I write these posts every year to sort out my feelings toward some of the more prominent movies I've made a conscious decision to skip watching. I'm working through the last handful of 2018 films on my "To Watch" list, mostly foreign films with later domestic releases. However, as my Top Ten list has mostly solidified, and the queue of 2019 films is only getting longer, it's time to make some decisions.
Below are eight movies that didn't make the cut this year. I reserve the right to revisit and reverse my viewing choices in the future. However, I still haven't watched anything from last year's list.
Love, Simon - It's the first mainstream young adult romance featuring an LGBT lead character! That's great! This is the kind of movie that needs support! Except that I'm not a fan of studio produced romance films in general, especially not the young adult stuff. And the reviews, while kind, have pointed to this being perfectly average as a film. In short, it's potential airplane viewing. Not something I'm going to make time for.
On the Basis of Sex - I'm not averse to a good biopic about a legal giant now and again. But it's directed by Mimi Leder? Felicity Jones is played Ruth Bader Ginsburg? I don't know what it is about Felicity Jones, but her screen presence immediately puts me on guard. I wrestled with this for a while before ultimately deciding that I could skip it. There's been little awards attention, reviews are middling, and I've already seen the "RBG" documentary.
The Front Runner - Oh, boy. This is another prestige pic that never generated much interest despite its timely subject matter and cast of familiar names. Still, it had decent critical notices and Jason Reitman did a good job with "Tully" earlier in the year. I could go in fresh, not really knowing much about the Gary Hart scandal. On the other hand, the awards heaped on the awful "Vice"this season have soured me on political films for a while.
Mowgli - A darker "Jungle Book" feature might be more true to the original book, but I was never honestly much of a fan of any version of the story to begin with. From the beginning I've thought of this movie as an odd passion project of Andy Serkis's, and found the behind the scenes drama of its production and distribution woes far more interesting than anything to do with the actual film. Like the "Grinch" remake, I can't give this a fair shake.
The Happytime Murders - Well, Brian Henson finally got his R-rated puppet noir. As much as I love the Muppets and many of the creatives involved in the project, I have no interest in actually sitting through this thing. The trailer satisfied any kind of curiosity I had about how the film ultimately came out. I fully support the Jim Henson folks in their quest to appeal to modern theatergoing audiences, but this was clearly a bg swing and a miss.
Let the Sunshine In - I am putting my foot down. I have watched too many European female midlife crisis movies recently and I haven't enjoyed any of them. I'm sorry Claire Denis, and I'm sorry Juliette Binoche, but I do not have the patience to go through another round of this aggravation. You're just going to have to wait another decade or two until I'm old enough to relate to your angst better. This clearly isn't the right time to get acquainted.
Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot - I still don't trust Gus van Sant. It's been a few years since the low that was "We Bought a Zoo," but I can't help having lingering doubts about where his head is. The plot is also one of those oddities that I'm not really sold on - Joaquin Phoenix plays a paralyzed man who copes with depression by drawing off-color cartoons. The fact that I haven't heard a word about this at awards time doesn't help either.
Assassination Nation - I was intrigued by the promises of violence and social justice satire, but responses to the movie have been mixed, and it bombed at the box office in September. It's not a good sign when a film selling itself as being provocative doesn't manage to elicit any sort of response from the wider media. I'm also very wary of writer/director Sam Levinson, whose debut feature was my pick for the worst film of 2011.