It's fun to think about what's coming out and which movies I'm most interested in, then compare that at the end of the year to what I actually enjoyed. Of my 20 Most Anticipated last year, 11 of them turned out to be Top 20 movies for me, so that's pretty cool. Those were Mary Poppins Returns, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Game Night, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Aquaman, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scorched Earth, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Solo).
Sadly, two of my Most Anticipated movies never had wide releases in the US, so I wasn't able to see them. Mary Magdalene was released overseas, but never here. And We Have Always Lived in the Castle was only at the Los Angeles Film Festival. I'm still especially disappointed about that.
Two of them (A Quiet Place and Rampage) I just never got around to for scheduling reasons, but not because my excitement diminished.
So that leaves five that were disappointing in some way. Of those, I've seen and was moderately underwhelmed by three (Tomb Raider, Incredibles 2, and Ocean's Eight) and thanks to delays and trailers, lost enthusiasm for two others (Mowgli and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms) before they were released. I'm still planning to see them; I'm just not as enthusiastic as I was at the beginning of last year.
So here's what I'm most eager to see this year. As always, these aren't the movies that I'm predicting will be the best; just the ones that I most want to see.
20. Charlie's Angels
I'm a fan of the concept and I'm especially a fan of the 2000/2003 version with Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore, and Cameron Diaz. This time around it's Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and I think Ella Balinska. None of those actors are instant draws for me, but I love the concept (suggested in the 2000/2003 films) that Bosley is a role, not an individual. This one's really playing that up by having multiple Bosleys played by people like Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, and Patrick Stewart. And the cast also includes Luis Gerardo Méndez as a character named The Saint, whom I really hope (but sadly doubt) is somehow Simon Templar.
19. Dora the Explorer
A live-action version with Dora as a teenager sounds incredible. As in it's so exactly what I would have done given the chance to make a Dora movie that I can't believe it's actually happening. I'm thrilled though. I have no idea what it's about, but I'm hoping that I'm synched up enough with the filmmakers that they also envision it as a Tomb Raider-style adventure movie.
18. The New Mutants
Doing a Teen X-Men movie as a horror film is a cool idea, but what I'm really looking forward to are new performances by Anya Taylor-Joy (as Magik) and Maisie Williams (as Wolfsbane). I'm also all about live action Dani Moonstar (played by an actor named Blu Hunt, whom I don't know) and Antonio Banderas doing anything.
I wish I wish I wish the marketing made this look less like superhero Big. I'm fine with some of that, but I don't want it to be the whole movie and am hopeful that it won't.
16. Men in Black: International
I enjoyed the original movies, but never loved them like I wanted to. I feel that way about a lot of Will Smith films. It's a fun concept though and I'm hoping that my massive crush on Chris Hemsworth will finally give me a Men in Black movie that I fully appreciate.
15. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
I don't know if lightening can strike the same place twice, but I trust Lord and Miller. I expect to enter the theater reservedly hopeful and exit giggling.
14. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I love the first one so much that I was mildly disappointed by the darker turn of the second one. It's been a while since I've seen 2, but I remember being impressed by the world-building and how it opened up a lot of story possibilities. So like Lego Movie 2, this is one where I trust the creators even though I'm a little nervous that it could dilute my affection for the original thing.
13. Zombieland: Double Tap
Zombieland was the movie that made me question whether I actually do hate zombie movies. It also turned me around on Woody Harrelson and introduced me to Emma Stone. That's a lot of good brought into the world and big shoes for a sequel to fill, but I bet Double Tap can do it.
12. The Addams Family
I enjoy Charles Addams' creepy family in all its iterations, but this one looks particularly faithful to the original character designs and Oscar Isaac is going to make a great Gomez.
11. Jumanji 3
Jumanji 2 was one of the best movies of its year. Super funny with an exciting plot. I don't know how the story's going to work on this one, but I think it would be fun to bring in a whole new set of characters playing these avatars. That way we still get the joy of seeing Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Dwayne Johnson together, but playing all-new characters with different personalities. Whatever they do though, I'm up for it.
10. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
I'm just all in for these movies. Great action in a cool world.
9. It: Chapter Two
I've never read the book or seen the earlier mini-series with Tim Curry, so I don't know what's coming. All I know is that I loved Chapter One and want to know what happens next.
I appreciate all the work that Guillermo del Toro did to bring Hellboy to the screen back in the day, but that was his Hellboy; not Mike Mignola's. Mostly I have issues with the Hellboy/Liz Sherman romance, but there are other GdT touches as well. Which is totally fair, but I'm eager to see another shot at it from a different point of view and with more emphasis on horror. Also, David Harbour looks great in the part.
7. Spider-Man: Far From Home
I don't know why this doesn't crack my Top 5 Anticipated Movies for the year. I might still have a hangup about too many Spider-Man reboots in too short a time. That's not fair, because I love the Tom Holland version and Homecoming was one of my favorite MCU films. So maybe that's not it. Is it possible that I'm so concerned about how Endgame goes that I feel like Far From Home is a distraction? That's not fair either, since this comes out after Endgame, but my excitement for Endgame could be dampening my enthusiasm of Far From Home. I don't know. I expect to be pleased; I'm just not giddy for some reason.
6. Pokémon Detective Pikachu
I'm not much of a Pokémon fan, but the rest of my family is and it's become part of my life by association. Which is to say that I'm not the natural audience for any kind of Pokémon movie, but this is brilliant. It's a film noir-inspired mystery where a kid teams up with the most recognizable Pokémon in the world who talks normally to the kid (via the voice of Ryan Reynolds), but sounds to everyone else like he's just chirping his name. And he's amusingly frustrated by that. It sounds inventive and hilarious.
5. The Kid
Vincent D'Onofrio directed this Billy the Kid story focused on a boy who witnesses the alleged killing of Billy by Pat Garrett. Dane DeHaan plays Billy, Ethan Hawke is Garrett, and there are also parts for D'Onofrio and Chris Pratt. I like all of those people and my pal Paxton Holley's fascination with Billy the Kid lore is clearly rubbing off on me.
4. Captain Marvel
Marvel's Captain Marvel isn't a character that I'm personally crazy about, but I like her well enough and especially respect what she means to a lot of my friends. My interest in the movie is nerdy in that the story is a massive retcon of MCU history. Retcon isn't a dirty word for me and a well-executed retcon is impressive and a thing a beauty. I have no doubt that Captain Marvel will be well-executed and I'm extremely interested in seeing not only what it reveals about the MCU's past, but also what it teases about the future.
3. Avengers: Endgame
At last, the conclusion of Infinity War. I'm very excited, but also a little miffed at having to wait a year for it and a lot anxious that it likely means the end for some of my favorite characters.
2. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
I loved the first one and had no problems at all with the slow reveal of Godzilla and his powers. That thing worked for me on every level except Aaron Taylor-Johnson, whom I didn't necessarily dislike, but did think was rather plain. This not only swaps him out for the awesome Millie Bobby Brown, it also throws in Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, Kyle Chandler, David Strathairn, and Ziyi Zhang for good measure. And of course Mothra, Rodan, and King Freaking Ghidorah.
1. Star Wars: Episode IX
I am still fully, 100% on board this train. I understand why a lot of people aren't anymore, but I'm so in the bag for Rey in particular, but also Finn and to a lesser extent Poe. I can't wait to see where their adventures take them next.
So that's what I'm looking forward to. I'd love to hear what you're excited about in the comments if you have a minute.