Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The 2015 Movies I Didn't See

Traditionally I'd end the year with a summary post featuring my favorite Miss Media Junkie highlights of the year, or a post on my favorite classic films that I watched during the year.  However, with my posting count cut in half over the past two years, and my rate of watching classic films currently embarrassingly low, I don't feel that it's appropriate for me to be watching either of those posts.  Over the past few weeks I've been obsessively working on the list of all the 2015 films that I still want to see - and with the critics' lists coming out there have been plenty of new additions.  However, I thought it might be interesting to talk about some of the films that I've made a conscious decision to leave off for one reason or another.

So below are ten movies that didn't make the cut this year, where I actually did have to think about whether or not I wanted to see them.  I reserve the right to revisit and reverse these decisions in the future, particularly if they involve a long flight or an intractable online argument.  I've also left off "Fifty Shades of Grey," because I think I've written enough about not seeing that movie already.

"Goodnight, Mommy" - Austria's submission for the Best Foreign Language film Oscar this year is the highly acclaimed horror/thriller about a pair of twin boys trapped in a house with a convalescing woman they suspect is not really their mother.  I've already had this one thoroughly spoiled for me, and frankly there are way too many plot details that I cringed at.  In another year I might have forced myself to sit through this, but I just can't see the point today.

"Terminator: Genisys" - Oh, Arnold.  I'm happy that you're back with this franchise.  I really am.  However, after a couple of lackluster, spoiler-heavy trailers, middling reviews, and apathetic audience reactions, I couldn't muster up any excitement for this.  Maybe if they'd gotten a few of the other actors from previous installments back, or maybe if they'd gone for a more straightforward sequel instead of this screwy timeline rewrite, I could have latched on to something.

"Home" - A DreamWorks original from back in March.  I like that this one features a minority kid as a main character and contained some interesting concepts, but I couldn't get over how generic it looked.  Do the aliens look liked poor knockoffs of the three-eyed  "Toy Story" aliens to anybody else?  The preview short released last year, "Almost Home" sealed it for me that the humor wasn't working for me.  I'm glad it made money for the studio, but I'm leaving this to the kids.

"Child 44" and "Dark Places" - Two darker crime melodramas that I would have watched in the past simply based on the talent involved, and because I like the genre.  "Child 44" has Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace starring, while "Dark Places" has Charlize Theron and was based on a novel by "Gone Girl" author Gillian Flynn.  However, from the way their releases were treated and the sad critical reception they received, clearly nobody had faith in either of these movies.

"Maggie" - Arnold again.  More importantly, zombies again.  I'm so sick of zombies.  Sure, this one had a new twist on the concept and offered some character drama, but the thought of sitting through another bleak movie about a zombie apocalypse really put me off.  Also, I love Arnold, but serious, dramatic Arnold only works for me in certain projects.  If this had been our usual ass-kicking, gun-toting Arnold, I would have been onboard for "Maggie" in a second.  

"Hot Pursuit" - I keep rooting for Reese Witherspoon to hang on to her A-lister status, but I don't know if Hollywood is making the kinds of movies that really suit her talents anymore.  The trailers with her and Sofia Vergara flailing around were pretty painful.  Vergara's very talented, but not great in large doses.  Witherspoon looked out of her depth.  As much as I'm all for girl power and female solidarity, I had to draw the line.  Better luck next time ladies.

"Southpaw" - A boxing melodrama with Jake Gyllenhaal was s a tough sell from the start.  Not because I don't like Gyllenhaal, but because this kind of material does nothing for me.  During the schmaltzy trailer I kept flashing back to the MMA drama "Warrior," which bored me to death, and "Cinderella Man," which I don't think I watched all the way through.  This stayed on the list for a while just because it was so high profile, but after the middling reviews I cut it loose.

"Secret in Their Eyes" - I respected but wasn't all that fond of the original "The Secret in Their Eyes," which won an Oscar back in 2009.  The prospect of an English language remake initially didn't sound so bad.  Billy Ray's a solid director and the cast is full of strong talents, including Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Yet again, it was the trailer that decided things for me.  It just felt like a watered down, colorless imitation of the original film.

"Mustang" - I'm still wrestling with this one.  "Mustang" is the Turkish drama that has been chosen to be France's Best Foreign Language submission for this year's Oscars.  It's about five orphaned Muslim sisters who struggle against the restrictions forced on them by their insular community as they grow up.  Rape, forced marriage, and suicide are plot points.  This sounds soul-crushingly sad, and I'm not sure if I have the guts for this one.  Maybe next year.

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