Another of my New Year’s resolutions at the start of 2015 was to keep a movie log. This was (is) primarily inspired by Stephen Soderbergh’s meticulous log of both things he’s seen and read with dates and number of episodes watched, etc. But surely other critics whose work I read keep similar logs and it seemed like a good habit to get into.
For the record: I saw 92 movies last year, 17 of which were released in 2015. I saw the majority of them before June, then I really fell off, so I hope to set a good pace and keep it going for 2016. I wrote about 28 movies, which is more than I’ve written about anything ever before. I surprised myself by how much I had to say about Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron and superhero movies in general. I surprised myself by some of the movies I didn’t plan on writing about, but after watching decided I had to write about such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. I surprised myself by how quick 1000 words goes and how long 5000 words is (too long).
Anyway, I kept things pretty straightforward and rigid with my movie blogs last year because I wanted them to look and feel like any film writing you might come across on your casual stroll through the internet looking to read about a movie. But this year one of my goals is to blog more along the lines of my train of thought (we’ll get to Inside Out in a bit) to hopefully strike more of a balance between personal and professional. Maybe you’ll learn something about me and maybe I’ll learn even more about myself. Thanks for reading and I hope you will continue to do so.
I didn’t expect to start the year off with Spectre, but I did and that’s the only reason I’m writing about it. Poor Spectre; more or less doomed from the start. Remember the Sony Hack? Early versions of the Spectre script leaked and though I avoided spoilers at the time, I did however know that many (including the studio execs) found it lacking. By the time November 2015 rolled around I had very little interest in getting to a theatre to see it, and then movies like Creed and Spotlight took over the conversation.
Still, Spectre managed to rake in over $850 million worldwide, only $200M of which was in the United States. Unfortunately I don’t have much good to say about the 24th Bond installment, and I like to think of this as a place of positivity, so I won’t say much more at all. But I will say that I’m willing to give Sam Mendez, Daniel Craig, and Christoph Waltz one more chance (as has been rumored) to make good before they hand it all off to someone else. Perhaps they’re just getting started.
I’m sure I’m not the first but I can’t take my mind off of Pixar’s latest gem, Inside Out. Which is fitting because (if you, like me, don’t have children and haven’t yet seen it) the majority of the movie takes place inside the mind of young Riley; an 11 year old Minnesota girl, hockey skills and all, whose family relatively suddenly decides to move to San Francisco for her father’s start up company — classic.
In the early going Pixar does a beautiful job of introducing the concept and developing the character as we literally watch Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) grow up. Naturally, as Riley grows she makes memories, the first of which we meet is Joy (Amy Poehler) followed closely by Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Lewis Black), and Anger (Mindy Kaling).
Delightfulness of the cast and characters aside, I was as impressed by how Pixar developed a framework for spending so much time in Riley’s head through an accurate model for how the mind works. I’ll leave the rest to the movie but the journey we’re taken on through the depths of the mind of an emotional 11 year old is unique and refreshing and emotionally wrecking for viewers of all ages — as Pixar does. It has much to teach about the mind, our emotions, and how we develop over time with deeper considerations for those old enough to consider them. Personally, I’ve been stuck on what’s no longer running around in my Imagination Land and all the things locked away in my Subconscious Basement. However those are blog posts for another day, or probably an entirely different blog, but I digress: if you don’t like Inside Out then maybe you should find a way to get Cynicism off the controls for a little while.