View profile

🎬 "I volunteer as tribute!"

🎬 "I volunteer as tribute!"
By Eric Johnson • Issue #98 • View online
Is it still Tuesday? … No? It’s Friday?
Huh. I coulda sworn …
Well, guess that means it’s time for a newsletter! Hope everyone enjoyed the bonus newsletter earlier this week, with my list of comfy movies. My profound gratitude to Steven Soderbergh for making Ocean’s Eleven, the movie that got me through Election Night 2020. Other than that one shot where you can see the words “Trump Plaza” in the background, it’s great!
I’d also like to thank the people who have donated to support this newsletter. You can make a $3 donation at Buy Me a Coffee, or you can reply to this email like Matt did last week to ask for my Venmo. He says, “Awesome newsletter.” Thank you, Matt!

🏹 The Hunger Games
Having never read the books or seen any of the movies, I liked 2012’s The Hunger Games much better than I expected.
Through cultural osmosis, I knew certain things about the movie already: Jennifer Lawrence, a possible love interest named Peeta, that three-fingers-up salute thing, and a couple spoilery details that I won’t reveal here. What I was not prepared for is that this is not a generic young-adult action girl story, but in fact a surprisingly cynical satire about media manipulation, layered on top of a well-paced if predictable action story.
The screenwriters overplay their hand on the satirical stuff at times, making the titular televised battle royale less like relatable reality TV and more like an implausible video game. I also wish more time had been spent developing certain characters who die in the course of the Games, to up the suspense and make their deaths more meaningful. Still, I liked The Hunger Games enough that I think I’m going to watch the sequels. Recommended. ★★★★
The Hunger Games (2012 Movie) - Official Theatrical Trailer - Jennifer Lawrence & Liam Hemsworth
The Hunger Games (2012 Movie) - Official Theatrical Trailer - Jennifer Lawrence & Liam Hemsworth
I bought The Hunger Games on Amazon, but it’s currently streaming on Freeform and Sling TV.
👇 The Addams Family
Creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky? In this economy? Well, The Addams Family makes it work, even though its main story doesn’t quite hold together.
I knew most of the characters already and (of course) the famous theme music, but I had never actually seen any Addams Family media before this — not even the original New Yorker cartoons by Charles Addams, which I recommend Googling. Maybe it’s just because trends come and go in generation-long waves, but this movie struck me as an unintentional predictor of Gen Z’s sense of humor: Morbid, loud, and disarmingly wholesome.
There is a story running through the film, involving a couple humans trying to steal the Addams’ fortune, but it’s muddled and a bit of a snooze. Luckily, the filmmakers seem to have realized this and stocked the movie with fun vignettes that give everyone — including Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and a young Christina Ricci — time to shine. Recommended. ★★★½
The Addams Family (1991) - Morning
The Addams Family (1991) - Morning
The Addams Family is currently streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, CBS, and Sling TV.
📸 Get Out
Attentive readers may be wondering: Didn’t Eric just watch this film last year? First of all: Yes. Second of all: Stop being so attentive, nerd.
(Just kidding, I love it.)
Here’s what I wrote in August 2019:
Every time I see GET OUT, I love it more — the moments of silence, the precisely chosen dialogue, even the occasional scares. Every character and every scene is there for a reason, and the ending feels earned, like the last step of a harrowing journey. Basically, it’s perfect.
Wow, my reviews used to be so short. Anyway, my feelings haven’t changed, which is a good thing. This is legitimately one of the smartest and most important films of the 21st century so far. Even though I was watching it on Halloween, it’s not a crazy-scary movie, and you owe it to yourself to watch it at some point. Highly recommended. ★★★★★
Get Out Official Trailer 1 (2017) - Daniel Kaluuya Movie
Get Out Official Trailer 1 (2017) - Daniel Kaluuya Movie
Get Out is not currently streaming it anywhere, but it is available to rent/buy on many digital platforms.
⚓ H.M.S. Pinafore
For anyone who’s already familiar with the famous operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan, the 1982 made-for-TV movie production of H.M.S. Pinafore is a perfectly fine adaptation; however, I can’t recommend it for G&S newbies.
I don’t know how many people would actually watch, but these plays are due for a modern filmed interpretation, in widescreen HD and building on the dynamic directing style of Hamilton.
Pinafore, a light romantic satire on class differences, features some excellent earworm songs and fun characters, but the talented D’Oyly Carte Opera Company seems hemmed in here by the claustrophobic and mostly static 4:3 frame. They sometimes made the most of the format, as in the songs “I Am the Monarch of the Sea” and “Kind Captain, I’ve Important Information,” but otherwise, the adaptation to the screen didn’t click. ★★★
H.M.S. Pinafore, 5. "My gallant crew... I am the captain of the Pinafore... Sir, you are sad"
H.M.S. Pinafore, 5. "My gallant crew... I am the captain of the Pinafore... Sir, you are sad"
This adaptation of H.M.S. Pinafore is not available in any form online, but if you really wanted to watch it for some reason, you could buy the DVD on eBay.
🥔 Benny & Joon
Benny & Joon is a frustrating hodgepodge of characters and subplots slapped on top of a unique premise.
The “A” story is about mentally ill woman named Joon, her brother Benny, and an oddball named Sam who comes to live with them and becomes Joon’s love interest. Sam is obsessed with Buster Keaton, a quirk that gives Johnny Depp an excuse to re-create some of Keaton and Charlie Chaplin’s most famous bits. However, other than a quickly abandoned showbiz “B” story, this has no bearing on the movie.
What’s most disappointing is that neither Joon’s “illness” nor Sam’s apparent learning disability or backstory is ever explored or described in very much detail, making them unknowable totems for all people with mental handicaps. Joon may be a high-functioning person on the autistic spectrum, and we briefly see she has real skill at painting and gardening, but these talents are not highlighted as prominently as Sam’s silent movie antics. Instead, we are constantly reminded of the things of which she is allegedly incapable. I could go on, but eh. Just skip it. ★★½
Benny & Joon Official Trailer #1 - Johnny Depp, Julianne Moore Movie (1993) HD
Benny & Joon Official Trailer #1 - Johnny Depp, Julianne Moore Movie (1993) HD
I watched Benny & Joon on Blu-Ray, but it’s currently streaming on Max Go and DirecTV.
🎰 Ocean's Eleven
I took my own advice on Election Night and de-stressed by watching Ocean’s Eleven. This was absolutely the right decision. This movie is so fun, so well-acted, and so well-paced that even though I was at home and in arm’s reach of other devices, I was able to unplug for a bit and get lost in the heist.
Unlike most movies with a star-studded cast, it’s legitimately fun and exciting to meet every new character in Ocean’s Eleven, even on my (seventh? eighth?) rewatch.
Slowly building the team and feed us more and more details about the insane job George Clooney and Brad Pitt want to pull, director Steven Soderbergh works with the assured confidence of a Las Vegas magician. Soderbergh plays with the framing, frame rate, and editing to give us just enough info to follow the caper, while intentionally withholding other details until they become relevant. Recommended. ★★★★½
Ocean's Eleven (2001) Official Trailer
Ocean's Eleven (2001) Official Trailer
Ocean’s Eleven is currently streaming on Netflix.
🔢 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 Farewell
  23. Vertigo
  24. 12 Years a Slave
  25. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  26. What We Do in the Shadows
  27. Spotlight
  28. Booksmart
  29. Her
  30. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  31. The Matrix
  32. Moonrise Kingdom
  33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  34. Your Name.
  35. North by Northwest
  36. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  37. The Incredibles
  38. Looper
  39. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  40. The Wrong Trousers
  41. The Old Guard
  42. American Psycho
  43. Thank You For Smoking
  44. Little Women
  45. Marriage Story
  46. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  47. La La Land
  48. Sunset Boulevard
  49. Ford v Ferrari
  50. A Fish Called Wanda
  51. Bringing Up Baby
  52. Gremlins
  53. Apocalypse Now
  54. The Hidden Fortress
  55. Hell or High Water
  56. Moneyball
  57. Hacksaw Ridge
  58. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  59. The Lunchbox
  60. Heat
  61. Little Miss Sunshine
  62. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  63. Coming to America
  64. Hustlers
  65. Shrek
  66. Wet Hot American Summer
  67. It Follows
  68. Dolemite Is My Name
  69. Good Will Hunting
  70. Palm Springs
  71. The Grapes of Wrath
  72. Fantasia 2000
  73. First Cow
  74. Kedi
  75. Honey Boy
  76. The Great Escape
  77. Ed Wood
  78. Isle of Dogs
  79. Annihilation
  80. The Hunt for Red October
  81. Wordplay
  82. Boyhood
  83. The Hunger Games
  84. 1917
  85. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
  86. The Philadelphia Story
  87. Dark Waters
  88. Hail, Caesar!
  89. The Death of Stalin
  90. The Irishman
  91. Zoolander
  92. 50/50
  93. Hannah and Her Sisters
  94. Horse Feathers
  95. Enemy of the State
  96. Captain Phillips
  97. Uncut Gems
  98. Independence Day
  99. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  100. 9 to 5
  101. Frost/Nixon
  102. The Incredibles 2
  103. How the West Was Won
  104. Almost Famous
  105. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  106. Bad Education
  107. Godzilla
  108. Just Mercy
  109. Midnight in Paris
  110. Da 5 Bloods
  111. High Fidelity
  112. Guardians of the Galaxy
  113. My Fair Lady
  114. The Invisible Man
  115. The Hateful Eight
  116. Happy Gilmore
  117. Gates of Heaven
  118. Emma.
  119. Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  120. Home Alone
  121. Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  122. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  123. Braveheart
  124. Bicycle Thieves
  125. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  126. The Addams Family
  127. Frankenstein
  128. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
  129. Hugo
  130. All the Money in the World
  131. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  132. Live From the Space Stage: A Halyx Story
  133. John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch
  134. Onward
  135. Hidden Figures
  136. Pain and Glory
  137. Bambi
  138. The Great Dictator
  139. Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events
  140. Anastasia
  141. Hot Rod
  142. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  143. Animal House
  144. You’ve Got Mail
  145. The 39 Steps
  146. The Princess and the Frog
  147. Elysium
  148. (500) Days of Summer
  149. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  150. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  151. Modern Romance
  152. H.M.S. Pinafore
  153. Shakespeare in Love
  154. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  155. 3:10 to Yuma
  156. The Big Country
  157. Ghost
  158. 28 Weeks Later
  159. History of the World: Part I
  160. The African Queen
  161. Greyhound
  162. Bamboozled
  163. Bullitt
  164. Dracula
  165. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  166. Bride of Frankenstein
  167. Howard the Duck
  168. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  169. The Descendants
  170. The Hangover
  171. Joker
  172. Kingpin
  173. 28 Days Later
  174. Bridesmaids
  175. The Great Gatsby
  176. 13 Assassins
  177. Creature From the Black Lagoon
  178. Benny & Joon
  179. Bad Moms
  180. High Anxiety
  181. Kentucky Fried Movie
  182. Hang ‘Em High
  183. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  184. Ice Age
  185. Romancing the Stone
  186. Crocodile Dundee
  187. The 40-Year-Old Virgin
  188. Hard Ticket to Hawaii
  189. Gods of Egypt
  190. The Gentlemen
  191. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  192. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  193. The Last Airbender
  194. 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.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue