So, those of you who remember my “Meg’s 10 Favorite Movies of 2014” might be thinking, “Wow, our list that we’ve been patiently waiting for over a year has shrunk! That Meg sure is a jerk!” Well, sorry about that. There are some reasons.
This article is presented here as a part of Throwback Thursday, where we revisit some highlights from the archives of both Sabrael D. Carroll and M.E. Garey. This particular piece comes to you from May 2016.
One reason is that I could write a whole article on movies I wanted to see last year but didn’t get the chance to (maybe I will, gives me a reason to downlo- I mean rent them…). Sab lost his job early last year and we were too strapped for cash to get out to the theaters and too busy and/or exhausted to haul ourselves over to the local $5 Wednesdays. For as many as I saw there was probably an equal number that had to be skipped. Going back to the ones I saw, I saw a lot of movies this year that were a) not awe-inspiringly good (Paper Towns, I expected more from you) or b) over discussed already so I don’t feel the need to talk about them. We can all agree that Age of Ultron was good and had awkwardly sculpted robot ass but I prefer Quicksilver from Days of Future Past so it can be skipped in this list. Feel free to fight me about this if you feel so inclined. So on that note, let’s get to the list!
This was definitely an I-know-little-about-this-movie-but-its-Disney-so-I’m-going-to-trust-it pick. The viewing of this was particularly memorable because after spending all day at the Renaissance Faire, Sab and I stopped at a mall on the way back into town that we’d never been to before so we could catch the last matinee showing of the day (it would have been too late by the time we got to our usual theater). We had to walk halfway across the mall in our garb (I had left my pirate hat in the car but Sab was wearing a kilt so I can’t say we avoided notice) to get there and the looks we got were almost as fun as the movie itself.
I am a sucker for optimistic “We can change the world!!” stories so this one was right up my alley. It had a great cast of characters, fun time shenanigans, and cool tech. The plot gets a little muddy in points because I think they start trying to push their message a little more than the story but it recovers.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
If movies are based on books, I usually like to have read the book first but I didn’t get the chance with this one. That aside, it’s a story somewhat in the vein of The Fault In Our Stars, just replace the romance with friendship. I loved that! I have a problem with the fact that friendship gets downgraded as a lesser relationship in so many stories. This movie shows the good and the bad and doesn’t hold back any emotional punches (sometimes literally). And trust me, it’s not going to end the way you expect. Or maybe it will. Or maybe it won’t.
You would be kidding yourself if you thought for one millisecond that this wouldn’t be on my list. I saw the first Jurassic Park movie with my mom when I was 12 and I loved it immediately. I got so into dinosaurs at this point in my life I started writing essays on them for fun. I repeat, for fun. Couple that with the fact that my sister could do the most scarily accurate Velociraptor impression ever (it has literally been known to make small children cry) and obviously this is a movie that stuck with me. Why yes, I did go see it on its 3D release. I believe afterward I cried because I was so happy.
So that’s all to say, when I heard about Jurassic World I just about peed myself daily in excitement until the movie came out. And in my opinion, it did not disappoint. I loved all the nods and references to the original movies. The dinosaurs were crazy cool and Chris Pratt was crazy hot. However, I will fight to the death that Claire was the most badass character of all (those HEELS!!?!). Some parts I could have done without (*cough* let the obnoxious children die *cough*) and some were oddly confusing (we all know which one had the most brutal death but… why?) but all in all, I absolutely loved it and 12-year-old Meg was not disappointed.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Up until late last year, I was totally unimpressed with Star Wars. I saw 1-3 in theaters (I think I was around 10 when the first one came out) and then saw 4-6 in middle school. Yawn. So not interested. The only thing I really remembered was liking JarJar and pod races and thinking all the rest of it was pretty boring. When The Force Awakens was announced and all my friends started to lose their minds with excitement I was hanging out in the background with my tribbles shirt and Vulcan ears not too impressed. Finally, I was convinced that I should give the series another chance. Sab did a google and decided our viewing order would be 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 6. And I was pleasantly surprised. This time around it was much more enjoyable. Much to the chagrin of most of my friends I was still into JarJar (that’s Sith Lord JarJar to you) but finally excited about The Force Awakens.
Not much to comment on this one, if you haven’t seen it yet you probably don’t care. I loved the new characters and the vibrancy of the new world. As a huge fan of strong lady characters, I immediately fell in love with Rei. BB-8 is too adorable, enough said. Finn has a great background story that the actor plays off really well and his bromance with Poe is the greatest. I had a lot of questions about details that seemed confusing or contradictory but I feel like they’re intending to leave us a bit in the dark so I will hold my criticisms for reveals in the next two movies.
The Hateful Eight
Can’t say no to Tarantino! Man, there’s a guy who really knows how to tell a story. I almost missed seeing this one but luckily my sister is an angel (when not making Velociraptor sounds) and took me and Sab. It is everything I love about Tarantino’s work, the dialogue, the storytelling, the unique settings, and, you can’t miss it, the violence. The relationships between the characters are fascinating to watch and the acting is superb. If you’ve always secretly wanted to hear Samuel L. Jackson use the words “big black dingus” you will not be disappointed! I don’t want to give too much away because really the journey is really spectacular. Go watch it!
Bonus – Song of the Sea
This is a bonus because I have no idea how it wasn’t on my 2014 list. My guess is that maybe, since it’s an international release, I maybe saw it in January 2015 instead of when it actually came out? Who knows. Either way, this one is a true gem. If you haven’t seen The Secret of Kells I would also recommend that since it’s done by the same people. But Song of the Sea I like a little better. Fae and selkies and an adorable girl named Sorcha (why yes, that is a name I have been known to go by!) and a beautifully animated adventure? It’s like they made this movie just for me! It’s almost painfully adorable and the story will take you to all kinds of unexpected places. This is one of those rare movies that I need to buy.