It’s my end of the year favorite films and television post. A reminder in case you’re new to this: these are films and television shows that I watched for the first time this year, not material that came out this year. I like all these and would recommend them to you. Without further ado, then, under the cut.
Ash Versus Evil Dead Season 1. Because I’m classy like that. No, I like this because it manages to capture the unique alchemy of the early Raimi films perfectly. And it’s waaaayyyy over the top.
Daniel Deronda. This is a production of the novel from the 90s. Many of the characters are reprehensible. Heck, everyone except Daniel may be reprehensible. But Daniel is an amazing character with a strong moral core, so you may wish to consider this as a read or find a version on film. Good stuff.
Dr. Strange. Yeah, well, hey, I’ve been waiting for this one since I was about 18. Not uniformly strong throughout, but striking images and solid acting made this a winner for me.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I was prepared to dislike this, but the more I think about it, the more it not only appeals to my sense of the nostalgic, but it also grows on me. Excellent supporting romance, and Newt is complex enough to make it worth the viewing.
Heathers. Yeah. Okay. I didn’t see this in the 80s. Easily one of Winona Ryder’s best performances. I love the idea of killing a bunch of girls named Heather. The comedy is dark, but it’s a story of self-discovery and strength. If you are one of the other five people who hasn’t seen it, or you weren’t born in the 80s, give it a whirl. Dig the hair and should pads.
Leverage. I watched all 7 seasons of leverage this year. Yes, it does descend into standard television network fair, but it also has quirky compelling characters and some overarching plot lines. It’s a time commitment, but it’s a worthwhile one.
The Little Prince. Netflix did an animated Little Prince, framing it with a modern story about a little girl. The animation is a stop motion style that looks like it was made out of paper. I was captivated.
Moonrise Kingdom. Another one I was late on, but Wes Anderson strikes again. Super quirky and stylized.
Pete’s Dragon. The new one. Yes, okay, it was a little sappy. Yet, the special effects were solid and the acting was earnest. So, take your kids or get it for them on a rental.
There Will Be Blood. Man. Daniel Day Lewis. Never doubting you as an actor again. A horrible man goes through life being horrible in the pursuit of oil. Mostly, it centers around his relationship with his son and with a community religious figure. There ain’t no good guy. There ain’t no bad guy. Wow.