Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Celluloid Ramblings: Moments Out of Time

by JB
This was a fascinating year for movies. What follows are some of my favorite screenings, scenes, shots, and moments of 2019.

1. A young boy is tricked into kissing a mule’s ass, and the audience gets a taste of what they can expect for the next 89 minutes—Holmes and Watson.

2. Questioning every life decision that led me to attend a screening of Aquaman.

3. Going to see Mary, Queen of Scots in January and by June, not remembering anything about the film… or the act of seeing it at all.

4. Watching a former student show up in a supporting role in Glass.

5. Proclaiming Serenity the worst movie of the last five years, then waiting for the inevitable backlash and for people to actually champion the film.

6. Feeling so happy that Vincent D’Onofrio’s directorial debut, The Kid, made it out to the suburbs. And it’s a western!

7. Feeling so happy that Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase received a theatrical release. This is the kind of film young people should be seeing.

8. Finally getting to see Edison’s Frankenstein and Phantom of the Paradise in an honest-to-goodness movie theater, courtesy of the Davis Theater’s Sci-Fi Spectacular!
9. Lupita Nyong’o’s trick voice in US.

10. Misinterpreting the ending of Pet Semetary, then having my wife explain it to me.

11. Seeing Bridge on the River Kwai at the New Beverly Cinema with my son.

12. The shot during the final battle of Avengers: Endgame where, both in the sky and on the land, there are superheroes as far as the eye can see.

13. Finally getting to see the Judy Garland A Star is Born in an honest-to-goodness movie theater, courtesy of Marcus Theaters’ Classic Matinees.

14. John Wick and a bad guy fight with knives—John Wick 3: Parabellum.

15. Giving me hope for the future of movie comedy-- Long Shot and Booksmart.
16. Dressing like the Pope of Film and meeting some super-fans at our live 500th podcast recording, following a screening of Back To The Future in an honest-to-goodness movie theater.

17. Befitting its zombie theme, after seeing The Dead Don’t Die, I was a little less alive.

18. Shakespeare plants a garden, All Is True.

19. Young Elton John jumps out the window while singing “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”—Rocket Man.

20. The community celebrates the elderly—Midsommar.
21. Seeing six Buster Keaton features in an honest-to-goodness movie theater during the Music Box’s Keaton Festival in June.

22. Witnessing the enormous new screen at the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, Illinois with a screening of, appropriately enough, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.

23. Feeling guilty because I thought the utter mean-spiritedness of Stuber was actually kind of funny.

24. Jack Malick visits John Lennon—Yesterday.

25. Enjoying the hell out of Crawl, which was what every low budget horror film should aspire to be.
26. Seeing Once Upon a Time in Hollywood seven times: (here’s where I channel “Marvin Schwarzzz” lovingly telling Leonardo DiCaprio the various gauges in which he saw his films): twice in IMAX, once on 70mm, three times digitally, and once on 4K Blu-ray disc. This is a fun film to just hang out in.

27. Wondering why Ready or Not didn’t clean up at the box office and thinking maybe it should have been released closer to Halloween.

28. Noticing at a reparatory screening of the latest restoration of The Wizard of Oz that the string making the Cowardly Lion’s tail wag, which was very noticeable during 35mm screenings in the seventies and eighties, had been digitally erased!

29. Nai Nai tearfully waves goodbye to the taxi—The Farewell.

30. Seeing Woodstock in an honest-to-goodness theater on the 50th anniversary of the original concert.

31. Seeing Blinded By The Light and thinking I liked it better the first time I saw it… when it was called Bend It Like Beckham.

32. Finding that Zombieland: Double Tap went down like a bad cheeseburger.

33. Sam Craft tries to take up a collection to pay for her tip—Satanic Panic.
34. Jojo and Elsa dance—JoJo Rabbit.

35. Revisiting the Overlook Hotel—Doctor Sleep.

36. Attending a screening of April Wright’s terrific documentary Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace, which was partially filmed at the Music Box Theater, at the Music Box Theater. Very meta…

37. Finding out what’s in the basement—Parasite.

38. Pesci and De Niro share bread and wine—The Irishman.

39. The Ford Motor Company manages to screw Shelby and Miles one last time—Ford v Ferrari.

40. The heirs’ reaction to the reading of the will—Knives Out.

41. Frederick plays the piano—Little Women.
42. The long, long close-up of Fred Rogers during which his gaze slowly shifts from the character in the scene to us in the audience—It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

43. Counting myself lucky to have enjoyed so many classics on the big screen this year: Casablanca, Alien, Gone With The Wind, Village of the Damned, The Omega Man, Time After Time, Mars Attacks, Life of Brian, Batman Returns, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Superman, Godzilla’s Revenge, Back to the Future, A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Apocalypse Now, Kiss Me Deadly, Pulp Fiction, House on Haunted Hill, and Night of the Living Dead.

What were your favorite movie moments of 2019? Share them in the comments section below.


  1. -Seeing JoJo Rabbit twice in one day, unplanned, because I adored it so much on the first viewing I wanted to revel in the audience laughter again.

    -3 From Hell n Fathom being a successful event for fans. Movie was fine, but seeing it that way made it much better.

    -Having to see Us again the next day because several parts of it on opening night you couldn't hear because of people yelling screaming and talking about what was happening. Aint mad.

  2. So, Holmes And Watson is not the worst movie of the last five years? Serenity is worst?

  3. It’s rotten apples and tainted oranges...

    1. Hehehe, i get it

      Serenity is very bad, but it's so weird that i was hypnotised by it. Much like when i caught Teletubbies on tv, i just had to look

      H&W, i just felt dirty and dumber afterward

  4. Another quote for the Holmes and Watson poster: “You’ll feel dirty and dumber afterward!”

  5. Having just watched Ford v Ferrari last night, number 39 really resonates with me!

    How good was Tracy Letts in that movie?!

  6. Just as good as he is in Little Women!

  7. My favorite movie moments from 2019:

    - Seeing In Fabric with director Peter Strickland in attendance, and almost the entire audience insisting during the Q&A afterwards that the movie was somehow a metaphor for post-Brexit Britain.

    -Seeing The Beach Bum with a bunch of drunk college kids, which at first was incredibly annoying but it ended up being a very fun crowd, once they realized that the movie was funny enough on its own and they didn't need to yell stuff the entire time.

    - Discovering Dog Day Afternoon, which is now a top 3 movie of all time, and seeing it twice, once at home and once in a theater.

    - Walking out of a rep screening of The Funeral, seeing Abel Ferrara standing 4 feet away from me, but being too shy to tell him how much I loved his movie I just saw.

    - Going to a screening of Vampyr (1932) that didn't have any subtitles, and being completely mesmerized by it while not always understanding what was happening.

    - The awkward laughter at the end of The Lighthouse, because no one knew how to react to all of THAT.

    - Basically having a chance to see some of my all time favorite movies on the big screen, like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Chungking Express, Sunset Boulevard, After Hours, Lost Highway and many more.

  8. - Another wonderful season at the Mahoning Drive-In. The movie highlight of my year was the opportunity to watch a pristine print of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls on the drive-in's big screen. My inaugural viewing of Phantom of the Paradise also took place there this fall. Thank you Matt, Jeff, Virgil, Harry, Andrew and company.

    - Having a great Junesploitation. There were plenty of satisfying first-time watches this year. I am already planning for next year.

    - Turner Classic Movies continuing to introduce me to new films and more entries from the filmographies of my favorite movie people. This month's focus on Joan Blondell is just one example. Even after over a decade of movies, TCM Underground is still surprising me with cinematic weirdness.