Sunday, January 28, 2018

2018 is Open for business

As I pick and choose my movies very carefully in the leadup to the 5,000-movie milestone, one thing I didn't expect to be doing was starting my 2018 list.

Not this way, anyway.

After last night's viewing, I am currently at 4,997 total movies. That means that if I choose one particular movie I've got in mind for my 5,000th, which necessitates watching two others first, I can watch no new movies other than those. And I'm still trying to fit two Audient Auteurs movies into January, though I'm rapidly realizing I may need to push the start of that series to February.

Of course, I can watch as many movies I've already seen as I want, and that was to be my plan last night. It being a three-day holiday weekend (Australia Day was on Friday), I was circling around a genre movie, and had two well-regarded movies from the last few years that I've seen only once -- Mad Max: Fury Road and Arrival -- in my sights. I've borrowed both from the library.

My wife had different sights. She told me she'd started a horror movie on Netflix the other night while sitting out in our garage, and in part due to the setting, isolated from our house, she got wigged out enough that she had to stop after 30 minutes. It looked promising so she sold me on continuing it with her. (I think we're both chasing the high of The Blackcoat's Daughter, which I showed her a few weeks back on my second viewing and which she loved.)

I guessed The Open House would likely be some 2017 Netflix release that I'd ideally try to avoid simply because I try to take a break from movies from the previous year right after I've finished my list. But nope, when I pulled it up on Netflix, planning to start it on my own before my wife joined me for the part she hadn't seen, I saw the 2018 release date.

So here I am, already off and running on a new list. No time like the present.

I had been thinking of getting the new list started as early as tonight anyway. A friend of mine and I are trying to go see Sweet Country, an Australian movie that's hitting theaters here now at the same time that it's playing Sundance in the U.S. The Sundance gig means it's likely to get a U.S. theatrical release, or at least that that's possible. So it exceeds one minimum threshold for inclusion on my 2018 year-end list (an Australian theatrical release) and might hit a much more satisfying one (a U.S. theatrical release, meaning other critics with whom I compare my lists will also be ranking it).

But Sweet Country ran into a bunch of logistical hurdles, as I first realized that we're planning to watch the final night of the Australian Open tonight (we've been watching some every night this week), and that tomorrow night I also have a commitment. My friend is busy the next three nights, and it turns out the following Sunday, when we thought we might to do it as a second backup plan, he's also tied up. So instead of being my first movie of 2018, Sweet Country could end up being my 60th or 70th -- or maybe I won't catch it at all. Sometimes that's how these things work.

As for my actual first movie of 2018 ... well, if it weren't the first, it would be even more forgettable. A true horror non-starter filled with red herrings, but not the good kind of red herrings that feel like they exist for a purpose. These are the type of red herrings that result from forgetting that there's a part of the script you wrote and never paid off. It's that kind of movie throughout.

I do have one observation about it worth sharing, though. The Open House stars -- or, I thought it starred -- Logan Lerman, playing a character named Logan. Which I thought was sort of funny.

Of course, when the credits rolled, I realized once again that it's not Logan Lerman, but Dylan Minnette, who is mistaken enough for Lerman that someone already got this side-by-side image (and about a dozen others) posted on the internet:

I'm not sure it's so much that they look exactly alike, but rather, that they are about the same age, appear in similar films, and have a similar function in those films.

Actually, Lerman has been around a lot longer and is five years older than Minnette, which is a significant age difference when the ages you're talking about are 21 and 26. I suppose it's obvious that Lerman has been around longer, otherwise I'd mistake Lerman for Minnette rather than Minnette for Lerman. Don't Breathe was the first time I mistook Minnette for Lerman, with last night being the second (though probably not the last). Hey, they were trying to get me to confuse them by calling the character Logan -- an inside joke if ever there was one. (Either that, or trying to subliminally capitalize on one of the most popular names at the movies in 2017. I wouldn't put subliminally capitalizing on something past Netflix with all its algorithms, especially not riding the coattails of Wolverine.)

And now that I'm poring around Wikipedia for some of these details, I'm questioning the status of The Open House as my first movie of 2018. In my ongoing struggle with how to incorporate Netflix into these year-end lists, even a nascent one like this one, I've said I try to see only the movies that I thought would definitely get a theatrical release in another era. Well, despite featuring Minnette, whose career is steadily gaining heat (he's also in the show 13 Reasons Why), the table on his Wikipedia page devoted to his career includes the following descriptor in the notes section for The Open House: "Direct-to-video film."


I suppose that's how we technically classify Netflix movies that were not given a theatrical release, which is most of them, but still -- do you have to remind me of it?


Wendell Ottley said...

This post has just blown my mind. I just knew that was Lerman on the poster for this movie and I just assumed that was Lerman in 13 Reasons Why when I was watching it with my daughter. Amazing.

Derek Armstrong said...

And again, I'm not so sure that it's that Minnette looks exactly like Logan Lerman, just that he is very Lerman-esque.

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