2019 that weren’t necessarily released that year.

But first, my favorite movies that were released in 2019


Avengers: Endgame (2019) – I started off last year’s list with Infinity War, so I’ll start of this list with the sequel. Again, what else can I say? This wrapped up the first 10 years of the MCU in a nice, tight, little bow.  I loved it.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – Yikes.  Well, I don’t think Star Wars will ever *not* be divisive again.  This movie had the unenviable task of not only following The Last Jedi (good or bad), but also fully wrapping up the Skywalker saga.  I don’t know that *any* movie could live up to that pressure.  I had fun with this.  They made a few decisions that I don’t necessarily agree with, but for the most part I had a lot of fun with the movie.  It felt good to have fun-loving Finn and Poe again.  They were not themselves in the previous movie.  And I again love Rey and Kylo and their whole relationship.  I’m *mostly* happy with how this went down.


Knives Out (2019) – I loved this movie.  It’s like a more quirky Clue the Movie mixed with Kurosawa’s Rashomon.  Great cast and everyone is bringing their A-game.  Lots of fun and the mystery is good too.


Happy Death Day (2017)/ Happy Death Day 2U (2019) – The second movie was released in 2019, so that’s why this entry is here.  I kept hearing how good the first movie was, and by the time I sat down to watch it the sequel had come out.  So I watched both, back to back, in 2019.  And I was pleasantly surprised how good these movies are.  The first one is like a horror movie Groundhog Day.  It’s very inventive and fun.  The second movie, is not really even a horror movie.  It’s a Sci-Fi fantasy adventure.  And you wouldn’t think that would work *at all* but it totally works.  I really enjoyed both of these movies.


Downton Abbey the Motion Picture (2019) – I’m a sucker for this show, so, I was a sucker for this movie.  I loved returning to this world, I loved revisiting these characters, I loved this movie.


Always be My Maybe (2019) – So. Much. Fun.  The leads in this are adorable.  I love the music Marcus makes with his band.  Keanu Reeves makes a scene stealing cameo that I just loved.  This is a great movie.  See it if you haven’t.

And now, movies from any year that I watched for the first time in 2019


Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018) – How great was this movie?  I didn’t get to see this in the theater, but I’d heard from everyone how good it was, so I rented it.  And everyone was right.  This gets it all right.  Miles is great.  I love the other versions of Spider-Man that show up.  Penny Parker in particular.  It’s really so good.  And the animation is terrific.


Upgrade (2018) – I expected this movie to be sort of a low-key update to the Bionic Man.  It’s not that.  It goes a different direction and I applaud the movie for going there.  It’s dark and intense, but I really liked it.  I’m not going to say much more than that except, give it a watch.


Staten Island Summer (2015) – I saw this while scrolling around on Netflix one afternoon and watched it on a lark.  And wow, it’s really good.  It’s one of those “one last summer before college” movies.  It just hit every single nostalgia button for me.  It takes place in and around a community swimming pool, which, when I was in high school, I worked three summers as a lifeguard at one such pool.  It’s a sweet, fun movie about friendship and moving on to the next step in your life.  This was such a fun surprise, check it out.


Uncle Drew (2018) – I love ragtag basketball movies.  This one has a great cast, it’s lots of fun, and it’s really funny!  I almost didn’t watch it because, while I thought it looked good, I was afraid they showed all the funny stuff in the trailer.  Nope, this is a solid roadtrip/basketball movie with some heart thrown into the story.

Those those were my overall favorite movies I watched in 2019.  Hopefully you can find some gems in this list.

Next week, I’ll put out some Honorable Mentions of things I thought were worth talking about, but not necessarily “listworthy”.

The Movie Board: Worst movies of 2008

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , on January 13, 2009 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okely, dokely.  Last week I gave you my 5 favorite movies of 2008.  Now it’s time to talk about the 5 worst movies I saw last year.  If you would like, you can take a look at my five worst movies from 2007 right here.

Looking over the list this year, I noticed that the worst movies, for me, tend to be ones I was super-psyched to go see, but they, for whatever reason, turn out to suck.  HARD.  Just being bad is one thing, but promising massive coolness and then dumping in my lap nothing but a steaming pile of monkey dung is a major faux pas.  I am still one of the few that really wants to see movies on the big screen.  Yes, the other people that go to movies are neanderthals.  They leave their candy and trash all around their seat because “they have people to pick that up” (how hard is it to carry your cup and popcorn bag to the f’n trash, you are going that way anyway).  They answer cell phones in the middle of the movie (Why pay 10 bucks to talk on your cell phone?!).  They talk to their friends during the movie, or make fun of the movie while it’s playing.  So yes, there are plenty of reasons to avoid the “unwashed masses” and watch all your movies at home.  I, however, enjoy the large screen and fantastic sound.  I want to see movies like Iron Man, Dark Knight, Hulk, Indiana Jones and others on the big screen.  That’s how it’s meant to be done.  Now, I’ll usually avoid the evening shows and Steph and I will hit the Saturday matinees where it’s cheaper and less crowded, but we are getting out there.  Seeing the movie in the theater.  So, naturally, after all this, if a movie is uninteresting or just bad, I’ll be pissed that I wasted my energy.

So, as a public service announcement, here are the five movies I believe to be the five worst movies I saw in 2008.  I recommend not watching any one of these stink bombs.

Here they are in no particular order:


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull– That’s right.  I’m saying it.  This was one of the worst movies of 2008.  More to the point, it was one of the most disappointing movies of 2008.  It was not remotely the same Indy we saw in The Last Crusade.  Despite everyone saying that Ford looked great, he looked older.  A lot older.  They could cast Indiana Jones in the next Mummy movie.  Also, Spielberg seemed to be on cruise control.  How flat and uninteresting did this movie look?  Too much CGI, not enough practical.  And the alien aspect was more X-Files and less Indy.  The whole thing felt odd when I saw it.  I wanted to watch it again in theaters to give it another chance but couldn’t bring myself to pay to watch it again.  Maybe I’ll rent the Blu-Ray and give it one more chance.  But I’m sure it won’t be good enough to move off this list.  If they make more of these, I’ll see them, but it will be in a robotic, soulless way, not with any enthusiasm or excitement (in much the same way they made this movie).

X-Files I Want to Believe
X-Files: I Want To Believe– This is right up there with Indiana Jones.  Actually, I found this more disappointing than Indiana Jones.  I wanted to believe (ha! pun) that this movie was gonna rock.  I was exactly who this movie was made for.  I watched X-Files.  I saw the last movie in the theater.  My wife and I watched the first season of X-Files on DVD a month or so before the movie came out.  I was so pumped.  Then, after seeing the movie, I came out of the theater feeling like this movie raped my wife and punched my mother in face.  WTF was that?!  The nostalgia of seeing Mulder and Scully on the big screen again almost brain washed me into thinking the movie was good.  ALMOST.  Alas, it was not good.  At all.  It was like a bad episode of CSI, much less a bad episode of X-Files.  WTF happened?  It’s like Chris Carter crapped in a bucket and that bucket wrote the script for this movie.  I want to cry thinking about it.  If you have fond memories of X-Files, do not see this movie.  EVER.

Disaster Movie
Disaster Movie– Why do they keep making these spoof movies?  Are they making money at this point?  What started out as a very clever idea with Not Another Teen Movie and Scary Movie has devolved into a carousel of comedy abortions.  I thought Epic Movie last year would have bottomed out the genre but this movie hits the bottom, gets out an industrial-sized drill, and starts digging.  It is AWFUL.  This might be the only movie on this list I didn’t have high hopes for and it STILL managed to come in under those expectations.  I was actually embarrassed for the actors in the movie.  There is a HORRIBLE send-up of a High School Musical song that literally had me cringing and looking for the door.  I can’t recommend watching this under any circumstances.  Seriously.  Even hammered with 12 of your best friends, the movie isn’t funny.  You’ve been warned.

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The Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2008

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , on January 6, 2009 by Paxton

Movie Board

Well, 2008 is over and the 2009 movie season looms over us like a petulant child, demanding our attention and constantly wanting to be fed and changed. These new movie seasons sure are screaming, poop machines, aren’t they?

Anywho, the Academy is deciding on the 2008 Oscar nominees as we speak (this year’s Oscars are supposed to air on February 22). When the nominees are finally announced (Jan 22), I’ll be sure to let you know what movies made it and also give a little review of how I think the Oscar committee did like I did for last year’s Oscars nominations.

So, on to the movies I saw in 2008. The Movie Board, just to give a small history, was started by me in Dec 2006. I use it to keep track of all the movies I watched that were released on DVD or in theaters during the calendar year. This way I can easily look back at my list at the end of the year and see, at a glance, what my favorite movies were.  Here’s the list for 2007 to refresh your memory.

So, without further ado, here is my 2008 Movie Board with all the movies I saw this year (click the image for a bigger view).

2008 Movie Board

According to its all-knowing dry erase-ness, I saw 49 movies last year.    Just over 4 a month or about a movie a week.  Last year, I was up over 50 movies.  Of course, this doesn’t include older movies not released in 2008 that Steph and I watched from Blockbuster and/or Netflix.  Nor does it take into account multiple viewings because I saw Iron Man, Hulk, Hancock, Jumper, Tropic Thunder and several others at least twice last year (some in the theater and some on DVD).

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The Movie Board: Worst Movies of 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, Movie Board, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , on January 15, 2008 by Paxton

Movie Board

Allright, last week I gave you my 5 favorite movies of 2007. Now it’s time to unleash upon your delicate sensibilities the 5 worst movies I saw in 2007. Be warned, these movies are bad. Some of them may be bad enough that I’ll recommend watching them, but only for the bold. Do you have the stones to sit through 2 hours of crap? We’ll see.

Here they are in no particular order:

Kickin it Old Skool
Kicking it Old Skool– You’ll find that most movies on this list are here because they had a ton of potential, but completely squandered it. This movie has a funny premise; Jamie Kennedy is an elementary school break dancing king in the early ’80s. During a particularly dangerous move, he falls and is put in a coma for 20 years. When he wakes up he has to adjust to the fact that all his friends have grown up and break dancing is no longer cool. Classic fish-out-of-water premise using the ’80s and break dancing. I love it. Except the movie is terrible. Almost unwatchable. The best part of the movie is about 5-10 min in. Jamie Kennedy’s doctor is played by Alan Ruck (Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Ruck’s character in this movie is named Doctor Frye and he even mentions paying off his father’s Ferrari. Steph and I about died. Great stunt cameo, this movie is gonna rock, right? Wrong. DEAD wrong. STAY AWAY.

Shoot 'em Up
Shoot ’em Up– This looked so good in the trailer. Clive Owen is a mysterious “nanny” that gets caught up helping a woman and a baby escape hired killers. It looked like a cross between Pulp Fiction and Lucky Number Slevin; lots of action and funny dialogue. Well, this movie is weird. Monica Belucci plays a prostitute who lets grown men breast feed from her. Paul Giamatti plays a hitman with an overbearing wife. The dialogue is ridiculous. I had serious issues staying “in the movie” if you get what I’m saying. Just weird, with a few good action scenes. This is here mostly because it should have been much, MUCH better.

Knocked Up
Knocked Up– Oh Seth Rogan, you magnificent bastard. What happened here? The cast for this movie is pretty much part and parcel from the very funny TV show Underclassmen (if you remember the 1 season it ran back in the early ’90s). Seth Rogan is on a roll lately and the premise seemed amusing. However, Seth and his friends in this movie are lame. Seth’s character is even somewhat of an A-hole. Katherine Heigl’s character is a little witchy (with a ‘b’). I could not laugh at this movie because the whole thing is so tragically sad. Paul Rudd saved the 5 minutes of the movie he appeared in. Other than that, I say go see Superbad instead. I really wanted to like this one, too.

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