Archive for the movies Category

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”.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Movie Magazine ads

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , , , on October 30, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

If you know me at all you know I’m a huge fan of movie tie-in merchandise. Especially movie novelizations. Check out the I Read Movies podcast if you don’t believe me. Along with novelizations, I’m also a huge fan of movie souvenir magazines. I’ve talked about them before on this blog (see the Back to the Future movie magazine).  But instead of talking about one specific one, how about we take a look at ads for a group of these movie magazines?  They ran in Fangoria all through the 80s.


Here’s an ad from Fangoria 40 (1984).  Lots of good ones here.  Superman III.  Star Trek II and III!  Rocky II and III!  Sometimes these ads would also feature older magazines so clearing houses can clear out their stock to get new magazines.  Annie!  Not sure I’ve ever seen that one.  Conan the Barbarian.  The Best of Stallone mag shows up in TONS of ads I’ve seen.  I guess they never could sell it so it just kept showing up on all these ads.


Here’s a magazine ad from Fangoria 49 (1985).  One year later.  See, still trying to sell that Best of Stallone magazine.  We see a few similar mags like Rocky II and III, Star Trek II and IIIRambo is new as is that Explorers magazine.  I can’t believe these magazine cover prices top out around $3.95.  $3.95!!  That’s insane.


Here’s an ad from three years later in Fangoria 70 (1988).  More old stock like the Star Trek magazines.  But we get a bunch of new ones like more Stallone with Over the Top and Rocky IV.  We also get Superman IV, The Untouchables and a new Star Trek, Part IV.  And there’s a Spaceballs the Magazine over on the left.  I’ve never seen that one before.  And a nice Masters of the Universe magazine on the right side.  This is a really good grouping of movie magazines.  And their prices are still crazy.  Less than $4?!  YES, PLEASE!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Win the Halloween 2 novelization from Fangoria!

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Edging ever closer to Halloween!  And speaking of Halloween, here’s an ad for a double contest that ran in Fangoria #15 from 1981 that let you win something VERY Halloween-y!

The first contest involves going to see the movie Halloween II in theaters and answering 10 questions. 50 winners will be drawn to win copies of the movie novelization by Jack Martin. Which, today, that Halloween 2 novelization is pretty rare.  I would have loved to have won that.

The second contest involves the semi-sequel to Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment.  You have to explain in 30 words or less why you want a Shock Treatment t-shirt.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria Scream Greats – Norman Bates

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies, Norman Bates, pop culture, Psycho with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

It’s Scream Greats Monday! And, it’s the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2019!  We did it again, this year guys.  The home stretch.  I really hope you’ve enjoyed yourself thus far, but the festivities are not over yet!  We’ve got four more days to go.  And today we are looking at another Fangoria Scream Greats poster!

This week’s Scream Greats entry is a good one of Anthony Perkins on the set of Psycho II.  It comes from Fangoria #78 (1988).  If you haven’t seen it, Psycho II is a pretty good followup to the first Psycho.  Not to be confused with Robert Bloch’s Psycho sequel novel, also confusingly called Psycho II.  Bloch’s Psycho II is a pretty great little thriller tale on its own that is surprisingly meta for having been written in 1982.  I’d recommend it.  But the movie Psycho II is a more traditional sequel and is also a pretty good movie sequel considering it’s the followup to one of the greatest thrillers of all time.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria full page movie ads!

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , , , on October 24, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

For most of it’s life, Fangoria ran full page color ads for movies that are either in the theater or about to be released on videocassette. Last time I did Fangoria back in 2014, I talked about a few of them. So let’s take a look at a few more. It’s easy to pull the “big ones” with Ghostbusters or Gremlins. Let’s try to find some more obscure, culty movies. Shall we?

Godzilla 85
From Fangoria #50 (1985). I’ve never been a huge Godzilla fan but I’m very aware of this particular movie, even if I’ve never seen it. It was marketed pretty heavily here in the states.  It’s a heavily redited version of the Japanese Toho film Return of Godzilla.  I should sit down and watch some of these sometime.

The Stuff
From Fangoria #52 (1986).  An ad for The Stuff on VHS.  I have seen this movie and it terrified me. The scene where the kid eats shaving cream to avoid having to eat The Stuff sticks with me to this day.

Return of the Living Dead 2
From Fangoria #70 (1988). An ad for the sequel to one of my favorite zombie movies of all time, Return of the Living Dead. And I’ve still not watched any of these Return sequels. I need to get on that.  I love the art for this poster, but it feels like it’s ripping off the Fright Night/Fright Night II posters.

House II
Also from Fangoria #70. It’s not often that Fangoria has two full page movie ads, but issue #70 did. And it’s another sequel.  House II is an interesting animal.  It’s odd, for sure.  But it’s fun.  I like that it sort of becomes a western at the end.  I may remember this movie better than I remember the original House.

Basket Case 2
From Fangoria #91 (1990). I’ve not watched any of these Basket Case movies. It’s funny, when I graduated college in 1997, a guy I graduated with gave me a VHS with the first three Basket Case movies on it and told me I had to watch them because they were awesome. In fact, he gave it to me the night we graduated.  And I was due to fly out to Dallas, TX in two days for my new job! Yes, I still have that VHS and have still never watched those movies.

Castle Freak
From Fangoria #149 (1995). Castle Freak is directed by Stuart Gordon and starring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton. Last time I did Fangoria in 2014, I covered this trio in another movie called From Beyond. I had uncovered this little gem back then, but have not watched it. It sounds interesting.

I’ve looked at these full page movie ads a few times before.  As I mentioned earlier I did it back in 2014And in 2013.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Richard Matheson on writing Jaws 3-D

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Richard Matheson is a ground breaking, extremely popular genre writer. He wrote the novel I Am Legend that was adapted into a film four times, one of which Matheson himself cowrote the screenplay. He also wrote many of the original Twilight Zone episodes as well as the novels that birthed the movies The Incredible Shrinking Man, Legend of Hell House, Real Steel, What Dreams May Come, Duel and The Box.

In Fangoria #31 (1983), they did an interview with Richard Matheson talking to him about writing the recent movies Jaws 3-D and Twilight Zone the Movie.  To be perfectly honest, I really like Jaws 3-D, and I had NO IDEA that Richard Matheson wrote the screenplay for it.  MIND. BLOWN.

Some of the Jaws 3 insights he gives in this article include that he likes writing the third movie in a series. You get to break away from the location of the previous two. He also said the studio forced him to use Brody’s sons, Michael and Sean, in the script. He originally had no intention of using any of the Brody family, which now, looking back on that movie, makes SO much sense. He also said the studio wanted him to make the shark in Jaws 3 the same shark that was electrocuted in the second movie! Wow. Glad cooler heads prevailed there. Lots of interesting info in this article including more insights into the writing of Twilight Zone, including why he thinks it didn’t do as well as they expected, and working with Spielberg on the movie Duel.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: The Forgotten Frankenstein and other lost cinema treasures

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Frankenstein, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, monsters, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

In Fangoria #2 (1979), there was an article about Universal’s Frankenstein. But it wasn’t about the Boris Karloff movie. It was about the original incarnation of the movie that starred Bela Lugosi as the monster.  It was called The Forgotten Frankenstein. 

It started the article with a picture of the original poster that proclaimed Bela Lugosi as the star (click images to make them BIGGER).

The article says the initial development for Frankenstein was done by Robert Florey and in his development Lugosi was to be Dr Frankenstein, not the monster. However, when his treatment was approved by the studio, they insisted Lugosi be the monster.

As Florey was writing the script they brought in Lugosi, Karloff and several other actors to do a fully costumed test reel. Florey says they shot and edited two reels of footage which included the full Jack Pierce makeup. Lugosi was offered the role, but turned it down exclaiming the tall lumbering mute was beneath him. Karloff was ultimately given the role and then Florey was dropped from the director chair and replaced by James Whale.  After this, all the test reel footage and some of the development for Florey’s version of Frankenstein were lost.

This article reminded me that there is a series of books on similar subjects written by Phillip J Riley, which you can find on Amazon.  The series includes original shooting scripts for a ton of early Universal movies as well as “alternate history” exposes on some of those movies including the Lugosi Frankenstein, the Lon Chaney Dracula, the Boris Karloff Invisible Man, the Karloff Return of Frankenstein and even one on the lost Chaney London after Midnight film.  Lots of fun alternate film history out there to read!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.