I've written a lot on this blog over the years about movies released in January and how terrible they are. However, now that I'm in Australia, I tend to be a bit more out of touch with that. Some of those movies might not get released here until March, or might be so marginal that they might not warrant a theatrical release at all.
I haven't written quite as much -- or anything, as far as I can tell -- about the bad movies I watch in January, as filler to get me through to my ranking deadline.
At a time when I'm cramming to reach whatever number of films I'll watch before I finalize my rankings, most years trying to set a new record (though not this year, unless I watch 31 films in the next 17 days), I should be focusing on new releases in the cinema and must-haves that I missed when they were released earlier in the year. I've got a pretty well-defined list of both this year.
But then there are the nights where you don't have anything currently downloaded from iTunes, or available on Netflix, or you can't get to the theater, when you watch Before I Fall.
Before I Fall wasn't something I initially recognized as a 2017 release, given how easy it was to confuse it with Just Before I Go (2014), Before I Disappear (2014) and If I Stay (2014), none of which I have seen. But once I did, it was the "perfect" thing to watch on Wednesday evening. And by "perfect" I mean "I need to do a better job of having emergency movies lined up."
Before I Fall was actually a January release, of sorts -- if you count its debut at Sundance. (It got a theatrical release in the U.S. on March 3rd.) Having watched the movie, I find it difficult to understand how it made the cut for one of the world's more prestigious film festivals. This is basically a teen melodrama that takes the formula of Groundhog Day and applies it to a teenage girl continually reliving the last day of her life until she gets a perfect day where she learns not to be a bully and is nice to her mother. Though really, she's not much of a bully and not very mean to her mother so she doesn't have very far to go on these redemption arcs.
It seems that some people like this movie, but boy did I find it junk. Star Zoey Deutch is really quite magnetic and has a lot to offer, but she makes shit choices. You may recall that she appeared in my least favorite movie of last year, Dirty Grandpa.
Instead of piling on Before I Fall, I thought it would be illustrative to look back on previous Januarys, consider some of the emergency filler I watched those years, and see where they ended up on my final chart.
Last year was a bit of a different year as I was in the U.S. for the first two weeks of January, then had to get down to serious business once I returned. But that didn't keep me from fitting in Me Before You on January 18th. It landed at #122 out of 151. Full disclosure, though: I specifically sought out Me Before You. I think I may have even rented it from the Hoyts kiosk. I'd heard how the movie ended and wanted to confirm if it worked as poorly as the podcaster who talked about it said it did. (Basically, yes.)
In 2016 I watched We Are Your Friends on January 12th, on the "recommendation" of the same podcaster. (This time, she liked it.) My fascination about the possibilities of an EDM movie starring Zac Efron overwhelmed my need to find better options only two days from my ranking deadline. Then again, when you are that close, sometimes you just don't want to upset the apple cart, and I was pretty sure this would not do that. (It didn't, as Friends finished at #91 out of 143, which now seems a bit generous.)
Wow, there really aren't any good options from 2015. I guess the premise of this post was somewhat flawed.
So I guess my lesson really is ... no more Before I Falls in January of 2018.