April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

2023 Year In Review

Gabbing Geek does its annual look at what's coming out this year.

Once a year, we here at Gabbing Geek take a look at what is supposed to be coming out in the upcoming year and talk about how much (if at all) we are looking forward to those entertainment items.

And then at the end of the year, I cut-and-paste the column and we add commentary for how the stuff we saw turned out.

Jenny hates the Anticipation Baby but she never checks these things anymore.  Wait, how old is this kid these days?

MOVIES

Ah yes, the movies.  Probably out biggest section every year, but here we are.  What is coming to the silver screen that we’re looking forward to in 2023?


THEN

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

What is it?  Guy Ritchie’s latest, telling the story of a Hollywood action movie star who gets recruited to do the real thing.

Why we’re psyched!  C’mon.  This is the sort of thing Ritchie can do in his sleep, plus he’s reunited with his frequent collaborator Jason Statham.

Why we’re wary…  This plot sounds an awful lot like The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and that played it a lot more tongue in cheek than I suspect this movie will.

Watson says: If this is 70% as good as the Gentlemen, count me in!

NOW

Tom says:  This was basically a standard Guy Ritchie movie.  That’s fine in and of itself, and Watson probably loved it more than me, but it felt rather…familiar to me.  That said, Hugh Grant made the movie as an oily arms dealer, and he easily steals every scene he’s in.

Watson says: It is like the Diet Coke version of Ritchie’s The Gentlemen. I did love it more than Tom.  Because I loved this movie.  It was so funny and should have been a franchise.

Ryan says:  If you can watch this for free it is a FANTASTIC value.


THEN

The Pale Blue Eye

What is it?  A murder mystery set at West Point, early in the 19th century, where a retired detective is asked to find a killer before the newly established military academy is ruined by disgrace.  Oh, and Cadet Edgar Allen Poe is the detective’s assistant.

Why we’re psyched!  Christian Bale is the lead, and the book it’s based on is pretty good.  Plus, it was shot more or less on location if not on West Point’s grounds, than close to it.

Why we’re wary…  It’s a Netflix movie, but it’s also a January release.  Does that matter?

Watson says: I learned about this seconds ago and already I am in a state of anticipation. Spoilers but I think Tom did it.

NOW

Tom says:  Something about this movie didn’t work for me…and it was filmed near where I live and work.  Beyond that, I don’t really remember it very well.

Watson says: It wasn’t good, but Cousin Dudley did a nice job as Poe.  Bale was boring as hell and you understand quickly why this got a January Netflix release.

Ryan says:  It was bad.  The best part was the Poe guy looked like Poe.

Jimmy says:  I actually saw this…but barely remember it.  Probably not a good sign.


THEN

Knock at the Cabin

What is it? M Night Shyamalan’s latest, where a group of strangers confronts a family on vacation with claims they need to stop the end of the world somehow.

Why we’re psyched!  Shyamalan does pop out a good movie every couple of years, and he does best when he sticks to what are basically B-movies with January release dates.

Why we’re wary…  It’s still Shyamalan.  There’s still a high probability it’s gonna be at best weird with a lot of talented actors giving really flat performances reciting lines that don’t sound like anything anyone has ever actually said out loud in the history of the Earth.

Jimmy says:  I’ve seen the trailer a couple of times and can’t say it does much for me.  I don’t like much MNS has done, including Sixth Sense.

Watson says: The trailer actually rung my bell a little, but so did MNS’s last trailer for Old. And that didn’t turn out so well.

NOW

Tom says:  This movie felt a lot like a typical Shyamalan movie:  kinda wooden performances and dialogue that sounds like something no human has ever said

Watson says: I disagree with Tom completely about the performances being wooden.  I thought Bautista was amazing in this.  Though he is a riot as Drax, this is the best acting I’ve seen him do to date.  This movie was a great January movie and I hope M. Knight delivers this quality every time.  Definitely one of his good films.

Ryan says:  I wanted to like this more.  I did not.

Tom adds:  Crap, I must have saved progress without finishing my thoughts here:  this was one of Shyamalan’s better movies, and that’s largely due to Bautista.  The rest were, well, typical performances for Shyamalan, but Bautista is one of those rare actors that can actually make what Shyamalan’s script says actually work, and I was not expecting that.  That said, I stand by the comment that no human being has ever said anything in this movie ever.


THEN

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey

What is it?  It’s a horror movie about Winnie the Pooh and friends since they’re public domain characters now.

Why we’re psyched!  Oh something like this has to know it’s a warped idea, right?  It might be a hoot.

Why we’re wary…  Something like this would be so darn easy to screw up.

Jimmy says:  This will be awful.  But hats off for originality.

Watson says: Always fun when something new enters the public domain.

NOW

Watson says: I didn’t see it.   It took forever to get to streaming (Peacock, no less, which I long ago cancelled) and I wasn’t paying real money for this turd.

Jimmy says: I didn’t see it either and probably never will.


THEN

Ant-Man and the Wasp:  Quantumania

What is it?  The third installment in the Ant-Man films, as Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne, Scott’s daughter Cassie, and Hope’s parents are sucked into the Quantum Zone.

Why we’re psyched!  Who doesn’t like Paul Rudd?  And Bill Murray?  Oh, and KANG THE CONQUEROR is there!

Why we’re wary…  The MCU has had more misses than hits since Endgame, but given the other Ant-Man movies seem to be more small stakes heists and the likes, why is Scott going to be the first hero to face off against Kang?

Jimmy says:  Good question Tom.  I’m curious what they do here with Kang supposedly being the next big thing in the MCU.

Watson says: This is the only MCU next year that actually excites me. Someone who has been around the MCU for a while is rare these days. But could it be middling like Thor 4.

NOW

Tom says:  I really, really, really hope this is the nadir of the post-Endgame movies.  It was just so…disappointing.  Jonathan Majors, legal issues aside, did a good job as Kang.  But the story seemed a little off–am I mistaken, or did some of the ads suggest a plot where Scott and Kang cut a deal where Scott would fetch something for Kang in exchange for Scott’s getting back all the years he lost while Cassie was growing up and that was why Scott shouted that he and Kang had a deal in the big charge on Kang’s city?–and MODOK looked terrible even for a character that was probably always going to look terrible because he’s freakin’ MODOK.  They didn’t even have Michael Pena back to recount the plot!  How do you take the ever-charming Paul Rudd and turn out something like this?

Watson says: It wasn’t as bad as everyone says.  It was a perfectly cromulent superhero movie, which just doesn’t seem to be good enough anymore.  If this movie were released in the same slot as Ant-Man and the Wasp, people would have loved it.

Ryan says:  This was crap.  Utter crap.  They made things that looked pretty but there was no sense of story or conflict.  Tired and boring.

Jimmy says: this might be a theme of my superhero movie comments, but it wasn’t as bad as the crap it has taken after it’s big opening weekend.  It was fine.  Rudd was fine.  Kang was fine.  It was fine.


THEN

Cocaine Bear

What is it?  A dark comedy based very loosely on a true story about a bear that ate a large amount of cocaine dropped from a plane.

Why we’re psyched!  This movie looks so freakin’ weird, like it tossed every screwy idea into a blender, that it just might work.

Why we’re wary…  Director Elizabeth Banks’s previous movie was that execrable Charlie’s Angels remake/reboot/pile of garbage/whatever.

Jimmy says: When I saw this trailer I thought it was a joke.  And it might be a very bad one, but it is a real movie.  Unlike Peanut Butter Falcon.

Watson says:Two words: opening night.

NOW

Tom says:  No matter how you slice it, this movie is exactly what you thought it would be.  Gloriously so.

Watson says: I saw it on opening night.  I stand by that decision.

Ryan says:  Better than it had any reason to be.

Jimmy says:  I find it hard to get around to movies that the missus has no interest in.  This would be one.


THEN

Creed 3

 
What is it?  It’s the next installment of the Creed movies, this time directed by lead actor Michael B. Jordan.

Why we’re psyched!  Maybe Stallone is gone from the series, but bringing in rising star Jonathan Majors as a childhood friend turned rival is really promising.

Why we’re wary…  Well, the Rocky movies soon became something of a joke, and it would be too easy for the Creed spin-off movies to do the same.  So long as Creed doesn’t single-handedly win the Cold War or something, that shouldn’t be a problem, but…

Jimmy says:  But I haven’t seen Creed 2 yet!

Watson says: This series has been enjoyable but a trade off of Coogler for Jordan poses a risk

NOW

Tom says:  Jordan’s directorial debut was actually pretty good.  This is the first movie in the series to not feature Stallone’s Rocky Balboa, but Jordan was still pretty sharp, Majors delivered a good performance, and the climactic fight at the end really worked for me.

Watson says: It was fine but nothing special.  Majors was really good in this, but he ain’t celebrating his big year.

Jimmy says:  I still haven’t seen Creed II!


THEN

SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS

What is it?  It’s the next installment in the Shazam! series.

Why we’re psyched!  Hey, the first Shazam! was, though not great, at least a fun, family-friendly superhero movie, and Zachary Levi played a good child-turned-adult hero.

Why we’re wary…  Warner Brothers is such a mess right now, we should perhaps not be surprised if any and every DC movie scheduled for this year does not come out for one reason or another.

Jimmy says:  I’m with Tom in the “good but not great” department on the first one.  I actually think it was too kid friendly for me, but anyways.  I’m sure I’ll see it as I see most all super hero movies.  Though I still haven’t seen Black Adam

Watson says: From the studio that BROUGHT you Black Adam…

NOW

Tom says:  Honestly, it was about as good as the first one.  It’s just no one went to see it.  I watched it in a nearly empty IMAX screening room and went back a week later to the same room and even close to the same seat and saw something else that probably sold more in tickets for that one room than Fury of the Gods did for its entire opening weekend.

Watson says: Again, another perfectly adequate movie that would have made $250m more worldwide a few years ago.  I am ok that people are ready for something new and fresh, but let’s not act like people made bad movies when they are decent enough.

Ryan says:  Watson sorta liking this movie is the closest he’ll get to liking a Fast and Furious film.

Jimmy says:  A year later and I have seen Black Adam, but not this one.  I wasn’t going to the theatre and I don’t have “HBO Max”.


THEN

John Wick Chapter 4

What is it?  It’s the fourth installment in the John Wick Saga!

Why we’re psyched!  Because these movies are awesome.  Why else?

Why we’re wary…  At some point in time, these movies might go from ridiculous fun to just ridiculous.

Jimmy says:  Definitely a worry, but we’ll enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Watson says: I like all of them, but they’ve gotten worse with each installment. I suspect the trend will continue.

NOW

Tom says:  Here’s what I saw a week after Shazam!, and it rocked.  These are always great movies to see in a crowd.  Yeah, each John Wick movie is probably a little weaker than the one before it, but they still provide a lot of great, nonstop action.  And the ending to this one was just about perfect.  I know there’s almost certainly going to be a John Wick 5, but if there isn’t, this one ended the series at the exact right spot.

Watson says: This recovered nicely from Part 3, which I was a little disappointed with.  Keanu is always fun and the action was sharp as usual.  My only knock, which Ryan roundly booed was there was a little TOO much action.  There were sooooooo many set pieces….with soooooo many deaths….that it got a little silly.  And that is in a franchise where we already accept a lot of silly.

Ryan says:  I loved this.  The overhead apartment fight.  The stairs battle.  The final duel.  Loved loved loved it.

Jimmy says:  Definitely better than part 3, but it was waaaaayyyyy too long.


THEN

Dungeons and Dragons:  Honor Among Thieves

What is it?  It’s a movie set in the world of Dungeons and Dragons involving a group of thieves who steal the wrong thing for the wrong person and have to put things right.

Why we’re psyched!  Fantasy stories have been doing better of late, and this one does have Chris Pine and an amusing trailer.

Why we’re wary…  Well, this isn’t the first time someone tried to do a D&D movie…

Jimmy says: Well, I never expected to hear a Led Zeppelin song in a trailer for Dungeons and Dragons, but now I am cautiously intrigued.

Watson says: They don’t seem to be playing this one straight and that might save it.

NOW

Tom says:  Oh this was a whole lotta fun.  I’m not all that knowledgeable on D&D lore, but the light touch, the perfect casting, and a whole lotta other factors made Honor Among Thieves just fun from start to finish.  And heck, one review I saw pointed out how the movie, with his jokes, dialogue, and even the plot structure, plays out a lot like a real D&D game, an observation that once I saw, I could not unsee.

Watson says: One of the best movies of the year.  I am absolutely devastated that it bombed at the box office.  This should have been the next wave in movies.  They should have turned this into a cinematic universe.  It was the fantasy version of Iron Man, I hoped.  Sadly, the D&D brand is a little too geeky for audiences that embraced geek culture.

Ryan says:  I laughed every time I saw the cartoon D&D team.

Jimmy says:  Another in a long line of bombs this year that was perfectly fine and deserved better.  It was a lot of fun.


THEN

The Super Mario Brothers Movie

What is it?  It’s an animated adaptation of the popular Nintendo franchise.

Why we’re psyched!  Mario actually has some rather deep lore and imagery that could work well with an animated feature, and Jack Black sounds like he had a ball playing Bowser in the trailer.

Why we’re wary…  Yeah, Chris Pratt as Mario hasn’t exactly been embraced by the fans, and to a lesser extent, Charlie Day’s Luigi seems to be getting a similar reception.  Plus, movies based on video games often don’t work…such as the previous Super Mario Brothers movie.  RIP Bob Hoskins.

Jimmy says:  I’m sure I’ll manage to miss this.

Watson says: I see everything but unless this gets stellar reviews, I won’t see this in the theater.

NOW

Tom says:  It was fine, I suppose.  I was never really a gamer, so I probably didn’t pick up the references, but aside from Jack Black’s Bowser, I don’t think there’s much here to really write home about one way or the other.

Watson says: The right blend of silly fun, surprisingly powerful nostalgia, and great animation.  I liked it more than I thought I would.

Ryan says:  It was fine, which is loads better than anyone anticipated.

Jimmy says: And I did.


THEN

Next Goal Wins

What is it?  It’s a comedy about an underdog soccer team, possibly based in a documentary of the same title about an American Samoan team.

Why we’re psyched!  Sure, Michael Fassbender might be an unconventional choice for a comedy, but this is coming from writer/director Taika Waititi.  That guy is usually gold.

Why we’re wary…  Thor: Love and Thunder shows even Waititi isn’t infallible.

Watson says: This is the kind of film Taika should do. One of my top anticipated films of the year.

NOW

Tom says:  I’m not sure why this one didn’t do better with audiences, but it really is the sort of smaller comedy that Waititi should make.  Funny with a gentle sense of humor while telling a very human story, it reminded me of his Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

Watson says: That this got bad reviews makes me finally question the critics and their Rotten Tomato aggregations.  This was a fun, sweet, harmless movie that should have been well received.  It is very much in the style of an old Disney movie, sharing the same beats and heart as Cool Runnings.


THEN

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3

What is it?  It’s the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the one that got put on hold during the period when James Gunn was fired by Disney.

Why we’re psyched!  This is likely to be James Gunn’s swansong for the MCU as he took over DC’s movie division where he may get a lot more freedom to do stuff.  But this one brings in Adam Warlock, the High Evolutionary, and, from the looks of things, Rocket’s backstory.

Why we’re wary…  Pretty much the same reason we’re wary about Ant-Man given the last couple MCU big screen adventures.

Jimmy says:  I think Ryan put it best after the trailer: it won’t be as good as Vol 1, but better than Vol 2.  With it being the swansong of not just Gunn, but this incarnation of the Guardians, will they do anything to really shake things up with lasting repercussions?  The trailer seems to think so.

Watson says: The Christmas special got me more excited for part 3 than the trailer. Even if it is only as good as Part 2, it’s a nice time at the theater.

NOW

Tom says:  Between Rocket’s origin, the corridor fight set to the Beastie Boys, Groot’s last words, and a whole host of James Gunn goodness, this was a great way to end the trilogy.  DC Films is probably in good hands.

Watson says: The only truly successful live action superhero movie this year.  And for good reason.  This movie was much better than the middle installment.  A worthy send-off to the franchise.

Ryan says:  Not really a Guardians film, but that’s okay.

Jimmy says:  I really enjoyed it.  Surprisingly, I had several friends tell me how they hated it.  I don’t get that.  Rocket’s backstory may be the saddest thing you’ll ever see in a super hero movie.  My biggest complaint was that they made a joke out of and wasted Adam Warlock.


THEN

Fast X

 

What is it?  It’s the tenth (and according to some suggestions, final) part in the long running series of films that began as a Point-Break-with-cars rip-off.

Why we’re psyched!  These movies, for most, are usually good for turning off the brain and watching cars defy the laws of physics.

Why we’re wary…  These movies aren’t for everyone…such as Watson, who oddly enough hates these movies but included it in his list of anticipated movies, but he does that every year a Fast and Furious movie came out.

Jimmy says:  I liked the first one.  Two wasn’t great.  Three was straight to video dreck.  Then they got the band back together and 4 through 7, especially 7, were awesome.  They should have stopped there.  8 was a huge step down and 9 was just putrid.  Hopefully they can rebound with this, but I’m certainly skeptical.

Watson says: Sadly this isn’t the last one. Eleven is the final chapter. Sigh.

NOW

Tom says:  At this point, these movies are fairly interchangeable, and if you dig ’em, I don’t see why this one won’t work for you.  Jason Mamoa seems to be having fun as a rather flamboyant villain, and like every entry in this series, it pulls out all the stops.  The problem is there comes a point where pulling out the stops just doesn’t work because, well, when they take a car into space, what more is there?  Cue Watson with his negative take on a franchise he despises.

Watson says: Thank you, Tom.  I will provide that negative take.  This series continues to be the worst.  It is just so dumb.  It is like a spoof of action movies, but it doesn’t know its a spoof.  If Leslie Nielsen were alive and in his prime, he couldn’t make a better farce than this turd.

Ryan says:  The franchise is review proof for me–we watch these as a family and have the best time ever.  The cameos, especially at the end, elicited gasps and applause from the Garcias and I loved it.

Jimmy says:  As stated above, I was a huge fan of this franchise for a long time, but it has quickly gone over the cliff.  It’s a smidge better than IX, but it’s pretty bad.  I wonder will Vin’s current legal problems prohibit XI from getting made?


THEN

The Little Mermaid

 

What is it?  It’s the latest in a long line of live action adaptations of Disney movies.

Why we’re psyched!  Well, what little I have heard the lead actress sing, it does sound as if she has a hell of a voice, and that’s really all any Disney heroine needs.

Why we’re wary…  Most of these live action remakes just aren’t very good.

Watson says: I want it to succeed just because of the haters bashing the color blind casting.

NOW

Tom says:  Halle Bailey has a fantastic singing voice.  The rest is, well, your standard Disney live action remake:  unnecessary for the most part.  And the less said about Awkwafina’s song, the better.

Watson says: I missed it at the theaters, and just couldn’t bring myself to ever turn it on at the house.


THEN

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

What is it?  It’s a sequel to the animated Miles Morales (and friends) Spider-Man movie.

Why we’re psyched!  Because that may have been the best animated superhero movie in years, the best Spider-Man movie in years, and possibly in the top five for Marvel movies.  Plus, do you know how hard it is to get Watson onboard for a multiverse movie that doesn’t feature Michelle Yeoh?

Why we’re wary…  This one might suffer from expectations too high for any movie to meet, truth be told.

Jimmy says:  That’s certainly a good point.  Expectations are going to be through the roof for this.  I liked the first one well enough, and it’s Spider-Man, so you know I’ll be seeing it.

Watson says: The trailer looks so gooooood! In my top five anticipated movies of the year!!!

NOW

Tom says:  How can a two and a half hour sequel, one with a known cliffhanger, actually be this good?  It’s got layers, great animation, an engaging story, and even made the freakin’ Spot a major threat.  I can’t wait for the second part!

Watson says: My best movie of the year! Not just my top five!  The first one (also #1 on my list that year) blew me away with its unique and breath-taking animation.  This one went worlds beyond the original.  That opening scene with the Vulture in old school animation had me hooked, and they never let up.  Can’t wait for the capper. Can the series execute the Watson trifecta and be #1 on my list the year it comes out?  Here’s hoping!

Ryan says:  Definitely good.  Definitely not a full story.

Jimmy says:  Still haven’t seen it…


THEN

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

What is it?  It’s the next Transformers movie, this one adding the characters from the popular Beast Wars line/series.

Why we’re psyched!  Well, the Bumblebee movie actually was pretty fun.  Amazing what happens when you step away from Michael Bay.

Why we’re wary…  One good non-Bay movie doesn’t mean that others will be.  And for some reason, these movies focus too much on dull human characters over the cooler robots.

Jimmy says:  I gave up on these after the dreadful Age of Extinction I’ve heard good things about Bumblebee, so maybe I’ll catch up.  And maybe not.

Watson says: I look at movies like this and says “Well…something’s gotta be in the bottom ten…”

NOW

Tom says:  All I kept thinking while I watched this ridiculous (yet typical) Transformers movie was how Michelle Yeoh just won an Oscar, and that’s her voice coming out of a robotic falcon.  Yes, I know she probably did the voicework before she won the Oscar or possibly even before she made Everything Everywhere All at Once, but the point stands.

Watson says: This is the best of the non-Bumblebee Transformer movies.  But that’s not really saying much.  Credit to Anthony Ramos, because this was the first time that I was even somewhat engaged with the story when there are no Transformers onscreen.  I don’t count Megan Fox in tight pants as “story”…

Ryan says:  I got goosebumps watching the mid-credits scene and I even knew all about it.  This was shockingly good.

Jimmy says:  I tried to catch up on things this year that I hadn’t finished.  The Transformers franchise was one of them.  But it never happened.


THEN

Elemental

What is it?  Pixar’s latest, this time about a water elemental and a fire elemental who fall in love.

Why we’re psyched!  Even though a number of the more recent Pixar films have been a bit…questionable, the studio does tend to do better when it does something a bit more abstract and creative.

Why we’re wary…  Well, the last few Pixar films have been a bit…questionable.

Jimmy says:  Pixar films used to be must see for me, but now I almost have no interest in them.

Watson says: I agree with Jimmy’s pessimism on Pixar but this does look more like Soul or Inside out than the stinkers.

NOW

Tom says:  I went into this expecting some kind of so-so romcom, and while there are some romcom elements, I was actually rather charmed by what was more of an immigrant story than a love story.  It’s not the greatest Pixar movie ever made or anything, but it wasn’t some mediocre POS either, and it was apparently some kind of stealth box office hit.  I don’t much care about the box office, but I just really dug this one, especially the animation for the main characters.

Watson says: I watched this in a hotel.  I know I didn’t fall asleep.  I can’t remember anything about it now though.

Jimmy says:  Completely forgettable modern Pixar.


THEN

The Flash

What is it?  It’s the long awaited cinematic solo debut for the Fastest Man Alive.

Why we’re psyched!  OK, Andy Muschietti behind the camera and Michael Keaton reprising his Batman alone should be cool.

Why we’re wary…  Has there been a more troubled DCEU production than The Flash?  And will we be surprised if more revelations about Ezra Miller don’t get this thing shelved or something?  That Batgirl movie got shelved for less than that…

Jimmy says:  There is somehow good buzz for this film, even with everything going on with DC and Miller.  Keaton’s return as Batman is intriguing, especially since we won’t get to see it in the aforementioned Batgirl.  But I’ve always hated Miller’s version of Barry Allen, so there’s that.

Watson says: (sobs audibly)

NOW

Tom says:  Well, this was different, and not necessarily in a bad way.  I mean, this is a superhero movie without a villain to fight at the end so much as the protagonist has to learn a harsh lesson and grow as a person.  Uncanny valley special effects aside, including and especially the fan service multiverse stuff, the biggest problem for me was Ezra Miller, and not for the reasons most people have problems with Ezra Miller.  Yes, Miller probably needs to pay for those crimes if nothing else, but they just aren’t what I consider a good lead actor so much as better suited for weirdo supporting roles.

Watson says: This was not as bad as everyone said (I enjoyed it more than Shazam or Ant-Man). Was it the Flash movie I wanted? No. Was it the Flash movie general audiences wanted? No. Did I enjoy it on a first viewing? Yes. Will I watch it once a year? No chance.

Ryan says:  I’m glad I got to see a sneak preview of this because it was free and it was filled with fans.  And I saw this WAAAAYYYY before Watson.  That eats him up inside.  It tears him apart.  He weeps about it.  Openly.

Jimmy says:  Another big box office bomb (the smallest opening night crowd for a super hero movie I’ve been a part of) but it was actually really good.  I still don’t like Ezra Miller, but they did a great job in a dual Flash role.  Keaton’s return as Batman was awesome.  The special effects at times were pretty weak.


THEN

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

What is it?  It’s Indiana Jones, back and still played by Harrison Ford.

Why we’re psyched!  C’mon!  It’s Ford as Indy!  And no sign of Shia LaBeouf!

Why we’re wary…  Ford is, what, 80 years old?  No Spielberg behind the camera, and Disney has been hit or miss on its Lucasfilm big screen stories.  Plus, yeah, Shia was not the only problem with that last one.

Jimmy says:  I’m pretty sure I’m an Indiana Jones fan, but I didn’t like half the movies and despise Crystal Skull.  But this trailer looks good, with a good helping of de-aged Harrison Ford which seems to indicate this will be heavy on the flashbacks to a pre-Shia era.

Watson says: The trailer made me more excited for this one than I thought I’d be at this point. Manigold actually excites me more than if it were directed by the great Steven Spielberg.

NOW

Tom says:  Without Spielberg behind the camera, even with the capable Mangold taking his place, Dial of Destiny was only going to be so good, especially given Ford’s age.  Still, I found it fun in a different sort of way.

Watson says: It could have been 10 minutes shorter, but otherwise fun. Harrison was great as always. Audiences seemed to have reject this movie, but 20 years from now when Harrison is gone, I will be happy that we have this in the catalog.

Ryan says:  Awful.  Terrible.  Horrible.  Completely missed the character of Indiana.  Box office bomb.  And I love that it did so poorly.

Jimmy says:  Another box office bomb that was better than it’s reputation.  I didn’t love the ending, but most of it is a fun ride.  Ford is great as Indy as always.  The extended de-aged sequence had a few “rubber faces”, but definitely times when it seemed like they had transported Ford straight from the mid-80’s.


THEN

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One

What is it?  It’s the next installment in the popular Mission Impossible series.

Why we’re psyched!  Tom Cruise pretty much always delivers, and even the worst of these movies is generally awesome all by itself.

Why we’re wary…  Part One?  Seriously?  Has that ever worked?  And for a movie series that is as forgettable as it is fun–the Gabbing Geek bullpen calls it cinematic Chinese food for a reason–would something like that possibly work?

Jimmy says:  Tom stole all my jokes in his last line.  They’re very good fun, but after the 4th, I dare you to tell them apart.  They’re so forgettable, I even forgot the name of the 6th film.

Watson says: They should release the same film as part 2 the following year. We’d never know. 

NOW

Tom says:  If there’s a franchise that is consistent in its quality, one where a member of the audience can just walk in at any time and enjoy something even without seeing any of the prior movies, it’s Mission: Impossible.  That said, “the Entity” somehow felt like an underwhelming adversary.  Probably because it’s just a computer program.

Watson says: I was sad this movie didn’t do as well as they wanted. It was on par with all but the best of the franchise and I thought Cruise would ride a post TG:M high. Shame because it was fun.

Ryan says:  This was so much fun, can’t wait for the next one!

Jimmy says:  Another movie that disappointed at the box office, but was perfectly fine.  It was a bit long, and the Entity was a bit lame, but if you like the previous movies, you’ll like this.  Though it looks like we may never see Part Two


THEN

Barbie

What is it?  It’s a movie about the popular fashion doll starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

What we’re psyched!  OK, something like this could be the ultimate trainwreck of a movie, but look at who’s behind the camera for a moment:  Greta Gerwig directed and co-wrote the script with Noah Baumbauch.  Factor in the trailer, and it looks like the movie is out there to mock the whole Barbie phenomena as much as anything while questioning the sorts of things Gerwig often does in her work.  That alone makes this worth a look.

Why we’re wary…  It would be very, very, very easy to screw this thing up.

Jimmy says:  I’m having a hard time figuring out the target audience for this.

Watson says: This is not the writer/director Team I would have predicted for a Barbie movie.

NOW

Tom says:  I probably didn’t like this as much as the other Geeks (the humor didn’t quite work for me towards the end, and Will Ferrell’s character really doesn’t work at all), but I still enjoyed the hell out of this.  Now, hopefully, Mattel doesn’t take the wrong lesson from this movie even though they probably will.

Watson says: What an amazing shock.  I love it when movies that come along that just connects with everyone except Tom.  We all talked about it in the No Toms Club, actually.  Hanks is the one Tom we allow in the building.  He had $15.

Ryan says:  An incredible cultural moment.  It will be nominated for Best Picture and has a non-zero chance of winning!


THEN

Oppenheimer

What is it?  It’s Christopher Nolan’s next movie, this time a biopic about Robert Oppenheimer, the man credited as the father of the atomic bomb.

Why we’re psyched!  Even weak Nolan works are often at least intriguing.  This sort of thing is a change of pace from the more science fiction sort of work Nolan’s been up to lately, but that just suggests it’s the sort of movie he really wanted to make.  Granted, Nolan seems that way about all of his work…

Why we’re wary…  Nolan didn’t exactly win over many fans around here with his response to Tenet‘s potentially going to straight to streaming during the early days of COVID.  Granted, that may have been due to the fact that a lot of people who worked on the movie other than the director and actors didn’t get their usual piece of the financial pie if the movie went to streaming as opposed to theatrical release, but for a guy who tells such great stories, you’d think he could have maybe addressed that idea somewhat…

Jimmy says:  The trailer is…ok.  I think if it didn’t have Nolan’s name on it, not many would be intrigued.  (Though they’d probably leverage the deep stellar cast more in the advertising.)

Watson says: Nolan has never made a bad movie. I’m sure this will be fantastic.

NOW

Tom says:  Oppenheimer was Nolan firing on all cylinders.  A compelling story with a stacked cast, all of whom were doing their absolute best, and I found the three hours just flew by.  Considering this is a movie about scientists and politics, that’s saying something.

Watson says: It was everything I hoped it would be and more.  Nolan once again gets people to come out and see smart movies.  I love that the twist was that there was a twist at all.

Ryan says:  I hate to admit this was really good.


THEN

The Marvels

 

What is it?  It’s the next Captain Marvel movie where Carol Danvers teams up with Monica Rambeau and Kamala Khan.

Why we’re psyched!  Well, it’s the MCU.

Why we’re wary…  And it’s the same MCU that hasn’t been firing on all cylinders lately.

Jimmy says:  Not sure what to think about this one.  Captain Marvel was mediocre.  Monica Rambeau was a decent addition to Wandavision, but nothing that makes me want to rush out to the theatre to see her further adventures.  And Ms. Marvel might have been the weakest MCU Disney+ show.  Not exactly a recipe for Jimmy excitement.  Jenny excitement…now that’s another story.

Watson says: I feel we are getting cheated out of a Brie Larson follow up but adding a ton of other heroes to the original. That’s how we got Bat Soup.

NOW

Tom says:  For all that this is the lowest grossing movie in the MCU, it really didn’t deserve it.  Ms. Marvel stole the show, and the result was mostly a fun popcorn flick…you know, what the MCU basically makes.  It’s got a few issues, most notably that I believe Carol Danvers is a bit underdeveloped as a character after basically three movies, but there wasn’t really any reason for this movie to bomb.  Then again, that could describe a lot of underperforming movies of 2023.

Watson says: The reaction and response to this movie is kinda bullshit.  Unlike Ant-Man or Flash, which were merely cromulent, this movie embiggened the genre.  It was a fun, charming movie that was much better than the fanboy reaction.

Ryan says:  This was lighthearted fun which is, oddly, missing from most superhero movies that don’t quote Fast and Furious films.

Jimmy says:  I don’t know if “super hero fatigue” is the correct term, but I think it somehow became trendy to hate on super hero movies.  Having three female leads certainly didn’t do anything by fuel the haters.  It wasn’t fantastic, but it was fine.  See, I said this would be a theme this year…


THEN

The Meg 2: The Trench


What is it?  It’s the sequel to a giant shark movie that came out a couple years ago with Jason Statham.

Why we’re psyched!  Hey!  Giant sharks!

Why we’re wary…  You know, that first movie was more stupid than anything else, but speaking honestly for a moment, how can Statham bash working in a Marvel movie when he makes something like this?  I can respect an actor who doesn’t want to play certain roles, but don’t pretend something like this is any better than the MCU.

Watson says: The first one was dumb fun. Not sure they needed to go back for seconds.

NOW

Watson says: Sigh…why did I go back for seconds. This movie was so insultingly dumb. The original wasn’t high art, but it was fun. This leaned into every bad part of the original without the dash of charm that made the first one fun.

Ryan says:  I tried watching this and couldn’t get more than 15 minutes in.


THEN

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

 

What is it?  It’s an animated feature about everyone’s favorite ninja turtles.

Why we’re psyched!  Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg produced this one, and those guys have a track record for comics adaptation that includes the likes of The BoysPreacher, and Invincible.  This one could have a bit of an edge or at least human adults can appreciate that kids just don’t understand.

Why we’re wary…  It’s still a Nickelodeon movie, so how much edge is might have is up to debate.

Watson says: What franchise is more on its last legs: this or Power Rangers?

NOW

Tom says:  Here was the other big franchise to pop out an animated feature with a unique animation style, a new take on recognizable characters, and something that was a lot of fun.  The Turtles actually acted like teenagers for this one, and whoever decided to cast Jackie Chan as the voice of Splinter probably deserves a raise.

Watson says: This movie receives the Gal Gadot Award for the movie I most misjudged and made me look foolish.  I was expecting nothing and this was a Top Ten finisher on my overall list.  The animation looked liked a colorized version of those old school TMNT comics.  The comedy was very genuine.  Loved the story.  No notes from me.  Well played.

Ryan says:  It was fine.  I forgot it the moment I left the theater.


THEN

Blue Beetle

 

What is it?  It’s an adaptation of the Blue Beetle superhero comics from DC.

Why we’re psyched!  Jaime Reyes is a very different sort of hero in many ways, and his relative anonymity means the movie might be able to get away with stuff that better-known hero adaptions can’t.

Why we’re wary…  Given the overhauling going on at DC, this one might be an anomaly in many ways.  Will this be a one-and-done depending on what Gunn and Co. want to do?  What happens if its successful?  Does it even pretend to exist in the Snyderverse?

Jimmy says:  Who asked for this?  I suppose the same was said of Guardians of the Galaxy, so who knows.  With everything happening at DC, it’s a wonder this didn’t get canned.  It shows they have a lot more faith in it than a known property like Batgirl with the return of Michael Keaton as Batman.

Watson says: So much uncertainty around this one. I just hope it is an enjoyable two hours.

NOW

Tom says:  For the most part, Blue Beetle was a fairly average superhero movie.  The heroic protagonist is fine in this, but I was actually more interested in the main character’s family, a group that collectively seemed to steal the show from Jaime Reyes.  I wouldn’t say no to another one of these as unlikely as that is.

Watson says: This movie was fine. I feel bad it fell in the wake of some turds like Black Adam.  I was really interested in the set up of the Ted Kord mystery since he’s an all time favorite character.  I am guessing it will remain a mystery. 

Ryan says:  Yawn.

Jimmy says:  I haven’t seen it.  I’m sure I will some day when I have “HBO Max” for some reason like House of the Dragon.


THEN

The Hunger Games:  The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

What is it?  It’s basically the origin story for The Hunger Games‘s villainous President Snow.

Why we’re psyched!  Considering the sort of story this is, this movie once again features an overqualified cast, a young up-and-comer (Rachel Zegler), and returning director Francis Lawrence.  As long as they don’t split the movie into two parts, it should work.

Why we’re wary…  Do prequels ever work?

Jimmy says:  Not often.

Watson says: If it is on par with Part 2, consider that a success.

NOW

Tom says:  If this one had just ended shortly after the Hunger Games themselves were over, it probably would have been fine.  Instead it had a whole third act to throw in, and I was very bored during that third act.

Watson says: I checked it out because there was absolutely nothing else to see.  I think Tom is spot on about the third act.  I actually enjoyed the film for most of the time, but it got soft when they had to turn Snow from the protagonist to the cartoonish villain we know he becomes later.  That’s the risk of having the big villain of the OG series be the main protagonist of a prequel. It can work (Wicked), have mixed efforts (Star Wars), and hit or miss (HG).


THEN

Wonka


What is it?  It’s basically the origin story for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory‘s villainous Willy Wonka.

Why we’re psyched!  Ever realize what a twisted SOB Willy Wonka is?  Maybe this version starring Timothee Chalamet will show just that.

Why we’re wary…  Do prequels ever work?

Jimmy says:  Not often.

Watson says: I have never seen a single Willy Wonka movie all the way through.

NOW

Tom says:  I went in expecting something sweet and family-friendly given it’s from the writer/director of the two charming Paddington movies, and it largely was that, but it is really weird seeing a Willy Wonka who’s just really nice to everyone.

Watson says: I liked this movie WAY more than I thought I would.  It was just so pleasant.


THEN

The Color Purple


What is it?  It’s a film adaptation of the stage musical based on Alice Walker’s novel.

Why we’re psyched!  Admit it:  if you didn’t know what this was, you might have thought it was someone trying to remake a Steve Spielberg movie.  This is a totally different sort of thing.

Why we’re wary…  But it will probably draw comparisons to Spielberg all the same…

Watson says: The original is still on my blind spots list. Need to see that before this.

NOW

Tom says:  I’ve started appreciating movie musicals as I’ve gotten older, mostly due to the realization that I need to see it in a theater to really enjoy it.  But as for The Color Purple, as of this typing, I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it.  Danielle Brooks steals the show as Sofia, but the Celie character fades into the background way too much for what is her story.  The music is great, but the pacing seems too fast for me.  It’s an emotional story, but only occasionally works for me that way (and usually when Brooks is involved).   So, was this a good movie?  I’m not entirely sure.


THEN

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

What is it?  It is probably the last hurrah for the Snyderverse.

Why we’re psyched!  Jason Mamoa and James Wan probably found the right tone for a hero as goofy as Aquaman.  The first one probably took itself far less seriously than most superhero movies, and it made for a nice swashbuckling adventure.

Why we’re wary…  Oh, the usual Warner Brothers nonsense, plus some generally different-every-time DC nonsense.  And if the movie bombs, plenty of people are probably going to blame Amber Heard whether she deserves the blame or not.

Jimmy says:  I don’t mind Momoa, but RIP Snyderverse.  What happens after this?  It sounds like they are rebooting Superman even with a super popular actor in the role, so will the likes of Momoa and Gadot be next?  With the only DC film on the 2024 docket currently being the Joker sequel, a lot needs to happen with DC really soon.

Watson says: Rumors (or speculation likely) say Mamoa pivots from Aquaman to Lobo in the new film universes.

NOW

Tom says:  OK, it wasn’t a great movie, and there were some laughably bad moments, but maybe it was low expectations or something, but I had fun watching this.  It might have been the company I was with or where I was or something, but I found the best way to deal with Aquaman movies in general, they work just fine if you just switch your brain off and not think about them, even more than most superhero movies.

Watson says:  Did I miss the story that George Lucas wrote and directed this movie? It’s just like one of the Prequels. Mamoa does his best but they didn’t give him anything to work with. Sadly, despite being a fan, this isn’t my last entry in the bottom ten featuring JM.

Ryan says:  This was awful, horrible, utter crap.  This movie alone should set the environmental movement back a decade.

Jimmy says:  Maybe I’ll see it over the holidays.  Maybe not.  It might end up in the “someday” pile.


THEN

Heart of Stone

What is it?  It’s a spy thriller starring Gal Gadot as a CIA agent trying to protect the world.

Why we’re psyched!  Gadot by herself is a draw, but the script was co-written by Greg “Old Guard” Rucka, and if nothing else, that man knows how to pen a good action story starring a tough woman at the center of it all.

Why we’re wary…  Gadot is many things, and she’s not a bad actress or anything, but she isn’t on the same level as Charlize Theron.  And that’s about all I could think to say here.

Jimmy says:  Hey!  I just mentioned Gadot above, not knowing this was the next entry.  Gadot starrer written by Rucka?  Yes please.

Watson says: Rucka is one of my favorite comic writers ever. Count me in.

NOW

Jimmy says:  I saw it.  It was ok.  Gadot is fine in the lead, but it’s no Old Guard.

Ryan says:  I think I saw this….


THEN

Missing

What is it?  It’s the story of a teenage girl, worried about her mother’s disappearance, and her personal investigation into it.

Why we’re psyched!  This one comes from the people behind the mystery thriller Searching where the entire movie took place on someone’s computer monitor, consisting of emails, videocalls, and the like.  This looks like it is doing the same thing, and Searching was surprisingly good.

Why we’re wary…  It would be pretty easy to mess this up, truth be told.

Watson says: Searching was excellent. I’m willing to give this a shot.

NOW

Tom says:  It was basically another Searching, not quite as good as the first, but still a lot of fun with (mostly) the same gimmick as before.

Watson says: As we were watching the movie in March, the main character begins live streaming with her smartglasses.  Stephanie said that was silly because no glasses could livestream, only take videos and photos.  I replied “Maybe this movie takes place after October 17th” knowing that the product I was helping bring to market that day would have that functionality.  She replied…”That was…oddly specific.”

Ryan says:  I love these movies.  Please make a lot more.


THEN

House Party

What is it?  It’s another House Party movie, this time where two aspiring club owners decide to throw a huge bash…in Lebron James’s house.

Why we’re psyched!  Oh, who doesn’t love a good party in a famous person’s house without said famous person’s permission?

Why we’re wary…  Lebron James doesn’t exactly have a good track record with these belated remake/reboots.

Watson says: The trailer made me chuckle a couple of times but that might be the only funny parts.

NOW

Watson says:I liked the parts that didn’t focus on the leads or their romantic interests. Sadly, that was like 10% of the movie.

Ryan says:  This was a decent movie in the background.


THEN

M3GAN

What is it?  It’s a killer robot/killer doll movie.

Why we’re psyched!  This is the first movie to come out of the new partnership between horror guys James Wan and Jason Blum, both of whom have good track records for producing if not great horror, then at least some creative stuff often while letting writers and directors be as creative as they want.  I mean, there’s been killer dolls.  There’s been killer robots.  Has there ever been a killer robot doll?  You know, besides the Child’s Play remake with Mark Hamill voicing Chucky…

Why we’re wary…  It’s a January release date for a doll that for some reason reminds me of Elizabeth Olsen…

Jimmy says:  Dear God this looks awful.

Watson says: I want a double feature with this and Cocaine Bear!

NOW

Tom says:  This one was unexpectedly better than I thought it would be.  The doll effects were great, there’s decent satirical bits there (especially the opening fake TV commercial), and some points there about what it means to be good parent.

Watson says: This movie, like Cocaine Bear, delivered exactly what it needed to deliver.  It was dumb and fun.

Ryan says:  This was a breakout hit but all the inevitable sequels are going to bomb.


THEN

65

What is it?  It’s a sci-fi adventure where a space ship crash lands on a planet, forcing the human survivors to deal with what’s outside:  dinosaurs because the movie is set in Earth’s prehistoric past.

Why we’re psyched!  Oh come on!  This looks awesome!  And with Adam Driver to boot!

Why we’re wary…  It’s very easy to slip from stupid-fun to stupid-ridiculous.  The former would be better.

Jimmy says:  Are we sure this isn’t a secret Jurassic Park prequel?

Watson says: The premise was obviously pitched at a Hollywood cocaine party.

NOW

Tom says:  It was a dumb popcorn flick.  I was fine with it, but I forgot I saw it until I came back here to write this bit here.

Watson says: I totally forgot this movie came out this year.  It wasn’t AWFUL but man could it have been better. I was expecting a trainwreck and instead got a fender bender. This movie would have done well in 2012.


THEN

Extraction 2


What is it?  It’s a sequel to the Chris Hemsworth-starring action movie that hit Netflix a couple years ago.

Why we’re psyched!  That first one was exciting!

Why we’re wary…  …I think.  I don’t really remember much about it.

Jimmy says:  The first one was good, though the ending didn’t leave much room for a sequel…

Watson says: I have a LOT of latitude for a Netflix movie.

NOW

Tom says:  Wait, does this exist?  I barely remember the first one…

Watson says: I didn’t watch it despite moderately enjoying the first.

Ryan says:  I watched it; it exists as a movie; it is literally nothing special.

Jimmy says:  It does exist.  I watched it and it’s on a similar level as the first one.  It also answered the age old question of if you are being shot at by a machine gun, will hiding behind a ladder protect you.  The answer, spoilers…yes!


THEN

Ghosted

 

What is it?  It’s a romantic action-adventure movie starring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas.

Why we’re psyched!  Two talented actors doing a action romance?  What’s not to like when it features the two very likable co-stars from the original Knives Out, a movie beloved by all except Jimmy Impossible.

Why we’re wary…  Both de Armas and Evans haven’t had much success the past couple years.  I like both actors, but Blonde was a travesty and The Grey Man was exceedingly dull at times, though both de Armas and Evans managed to pull out good performances regardless.

Jimmy says:  Knives out?  Boo.  de Armas and Evans?  Yay!

Watson says: FUCKING JIMMY!

NOW

Tom says:  I watched this one.  I remember liking it.  Both the leads are charming.  But, for the life of me, I don’t really remember much about it right now.  Kinda like last year’s The Adam Project.

Watson says: This movie was was decent, silly fun. If I saw it at the theater, I would have said “that should have been on a streamer”… so since it was, I liked it.

Ryan says:  Remember, kids, stalking is fun!

Jimmy says:  I liked it.  Perfectly made for streaming.  Though I didn’t really buy Evans as a bumbling every man.


THEN

Killers of the Flower Moon

What is it?  It’s Martin Scorsese’s next movie, featuring for the first time both Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Why we’re psyched!  Scorsese’s telling a story of murder and intrigue, based on true events, with both of his frequent costars.  Sounds good to me!

Why we’re wary…  So, I read the book that inspired this movie, and it’s about how a number of Osage Indians, fortunate enough to have a lot of oil on their reservation, started turning up dead and how J Edgar Hoover himself sent the burgeoning FBI down to crack the case.  The movie looks to be about the white husband (DiCaprio) to one of the Osage whose wealthy uncle (De Niro) presses him into maybe murdering members of his wife’s family, and possibly her as well.  That seems to be taking the focus away from the people who had evil done to them (the Osage) and putting it on a guy who didn’t really do anything to stop it despite knowing about it, and that is a very different focus from author David Gunn’s excellent follow-up to The Lost City of Z.

Watson says: Leo + Scorsese is always good.

NOW

Tom says:  I wouldn’t call this Scorsese’s best, but it’s the best he’s done in years.  DiCaprio’s clueless evil matched well with De Niro’s more sinister turn as the man who never drops the friendly demeanor when dealing with the very people he’s trying to murder.  And then there’s Lily Gladstone in a standout performance among many standout performances.  Heck, I didn’t even mind Brenden Fraiser’s performance.  The way Scorsese chose how to end the movie really brought home how much the real Mollie Burkhart was wronged in a way I’ve never seen before.  I just freakin’ loved this movie.

Watson says:  It was a well acted, well crafted movie but it is WAY too long and definitely shouldn’t have included a “No intermission” clause in the contract with theater operators.


THEN

Napoleon

What is it?  It’s a biopic about Napoleon Bonaparte.

Why we’re psyched!  Hey, Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon?  He’s generally good about picking scripts.

Why we’re wary…  Director Ridley Scott can be a bit hit or miss.

Watson says: He was average height for his age!

NOW

Tom says:  So, Joaquin Pheonix is only about two weeks older than I am.  That factoid was more interesting to me than 75% of the movie.

Watson says: He must be roughly my age too.  The movie was perfectly cromulent.  Would have been a banger in 2006, but audiences are tired of the same old biopics.


THEN

Beau is Afraid

What is it?  It’s the latest from horror director Ari Aster.

Why we’re psyched!  Aster gave the world Hereditary and Midsommar, so this’ll be different at the very least.  But it stars Joaquin Phoenix and is supposedly a horror comedy stretching over time and set in an “alternate present”.  At the very least, it’ll be ambitous.

Why we’re wary…  Aster’s work is an acquired taste, but this one might be too weird even for him.

Watson says: Not for me.

NOW

Tom says:  OK, I’m a big Ari Aster fan, but this one was a little too weird for me.  Yes, I understand it’s supposed to be what the world is like as seen through the eyes of someone with extreme anxiety, but as someone who doesn’t have extreme anxiety, I have no idea how much of what I was seeing I was supposed to take literally, and that bothered me.  Not a good year for Joaquin Phoenix.


THEN

Red One

 

What is it?  It’s a holiday-themed action-adventure movie starring the Rock and Captain America.

Why we’re psyched!  If for no other reason, because JK Simmons is playing Santa Claus in an action movie.

Why we’re wary…  Hey, have any of Amazon Prime’s original movies been any good?  Besides Sound of Metal?

Jimmy says:  The Tomorrow War?

Watson says: Violent Night stole some of their thunder.

NOW

Watson says: This one didn’t get released, so it moves all the way to next year, I guess…


Television

Television can be both more consistent and more hit or miss.  A nice comfort show can be a nice way to spend some time, and even notorious TV-hater Watson has come around on more than a few shows.  But what are we hoping for this year?


NOW

Jack Ryan

What is it?  It’s the long-awaited season three to this spy thriller based on the writing of Tom Clancy.

Why we’re psyched!  It’s been a long time for this well-done action/spy series to return.

Why we’re wary…  Well, Mr. Fantastic jokes aside, and the fact the season actually started in December of 2022, it has been a long time.  Will people come back to see more?  I mean, I don’t think anyone in Gabbing Geek has said anything about it yet…

Jimmy says:  I only just noticed the new season starts this week (as I write this).  Now, I liked the first 2 seasons, but do I care enough to sign up for Prime to watch the 3rd immediately?

NOW

Jimmy says: I tried and failed to get through season 3.  Maybe I’ll come back to it.  Someday.


THEN

 

The Last of Us

What is it?  It’s HBO’s live action adaptation of the popular video game series.

Why we’re psyched!  Video games have stories and settings that should loan themselves to good live action adaptations, and this one features Game of Thrones alums Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay.

Why we’re wary…  Well, it is still a video game adaptation…

Jimmy says:  The trailer looks good.  It’s kind of a Walking Dead/Resident Evil type of game with a dash of Uncharted thrown in.  With Pedro in the lead, it certainly has potential.

Watson says: This has the potential to be my fill-in for a year where House of Dragon is on hiatus. But it coming out in January doesn’t allow me to space things out much.

NOW

Tom says:  I’ve never really played any of these games, but this was probably the best video game adaptation I have ever seen with some excellent lead performances and some really solid storytelling.

Watson says: This was really good.  A compelling narrative, with two very likeable leads.  Oddly though, the best episode was the one where the leads didn’t even appear much.  Look forward to more of this series.

Jimmy says:  And the episode that Watson mentions does not have any roots in the game at all.  That aside, it’s a pretty faithful adaptation.  I haven’t finished playing Part II yet, but from what I have played, season 2 will disappoint a lot of people, or won’t be as faithful.


THEN

Invincible

What is it?  It’s Amazon Prime’s animated adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s superhero saga.

Why we’re psyched!  The first season gave us a story that was faithful enough to please existing fans and made changes that worked for an updated story, and it still only scratched the surface of Mark Grayson’s fantastic story.

Why we’re wary…  Is it even coming out this year?  I mean, sure, Amazon says it is, but they haven’t been more specific than “2023”.

Jimmy says:  I really need to read this series.  (PS. Season one was awesome.)

Watson says: No announcement yet but they damn sure need to be in production.

NOW

Tom says:  The series hasn’t lost a step or anything, but I am having a hard time remembering to tune in when new episodes drop.

Watson says: Did the new season start?  All I saw was the adequate Atomic Eve special.

Jimmy says:  The first half of the new season is out.  Though I haven’t gotten to it yet.


THEN

What If…?

 

What is it?  It’s another season of Disney+’s animated MCU series about places where things turned out differently.

Why we’re psyched!  The premise is promising, and who doesn’t love Jeffrey Wright?

Why we’re wary…  Eh, season one wasn’t that good.  There were maybe two good episodes, and I don’t think we here at Gabbing Geek quite agreed as to which those two were.

Jimmy says:  I mentioned above that Ms. Marvel might have been the weakest MCU Disney+ show…but this is in the running as well.  I did like that many of the original MCU actors returned to reprise their roles, but much of the stories fell flat.

Watson says: The worst MCU property yet.

NOW

Watson says: The state of the MCU and Star Wars is that I let my subscription lapse.  I am DEFINITELY not renewing for this turd.

Tom says:  You know, it’s not better than it was with season one for the most part, but there has been much worse MCU work since season one came out, and I’ve been enjoying it more this time around.

Jimmy says:  The daily holiday release is certainly a different model for Disney+.  I haven’t been able to keep up, as time is hectic these days.  I have caught the first three episodes and it’s more of the same from season one.  Nothing really intriguing and completely skippable.  I do still appreciate the main MCU actors that show up to voice their characters.


THEN

Secret Invasion

What is it?  It’s Nick Fury vs. the Skrulls!

Why we’re psyched!  Nick Fury has been a supporting character in a whole lot of MCU movies, so it will be nice to see him in a starring role.  Plus, the Skrulls have been an interesting addition to the MCU.

Why we’re wary…  While this is not going to be that faithful an adaptation, the original Secret Invasion was nowhere near as good as its premise.  Let’s hope the same does not hold true for this story.

Jimmy says:  There’s a lot of question marks around this one.  For one, they’ve already made the MCU version of the Skrulls allies instead of enemies, so how is that going to work?  Two, Fiege has said that this takes place during the Snap.  Unless he backtracked on that, it makes no sense since Fury got dusted in Infinity War.  Either way, I’ll be watching.  This could be THE D+ show to see this year.  Well, except for Loki season 2.

Watson says: I’m going in with no real expectations. Hope it’s a nice treat.

NOW

Tom says:  Oh, this was so…bad.  So very, very bad.  I mean, I did like Olivia Colman for most of her appearances, but that might be because she seemed like she was popping in from a completely different show.

Watson says: This was the beginning of the end of the Marvel magic.  I liked Ant-Man well enough.  This was actually BAD.

Ryan says:  Non-AI human beings wrote the script to this.  Think about that.

Jimmy says: I unfortunately have to agree with this being bad.  So much so that even Marvel seemed to completely ignore it when Fury showed up again in The Marvels.


THEN

Loki

What is it?  It’s another season of Loki, Norse God of Mischief, running afoul of the TVA.

Why we’re psyched!  Season one showed just much fun Loki is, and Tom Hiddleston is still having some charming fun as the character.

Why we’re wary…  We are probably not going to get anything as awesome as Richard E Grant’s Old Loki this time around.

Jimmy says:  Season one was excellent as was Hiddleston as always.  Even though it is deeply imbedded in the multiverse, will it continue to hang out on the fringes or will we start seeing some relevance with it via Kang, etc?

Watson says: I liked it because it was on the fringes and not an Easter Egg hunt.

NOW

Tom says:  If this is the end of Loki’s journey, it ended as well as Iron Man’s.  Just beautiful stuff.  Given how the MCU has been lately, I remember thinking at one point midway through the second season that Tom Hiddleston was too good for the MCU.

Watson says: Unlike Secret Invasion, this was awesome.  Two seasons of Loki and both are upper echelon Marvel.  I actually hope Hiddleston is done with the character because this was an epic send off.

Ryan says:  That last episode.  Chef’s kiss.

Jimmy says:  Hiddleston seems to be implying this is it for him as Loki and if so, it was a great season and send off.  I hope not, and it will be hard to ignore his new status quo as the Multiverse Saga continues to shamble along.


THEN

The Mandalorian

What is it?  It’s more of the adventures of the Mandalorian and his sidekick/son Grogu.

Why we’re psyched!  It is doubtful any of Disney’s Star Wars content has gotten the feel of classic Star Wars right as much as this show has. Arguably the best episodes of The Book of Boba Fett were the ones that seemed more like bonus episodes of The Mandalorian.

Why we’re wary…  Hopefully it doesn’t become more like Boba Fett and stays more of itself.

Jimmy says:  Can.  Not.  Wait.  And the Mandalorian and Grogu are the only things that kept The Book of Boba Fett from being completely unwatchable.

Watson says: What was the point of the second season if they immediately undid that progress before Season 3?

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Tom says:  While still fun (and better than Book of Boba Fett), I felt like the quality slipped a little bit this time around.  Maybe because it seemed like it became more of a Bo Katan show.

Watson says: This season was a major step back and really started to tire me out on Star Wars series.

Ryan says:  Was that this year?

Jimmy says:  Mando and Grogu became side characters in their own show.  Ironic, after they did as much to Boba Fett in his show.  I’ll still be watching a next season (if they make one) but I certainly could do with dialing back all the other Mandalorians.


THEN

Ashoka

What is it?  It’s a live action series about Anakin Skywalker’s former padawan Ashoka Tano.

Why we’re psyched!  Rosario Dawson showed a good take on the character in her appearances so far, and Ashoka was the break-out character in the animated Clone Wars and beyond for a reason.

Why we’re wary…  We’ve only really gotten small tastes of Dawson’s Ashoka, so hopefully she’s a strong enough character to hold down a series.

Jimmy says:  Having not watched Clone Wars, I sometimes feel like I’m missing something with some of these current D+ shows.

Watson says: I love Rosario Dawson and the promise of Thrawn!

NOW

Tom says:  So, my dad talked my mom into getting Disney+ where he quickly exhausted all the Star Wars content he wanted to see, and he told me he was disappointed this series ended as quickly as it did.  Apparently, he was really enjoying it and didn’t understand streaming shows don’t often go above a dozen or so episodes at most.  Me?  I haven’t seen Star Wars Rebels and felt like I couldn’t really follow what was happening since it felt like I should have known who all those characters were already to really get into it.

Watson says: I watched like two episodes and was reasonably impressed with the quality, but I had never watched Clone Wars or Rebels.  This was a live action continuation of those shows, and it was just not for me.

Ryan says:  I enjoyed the hell out of this despite watching no Rebels.

Jimmy says:  I watched and to a certain level enjoyed it.  But, although they advertised it as having seen Clone Wars and Rebels would add to the enjoyment, they were more required viewing.  I think The Mandalorian got away with that approach more, as Mando and Grogu are new characters, but this leaned way too heavily into those shows.  Now, if I had seen those shows, maybe I love Ahsoka.


THEN

Gen V

What is it?  It’s a spin-off series from Amazon Prime’s The Boys where college-aged supes learn how to be superheroes at a college for gifted youngsters.

Why we’re psyched!  The world of The Boys is a lot of things, and its raunchy style of humor would probably work well on a college campus.

Why we’re wary…  It would be real easy to dilute this brand too much.

Jimmy says:  I really need to catch up on The Boys.

Watson says: You do. It’s excellent, Jimmy.

NOW

Jimmy says:  I haven’t watched this…but I didn’t finally watch season 2 of The Boys!

Ryan says:  This was FANTASTIC!!!  I hope they make more of this quickly.


THEN

That 90s Show

What is it?  It’s the sequel series to popular sitcom That 70s Show where Red and Kitty Foreman (Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp) have to watch over their granddaughter and her own group of basement-hanging friends.

Why we’re psyched!  Smith and Rupp are great scene-stealers, and the reason the 70s Show worked was because the joke was rarely about the time period and more about the characters who just happened to live in the 70s.  Stick to that formula, and the series should work.

Why we’re wary…  OK, aside from the fact no one really asked for this, it does look like most of the original cast will at least be making cameo appearances except for Danny Masterson.  What’s he been up to lately anyw…oh.

Jimmy says:  Seeing Red and Kitty back is fun, but I feel like this will be quickly forgotten.

Watson says: I am a big fan of the original, but the last season was bad. This is probably more like that than the show in it’s prime.

NOW

Tom says:  I actually didn’t mind this show.  It was more or less fine.  The younger cast was very much like stand-in for the originals, and the show tried to keep cameos from the original cast kept to a minimum to allow the new kids a chance to get a time to shine.  Plus, Tommy Chong’s hippie pothead Leo is still hilarious.


THEN

What We Do in the Shadows

What is it?  It’s the TV spin-off series based on the Taika Waititi film about vampires living in the modern world, in this case Staten Island.

Why we’re psyched!  The cast is top notch, the show is often hilarious, and it does actually have a heart even as it collects a group of oddball characters, most of whom happen to be vampires.

Why we’re wary…  I dunno.  Some people don’t like fun?  Most of the Gabbing Geek crew hasn’t seen it.

Jimmy says:  I hear this is awesome, but I want to catch the movie first.

NOW

Tom says:  Nadja went back her roots to rid herself of a curse.  Nandor flew to outer space just to prove he could.  Colin Robinson dealt with the energy vampire council.  The Guide became a regular cast member.  Lazlo tried to find a cure for half-assed vampirism.  And Guillermo learned sometimes its best not to get what you want.  It was another great season of this great comedy.


THEN

Star Trek Picard

What is it?  It’s the final season for the return of Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard.

Why we’re psyched!  Aside from a few cameos here and there, most of the Next Generation cast has sat this series out.  For this final season, the thing the fans probably wanted most has come to pass and they’ve all returned for one last go-around…at least for this series.

Why we’re wary…  The first two seasons haven’t exactly been Star Trek at its best.

Jimmy says:  Season two was a disappointment, but I’m looking forward to the TNG reunion, which is hopefully more than just extended cameos and Riker cooking dinner.

NOW

Tom says:  This was pretty much what everyone wanted Star Trek: Picard to be all along, and for a final season, it sure did go out right.  My only issue was the series killed off Captain Shaw, a rather fun grump with a hell of a good reason to be a grump that ended up becoming a good ally.  Now can Paramount greenlight Star Trek: Legacy already?  I wanna see the further adventures of Captain Seven of Nine.

Ryan says:  I’ll admit, the last episode had me tearing up.  What an amazing send-off for an iconic group and property.

Jimmy says:  I agree with Tom’s assessment…except for Shaw, who I hated.  It was a great TNG reunion, and with Stewart being 83, this is probably the last we’ll see of him as Picard.


THEN

Star Trek Lower Decks

What is it?  It’s the animated comedy about life in the Star Trek universe for the average Starfleet officer.

Why we’re psyched!  Ensign Peanut Hamper aside, this is a fun show with great characters that both mocks and honors the universe of Star Trek.

Why we’re wary…  Jimmy Impossible still hasn’t seen this show.  I dunno.  I had to put something here.

Jimmy says:  He’s right, I haven’t.

NOW

Tom says:  Not quite on par with my expectations, I’m gonna give this quirky cartoon comedy credit for something:  the title is a reference to an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, but aside from the title, there was no real connection between this show and that episode…until this season found a way to connect the two in a well-done way.


THEN

The Flash

What is it?  It’s the last of Arrowverse shows, headed into its final season.

Why we’re psyched!  Well, the Arrowverse always did the best it could with very little money, and Grant Gustin is probably a better Barry Allen than Ezra Miller will ever hope to be.

Why we’re wary…  Um, does anyone care about this show anymore?  Speaking for myself, I realized at a certain point I only watched episodes out of habit, and even if I missed one, I didn’t care to go back and watch it again later.

Jimmy says:  I tried to get into The Flash earlier on as it had great buzz, and I failed.  I tried again with the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover and it felt like bad fan fic and cosplay, so I doubt I’ll be revisiting the Arrowverse again.

NOW

Tom says:  So…was anyone around here still watching this show?

Jimmy says:  No.

Ryan says:  I still need to finish this series.  Some day.


Video Games

We don’t always say much about video games, but when we do, well, there must be a good one coming.  Or at least an anticipated one.


THEN

Spider-Man 2

What is it?  It’s the sequel to the popular PlayStation game.

Why we’re psyched!  Hey!  It’s MIles Morales!

Why we’re wary…  Hey, he still has that weird white spider costume?

Jimmy says:  I liked, but didn’t love the first game.  I finished the main story (though not all the DLC), but I just found there were way too many levels of fighting infinite bad guys that should have no chance against Spider-Man.

Watson says: I will buy the PS75 or whatever to play this.

NOW

Watson says: I stand by my decision to pay for a console JUST to play this game.  It was soooooo good.  Wing suit for the win!  Can’t wait for the DLC.

Ryan says:  Sorry to burst your bubble, Watson.  No DLC.  You’ll find out why tomorrow.  But yes, this game was incredible.

Jimmy says:  I can’t justify buying a PS5 just to play this.


Books

Hey, we can read too!  And it’s time for our annual book prediction!


THEN

The Winds of Winter

What is it?  Oh, you know.  And won’t we look clever if we’re ever actually right?

Watson says: Never. Not. Funny.

NOW

Tom says:  Well, maybe in 2024…

Watson says: Hope springs eternal for Winter…


Gabbing Geek

THEN

What is it?  It’s our site right here.

Why we’re psyched!  Well, we don’t do this for the fame and fortune.  And maybe Watson will right another article before December.

Why we’re wary…  We are not.  We just have fun here.

Watson says: Low expectations help.

NOW

Tom says:  I got Jimmy to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Maybe for 2024, I’ll get him to watch Gravity Falls!

Watson says: I still love my geeks.  Who else would opine whether a celebrity death warranted a news alert of not?

Jimmy says:  Gravity Falls?