January 22, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

2021: Year In Review

How did the stuff the Geeks spoke up about back at the beginning of the year turn out?

As 2021 draws to a close, we here at Gabbing Geek are taking the time to reflect on what came before.  To that end, here are our thoughts on the stuff we were looking forward to at least a little bit in 2021, with our thoughts from then and from now along with some other things that weren’t on our initial radar and maybe should have been.

Movies We Were Expecting

Well, movie theaters reopened, and some movies came out.  Did they live up to our expectations?

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a sequel to the 2019 horror movie about a group of people stuck in a deadly escape room scenario.

Why we’re psyched!  So, I’ve done a couple escape rooms with some friends, and it always works out well because my friends do these things all the freakin’ time, setting time records at whatever room they are escaping from, and I get to feel the exhilaration of winning despite the fact I bring absolutely nothing to the table.  Also, I didn’t see the first movie.

Why we’re wary…  A fairly quick sequel to a somewhat low budget horror movie, already pushed back twice before the pandemic started, doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Watson says: I am stunned this movie didn’t go Streaming.  Tell me this wouldn’t have gotten some eyeballs on Netflix.  Hell, Hulu.

Ryan says: Oh, it’ll be streaming in my house.  The first one was a pleasant surprise.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Well, this was forgettable.  It occurred to me as I thought back on this one that it wanted to be Squid Game, but Squid Game got it right.  Maybe South Koreans are just better at satirical jabs at the capitalist system.

Watson says: This was not as good as the first installment but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the rooms themselves. I would watch a third one, even though I don’t care about their mythology at all…


One Night in Miami

What We Said Then

What is it?  The story of four prominent black men–Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X, and Jim Brown–discussing their responsibilities to the Civil Rights Movement

Why we’re psyched!  That’s a hell of a premise, and as an added bonus, it’s the directorial debut for Regina King.

Why we’re wary…  Well, unless King isn’t much of a director, I can’t think of anything.  This sounds awesome.

Watson says: The reviews say she is quite the Director, so I look forward to seeing this on Amazon in January!

What We Say Now

Tom says:  What a delight this one was!  Regina King knocked one out of the park with a strong directorial debut, and one that captured the personality and character of all four of the men in that motel room.  I hope she has a long career in the director’s chair ahead of her.

Watson says: This was everything I could have hoped for. The direction was amazing, the dialogue was crisp, but it was the acting that carried the day  the four principles shined; especially Malcom X.


Mortal Kombat

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the latest reboot of the very violent video game.

Why we’re psyched!  James Wan produced this, and Mortal Kombat may be one of the few video game franchises that could lend itself to a good movie.

Why we’re wary…  You know, the best video game movie I’ve ever seen is Jumanji, and that wasn’t based on a real video game…

Watson says: It is available on streaming, so I will watch it.  I hope it is as good as the animated film from this year, which was quite decent…

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Movies based on video games rarely offer much of anything, and neither did this one.  At least I got what I was basically expecting.

Watson says: It was NOT as good as the cartoon. It was not good at all.

 


The Marksman

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the annual Liam Neeson action movie!

Why we’re psyched!  LIAM NEESON!

Why we’re wary…  in January…you know, if it comes out.

Watson says: LIAM NEESON!

Ryan says: #FuckLiamNeeson

What We Say Now

Watson says: There is good LIAM NEESON! and bad LIAM NEESON! This was bad

Jimmy says:  All his movies now are essentially the same, and usually watchable.  This was more of the same, but agree with Watson on it being on the lower end.  Neeson is almost 70 years old, and it’s really starting to show.


Chaos Walking

What We Said Then

What is it?  An adaptation of a sci-fi novel about a young man, believing a plague wiped out all the women of his colony world and granted him the ability to hear thoughts, finding a young woman and discovering he’s been lied to.

Why we’re psyched!  This sounds like a potentially cool premise with Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley as the young couple and Mads Mikkelsen as the villainous mayor.  Plus, director Doug Liman gave us the great Edge of Tomorrow.

Why we’re wary…  I don’t know much about this one yet, so take anything I say with a grain of salt.

Watson says: It got delayed YET AGAIN.  This is becoming the next New Mutants!

Jimmy says:  Everything I know about this movie I learned from reading what’s above.  I’m not convinced that Daisy Ridley will have a career outside of Star Wars.

Ryan says: This is the kind of movie that will get delayed again even after it’s released.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I caught this on Hulu, and it was a rather standard dystopian sci-fi thing except for those head bubbles around all the male characters.  Those sure were something silly.

Watson says: While not great, this wasn’t the train wreck I feared  I would actually say I mildly enjoyed it. Quite a shock.


The King’s Man

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a prequel/origin story for the independent spy agency from director Matthew Vaughn’s over-the-top Kingsmen series.

Why we’re psyched!  Kingsmen movies have, to date, been pretty fun with a lot of dark comedy, sledgehammer-subtle political satire, and crazy visuals.  Plus, the cast includes the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Djimon Hounsou, Charles Dance, and Gemma Arterton.

Why we’re wary…  Well, it’s a prequel when what fans may have really wanted was Kingsman 3.  Also, this movie has been pushed back twice…and that was before the pandemic.

Watson says: This series is my guilty pleasure.  I love it so I cannot wait to see it.

Jimmy says:  I really need to watch the second film…

What We Say Now

Watson says: The ‘rona hit my household and I didn’t get to see my guilty pleasure series this year. Should be on PVOD before you know it.


Antlers

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s an adaptation of an acclaimed horror short story.

Why we’re psyched!  I haven’t read the original story, but I’ve head nothing but raves for how awesome it apparently is with a really nasty twist that the trailers may or may not have

Why we’re wary…   Good adaptations are hard, especially when they’re this hyped up.

Watson says: I don’t like horror, but this is part of the WB HBO Max dump!

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This one was rather creepy and suspenseful, showing how environmental and economic degradation may go hand-in-hand in creating horror, with the thing at the center of the movie largely standing in for how people and whole ecosystems are being mistreated.

Watson: It was NOT an HBO Max film after all. So I didn’t see it…


Cherry

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the story of a young man who falls in love and then makes a whole lot of bad decisions.

Why we’re psyched!  This looks like what the Russo Brothers followed up Avengers Endgame with, and they brought Spider-Man Tom Holland along for the ride.

Why we’re wary…  The Russos have only really done stuff with highly recognizable intellectual property.  What happens when they don’t have the MCU as back-up?

Watson says: I have heard really good things so I hope it shows the Russos are every bit as real as I want them to be!

Jimmy says: It’s looking like the year of Tom Holland!  It will be interesting to see what they can do with smaller fare as they’ve made some of my favorite MCU films.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  What a pile of garbage this was.  If the Russos go back to the MCU, garbage fire movies like this one will be the reason why.

Watson says: I never could bring myself to watch it but if it leads to more Russos in Marvel, it will not be in vain


Coming 2 America 

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the long-awaited (theoretically) sequel to the popular Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall rom com.

Why we’re psyched!  We’ve got Murphy and Hall reprising their roles in a movie where Prince Akeem learns he had an illegitimate son back in Queens that is set to become the next king of Zamunda.

Why we’re wary…  You know, I love the original, but how the heck did Akeem father an illegitimate son?  He wasn’t exactly spreading the royal seed while he was over there.  Plus, John Landis isn’t back in the director’s chair.

Watson says: I’ll enjoy it and then put it in the bottom half of my yearly rankings…

Jimmy says: I enjoyed the original…in 1988.  I’m not sure anyone besides Murphy and Hall’s agents (that almost sounds like an 80’s band) asked for this one.

Ryan says: What if we all just pretend we already saw this movie?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  As much as we really didn’t need a sequel to Coming to America, we really didn’t need a PG-13 sequel to the R-rated original where the best jokes, to use the term loosely, were the ones recycled from the original movie.

Watson says: I was correct in my prediction.


Tom and Jerry

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s Tom and Jerry.  I think we all know who they are.

Why we’re psyched!  Tom and Jerry have been one of the most fondly remembered cartoon comedy duos of all time.  The basic premise is simple:  a cat and mouse abuse the hell out of each other, usually with the mouse coming out on top somehow.

Why we’re wary…  How the hell do you turn a Tom and Jerry story into anything more than a six minute short?  They had to add a bunch of other characters we won’t care about, didn’t they?

Watson says: Meh…

Jimmy says:  “It’s Tom and Jerry.  I think we all know who they are.”  Do we?  I know we old folks do (and get off my lawn) but I don’t see this connecting with younger audiences.  Especially since I’m pretty sure the “Why we’re psyched!” section would describe Itchy and Scratchy to them.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Let’s just say it was exactly what I thought it would be.  Tom and Jerry don’t really have enough going on to sustain a feature film so forgettable talking human characters were added in, but there were moments, many of them recreations of bits from old cartoons, that looked great despite all that.  Also, the movie remembered Jerry is kind of an asshole, so that clicks.  Also, interesting how every animal in the movie, no matter its state, was rendered in animation form.

Watson says: I was incorrect in my prediction on this one. It wasn’t “meh”.  It was a crime against humanity that should be referred to The Hague.


The Many Saints of Newark

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a prequel movie to HBO’s first big dramatic juggernaut, The Sopranos.

Why we’re psyched!  David Chase co-wrote the screenplay, and the cast looks pretty impressive, including James Gandolfini’s son as young Tony Soprano.  Even better, though, is Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga as Tony’s parents, and if that isn’t a formidable mob couple, I don’t know who is.

Why we’re wary…  That final episode did piss a lot of people off.  Though, quite frankly given WB’s plans for this year, if there was one movie that could go right to HBO Max without controversy, it’s a Sopranos prequel.

Watson says: I have always tried to get around to watching the Sopranos, so might watch this one a little later…

Jimmy says:  Me too Watson.  I watched the first and maybe the second season.  It’s always on The List, but with it being over for 13 years (I actually would have thought it was longer than that) and already knowing the ending, it hasn’t been very high in the queue.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  They advertised the hell out of this thing as some sort of origin story for Tony Soprano.  It isn’t.  It’s more about his uncle Dickie Montisanti.  That said, when we got scenes with Tony’s parents, those moments worked better than much of the rest of the movie.  Too bad it felt like they were squeezing a full season’s worth of television into one movie.

Watson says:  I binged the series to be able to watch this one.  This was mediocre at best. It illustrates the downside of seeing shows and movies as “properties” instead of works of art.


Raya and the Last Dragon

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s Disney’s next animated feature, this time with an entirely Southeast Asian cast and setting.

Why we’re psyched!  Disney tends to produce high quality animation, and this is a step towards greater representation.

Why we’re wary…  There was some controversy in that the movie may have just mixed and matched several Southeast Asian cultures to tell this story.

Watson says: Interested in watching this one on Disney+.  But interesting enough that I would have been excited in the theaters.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I think Disney has really upped their game in recent years with their animated features.  The animation was always good, even now with the switch to CG animation, but the stories are a lot more complex than the House of Mouse used to do in their Golden Age.  Then there’s something like this one where they created a whole other fantasy world, and I was often amazed at what I saw.  I wouldn’t say they’ve surpassed Pixar just yet–Disney doesn’t have an equivalent just yet to the likes of Up, Soul, Inside Out, or Toy Story 3–but they’re getting there.

Watson says:  They may not have surpassed Pixar ALL-TIME, Tom, but they certainly have over the last five years! The creative energy for the animation department at the House of Mouse is definitely in the Disney brand and not the Pixar sub-brand. Pixar has had only one special film, Soul, in that time period. Raya adds to a longer list from Disney proper. It was excellent.

Jimmy says:  I enjoyed this as well.  An innovative story that’s surprisingly dark at times.


No Time to Die

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the 25th James Bond movie, and Daniel Craig swears this will be his last.

Why we’re psyched!  Craig has been a fantastic Bond.  Casino Royale revived the franchise while Skyfall hit new heights for what a Bond movie could be.

Why we’re wary…  You know, only about half of Craig’s Bond movies were all that beloved by the fans…

Watson says: Assuming this is his last Bond, I hope Daniel Craig goes out with a bang fighting Remi Malick.

Jimmy says: I have a love/hate relationship with Bond.  I’ve grown to hate all the one-liners and double entendres that have built up over the years with previous incarnations.  But when you strip all the Bond-isms away, which the Craig films like to do, you’re just left with generic spy movies.  I loved Skyfall, but can’t say the others have done much for me.

Ryan says: Nokia still makes phones.  They planned their big relaunch around this movie.  So when you see a bunch of Nokia phones in the movie that no longer exist, that’ll be why.  It will amuse me.  Greatly.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Though not the best Bond movie or even the best Craig Bond movie, it was certainly a fantastic send-off to this era of Bond films.  It would just help if the viewer remembered more about the previous movies before watching it, but it probably isn’t a requirement.

Watson says: Agreed, Tom.  I enjoyed this at the time and I enjoy it more and more the further I get from the viewing.  Congratulations to Daniel Craig. He was something very special in the history of cinema, and that’s not an easy task when you are the sixth to play the character!


Peter Rabbit 2

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a sequel to the surprisingly good retelling of the Peter Rabbit story from 2018.

Why we’re psyched!  Ryan rather accurately described the original as a kid friendly version of Deadpool.  Who saw that coming?

Why we’re wary…  I don’t think Beatrix Potter wrote a sequel to the original, so where exactly does this series go?

Watson says: Again…why not Streaming???

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This was fine.  Nothing special, but nothing terrible either.

Watson says:  See Tom’s post …

Jimmy says:  I can’t remember if I saw this or not.  Which means either I didn’t or it was very forgettable.


Finch

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the story of a dying inventor, in a post-apocalyptic world, building himself a robot to do some traveling and take care of his dog when the man dies.

Why we’re psyched!  Tom Hanks as the inventor, a dying old man who wants a friend to take care of his dog?  Cue the water works from, at the very least, Jenny.

Why we’re wary…  Then again, this scenario sounds way too much like its just there to manipulate said water works from audiences, particularly the Jennys of this world.

Watson says: Tom Hanks is my 2020 hero. Here’s to his success in 2021!

What We Say Now

Watson says: It was passable but slow. Still…Tom Hanks is always worth $15!

Tom says:  This was fine, nothing overly special.  Tom Hanks is a delight, but anytime he acts opposite a dog, it ain’t ending well for one of ’em.


A Quiet Place 2

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a sequel to the unexpected sci-fi/horror hit A Quiet Place.

Why we’re psyched!  A Quiet Place was a smart, tense movie from star/writer/director John Krasinski.  No one saw that coming, but we were all glad we did.

Why we’re wary…  Where do you take the story from here?  Seriously?  Can they get lightning in a bottle for a second time?

Watson says: I really do want to see this in the theater.  The silence with a crowd was one of the things that made the original very compelling.

Jimmy says: The first one was excellent.  This one makes me a bit weary as it seemed perfectly fine as a one and done.

Ryan says: What’s even the point of this movie now that the Academy has fucked all the sound engineers?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This was the first movie I saw in a movie theater since the pandemic happened, and while the movie itself was great, my overall nervousness about being out in a theater for the first time in over a year actually made the experience even better.  So, I probably like this movie more than I should, but I don’t care.

Watson says: Also the first movie I saw after vaccination so it also has that special nostalgia for me.  It was a fine movie, but it offered nothing new or fresh that the first one didn’t cover.

Jimmy says:  Though it would be in contrast to the title, I would have liked to have seen more of the pre-first film prologue.  Otherwise, it was a typical sequel with some people doing some dumb things for the sake of advancing the plot, but it was mostly fine.


Last Night in Soho

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s director Edgar Wright’s next movie after Baby Driver.

Why we’re psyched!  Edgar Wright is something of a cinematic genius.  He’s done comedies with horror, action, and sci-fi elements, a musical heist film without any singing, and now he wants to do straight-up horror.  At the least, it’ll be interesting.

Why we’re wary…  There’s hardly anything known about this movie as of yet.

Watson says: Anna Taylor-Joy AND Thomasin McKenzie?  Watson Favorite overload!  If they could have found a role for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, I would be in heaven.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This was an interesting experiment from Edgar Wright, but it gets pretty crazy in the end.  Your enjoyment will probably depend on how much you get into the crazy.  Personally, I couldn’t, but I know others who did.

Watson says: I got into it and liked it but it is kind of the opposite of my James Bond entry: the further I get away from it, the lower it drops in my estimation.


Black Widow

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the long awaited solo film for Scarlet Johanson’s Black Widow.

Why we’re psyched!  MCU fans have been waiting for this one for a while now, and Marvel finally delivered.

Why we’re wary…  They couldn’t do this before the last two Avengers movies?

Watson says: This was one of my most anticipated films last year, so let’s let it ride to 2021!!!

Jimmy says: I’m wondering if the pandemic and subsequent delays to all things have actually helped the MCU.  How do you follow up the dizzying highs of Endgame and the billion dollar grossing of the latest Spider-Man film?  With a solo Avenger movie that seems like it is 5 years too late and feels like it “doesn’t count” since it’s a prequel with a star character that is already dead.  But factor in an extra year of almost no MCU content prior to Black Window‘s release, and that pent up anticipation may push it to new heights.  Assuming theatres are operating at anywhere near capacity by then…

What We Say Now

Tom says:  As a send-off to Natasha Romanov, this one was fine but nothing overly noteworthy.  As a means to introduce new characters, such as Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova and David Harbour’s Red Guardian, it works a lot better even if it just a standard Marvel movie.  Then again, I like Marvel movies, so that really isn’t a complaint.

Watson says: Tom has it right. Pugh and Harbour made the movie for me.  I feel like this is pretty much a median MCU entry, which is fine by me.  Plus, it satisfied one of my post-Vaccine bucket list items: see an opening night MCU movie with my boys. ✅

Jimmy says:  I do think my prediction was right to a degree, at least in terms of my enjoyment of the film, as on rewatch it certainly doesn’t hold up.  It’s still fine, but I definitely enjoyed in more during the pent up “no content is being released” times of the pandemic.


Godzilla vs Kong

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a throwdown between the two most famous giant monsters in movie history!

Why we’re psyched!  The 2014 American Godzilla movie and Kong Skull Island were both a lot of mindless fun, the very thing a good popcorn flick should be.

Why we’re wary…  Um, did you see Godzilla:  King of the Monsters?  Or Batsoup?

Watson says:  Do I watch this at home on HBO Max or go to the theater to watch it on the big screen (vaccine permitting)???

Jimmy says:  I still haven’t seen the 2014 Godzilla, but hear good things.  Skull Island was a passable mindless popcorn flick.  So…I guess I’ll maybe see this one…eventually?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  You know what?  I got two giant monsters pounding the tar out of each other.  That was all I expected from this movie, and they did that and did it well.  It was as much fun as Watson vs Jenny in the Gabbing Geek Break Room that one time.

Watson says: It was fine any time Godzilla was fighting Kong. All other moments were dreadful.  This was more Godzilla level of quality (boring) than Skull Island (dumb fun).

Jimmy says:  I caught up on this series.  Godzilla felt overrated.  Skull Island was “dumb fun” as Watson put it.  King of the Monsters was dreadful.  Vs would have certainly benefitted from being seen in the theatre instead of my living room.  A mindless monster movie.


F9: The Fast Saga

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the ninth installment of the movie series where cars drive fast and Vin Diesel continually growls something about “family”.

Why we’re psyched!  If you aren’t Watson, these are generally fun, if mindless, action movies.  Plus, if you aren’t Watson, you get to see Watson call these movies terrible, and there’s some entertainment value there too.

Why we’re wary…  Truth be told, the last one slid a little in quality, keeping me from having the sort of mindless fun I generally expect from this series.  It picked up in the final act, but there was something not quite right before then…

Watson says:  This is everything that is wrong with the world…

Jimmy says: Watson and Jenny and all the other haters are all kinds of wrong about this franchise.  I mean, what else could draw two opposite forces in Jimmy and Ryan together, risking a matter/anti-matter type destruction of the universe?  That said, I’m with Tom on his analysis of the “Why we’re wary…”.  And Hobbs and Shaw didn’t exactly move the needle forward.

Ryan says: This better be fucking streaming or I will disown this family.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This was the installment of this dumb, generally fun series where it became self-aware and realized how ridiculous it all is.  I still enjoyed it.

Watson says: It was every bit as bad as I suspected it would be.

Jimmy says:  The first film was fine.  The second wasn’t great, but a typical sequel.  The third was straight to video dreck.  Somehow they resurrected the series and turned it into a billion dollar franchise starting with episode 4.  Each subsequent film got better until the fantastic and heart breaking part 7, which probably should have been the swan song.  8 was weak, and this was just completely ridiculous.


Cruella

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a live action origin story for Cruella DeVill starring Emma Stone.

Why we’re psyched!  Emma Stone is an incredibly charming performer, and by focusing on the villain, maybe it won’t just be another Disney live action retread of a beloved animated film.

Why we’re wary…  Most of these Disney live action remakes, at best, are dull, even with charming lead actors like Emma Stone involved.

Watson says:  Emma Stone is the ONLY thing that is remotely interesting about this…

Jimmy says:  I hate to agree with Watson at any time about anything, but seconded.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I enjoyed this one when I wasn’t expecting to because, well, it’s another live action Disney adaptation, even if this one was about the villain’s POV.  But man, Emma Stone was charming as hell as a bad girl of fashion, and the soundtrack kicked a lot of ass.

Watson says: My biggest surprise of the year. What should have been a disaster turned into a Disney classic. Stone did indeed shine, but the whole damn movie just worked.


Infinite

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  A schizophrenic learns his hallucinations are actually memories.  Oh, and he might have superpowers.

Why we’re psyched!  The premise alone sure sounds intriguing.

Why we’re wary…  Personally, I find director Antoine Fuqua’s work a bit “meh” more often than not.  His best work is with Denzel Washington…and Denzel isn’t in this one.

Watson says:  It could be forgettable or the best picture of the new decade.  No idea…

Ryan says: So it’s Recursion but without Blake Crouch.  Nope.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I forgot I watched this one.

Watson says: It was obviously not the best picture of the decade then.


Ghostbusters: Afterlife

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a continuation of the original Ghostbusters time line with a group of kids (plus Paul Rudd) battling ghosts in a rural town.

Why we’re psyched!  The trailer suggested this could actually be closer in spirit to The Goonies or Stranger Things (complete with Finn Wolfhard!) while still being set in the Ghostbusters world.  Most of the surviving original cast are reprising their roles, original movie director Ivan Reitman’s more talented son Jason is writing and directing, and it just kinda looks awesome.

Why we’re wary…  I think my opinion of the all-female version from a couple years ago isn’t as high as it used to be, but I do think it’s something of a shame those characters didn’t quite take off.  Then again, maybe I just want to see more of Kate McKinnon’s general comedic weirdness in a Ghostbusters movie.

Watson says:  I am actually looking forward to this one.  The vibe of the trailer plus the presence of Paul Rudd makes me want to see more…

Jimmy says: Dammit, I have to agree with Watson again.  I didn’t care for the all female version, but this straight up continuation is intriguing.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Watson had a good nickname for this one, and I couldn’t disagree with his assessment.  It really treats the original movie as some sort of holy writ, reusing lines and scenes with a reverence that the original never held itself up to.  And yet, I did enjoy this one quite a bit.  It felt more like a Goonies style movie than a Ghostbusters, something I think could potentially open up the Ghostbusters world into new genres that could make for some interesting movies that will probably only ever exist in my head.

Watson says: The nickname was Ghostbusters: The Force Awakens. Very derivative. Very deferential to the 1984 classic. Still passable fun.


In the Heights

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a film adaptation of the other great musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Why we’re psyched!  If Ryan is to be believed, LMM is the greatest musical composer of our or any time.  Then again, I haven’t been able to score a ticket to Hamilton yet, and that Disney+ version isn’t quite the same thing as the energy of a live show…

Why we’re wary…  Apparently, LMM only co-wrote the original show…

Watson says:  I’ll watch it but it isn’t must see entertainment like Hamilton…

Ryan says: We shouldn’t let the theater noobs write these entries.  LMM didn’t co-write, he wrote the music and lyrics.  Someone else wrote the book.  They’re different.  You don’t call the cinematographer a co-director.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Movies like this are making me appreciate musicals more, something I never thought I would say, but after seeing a trailer that was basically an extended musical number, I opted to see it in the theater, largely because I knew I wouldn’t pay sufficient attention to it at home on HBO Max.  I’m very glad I did.

Watson says: Very pretty, but I was bored to tears.


Venom: Let There Be Carnage

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the next installment of the Tom Hardy-led antihero series.

Why we’re psyched!  The original Venom was HUGE box office and guaranteed a sequel, and while I walked out of the theater hating it, I’ve softened a bit since then.  Besides, whatever Tom Hardy was doing seemed to connect with audiences.

Why we’re wary…  I said my position softened.  I still think the original was a bad movie.

Watson says:  Tom’ must have taken a stool softener, because his opinion is a softened… turd in the wind.

Jimmy says:  Venom was awful.  I still can’t really believe they made a solo movie for him completely unconnected to Spider-Man.  I’m mostly looking forward to the sequel as I have a stack of Amazing Spider-Man #361’s to sell to the highest bidders…

Ryan says: It’s like a Mobius…in the wind.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I sorta liked this one.  Oh, it’s not great, and having a PG-13 Carnage movie means it, well, isn’t really about Carnage, but the weird buddy comedy stuff between Eddie and Venom worked for me.  Just please, don’t send Venom to another rave…

Watson says: Much better than expected. It was fun enough and had the decency to only last 90 minutes.

Jimmy says:  the best part for me was that stack of Amazing Spider-Man #361’s that I sold for a pretty penny.  Like Tom, I softened on Venom a little after a rewatch, but it’s still not great, and this was even worse.


Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the MCU’s next big hero, this one a master of the martial arts.

Why we’re psyched!  Oh come on!  Even the worst of the MCU’s movies are at least entertaining, and this is a nice experiment into a different genre.

Why we’re wary…  The actor cast as Shang Chi may be the most unknown guy the MCU has ever cast in anything, so what he can do in a lead role is still something of a mystery.  I mean, it looks like his biggest role to date was something on a Canadian sitcom I’d never heard of before…

Watson says:  I am not a martial arts fan, but I AM an MCU fan.  For a movie that has wrapped principle photography, we know very little about this one…

Jimmy says:  As Watson says, we know very little about this one.  And Shang-Chi is far from having a huge fan following (that I know of), so this seems like Marvel’s biggest risk since the original Guardians.  But, it’s the MCU and we all know how Guardians turned out…

Ryan says: Is there a legal drama sub-plot?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Man, this was a lot of fun.  Great fight scenes, Awkwafina, and a very compelling villain?  I’m typing this up before Spider-Man comes out, but this sure seemed like the best Marvel Movie of 2021 hands down.

Watson says: High end of the Marvel spectrum for me; even climbing a bit on the D+ rewatch. I was not expecting Simi Lui to be this charismatic. In an era where we tragically lost Chadwick (as well as RDJ and CEvans to retirement), the MCU needed another vibrant young star.  They got him!

Jimmy says:  Very enjoyable and holds up well on rewatch.  Awkwafina almost steals the show, but Lui holds his own and the two have amazing chemistry.


Space Jam: A New Legacy

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a sequel to a popular oddity, only this time LeBron James is the basketball superstar helping Bugs Bunny for some reason.

Why we’re psyched!  You know, maybe every generation deserves its own Space Jam.  And maybe LeBron is a better actor than Michael Jordan.

Why we’re wary…  That first one is just such a weird movie if you stop to think about it.  You probably can’t catch that sort of lightning in a bottle a second time…heck, I’m not sure they even should.

Watson says:  LeBron was REALLY funny in Trainwreck, so maybe…

Jimmy says: Just, no.

Ryan says: Jimmy is right.  This is his one for 2021.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Credit where it’s due:  this one is fairly self-aware of what it’s doing and is actually trying in places to do stuff like give LeBron a character arc and keep the Tunes acting largely in character.  Oh, it still failed miserably, but they at least tried.

Watson says: This was pretty bad…


The Tomorrow War

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a sci-fi story where, to fight an alien invasion, humanity uses time travel to draft soldiers from past wars.

Why we’re psyched!  Aw, c’mon!  That premise alone sounds awesome, and it has Chris Pratt.  We still like him, right?

Why we’re wary…  This is a first live action feature from animator Chris McKay.  That may or may not be something worth being concerned over.

Watson says:  A good sci-fi movie always piques my interest…and I love Pratt…

Jimmy says:  I never heard of this prior to 15 seconds ago, but I’m interested.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This may be the best direct-to-streaming movie that isn’t about Civil Rights that Amazon Prime Video has released yet.  That may not be saying much.  It was fun enough while I watched it, but nothing that made me want to see more in that world with those characters.

Watson says: I agree with Tom but with the caveat that if/when they make a sequel, I would watch it in a second.

Jimmy says:  An interesting concept, just don’t think too much about any supposed “rules” of time travel.  Pratt is good, but I really don’t think he has much range as an actor.


Jungle Cruise

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s another movie based on a theme park ride where Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt go down a jungle river in a boat while wearing what looks like the same clothes Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn wore in The African Queen.

Why we’re psyched!  Two likable stars could make this the next Pirates of the Caribbean.  The first one, not the increasingly mediocre sequels.

Why we’re wary…  It could also be the next Haunted Mansion.  Or Country Bears.  Or Pirates of the Caribbean sequel.

Watson says:  Two of the most charming leads in show business.  If they screw this up, the writer, director, and producers should be put out to pasture…

Jimmy says:  I do like the leads, but at this point have very little interest.  Definitely a wait and watch for “free” on Disney+ for me at this point.

Ryan says: Remember when we first saw trailers for this 834 years ago?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This one was fine enough for families, but I think in the grand scheme of things, it was mostly just coasting by on the considerable screen charisma of Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.

Watson says: The were very close to screwing this one up. It was just good enough to keep everyone from pasture but not by much…

Jimmy says:  I’m glad I waited and watched it on Disney+.  The leads carry it as best they can and without them this could have been even more mediocre than it was.


The Suicide Squad

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a sequel/reboot/something for DC’s Suicide Squad!

Why we’re psyched!  James Gunn put this thing together during his hiatus away from Marvel/Disney.  That guy’s awesome, and this looks like a lot of crazy fun!

Why we’re wary…  I think we all have a natural reluctance to fully embrace any DC movie that didn’t come from director Patty Jenkins.

Watson says:  James Gunn makes fun movies…

Jimmy says:  Time will tell.  I don’t hate on the original Suicide Squad as much as most and Gunn stepping in definitely has me excited.

Ryan says: Who will have more named characters: this movie or Snyder cut of Justice League?  Answer: I don’t care.

Narrator: He didn’t.

Ryan says: Fuck off, Narrator.  You were a 2020 bit.

Narrator: I was.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Wanna know what kind of gleeful, anarchic, violent fun James Gunn can get up to when he’s not restrained to make a PG-13 movie?  This one, a throwback to grindhouse flicks using Gunn’s distinctive sense of humor, is your answer and what the Suicide Squad always should have been.

Watson says: This movie’s audience response made me sad. This is the first REALLY amazing DCEU movie since WW1 and the brand was so weakened that no one checked it out. It was a ton of fun and should have been celebrated.

Jimmy says:  Maybe it was over-hyped, but when I finally got to watch this, it seemed overrated.  Better than most DCEU fare, but that’s a low bar.


Respect

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a biography of Aretha Franklin starring Jennifer Hudson.

Why we’re psyched!  Hudson can sing and act incredibly well.  Her voice was the only thing worth noting in the otherwise awful beyond belief Cats.

Why we’re wary…  We’ve seen a couple of these musical biopics come along in the last few years, and they all tend to follow the same basic formula.  I don’t see this one being any different in that regard.

Watson says:  I don’t connect with movies that depend on how well the lead performs musically (like Judy) and I think this one will be the same…

Ryan says: Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for a single song.  This time she’ll win for multiple songs.

What We Say Now

Watson says: None of us saw it. We gave this movie no respect…


The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a sequel to 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

Why we’re psyched!  I thought the first one was so-so for action but that stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson had some great comedic chemistry, but the real scene-stealer was Salma Hayek as Jackson’s violent, foul-tempered wife.  Since it looks like she’s the one under protection this time, it means everyone involved saw she was the best part of the first movie.

Why we’re wary…  Even if you did enjoy Hayek in the first movie, it could be a case where keeping her mostly off-screen allowed her scenes to work better.  Using her more could make the character less fun.  That’s been known to happen.  Also, Jimmy Impossible hated the first one if he even remembers seeing it, so it wasn’t exactly a universal hit around here.

Watson says:  I like all these people…

Jimmy says:  Tom pretty much said everything I would have said.  🙂

What We Say Now

Tom says:  The first one of these was, well, decent.  The action was generic, but the comedic portions largely worked.  This one?  It’s just painful.

Watson says: The fact that it isn’t lower on my list tells you how much I like the leads…


Candyman

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a sequel/remake/reboot of the horror movie about the murder victim whose ghost comes by to kill you if you say his name too many times.  Also, there are bees.

Why we’re psyched!  The cast looks pretty impressive, and Jordan Peele is attached to produce.  And bees!

Why we’re wary…  Was there demand for more of these after so much time?  Bees?

Watson says:  I have heard the studio thinks this is a movie worth holding for a theatrical debut because it is a gem.  I didn’t like the first one, but Peele produces good work.

What We Say Now

Watson says:  While the Candyman mythos is not my thing, I still liked this one. I really watched it because I heard promising things (indeed warranted!) about director Nia DaCosta. I am now very exited about the upcoming MCU film, Marvels.


Dune

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s another adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel, this time from director Denis Villeneuve.

Why we’re psyched!  Villeneuve hasn’t disappointed me yet, and the cast for this one includes Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Ryan-fave Javier Bardem.

Why we’re wary…  I read Dune once.  Most of it seemed like people thinking about what other people were thinking while knowing those people knew they were thinking that.  And then something happened in the last fifty pages or so.  I wasn’t impressed.

Watson says:  Tom’s single read of Dune convinced me NOT to read Dune.  But this cast and Villeneuve?  Intriguing…

Jimmy says:  I might be the only one around here that has neither read nor seen any previous versions of Dune, and have no real desire to, this one included.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Wow.  Just wow.  I may not have cared much for the novel, but this past year, I made it a point to see both this movie and the David Lynch version from the 80s.  Both were fun in completely different ways, with Lynch going the camp route with familiar character actors and Villeneuve going all artsy and solemn with A-list actors.  Then again, I expected to like Villeneuve’s movie at the very least.

Watson says: I had the same reaction as Tom the first half hour. I thought it was on the way to being an all time Watson favorite, but then it started dragging. I’m glad they will make a sequel but if they hadn’t I wouldn’t have cried about it.


Halloween Kills

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the sequel to the big 2018 hit reimagined sequel from the guys who gave us Eastbound & Down and Pineapple Express.

Why we’re psyched!  That Halloween is perhaps the best since the original, and all it had to do beyond bring Jamie Lee Curtis back is ignore every movie in the series that came out after the original.

Why we’re wary…  You want confusing continuity?  Look at Halloween.  It’s got way more misses than hits over the course of Michael Myers’s endless murder sprees.

Watson says:  I liked the sequel ignoring reboot, but this is a sequel that will some day need rebooting…

Jimmy says:  I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t seen the 2018 version, as I’ve seen all the other films in the series.  Maybe I will make it a double feature this October 31st.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I had almost gone to see this one in the theater.  I really liked the 2018 reboot/sequel, and this one sure looked promising.  I had stopped doing a lot of trips to the multiplex due to a COVID spike, but I was willing to make an exception here.  Then the reviews came in, Watson told me it was disappointing, and I decided not to bother.  Still haven’t seen it, and whatever streaming service it got a simultaneous release on must be one of the few big ones I am not subscribed to.  I’m not really regretting that choice.

Watson says: This movie was everything the reboot from a couple of years ago mocked. It was dumb, low budget slasher movie. None of the wit or charm of the 2018 installment; which was a pleasant surprise that year…


Snake Eyes

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a solo movie for everyone’s favorite member of G.I. Joe, the mute ninja Snake Eyes.

Why we’re psyched!  Snake Eyes is everyone’s favorite Joe for a reason:  he’s just so damn cool, and he was something of a highlight in the previous G.I. Joe movies.  And this time, he’s being played by all-around cool guy Henry Golding.

Why we’re wary…  Henry Golding is all-around cool.  So why is he playing a character famously so disfigured he hid his face away at all times and couldn’t talk?

Watson says:  There is so much potential in this franchise but they have never tapped it.

Jimmy says: Just keep Rob Liefeld away from drawing the poster and I’ll be happy.

Ryan says: This isn’t a remake of the Nic Cage movie?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Hey, remember how cool Snake-Eyes was on G.I. Joe when he barely wore his mask, talked quite a bit, wasn’t the slightest bit disfigured, and seemed to be double-dealing everyone in a personal quest for revenge?  Yeah, I don’t either.  This movie was basically a generic origin story for a character who was basically defined by how mysterious he always was, only here, they took away all the mystery,

Watson says: It was so bad Tom didn’t even finish his sentence. That’s how bad it


The Eternals

What We Said Then

 

What is it?  It’s the next new batch of characters to hit the MCU, superhuman immortals charged with protecting humanity.

Why we’re psyched!  Even the worst Marvel movies are at least watchable, and the multi-ethnic cast on this one looks mighty impressive.

Why we’re wary…  Marvel has managed to make some fairly obscure characters huge successes for people who don’t read comics.  But could this one be the bridge too far?

Watson says: Add this the list of 2020 holdovers that excite the hell out of me!  Black Knight played by Jon Snow!!!

Jimmy says:  The cast is impressive, but this group of mostly unknown characters with no real fan base will be Marvel’s biggest gamble since the original Guardians…uh, make that since Shang-Chi.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This was such an ambitious movie, and there’s a lot to admire about it.  It’s one of the most cinematically beautiful movies the MCU has ever produced, and it has perhaps one of the more ambitious stories to tell.  The biggest problem is the Eternals themselves:  there are a too many of them.  Some of them get more exposure than others, and while some (Kingo, Phastos) are real scene stealers with a lot of personality, others (Druig, Makkari) are not as prominent in the movie itself.  I seemed to forget Angelina Jolie was even in this thing sometimes.  That’s just…odd.

Watson says: This movie needed four Eternals cut from the script. And the movie was so bland that I don’t even care which four.

Jimmy says:  Given the negative reviews and press it was getting before I saw it, I expected it to be a lot worse.  It’s decent but has it’s problems.  It’s way too long and agree with Watson and Tom that they could have cut several characters easily.


King Richard

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a biopic about Richard Williams, father to Venus and Serena.

Why we’re psyched!  Will Smith is a charming lead, even in his lesser roles.

Why we’re wary…  Maybe it’s because I don’t know much about sports, and not to knock Richard Williams, but wouldn’t there be a more interesting biopic if it were focused on one or both of the Williams sisters?

Watson says: Only if Will Smith played him.  Seriously, Williams was a FASCINATING and controversial figure in the world of sports.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Watson was right:  Richard Williams was a fascinating figure.  Smith was great, and I was really drawn to the movie which, despite the title, is often as much about the extended family as it is about Richard and how all of them were working towards the goal of helping Venus (the older of the two) go pro.  My only quibble is I really wanted to see more of Serena and the other half-sisters and what they thought of all this, but I was happy with what I got all the same.

Watson says: Watson is always right. The movie is great, but let’s focus on Watson being right…


West Side Story

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s another version of the classic musical re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet.

Why we’re psyched!  Stephen Spielberg directed this one since he apparently has conquered enough genres and decided he needed to take on the musical as well.

Why we’re wary…  Did he have to do this musical?  There’s already a great version of it that I doubt even Spielberg can improve on outside of making sure the members of the cast actually do their own singing this time.

Watson says: Zzzzzzz……

What We Say Now

Tom says:  OK, if you’re going to remake a movie on the AFI list, this is the way to do it!  Questionable casting for one of the two leads aside, this was not just a good musical, it was something of an improvement on the older movie.  It may be on the best movies Spielberg has made in years.

Watson says: This one was actually quite good . I wrote an article years ago about whether a movie was worthy of Spielberg’s involvement. I’d say in this case, the answer was yes.


The Matrix Resurrections

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the fourth installment of the sci-fi trendsetter that established what we all thought of as cool in the 90s.

Why we’re psyched!  The first Matrix was a trendsetter for a reason, and with Keanu, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Lana Wachowski all coming back to tell another story in this world, well, this could rock.

Why we’re wary…  OK, it has been a long time since we got one of these, but as much as we might dig the first Matrix, the two sequels are…less beloved.

Watson says: I haven’t liked a Wachowski film since the original, but what the hell?

Jimmy says:  Everyone loves The Matrix.  Reloaded is not as good and started getting a bit too CGI-people heavy, but I still liked it, and it did have some fantastic action sequences.  The third film?  Well, if you forget about the first two movies completely, it’s a decent action movie.  I’m not sure we need to revisit this universe, especially with the cyclical nature of the story, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Ryan says: I cannot wait to stream this and wonder why this wasn’t the third movie or why the fuck they didn’t stop with the third movie.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This movie’s first third is really clever in the way it approaches itself.  It’s incredibly self-aware.  Then the rest of the movie happens, and it isn’t as compelling.

Watson says: Oh, yeah! I ‘memba!


Free Guy

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s an action comedy where a guy named Guy learns he’s an NPC in an open world video game and decides to do something about it.

Why we’re psyched!  Ryan Reynolds as Guy means we get something that probably works to Reynolds’ strengths as a comedic actor.  That trailer does look promising.

Why we’re wary…  As great as Reynolds is in general, he’s not much of a box office draw outside of Deadpool.  Plus, could this one be too busy and full of stuff to be really enjoyable?

Watson says: Even in a bad movie, I like Ryan Reynolds.

Jimmy says:  I’ve liked Reynolds since the Van Wilder days, but this one has me a bit worried that it won’t connect with audiences.

What We Say Now

Watson says: This was a breath of fresh air in a real weird year.  I love Ryan Reynolds and enjoyed seeing him get another franchise outside of Deadpool.  This movie is text book “fun”!

Jimmy says:  I mentioned above that I didn’t think Chris Pratt had much range as an actor.  I think Ryan Reynolds is in the same boat.  Though I like both guys, they just seem to play the same character in every film.  More of the same here.  The concept is interesting and they definitely had some fun with it, though I found it connected more with me (a gamer) than the Ms. (a non gamer).


The French Dispatch

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s Wes Anderson’s next movie, this one set in a French newspaper.

Why we’re psyched!  It’s Wes Anderson!

Why we’re wary…  It’s Wes Anderson!  You either dig the guy’s work or you don’t.

Watson says: I dig the guy’s work!

What We Say Now

Tom says:  It’s Wes Anderson!  And I dig the guy’s work!  But really, who else besides Wes Anderson could have made a cinematic tribute to a print magazine?  You know, and have it work?

Watson says: tven It was good but not great Wes Anderson quality.  It is more of an anthology which is only as good as the weakest entry.  They got a little better each time, shining especially in the final segment anchored by Jeffrey Wright.


Judas and the Black Messiah

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the story of a black man who, under a plea deal with the FBI, infiltrates the Black Panthers.

Why we’re psyched!  Ryan Coogler followed up Black Panther with this.  That’s the sort of ambitious film-making that, quite frankly, I think, we should reward and Coogler seems like the kind of guy who can pull it off.

Why we’re wary…  I got nothin’…

Watson says: Coogler isn’t directing.  Only producing.  That said, the leads are two of my favorite actors currently, so this should be special.  Also, it is pre-vaccine HBO Max!

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This is the other powerful movie about the African American experience in the Civil Rights era to come out this year, this one showing what the Black Panthers were trying to do as opposed to how they are commonly depicted, as well as showing how guilt can ravage a man’s soul.  Well worth the viewing.

Watson says: Best movie of the year.  SOOOOOOO powerful.  I was thrilled that Daniel K. won the Oscar… though he wasn’t a “supporting” actor at all….


Army of the Dead

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the story of a group of mercs who decide to rob a Vegas casino…during a zombie plague.

Why we’re psyched!  Zombie heist movie!  Zombie heist movie!

Why we’re wary…  It’s directed by Zack Snyder.

Watson says: It will be a lot of fun or it will be in bottom ten.  Either way, something to talk about…

Jimmy says:  I’m a big Romero fan, but have never seen Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, though I hear lots of good things.  Sounds like I have another double feature to watch this year.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Whenever I watch a Zach Snyder movie, I find myself getting sucked in, particularly when it is something like this where he tosses every nutty idea he can into a zombie heist movie.  But then the movie will end, and it’ll all feel like empty calories or something.  There was so much stuff going on here, but somehow, it’s hard to notice because the movie doesn’t really slow down enough to let the viewer maybe think about things like “Wait, was that zombie a robot?” or stuff like that.

Watson says:  It was good, dumb fun.  I would take a Netflix movie like this every week.

Jimmy says:  Good dumb fun indeed.  Maybe too much on the dumb side, but well made.  As much crap as Snyder gets sometimes, his visuals are always engaging.  It also tries to do something different with the zombie genre which can be tricky to pull off.


Red Notice

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s an action/thriller/comedy an Interpol agent tries to capture the world’s greatest art thief.

Why we’re psyched!  Look at that cast!  Gal Gadot!  Ryan Reynolds!  Dwayne Johnson!

Why we’re wary…  This is Johnson’s third collaboration with director Rawson Marshall Thurber, the second being the only so-so Skyscraper.

Watson says: Skyscraper wasn’t awful.  And this cast is so A-List they need to invent a new letter for them…

Jimmy says:  The cast alone is enough to draw me to this one.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  There was nothing particularly wrong with this movie, but if I never saw anything with these characters again, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.  By the by, between this and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, why do movies insist on making the very likable Ryan Reynolds in-universe someone everyone seems to hate for no reason?

Watson says: I liked this WAY more than I thought I would.  I thought it would be enjoyable but still bottom half.  That A++++ cast really made silly action work.  This is a SECOND franchise for Reynolds beyond Deadpool.  I would definitely see more.


Without Remorse

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a cinematic adaptation of a 1993 Tom Clancy novel of the same name.

Why we’re psyched!  It stars the versatile and charismatic Michael B. Jordan in the lead role.

Why we’re wary…  Is a Tom Clancy adaptation, particularly one from before 9/11, still relevant?

Watson says: This is a great story that can be adapted to any time line.  Guessing they updated the action to more modern times.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Watson told me this was a great story.  Maybe it is.  I just know this was only a so-so movie.

Watson says: So, so, but still decent.  Pretty close to the median of my list.


Nobody

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the story of a seemingly mild-manner family man who has some very violent skills even his wife and kids didn’t know about.

Why we’re psyched!  It looks like Bob Odenkirk is playing a John Wick like character.  That could be awesome, and the trailer was pretty cool.

Why we’re wary…  The director’s only other feature film was Hardcore Harry, so make of that what you will.

Watson says: Odenkirk in an action.  He’s come a long way from Mr. Show With Bob and David.

Ryan says: Can we replace Odenkirk in every Liam Neeson role now?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This was one of two movies I was really looking forward to and saved them for rentals on my birthday weekend.  In both cases, I was glad I did.  I didn’t know the idea of “Bob Odenkirk, Action Star” would be something I need to see, but then toss Christopher Lloyd in as his equally badass father, and I was in action movie heaven.

Watson says: This movie was excellent.  I was also excited for it, but it exceeded expectations.  A Streamer should pay for a three picture series from Odenkirk and team for more.


The Woman in the Window

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a modern retelling of Rear Window where a woman shut-in is sure her neighbor was murdered.

Why we’re psyched!  Director Joe Wright has a pretty impressive resume, and the cast includes Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, and Gary Oldman.  The names attached alone make for a promising movie.

Why we’re wary…  Yeah, that Rear Window thing is actually not intentional, but does anyone really think they can remake Hitchcock, even accidentally?

Watson says: The reviews seem to be mediocre, so not expecting much.  Fortunately, it is on Amazon…

What We Say Now

Tom says:  You know, this looked really promising considering, like, everyone involved.  Then I saw the movie and really have nothing good to say about it.  And Amy Adams is my favorite working actress, so you know it couldn’t be good if I can’t even say anything positive about her, and I thought she played a decent Lois Lane!

Watson says: It was worse than the reviews led me to believe.  This was terrible…

Jimmy says:  Of all the movies on this list I surprisingly haven’t seen, I somehow watched this one.  I don’t remember it being as terrible and Tom and Watson, but it was pretty forgettable in general.


Reminiscence

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  A sci-fi movie about a man who can help people relive their memories.

Why we’re psyched!  It’s the directorial debut for Lisa Joy, co-creator of the series Westworld, and Christopher Nolan’s sister-in-law.  Also, Hugh Jackman is the lead actor.  We always dig that guy.

Why we’re wary…  OK, we may still be a little mad at Nolan and Joy is Nolan-adjacent.  However, Westworld is not always the easiest thing to follow, so this may be in danger of getting lost up its own metaphorical backside.

Watson says: This one was on the HBO Max dump but was pulled.  Nolan over Thanksgiving must have talked trash.  Probably wasn’t wearing a mask…

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Lisa Joy seemed to be trying to make something along the lines of her brother-in-law’s general oeuvre:  a self-serious sci-fi film with a noir feel.  And…she doesn’t quite pull it off.  Not bad for a rookie effort, and I think Ryan loved this thing, but for me, it just fell a little flat.

Watson says: It fell flat for me too…


Spider-Man: No Way Home

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  The next Spider-Man in the MCU movie.

Why we’re psyched!  Tom Holland has been an awesome Spidey, and it looks like a lot of actors from previous Spider-Man incarnations are going to be in this one.

Why we’re wary…  I wasn’t even aware it was done casting yet, and it’s going to be ready by December?  Besides, this sounds like it could be awfully crowded while trying to do a Spider-verse thing, and that sounds like it could be trouble.

Watson says: Makes me very nervous about where Marvel is going…

Jimmy says:  I think a lot of the Spider-verse stuff may be a bit of a head fake.  Or at the very least, a minor piece of the overall movie.  I don’t think we’ll have two hours of Holland, Garfield and Maguire fighting Molina and Foxx.

Ryan says: The entire cast of Suicide Squad just signed on to this movie.

What We Say Now

Watson says: I am mad that I liked it. It was fan wank but it was great fan wank.  FUCKING JIMMY!

Tom says:  I think I would have liked this one more if I wasn’t stressed out about the recent COVID surge.  Good movie, not great, but those concerns definitely impacted my enjoyment.  It was the opposite of my Quiet Place 2 experience.

Jimmy says:  The biggest crowd I’ve been in in two years, but unlike Tom it didn’t really stress me out.  It’s not in the Winter Solider, Infinity War or Endgame tier, but certainly enjoyable.  As Watson says, it was certainly fan wank, but really well done.


The Add-Ons

There were other movies, things we didn’t see coming, and many of them we were pleasantly surprised by.  We’ve got those below.

I Care a Lot

Tom says:  I put this one on my Netflix watchlist when it dropped and then, for reasons I cannot explain, only got to it very recently on a recommendation from Watson.  I’m glad he did.  Two twisted individuals go to war over the care of an elderly woman?  I didn’t see that coming.

Watson says: This was a joy of the year.  One of my favorite movies.  Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage rock this black comedy.


Nine Days

Tom says:  This is the other movie I rented for my birthday weekend, a wonderous, creative meditation on what it means to be alive.  It was a very good weekend.

Watson says: What a great mood movie.  So compelling.


No Sudden Move

Tom says:  Steven Soderbergh got another all-star cast in a heist movie, this time as two guys need to pull of a caper before the forces of organized crime or Corporate America catch up to them in 1950s Detroit.  Amazing and cool, as I have come to expect from a Soderbergh crime movie.

Watson says: I didn’t even have this on my watch list and it was a wonderful crime thriller that hits my sweet spot.


Sparks Brothers

Tom says:  I saw more documentaries this year than I think I have ever, and many of them were pretty darn informative.  Take this one about a really weird pair of musical brothers, given a creative homage by Edgar Wright.  True, I learned more about their music than about them, but I think in the end, I learned quite a bit and heard some good tunes.

Watson says: What a kookie fun doc.  If I didn’t know they were real, I would have thought Edgar Wright made a mockumentary…


Belfast

 

Tom says:  Kenneth Branagh made this as a love letter to his childhood hometown, using almost an entirely Northern Irish cast (the one exception being the awesome Judi Dench), in this semi-autobiographical tale about the tough decisions adults need to make when times are tough, I think I fell a little bit in love with a working class neighborhood at the start of The Troubles, something I never thought possible.

Watson says: Ooooh….one of the best films of the year.  So charming and deep at the same time.  Cirian Hinds really steals the show.  I hope he wins the Oscar for Best Picture.


The Green Knight

Tom says:  An artsy tale of a Medieval bro learning to be a noble knight, and largely failing miserably, with a lot of beautiful shots and scenes as Gawain can’t seem to get anything expected of a chivalric knight right.  Starring everybodys favorite actor that Jimmy has never heard of, Dev Patel!

Watson says: This one was a little too dry for my taste.  I am ok with artsy but artsy and plodding turns me off.


The Snydercut

Tom says:  Was the Zach Snyder version of Justice League a better movie than the theatrical one?  Absolutely.  Easily better.  Is it good?  That’s a much more debatable thing.  But it did give Cyborg, Steppenwolf, and a few other characters actual personalities and stuff to do, and even at four hours, it never felt like it was dragging.  It was just looooonnnnnggggg.

Watson says:  I wish they had kept their original idea of making this a three part mini-series.  There was more consistency than the theatrical release, but it made me wish for a Whedon cut instead.

Jimmy says:  Easily better than the Whedon cut, but it is still the DCEU.


Tick, Tick…Boom

Watson says:  This movie was not one I was really looking forward to, but it was damn impressive.  Andrew Garfield may have not worked out as Spider-Man, but damn he is crushing his post-hero career.  He deserves to be very seriously in the mix for Best Actor at the Oscars.


Television

TV is that thing we tune into when we are at home and don’t want to watch a full movie.  Or possibly a sporting event.  Regardless, we had some TV thoughts this year too.

 

Cobra Kai

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the story of Johnny and Daniel, two old opponents, still doing the karate thing.

Why we’re psyched!  Netflix picked this up from YouTube, and changing the focus from Daniel to Johnny sounds like a stroke of genius.

Why we’re wary…  How good can it be without the late Pat Morita?

Ryan says: This is an amazing show.  CANNOT WAIT to watch it on Jan 1!!

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I’ve never really seen an episode, but this sucker drops a new season on December 31st, and I strongly doubt anyone around here is going to see much if not any of it before this article goes live.


The Book of Boba Fett

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a spin-off of The Mandalorian, following the adventures of Boba Fett.

Why we’re psyched!  This is coming from the creative minds behind The Mandalorian, and Boba Fett was a cool new addition to that series.  Giving him his own show where he might actually develop a personality and not just be that quiet guy with the swagger in Jabba’s palace or the punk kid riding shotgun to Jango Fett might be a lot of fun.

Why we’re wary…  Wait, is this coming out around the same time as season three of The Mandalorian?  Can they actually get both shows done?  We’re confused.

Watson says: They make multiple Marvel projects a year.  They’ll be fine…

Jimmy says:  Yeah, but they don’t release them at the same time.  From what I’ve heard, Fett is in production now and season 3 of The Mandalorian doesn’t even begin until this Fett is finished.  I appreciate them wanting to keep this series a secret, but it has generated some confusion.  I’ll be watching both either way as the Mando’s have rejuvenated the franchise like neither of the last two movies could do.

Ryan says: Boba Fett?  Boba Fett?  Where?

What We Say Now

Jimmy says:  The first episode will have aired by the time this article goes live, but will any of us update this again prior to that?  🙂

Watson says: Watched the first episode. Fuck you, Jimmy!


WandaVision

What We Said Then

What is it?  Your guess is as good as ours.  The Scarlet Witch and the Vision are up to…something.

Why we’re psyched!  This is our first MCU anything since the last Spider-Man movie, so we’re way overdue for another trip there.

Why we’re wary…  It does look a bit weird, and weird is not the same as good.

Watson says: I love the chances they are taking, but I am guessing the show won’t be as kooky as the previews suggest…

Jimmy says: I have a similar feeling to Watson.  I think the whole sitcom, multi-era thing might be pushed aside after the first episode or two.  Looking forward to it though.  As a continuation of the MCU in general, but also to give us a taste of what to expect going forward from this Disney+ shows with the motion picture budgets.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Oh man, was this something else.  Copying the different sitcom styles by itself was rather impressive, but between a scene-steeling performance from the every-reliable Kathryn Hahn and everything Elizabeth Olsen did, we got a deep look into the mind of a very troubled woman that, seemingly required MCU final battle aside, showed a Wanda Maximoff who was truly hurting after the events of the last two Avengers movies.  Toss in some solid work from Paul Bettany, and you got a truly impressive first round of original MCU programming from D+.

Watson says:  I was one of the few geeks underwhelmed by this series.  I thought Olsen and Bettany were wonderful, but the worries I have for post-Endgame MCU really played out here.  Everything outside of the fantasy world (Monica, Woo, Darcy, SWORD) was absolutely stupid.  And the TV gags after the first two episodes didn’t work for me.  I respect them taking chances, but it didn’t connect with me.

Jimmy says:  I enjoyed it, but it will end up as the lowest live action MCU show for me.


The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

What We Said Then

What is it?  It was supposed to be the first original content from the MCU for Disney+, but then there was a pandemic.

Why we’re psyched!  This one could be the most anticipated for the announced MCU shows as Captain America’s two best pals get into mischief.

Why we’re wary…  For one, the Winter Soldier’s only personality trait is he’s Steve Rogers’ friend.  For another, this may be the most conventional of the various MCU shows coming for sure this year, so it may actually look bland next to the reality warping witch and her dead android lover, the Asgardian trickster god, the adventures of Pizza Dog, and the shapeshifting teenage girl.

Watson says: This will be the best of the Marvel series in production.  Bank on it!

Jimmy says:  I guess Old Man Cap handing off his shield and giving Sam his seal of approval means little to the US Government.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  You know, this was maybe the most conventional of the live action MCU programming to come out to D+ this year.  It was still good, showing the evolution of Sam Wilson, the traumatic guilt of Bucky Barnes, and the way their partnership is being pushed along by the legacy of Steve Rogers, but in an era of sitcom tropes being used to demonstrate grief, variants and timelines, and a Christmas story about an assassin seeing his unintended legacy, a straightforward action series is going to be a lot more normal than the others, and if nothing else, we got a good USAgent origin story on top of everything else.

Watson says: I liked it but it was pretty straight-forward, by the numbers.

Jimmy says:  Watson actually ranked Hawkeye and Loki higher than this, so not much of a bank.  I guess he owes himself a coffee.  I liked it, though I feel it was the most unnecessary of the shows that the casual fan who only watches the films wouldn’t miss a beat without.

Watson says: Damn. That’s a sick burn Jimmy made on that Watson guy. Hate to be him.


Loki

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a certain Norse trickster god doing his own thing while running afoul of the Time Variance Authority from the looks of things.

Why we’re psyched!  Hey, there’s a reason Tom Hiddleston was the really big break-out from the first Thor movie.  That guy’s awesome, and he always seems to be having fun when he’s playing Loki.  And since it seems increasingly unlikely we’ll see Hiddleston play James Bond, this may be the closest we’ll ever see him as another British icon, Doctor Who.

Why we’re wary…  While it is not impossible to set a series around a villain, Disney doing it seems…questionable.  Then again, Loki is a bit harder to classify as either a hero or a villain.

Watson says: I am wary of the old Loki coming back (character regression) but the trailer rung my bell a little…

Jimmy says: I’ll be watching, just like all the MCU content.  It will be interesting how this series finishes up and where it leaves Loki’s status in the MCU moving forward.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I didn’t know I needed a Tom Hiddleston/Owen Wilson team-up show, but I got it, and it was delightful.  This is the perfect story to take advantage of Loki’s more unique moral positioning to allow him to do something heroic while still looking for his own glorious purpose.

Watson says: The trailer rung my bell but the series knocked the bell out of the tower.  It was so special.  Hiddleston continues to find new gears in playing this character and the series was his best run yet.  Owen was great, but lets not forget Sylvie.  She was the gem of the series.  I totally want to see more of her.

Jimmy says:  All of what Tom and Watson said above.  Though I’m surprised Watson liked this and Spider-Man: No Way Home so much with his hatred of all things multiverse, and this series certainly seemed to set that next phase of the MCU in motion.


Hawkeye

What We Said Then

 

What is it?  It’s the further adventures of Clint Barton, perhaps the most misused of all the Avengers.

Why we’re psyched!  It sure looks like they’re adapting the Fraction/Aja comics series, and that one was fantastic.  Factor in as well Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop and we could have something fantastic, finally giving the character of Clint Barton a story worth telling.

Why we’re wary…  Given the way the character has been handled thus far, is anyone really all that interested in Jeremy Renner’s Barton?  I think there’s a reason people may be more psyched about Stienfield’s Kate Bishop.

Watson says: Only with the news that Florence Pugh was involved did I get excited about this one.

Jimmy says: I really need to read that Fraction run…

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Clint Barton is a world-weary guy just trying to get a case done so he can spend Christmas with his family.  He doesn’t want to be famous and doesn’t see himself as a hero.  Meanwhile, Kate Bishop wants to be a hero like her idol Hawkeye.  Renner finally gets to showcase his talents as Clint, he and Steinfeld have great chemistry together, and we may have our first small-scale MCU story.  It’s been fantastic so far.

Watson says: Holy shit! This was soooooo much better than I anticipated. Everyone was great except maybe Echo; which makes you nervous about her show. Give me more Florence Pugh no matter what movie she shows up in.

Jimmy says:  I still need to read that Fraction run, but this was great.  Who would have thought a show about generations of Hawkeye’s would be the best the MCU D+ content?


What If?

 

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s an animated series showing alternate stories involving MCU characters.

Why we’re psyched!  Longtime Marvel fans know this series of alternate realities can be a lot of fun, and between Jeffrey Wright as the Watcher and regular MCU actors reprising their movie roles, this could be all kinds of cool.

Why we’re wary…  I, for one, don’t care much for the animation style.

Watson says: Yeah.  The art looked weird, but we thought that with the Spider-Verse…

Jimmy says: Agreed about the animation.  And I think these stories will be very hit and miss.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Jimmy’s assessment was the show would be hit and miss.  I think it was a lot more miss.  What a disappointment.  Many of the name actors weren’t putting a lot of effort into their roles, the stories seemed to fly by with feature-film level plots that were compressed down to a half hour, and the animation never quite worked for me.

Watson says:  This is the bottom of the barrel of something flying under the MCU flag.  There were a couple that were good, but most of them ranged from meh to bad.  I couldn’t wait for the series to be over.  I am not excited about the Second Season at all…

Jimmy says:  Mostly agree with Tom and Watson’s assessments.  Though I was pretty surprised by the number of MCU A-listers that reprised their roles.  Some stuff worked, a lot of it didn’t.  I’m not looking forward to Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness changing this from forgettable side project to deeper MCU canon.


What We Do in the Shadows

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a fake documentary series about a group of vampires living in Staten Island.

Why we’re psyched!  This show is consistently funny, gets some great guest stars, and was a bright spot for me during the early days of the pandemic.

Why we’re wary…  How long can you keep something like this fresh?  And can they get another season in the can with the pandemic still out there?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This is, bar none, my favorite comedy on TV right now.  And while none of the guest stars quite gave me laughs the way Mark Hamill did in season two, I was still enjoying every second of this one.  Besides, Colin Robinson has some explaining to do…


Star Wars on TV

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a whole crop of new Star Wars shows coming to Disney+.

Why we’re psyched!  Maybe the movies haven’t quite been right, but if the new shows take after The Mandalorian, we could be in for some real treats.  And look at what’s coming:  new shows with Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, Cassian Andor, Lando Calrissian, the droids, and Rosario Dawson’s Ashotka Tano, plus shows with titles like The Bad BatchRangers of the New RepublicVisions, and The Acolyte.

Why we’re wary…  We have no idea when these shows will actually come out.

Watson says: Not that psyched about Andor (except his showrunner is amazing), and still waiting to hear the words “Donald” and “Glover” associated with Lando.  But Ashoka, Rangers, and Kenobi excite the hell out of me.

Jimmy says:  Everyone is super excited about the future of Star Wars…on TV!  Who would have thought that 2 years (or even 1 year) ago?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  We’re still waiting for a lot of these shows.  That’s OK.  We got Boba Fett this year, alongside The Bad Batch and Visions.  I’m behind on Clone Wars, so I won’t be trying Bad Batch until I get that done, but Visions was pretty damn cool.

Watson says: I am still waiting to hear the words “Donald” and “Glover”…

Jimmy says:  I haven’t watched The Bad Batch or Visions, though when this is published I’ve likely watched episode one of The Book of Boba Fett.  Star Wars really needs a huge year in 2022 with these shows to get the franchise back on track, as it doesn’t look like we’ll see a new SW film any time soon.


Marvel on TV

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a slate full of promising-sounding MCU action for the small screen, perhaps making up for lost time given there’s been basically nothing for the past year.

Why we’re psyched!  Moon Knight and She-Hulk are on the way?  And with some great casting announcements already?  This sounds fantastic to me!

Why we’re wary…  So…when exactly are these new shows showing up?

Watson says: Remember when one super hero movie every few years was exciting?

Jimmy says:  I don’t think we’ll be seeing anything in 2021 besides the series and movies mentioned above.  At some point superhero fatigue has got to set in though right?  Especially with MCU cornerstones Iron Man and Captain America off the board.  But until it does, let’s enjoy the ride.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Yeah, we didn’t get more than a couple sneak peaks for anything not mentioned above, but what little I saw looks fairly promising.  And, What If aside, the new stuff has been consistently fun, so there’s a lot to hope for the likes of Moon Knight and She-Hulk.

Watson says:  On to 2022!

Jimmy says:  Not a lot to say about the Marvel shows that we didn’t get into above, but in general it cemented the quality and integration of the shows into the MCU as a whole.


DC on TV

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the more…scattered TV stuff based on DC Comics characters.

Why we’re psyched!  Excluding a few mentioned below, there actually is a lot of DC stuff on the horizon.  HBO Max is supposed to be working on live action series based on the Green Lantern and Adam Strange, as well as possibly Justice :League Dark and an animated Aquaman mini-series.  There will also be another season of Titans (meh) and eventually both of the animated series Young Justice and Harley Quinn (yay!).  Ava DuVernay is producing a Naomi series based on a new DC character for the CW.  Lucifer has a few more episodes to go on Netflix.  There’s supposed to be a show about the Gotham City police department in development to tie into next year’s new Batman movie, and James Gunn is making a Peacekeeper mini-series to tie into The Suicide Squad, both on HBO Max.  That’s a lot of stuff on the horizon.

Why we’re wary…  It’s DC.  There’s a general feeling they will still somehow shoot themselves in the foot assuming any of this stuff actually does come out anytime soon.

Watson says: My DC team needs to step up.  Very little of this feels premium.  Maybe GL and Adam Strange will change my mind, but right now I am judging these guys on the Arrowverse standards…

Jimmy says:  DC also announced plans to make 6 DC films a year, with 2 of them going directly to HBO Max.  Given their track record, I’m not holding out much hope for any of these things.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  I’ll have some thoughts on the Arrowverse below, but some of these things came out and some didn’t.  Season 4 of Young Justice?  Hell yeah!  It’s been great!  That animated Aquaman mini-series?  Yeah, that was kinda terrible.  Season three of Titans was the best so far, but that isn’t quite the same as good.  But it got renewed, as did Doom Patrol (see below), but we’re still waiting for a lot of this stuff, and much of it still looks promising.

Watson says:  I am intrigued enough by Tom’s comments on YJ that I am rewatching the original run all the way through.  I have seen several episodes but never sequentially.  Nothing else has come out from DC that makes me want to watch.  I am still waiting for more news on the GL Corp!

Jimmy says:  the only DC TV I’ve been watching is the original Young Justice run with Tom.  That may not change as the CW shows are weak.  Maybe the HBO Max shows will up the quality.


Star Trek on TV

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the other unkillable sci-fi franchise that has been around for decades in its current incarnation.

Why we’re psyched!  Well, Ryan loves Discovery and Jimmy and I enjoyed Picard while I thought Lower Decks was a spot o’ fun.

Why we’re wary…  No matter what, I think it’s safe to say that Star Trek will forever be overshadowed by other franchises.  Besides, who wants to subscribe to CBS?

Jimmy says:  I really hope we get another season of Picard before Sir Patrick Stewart is no longer up for it.  The man is 80 years old.  I feel I should give Discovery another shot because Ryan loves it so much.  That said, Ryan loving it makes me very wary.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  You know what?  One of the best Star Trek series in ages ran new episodes this year, and it was appointment TV for me whenever a new one dropped.

I’m talking about Lower Decks.  Leave the Discovery stuff to Ryan.

Jimmy says: Picard season 2 is on the way!  (With Patrick Stewart really looking old.)  Otherwise I haven’t watched any Trek this year.


Doom Patrol

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s easily the strangest superhero team DC has in its own live action show.

Why we’re psyched!  They somehow managed to make fairly accurate adaptations of both the Silver Age and Grant Morrison eras while still being its own thing about damaged people who just so happen to have superpowers that mean they occasionally try to save the world.

Why we’re wary…  The series got cut short due to the pandemic like so many other shows, but the show walks a fine line between pathos and the absurd that they could very easily go too far in either direction.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This is, hands down, my favorite live action superhero series.  It’s just so delightfully bizarre.  A group of people with massive personal issues don’t so much fight evil as generally accidentally encounter it and get by despite their own best efforts.  It’s a show with goddam were-butts!  What’s not to like?


Arrowverse

What We Said Then

What is it?  The various interconnected DC shows on the CW…even if Arrow ended.  And I am not using the new name for these shows.

Why we’re psyched!  OK, maybe Supergirl and Black Lightning are ending this year.  And Batwoman had to recast the title role unexpectedly.  But there’s a new Superman and Lois series coming with a promising pair of leads. the Stargirl series that started last year was a lot of fun, and The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow are, if nothing else, consistent in their quality.

Why we’re wary…  These shows really are, for better or worse, very consistent in their quality.  Make of that what you will.

Jimmy says:  I talked about this in the year in review.  I just can’t get into these shows as they seem like cheap cosplay and fan fiction.  But to each his own.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  So, at some point, I realized I stopped watching these shows regularly, and even the one I really liked (Legends of Tomorrow) wasn’t really working for me.  Supergirl ended in its blandly consistent way.  The Flash has probably been on the air too long.  But then I really dug the first season of Superman and Lois, a show that seems to be one of the best live action adaptations of the Man of Steel and Lois Lane in ages.  Plus, Stargirl is still charming as hell.  Maybe the older shows need to wind down, but the newer ones can still be quite fun.

Watson says:  FUCKING JIMMY!


Invincible

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s an animated series about a teenage boy who learns his dad is the world’s greatest superhero and decides to try the same thing out for himself.

Why we’re psyched!  This is Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s other great comic book series, and the voice cast includes the likes of J.K. Simmons, Mark Hamill, Sandra Oh, and Seth Rogen.

Why we’re wary…  Have you seen how much The Walking Dead has worn out its welcome?

Watson says: They announced this too soon.  I feel like I’ve been waiting for years.  Oh wait… that was just 2020…

What We Say Now

Tom says:  This series took what was a pretty good comic and actually made it deeper while still being faithful to the original story…and it’s barely gotten started.  I read the first of three Omnibuses for the original comic this past year, and I already have the other two.  I plan to finish them in 2022, and if the comic and the show stay at the same level, I think I’m going to be very happy with both of them.

Watson says: I enjoyed this, I was happy when it dropped each week, and I will watch the next season.  But this was not a show I sit around and think about in between episodes or seasons.  That is where we are in geek content.  There is surplus premium geekdom…

Jimmy says:  I really need to read the comic, because the show was excellent.  I can sometimes do without the hyper-gore and violence, but the story is good enough to carry the show with or without it.


The Handmaid’s Tale

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s the TV adaptation of the Margaret Atwood dystopian novel.

Why we’re psyched!  Elizabeth Moss owns the small screen and this show is perhaps a little too timely in many ways.  They didn’t quite get a new season out in 2020, but Hulu has already renewed it for a fifth season before the fourth one even airs.

Why we’re wary…  This show ran out of material from the original novel after season one, and the level of plot armor Moss’s June has puts her on Mandalorian-level armored protection.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  That plot armor I complained about is still something of an issue for this show, but it looks like they’re finding a way to utilize it in ways I can almost appreciate.  I have no idea what, if anything, is the planned endgame for a show like this, but it does a great job of showing people in personal torment in during extraordinary trying times.


It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s a dark comedy about five awful people running an unsuccessful bar in the City of Brotherly Love.

Why we’re psyched!  The only reason I added it this year is FX renewed it.  For four more seasons.  If it isn’t the longest running live action sitcom on the air, it will be.

I mean, four more seasons?

Why we’re wary…  Can they keep going for four more seasons?

Watson says: I no longer watch the series regularly, but I can turn on an episode from any era and enjoy…so the more the merrier…

What We Say Now

Watson says: I watched a 2020 themed episode the other day that just dropped.  It made me laugh.  So, the more the merrier theme continues.


TV Add-ons

Squid Game

Tom says:  Yeah, this was the big unexpected hit for Netflix this year.  As I type this, I’ve only seen the pilot, but seeing it as a criticism of capitalism and the lengths people will go to just to keep their heads above water, plus taking the time to develop the main character, this is a hell of a lot better than Tiger King ever hoped to be.

Watson says: This was a fun holiday binge. Glad I was able to avoid spoilers despite the sensation that turned into a meme. It wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it.


Masters of the Universe: Revelations

Tom says:  I wasn’t expecting to get even remotely excited about a new Masters of the Universe, even if it comes from professional geek Kevin Smith.  A series based on the mythology of the old TV show?  The one designed to sell toys and nothing more?  How is that possible?  But it actually turned out to be a lot of fun, with the first half actually exploring the idea of what Eternia would be like if both He-Man and Skeletor were removed from the board, allowing characters like Teela, Evil-Lynn, and Man-at-Arms to really shine.  True, the second part seemed like something of a step back from all that, but the first half also made a lot of old He-Man fans upset because they apparently saw more in that old cartoon than I ever did, even as a fan of the show while it was still new.  I call that a bit of a plus.


Only Murders in the Building

Watson says: A comedy murder series starring Steve Martin.  What could possibly go wrong?  The answer is NOTHING.  This show was great.  Selena Gomez held her own with two comedy icons and the chemistry between the three was brilliant.  I loved this show.  I am not sure how good the sequel is going to be, but I will be there…


Books

Books can come out without a lot of notice, and personally, I read all the time and it often isn’t something new unless it’s a favorite author.  But I do have a running predication…

The Winds of Winter

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s my annual joke prediction for a book that almost certainly isn’t coming out this year, but won’t I look smart if it actually does?

Watson says: Giggle…

Jimmy says:  I wonder which will come first…The Winds of Winter being released or me finishing the 4th and 5th books?

What We Say Now

Tom says:  As I see it, one of these years either this book comes out and I get to read and probably like it, or we get an obituary for George RR Martin.  And, quite frankly, I actually think he’ll finish this one.  It’s the one after that I’m not so sure about…

Watson says:  Giggle, part deux….

Jimmy says:  I haven’t read books 4 or 5, and this hasn’t been released.  Stalemate.


Technology

We here at Gabbing Geek may not be the biggest tech heads around, but we do have some thoughts on what sort of stuff science made for us this past year.

Vaccines!

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s our biggest hope to see an end to the pandemic.

Why we’re psyched!  What we’ve heard so far sounds really promising, and it would be nice to see people outside our households again.

Why we’re wary…  Cripes, can we get enough people to actually take one?

Watson says: I am guessing Ryan will pay for an early dosage with instructions to meet in the parking lot of Sizzler to get the shot…

Jimmy says: That’s a solid joke.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  Yeah, still waiting to see if we can get enough people to take one before we run out of letters in the Greek alphabet.

Watson says: There was no better day than when I got my shot or I heard someone I cared about got theirs.  It really was liberating, even with the variant scares.  Never before did this quote from Thor make so much sense, “Your Ancestors Called it Magic, but You Call it Science. I Come From a Land Where They Are One and the Same.”

Jimmy says:  It’s hard to write about the excitement of vaccines right now as locally our Christmas got turned upside down with Omicron raging.  That aside, we did have a fairly “back to normal” 2021 after the disastrous 2020, so hopefully this is just a blip as we head into 2022.


First Run Streaming

What We Said Then

What is it?  It’s first run movies going right to streaming first or at least at the same time as theatrical releases.

Why we’re psyched!  Seeing new movies in the safety of our own homes will be a really nice thing while we wait for the pandemic to end.

Why we’re wary…  There are a lot of business-related questions to ask, and many smaller movies might be hurt by something like this, but to that end, we here at Gabbing Geek all did a round up of the major streaming services below.

What We Say Now

Tom says:  First run streaming is a fine way to see movies, especially on my new 4K set, but it’s not the same as seeing something on a big screen.  But as for the different screening services we could have watched them on…

Watson Says:  I like the option to see movies the way I want to see them.  I still love the theater, but if a movie doesn’t hit streaming within a month or so of its theatrical release, I now find that odd…

Jimmy says:  Agreed.  I wish everything was day and date.  And being in Canada we don’t get the benefit of the HBO Max films.

Watson says: You didn’t miss much…

 


 

Netflix

Then

Tom says:  Maybe not the biggest media company in the world, but certainly the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to streaming.  All the different alternative services are probably going to cut into Netflix’s library, but they still have a lot of great content with more on the way.  They also know how to treat their talent considering they dropped The Chapelle Show at Dave Chapelle’s request and changed all references to Elliot Page’s gender when he came out as trans.

Watson says: This feels like the destination for more premium content outside the traditional studio system.  There is definitely a feel to Netflix premium films…

Now

Ton says:  Oh man, that Chapelle comment aged in ways I did not see coming…and did we really need more Tiger King?

Watson Says: A lot of great content this year.  The Queen’s Gambit, tons of docuseries, great movies, and even noble failures like Jupiter’s Legacy.  Still easily worth my subscription.

Jimmy says:  While I enjoy the original content on Disney+ more in general, Netflix is still the king of overall content and puts out lots of originals that are worth the time.


Amazon Prime Video

Then

Tom says:  If nothing else, Amazon doesn’t seem to be afraid to spend money on new material.  Maybe not quite as successful as Netflix, it does have a few shows that really stand out.  The Boys sure does seem to be their flagship program right about now.

Watson says: Amazon seems to get other people’s content or has a fairly generic vibe with their product.  Like Disney and Netflix, they need to find a signature “voice”…

Now

Tom says:  So, between The Boys and Invincible, this service became the service for adult superhero stories, didn’t it?

Watson Says:  Right?  That’s their lane, I guess.  It is a good lane, but very little else other than some off the rack movie purchases.

Jimmy says:  Prime is the most dispensable of the services for me.  I sign up to watch The Boys or Invinicible or Yellowstone and then cancel it as I don’t find there’s much else on it that interests me.


Hulu

Then

Tom says:  I know Hulu has some original programming.  I even like some of it.  But I still think of this one as the service to use when I miss something after it aired on more traditional TV.

Watson says: I use Hulu for comfort food shows like Family Guy, American Dad, and Futurama…

Now

Tom says:  Yeah, nothing about my opinion of Hulu has changed in the past year aside from I showed my parents how I use it during a rare visit from them (they don’t live local to me).

Watson Says: Hulu stepped up with Only Murders In the Building, so I will give it props this year.


Disney+

Then

Tom says:  Disney had the advantage of a huge back catalog of stuff, particularly given how much intellectual property Disney has acquired over the past few years.  Sure, I still think of the company as a heavily sanitized monolith of sterile family-friendly entertainment, but at least they had the Muppets, Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar.  But for a while, it sure did seem like the only thing they really had worth looking into was The Mandalorian and a few other random things involving Forky or Jeff Goldblum or something Ryan probably loves involving singing.  But now that it seems to be finally putting out more content that I want to see, well…I’m a lot happier with the service as a result.

Watson says: So far it has been the Mando Channel, but soon that will change.  This is going to shift from catalog content to rival Netflix in original content.

Now

Tom says:  Disney has deep pockets, and much of the new programming I see on there is good stuff.  Granted, if it didn’t have that new content, and with Disney’s IP acquisitions of the past decade or so, I’m not sure I’d be much interested in this one.  I’m not a big Disney fan, and I don’t have kids and all.

Watson Says: Alongside Netflix, this is the biggest Must Have Streaming service because of the big budget, must watch content it puts out in the MCU and SW space.  I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get any new SW live action shows until the very end of the year.  I am spoiled that way…

Jimmy says:  Disney+ is a bit different in Canada (I’m watching Die Hard on it right now as I update this) which means I watch a lot more than just Marvel shows and movies on it.  It would be my choice if I had to remove all other streaming services.


HBO Max

Then

Tom says:  Business and technical problems aside, I really like this service’s catalog.  It’s great for movie lovers.  Just don’t ask about the people running the thing.

Watson says: WB’s bad business move is our gain.  I bought an 85″ TV when I heard that news…

Now

Tom says:  HBO Max is basically my favorite streaming service right now.  Good library, lots of good movies, HBO’s library of shows, and I check it nearly daily.  I can’t say that for any of the others.

Watson Says: Remember the old days, before home video and streaming, where HBO was the best place to see premium movies not in the theaters?  That might be true again! This year’s movies have been hit (Black Messiah, King Richard) or miss (Cry Macho, Tom and Jerry), but you can’t say they weren’t theatrical releases.  One callout for a non-theatrical release that they produced, the likely future for the channel when 2022 rolls around, was 8-Bit Christmas.  NPH is a favorite, and not just for his mastery of Clue quotes.


Peacock

Then

Tom says:  Hard pass on this one.  Pay to stream NBC?  What’s next?  CBS?

Now

Tom says:  Is this thing still around?

Watson Says: I have it for English Premiere Soccer.  That is all you need to know…


CBS All Access

Then

Tom says:  Unless you really like Star Trek, I really don’t see the point of this one.  I got it only because it came in a nice package deal with Apple TV+ and Showtime.

Now

Tom says:  Well, I do like most of the new Star Trek shows I have seen on this one, but this service, now creatively called Paramount+, also allowed me to watch the new version of The Stand.  The awful, awful, awful new version of The Stand.


Apple TV+

Then

Tom says:  I don’t care how good Ryan says Ted Lasso is.  This service has, what?  Three original shows and a movie here and there?  It doesn’t seem to have a whole lot going on.

Watson says: They seem to be a little shy of finding their place in the pecking order.  They need to work on their creative content because though there have been some well reviewed shows, they don’t yet have a Boys or Stranger Things.

Now

Tom says:  I still haven’t seen Ted Lasso.  I have seen Jon Stewart’s new show, and I liked what I saw.  But that’s about all can say for the service that seems to be a dumping ground for new Tom Hanks movies these days.  Jenny must hate it.

Watson Says: Ted Lasso is worth watching, but beyond that Apple hasn’t found its voice.  With their money, I am really surprised that they don’t have a better creative vision.

Jimmy says:  Apple TV+ is like Prime for me.  I sign up to watch what I need to and then dump it.  They don’t have much content, but Ted Lasso is at least worth your 7 day free trial and just binge the hell out of it.


Crackle

Then

Tom says:  Well, obviously.

Watson says: Wait for it!

Now

Tom says:  Still waiting!  Obviously!

Watson Says:  It’s no Quibli…


Gabbing Geek

What We Said Then

What is it?  You’re lookin’ at it.

Why we’re psyched!  I can’t speak for the others, but I do enjoy writing here.

Why we’re wary…  I’m not.  Why?  Did you hear something?

Watson says: Hey!  I’m writing here!

Jimmy says: I’ve worked on two columns in the last two days!  That’s the most I’ve done since…last year at this time when I worked on two columns in two days.  🙂

Narrator: It’s true.

Ryan says: Seriously, I’m gonna kill this guy.

Narrator: He won’t.

We We Say Now

Tom says:  Hey, we’re still here!  Not a bad year here.  Jimmy and I finished up our DCAU chats and moved on to Young Justice, and after an unexpected bit of downtime, Ryan redid the whole site to something much nicer.  What will the future bring?  Um, I don’t know.  I hate predicting the future.  I’m usually wrong.

Watson Says: Yup.

Jimmy says:  I predict I’ll think about continuing something like the Spider-Man Chronology, but it will likely not happen.  At least Tom and I will have Star Trek: The Next Generation and Young Justice to chat about.

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