State Of The isawthatmovie Blog

If you've read movie reviews from critics on a website, or in magazines, or in newspapers, you probably noticed that they don't do reviews on all the movies they've seen. So how come when it came to me and my "I Saw That Movie" blog, I was ambitious enough to think that I can do written reviews for ALL the movies I've seen since I started this website? It was a worthy goal to try and achieve, but wow did that eat up a lot of my time! That's time that I could instead be spending watching a movie or TV show that I can talk about on the "Spoilers Pleeze" podcast. That's also time that I could just relax at home, spending time with my wife and dog. That could be time when I get some much needed sleep. 

Although those movie reviews I do only consist of about two to four paragraphs, the time it took for somebody like myself to produce written work that I was satisfied enough to share to the rest of the online community ate up a lot of my daily hours. Far more than I prefer, for work that is mostly done for free. Yes, I am aware that there are in fact some people reading those reviews I've written, and truly I am thankful. However, most of those people that I am aware of that has read them, can actually personally talk to me in real life anyway. Seems almost unnecessary to spend the chunk of time writing them, if it's easy to just ask me about a movie in person. 

Where's my incentive to keep the #isawthatmovie blog going the way it was originally created for? If anything else, these past three months where I literally did not do written reviews for several movies that I've seen, actually gave me more incentive not to continue the blog. I still did write reviews for certain movies, so it wasn't that I completely abandoned it. So that give and take is maybe the way it's going to go from now on. 

My new intentions with the I Saw That Movie blog... 

  1. On a weekly basis, I will still write at least one or two full non-spoilers movie reviews. Presumably the big movie releases of the week, or a film I feel really passionate enough to write a full review of.  
  2. Other movies that don't get full written reviews, will get general bullet points on the positives and negatives, plus a grade. 
  3. If a reader would really prefer me to write a full review of a movie, they are welcome to contact me via email ( or social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), or on the website posts themselves, and I will make that extra effort to write one. 

Another big change for the #isawthatmovie blog is the grading system. Instead of the current five grading options, there will now be six of them, since I am now adding a "LIKED IT" into the mix... 

  1. LOVED IT - equivalent grades of an "A+" or "A" 
  2. ENJOYED IT - equivalent grades of an "A-," a "B+," or a "B".   
  3. LIKED IT - equivalent grades of a "B-," or a "C+"  
  4. IT'S OKAY - equivalent grades of a "C" or a "C-"  
  5. IT'S MEH - equivalent grades of a "D+" or a "D"  
  6. IT'S TERRIBLE - equivalent grades of a "D-" or an "F" 

The reasoning behind adding the "LIKED IT" grade, is because the previous model was apparently not precise enough. When I grade a movie with a "LOVED IT" or "ENJOYED IT," it was obvious that I'm saying it's a good to great film. However sometimes there are movies that while I think deserve to be considered great, I myself don't necessarily love them. Using 2017 as an example, there were a couple of movies I gave the "LOVED IT" grade, but I should have really given an "ENJOYED IT" instead. Now that I'm including the equivalent grade of an "A-" into the "ENJOYED IT" grade, I can freely toss in more movies into that distinction. 

Adding the "LIKED IT" grade also serves a similar purpose. There are many movies that I thought deserved a "B-" or a "C+" that were more than just "OKAY," because I did find them very entertaining to watch. It left me having to debate on whether those movies have to be an "ENJOYED IT" or an "IT'S OKAY," which is where the "LIKED IT" tag comes in. Most people tend to react poorly to movies that are deemed "OKAY," and see that grade more in the mediocre average range of a "C" or "C-," so that's where it's going to be now for sure. 

The rest of the grades of "IT'S MEH" and "IT'S TERRIBLE" more or less stays the same, and people generally aren't confused on how to feel about those distinctions. 

So there we go. I would still prefer to write full movie reviews as much as I can, and that also applies to the past movies I've seen that I still did not do one for. However, there is a slight weight off my shoulder with the knowledge that I'm not forcing myself to write reviews for all the movies I see anymore. Who knows? I might change my mind again later on. 

Top 40 Favorite Movies of 2017

As it's been a tradition with me for many years now. During the very last days of December, I always share what I consider my most favorite movies of that Year. Some years it's just a top 10, some years I go for 25 entrees. This year, I'm going for a Top 40.

Keep in mind that there are still some movies that I was not able to see before this list was compiled, but I'll add an edit if necessary. Included with the listed movie, there are hyperlinks to my non-spoilers written reviews from the #isawthatmovie blog, and another link to go with the spoilers discussion about the movie from the #SpoilersPleeze podcast

So out of the 152 movies that I've seen that were officially released in 2017, here are my picks for what I consider my Top 40 Favorite movies of the year... 

  1. The Big Sick  (sp 125)  

  2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  

  3. Star Wars: the Last Jedi  (sp 142)  

  4. Colossal  (sp 109)  

  5. Logan  (sp 102)  

  6. It  (sp 128)  

  7. Spider-Man: Homecoming  (sp 120)  

  8. Lady Bird  (sp 140)  

  9. Get Out  (sp 101)  

  10. Guardians Of The Galaxy vol 2  (sp 111)  

  11. Coco  (sp 139)  

  12. The Lego Batman Movie  (sp 99)  

  13. The Shape Of Water

  14. Wonder Woman  (sp 115)  

  15. Thor: Ragnarok  (sp 136)  

  16. Last Flag Flying

  17. The Breadwinner

  18. Okja  (sp 119)  

  19. Wind River

  20. Wonder

  21. Molly's Game

  22. Blade Runner 2049  (sp 132)  

  23. Brigsby Bear

  24. A Ghost Story

  25. Raw

  26. Kong: Skull Island  (sp 103)  

  27. A Taxi Driver

  28. Beauty & The Beast 2017  (sp 104)  

  29. Baby Driver  (sp 118)  

  30. Band Aid

  31. How To Be A Latin Lover

  32. Blade Of The Immortal

  33. Patti Cake$

  34. The Florida Project

  35. I, Tonya  

  36. The Post

  37. John Wick : Chapter 2  

  38. A Dog’s Purpose

  39. Cars 3

  40. Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

For fun, I've also included the bottom 10 movies that I consider my least favorites from the year, with No. 1 being the worst. Have at it. 

  1. Transformers : The Last Knight
  2. The Snowman
  3. Suburbicon
  4. I Do… Until I Don’t
  5. The Only Living Boy In New York
  6. Girlfriend’s Day
  7. Rings
  8. Beatriz At Dinner
  9. The Circle
  10. Rough Night

2017 was the year of...

I was suppose to be giving myself a little vacation from "Who What Where's Why" for the eve and day of Christmas, and yet here I am writing this on the night of Dec 25th. The reason for this impromptu entree was because when I was watching some YouTube videos, I came across some videos for the movie "The Greatest Showman." If you've read my review, you know that while I had mixed reactions for the actual movie itself, I thought the songs were simply fantastic. So I came across this particular video of one of the particular songs, and it somehow made me think about what the year of 2017 was. 

During the last week of this year, you will hear mine and Jiaming's recap of what transpired in 2017 on an episode of the Stuff & Junk show. Of course when thinking of what happened during a completed year, the thought that comes to your head might be "what was 2017 the year of?" Putting a label to describe a year is a little silly, but it's definitely a thought.

Some would say that it's the year of Trump as US President. Some would say that it's the year when Women stood their ground. Some would say that it's the year where discourse reigned even more than before. All those options seemed viable. Then when I watched the video for "This Is Me" (embedded below), it occurred to me that an argument could be made that proclaiming who you are is the real description of what this year was about. 

"I'm the President of the USA, what I say goes. If you don't like it, too bad, that's who I am." 
"I'm a woman who was sexually harassed and assaulted." 
"I'm a woman and I can finally see a super-heroine in the lead of a comic book movie." 
"I'm Mexican, and I'm glad that a Disney Pixar movie is representing my culture." 
"I'm Asian, and we want more representation in our culture." 
"I'm a white American, and minorities are taking my country away from me." 
"I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and I loved "The Last Jedi." 
"I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and I hated "The Last Jedi." 
This is me. 

A lot of people this year seems to be proud to proclaim their identity in society and in the world. Whether it's for good or bad things, the point is that a lot of people are owning up to who they are. They are essentially saying "Damn you if you don't like what you see." Of course I personally rather not have racists and elitists be proud of being horrible people, but hey that's who they are... I guess? 

I've always said that in order for every one to get along with each other, they need to know who they are first. Once they can identify who they are, they can start seeing the strengths and faults. If they can't see it themselves, others will, and vice-versa. When everybody is able to understand who they are as a person, maybe we can finally open up a dialog in how we all can get along together, to build a better future for everyone. 

Oscar Bait

"Oscar bait" is a term used in the film community for movies that appear to have been produced for the sole purpose of earning nominations for Academy Awards or "Oscars", as they are commonly known.  

That's the definition I found on Wikipedia, and it honestly disappoints me. While there is truth to the fact that there are films created in the idea that they could win an Academy Award, it still doesn't change the fact that the "winners" do tend to actually be good movies for the most part. Shouldn't that be the ideal goal when creating a film? To make it really good and worth watching? That's not how a lot of people see "Oscar bait" films however, and lean more towards the idea that they shouldn't be supported because of the ulterior reasoning in their creation. 

Some people also think that Oscar bait movies are also generally manipulatively pretentious. Drama for the sake of drama. Preachy for their important social topics. Boring for being educational and informational. Come on, let's not dismiss films that try to reach beyond just being disposable entertainment. Some of those "awards season" films can admittedly crash and burn from the weight of their own lofty ambitions to receive a prize, and I myself have called out some of them. Of course I also greatly recognize that a lot of them also do succeed spectacularly.

Also imagine this fact... those Oscar bait movies as people call them, can actually be entertaining AND good for you. If you are just watching movies for superficial reasons; for those loud noises and pretty visuals, then feel free to stay clear of these "prestigious" films. Those of us who just want to watch a solidly good film however, will give Oscar bait movies a chance. 

For the 90th Academy Awards, here are some likely contenders; those Oscar Bait movies, that are likely hoping for at least a nomination. If you notice, a lot of these are released during the last few months of the year; also known as "Oscar season." Check some of them out if you get a chance... 

Those are more out there, especially the ones that are just hoping for an acting nod, foreign film category, or some technical awards. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. 

The $0.66 Movie Ticket

For those unaware, for several years now, I've been a subscriber to "Moviepass;" which is essentially the "Netflix of movie theaters." All those years that I've been a subscriber to that service, it's always had it's caveats. The cost it chargers per Month, and the rule sets to how and when I can watch movies with it. I pretty much accepted the conditions it set up, because it still felt worthwhile to my movie going habits.

Most recently though; as discussed in episode 145 of The Stuff & Junk Show, the Moviepass service changed for the better. For just one low monthly fee of $9.95, I get to watch one movie a day, for as long as I have a subscription. I don't know how long the company can sustain that, but that's an unbelievable deal!!! You know what that means right? The more movies I watch; while taking advantage of Moviepass, means that the price of admission to see one single film has become ridiculously affordable. 

September 2017 was the first Month I got to take the "new" Moviepass service for a spin. I ended up seeing 15 movies that month. 13 of those movies were seen via the Moviepass service. 2 of them were seen via the points that I easily accumulated with the combination of the AMC Stubs loyalty card and with Moviepass. This means that instead of paying a total of $170.58, I only spent $9.95 to watch those 15 movies, which essentially means that each movie only cost me $0.66 a ticket. 

Let me repeat.... It's not $5 a ticket. It's not $2 a ticket. It's not even $1 a ticket. 
Who doesn't need to rely on going to budget theaters, or taking advantage of movie ticket discounts, or weekend or matinee pricing specials? THIS GUY! 
Talk about a low barrier of entry to go see a movie. Thank you Moviepass! Please try and stay in business. 

The list below are the movies I saw in September, how much each ticket actually cost without a Moviepass subscription, whether it was purchased using a loyalty card, and where I saw it. 

  1. Gook. $13.59 AMC
  2. Patti Cake$. $10.80. Regal
  3. A Taxi Driver. $10.45. Regal
  4. It. $14.19. AMC
  5. Marjorie Prime. $10.00. Laemmle
  6. The Trip To Spain. $8.00. Regency
  7. I Do Until I Don't. $10.55. Regal
  8. Mother! $13.05. Regal
  9. American Assassin. $12.49. AMC
  10. Kingsman: The Golden Circle. $13.99. AMC Stubs card
  11. The Tiger Hunter. $6.29. AMC Stubs card
  12. Friend Request. $11.09. AMC
  13. Stronger. $12.49. AMC
  14. Brad's Status. $10.55. Regal
  15. American Made. $13.05. Regal

Final Update - Summer Movie Draft 2017

Alright, it's Labor Day here in the States, and it's time to finalize the 2017 Summer Movie Draft for whowhatwhereswhy. It seemed like right from the beginning, the winner of this friendly contest was already predetermined. Sure enough, it was! Congrats to Jiaming for winning it all primarily because he had a winning draft pick that included Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Wonder Woman. So now, how did the rest of them do? 

1) Snatched : $60,498,103  
2) Baywatch : $177,703,947  
3) Transformers: The Last Knight : $604,051,265  
4) Despicable Me 3 : $994,943,180  
5) Atomic Blonde : $90,007,945  
6) Annabelle Creation$255,380,598

1) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword : $146,175,066  
2) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul : $39,945,832  
3) Captain Underpants : $102,904,291  
4) Spider-Man: Homecoming : $747,216,546  
5) The Emoji Movie : $160,426,714  
6) The Hitman's Bodyguard$58,069,214

1) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 : $863,101,971  
2) Alien: Covenant : $233,056,304  
3) Wonder Woman : $813,199,021  
4) War for the Planet of the Apes : $366,688,829   
5) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets : $172,842,890   
6) The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature$29,599,173

1) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales : $792,033,026  
2) The Mummy (2017) : $407,778,013  
3) All Eyez on Me : $44,922,302  
4) Cars 3 : $343,884,869  
5) Dunkirk : $460,254,545  
6) The Dark Tower$101,406,894

Final rankings... 

  1. Jiaming : $2,478,488,188  

  2. Edward : $2,182,585,038  
  3. Albert : $2,150,279,649  
  4. Louis : $1,254,737,663 

Well look at that! Edward managed to move right pass Albert for 2nd place, by only $32,305,389. It was due to the strength on the legs of Despicable Me 3, as well as the popularity of The Conjuring cinematic universe with Annabelle: Creation's excellent first month in release. Albert made good strides with Dunkirk's impressive performance at the box office, but with The Dark Tower not doing that great (but better than we all expected), his draft picks wasn't enough to prevent Edward from taking his place on the rankings at the finish line. Besides Louis being the distant underdog in the race, he at least did hit the 1 Billion mark, thanks to Spiderman: Homecoming, and oddly enough The Emoji Movie. 

Just from this list, no movie passed $1 Billion in the World Wide Box Office. The closest to that was Despicable Me 3, which was only about $5 Million short of that goal. Who knows, it might meet that goal by Sept 5. 

Along with Despicable Me 3, only five other movies made it past the $500 Million mark. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2, Wonder Woman, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Spiderman: Homecoming, and Transformers: The Last Knight; in that order. 

There were at least twelve other movies; besides the previously mentioned six, that made it past the $100 Million mark. Probably to some people's surprise, that includes... The Mummy, Alien: Covenant, Baywatch, Valerian & The City Of A Thousand Planets, King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, The Emoji Movie, Captain Underpants, and The Dark Tower. Besides Captain Underpants and Alien: Covenant, all those other movies mentioned had a rotten tomatometer score at  

Well there you go folks. Until next year, when we do the Summer Movie Draft for 2018!