Every year, we here at Gabbing Geek do a big “Year of Anticipation” post where we toss a bunch of stuff we know is coming in the coming year up and say how much we may or may not be looking forward to it.
Well, at the end of the year, we revisit those selections and see how they ultimately turned out. We started it on New Years and end it on New Year’s Eve.
Wanna see what we thought before? Go here. Wanna see how we may or may not have changed our minds? Or at least just Jimmy and myself because everyone else was too busy this year? Keep reading…
Movies are usually our biggest section because we know a lot of them are coming out well in advance for a wide variety of reasons. And, let’s face it, most of everything is average by definition. So, let’s see how we went with our highs and lows for the silver screen in 2019.
Tom says: Well, at the least, M. Night Shamylan is back in form with a disappointing movie. That’s too bad. As the conclusion to his trilogy, I thought there was hope since the first two were really good. That said, James McAvoy really killed it as always and Sam Jackson gave a rare (for him) understated performance. Too bad Bruce Willis looked like he always does as if he had somewhere else he’d rather be.
Tom says: This was a decent enough comedy. Seth Rogen is basically Seth Rogen, but Charlize Theron brought her A-game to a standard Seth Rogen comedy.
The Lego Movie 2
Tom says: This wasn’t bad, I suppose, but as I sit here typing this up, I can’t really remember much about it. More of the same as last time, but without the charm of originality.
Alita: Battle Angel
Tom says: The Internet really took to this one for some reason. I think some of it was connected to some kind of Captain Marvel backlash. But this was just such an odd movie, and I think the reason so many took to it was because it was so odd. I will give points to Rosa Salazar for giving a charming performance, but hers was the only one that really stood out.
How to Train Your Dragon 3
Tom says: I decided to catch up on this series before the third, and from the looks of thing final, installment came out. And you know what? I’m kinda glad I did. This was a charming set of kids movies.
Tom says: I had to see this one twice, not because I loved it but because I didn’t care for it much at all the first time. But I saw how other people, many of whom I generally trust the taste of, were reacting and thought maybe I should try again when I don’t have a headache after a long day. I’m actually glad I did. While not one of Marvel’s best, it is a good introduction to the character of Carol Danvers. True, she spent most of the movie with varying levels of amnesia, so I’m not sure how much we’ve actually seen of the real Carol yet, but I wouldn’t mind finding out. Though I do wonder how many people remember it after Endgame came out.
Jimmy says: It was perfectly cormulent. I fear that Marvel has introduced it’s own version of The Superman Problem, hence she disappears for 4/5ths of Endgame, but time will tell.
Tom says: Jordan Peele doesn’t like to do things the easy way, does he? He really wants to challenge his audience which may be why his second film got a bit of heat from audiences who were maybe not too pleased when he suggested the real bad guys might be, well, anyone who sees the movie in an American society of haves, have somes, and have lesses. Me, I dug the hell out of this one.
Tom says: Here we are with the other Captain Marvel movie. The DCEU showed signs of life by basically mixing up the genres a bit and not caring so much for combined universes. The end result for Shazam! was a more modest, family-friendly superhero movie that is highly appropriate for the Big Red Cheese, complete with some good humor and nice moments, and a fun performance at the center from Zachary Levi.
Jimmy says: It was perfectly cormulent. Ok, I liked the other Captain Marvel movie better. This was fine, but I found it to be too kid centric for my tastes.
Tom says: The makers of this movie tried to give it the IT treatment by reviving a Stephen King property that already had a movie version and trying to make it even creepier. The results were a disappointing movie that was very exposition heavy and gave Jason Clarke, a normally reliable actor, nothing to work with for a character that had, like, nothing going on and did mostly as the plot required him to do. What a let-down, and not the first King-based let-down this year.
Tom says: David Harbour is a good choice for Hellboy, and I always like seeing Ian McShane in, well, anything. That’s all I can say I liked about this completely awful reboot.
Tom says: Now, this is how you close out a long story. While not a perfect movie, it’s got the right balance of surprise, character work, and fan service to make any Marvel fan happy, and if you’re even a mild MCU fan and weren’t at least a little awed by the portal scene at the end of the movie, you probably need to see a doctor because you may be dead inside.
Jimmy says: In a year that also saw the “end” of Game of Thrones and the Skywalker Saga, is it any surprise that Marvel was the only one to knock it out of the park? Given predecessors like Infinity War, GOT Season 7 and The Last Jedi, I guess we should have seen this one coming. Even the Ms. wanted to go back and see it in the theatre almost immediately, and she never does that.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
Tom says: Ryan Reynolds really makes this movie, and it’s mostly with his voice. This is a basically Deadpool for kids. Maybe not as fun as I was hoping, but I had a good time watching it. And I am not even the slightest bit a Pokemon fan.
John Wick Chapter 3–Parabellum
Tom says: You pretty much know what you’re going to get with a John Wick movie. Fortunately, it’s always fun and weird with some of the best action sequences committed to film on a routine basis. This movie had a scene featuring simultaneous gun-fu and dog-fu. That’s the sort of awesome you get whenever Mr. Wick comes to town.
Jimmy says: I like this franchise a lot. And I liked this 3rd installment, but I did find I was getting a bit fatigued. Some of the fight scenes went on too long and/or were too repetitive and they are really stretching the acceptability of suspension of belief. That said, I’m still looking forward to Chapter 4.
Tom says: More fantasy than reality in its depiction of the life of Elton John, I will say that for a movie produced by Elton John, it sure does spend a large portion of its runtime not making him look very good. But then there are his parents, especially his mom, who are somehow even worse. It’s a wonder Elton turned out as well as he did.
Jimmy says: I like a lot of Elton’s John’s classic rock songs, but I didn’t have much interest in seeing this. Especially when I learned it was more musical than bio-pic. But the Ms was interested so I gave it a shot. The opening musical number was everything I feared and I wondered what I had gotten myself into. But I hung in there, and it was worth it. The music is great, and while it feels “forced” at times to fit a given scenario, it is always entertaining.
Tom says: This one may have came and went for a lot of people, but I actually loved this movie. One of my favorites of the year, especially once I realized it’s basically Apocalypse Now in outer space.
Godzilla: King of Monsters
Tom says: On the other hand, what a disappointment this was. I’ve seen enough Japanese Godzilla movies to know most of them focus on bland and forgettable human characters and keep Godzilla in the background, and that 2014 American version did much the same, but somehow it was so much more boring in this one in a movie that also featured longtime Godzilla friends and foes Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah. What a waste.
Men in Black International
Tom says: I’m pretty sure of two things. 1) We only needed one Men in Black movie and 2) whoever made this one thought just sticking Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson onscreen together again was all they really needed to do and it isn’t.
Jimmy says: I agree with both of Tom’s points above. I like Hemsworth and at least the original MIB film, but I really only ended up seeing this because the night we went to see John Wick 3, it was sold out.
Toy Story 4
Tom says: On the one hand, this was about as unnecessary a sequel as you can get after the transcendent third installment. On the other hand, it actually was still a fairly charming movie that I chose to view as an epilogue to the previous three. It actually works pretty well if you look at it that way.
Jimmy says: I once again have to agree with everything Tom’s says here. Plus, I love Forky.
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Tom says: Any Spidey fan worth anything could have seen the surprise twist coming to this one, but that didn’t stop this movie from being a fun Spider-Man adventure.
Jimmy says: I didn’t like it as much as Homecoming, but it was still good. And yeah, the “plot twist” was hardly a surprise. And Ryan hated this film, which only goes to show how good it was.
Tom says: Of all the “live action” remakes Disney put out in 2019, I think Lion King may be the worst. True, Dumbo was probably a worse movie, but this one took all the animation, color, and movement out to use “live” animals without the ability to make facial expressions and tried to tell the exact same story as before. At least Dumbo tried a new story.
It Chapter 2
Tom says: While not awful, this sequel to the great first movie was something of a let down. True, Bill Hader steals every scene he’s in, and it could have been a lot worse, but this just didn’t work out right in the grand scheme of things.
Tom says: On the other hand, this sequel actually worked out really, really well, especially considering how long the wait between movies was (something the movie itself lampshades). It’s pretty much what you’d want from a Zombieland sequel, and I had a good time with it.
Tom says: Something about this one didn’t add up right, Will Smith was trying to be a typical Ang Lee protagonist when he should have been more of his usual self, and Ang Lee just wasn’t the right directorial fit for this movie. I will say the de-aging effects were pretty good, and seeing it in IMAX convinced me to see Budapest someday, so there’s that.
Terminator: Dark Fate
Tom says: Getting Arnold and Linda Hamilton back for a Terminator movie was nice, and there were some unexpected moments throughout the movie, but it was mostly a by-the-numbers Terminator film. There wasn’t really anything here I hadn’t seen before, though the new model Terminator was a rather impressive creation.
Jimmy says: This was excatly what I was afraid of from the trailer, a generic, unoriginal Terminator film. I’m a huge fan of the franchise (T2 is still my all time favorite film), but this ended up being completely unnecessary. It was nice to get the gang back together, too bad James Cameron didn’t direct instead of just being some guy that made story suggestions that were apparently ignored.
Tom says: I think everyone involved with this one knew they’d never match the original, especially for songs, so they tried to make up for it with more songs. Not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s just not the original.
Jumanji: The Next Level
Tom says: This was more or less the same thing as the charming previous movie. That was good enough for me. I don’t expect Fine Cinema from a Jumanji movie.
Jimmy says: The movie spends quite a bit of time making some crafty moves to avoid Sequelitis, but eventually falls into the trap and is exactly what you would expect this sequel to be. It’s still a decent pop corn flick, but lacking a lot of the charm, wit and originality of it’s predecessor. And definitely not as good as Thor: Ragnarok.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Tom says: Well this…happened. How can a movie that is almost two and a half hours long feel rushed? There was pretty much too much stuff in this one. Still largely enjoyable as far as I’m concerned, but besides undoing the more daring stuff from Last Jedi, this one basically just played it safe without giving us much of a reason to care for the new protagonists. And yet, it wasn’t a let down because I more or less expected that to happen…
Jimmy says: I think I enjoyed this the most out of the Gabbing Geek bullpen, but that’s not to say it is not without it’s problems. It’s easily the most predictable Star Wars film, and it will not hold up to scrutiny, especially from Rey and the big bad’s (trying to avoid spoilers, but if you’re reading this, you saw it) point of view. As I said in one of our Gabbing Geek chats, if you forget about the story and the other 8 films, it is perfectly enjoyable.
Tom says: Did I say Lion King was the worst above of Disney’s 2019 live action remakes? Dumbo gave it some real competition, and the only reason I won’t say it’s the worst is because at least Dumbo tried to tell a new story rather than just redo the old one.
Tom says: To say this Aladdin was the best of the Disney remakes this year is sort of damning it with faint praise. Aladdin was bland, Jafar wasn’t scary, and the story was nearly the same. Will Smith was a decent Genie, but man, the new song they gave Jasmine, even if it didn’t fit musically with the rest of the movie, was too awesome for words and probably worth the price of admission by itself.
Fighting with my Family
Tom says: Dwayne Johnson had exactly as much screen time as I thought he would (which is to say not much), and it’s really hard to feel much tension for a final showdown when the movie outright admits pro-wrestling is “fixed not fake,” but the movie itself was decent enough, and I’m glad to see lead actress Florence Pugh’s career taking off.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Tom says: Well, if nothing else, this will make fans want to move on to whatever the MCU does with the mutants all the easier. What a pile of X-crement.
Jimmy says: I’m not going to be the one to defend Dark Phoenix, but I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. That doesn’t mean it was good, which it wasn’t. With the disasters of Apocalypse (no pun intended) and Dark Phoenix, yes, I am looking forward to seeing what Marvel can do with the merry mutants. But let’s not forget that Fox did give us many great X-Men films over the years, and will there ever be a better big screen Wolverine than my lookalike Hugh Jackman?
Tom says: What may have been advertised as the annual Liam Neeson winter action movie was actually more of a weird dark comedy. Granted, Neeson didn’t do himself any favors during the press tour for this one…
Tom says: A horror movie based around the concept “What if Superman was a monster from space bent on killing everyone?” is a nice idea, but this movie was only a bit above average at best.
And some Netflix originals.
Tom says: Martin Scorsese still has it in this movie about aging and legacies disguised as the story of a union leader/hitman. Worth it for the performances of De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci alone.
Tom says: I gave this a good review at the time I saw it, but I think you need to be in the exact right frame of mind for a movie this weird that could maybe take place in the John Wick universe. Not for everyone by a long shot.
Tom says: This is the most Michael Bay movie Michael Bay has ever made. That is not a compliment. Even Ryan Reynolds can only do so much to uplift something like this.
TV, the small screen, is hitting a “golden age” according to some. How did we see what we saw this past year?
When They See Us
Jimmy says: I probably woudn’t have know about or seen this if not for the Ms. But I’m glad I did. Very powerful (and at times disturbing) story of the Central Park Five. Also very relevant in the current US political climate.
Game of Thrones
Tom says: If Endgame is the right way to end a long story and Rise of Skywalker is a so-so reaction to fan controversy, then Game of Thrones really crapped the bed. Now, personally, I tend to go a little easier than some on how long-running shows end when so many are disappointing, but this just fell flat at best as the series tried to rush through ten episodes of plot in six to end with a moment where we all collectively go at best “Huh!?!?” and at worst “WTF!?”
Jimmy says: I was way behind the curve on Game of Thones. Like, I never really watched more than a few episodes until post Season 7, behind. But then Tom and I watched the whole thing and I loved it. I watched it all again leading up to the final season and loved it all again. And then I watched season 8…and I hated it. I’ll give the cast and crew their props, as there were many technical marvels and all time great TV moments in there, but the writing was pure garbage. The entire season felt like they had no idea what they were doing and/or they just wanted to get it over as quick as possible and move on.
What’s even more disappointing for me is that I feel like they’ve even ruined the previous seasons. I just can’t see myself going back and rewatching and getting emotionally invested in these storylines and characters (particularly Dany) knowing how it all ends us.
Tom says: I’m not finished this one yet, but did anything surprise us more with its overall quality than HBO’s Watchmen? Sure, it may be one and done, but if anything, I’ll make a note between this and Legion to always trust a superhero series that gives a major role to actress Jean Smart.
Jimmy says: When Watson and Ryan started giving this all-time great praise, I figured I should catch up. And I struggled through the first few episodes. It’s a weird show. And if you haven’t read the source material, you may be even more lost. But a couple of the mid-season episodes were fantastic, and I would be shocked if one doesn’t get this show several Emmys. I don’t now if I will ever find the time, but I think I might enjoy this more on rewatch, now knowing how it all ends up. (Pretty much the opposite of my feeling for Game of Thrones.)
The Walking Dead
Tom says: I’ve never really seen this show…is it still on the air?
Jimmy says: It is. I still watch it. It has rebounded a bit after the whole Negan storyline caused the show to grind to a complete halt. It’s better than it’s been in years, but no where near it’s peak days of appointment television.
The Good Place
Tom says: So far, this series has been an utter delight from start to finish. With only a handful of episodes left, I have a hard time seeing this one ending with disappointment.
Jimmy says: I’m a little worried about how this will all clue up. But like iZombie, it’s one of the rare shows that continually reinvents itself and still moves forward and stays relevant.
Tom says: I watched a few episodes. Funny enough, but not really my thing.
Jimmy says: I’m a season behind, but I still like it. Definitely not for everyone.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Tom says: This charming show, with a great Neil Patrick Harris at the center of it all as evil Count Olaf, came to an appropriate and charming conclusion. Check it out if you haven’t already if you like surreal sets, the occasional song and dance number, and clever word play.
Tom says: I was a big booster of this series when it started, but at a certain point in the final season, I realized I liked the murder mysteries more than the zombies vs humans storyline and stopped watching. I may finish it someday…
Jimmy says: You haven’t finished this Tom?!? I agree with you though, and the final season is one of the weaker ones, but it’s worth watching, especially if you’ve come this far.
Tom says: I am honestly not sure what to make of this one yet. Individual episodes are rather short, and we still don’t know a whole lot about the title character. It seems to be more interested in a certain infant puppet you shouldn’t mention around Watson. Yeah, we got a lot in the last episode, but why did we have to wait for the last episode?
Jimmy says: It was pretty average, but upticked nicely the final few episodes once Watson gave up on it, which was REALLY sweat. Disney not having Baby Yoda merchandise ready for the Christmas season has to be one of the biggest misses of the year.
Tom says: Yeah, I jumped at that three year subscriber deal like a lot of other people, but I can’t say this service is really doing all that much to catch my attention. We’ll see what happens when more original content I might actually watch shows up.
Jimmy says: I agree with Tom here. It has not been early adopter friendly outside of having access to The Mandalorian. I think you’ll get the most out of it with young kids who like to rewatch Disney cartoons ad nauseam. But for now, I’m mostly in a waiting pattern until those original Marvel shows get released.
Young Justice: Outsiders
Tom says: This animated DC superhero show was canceled too soon after a great pair of seasons on Cartoon Network. Now that it’s on DC Universe, I’ll pay it the highest compliment I can because it was that good: it’s like the show never left.
Tom says: Aside from that one episode in season two, I don’t think there’s been a bad episode yet of this show. Here’s hoping they keep it up for the promised season four…
Jimmy says: I thought season two was a bit of a step back (and the fact Ryan thinks it was better, only reinforces that for me), but season three was back to clicking on all cylinders. Bring on season 4! (Where the kids will probably be in college by then…)
Tom says: Halfway through the lower budget TV version of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, I think the various Arrowverse shows are more or less holding steady. Right now, I could take or leave Supergirl or The Flash, though both are still enjoyable. Batwoman is off to a strong start and Arrow is off to a strong finish. Plus, I just love Legends of Tomorrow‘s goofy charm.
Jimmy says: I don’t watch these shows, but I had always planned to. Then I watched the first half of Crisis on Infinite Earths and now I’ll probably never watch any of them. C’mon WB/DC…give these shows some money to work with.
Tom says: There was a lot of turmoil behind the scenes between seasons, leading to a second season that was something of a sloppy mess. And it looks like season three is headed in the exact same direction judging by certain tweets from disgruntled former cast members…
Tom says: A part of me wondered if a series based on the Garth Ennis-written comic book could actually work at all, but I was happy to see how wrong such thoughts were.
Tom says: I was also quite pleased how well this one turned out, but seeing the pedigree of people involved, I wasn’t overly surprised either. Michael Sheen and David Tennant make a great onscreen pair.
Tom says: Eh, it wasn’t bad, but it seems a lot more serious and dire than it should be. Maybe if I read the original stories…
Then again, as of this typing, I’ve only seen one episode.
What We Do in the Shadows
Tom says: This one was every bit as charming as the movie it’s based on, and well worth the look even if you haven’t seen the movie it’s based on. Vampires in Staten Island? Why not?
The Handmaid’s Tale
Tom says: No TV show on the air right now depicts how much people in power can make those below them suffer quite so well as The Handmaid’s Tale, and no other show depicts a sick society that hurts everyone who lives in as well either. But man, did June/Offred develop some unbeatable plot armor this past season…
The Umbrella Academy
Tom says: This weird show is about a dysfunctional family ruined by a bad father, and they all just so happen to have superpowers that may doom the world. Or save it. Good, but not the best alternative superhero series to come out in 2019 when you consider both Watchmen and The Boys.
Jimmy says: The Ms and I binged the first season over the holidays and just started season 2. It has a few “well, that was awfully convenient/coincidental” moments, but otherwise is very recommended.
Tom says: I like Vikings, but don’t love it. It’s ending soon…I think.
We like to read too around here.
Dark Age (Red Rising Book 5)
Tom says: It took me a while to finish this due to life obligations, but it was another worthy addition to Pierce Brown’s Red Rising saga. When I did stop to read it, I remembered why I loved this series so much.
Fire Season (Eric Carter Book 4)
Tom says: I generally enjoy this series, but somehow forgot the fourth book existed when it came out and only read it months later. I don’t know how that happened because normally I am all over something like this.
Tom says: In the past, I’ve found I like Blake Crouch’s plots, but something about the writing style doesn’t quite click for me. This time around, everything clicked. This may be Crouch’s best novel to date.
Comics, whether on paper or digital, are the sorts of things that brings geeks together. How did they turn out for us this year?
Tom says: I tend to read trades, so I’m a bit far behind on, well, most of these. But this series is one I really want to catch up on.
Tom says: Yeah, I really want to get caught up on Tom King’s epic Batman run too.
Jimmy says: I’m mostly caught up. I think I have one or two issues to go. I like King, but this Bat run, has not exactly been his best work. It’s ok, but a lot of the comic community absolutely HATES it. King was also supposed to have an event to “change Batman for a generation”…and then he got removed from the book. His storyline will continue/conclude in a Batman/Catwoman mini-series, but I don’t think we’ll ever see King’s full plan come to fruition.
Tom says: I’m behind on these as well, but there are an awful lot of them to varying degrees of quality, so I’m in no rush. My nephew does seem to like it when I pass them along to him though…
Tom says: Two long-running Image Comics series I like ended this year within a few weeks or so of each other: Paper Girls and The Wicked + The Divine. Both had fairly appropriate endings, but Paper Girls went for a very low key one that fit the series to a T.
Jimmy says: I liked Paper Girls, though it could never elevate itself to an all time great read. Low key is a good way to describe it.
Tom says: I haven’t gotten to this series yet because I wait for trades and often read stuff haphazardly, but man, did you see the controversy this one caused?
Tom says: Yet again, I’m behind on this one, but I firmly believe Donny Cates can do no wrong as a comic book writer right about now.
Tom says: This series always seems to have problems getting a steady artist, but it’s always good to see more of Hannah, Betty, Violet, Dee, and Braga.
We actually listed a gadget this year!
Samsung Galaxy X
Tom says: It’s a foldable phone Samsung thought we needed for some reason. I don’t get it. One of my students got one and couldn’t keep it out of sight for long periods of time, constantly pulling it out to show off. I still don’t get it.
Jimmy says: I’ve never seen one. Before reading your blurb I didn’t even know if it actually got released. Do we need flip phones? It’s almost like a step back. Like everyone wearing watches again after a decade of “I don’t need a watch, I have the time on my phone”.
Tom says: Sure, I may have my own podcast and website now, but I’m not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. Happy 2020, folks!
Jimmy says: Cheers Tom. You’re the only thing keeping the lights on here at Gabbing Geek, especially with the podcast going from a bi-monthly schedule to…who knows what. Folks, make sure to check out Tom’s podcast and website as well. His great work continues over there.