Sherlock 4.3

Rating: 6/10

This review is very late, good thing nobody reads this blog! It’s still basically spoiler free though.

This show got really weird. But truthfully this was always a weird show. It’s always had that Doctor Who vibe…for obvious reasons. But Doctor Who is supposed to be weird, that’s part of its bizarre pulp charm. Sherlock was a strange show because it was part of its time, the time of reboots, and reboots are something Sherlock Holmes adaptations sort of invented. Holmes is kind of the quintessential nerd “IP.”

Let me count the ways:

1. the character is a nerd, socially unacceptable and brilliant

2. he’s clearly a super hero, not just a great detective like Miss Marple but an honest to God crime fighter, he’s like Batman without all the dressing, take Zorro add Holmes throw in some tragedy and empathy out comes Bats

3. After the Cthulhu Mythos, Holmes is one of the main IPs (that aren’t IPs because no one owns them) that essentially produced fan fiction, back when Fan fiction was published novels of IPs in the public domain 

4. He’s a tech and chem nerd

5. He started the whole dead but not really dead thing which is how comic books have survived for so long 

Holmes really has it all when it comes to nerd cred. And by bringing him into the 21st century with such ease the Sherlock team did what really seemed so obvious it was almost mundane after 1 season. This is made more obvious by the fact that the Downey films were concurrent and tried to do the same thing but backwards. Steam punk is in these days so Guy Ritchie et al figured they could update the character by simultaneously returning him to his grungy anti social roots but in a hip Lethal Weaponish way. Those two films did well at the box office but they’re barely watchable trash. It is always obvious that they are trying to entertain you, they are trying to be interesting…and they almost never are.

Sherlock however is effortless. At least when it works. When that show doesn’t work it isn’t ever clear why, something is just a miss. Usually it seems to be the story. Spin a good yarn and Sherlock knits a nice sweater (or peacoat). But if you have no story to tell then…it’s just a weird super smart guy…with a cell phone.

That’s one reason the show works when it works. They embrace the trappings of our time but not it’s sensibilities. Whereas the Ritchie movies don’t embrace the trappings of any time and try to force modern sensibilities. Story is driven by the world the story inhabits. Tolkien is the greatest example of this: he discovered the true nature of Bilbo’s ring within his own mythos, and the rest is…the establishment of a genre essentially relegated to pulp magazines. But in Sherlock the cell phone, the blog, etc are all elements that drive story in very organic ways. It’s simple and honest and that’s why it works.

But the 4th Season of Sherlock and especially the last episode keeps trying to focus on the characters and giving us new things to see and learn about them. That sounds nice but there are several problems with this:

1. These characters are interesting because they are fun to watch not fun to learn about 

2. We don’t really need to learn anything new about these characters, we want to see how they will solve New and original problems

3. The new information given is weak…and feels contrived, but even if it were interesting and organic the first two points would still stand 

I’ve basically kept this spoiler free so I won’t change that now. Sherlock is still far more worth your time than much of the crap on TV/streaming but it certainly has highs and lows. This last episode had some great moments…but it didn’t hold together, and that’s basically true of the whole 4th series. 3 is probably the best series overall but 1&2 have the 4 best episodes. Series 4 is clearly the most mixed. At least it’s something interesting to write about…I don’t know if they’re making more but I’ll certainly watch it if they do but I’m not as excited for a new series as I used to be.

Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark

Some minor spoilers ahead

I decided some time last year that I would just start pre ordering all the DC animated movies that were Batman related. These movies tend to not get cheaper on blu Ray and their availability on streaming media is a bit spotty. And even the not so good ones (Batman: Bad Blood) I still really enjoy. Batman stuff (DC in general & to a lesser extent Marvel also but outside the MCU there isn’t much worth watching) is like Star Wars to me: I would rather watch a bad Star Wars movie then no Star Wars movie. I want Batman tv shows, films, whatever to keep getting made. Bad or good isn’t as important to me at this point.
The quality used to be very important to me but Nolan’s Film Trilogy was the pinnacle of Batman storytelling (and I mean across the board, comics, cartoons etc) because it wasn’t dependent on any other property (like DKR is on Superman) and it told the complete story of Batman from cradle to grave. It’s not perfect but there’s really nothing like it in superhero fiction. It’s an epic. It tells a complete superhero life. Comics work the way they do because they’re soap operas for boys. But the Nolan trilogy throws that out the window and gives the definitive superhero myth in toto. Donner’s Superman I&II are the definitive origin epic…but they’re incomplete. They’re really just a beginning, we never got to see Donner & co’s full superhero potential blossom. For me Donner’s work on Superman is like the 90s Cowboys. If Jimmy Johnson had stayed I believe the Cowboys would’ve won 6 Super Bowls. If the MCU ever actually ends that will probably be THE definitive superhero epic…
But back to Batman many people have done a story or an origin or an else worlds tale (Blackest Night is a great complete Batman story) but the Nolan trilogy does the whole thing and does it very well. And because of that Batman is free to be funny again. Batman is free to be bad again, to take risks. I hated Batman 66 until I realized this. Now Batman 66 is amazing to me. It’s funny and classic and fun. 
In any case Justice League Dark came out and it arrived on my doorstep this morning. And I think it’s really good. Batman has very little to do. My two favorite characters involved in this story are Batman and Swamp Thing. Neither is very important to the film. It’s mostly a John Constantine, Jason Blood, and Dead man show. Do not buy this if you want a great Batman story or a great Swamp Thing story. Zatanna even feels like she gets short shrift. But that’s okay. The stuff they do focus on is great. I really want to watch the cancelled Constantine show now.
As usual the voice acting is stellar. Especially from Matt Ryan (John Constantine) and Nicholas Turturro (Dead Man) who were the clear standouts. What little Roger Cross has to do with Swamp Thing is pretty amazing. I really want them to do a Swamp Thing standalone now just to hear his Swamp Thing again. Their version of the character feels spot on.
Swamp thing’s appearance is short but powerful. It’s also a little confusing…something happens during the climax which feels very strange. I don’t know enough about Swamp Thing to understand the implications and sadly the film never explains it. I don’t want to give away much more then that…you’ll probably know what I mean when you see it.
But this is a really cool look at the supernatural side of the DCU. Dead man and Constantine are great. Nothing is really bad at all.
The extras are cool but not amazing. The best thing about these releases is the bonus episodes they usually include (besides the generally high quality of the films of course). This release includes 2 episodes of the fantastic Batman: the brave and the bold. If you like Batman 66 and the DCU in general you need to check that show out. The episodes are supernatural themed and relate mostly to Dead man and Jason Blood.
If you’re a DC fan or a Doctor Strange fan I think you’ll dig this. Even Buffy fans or Harry Dresden fans will like the story and aesthetic a lot. It was highly enjoyable. I really hope they do a follow up. I’ll probably go pick up the JLDark New 52 stuff now. I almost did last year but wasn’t sure I’d like it and now I think I’m a fan…
Overall rating: 7/10

Top Ten Books (fiction & non fiction)

1. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

I grew up watching the movie but when I read the introduction I knew this was my favorite book. I read it 2 or 3 more times before I realized S. Morgenstern didn’t exist and the whole thing was just a product of Goldman’s fertile imagination.  Simply amazing. This book is pure magic.

2. Tree of Salvation by G. Ronald Murphy

This book changed my life. The good news of Jesus Christ came alive to me in a way I never would’ve thought possible. The picture that headlines this blog was inspired by this book. My poem Yggdrasil: The Winter Soldier was inspired by this book. I have a shrine in my study that I made because of this book. This book gave me an emotional and artistic language. I love it.

3. A wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

I love this book. Read it. It’s genius.

4. Jurassic Park and The Lost World by Michael Crichton 

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve always been obsessed with Dinosaurs but I’ve actually read each of these 3 times and I don’t currently own a copy of either. I’m really not a big reader or a fast one, but I’ve literally picked up JP in Barnes and Nobles just to look at a chapter and half an hour later had to buy the book just because…then spent the rest of the day reading it. Crichton wasn’t a great writer, he created very convincing worlds with exciting concept driven plots. But these two books just hold me. I actually read the lost world out loud to my brother when I was in 5th grade. 2 days of reading out loud, and when he went to bed I was so into it I would actually read ahead…just because I had to know what would happen next. Some things just connect to us and we don’t really know why…I wish it was Les Mis or the Brothers K but I just don’t like that sort of fiction. I like dinosaurs. Sue me.

5. The Blindside by Michael Lewis

The film was great but this book, like Moneyball, tells a larger tale. Michael & the Tuohys form the spirit and heart but the body is American gridiron Football and how it evolved. It’s amazing. Lewis has a unique ability to tell personal story as well as complex scholarly analysis. This book is entertaining and enlightening.

6. The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 

I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said elsewhere better. These books are amazing. The films are the best/worst literary adaptation ever because when they’re on they are pitch perfect and when they’re off they’re really off. Sadly the second trilogy took that ratio from like 90% success to 50% or less. Regardless Tolkien was a genius. These books are treasures.

6. Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

I don’t know what to say except this book enthralled me. I don’t totally understand why. If you don’t like Association football you may not be able to understand this book. But if you’re interrested in soccer/football at all check this book out. It will piss you off and open your mind.

7. Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card

The heart of the Jesus Faith is sadness. Sadness connects us to Jesus, the man of sorrow. A true Christian is marked by sadness. If not his or her own then the sadness of others. This book taught me that my mental illness, my scars, my sorrows were my best sacrifice of praise. They are not things to be hidden from God but things to be presented to him. Jesus is the only God who asks for our weaknesses. All others want our strength and goodness but Jesus is the shame eater. Jesus absorbs all our evil and brokenness and breaks it into a million pieces. He takes these pieces and turns them into little diamonds and they become the Stars that guide us through the night and finally to our true home: Jesus. Sadness is the key to life, not success. Sadness is sacred. If you want to find Jesus search for sadness. There you will always find him.

8. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller 

With this book Miller became the Bob Dylan/Beatles/Ramones etc of comic books. He exploded Batman and put him back together better than ever. The animated film version is great but it lacks Miller’s voice (literally because there is no VO in the film). And almost everything Miller did with Batman has found its way into the Nolan Trilogy and BVS so many elements here will seem old to new readers but this book remains a hurricane of superhero excellence. This is the true citizen Kane of superheroes and comics. Watchmen is great but this is better. The moral conflicts of this psychological opera are more relevant today than they were before. We keep looking to others to solve our problems and tell us what to do or believe but at the end of the day it’s always up to you. What will you do with your life? Blame? Complain? Or will you join Batman in his holy unholy crusade against evil? The true Dark Knight awaits you in these pages and he wants to make you one of his disciples!

9. God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Rodney Stark

Think the crusades are proof that religion is evil? If the first thing you think of when the crusades come up is racism, colonialism, patriarchy, etc then you need this book. The crusades are far more interesting, amazing, and tragic than you know. This was a non fiction page turner like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing.

10. To Change the World: The Irony, Tregedy, and Possiblilty of Christianity in the late modern world by James Davison Hunter

To me this book was the key that unlocked the world. Especially from the perspective of morality and ethics. Hunter is the guy who coined the phrase culture wars back when no one believed such a thing existed. In this book he explains that war and what Christians should really do about it. Spoiler: it’s boring, just do what Jesus said to do. The forces that run this world are big and powerful and there’s not much we can do to change it. That’s okay. All we need to do is be faithful. That’s all any of us ever can do. He didn’t call us to change the world (that’s his job) he called us to change ourselves and follow him regardless of the outcome.

Top ten films of 2016

Best films from 2016 ranked according to quality

1. The Witch /a stone cold instant classic, far and away the best film of the year, this film is easily in the top 5 greatest horror films ever made (1. The Exorcist 2. Alien 3. The Witch 4. The Shining 5. Sinister), no movie has ever oozed atmosphere like this. But it’s real terror lies in the human heart and how easily physical comforts can turn it to stone.

2. Rogue One /the best Star Wars film ever made, if the Witch hadn’t come out this year R1 would easily be my #1. We know how the movie will end before those beautiful blue fairy tale words appear and yet the fate of the rebellion never seemed in more peril. Force Awakens was pretty great but R1 makes it look like Bantha Poodoo!(goodbye Princess Carrie. CGI could never replace you. May the force be with her…always)

3. Hell or High Water /bottles up the emotions of our times, extremely well acted, and just top notch filmmaking from top to bottom!

4. Zootopia /Disneyfied LA Confidential, need I say more? This film is pure joy!

5. Captain America: CIvil War /Greatest Super Hero film ever made? No…but it’s close. This film outdoes both Avengers flicks by a mile while speaking deeply to the biggest problem western society has always faced: freedom vs responsibility vs law. This film is like Lincoln’s Lyceum Speech meets The Manchurian Candidate…with superheroes!

6. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition /I loved the theatrical cut but after watching the Ultimate Edition the flaws became clear to me. The Ultimate Edition is a tour de force of spandex clad opera. It fills in the gaps that audiences saw in the theaters. Batfleck is easily the best Batman of all time. He looks like Frank Miller and Greg Capullo had a graphite love child that magically became a real boy. Martha? The haters are morons. That line is up there with Rosebud! Epic stuff.

7. 10 Cloverfield Lane /just an all around awesome movie, thrilling and intriguing from beginning to end.

8. The Nice Guys /Shane Black being Shane Black. You like Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, or Iron Man 3? This film is for you! Do you like to laugh and be entertained? This film is for you! Merry Christmas you filthy animals. 

9. Finding Dory /Besides the crap saga that is Cars Pixar is the goose that lays golden eggs. Gerald! Cuddle party! Through the whole film I was either laughing or crying, but there’s no bad moments here. Another home run.

10. Batman: The Return of the Caped Crusaders /one of the best bat flicks ever. Until Lego Batman comes out this is the funniest Batman has ever been. Thanks to Christopher Nolan Batman can be whatever he wants to be again. He can be funny or tragic. We’re allowed to laugh, cry, or cheer for the dark knight again. Thank you Nolans (and Goyer)! We’ve got the Dark Knight Trilogy and we’ve got Adam West back again! From Batman: the Brave and the Bold to Snyder and Capullo’s Batman run to the Arkham video games we Batman fans are completely spoiled in the 21st century! And there’s so much more to come!

Most overrated film: Deadpool
IMDb 8.1/10, Rotten tomatoes 84%, Metacritic 65/100

Criticism: okay so I loved Deadpool…the first 2 times I saw it. I saw it in theaters. I bought it on Blu Ray immediately. The film is hilarious. It’s also incredibly shallow and predictable. It’s a Western with a potty mouth and super heros. It literally is a western! The love interest is a whore with a heart of gold who needs to be rescued and the Hero is a codependent wise cracking gun slinger out for revenge. I love westerns, revenge stories just work really well as entertainment. But there simply isn’t much here. 

Worse than that the film is both misogynistic and misandrist. It keeps the horribly false and evil idea alive that sex = love. And that means it hates both men and women, because at the end of the day the woman is a vagina and the man is a penis. SJWs probably think this film is Feminist (which is no complement, feminism is pure idioctic evil) but it portrays women as idiots…and men as idiots. So I guess you could say that makes it egalitarian…? But the crown jewel is the pegging scene. International women’s day is celebrated by Vanessa acting like a man sexually. That is pure misogyny and misandry and the clearest expression of the feminist movement’s values. It says women need to become men to be valuable and men need to be sodomized for their genetic luckiness. That’s feminism: hatred of what a woman really is. 

Here’s the thing though this movie is dumb fun. It isn’t making these statements intentionally, these values are implied due to the worldview behind the film. In some ways that makes it worse because it’s harder to see the evil when it’s in the foundations.

Reynolds is Deadpool. That’s the best part of the film. But it really doesn’t hold up well after the first few viewings because Deadpool isn’t a character he’s a Stand up comedian. They gave him a solid emotional arc but it’s an arc we’ve seen a million times in RomComs, guy is ashamed because he’s codependent so he tries to hide his shame makes things worse and eventually after having learned nothing just goes back to his addictive relationship. Terrible.

Don’t get me wrong I really do like this movie. It’s fearless and has lots of panache. It’s better than most of the other X-Men films. But it’s clearly overrated. Overrated doesn’t mean awful it means not as good as people say it is.

Corrected ratings: IMDb 7/10, Rotten tomatoes 65%, Metacritic 35/100

Most underrated: Batman: The Killing Joke

IMDb 6.6/10, Rotten Tomatoes 52%

Defense: Feminists and SJWs are idiots. One rape scene is considered pro feminist while another is misogyny. Feminists spend almost 90% of their lives defending the idea that we should be able to murder unborn minority baby girls with Down’s syndrome. It’s hard to take someone who believes something that ridiculously evil seriously when they start preaching their progressive fundamentalism about whatever constitutes misogyny this week. It’s like trying to take a Nazi seriously. And that’s not hyperbole. There are disturbing parallels between Nazism and feminism. For one they are both marked by a tendency to make up “facts” & statistics. They both fabricate historical victim/persecutor narratives that are easily disproven yet are vigorously defended with emotional rhetoric. Both believe that power and governmental backing are fundamental to freedom not virtue and personal responsibility. Both have killed millions of humans in the name of progress and freedom. Hell planned parenthood was a eugenics program. In any case feminism is a moral nightmare.

The main criticisms of this film were of the feminist variety. Feminism is for morons. That doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t make valid points sometimes but in this case I just think they were wrong. For whatever reason Bruce Tim seems to think the idea of Batman and Batgirl having to deal with sexual tension is interesting…and I think he’s more right than wrong. From my perspective it actually makes a lot of sense, in a very bad way. If you haven’t figured it out yet I love Batman. But his character is capable of great evils, more so than most superheroes. I don’t want to see him do those sorts of things but it would be dishonest to never deal with the negative side of his character. This film brings back the cost of doing what Batman does. It’s not just dangerous because of the billets, it’s emotionally dangerous.

So there’s this thing called authority rape. It’s when a person (man or woman) engages in sexual activity with a subordinate. It’s really easy to see why this would naturally come up when telling stories about Batman and Batgirl. I don’t think this is really what Bruce Tim is thinking of but this must be one of the things that drives the dynamic. The truth is Batgirl is on unequal footing with Batman, and that means it’s primarily his responsibility to maintain sexual boundaries between them. Barbara is responsible for her actions as well but ultimately she was authority raped (if you haven’t seen the film or heard yet Batman and Batgirl have sex). These characters put themselves into a very dangerous emotional world and in this story Batman really screws up. Characters and stories are not where we derive morality or value. Batgirl is not a great moral role model in this story. She is immature and Batman takes advantage of her. Stories should not be expected to be empowering for “minorities.” They should be good stories, which means satisfying, interesting, tragic, or moving. And the negative dynamics between them have just as much to do with Batman’s neurosis as Batgirl’s immaturity. He needs to be in constant control and she’s isolated herself from others and formed a fantasy relationship in order to cope. It was a disaster waiting to happen. Progressives don’t like this because it contradicts their view of society, that gender isn’t real and we all just need to get over it. But men and women working together brings complications. The so called rape culture on university campuses (which is essentially a myth) wouldn’t exist if colleges didn’t need to be co ed. These are complicated issues that aren’t discussed openly or with anything approaching wisdom because it’s easy to be branded with misogyny for suggesting anything that contradicts progressive values. 

But the main reason this film is underrated is that Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil set the roof on fire with their brilliance.

I am not a big Alan Moore fan. I think Watchmen is amazing and V for Vendetta is quite crappy (the film version is amazing because it edits out all of Moore’s pretentious fluff and just tells a better story with better characters). To me he’s a very mixed bag as a writer. And I’ve always kinda hated The Killing joke. For one it’s not a Batman story it’s a joker story. But more importantly than that the graphic novel contains some of the worst Batman lines ever. He literally wants to have a DTR (define the relationship) with the joker at the beginning of the story. Also when Gordon goes missing he is totally useless. The scooby do gang would have found the clown prince in a minute but the world’s greatest detective never thinks to check the abandoned fair ground on the outskirts of town? Then when he finally fights the joker its pretty lame. Joker bashes him with a plank and Batman says “ooof” and looks like he needs to sit down.

But the best/worst part is the end. The ambiguity of whether or not he kills the joker is both stupid and delightfully frustrating. The most important question to answer there is whether or not Batman Killing the joker means that the joker actually won. If the joker won by essentially bringing Batman down to his level that is interesting but I still hate it. But at the same time it almost feels wrong if Batman doesn’t kill the joker. If he was ever going to this would be the time. It’s deeply unsatisfying…which is the point. This complex ending and the Joker’s origin are easily the best parts of the graphic novel. But it’s just not much of a Batman book.

But this is why I think the film version of the Killing Joke is actually one of the best bat films: Conroy and Hamil make this story fully realized and deeply affecting. In fact this is some of their best work. I will admit that the new prologue is a bit strange at first but I think it adds a lot to Barbara (something the original book was criticized for). What it adds is both positive and negative. She embraces her disability as opportunity and seems to have learned from her horrible experiences. It gives the joker’s awful actions more weight and context as well, taking something deeply tragic and making it even more emotionally disturbing. The truth is that the Killing Joke doesn’t have enough for a feature, so without the prologue they probably would’ve tinkered more with the actual story and that would’ve pissed off fans as well. This was sort of a no win scenario for the creators. Which means that maybe they shouldn’t have made the film at all. But they went for and I think they did the best job any one could do. This film works very well and the criticisms seem to have more to do with irrelevant morals or nostalgic purity.

The most offensive thing is probably Batgirl’s super fem gay friend. While I’m not pro LGBTabcdxyz I think it’s insane to constantly depict homosexuals as girly clowns. Homosexuals are people, if it’s going to be made clear that a character is gay I don’t understand why its become obligatory to make them effeminate or clearly a horny mimbo. It’s just tired and clumsy.

I don’t think the film is perfect, I think it’s underrated. Over time I think it’ll become a classic bat flick, and over take the graphic novel as the definitive version of the story. It already has for me. As great as the DKR animated films were the graphic novel is still the definitive version because of Miller’s VO writing and amazing art. Bolland’s art especially when he re inked the whole book is exceptional but I just think this version is ultimately more satisfying.

Corrected ratings:

IMDb 8/10, Rotten tomatoes 75%

Worst: Independence Day Resurgence /do not watch. I almost put this as my most overrated film because it has 33% on rotten tomatoes. It should have 0%. There are no words in existence for how bad this movie is so I’m going to invent one right now: scrumtrucrapulent. I have always loved ID4 but it used to feel like a b-movie. Compared to this trash ID4 is both Godfathers wrapped up with Star Wars. IDR is quite possibly the worst film I’ve ever seen. Jaws 3 D is at least funny. Ed wood movies are entertaining. Drive Angry…is supposed to be crap, that’s why it’s awesome. Birth of a Nation was racist…honestly racism is pretty fascinating and interesting, at least it’s not IDR. IDR is scrumtrucrapulence through and through. Do not watch! Your time would be better spent staring at rocks. Your time would be better spent arguing on the internet for how the 2016 presidential election was engineered by Russia and that it had nothing to do with the fact that the first woman to run for POTUS was probably the single dumbest most unelectable laziest campaigner since Charles Foster Kane. As awful as Hillary is I think defending her is a better use of your time than watching this toilet bowl of a movie flush. Hell your time would be better spent reading Slate. Well…maybe not Slate. Maybe the Huffington Post. Goddamn this movie.

Movie I should have watched opening weekend but probably won’t see till 2017: Hacksaw Ridge. Mel Gibson is one of my top 5 favorite film makers/actors. Looking forward to seeing this one.

Conclusion: I thought this was a pretty good year. For me the only way it could have been better is if Nolan released a movie. I’ve got it bad for that guy.

Happy New Year

Favorite films

My favorite films:

1. Warrior

2. The Social Network

Most of Fincher’s films

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  2. Fight Club
  3. Gone Girl
  4. Seven
  5. Zodiac

3. Casablanca

4. The Dark Knight Trilogy 

Anything by Nolan really

  1. Interstellar
  2. The Prestige
  3. Inception
  4. Memento
  5. Insomnia

    5. The Terminator & Terminator 2: Judgement Day

    Most of Cameron’s Films

    1. Aliens
    2. The Abyss
    3. True Lies
    4. Titanic

    6. Braveheart

    Anything by Gibson really 

    1. Get the Gringo (produced)
    2. Apocalypto 
    3. The Passion of the Christ
    4. The Man without a Face

    7. Seven Samurai

    8. The Godfather & The Godfather Part II

    9. Jaws

    10. It’s a Wonderful Life

    11. Star Wars Films


    1. Star Wars
    2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    3. Star Wars Episide III: Revenge of the Sith
    4. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
    5. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
    6. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
    7. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    8. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

    12. Fanboys

      13. Marvel Cinematic Universe


      1. Captain America: Civil War
      2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
      3. Guardians of the Galaxy
      4. Captain America: The First Avenger
      5. Ant-Man
      6. Iron Man 3
      7. The Avengers
      8. Iron Man
      9. The Avengers: Age of Ultron
      10. Thor
      11. Thor: The Dark World
      12. Iron Man 2
      13. The Incredible Hulk

      13. High Noon

      14. Monty Python Movies

      1. Life of Brian
      2. Holy Grail
      3. Meaning of Life

      15. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

      16. Drive

      17. Noah

      Most of Aronofsky’s films

      1. The Fountain
      2. Black Swan
      3. The Wrestler
      4. Requiem for a Dream

      18. Notorious 

      Lots of Hitchcock

      • Rebecca
      • Shadow of a Doubt
      • Lifeboat
      • Spellbound
      • Rope
      • Strangers on a Train
      • Dial M for Murder
      • Rear Window
      • To Catch a Thief
      • The Man who Knew Too Much
      • Vertigo
      • North by Northwest
      • Psycho

      19. Silver Linings Playbook

      20. Shadowlands

      Big Hero 6

      The Big Sleep


      Blazing Saddles

      Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


      Double Indemnity


      Godzilla films ( mostly the 80s & 90s films)

      Hellboy & Hellboy II

      The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney)

      The Incredibles

      Indiana Jones (even the bad ones, but mostly the 2 really good ones)

      Jason and the Argonauts

      King Kong (original)

      Life of Brian

      The Little Mermaid

      Mad Max: Fury Road

      The Matrix (I think the sequels are highly underrated but the first one is a masterpiece)

      The Naked Spur

      The Princess Bride

      The Prisoner of Zenda (both versions)

      The Remains of the Day

      Rio Bravo & El Dorado

      Scarlet Street

      Schindler’s List

      The Secret of Kells 

      The Silence of the Lambs

      The Sting

      Tarantino’s Spaghetti Trilogy (Basterds, Djangi, H8te)

      The Three Colors Cornetto Trilogy


      The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 

      Young Frankenstein



      A Strange Messiah 

      The director of Doctor Strange went to my undergrad college: Biola University. He graduated many years before I did.

      Here’s an old article on him:

      Doctor Strange was really good and it has loads of Derrickson’s film ethos in it, there are certainly deep elements of Christianity in the DNA of this version of Strange. Maybe they were always there, I only recently read some Strange comics (the current run has been awesome).

      I think for me the biggest take away was that (no spoilers) brokenness really is the key to life. Superheroes show us that all the time but it was particularly poignant in this film. The embracing of the imperfect self is the most important aspect of life and probably the most difficult. Trying to control the world is often the best way to destroy it, humans aren’t God, we need to find our place in the world. Until we do we are working against the grain of the universe.