Movie Rankings: 1999, 1998, 1997


I couldn’t just do a top ten!  Too many choices!  And so many more low-key classics I had to leave out.  NOTE!  I am ranking these based on my teenage mindset at the time!

15. SIXTH SENSE.  Not my personal favorite but absolutely a landmark movie.

14. DEEP BLUE SEA.  When I think of late 90s action/horror/comedy, this exists as the perfect example.  The sharks got smarter!  My head is like a shark’s fin!

13. BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.  This was the first horror movie to truly creep me out and it basically invented the found footage genre.

12. DOGMA.  One of my all time favorite Kevin Smith movies.

11. WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH.  Brosnan was “my” Bond, and while it hasn’t aged well, at the time I thought this was a great Bond movie full of amazing set pieces.

10. GALAXY QUEST.  Another classic movie and the perfect Trek parody while also being a good scifi movie on its own merits.

9. WILD WILD WEST. Nostalgic bias alert!  I remember being dead sick for an entire week and this was the first thing I went out to do when I got better.  This movie, as ridiculous as it is, will always hold a special place in my heart.  Will Smith and Kevin Kline were a great comedy duo.

8. THREE KINGS. This is an amazing war movie, absolutely hilarious, brilliantly shot, and carries a deeper message about the corrupt nature of US foreign policy.

7. SLEEPY HOLLOW. Probably my favorite Burton (non-Batman) movie.  Everything about it is flawless.

6. SOUTH PARK THE MOVIE. South Park was the greatest thing in the world at the time, and the movie was even better than the tv show.  Not only did it tell a great epic war story, not only was it rated R, it was also filled with legitimately funny and catchy songs.

5. AUSTIN POWERS 2. This was the biggest comedy of the year and another huge influence on pop culture.  The first movie was a flop, but this one introduced Doctor Evil and Mini-Me into the public lexicon.

4. THE MUMMY.  One of my favorite movies of all time!  A perfect modern day Indiana Jones adventure with great characters, humor, action, story…

3. FIGHT CLUB.  An amazing movie full of so much detail I can pick something up new every time I watch it.  In addition to being brilliant and open to interpretation (I say Tyler was the wrath of God and a new Deluge to punish the wicked!), it’s just plain fun, full of humor and truly inventive cinematography.

2. THE MATRIX.  What can I say.  Another genre-defining film.  A perfect movie.  Every second works.  Absolutely blew my mind in 1999.

1. STAR WARS PHANTOM MENANCE.  I’m a Star Wars nerd, ok?  A new movie coming out for the first time in my life was an EVENT.   It changed everything about a franchise I had a deep love for and investment in.  While it has perhaps not aged as well, at the time it was the most amazing thing in the world.  I remember marveling just as the backgrounds and sets in every scene.  It was magical!


10. ARMAGEDDON. Not my favorite Bay movie, way too saccharine, but still some great disaster movie visuals.

9. LOST IN SPACE. I actually really enjoy the first two thirds of this movie, but the third act is a slog.

8. DEEP IMPACT. I remember liking this more on a story/character level.

7. BIG LEBOWSKI. Classic Cohen Brothers but I do think it’s a little overrated.

6. BLADE. The first non-embarrassing comic book movie, even it doesn’t feel or look like one.

5. ENEMY OF THE STATE. This is a wonderful action thriller.  Will Smith and Gene Hackman are great together.

4. RONIN. I love this movie!  It is a perfect thriller with stellar dialogue and the best real world car chases ever filmed.

3. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Greatest war movie ever made.  Iconic.

2. LETHAL WEAPON 4. This might be my favorite of the series.  Tons of great characters, hilarious all the way through, incredible action scenes, and a great villain in Jet Li.

1. GODZILLA.  Teenage me absolutely loved this movie.  It’s definitely goofy, but so was ID4.  A skyscraper sized monster running through Manhattan can’t be beat.


10. SCREAM 2. I remember this being a slightly disappointing sequel but still clever.

9. HERCULES. Shockingly I never saw this as a child, but I enjoyed it as an adult.

8. EVENT HORIZON.  A great scifi horror with some truly disturbing imagery.

7. BATMAN AND ROBIN. It’s embarrassingly ridiculous but I can enjoy it as a campy romp.

6. ALIEN RESSURECTION. Much more enjoyable than the third one even if there’s little new to see.

5. CON AIR. A classically ridiculous over the top action fest.

4. STARSHIP TROOPERS. In addition to being an amazing sci-fi war film with ground breaking CGI, it’s also a scathing parody of fascism and militarism.

3. MEN IN BLACK. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are a perfect pair and the movie is hilarious.

2. LOST WORLD. I enjoy this more than most.  The plotline and characters are inferior to the original but there are a ton of absolutely classic set pieces in here.

1. FIFTH ELEMENT. One of my favorite movies of all time.


Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Disclaimer: I’m not going to go into the author’s personal statements about… things. I’m only going to talk about the on screen material.

In anticipation of the new movie coming out, I’ve just finished a ten movie marathon of the entire franchise. I hadn’t seen the HP movies since they came out a decade ago and had a really great time re-experiencing them. I haven’t read the books in all that time either. I was particularly impressed with the final movie. It really was a great and epic finale to a long form story. I’ve never seen all the movies back to back like that before; watching the actors age and the tone shift darker in ‘real time’ was very interesting.

I’m one of the few people who seems to actually enjoy the Fantastic Beasts movies. I think it’s fascinating to see a new epic tale in the Harry Potter franchise starring adults at the height of their power rather than children. Even more importantly, I am dying to see the war between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, undoubtedly the most fascinating piece of backstory in the franchise.

They’re not perfect, of course. The first movie was a little too “enchanting prelude” for my tastes, and the second movie threw way too many new characters at the screen who ultimately weren’t that important. Hell, a sizable chunk of the movie’s runtime concerns the past of Leta L’estrange… who gets unceremoniously killed at the story’s end.

The third movie was definitely more epic and plot-important than the first two, though it still wasn’t quite a home run. I definitely enjoyed the greater focus on Dumbledore, and Mads Mikkelsen is a vastly better Grindelwald (though I would have preferred Colin Ferrell’s return).





I was surprised to find the movie’s ending functioned as a semi-resolution to the series. Perhaps they’re concerned it will tank and they’ll never make the last two. It obviously doesn’t resolve the Grindelwald war, but it does wrap up all the character arcs for everyone. Hell, you could never show Creedence again and it would function just fine.

My greatest complaint is that Tina Goldstein is relegated to a small cameo. She’s my favorite new character after Newt! Was there some actor availability issue???

We learned a lot about DD and GW and it made me run right home and re-read the relevant chapters from the 7th book. I found some interesting inconsistencies:

Rita Skeeter’s book says DD and GW do not see each other between age 18 and their final duel in 1945. Now obviously anything she says could be false, but Ghost-DD tells Not-Quite-Dead-Harry that he was terrified of facing GW again and only did so to save the world, because he was terrified of learning who actually killed Ariana, which does imply they did not meet in between.

In the book, DD says that he and GW were the ones casting spells in the argument with Aberforth, and one of their spells is what killed Ariana. In this movie, DD says that he and Aberforth were the ones casting spells and GW just sat there and laughed.

The book of course does not mention a blood bond, Creedence, or an obscurius. I did think making Ariana an obscurius was a great plot twist and entirely consistent with the established lore. It’s a perfect explanation for why she was “weak” and “sick” and kept away from anyone else ever seeing her! It also explains her accidental death, she would already be on death’s door and the slightest trauma could cause the dark spirit to consume her.

Another interesting tidbit; the book says GW got the Elder Wand sometime between age 18 and 1945. According to movie trivia I read, GW already has the Elder Wand in the second movie.

I dearly hope we get to see the final two movies because I really want to see this legendary duel between DD and GW.

2022 Television

BOBA FETT: It definitely wasn’t a slam dunk like Mando, but I enjoyed the series a lot. I do think there were some major structural missteps. I never got a solid sense of Fett’s present day motivation and development. The building of his little army didn’t work great (he only has twelve people but he runs a massive palace? With who?). Fennic doesn’t get any development herself. The best episodes of the show don’t even have Fett in them, but boy were they incredible. I also really wished we got some classic old school Boba bounty hunting pre-ROTJ.

DISCOVERY S4: The 10-C storyline was really interesting, and I loved where the story took Book. Tarka was a really interesting semi-antagonist. I do wish there had been more pew pew action though.

THE FLASH S8: The Arrowverse seriously peaked with the Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Covid restrictions certainly haven’t helped, but this season has really bounced back thus far. I’m enjoying the show more than I have since Crisis!

RAISED BY WOLVES S2: Man, this show is weird. But I’m riveted by the mystery of the alien world and the mysterious entity manipulating events. Mother and Father remain fascinating characters. The production values are astounding.

PEACEMAKER: I enjoyed this show so much more than I ever expected to. I loved Gunn’s Suicide Squad movie but the notion of a tv series starring just Peacemaker did not sound great. But it was consistently hilarious with a great story and supporting cast.

PICARD S2: This has been a great deal of fun so far and better than S1. With Q and the Borg Queen where can you go wrong?

HALO: I am a huge fan of the video games and I’ve read a lot of the books too. So I have a huge investment in this. Seeing these characters on screen is magic, but I think if I didn’t have that connection, I wouldn’t be in love with the show. I’m just dying to see how faithful they are to the story.

MOON KNIGHT: I’ve only seen the first episode as of this writing. It was a very intriguing what-is-reality opener but I was hoping for more Moon Knight on screen than we got. I’m sure it’ll be great in the end.

2022 Books

I always forget which new books I’ve read, particularly since I’m usually catching up on something from years ago. But there’s been a few notable new releases lately!

MEMORY’S LEGION by James S.A. Corey

The final entry in the Expanse saga! It’s a collection of all the existing short stories with a single post-series new one, but I hadn’t read any of them before so it was all new to me. Like any collection of shorts some are stronger than others. My favorite was “Auberon” which featured locals on a frontier world dealing with their new Laconian overlord. The final story, “Sins of Our Fathers”, was a great epilogue to the series that answered one major hanging question from the series I really wanted to know about.


I just love Scalzi’s writing style and I dearly look forward to his books. This one didn’t disappoint with a wonderful Godzilla-esque premise. My only ding is that it’s terribly convenient how the hero just happens to have a personal connection with the villain. I’d love to see a sequel to this story!

DIABLO MESA by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I always look forward to a new Preston/Child book, even if it’s a non-Pendergast book. This one is another Nora and Corrie story, but it’s definitely the best of that sub-series because it’s about Area 51. My favorite P/C books are the X-Files-y paranormal ones, so I really enjoyed this one. I’m always disappointed when the new Pendergast book just turns out to be another serial killer, but this one wasn’t afraid to go big!


I’ve been really enjoying the HR saga and this was a wonderful climax to the first three planned phases in the story. The entire book is a huge disaster movie full of great action, tension, mystery, and a shockingly high body count of major characters.

I also read a little of 2021’s BUCKAROO BANZAI AGAINST THE WORLD CRIME LEAGUE by Earl Rauch. This is the official sequel by the original author of the novel that inspired the movie. The book was huge and I was never going to finish it in time, but the writing style has an odd kind of brilliance. It reads like it was written in the 1800s with tons of purple prose and thick blocks of text, but every single sentence is just chock full of hilarious little jokes.