What Have I Seen?!? (April 2013)

Movies watched in April 2013

In order of most favorite to unwatchable. My ranking system is primarily based on how much I enjoyed the movie–i.e. would I watch it again, and recommend it to others. An asterix indicates whether I have seen the movie before.

The Avengers* – Easily the best super hero movie ever. Joss Whedon’s humorous touches propel this movie. The effects are excellent and don’t interfere with the action, and Scarlet Johansson is quite watchable as the Black Widow.

Live Free or Die Hard* – Living in the DC area is always fun when you see movies like this one. John McClane is impossible to turn off, and I often find myself sucked into the Die Hard universe–which is awesome. F-35 jet vs. semi. ’nuff said.

Django Unchained – It’s hard for me to admit, but I didn’t like this movie as much as I thought I would. A Tarantino Western is squarely in my wheel house, but this one almost seemed like someone else was trying to make a Tarantino western. I can’t put my finger on it, but something just seemed lacking or forced. I really wanted to love this movie, but maybe that love will come about after a second viewing. Not sure about Jonah Hill in the Tarantino universe, but Don Johnson was a welcome addition.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine* – I know the fanboys hated this movie but I just can’t bring myself to dislike a comic book movie (unless it’s Ghost Rider… or the Green Hornet). I liked seeing Wolverine as Logan in his life outside of Xavier University. The action is fast paced and exciting, and the boss fight with Deadpool at the end is pretty awesome. I can’t wait to see the new Wolverine movie coming to theaters this summer.

X-Men: the Last Stand* – This is clearly not the best X-Men movie, but it’s still fun to watch–except for that whole Professor X getting dissolved scene. Jean Grey as the Dark Phoenix is awesome, and I wish they played her up even more. There has to be an easier way to get to Stryker Island than moving the entire Golden Gate bridge, but hey, it’s a comic book movie–you gotta go big! Kelsey Grammar as the Beast is an inspired bit of casting. I could do without Halle Barry though, and for that matter Storm can go no matter who portrays her. The Juggernaut was fun to see on the big screen.

Unstoppable – Zero plot, zero character development, but Denzel still manages to be good. This movie actually had some good suspense.

Alien Resurrection* – Great effects in this one, but I never cared for the cute baby alien and the ending always seemed rushed. Still, it’s a fun movie.

Green Hornet – Not sure I’ll be able to forgive Seth Rogen for this one. What a waste of a potentially great super hero franchise. I don’t think the decisions made regarding the direction of this movie could have been worse. Ugh.

Resident Evil ? – I honestly don’t remember which movie I watched from this series, but I’m pretty sure it was the second or third one. Needing a zombie fix after the Walking Dead went on hiatus, I sought out a Resident Evil movie for the first time. Wow, not very good, but I could watch Milla Jovovich all day long.

TV too…

Game of Thrones – Yawn so far this season. There are way too many plots going on in each episode. This series would be much better on DVD, where you could watch many episodes in a row–not much happens each week. I read the books, which is the only reason I can keep up with all the different storylines.

Homeland – Season 1 — Wow. This show is like a cross between the Manchurian Candidate, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and 24, and I was riveted the whole time. I binge watched the entire season because I had to watch “just one more” episode. Living in the area that it takes place gave it an eerie edge–those houses look like the neighborhood down the street. Is the CIA really using the foreclosed homes in this area for interrogations??? Can’t wait for season two to come out on DVD.

The Americans – I almost bailed on this show early on, but I’m glad I didn’t. This is one of the more engaging shows on TV right now, but it has a tough road ahead. This show has a “squirm-effect” that keeps me slightly unsettled each week in various ways. It’s going to be tough to keep the suspense going, but I’m going to keep watching, just to see what happens with “Clark” and his new bride, if nothing else.

National Geographic’s “The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us” – This nostalgic look back on the 80′s had me longing for Valley Girls and the Material World. The series touched on all the big topics, and I was especially enlightened by the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt and the story behind New Coke. A great series to catch if you’re a child of the 80′s.

Defiance – I’m having a tough time making this “must see’ television. The effects, both old-school and CGI, are fun to watch, but the characters and storylines haven’t sucked me in yet. Not sure if I’ll be sticking with it.


  1. says

    Totally agree about game of thrones. I “binge” watched season 2 and I think it made it better being able to go right to the next episode. The plots are developing slowly but I’m still pretty hooked on that show. Have you seen any of the “Spartacus” seasons from Starz?

    • says

      I did see the first season of Spartacus and loved it! Haven’t checked out any of the other seasons though. I felt awful about the lead actor’s real-world death and wasn’t too interested in pursuing it, but I’ll catch up with it one of these days.

    • says

      That whole fustercluck was amazing to watch. I remember the New Coke debacle when it happened, but I was too young to be aware of what was going on with it at the corporate level. The show was pretty enlightening in that regard.

  2. says

    I would have put Django over Live Free or Die Hard in the list and would have swapped your descriptions almost verbatim. You thought Djanjo seemed “forced” or “lacking” but Die Hard felt “right” to you?

    Agree to disagree. For me, Die Hard 4 had potential that was squandered by Willis who seemed to not even want to be there and action that was cartoonish to the point of ridiculousness. Die Hard 4 to me, wasn’t a Die Hard movie. I haven’t even watched the newest one with his “son”.

    We too watched the Americans and really liked it. However, we stopped watching early for precisely the reason you mention, the “squirm factor”. It became too hard to watch.

    I really need to watch Homeland. Brian, do you recommend I watch Homeland over Game of Thrones? I’ve never read the books and really have no desire to but the TV show looks good. Your thoughts?

    We just watched the 80s Nat Geo documentaries as well. Loved them.


    • says

      The way I order these lists is based on “rewatchability” — I can rewatch a Die Hard movie any day of the week, and yes they get sillier with each installment. Rewatching a Tarantino movie requires a bit more effort. If I stumble across Django on TV, I may or may not stick around, because I need to be in the right frame of mind. Nope, not scientific, but it’s my list! ;)

      I thoroughly enjoyed Homeland but comparing it to Game of Thrones isn’t easy because they are totally different in every way. I think you would enjoy both for different reasons. GoT is a loooong epic that really should be watched in batches, in my opinion. Homeland is gripping and keeps you guessing–stay off the internet before watching this one! Homeland is like watching 24 without all the high tech gizmos and brutality — it’s just really good storytelling.

      Pax, the Homeland Season 1 DVDs aren’t cheap ~$40 but I’ll loan you mine or trade for something easily awesome if you’re interested.

  3. says

    Can’t watch Thrones after seeing things like Spartacus which just rushes the action and violence. I enjoyed that show and Vikings very much. I had to save up Walking Dead until the season was over. I can’t watch enough Tuna Fishing shows. Iron Man 3 was pretty terrific.

    • says

      You’ll love it. It really is a good flick, so don’t let my review dampen your mood. I went in with REALLY high expectations, and set myself up for disappointment, but I’m sure it will get better with future viewings.

  4. says

    I really like the first 2 Resident Evil flicks. I know I tried watching another one where they’re in the remains of Vegas but it wasn’t as good.

    I still can’t keep up with everyone in GoT but I keep watching anyway. It’s not so much the storylines but who everyone is and how they relate to each other. Plus, boobs, so there’s that.

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