Category Archives: Movies

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: The Best Movies of 2023

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Once again, SportsAlcohol.com has assembled a crew of movie experts/fans/nerds to talk about the best movies of the year, for our Best Movies of 2023 podcast episode. Nathaniel, Jeremy, Sara, Jesse, Marisa, Becca, and Ben all submitted lists of their best movies of 2023, which were then aggregated into a master list for a lengthy discussion. Indies, blockbusters, auteurs, Godzillas; it’s all here in our Best Movies of 2023 extravaganza! Listen, download, whatever you want, using the player below. And scroll past if you want to go directly to our list and a little bit of contextual discussion outside of our audio joshing.

Continue reading The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: The Best Movies of 2023

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Godzilla Minus One

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Godzilla: He’s the King of the Monsters, and also, right now, the King of All Media. As Godzilla Minus One sets unexpected box office records in the U.S., Monarch: Legacy of Monsters finishes up its first season on Apple TV, and Godzilla fights the damn Justice League in a current comics series, AND with Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire coming out in just a few short months, Jesse and lifelong Godzilla fan/expert Nathaniel sat down to talk about the new movie and the general state of the Godzilla Union. This deep dive is a must for newfound fans of Godzilla Minus One, which may turn up again on our upcoming list of the best movies of 2023… in the meantime, get to stomping!

The Worst Movies of 2023

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

The worst movie I saw in 2023 was at a film festival; it was an indie production that has yet to be released and, perhaps sparing the filmmakers’ dignity, will remain in this liminal state indefinitely. This is a perfect encapsulation of why many people understandably dislike worst-of-the-year lists. To take a shot at some big hit or critical favorite or Oscar contender when countless genuinely incompetent or horrible productions circulate through the movie world seems disingenuous. And to compose a list of ten such productions seems cruel. Classic lose-lose situation.

At the same time: Sometimes enormous hits are absolutely terrible (particularly when, say, informed by YouTube fandom, rather than any sense of genre, style, or narrative). Sometimes awards contenders go into rigor mortis while you’re watching them. Sometimes other critics inexplicably give a pass to absolute garbage. And sometimes scrappy independent productions are genuinely loathsome. Ah, the dimensions of cinema! Also, watching and writing about movies is how I make (most of) my living – which most of the time constitutes a miraculous stroke of luck on my part. But it can nonetheless involve some measures of frustrations, insecurity, and uncertainty. Those things aren’t the fault of the worst ten movies I see in any given year – but the worst movies of the year can do their part to exacerbate those conditions, however briefly or superficially. These are the moments where this job starts to feel really stupid. That, this year, there are only 10 such occasions out of 200-plus movies is a great sign of life at the movies. So if you’ll indulge me a lot of paraphrasing myself, let’s review the worst of this particular year.
Continue reading The Worst Movies of 2023

In ANYONE BUT YOU, Looks Aren’t Everything – But They’re Not Nothing, Either

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Looks aren’t everything, this is true. But in movies, they’re not nothing, either, no matter how hard filmmakers may try to politely demur. In the new romantic comedy Anyone But You, writer-director Will Gluck makes an effort, as he probably must, to downplay the superhuman attractiveness of his stars, Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney. Ben (Powell) may have “like a ten-pack,” as Bea (Sweeney) quips at one point, but his beach sit-ups are made to look silly – uptight and overexerted – and when he goes for a swim with Bea, she’s shocked to learn he’s “hot-girl fit,” all tone and no stamina for cardio. (This doesn’t really comport with what we see anywhere else in the movie, but good effort!) As for Bea herself, the movie can’t find much fault with her own eye-popping body, so Sweeney’s whole deal gets scrutinized; at one point another character describes her as a sad-eyed girl who looks like she’s hiding a secret.

Yet despite this false modesty designed, in concert with various slapstick escapades, to keep audiences from outright resenting its characters, Anyone But You is very much about its looks – in ways that even the most unabashed romantic comedies tend to shyly avoid. Gluck’s sorta-update of Much Ado About Nothing isn’t especially raunchy; it’s rated R, but not really in the Apatow-era mode of all-talk raunch-coms situated squarely from a boy’s point of view. This is a rom-com that embraces plenty of tropes – tries to pass them off as cutely Shakespearean, even – while at the same time rejecting the tacit prudishness of the genre revival we were supposedly getting via streaming services – a cornerstone of which, the mild Set It Off, starred Powell in bland-bro mode. He’s playing a similar type here, and maybe I felt more affection toward him after watching such a sly acknowledgement of his ramrod dorkiness in Hit Man, a weirder and trickier Richard Linklater version of the rom-com. Maybe, though, I was just appreciating how he and Sweeney both play familiar characters who are simultaneously types who seemed to have been banished from the genre: Hot people who take their clothes off.

It would be easy to oversell this aspect of Anyone But You, because it’s relatively tasteful as T&A&A (imagine one of those is for “abs”; Bea’s right, there are a lot of them, maybe too many to count). Ben and Bea meet cute and wind up spending the night together in about a chaste a way as possible for two people who are obviously dying to jump each other’s bones: They cross paths in a coffee shop, do some walk and talk, hang out at Ben’s apartment, and fall asleep together, clothed, on his couch. Then a series of misunderstandings quickly separates them and leaves each party wounded and angered by the other’s presumed rejection, only to have fate knock them back together when it turns out Bea’s sister Halle (Hadley Robinson) is marrying Ben’s pal Claudia (Alexandra Shipp). Trapped together at a destination wedding in Australia, with Bea’s parents pushing her recent ex on one side and Ben’s own ex looming tantalizingly on the other, the pair agrees to put aside their bickering and pretend to be a couple for mutual advantage. But how long can you fake the blush of new lust before it turns into the real thing?

There’s no suspense, not even rom-com suspense, in the answer, because Bea and Ben’s mutual dislike is so canned. The cuteness of their initial encounter requires genuinely barbed screwball banter to sell the thin line between love and hate, and like last year’s Ticket to Paradise, the movie isn’t up to that task, failing to discern between witty dialogue and bluntly traded insults. (Worse, because these two so obviously like each other from the jump, there’s no comedy-of-remarriage ruefulness to their attacks; they’re both essentially shooting blind, which is realistic but not especially funny.)
Continue reading In ANYONE BUT YOU, Looks Aren’t Everything – But They’re Not Nothing, Either

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Labor Day Special

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Happy Labor day from your pals at SportsAlcohol.com! We got you a podcast episode! Earlier this summer, Ben convened a small panel of labor experts (by which we mean Marisa, Jeremy, and Jesse) to talk about the bumper crop of movies about companies making products. Air, Blackberry, Flamin’ Hot, and Tetris all came out within months of each other — what gives? In this episode, led by a bona fide MBA, we talk about each movie, which ones (if any) appealed to us and why, and the greater meaning of this trend. (We recorded this episode before The Beanie Bubble dropped but you know what? It’s barely worth discussing anyway!) Please, spend your hard-earned Labor Day with us! Download link available on the embedded player below!

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Top Summer Movies of 2003

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Remember 2003? Remember the summer? Remember the summer movies of 2003? Remember Hulkmania? Remember how The Matrix Reloaded was going to blow everyone’s mind? Remember just whatever random cop movies making $125 million? Remember the X-Men starring in what was considered the best superhero movie ever made? Remember going to see 2 Fast 2 Furious by yourself, maybe sneaking in as part of a double feature with maybe Wrong Turn? Remember the Pirates defeating the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Remember going full throttle? Remember that weirdo sitting next to you at Bruce Almighty who was visibly and vocally moved by the film? Remember how Seabiscuit was nominated for Best Picture? Remember Eddie Murphy doing uninspired family comedies that you’d skip and they’d make $100 million anyway? Remember sequels, sequels, sequels? Remember when sequels took over and never relinquished their grip? Remember?!?!?

SportsAlcohol.com remembers. We remember everything! So here, continuing our look at the biggest summer movies of the 2000s, is our look back at summer movies of 2003. Most of us were in our twenties. One of us was younger. Jesse, Marisa, Jeremy, Ben, and Becca assemble to talk about our memories of the summer movies of 2003, our new observations from fresh watches and rewatches,

In case you’re collecting SportsAlcohol.com podcasts about 2000s summer movies, here’s the complete set so far:

2000
2001
2002

And here’s the latest and greatest, including a download link if you need it:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Top Summer Movies of 1993

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Remember 1993? Remember the summer? Remember the summer movies of 1993? Remember dinomania? Remember dad-movie-mania? Remember Nora Ephron movies making $125 million at the box office? Remember 10-to-12-year-old boys starring in movie after movie after movie? Remember legal thrillers? Remember Michael Crichton? Remember riding your bike around by yourself while your mom was out of town and your dad was at work, hitting the curb and going over the handlebars, scraping the hell out of both your knees and walking yourself home in search of first aid? Remember your dad dropping you and your brother off at the mall to see Coneheads and So I Married an Axe Murderer and the first big-budget movie based on a video game? Remember Stallone trying to be normal? Remember renting these movies on VHS around Christmas 1993 or seeing them in second-run all the way in summer 1994? Remember Last Action Hero vs. Jurassic Park? Remember playing the Jurassic Park theme at your piano recital? Remember sequels, but not that many sequels? Remember when sequels were kinda low-rent most of the time? Remember?!?!?!

SportsAlcohol.com remembers. We remember every year! So here, finally completing our long-running series-within-the-series about summer movies of the 1990s, is a look at the summer movies of 1993. Nathaniel, Sara, Jeremy, Ben, Marisa, and Jesse are all here to talk about our hazy memories, our more recent rewatches, and, yes, dino-mania as we lived it.

Here’s the full set:

1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Indiana Jones Through the Years

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Indiana Jones has been a source of cornerstone #content for SportsAlcohol.com ever since we had Nathaniel write extensively about his love for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So, with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in theaters now, supposedly wrapping up Indy’s story for good, Marisa and Jesse and Nathaniel got together for a rare completely in-person recording to talk about what we thought of the new movie, and what we think of all the new movies, too: we talk about our respective favorites of the sequels, our favorite scenes and set pieces, what we look for in these movies, how Harrison Ford might have been our collective first understanding of a grown-up male movie star… plus, Nathaniel knows a lot about The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles! It’s a great listen whether you love all five movies or just really love Raiders of the Lost Ark.

You can download the episode here or listen in the player below:

ASTEROID CITY: Wes Anderson, the Universe, and Everything

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Wes Anderson is known for his precision, to understate matters. So it’s striking when, early in Asteroid City, Augie Steenbeck (Jason Schwartzman) tells his four children that they’re going to stay with their grandfather on their recently deceased mother’s side for “an unspecified period of time that has yet to be determined.” This fumbling redundancy isn’t a one-off verbal joke, either, or confined to just this one character (though he does it again at least once more). Throughout the movie, characters add extra clauses and repetitions onto their sentences (“I wonder if I wish I should’ve”), even more noticeable than Anderson’s favorite go-to words and phrases (a nonchalant “anyway” being perhaps the most frequently used).

This inexactitude, exactingly portrayed, could be chalked up to an affectation of fictional playwright Conrad Earp (Edward Norton), but even this is uncertain: The framing device is not precisely a production of Earp’s play Asteroid City, but a theatrical-style live-television production of a play about Earp writing Asteroid City. So, we see black-and-white TV-square footage of a host (Bryan Cranston) introducing various scenes of Earp and his associates, and then we see most of the action of Earp’s  Asteroid City, portrayed in full widescreen color – and what color! Some of the most vivid pastels and richest yet lightest sky blues I’ve ever seen! – as a feature film unencumbered by the physical limitations of a TV set.

Though of course, all of this was still performed on an actually-elaborate film set meant to create a kind of hyperreal version of the American desert in 1955. Scarlett Johansson’s character is a movie star – which means she is an actress, playing an actress, playing an actress. And on it goes. Is Anderson, following the nested stories of The Grand Budapest Hotel and the magazine construction of The French Dispatch, performing the narrative equivalent of his newly redundant sentences? How many hats can balance on top of how many hats?

Continue reading ASTEROID CITY: Wes Anderson, the Universe, and Everything

PAST LIVES Is Secretly an Internet Movie (and a Great One)

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.
Jesse

Movies have had an uneasy relationship with the internet since at least the days of ubiquitous American Online diskettes. Whenever a movie (especially a clunkily humanist one like noted non-classic Men, Women and Children) expresses any alarm about the pitfalls of digital technology, anyone with online levels of medium or above tends to point and laughs—and not for nothing do so many members of a particular subgenre have the adjective “paranoia” inserted between “internet” and “thriller.” Really, though, who can blame the movies for their paranoia? Anyone who spends a reasonable (read: unreasonable) amount of time online will readily admit what a cesspool it is, then gaslight any movies that agree with them—and that was before the internet enabled a haphazard half-dismantling of the already-fragile big-studio movie pipeline. This makes it all the more impressive that Celine Song’s new movie Past Lives sees the internet, particularly social media, with such clarity, and depicts it with such restraint.

That’s typical of the movie of the movie in general, which is not principally about digital technology, but rather a pair of young friends with middle-school crushes on each other who are separated, then reunited decades later. If the movie is a romance, it’s one of bittersweet small gestures and longing looks—the small spaces in between major life decisions.

Continue reading PAST LIVES Is Secretly an Internet Movie (and a Great One)