Movie Rankings: 1987, 1986, 1985

1987.

5. SPACEBALLS. The classic Star Wars parody.  Haven’t seen it in decades.

4. PRINCESS BRIDE. Shockingly I didn’t see this until college, so I have no childhood nostalgia for it, but I appreciate that it is a classic children’s adventure.

3. LETHAL WEAPON. The first movie is too long, slow, and serious, but the germs of greatness are in there.  Riggs and Murtaugh are the greatest buddy cop duo ever.

2. EVIL DEAD 2.  One of the greatest horror/comedies of all time.  The first movie is an indie classic but this improves it on every level.  It’s funnier and more disturbing at the same time.

1. PREDATOR. One of the all time Ahnuld classics.

1986.

5. IRON EAGLE. I don’t know how it holds up but I loved this movie as a kid.

4. HIGHLANDER. Not exactly a classic but it’s withstood the test of time.

3. LABYRINTH.  Another movie I didn’t see until college but I appreciate it.

2. STAR TREK VOYAGE HOME. I think it’s overrated but it is the best Trek movie for comedy.

1. ALIENS. One of the greatest action or sci-fi or horror movies ever made.  A Cameron classic.  The Special Edition is even better and gives Ripley a better storyarc.

1985.

5. THE GOONIES. Didn’t see it until college but it’s the definitive 80s children’s adventure.

4. LEGEND. Haven’t seen it in decades but I remember the producton design being astounding.

3. BACK TO THE FUTURE. The 50s storyline doesn’t do much for me but it’s still a comedy classic.

2. BRAZIL. One of my all time favorite artsy films.

1. MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME. My favorite of the originals and one of my favorite movies as a kid.  Bartertown and Thunderdome are cinematic classics and the action scenes are incredible.

Advertisement

Movie Rankings: 1990, 1989, 1988

1990.

5. NINJA TURTLES. Too dark for a kids movie but oh man this was my obsession as a kid.  I think it was the first VHS I ever bought because they were fifty bucks back then or something!

4. GREMLINS 2.  Another childhood classic full of very adult commentary on society.  I also love that it’s set trapped in a high tech skyscraper… like Die Hard!

3. HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.  This is a perfect movie and an adaptation of one of my favorite books as a kid.  Best thing Alec Baldwin has ever done.

2. TOTAL RECALL.  Peak Ahnuld and a great sci-fi story to boot.  Completely iconic!

1. DIE HARD 2. I dearly love the first three Die Hard movies and this one is underappreciated.  It takes the first movie and lets it loose, set across a sprawling major airport in the middle of a snowstorm.  It ups the ante of the first movie.

1989.

5. THE ABYSS.  Cameron creates an astonishly tense thriller that absolutely feels like it’s set at the bottom of the ocean.  Be sure to watch the Special Edition which actually explains why the aliens are there and features a major new set piece.

4. LETHAL WEAPON 2.  A vast improvement on the original with a lot more action and humor.  A great villain and the introduction of Joe Pesci!

3. BACK TO THE FUTURE 2. My favorite of the trilogy just for the future half.  Absolute classic.

2. BATMAN.  I’m too young to remember the insane hype over this movie, but this is still an incredible achievement of making a dark (for the time) realistic comic book movie.

1. INDIANA JONES LAST CRUSADE.  A perfect movie.  As a kid this was my favorite Indy movie.  As an adult I favor Raiders, but Indy and his dad remains the perfect comedy team.

1988.

5. SCROOGED. Haven’t seen it in forever but I remember it being a great blend of funny and creepy.

4. BEETLEJUICE.  Haven’t seen it since childhood but it was a hilariously dark comedy.

3. WILLOW.  George Lucas rips off Lord of the Rings, what’s not to love?

2. DIE HARD. The invention of the modern action movie.  Classic for a reason.

1. ROGER RABBIT. An astonishing blend of live action, animation, and a murder’s row of different franchises.  It’s a miracle this movie exists and it is perfection.

Movie Rankings: 1993, 1992, 1991

1993.

5. THE FUGITIVE. I recall this being a great action thriller.

4. LAST ACTION HERO. I actually hated this movie as a kid, but as an adult I appreciate how it is a parody of action movies.

3. DEMOLITION MAN. Classically ridiculous sci-fi action.

2. ARMY OF DARKNESS. This movie holds a special place in my heart.  It is so hilarious and intentionally ridiculous while also being an epic period piece war film.  Bruce Campbell’s greatest showing in anything.

1. JURASSIC PARK.  One of the greatest movies ever made.

1992.

5. RESERVOIR DOGS. Tarentino’s first film is low budget but still engrossing.

4. ALIEN 3. A massive disappointment after Aliens on every level, but technically impressive.

3. LETHAL WEAPON 3. The weakest of the series but still hilarious.

2. ALADDIN. The second greatest Disney cartoon ever!

1. BATMAN RETURNS.  This movie was huge when I was a kid, particularly since I don’t remember the original movie’s release.  It’s full of classic Burton weirdness.

1991.

5. ROBIN HOOD. I loved this movie as a kid.  Tons of great humor and action.

4. NINJA TURTLES 2.  This was my all time favorite movie as a kid.  The nostalgia is overpowering.

3. HOOK.  A vastly underappreciated movie.  Peak Spielberg with gorgeous production design, humor, and action.  Dustin Hoffman was a fascinatingly ridiculous Captain Hook but I also found the abduction scene terrifying as a kid.

2. STAR TREK 6.  My favorite Trek movie.  Love the Cold War parallel.  In addition to telling a vitally important turning point in Trek history, it also looks incredible and has great humor and character work.

1. TERMINATOR 2.  One of the greatest action movies ever made.  Perfection.

Movie Rankings: 1996, 1995, 1994

1996.

10. EXECUTIVE DECISION. I vaguely recall enjoying this.

9. ERASER. Same.

8. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. I think this is overrated but there are some classic bits in it.

7. MARS ATTACKS. A legitimately hilarious parody of alien invasion movies full of so many stars.

6. SCREAM. The classic that redefined horror.

5. LONG KISS GOODNIGHT. I remember this being a really funny movie with great action.

4. FRIGHTENERS. Peter Jackson makes a classic horror comedy action adventure full of great characters and action scenes.

3. STAR TREK FIRST CONTACT. The best TNG movie.  Seeing the Borg on screen was great.

2. THE ROCK. Classic Michael Bay!

1. INDEPENDENCE DAY. This movie was as big as Star Wars for me as a teenager.  The ultimate popcorn thriller, even if it’s ridiculous and silly at times.

1995.

10. BAD BOYS. Pretty forgettable Michael Bay movie.

9. ACE VENTURA 2. This was the funniest movie ever made for teenage me.

8. OUTBREAK. I just saw this again and it’s a great medical thriller.

7. USUAL SUSPECTS. I recall this being an exceptionally great mystery thriller.

6. 12 MONKEYS. Dark and disturbing but classic time travel sci-fi.

5. JUDGE DREDD. I adore this ridiculous comic book hamfest.

4. BATMAN FOREVER. Too cartoony but still a good Batman adventure.

3. GOLDENEYE. I did not like this movie as a kid but I appreciate it now as an expert reboot with a great hero, villain, and set pieces.

2. WATERWORLD. I legitimately loved this movie as a kid.  The on-water filming remains an incredible achievement and Dennis Hopper was a hilarious bad guy.

1. DIE HARD 3. I absolutely love this movie.  One of my all time favorite action movies.  Great story and villain and full of amazing on location NYC filming.

1994.

10. LEON THE PROFESSIONAL. I’m afraid to watch this movie under a modern lens but it was a really moving action thriller as a teenager with a star-making role for Natalie Portman.

9. THE SHADOW. I’m a sucker for 30s era action adventure and this is a great one.

8. STAR TREK GENERATIONS. Not a very strong Star Trek movie but it’s cool to see the TNG cast in a movie for the first time.

7. PULP FICTION. A ground breaking classic that in addition to an arthouse film manages to be funny and entertaining at the same time.

6. CLERKS. Kevin Smith’s greatest film and another paradigm shift for movies.  Plus, it’s hilarious.

5. MAVERICK. Pure fun.  Mel Gibson at his most charming.

4. TRUE LIES. Not my favorite James Cameron movie by far but still a Cameron movie.

3. STARGATE. Loved this as a kid.

2. LION KING. Disney’s best animated feature.

1. SPEED. One of the great action movies of all time.

Movie Rankings: 1999, 1998, 1997

1999:

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!

1998.

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.

1997.

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).

FULL MOVIE SPOILERS BELOW

.

.

.

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.

THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY by John Scalzi

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!

STAR WARS HIGH REPUBLIC FALLEN STAR by Claudia Gray

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.

Movie Rankings: 2002, 2001, 2000

2002.

10. SIGNS. This is still my favorite M. Night movie.  It had a solid moving story, it was legitimately scary, and the ending was great.

9. TREASURE PLANET. Highly underrated Disney classic with gorgeous animation and design.

8. LILO AND SITCH.  Stitch is probably my favorite Disney character.

7. BLADE II. The first movie was a shocking surprise just for being a watchable comic book movie, the first ever, but the sequel blows it out of the water thanks to Guillermo Del Toro.  Everything about this movie works!

6. STAR TREK NEMESIS.  I actually like this movie!  It’s got a solid villain and some cinematic action sequences, which is more than can be said for most Trek movies.  I think it’s unfairly vilified.

5. SPIDER-MAN.  Unpopular opinion: this movie is good but not great.  Tobey is not my favorite Spidey, he barely cracks jokes in the suit, the Green Goblin Power Ranger looks dumb, and way too much time is spent on the origin story.

4. HARRY POTTER CHAMBER SECRETS. This movie had much more plot, action, and drama than the first movie, which was mostly a series of character introductions and classroom scenes.  It’s still unnecessarily long, however.

3. MINORITY REPORT.  This is mostly a perfect movie with astonishing concepts, visuals, and action scenes.  Spielberg at his best.  It only falters with the final act.  A fascinating vision of the future.

2. STAR WARS ATTACK OF THE CLONES.  Oh, how it pains me to list a Star Wars movie in second place!  I actually do like this movie more than most.  While the Anakin/Padme romance is very bad, everything else is great.  This is a better movie than TPM in a lot of ways.  The action scenes are absolutely iconic; Coruscant speeder chase!  Asteroid field chase!  Obi vs. Jango!  Battle of Geonosis!  Yoda vs. Dooku!  The overuse of CGI does look pretty dodgy by modern day standards unfortunately.

1. TWO TOWERS.  Star Wars is my first love, but LOTR is a very close second.  FOTR was a deeply meaningful movie for me, seeing my beloved book on film for the first time, and this just deepened that love with major battle sequences the first film lacked.

2001.

10. JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK.  Clerks is the best Kevin Smith, but this one is the most fun.  A hilarious crossover melding together all four previous movies.

9. JURASSIC PARK III.  Oh, what a disappointment after the first two!  It’s not a bad movie, but it’s just a small-scale story following a handful of people with none of the scope or meaning of the previous films.

8. TOMB RAIDER.  The first ever good video game movie!  It’s actually fun!

7. BLACK HAWK DOWN.  A classic and realistic war is hell movie.

6. ATLANTIS LOST EMPIRE.  One of the most underrated Disney films ever.  Atlantis is my all time favorite myth and the Mignolia art design was gorgeous.  I love this movie!

5. HARRY POTTER 1.  It’s one of my all time favorite franchises but the first movie is glacially slow.  It’s a series of character introductions and schoolroom scenes.

4. MONSTERS INC. One of Pixar’s best.  I particularly love how the entire thing is a metaphor for the oil crisis.

3. OCEAN’S ELEVEN.  A perfect movie of intricate plotting, twists, style, humor, character, and celebrity.  

2. THE MUMMY RETURNS.  I think this is almost as good as the original.  Even the annoying little kid works.

1. FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.  The movie I have seen the most times in a theater in my life.  My favorite childhood book on the screen for the first time.  Pure magic.

2000.

10. CROUCHING TIGER. I haven’t seen this in decades but I remember it being amazing.

9. GLADIATOR. A great realistic history lesson in addition to a thrilling revenge story.

8. SCREAM 3. I recall this being a good ending to the trilogy.

7. SHANGHAI NOON. The first movie was just ok but I remember this being a legimately fun action comedy.

6. EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE. A hilarious Disney classic.

5. PITCH BLACK.  A wonderful original sci-fi horror adventure that gave the world Vin Diesel.

4. TITAN AE. I love this movie!  Great underappreciated!

3. CHARLIE’S ANGELS. An incredibly fun action romp with truly great action scenes.

2. X-MEN. A crowning achievement as the first good comic book movie (not counting Blade which doesn’t look like a comic).

1. O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU. This is still my favorite Cohen Brothers movie.  It is a perfect combination of hilarious comedy, period piece drama, one of the best soundtracks ever, Clooney’s best performance, an adaptation of the Odyssey, and a showdown with the devil.

Movie Rankings: 2005, 2004, 2003

2005.

10. THE ISLAND.  Is it the best Michael Bay movie?  No.  Does it have tons of gorgeous over the top action set pieces with a sci-fi twist that nonetheless look absolutely realistic?  Oh yes!  And the story was pretty interesting to boot.

9. KING KONG.  I dearly love Peter Jackson and his films.  There is an amazing 90 minute adventure movie lurking inside this bloated beast.  That half of the movie I absolutely love.  The action scenes on Skull Island are classic PJ.  But the other half of the movie, full of ponderous character scenes starring characters I don’t care about, completely drags it down.  LOTR earned the right to be three hours long, but this did not.

8. NARNIA. I haven’t seen these in forever but I recall the first one being very good.

7. SIN CITY.  Haven’t seen it in years but I recall it being amazing and an astonishing achievement at being a shot for shot recreation of a comic book.

6. HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE.  It took a lot of liberties with the source material, but I found the changes to be a necessary evil in order to make a functioning movie.  I think it honored the spirit of the book and did the best job possible.

5. WAR OF THE WORLDS.  Another movie I haven’t seen in years, but I remember it being an instant classic.

4. BATMAN BEGINS.  After Batman and Robin, my hopes for this movie, a drawn out ‘realistic’ origin story, were low.  But it does an astonishing job at making a well-worn rehashed tale interesting and gripping.  It made me actually care about Bruce before he put on the mask.

3. SERENITY.  I enjoyed Firefly but also thought it was mildly overrated.  The movie, however, is a perfect summation of the property and a great story in every respect.  Peak J*ss Wh*don.

2. HARRY POTTER GOBLET FIRE.  I haven’t seen these movies in years but I do remember this being a great one, though a let down after the amazing Azkaban.

1. STAR WARS REVENGE OF THE SITH.  Was there any doubt?  This movie had an impossible task of wrapping up a six movie franchise, being the final Star Wars movie made for all time, and delivering on all the hanging questions set up by the first two movies and endless tie-in material.  I think it does a great job!  This is my favorite SW movie.  It’s not perfect (the character work and dialogue is not ideal), but the sheer volume of characters and plot and action and events and worlds and aliens and detail is just mind-blowing.  And on a personal level, it succeeds just for having a massive fight between my two favorite characters, Yoda and Sidious!


2004.

10. SHAUN OF THE DEAD.  I think this movie is overrated, it’s just a zombie movie, but Edgar Wright certainly added astonishing visual flair.

9. DAY AFTER TOMORROW.  Not a great movie, but a fun disaster movie.

8. CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK.  I actually really enjoy the setting and concepts in this movie and I’m sad we never got to see a continuation.

7. SKY CAPTAIN.  A very fun low budget green screen Indiana Jones pulp adventure.

6. VAN HELSING.  I actually like this movie!  It’s no The Mummy but it’s got a lot of fun sequences and it’s great seeing all the classic monsters interacting with each other.

5. I ROBOT.  Another better than expected movie with some really neat set pieces.

4. KILL BILL 2.  A vast, vast disappointment after the superlative first chapter.  There’s not a single big set piece in this movie, it’s all smaller character conflict.  There’s no spectacle.

3. HELLBOY.  This is one of my all time favorite comic books, and this is half of a good adaptation.  It’s also half of new, traditional, newbie friendly material.

2. THE INCREDIBLES.  A perfect Pixar movie and a great superhero adventure.  At the time it was ground breaking, but now we have a gluttony of great superhero films.

1. HARRY POTTER PRISONER AZKABAN.  Alfonso Cuaron made the best looking and most stylish chapter in the entire saga.  This is where the story, and the series, gets great.


2003.

10. SINBAD.  A forgotten animated classic.

9. TOMB RAIDER 2. About as good as the first one.

8. TERMINATOR 3.  Nothing can ever touch T2 but this is a very solid movie on its own merits.  There are a lot of great action scenes and the ending reveal that they were never going to stop Judgment Day, only survive it in hiding, was beautiful.

7. X-MEN 2.  I think this movie is great but overrated.  There are great sequences within it, and it’s better than the first, but it still lacks strong villains.  Fighting humans is never interesting.

6. KILL BILL 1.  My favorite Quentin Tarentino movie.  A classic of truly inventive action and style.

5. MATRIX REVOLUTIONS.  A deeply disappointing conclusion to a classic trilogy.  The majority of the movie doesn’t take place in the Matrix and the big battle of Zion stars C list characters.  But it’s still a solid ending.

4. FINDING NEMO.  My favorite Pixar movie.  Every moment is iconic and classic.

3. PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN.  A shockingly good movie.  A perfect comedy adventure.

2. MATRIX RELOADED.  Another perfect movie that expands on the original in so many wonderful ways.  The action is astounding and classic and the plot twist at the end is an all-timer.

1. RETURN OF THE KING.  But nothing can top the conclusion of LOTR.