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ESJ's Movie Project - "They call me Baby Driver" edition

Nitpicky transparency note: To create the list that appears at the bottom of this newsletter every we

ESJ's Movie Project

September 6 · Issue #29 · View online
I'm reviewing every movie I watch, and watching every movie I own. Settle in, this is going to take a while.

Nitpicky transparency note: To create the list that appears at the bottom of this newsletter every week, I have a Google spreadsheet for all the new movies I’ve seen in 2019. When I see something new, it goes in the spreadsheet with a numerical rating out of 10 (e.g. 7.7 or 8.4), and then I sort the list by that rating.
This week, I realized that as the list gets more crowded, many movies are getting the same numerical rating, and when that happens, Google just puts them in alphabetical order. So if you’re really paying attention (though I don’t know why you would be), you’ll notice this week’s ranking is different in several places compared to previous weeks. Rest assured, it’s just more accurate now, and Aquaman is still in last place.

Baby Driver
Pictured: Baby Driver with a couple of his buds.
BABY DRIVER is so incredibly well-edited and directed that every time I rewatch it, I’m still impressed (and a little salty it wasn’t recognized at the Oscars). The soundtrack has become one of my all-time favorites, and the pacing throughout the whole movie feels just right.
^ That’s the 280-character review I posted to Twitter and Letterboxd this week, but here’s some bonus content just for newsletter subscribers: A much wordier review I wrote for this movie the last time I saw it, which I posted to my now-defunct Instagram:
I adore BABY DRIVER (2017), which I have now seen five times in less than a year since its release. And I don’t even want to know how often I’ve listened to the music! It’s not as jokey as writer/director Edgar Wright’s other films, but it is just as brilliantly directed and edited. The synchronization of the (excellent) soundtrack with the action on screen is like sober synesthesia, and each new viewing reveals previously un-noticed little details. It’s a damn shame that this movie has the now-disgraced Kevin Spacey in it, and that he’s so good in the role of Doc. But one can enjoy with far less guilt the superb supporting performances from Jamie Foxx as Bats and Jon Hamm as Buddy. In a world of unwieldy cinematic universes and TV series that are actually 50-hour movies, it’s so refreshing to come upon a film like Baby Driver — one that introduces you to strongly written characters, takes you on a super-fun two-hour adventure and leaves you with 50 memorable quotes and a smile on your face. Now, time to go listen to the soundtrack again…
I think this movie is good, in case you haven’t noticed.
Ready Or Not
Pictured: How I look when I have to leave the house without coffee (the expression, not the dress).
READY OR NOT has a cool premise for a horror movie and I LOVE the production design, but the dialogue and most of the acting leave a lot to be desired. The writers lean heavily on swears and blood, making profanities and scares that would have been fun in moderation unmemorable. This undermines the satirical side of the story, which makes me sad; the raw ingredients of this movie are SO GOOD that with another couple drafts I feel like Ready or Not could have been truly great.
Pictured: How ... it ... feels ... to ... wait ... for ... someone ... to ... finish ... reading ... your ... unoriginal ... picture ... caption.
Rewatched ZOOTOPIA over the past couple nights and … it’s still wonderful. This is my sort of “comfort food” movie: Zippy script, engaging-but-easy-to-follow story, and a ton of clever details (in this case, animal puns). And, it should go without saying, the allegorical facets of this movie have only gotten sharper in the past three years — one line in particular that never registered with me before really jumped out this time. The only downside of revisiting this movie is that now that Shakira song is stuck in my head.
Every New Movie I've Seen in 2019 (So Far), Ranked
(new additions in bold)

  1. Booksmart
  2. The Farewell
  3. If Beale Street Could Talk
  4. Us
  5. Free Solo
  6. Avengers: Endgame
  7. The Favourite
  8. Amazing Grace
  9. Long Shot
  10. The Wife
  11. The Art of Self-Defense
  12. Toy Story 4
  13. Shoplifters
  14. The Last Black Man In San Francisco
  15. Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood
  16. Apollo 11
  17. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  18. Aladdin
  19. Slut in a Good Way
  20. Green Book
  21. Cold War
  22. Ready or Not
  23. Always Be My Maybe
  24. Rocketman
  25. Roma
  26. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  27. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  28. On the Basis of Sex
  29. Shazam!
  30. The Lion King
  31. Fighting With My Family
  32. They Shall Not Grow Old
  33. Yesterday
  34. Mary Poppins Returns
  35. Captain Marvel
  36. Minding the Gap
  37. Tolkien
  38. The Biggest Little Farm
  39. Alita: Battle Angel
  40. The Dead Don’t Die
  41. The Great Hack
  42. Stan & Ollie
  43. Vice
  44. Bohemian Rhapsody
  45. Aquaman

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