Roar (1981) – When the first character came on screen, cavorting with a bunch of lions (who, the internet tells me, gave him gangrene from all the maulings he endured)–and probably riding a bike or something, I don’t remember–someone asked who that guy was. The answer was simply “Todd.” It was not the name the screenwriter gave him (if it can be said this movie was written), but it was the most fitting name: Todd. As the movie progressed, it became clear that nearly everyone was Todd.
Sure, there are some perfectly lovely Todds out there. Todds who don’t invite their wife, Todd, and their children, Todd, Todd, and Todd to visit his haphazardly run big cat sanctuary in… Africa, I guess? There are Todds who don’t sneak through a cat-overrun house to find their brother Todd and then split up on their way to meet the other Todds. There are probably Todds who don’t hide in cabinetry, all of which gets knocked over by lions on a Todd hunt. I’m sure most real-world Todds don’t repeatedly abandon the only black person they know (mercifully not also a Todd) with an angry tiger and an umbrella (or a shirt to wave) for his defense.
According to the press, over 70 Todds were injured in the making of this movie. Way to go, Todd.
High Anxiety (1977) – This is also a Mel Brooks movie. I bought a box set of Mel Brooks Blu-Rays, so here’s this. Of Brooks’s parodies, this is easily the best I’ve seen, but it probably helps to really like Hitchcock. If you like Mel Brooks and Alfred Hitchcock, I guess see High Anxiety.
History of the World: Part I (1981) – Here we begin a huge effort to make up for the days I missed while on vacation. History of the World: Part I is a Mel Brooks movie. That’s about all there is to it. If you’ve seen one, you know. He’s not exactly trying new things or innovating comedy. If you like Mel Brooks, this is Mel Brooks. If you don’t like Mel Brooks, watch something else.
Bamboozled (2000) – Not my favorite work from Spike Lee, but something tells me Spike Lee doesn’t care what I think. I feel like there are some really important points to be made here, but it gets lost in the same kind of parody of media that made me dislike things like Shock Treatment. I can’t fault anyone for anything they did here, but I would have happily watched a documentary about blackface, which we were almost given in the form of a montage at the end.
The Black Hole (1979) – Pretty good for ’70s scifi. Not much to say here, I guess. It’s good, but not really trying anything novel with the genre. Everyone did a competent job. Well done, everybody.
The Way We Were (1973) – Well, it’s no wonder this was nominated for six Oscars, winning two. Hollywood loves period pieces, politics, and talking about Hollywood. Combine the two and talk about how Hollywood was totally politically wronged at some point in history, and you got yourself an instant classic.
I’m behind by about five movies, so these next few might be a little hastily thrown together. Sorry.
Rogue One (2016) – I think, perhaps, to avoid burning out on Star Wars the same way I burned out on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I will not bother watching any more of the Anthology series, and just stick to the main series. Why does everything have to get shown explicitly? Can’t we just understand that the plans were stolen without a two-hour on-screen fight?
Norm of the North (2016) – I like to expand my horizons by including at least one movie I think I’ll hate. Norm of the North was described to me as one of the worst movies of 2016, and it really lives up to those expectations. Based on what I’ve seen, it could be one of the worst movies of the 2010s, and that includes God’s Not Dead.
I had heard good things about the book this was based on, but if this is truly in any way based on that book, I think I’ll pass on reading the book.
Put as simply as I can think, it’s lazy and cheap in every way. Cheap would at least be excusable if there were any sign of effort. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves, except possibly Rob Schneider, who is clearly incapable of shame, and may have done his finest work ever here.
The Iron Giant (1999) – Why does this feel like it came out much earlier than 1999? Or is it that 1999 isn’t all that recent any more? If this movie were a person, it would be graduating from high school this year.
Anyway, it’s nice to feel good about things again, so a little bit of lighthearted fluff about a boy and his robot friend was a welcome change of pace.
Moonlight (2016) – As a full-time, amateur smartass, I have a hard time making any commentary on Moonlight. There’s a lot I’ll never really understand about growing up black, but I can at least identify to some degree with growing up gay in a culture that punishes that. Still, I worry that anything I say here could easily drift into the flippant or even just insufficient. I’ve only seen one other Best Picture nominee this year, but I’m pretty confident saying they made the right call for once. I’m sure they’ll get back to congratulating themselves for being good people in no time.