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🎬 "Hello, boys! I'm baaaaack!"

🎬 "Hello, boys! I'm baaaaack!"
By Eric Johnson • Issue #90 • View online
I was planning to watch more movies this week but two things intervened: One, finally watching season 1 of Mad Men (has anyone heard of this show? it’s good); and two, this lovely live concert from 2019, in which a full orchestra performs the music from one of my all-time favorite video games, Undertale, which is celebrating its 5th anniversary.
Even if you haven’t played Undertale (and you should), you should listen to the concert. The music is incredible.

🎻 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave should be assigned viewing in schools across the United States.
This is an unflinching, nuanced, artfully directed and acted portrait of American slavery, and it directly engages with the lie which I and countless others were fed in school: That some slavers were good (enough) people. Any student of American history, young or old, needs to understand the physical and emotional torture that slave owners inflicted on enslaved people.
Based on the autobiography written by Solomon Northup, a free Black man from New York who was kidnapped in 1841 and shipped to Louisiana, the movie is powered by an outstanding cast that includes Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup, Lupita Nyong’o, and Michael Fassbender. There are a couple famous faces in minor roles that I found distracting, including Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch, but these disturbances are brief enough.
I was rarely surprised but always moved by the story; Ejiofor does a magnificent job of making the cruelty of Northup’s situation affecting. An acting student could watch the entire film on mute, focusing only on his face, as Northup slowly untethers from his old life. And director Alexander McQueen deserved the Best Picture Oscar for this film — which he got, one of the few times the Academy got it right. Recommended. ★★★★½
12 YEARS A SLAVE - Official Trailer (HD)
12 YEARS A SLAVE - Official Trailer (HD)
I watched 12 Years a Slave on Blu-Ray, and it’s not currently streaming anywhere, but you can rent or buy it on these platforms.
🛸 Independence Day
And now for something completely different…
Independence Day is a big, loud movie with absolutely no pretenses of being high art or intellectually provocative — but yes, it holds up as a movie. Honestly, I’m impressed that this unwieldy movie — a special effects-driven blockbuster with a huge cast and multiple simultaneous storylines — is still comprehensible and well-paced.
There are problems, of course: The tone is all over the place, some of the special effects have not held up, and one of the subplots (the one about Randy Quaid‘s family in New Mexico) is a snooze. Plus the eventually revealed motivation for the invaders is … a giant letdown? I’ve been spoiled by too many years of more interesting aliens on Doctor Who.
Independence Day also teeters on the precipice of too dumb to be fun at times, but Bill Pullman and Will Smith, both in top form, overpower the cheesiness with sheer charisma. Recommended. ★★★½
P.S. If you have access to the extended edition, which adds 8 minutes of extra footage, watch that one. It shows more of the global impact of the alien attacks, and includes an excellent bonus scene with Brent Spiner that should never have been cut out.
Independence Day | #TBT Trailer | 20th Century FOX
Independence Day | #TBT Trailer | 20th Century FOX
I watched Independence Day on Blu-Ray, but it’s currently streaming on Sling TV.
☣️ 28 Weeks Later
I was surprised to find that I liked 28 Weeks Later better than its more popular predecessor, 28 Days Later, but only to a point.
The sequel starts off promising: As the title indicates, it’s set 7 months after a zombie virus devastated mainland Britain. Eventually, the “infected” died of starvation and a American-led operation has begun repatriating Brits who were traveling when the outbreak happened. I think the concept of rebuilding a society destroyed by a supernatural incident — and dealing with the associated trauma, and survivor’s guilt, and governmental chaos — would be a very cool and interesting hook for an entire film.
Unfortunately, this is a horror movie, and things go wrong very quickly. Doctors are ignored, stupid people make selfish decisions, and everyone is terrified of a group of uniformed Americans with guns … but enough about current events.
The characters here are mostly smart and likable, including Rose Byrne as a medical officer and Jeremy Renner as a sniper who has more of a heart than his brothers in arms. Their story is watchable enough, but not a must-see; my kingdom for an actual drama about cleaning up after the end of the world! Skip it. ★★★
28 Weeks Later (2007) Trailer 1080p HD
28 Weeks Later (2007) Trailer 1080p HD
I watched 28 Weeks Later on Blu-Ray, and it’s not currently streaming anywhere, but you can rent or buy it on these platforms.
🔢 Every Movie I've Seen in 2020, Ranked
(new additions in bold)
  1. The Godfather
  2. 12 Angry Men
  3. Do the Right Thing
  4. Knives Out
  5. Parasite
  6. Arrival
  7. Airplane!
  8. The Lives of Others
  9. Hot Fuzz
  10. Boys State
  11. Hamilton
  12. Groundhog Day
  13. All About Eve
  14. West Side Story
  15. The Farewell
  16. 12 Years a Slave
  17. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  18. What We Do in the Shadows
  19. Spotlight
  20. Booksmart
  21. Her
  22. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  23. Moonrise Kingdom
  24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  25. Your Name.
  26. North by Northwest
  27. The Incredibles
  28. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  29. The Wrong Trousers
  30. The Old Guard
  31. Thank You For Smoking
  32. Little Women
  33. Marriage Story
  34. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  35. La La Land
  36. Sunset Boulevard
  37. Ford v Ferrari
  38. A Fish Called Wanda
  39. Bringing Up Baby
  40. Gremlins
  41. Apocalypse Now
  42. The Hidden Fortress
  43. Hell or High Water
  44. Moneyball
  45. Hacksaw Ridge
  46. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  47. The Lunchbox
  48. Heat
  49. Little Miss Sunshine
  50. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  51. Coming to America
  52. Hustlers
  53. Shrek
  54. Wet Hot American Summer
  55. Dolemite Is My Name
  56. Good Will Hunting
  57. Palm Springs
  58. The Grapes of Wrath
  59. Fantasia 2000
  60. First Cow
  61. Kedi
  62. Honey Boy
  63. The Great Escape
  64. Annihilation
  65. The Hunt for Red October
  66. Wordplay
  67. Boyhood
  68. 1917
  69. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
  70. The Philadelphia Story
  71. Dark Waters
  72. Hail, Caesar!
  73. The Death of Stalin
  74. 50/50
  75. Hannah and Her Sisters
  76. Horse Feathers
  77. Enemy of the State
  78. Captain Phillips
  79. Uncut Gems
  80. Independence Day
  81. Frost/Nixon
  82. The Incredibles 2
  83. How the West Was Won
  84. Almost Famous
  85. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  86. Bad Education
  87. Godzilla
  88. Just Mercy
  89. Midnight in Paris
  90. Da 5 Bloods
  91. High Fidelity
  92. Guardians of the Galaxy
  93. My Fair Lady
  94. The Hateful Eight
  95. Happy Gilmore
  96. Gates of Heaven
  97. Emma.
  98. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  99. Home Alone
  100. Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  101. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  102. Braveheart
  103. Bicycle Thieves
  104. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  105. Frankenstein
  106. Hugo
  107. All the Money in the World
  108. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  109. Live From the Space Stage: A Halyx Story
  110. John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch
  111. Onward
  112. Hidden Figures
  113. Pain and Glory
  114. Bambi
  115. The Great Dictator
  116. Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events
  117. Anastasia
  118. Hot Rod
  119. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  120. Animal House
  121. You’ve Got Mail
  122. The 39 Steps
  123. (500) Days of Summer
  124. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  125. Modern Romance
  126. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  127. 3:10 to Yuma
  128. The Big Country
  129. Ghost
  130. 28 Weeks Later
  131. History of the World: Part I
  132. The African Queen
  133. Greyhound
  134. Bamboozled
  135. Bullitt
  136. Dracula
  137. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  138. Howard the Duck
  139. Bride of Frankenstein
  140. The Descendants
  141. The Hangover
  142. Joker
  143. Kingpin
  144. 28 Days Later
  145. Bridesmaids
  146. The Great Gatsby
  147. Hang ‘Em High
  148. 13 Assassins
  149. Creature From the Black Lagoon
  150. Ice Age
  151. Kentucky Fried Movie
  152. High Anxiety
  153. Romancing the Stone
  154. Crocodile Dundee
  155. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  156. Hard Ticket to Hawaii
  157. Gods of Egypt
  158. The Gentlemen
  159. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  160. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  161. The Last Airbender
Did you enjoy this issue?
Eric Johnson

I'm reviewing every movie I watch, and watching every movie I own. Settle in, this is going to take a while.

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