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🎬 "I'll stop a car, and I won't use my thumb!"

🎬 "I'll stop a car, and I won't use my thumb!"
By Eric Johnson • Issue #102 • View online
I hope everyone had a safe and restful Thanksgiving break last week — I gorged myself on turkey and potatoes and cranberry sauce, and then harnessed that high-calorie energy to launch a business.
No kidding: On Tuesday, I launched BumbleCast, an independent podcasting studio that you or your business can hire to produce a podcast, or to improve a show you’ve already launched. This is the big news I teased back in October, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for much longer than that.
Thanks so much to those of you who blindly signed up last week for our launch email; if you opted out of that, but want to stay apprised now that you know WTF I’m doing with my life, you can sign up for the BumbleCast newsletter right here.
To paraphrase Homer Simpson, it’s not easy to juggle a new business, but somehow I managed to fit in seven movies over the past two weeks. Let’s get into them!

🇺🇸 Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger is a sometimes-frustrating debut for my favorite character in the Marvel canon.
Chris Evans acquits himself well as Cap through the constant adversity he faces, and it helps that he’s surrounded by an excellent supporting cast, including Hayley Atwell as his too-cool-for-you love interest Peggy Carter. The action is clean and creative (and in a couple instances, shockingly graphic), and I don’t have any major problems with the straightforward origin story.
The movie leans hard into old-fashioned Americana, which is a welcome departure in tone from the tone of the films that preceded it, but its villain — portrayed by the typically excellent Hugo Weaving — is too silly to be scary. As with Iron Man 2, it helps to know that this is only a minor stumble on the road to much greater things. Recommended. ★★★½
Captain America: The First Avenger - Trailer
Captain America: The First Avenger - Trailer
Captain America: The First Avenger is currently streaming on Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Epix, and DirecTV.
🐻 Paddington
After six years of hype, I’m glad I finally saw Paddington. It’s a simple — but charming — well-animated adaptation of the classic stories about a polite bear from “darkest Peru” trying to find a new home in London.
Providing Paddington’s voice, Ben Whishaw is on the right side of cute vs. saccharine, and the film is filled with faux-Wes Andersonian touches, like an explorer’s club that runs on pneumatic tubes. I wish the plot was either a little denser or a lot sparser; in almost every scene, hijinks ensue, and while these sequences are funny and sweet, they pile up and lose some of their potency.
I liked this movie enough that I will check out its more popular sequel, but on its own terms, I’d still recommend it. ★★★½
Paddington Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth Movie HD
Paddington Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth Movie HD
Paddington is currently streaming on DirecTV, Sling TV, TNT, and TBS.
🚕 Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a buddy road trip movie with a classic odd couple: Steve Martin as a tightly wound ad exec, and John Candy as a boisterous over-sharing salesman. They’re trying to get to Chicago before Thanksgiving, and things go disastrously wrong at every turn.
Martin yells and swears and throws things, while Candy likes to go with the flow; this is a John Hughes movie, so there are hidden layers of sweetness underneath the surface-level darkness. Still, I found Martin’s fits of anger a little tedious, even if they are mostly justified.
By the time you’re reading this, it’s been more than a week since Thanksgiving, but it’s still the holidays — give it a watch. ★★★½
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Official Trailer 1 - Steve Martin Movie
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Official Trailer 1 - Steve Martin Movie
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is currently streaming on Sling TV.
👍 It Happened One Night
I have heard great things about It Happened One Night for years, and now I see why.
Released in 1934, this is one of the holy scriptures of romantic comedies, the template on which countless will they-won’t they movies and TV shows that followed it have been based. Claudette Colbert stars as a young, over-privileged girl who runs away from her rich father intending to elope with an aviator (!); en route, however, she meets a smart aleck journalist played by Clark Gable, and, you know … will they? Won’t they?
Except for a few instances of and references to Colbert being hit by her father and prospective husband, the movie has aged surprisingly well, and the lead performances are charming and engaging. Recommended. ★★★★
It Happened One Night (1934) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers
It Happened One Night (1934) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers
It Happened One Night is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel.
🔥 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Goblet of Fire is not the worst Harry Potter movie (that distinction belongs to Chamber of Secrets), but it’s a huge step down from Prisoner of Azkaban and has some significant problems that hold it back.
Foremost are the pacing and editing; Goblet of Fire is a dense, plot-heavy book with several intertwining mysteries, and adapting them would be a challenge for any filmmaker, so much so that I think this movie is the strongest case for a TV re-adaptation of the whole series. But it doesn’t help that the movie is also laden with clumsy directorial choices and poorly explained major story beats that basically assume you’ve read the book. Someone should be able to understand your movie without doing homework!
Anyway: I liked several of the action scenes here, and the production design is excellent, as always. But overall, the Goblet of Fire book is great, while the movie is merely OK. Watch it if you must to get to the later films in the series, but otherwise, skip it. ★★★
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) Official Trailer - Daniel Radcliffe Movie HD
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) Official Trailer - Daniel Radcliffe Movie HD
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is currently streaming on Sling TV and USA.
🏙 The Avengers
The Avengers is much greater than the sum of its parts. The first official team-up movie in the Marvel universe, it’s a thrillingly paced, smartly executed action movie that takes full advantage of its characters’ trademark strengths and flaws.
Although the main villain is recycled from a previous movie, and the army of CGI monsters he leads are pretty whatever, the reason this movie works so well is that it exploits every opportunity to pit our heroes against each other. Plus, the ideas introduced here between the explosions laid the foundation for many (too many?) additional movies, so revisiting this film in particular is satisfying for someone who’s seen the whole series.
It also helps that the action scenes really work; I don’t think there’s yet been a single shot in the franchise quite as impressive as the tracking shot over New York, hopping from Avenger to Avenger. Recommended. ★★★★½
Marvel's The Avengers- Trailer (OFFICIAL)
Marvel's The Avengers- Trailer (OFFICIAL)
The Avengers is currently streaming on Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.
🎄 Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 is a thematically muddled entry in the franchise, with a weak villain and (to the disappointment of some fans) relatively little time spent in the Iron Man suit.
However, there’s enough I still like about it to recommend it: This movie’s script is far funnier than its predecessors’; it features my favorite fight scene across the three movies, a close-quarters battle where Tony Stark is wearing only part of the Iron Man armor; and director Shane Black, as he does with seemingly all his movies, sets this one at Christmas, which lends itself to some fun gags and lovely visuals.
And this may be a controversial opinion in the Marvel fandom, but I prefer it when there’s a reason for our heroes to be out of their suits or stripped of their full powers. Movies are all fakery, but when your characters are in life-or-death circumstances, a bouncy CGI suit feels especially phony. All of which is to say, I like this movie! Recommended. ★★★½
Iron Man 3 - Official Trailer [HD]
Iron Man 3 - Official Trailer [HD]
Iron Man 3 is currently streaming on Disney+.
🔢 Every Movie I've Seen in 2020, Ranked
(new additions in bold)
  1. The Godfather
  2. 12 Angry Men
  3. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  4. Get Out
  5. Do the Right Thing
  6. Knives Out
  7. Parasite
  8. Arrival
  9. My Neighbor Totoro
  10. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  11. Airplane!
  12. The Silence of the Lambs
  13. Dick Johnson Is Dead
  14. The Lives of Others
  15. Hot Fuzz
  16. Boys State
  17. Hamilton
  18. Groundhog Day
  19. All About Eve
  20. Ocean’s Eleven
  21. West Side Story
  22. The Avengers
  23. The Farewell
  24. Vertigo
  25. 12 Years a Slave
  26. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  27. What We Do in the Shadows
  28. Spotlight
  29. Booksmart
  30. Her
  31. Moana
  32. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  33. The Matrix
  34. Moonrise Kingdom
  35. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  36. Your Name.
  37. North by Northwest
  38. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  39. The Incredibles
  40. Lost in Translation
  41. Looper
  42. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  43. The Wrong Trousers
  44. The Old Guard
  45. American Psycho
  46. Thank You For Smoking
  47. Little Women
  48. Marriage Story
  49. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  50. La La Land
  51. Sunset Boulevard
  52. Ford v Ferrari
  53. A Fish Called Wanda
  54. Bringing Up Baby
  55. Gremlins
  56. Apocalypse Now
  57. The Hidden Fortress
  58. Hell or High Water
  59. Moneyball
  60. Hacksaw Ridge
  61. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  62. The Lunchbox
  63. Heat
  64. Little Miss Sunshine
  65. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  66. Coming to America
  67. Hustlers
  68. Shrek
  69. Wet Hot American Summer
  70. It Follows
  71. Dolemite Is My Name
  72. Good Will Hunting
  73. Palm Springs
  74. The Grapes of Wrath
  75. Fantasia 2000
  76. First Cow
  77. Kedi
  78. Honey Boy
  79. The Great Escape
  80. Ed Wood
  81. Isle of Dogs
  82. Annihilation
  83. The Hunt for Red October
  84. Wordplay
  85. Boyhood
  86. It Happened One Night
  87. The Hunger Games
  88. 1917
  89. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
  90. The Philadelphia Story
  91. Dark Waters
  92. Hail, Caesar!
  93. The Death of Stalin
  94. The Irishman
  95. Zoolander
  96. 50/50
  97. Paddington
  98. Hannah and Her Sisters
  99. Horse Feathers
  100. Enemy of the State
  101. Captain Phillips
  102. Uncut Gems
  103. Independence Day
  104. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  105. 9 to 5
  106. Frost/Nixon
  107. The Incredibles 2
  108. How the West Was Won
  109. Almost Famous
  110. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  111. Broadway Melody of 1940
  112. Bad Education
  113. Godzilla
  114. Just Mercy
  115. Kahaani
  116. Iron Man 3
  117. Midnight in Paris
  118. Da 5 Bloods
  119. High Fidelity
  120. Guardians of the Galaxy
  121. My Fair Lady
  122. Iron Man
  123. The Invisible Man
  124. Iron Man 2
  125. The Hateful Eight
  126. Happy Gilmore
  127. Gates of Heaven
  128. Emma.
  129. Men in Black
  130. Thor
  131. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  132. Home Alone
  133. Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  134. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  135. Braveheart
  136. Bicycle Thieves
  137. Captain America: The First Avenger
  138. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  139. Bottle Rocket
  140. The Addams Family
  141. Frankenstein
  142. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
  143. Hugo
  144. All the Money in the World
  145. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  146. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  147. Live From the Space Stage: A Halyx Story
  148. John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch
  149. Onward
  150. Hidden Figures
  151. Pain and Glory
  152. Bambi
  153. The Great Dictator
  154. Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events
  155. Anastasia
  156. Hot Rod
  157. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  158. Animal House
  159. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  160. You’ve Got Mail
  161. The 39 Steps
  162. The Princess and the Frog
  163. Elysium
  164. (500) Days of Summer
  165. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  166. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  167. Modern Romance
  168. The Incredible Hulk
  169. H.M.S. Pinafore
  170. Shakespeare in Love
  171. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  172. 3:10 to Yuma
  173. The Big Country
  174. Ghost
  175. 28 Weeks Later
  176. History of the World: Part I
  177. The African Queen
  178. Greyhound
  179. Bamboozled
  180. Bullitt
  181. Dracula
  182. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  183. Bride of Frankenstein
  184. Howard the Duck
  185. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  186. The Descendants
  187. The Hangover
  188. Joker
  189. Kingpin
  190. 28 Days Later
  191. Bridesmaids
  192. The Great Gatsby
  193. 13 Assassins
  194. Creature From the Black Lagoon
  195. Benny & Joon
  196. Bad Moms
  197. High Anxiety
  198. Kentucky Fried Movie
  199. Hang ‘Em High
  200. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  201. Ice Age
  202. Romancing the Stone
  203. Crocodile Dundee
  204. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  205. Hard Ticket to Hawaii
  206. Gods of Egypt
  207. The Gentlemen
  208. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  209. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  210. The Last Airbender
  211. Manos: The Hands of Fate
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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