Crystal’s Best of 2016: The Movies

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I think we all can agree that 2016 was a rough one and 2017 hasn’t exactly been a picnic either. Movies continue to be my saving grace during these uncertain times but finding the energy and brainpower to write about them is often times an impossible task. I’ve also struggled to maintain an online presence as social media has evolved from a fun place to take your mind off your problems to a 24/7 modern day town crier of doom. Tumblr is all “everything you love is actually offensive and here’s why you’re a bad person for even liking it in the first place” all the time and I deleted Twitter off my phone in the days following the election and I’m still attempting to find my voice in that site’s new normal.

My annual Top 25 list was fairly locked back in January; I even boasted on Twitter that for the first time in years -maybe ever- I was so in love with my choices that I didn’t feel the need to wait and see what awards season told me were the Important Films to watch. I knew what I liked and I was excited about it; I even made some decent headway on writing about my selections. But as the weeks went on and the world continued to self-destruct, I started feeling more and more foolish for caring about finishing such an inconsequential project and I felt even sillier for asking anyone else to care about something so trivial and self-serving. So I stopped writing. And now here we are, almost at the end of another year.

The world hasn’t improved at all but I guess my morale has because I basically woke up one day and just started writing. Not just my regular film diary (because that had sadly fallen by the wayside as well) but this particular post. I’ve definitely written more in the past weeks than I have in all of 2016 & 2017 combined. I’m not planning on asking anyone to read this (not only does it still feel unimportant and embarrassing but now it’s completely irrelevant) but I wanted to finish this for myself. (Which sounds empowering and special but it’s honestly more like my brain will NOT be able to get over leaving this as a draft.) Some of the rankings have shuffled a bit as I’ve started editing and reevaluating some things (nothing major, I’m talking arbitrary lower rankings) but for the most part, this is basically the same list I would’ve posted at the beginning of the year.

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Crystal’s Best of 2015: The Movies

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I actually completed this year’s Top 25 by mid-January but then I was so hyped about movies that I couldn’t stop watching them long enough to actually write this post. (The struggle is real.) As usual, I didn’t make my goal of publishing this before Oscar season ended and this is all woefully irrelevant now but I’m continuing on. You can call me tardy but never a quitter.

According to my adorably painstaking Letterboxd score-keeping, I went to the theatre 45 times to see 39 different films. Of those 39 films, 29 were new releases; other trips included 5 holdovers from 2014 (Into the Woods, Top Five, Inherent Vice, Selma and American Sniper), special anniversary screenings of Home Alone and the three Back To The Future films and a test screening of the 2016 unintentional comedy masterpiece The 5th Wave. The rest of my trips were encores of Avengers: Age of Ultron (my first IMAX 3D splurge!), Mad Max: Fury Road (two encores, technically), Magic Mike XXL, The Night Before (I saw a test screening and went again when it was released) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Through the magic of modern viewing habits, I obviously saw way more than 29 films from 2015 (a Top 25 would be ridiculous in that case); listed below are my favorites of the year along with a few other categories, just for fun. Spoiler-free unless otherwise marked, because what am I, a monster?

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Crystal’s Best of 2014: The Movies

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Oh the films of 2014, it’s safe to say that we got along quite well. I made 56 trips to 10 different movie theatres to see 47 different films: 41 new releases, 5 hold-outs from 2013 (Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Her, the R-rated super-cut re-release of Anchorman 2 and Frozen) and a 10th anniversary screening of Saw. The rest of my 56 trips were comprised of one encore each of The Fault In Our Stars and 22 Jump Street, 2 return visits to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and an admittedly ridiculous 5 repeat viewings of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thanks to the modern marvels of VOD, the ever-shrinking theatrical window and the fact that it’s March (ha), I ended up seeing 70 total releases from 2014. I was feeling extra opinionated this year, so alongside my Top 25 is some new categories. (Presented with jump links because we fancy now that we moved to WordPress!) (And all spoiler-free because I’m nice like that!)

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Crystal’s Top 25 Movies of 2013

I love movies. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to sit down and write about them but I love them! In 2013, I made 57 trips to 9 different theatres to see 50 different features: 47 different new releases, 3 return trips to This Is The End, 1 encore each for Spring Breakers, The Conjuring, The World’s End and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, crazy-fun screenings of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz as part of a “Cornetto Trilogy Marathon” and a special one night only 3D screening of The Time of The Doctor, the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. Quite a year. Read on for a spoiler-free round-up of the films that resonated with me the most.

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Crystal’s Top 25 Movies of 2011

I accidentally never got around to writing my “Best of 2010” last year (I finally posted a commentary-free version today, just to finally have it out of my hair.) which is a shame because I was much more enthusiastic about that year in film than I was about 2011. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the films in 2011. I did! There were plenty of fine films. And that’s kind of the problem. Most of them were perfectly fine. Some of them were pretty bad. (Looking at you, Sucker Punch.) But for the most part, there was no Scott Pilgrims, Black Swans or Social Networks. Oh, don’t get me wrong: there were a handful of 2011 releases that truly floored me. (One in particular that I found so spectacular, I paid to see it twice IN A ROW.) But for the majority of the year, when I walked out of the theatre, I was more interested in talking about my dinner plans than I was about discussing the film I just spent $12 on.

It’s not that I expect every film I see to blow me away, I just would like to walk out of a movie and have something to say about it. And sadly, in 2011 that was rarely the case. In fact, until the last few weeks of the year, I was having trouble coming up with a Top 10, let alone a Top 25. Then I saw a couple of movies (no list spoilers, I’ll discuss this further below) that reminded me why I love going to the movies, why I love sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers and experiencing a film on a big screen for the first time. So I went back, rewatched (with a new attitude) some 2011 films I had previously been lukewarm on and composed this list. Some of them I loved, some of them I just liked. But of the 69 different 2011 releases I saw, of the 57 trips to the movies I made (51 different movies: 41 new releases, 2 repeat viewings of Drive, 1 encore each of Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris, X-Men First Class and Horrible Bosses, the 10 films screened at AMC’s Best Picture Showcase, special event screenings of Sixteen Candles and Taxi Driver and of course, the American debut of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair at the New Beverly), these are the ones that stuck with me. Are they the best 25 movies in all of 2011? Heck if I know. But they are the 25 films in 2011 that I talked about when I left the theatre, films that made me feel something, movies that reminded me why I love movies.

Oh and fear not, this post is SPOILER-FREE. Unless you consider basic, broad plot details spoilers in which case, I think you’re being a bit silly. But hey, it’s your life.
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In Which Crystal’s July 18th Movie Reviews Happen in October

Back in the old days of my Xanga blog, July 18th was the arbitrarily chosen official date for my to post my unofficial reviews of the year’s movies I’d seen so far. I’d been hoping to carry on that tradition on this new blog, but various factors beyond my control (illness, family vacation, inconsiderate landlords who give you less than 24 hours notice when he’ll be doing repairs that require you to leave your home for days, etc) derailed that plan unexpectedly this year.

HOWEVER, the majority of this post was written pre-July 18th and I don’t like change, so for all intents and purposes, we’ll consider the July 18th tradition alive and well. (So obviously all of the following stats & reviews are only up until July 18th. Because otherwise the majority of this would be discussing Scott Pilgrim and honey, that would make this a much longer and much more hysterical post.)
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Crystal’s Top 25 Movies of 2009

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For time and sanity’s sake, I tried to restrain myself for these reviews and mostly kept it to a sentence or two. I’m sure you’re disappointed.

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