Lockdown A-Z challenge part 1

Ah, lockdown! The biggest thing to have shaken up all our lives pretty much ever. Hope you’re all coping. I’m a huge introvert, so it’s not been too bad. But, like most, I’m looking for ways to keep myself entertained. A challenge, you say? What kind of a challenge? Why, a movie-viewing challenge!

Early on, I realised I’d managed to watch a movie a day for over a week and so decided to make (a) the decisions ‘easier’ and (b) sticking to it harder 😉 I’ve managed to get halfway through the alphabet, one movie per letter, and thought I’d give the update in an attempt to spur me to pick it all back up again.

My choices have been… eclectic? It started as an excuse to rewatch DVDs or finally get to those titles I’ve been meaning to get to for ages. And then I hit ‘problem’ letters and it gets a bit more random… fun, eh?!

With no further ado, then:

A – Alien (Director’s Cut) (1979)alien poster

It’s been ages since I last saw this, and I’d never seen the Director’s Cut, so here we are – might as well kick off the challenge with a classic! It still works: the performances are great and the atmosphere is amazing. I can see why there have been so many sequels, attempting to capture more… sadly, not too successfully as time went on, imo.

B – Bumblebee (2018)

bumblebee posterTo be honest, I don’t think I was wholly in the mood for a movie – it might have only been day 2 of the challenge, but my 9th or 10th movie on the trot. So, following the intensity of Alien, I decided to go lighthearted – and get this off my tivo, at any rate. To be fair, it wasn’t as awful as I’d half expected and about a million times better than  Transformers: Last Knight. Damned with faint praise, eh? It was only the following day I realised I could have rewatched Batman Begins, sigh.

C – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)crouching tiger movie poster

First of the DVDs I’d been meaning to rewatch for ages (in no small part to enable me to write up my review of the score, tbh!). I remembered so little of this movie! It’s gorgeous, and haunting, and so much more than just the fight scene in the bamboo that’s the only thing most people can recall. And my appreciation for the music increased, so success!

death of stalin movie posterD – Death of Stalin (2017)

This was about to leave Netflix and I’d meant to get around to watching it, so – timely! Armando Iannucci brings his darkly ridiculous sense of humour to the harsh times of Stalin’s dictatorship, and more to the point the chaos following his death. It’s almost inappropriately funny, but as with JoJo RabbitI approve of making figures of fun out of history’s most evil.

E – Equilibrium (2002)equilibrium poster

Another DVD rewatch. I occasionally hear people saying something dismissive about this, usually calling it a sub-class Matrix. I vaguely recollected enjoying it, though, so time to see if that was the case. Spoiler: it was. I don’t think the Matrix comparison is remotely fair, this stands on its own merit, albeit without the same kind of impact. I think of it as a sort of more sci-fi Fahrenheit 451.

fargo posterF – Fargo (1996)

Would you believe I’d never seen this? I knew all the ‘memes’ (predates that, doesn’t it?!), with heavily pregnant chief of police, Marge Gunderson, and those laid-back Minnesotan “Oh, yaa”s 🙂 It’s the blackest of comedies, with a man arranging his wife’s kidnapping to try to extort money from his rich father-in-law. So many now-famous faces, too. Glad I finally saw it!

G – Galaxy Quest (1999)galaxy quest poster

I’d meant to rewatch this last year for the 20th anniversary (!), but better late than never! It is just so much fun. As an aside, usually I’m very against the idea of remaking ‘classics’, but I do wonder (a) if this would benefit from a version without Tim Allen, and (b) if Sigourney Weaver is still available? Wouldn’t be the same without Alan Rickman, though, sigh.

hunt for the wilderpeople posterH – Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

My actual plan was to finally see Hateful 8 but apparently it left Netflix a few months ago… oops 😉 I’d been looking forward to this after Taika Waititi’s humour impressed me in Thor Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit, and I know some people rave about this one. I… thought it was okay. Quite gentle humour, quite nice, but didn’t blow me away. Great performances, though.

I – Independence Day Resurgence (2016)independence day resurgence poster

First real problem letter. Oh, there are loads of very good ‘I’ movies: Interstellar, Inception, Iron Man, Indiana Jones – all of which I’ve seen relatively recently. Oh well – here’s another chance to clear some Tivo space, as I’d recorded this for some unknown reason. It was … well, it was on in the background, mainly. It wasn’t awful, it probably wasn’t that much worse than the original, but meh.

josie and the pussycats posterJ – Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

I saw this years back and rather loved it: it’s daft, it’s got those knowing nods, and oh it is so poppy and fun. A full 15 years or so before Riverdale gave me any real context, I first met Josie and the Pussycats and had several songs wedged happily into my brain. Add in scenery-chewing performances by Alan Cumming and Posie Parker, and quite frankly I still love this. Was just the dose of happy I wanted 🙂

K – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)kiss kiss bang bang poster

Another DVD rewatch, and another movie I just think is perfect fun. I believe Robert Downey Jr got the Iron Man gig off the back of this performance, and it’s the last time I remember the once-wonderful Val Kilmer having so much fun with a role. Had it in my head that this might be my (other) favourite Christmas movie, and this viewing didn’t prove me wrong.

lost boys posterL – Lost Boys (1987)

Ended up a bit stuck with L, oddly enough – wasn’t in the mood for anything too heavy. Thank my trigger-happy Tivo record finger, as found this in the stacks. Time for a hefty dose of nostalgia! What a fab soundtrack. What awful hair and fashion! Possibly still one of my favourite vampire movies, despite (because of?) the hefty dose of cheese (wait, no – it’s grated garlic, argh! ;))

M – Moon (2009)moon poster

I think when I set up this challenge for myself this was one of the movies I was making an excuse to rewatch. Sam Rockwell is brilliant. The set up is so simple; I love this ‘low budget’ sci-fi stuff. And oh, kind of appropriate for the times, given he’s going a little stir crazy after 3 years in isolation?! It didn’t have quite the impact as first viewing, but it’s still creepily atmospheric.

So… 13 down, 13 to go – what will tonight’s movie be as I (finally!) continue? And I already have second (third and fourth) choices for most letters, should I choose to do it all over! Care to join me? What would you watch in an A-Z movie challenge?!

(part 2 can be found here)

7 thoughts on “Lockdown A-Z challenge part 1

  1. Seen 8 of your 13. I’ve been doing a slightly different lockdown film challenge (can’t remember if you were there when we were talking about this on Discord), working my way through the Guardian’s ’50 films of the year’ lists for the last 5 years as a way of watching stuff that I’d never otherwise notice.

    By coincidence the last two I watched were ‘A Bigger Splash’ and ‘Beasts of No Nation’ so I guess I could switch challenge if i wanted…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I reckon 2 of the films you wouldn’t recommend might be ones I’ve seen. Somewhat against the run of things, I have seen Bumblebee and it was both better than I thought it might be, while still not really actually being particularly good. I sort of enjoyed the 80s nostalgia, but couldn’t help thinking it must be lost on the target audience. Or is our childhood quaintly retro now?

        And I’ve just had a look to see if any of the films in the Guardian lists are on Amazon Prime or Netflix and, sure enough, ‘Couple in a Hole’ – the Guardian’s 46th best film of 2016, described as an “oddball fable about a husband and wife living a primitive, off-the-grid life in an isolated French cave” is on Prime. So that’s tonight’s viewing sorted out…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 80s is full retro now – see Stranger Things. I actually wasn’t impressed with the attempt in Bumblebee, it didn’t feel authentic or strongly enough used.

          You do watch a better quality of movie than I have tastes for 😉

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