March was my favorite month of films so far! Not only was every movie new to me, I don’t think I regretted watching a single one! (okay, maybe one.) So I am taking advantage of spring break and sitting down to rank the movies I watched in March.
After I saw the movie Loving, I knew this would be the number one movie for this month, if not this entire year! One of my older brothers is about to become a lawyer and as such, my family has become more and more interested in law. So when there is a critically acclaimed film, that has to do with a famous Supreme Court ruling? Um….Pass the popcorn please. At the beginning, this film is very slow, and very quiet. We had to turn the volume almost all the way up. But you begin to get the idea that this is what the filmmakers wanted. There is a lot of ambience, including a demonstration between the sounds of town living, vs. country living without using any dialogue! The camera angles aren’t flashy or stylish. There are few if any, angry rants filled with profanity. It is instead, a very simple, very believable film about a man and a woman who wanted the legal and spiritual recognition of marriage. But the greatest irony of it is that they were not looking to expose the racism of the deep south. Honestly, they didn’t think it would be that big of an issue. And it is this simple plea, which makes the couple so endearing. The performances were amazing in this movie. I had only seen Joel Edgerton as the lovable dad in Disney’s The odd life of Timothy Green so seeing him as a blond blue eyed southerner, blew my mind. The simple, blue collar love story, and its historical ramifications make this film a very fascinating and heartwarming story.
2: Galaxy Quest
First off, I want to say that I watched this film edited and I recommend it edited. As a rule, I try not to watch things which take God’s name in vain. But I decided to make an exception and was rewarded with an otherwise fairly clean comedy. With a great cast of supporting characters, Tim Allen is able to shine, without the weight of carrying the movie. It also helps that he was coming off the success of Home Improvement and was at the top of his game. The film is funny, adventurous, and very memorable. It pokes fun at the Sci-Fi community, yet still catering towards that demographic. It’s an interesting balance, and something which I think serves the film really well. The dated CGI sticks out, but you still get sucked into the world. The story is clever, and gives the actors chances to over act for comedic value. It seems a little silly to say, but I actually miss the 90s, and early 2000s movies. In some ways, new movies climaxes are all about shots that are almost completely created using CGI. I miss the old days where you could see the actors actually act out the climax between the hero and villain without them just standing in front of a green screen to deliver a little dialogue before cutting to an all CGI fight.
3: Pete’s Dragon (2016)
Well in the end, Pete’s Dragon was a letdown. Yet, it wasn’t. This movie really confused me. Not because the plot is intricate. It is extremely straight forward. But I didn’t love the movie as much as I wanted to. Critics loved it. While the film was being made, I followed the directors blog posts as he gave inside information about the project. I ended up over hyping the movie to where I was disappointed while I watched it. But as this movie continues to replay in my head, I begin to love it more and more. By the time I’m writing this post, I realize that the problems I had with this movie are becoming crystal clear: I was not the demographic. In a world where Pixar caters to young adults, and superhero movies are rated R, I found Pete’s Dragon to be dated…And in the end, that’s what won me over. This movie has an old-fashioned Disney feel. Filled with both the good and the bad. There are no innuendoes. It is rated for language, but the language is the phrase “Hellfire” which someone uses to describe the Dragon’s eyes. There was no romance story between the two kids. The body count was super low, except for the loss of parents at the beginning, and the film had morals. MORALS PEOPLE! That hasn’t happened in a Disney movie for far too long. They also used tranc darts, which I have advocated to be used in kid’s movies for years. The pace for the most part is laid back and sweet. It is very slow, and I wish there had been more dialogue but kids don’t want dialogue. They want shots of a boy playing hide and seek with a very magical dragon. And this movie delivered. I’d say it is one of the most family friendly offerings I have seen in a long time, and it reminded me of the old days when Disney didn’t make PG-13 films, and actually tried to have morals in their stories. In conclusion, though some of the acting is pretty bad, (looking at you Karl Urban) this movie will stick with me for a while and I can’t wait to see it again. Maybe this time with kids.
4: The Artist.
The older I’ve gotten, the more patient I’ve become. Which comes in handy when you’re watching a silent film. As a fan of the old Hollywood, I’ve wanted to see this film for a while. At the start, this movie is slow, and it takes a while to get into it. But once you do, it is a truly special experience. And I’m not just saying that to sound trendy or artsy (if I had wanted to sound that way, I would have watched it when it first came out.) The camera angles, the expressive looks, and the growing pains that Hollywood went through to adjust to talking pictures all make for great filmmaking. While rated Pg-13, this movie is fairly clean. There is a rude hand gesture, but truth be told, it got the rating for the depression, suicide attempt, and the historical smoking. And some cursing. While I disliked the score of the film at the beginning, you begin to enjoy itif you turn up the volume (which sounds funny considering it’s a silent film) All in all, this is a well put together film and it is fun to see that there are still classy movies out there.
5: Secret Life of Pets
Minions was a disappointment. Secret Life of Pets was a disappointment. Let’s hope Sing, and Despicable Me 3 hold up, because otherwise I’m starting to think Illumination Entertainment is losing its touch. Secret Life of Pets isn’t all bad. The concept of what do your pets do when you leave for the day has a nice twist on the Toy Story concept. Yet, it turns out what pets do while you’re away, is encounter vicious animals who are planning on killing humans. Yeah, not the greatest plot I’ve ever heard. The dark, violent tone doesn’t fit the ultra-bright colors. The beginning and the end, are what you except it to be. Exploring the stereotypes of pets, while bringing some funny twists. Also, I have to address a pet peeve (pun intended) of mine. If you open a movie with narration, END with narration. If the main character can introduce everyone to the story world, then they can give you a conclusion. Yet, despite these shortcomings, there are some good moments in the movie and I don’t regret watching it. Mainly because I have wanted to see this movie no matter what, so better to get it over with and satisfy my curiosity.
6: Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd dimension.
While my family had Netflix, I decided to properly give Phineas and Ferb a try. While taking my science class, ten minute Phineas and Ferb episodes were great “brain-emptiers.” The wacky, show is a lot like Veggietales, but you know….without the morals and Bible lessons. After watching as many episodes as I could, I decided to watch the movie. There’s not much to talk about this one. It’s funny, drags in the middle, but has lots of callbacks to previous episodes and gave me some closure. Whether I needed it or not.
7: Apostles of Comedy.
I love Christian comedy more than most people. In fact, if it weren’t for stage fright and a dislike for travel I would totally give it a try. But alas, I am content to watch and listen to Christian comedy instead. Writing this review is hard because I can’t think of how to write about this without criticizing Brad Stine. Ron Pearson and Jeff Allen are some of the best comedians in the business. And I found Anthony Griffin to be hilarious on stage, as well as heartbreaking off stage with his testimony. The only reason Apostles of Comedy is lower on this list is because Brad Stine is just not my cup of tea. I could go into detail, but let’s just say I didn’t laugh during any of his performances. If he was a secular comedian I would be more critical, but if he is called by God to do this work, then it is none of my business to criticize!
8: The Public Enemy.
Curiosity killed the cat. Curiosity is also what led me to watch this James Cagney Gangster film. Made in 1931, this movie has not aged gracefully. It is also pre-code which means it is not the squeaky clean old movies that I usually watch. Most of the acting is either stagey, or over the top from the silent film era. The dialogue has some good moments and you can see the stereotypes being made as this film continues. But this is not a movie I recommend watching. And this is the movie I regret watching. There are plenty of other classics that are worth watching over this one.
So in conclusion I’m gonna add three movies to be considered for the best film I saw this year. Those movies are
Loving Galaxy Quest Pete’s Dragon