Zack’s Movie Reviews: January (Part 1)

So if you don’t know already, I freaking love movies. If I had a free day with nothing to do, no football, no work and Britt is gone for the day, I could watch 6+ movies in a day easily.

I’ve been working on a movie spreadsheet since 2018 where I rate every movie I watch from 1–100, categorize them, put an O/U on their Rotten Tomatoes score, then mark if they hit any of my 5 core emotions (Laughed, Cried, Wow’d, Shocked then Tense/Cringy). In addition to that as of late, I’ve been writing super quick reviews of every movie I watch into my group chat, so I figured I would expand my audience to whoever wants to listen with this article. These are not professionally styled reviews or anything, just some quick notes where it’s more about the score.

Now, these movies are not going to be sorted in a specific order for you. They will be listed in the order of when I watched them this month, and will include spoiler-free reviews. I apologize for so many, but each review is super quick so hopefully it’s an easy scroll. I’ve decided to split this into 2 parts for the month to help. Hopefully these reviews help you find your next movie to watch!
The link to my entire spreadsheet is below as well. Enjoy.

January 2022 (Part 1) Stats:
Total Movies Watched:
28
Average Score:
73.54
Top 3 Movies:

1. The Dark Knight (97/100)
2. tick, tick BOOM! (93/100)
3. Marriage Story (92/100)
Worst 3 Movies:
1. Nothing But Trouble (32/100)
2. Jupiter Ascending (45/100)
3. Boogie (47/100)

PS: I think this is better to view on a computer, but mobile works too!

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
Z’s Score: 81/100 (T-296 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Core Emotions: Laughed, Wow’d (visuals)
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: I was pleasantly surprised with this one, but I can see people disliking it if you’re not into sci-fi. You need to watch the original for a lot of the references though, fyi. I thought it was really funny and just a lot of fun. The kid actors were especially very good in this one.

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Z’s Score: 84/100 (T-209 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Core Emotions: Wow’d (concept), Overly Tense
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: This one has been on my list and I heard I needed to because of Ryan Gostling’s performance. Overall, I’ve never seen a movie try what they did in the style of movie (don’t want to spoil what that style is). I really liked it.

Chronicle (2012)
Z’s Score: 79/100 (T-350 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: Seen it before, but 1st since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: Better than I remember. Cool, teen superhero-type movie with impressive effects with pretty good acting. I could be wrong, but I feel like this put Michael B. Jordan on the map.

Ad Astra (2019)
Z’s Score: 71/100 (T-665 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: 2 times since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: I love a good space movie, but man I still can’t get into this one. Obviously well done and good acting, but it lost my attention both times I’ve watched it.

Let’s Be Cops (2014)
Z’s Score: 70/100 (T-693 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: 3 times since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: Funny rewatchable buddy comedy with Damon Wayans and Jake Johnson, but I wouldn’t call it a good movie lol.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) (1st of series)
Z’s Score: 67/100 (T-760 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: 2 times since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: I love the Wizarding World franchise, and I’ve tried this movie a few times but it’s just okay every time. It’s well done, but never really hits. Hoping it does for the new one this summer where it’s about Dumbledore and hopefully more Hogwarts.

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) (2nd of series)
Z’s Score: 67/100 (T-760 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: 2 times since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: Slightly worse than the 1st only because the 1st has the wow of the creatures. Same thing though, it just doesn’t quite hit for me and I wish it did.

Midway (2019)
Z’s Score: 60/100 (T-862 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: 1.5 times since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: It’s just not a good movie unfortunately. Watched Pearl Harbor a week or so before to kind of compare and it’s not close, and people hate on Pearl Harbor. The visuals are the only thing that keeps this score kind of high.

Step Up Revolution (2012) (4th of series)
Z’s Score: 57/100 (T-891 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: Seen it before but 1st since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: I used to be a sucker for these Step-Up movies. I know it’s not a good movie, but it’s still fun to watch. Awful acting though and pretty bad story.

Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Z’s Score: 45/100 (T-920 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: This score might be harsh especially with the movies above, but at least those kept my attention. This Channing Tatum & Mila Kunis space movie was such a bust and I would not recommend to anyone haha

The Break-Up (2006)
Z’s Score: 71/100 (T-665 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 34%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: I’ve seen parts of it over the years, but I think this was my first time watching all the way through
Spoiler-free Review: Average rom-com but has a re-watchability factor. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston have good performances though.

Signs (2002)
Z’s Score: 76/100 (T-439 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: 2 times since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: Bumped this up from a 74 I rated from a few years ago. Good movie but weird and not quite in that “great” tier. I love to re-watch it though.

The Card Counter (2021)
Z’s Score: 60/100 (T-862 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Core Emotions: Overly Tense
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: Had high hopes for this one with Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish, but I was let down. Did not like their chemistry at all, had hopes it would get better as the movie went on and it didn’t for me. Too bad.

Exam (2009)
Z’s Score: 70/100 (T-693 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Core Emotions: Overly Tense
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: First time in over 10 years I think
Spoiler-free Review: An average thriller, nothing special but not bad.

Radio (2003)
Z’s Score: 77/100 (T-410 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Core Emotions: Cried, Laughed
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: First since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. It’s about what I remembered, not great but still good to watch with laughs and some tears. You always get some extra credit if it’s based on a true story too. There is a scene where he says “He Gon!” and I wonder if that’s where the commonly used phrase now came from haha Cuba’s performance was great, but I wonder if it can come off as borderline offensive in todays environment.

Marriage Story (2019)
Z’s Score: 92/100 (T-45 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Core Emotions: Laughed, Wow’d (Acting performance), Overly Tense
Nominations: Acting Performance (Adam Driver. But also by the duo of him and Scarlett Johansson)
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: This was a wow movie man. I did not expect to like this type of movie, but I really did. One of the best acting performances by a duo I’ve seen, mainly by Adam Driver though.

tick, tick, BOOM! (2021)
Z’s Score: 93/100 (T-31 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Core Emotions: Wow’d (Acting perfomance)
Nominations: Acting Performance (Andrew Garfield)
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: Another wow, and another movie I would not normally like. And I would imagine this is the super bowl of musical and theatre lovers. Which is definitely not me. Would probably be 95+ if it was. I imagine this movie and especially Andrew Garfield will be all over the awards shows, and they deserve it. This is the 2nd 90+ movie for me with Andrew Garfield by the way, the other being Hacksaw Ridge (95/100).

I Love You Man (2009)
Z’s Score: 86/100 (T-164 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Core Emotions: Laughed, Cringy, Quotable
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: 2nd time since 2018 but I’ve seen it plenty
Spoiler-free Review: A classic 2000s comedy. Love it, not elite though.

Palmer (2021)
Z’s Score: 82/100 (T-269 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Core Emotions: Cried, Overly Tense
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: I hadn’t heard anything coming into it so my expectations were low, but I really liked it. JT was good, the kid was really good, and it was a powerful message. Well done.

The Prestige (2006)
Z’s Score: 80/100 (T-313 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Core Emotions: Shocked (Twist)
Nominations: Twist
Watch History: First since 2018, but seen it plenty
Spoiler-free Review: It’s impossible for me to not get this movie and the Illusionist confused. Both late-1800s/early-1900s magic movies that came out in the same year. This one is the better one though for sure. Although, there are too many twists, just chill lol. Can’t think of a movie with more twists.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) (1st of series)
Z’s Score: 85/100 (T-181 Overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Core Emotions: Wow’d (concept), Twist, Quotable
Nominations: Twist
Watch History: 3rd since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: If you have cable like me, then you know that these days, you can always find either Harry Potter, The Office or Ridiculousness on at pretty much any hour of the day lol. This HP ranks 2th overall for me in the series, and they get extra points for that introduction into this world. It’s on all the time and it’s annoying, but let’s be honest, the re-watchability factor is so high with this series.

Sing 2 (2021) (2nd of series)
Z’s Score: 76/100 (T-439 overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Core Emotions: Laughed
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: We loved the first one (90/100 👀) but this one was a let down. Not bad, but couldn’t live up to the first. Had some funny parts and visually incredible with how animation looks now, but just not as good.

Nothing But Trouble (1991)
Z’s Score: 32/100 (T-938 overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: What the hell did I just watch? lol. I read after that this won worst movie of the year in 1991 and was an absolute bust. It was really bad, but at least they kept my attention with all of the weirdness. PS, cruising through the fun facts of this movie on IMDB is worth your time on this one!

The Lost Daughter (2021)
Z’s Score: 73/100 (T-570 overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Core Emotions: Cringy
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: This was a cringy movie, in a good way for the most part. I didn’t really like it, but it was well done. If you like Olivia Colman, you’ll love this movie, but I don’t really. This was almost a “Too weird to rate” which I have to do on occasion. But I’ll give it a passing grade. Wouldn’t watch again or recommend to anyone though.

The Tender Bar (2021)
Z’s Score: 66/100 (T-776 overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: Nothing special unfortunately. In my opinion, it’s just a true story about a kid, but with good actors.

Men in Black (1997) (1st of series)
Z’s Score: 85/100 (T-181 overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Core Emotions: Laughed, Wow’d (Concept)
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: 1st time since 2018, seen before plenty
Spoiler-free Review: A wild late 90s sci-fi concept that actually worked because of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ banter. Still has rewatchability. The cockroach dude makes the list as one of the grossest and most memorable “villains” in movie history.

The Dark Knight (2008) (2nd of series)
Z’s Score: 97/100 (5th overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Core Emotions: Wow’d, Shocked, Overly Tense
Nominations: Opening Scene, Acting Performance (Heath Ledger)
Watch History: 4th time since 2018
Spoiler-free Review: I think I can safely say that this is has my favorite opening scene of all time. Also features one of my fav acting performances with Heath Ledger as the Joker who was simply incredible. It’s smart, has great action, a thinker and has a handful of wow moments. #5 all time for me.

Boogie (2021)
Z’s Score: 47/100 (918th overall)
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Core Emotions: N/A
Nominations: N/A
Watch History: ⭐First Time⭐
Spoiler-free Review: I wanted to like this, but it just wasn’t good. Didn’t like the script, acting or basketball, but it was shot well I guess. Rapper Pop Smoke (RIP) as a main character in this one FYI.

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Zack Nicol

Zack Nicol

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Geaux Tigers. Go Mavs. Go Pats. Go Stars. Go Rangers. Go BlueClaws.