Some Questions You Into the Woods Newbies Might Need Answered

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A lot of us are confused too, Meryl Streep

You may have gone to the theaters over the holidays or in recent weeks to see “Into the Woods”. Perhaps you liked the idea of mixed up fairy tales or you enjoyed musicals. Perhaps someone like myself told you it is one of the best American musicals ever.

Then you may have left the theater wondering what exactly people like me meant. Some of the songs were fun, sure, but why did the movie seem to have 15 endings like Return of the King? Well, let me implore you to listen as I explain the problem is not the source material, it is in the adaptation. And don’t be so quick to say the movie is bad, because honestly, this movie languished in development for years for the very same reason–it is not an easy musical to adapt because it is designed to work on the Broadway stage, not the big screen. Let me explain and answer some other questions that might help you understand what you didn’t love about “Into the Woods”:

Why didn’t the movie just end after the cow made that potion and Cinderella got married?

Believe it or not, this is the end of the first act of the play. The instrumental music you hear as Cinderella passes the Baker and his wife on the way to the palace is “Ever After”, a 2:20 song that effectively wraps up all the stories, with each person ostensibly living happily ever after. When this musical is shortened for what is called “school” performances" or children’s versions of the shows so kids can see them and not go insane watching a three hour show, they typically just do the first act and call it a day.

Thing is, thematically, all of the interesting stuff (and some of the best songs) come in Act II, which resumes MONTHS after Act I concludes in the play, not a day or two like in the movie. So, rather than give the second act the hour plus that it needs to fully develop, this plot of the giant attacking the land gets squeezed into the last 35 minutes or so in order to satisfy the fans and try to finish up with the thematic notions that wishes aren’t always what they cracked up to be, that parent-child relationships are complicated, and that fairy tales never tell you that things might go bad after “Ever After”.

Did Cinderella know all along that the prince was a faker and charming, but not sincere? They never seemed to really be in love and he cheated on her like two seconds later.

As I mentioned, Cinderella and the prince were married a good year or so in the play before he went and made out with the baker’s wife in the woods. What you also don’t get to see in the movie is that both Cinderella’s prince and Rapunzel’s prince actually get restless and get a wondering eye with Cinderella’s prince falling for Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel’s prince falling for Snow White, presented in a hilarious reprise of the song “Agony”. And, as you notice in Anna Kendrick’s beautiful rendition of “On the Steps of the Palace”, she wanted out of her life, but she was never entirely sure this was the guy for her.

So Rapunzel runs off with her man and leaves her Mom the witch to just…die? Seems like she would go out with more of a bang, right?

Okay, another huge departure from the play. In the play, Rapunzel actually dies. She runs into the giant’s path and gets trampled, prompting the Witch to sing the same song you see Streep sing in the song after her daughter leaves her. Makes a lot more sense that she was so sad, right? In the movie, she seems a little selfish, whereas in the play, it is about the fact that the world is a scary place and as a parent, the Witch was just trying to protect her from the scary world by locking her away and it blew up in her face. In the play, she returns at the end to revise her “Children won’t lisen” refrain to “Children will listen.”

There are a lot of random ghosts in this movie, huh? Cinderella’s mom, the Baker’s wife, the random appearance of the Baker’s dad. What’s the deal?

You’re right. There are a lot of ghosts in the play too. But in the play Cinderella’s mom is more a voice in her head than a ghost. And in the play, well, the father character is a LOT more complicated.

You see, in the play there is an old guy who kid of pops up now and then that ends up being the Baker’s dad. To make things even weirder, this guy also plays the Narrator. Yeah, there is a guy who stands downstage and narrates the action, much like the Baker’s voice over does in the movie. At one point, the cast even decides to feed him to the giant in an attempt to get her to go away. I’m not kidding. So it isn’t as out of left field as in the movie. What I found especially strange is that the ghost dad shows up to deliver the moral of don’t repeat my mistakes, but they can’t invest the two minutes in singing “No More”, which is one of my favorite numbers from the show.

So, hopefully that explains some of the confusing spots. As for how to deal with the weirdly truncated second act…I don’t know if I have a good answer. I typically hate splitting books up into two movies, but in the case of “Into the Woods”, I really don’t know how you do it without having a Part I and a Part II and just releasing them maybe a month apart? For me, the first act is all fun, but the second act is where the morals and the life lessons get dispatched. While many things were cut from the first to squeeze down time, I feel like too much was sacrificed from the second for audiences unfamiliar with the show not to tear up during “No One Is Alone” or to feel the Witch’s heartbreak in her “Lament”. I laud the cast and crew for the attempt and give a massive shoutout to Anna Kendrick for making me care about Cinderella for the first time ever and Emily Blunt for putting a whole new spin on a role Joanna Gleason defined in her initial Broadway run. And I’ll give Meryl a good hustle, but I am sorry, I simply cannot agree that this movie wouldn’t have been infinitely better with the original Witch, Bernadette Peters, reprising her role, bewitching us with the songs that make this probably my favorite musical of all time.

If you are curious about the actual musical and it isn’t coming to your area any time soon, the Original Broadway Cast has a recording available for rental on Amazon and it really is a treasure to watch.

And in case you’re curious, this is “No More”, the song the Baker sings with his dad shortly before they try to kill the giant:

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The Definitive Ranking of All Nine Miles Teller Performances

I can’t quite pinpoint when I decided Miles Teller might be the most promising actor of his generation. It wasn’t an instant revelation, that is for sure. Id seen him in a few things and he seemed talented and most certainly charming, but somewhere along the time I saw That Awkward Moment, I began to wonder if this kid was the real deal.

He’s not necessarily conventionally handsome. You’ll notice he has a few small scars, obtained during a massive car wreck back in 2007. A lot of guys are comparing his swagger to Vince Vaughn, but there is that sense of self-deprecation to his performance that reminds me a lot of John Cusack too. The kid is paradoxical, simultaneously brimming with confidence yet completely insecure. It allows him to play quite a range of characters, which was something I wasn’t expecting when I first decided to watch all nine movies Teller has been in. The range I had seen was mostly the charming, sarcastic Teller, but as I saw more, I realized there is massive depth at his disposal to finesse his characters, though they may superficially appear rather smilar. And the obsessive need to see everything he’d been in possessed me and here we are.

So yeah, I can now say I have seen all nine feature films Miles Teller has been in and I am here to rank them for you from worst to first. Keep in mind, this isn’t a ranking of the movies themselves. This is specific to Teller and his performance, which oftentimes outshines even mediocre movies:

9. Project X

I’m gonna be honest, I couldn’t finish this movie because this largely improvisational teenage comedy thing is just so far removed from movies I want to watch and Teller’s part is a cameo at best. So instead of watching that, watch this:

8. 21 & Over (Currently free on Netflix)

While Teller is charming as usual in this film and his co-star Skylar Astin (who I enjoy a lot as well) give it their all, they can’t do much to overcome the standard “long night of drinking goes terribly wrong plot”. There are amusing moments, but if you want to see charming, snarky Teller, you have much better options.

7. Divergent (Currently free on HBO Go)

In interviews, Teller slipped up and admitted he took the role of antagonistic Peter in the YA blockbuster series for mostly business reasons. To be honest, I appreciated his honesty. It is smart to be in something with international appeal, to expand his range, playing the only unlikable character he has in his career, and getting to work with Shailene Woodley, his The Spectacular Now costar, again, because I would watch the two of them read the phone book together. It is a bit part, but I believe his role expands with the series and, in the meantime, he manages to prove that even with his young-looking face, he can be sinister (Searched for a decent clip of him to no avail. He pops up here around the :40 second mark)

6. Rabbit Hole

This is a beautiful movie about grief that earned Nicole Kidman a Best Actress Oscar nomination as the grieving mother of a now-dead toddler. What you may not realize is Teller made his film debut playing the teenager who accidentally hit the boy with his car. His scenes are minimal and the role is a big departure from the persona he has since developed, but there is an earnestness to his acting here worth noting.

5. Footloose

If you know me at all, you know I am generally opposed to remakes, yet somehow Craig Brewer’s remake of “Footloose” won me over. In many spots, he sticks to a near shot-for-shot dedication to the original, but he also gives the movie a country bent which I found interesting and at least a new take on the flick. Teller plays Willard, the part played by the late, great Chris Penn in the original, which is a tough act to follow,but he manages to stand out as one of the best parts of the film without ripping off Penn’s performance. If you don’t remember, he is the lead’s best friend who doesn’t know how to dance. I’ve taken to watching this “Let’s Hear it For the Boy” sequence on the regular just as a pick me up, so enjoy:

4. Two Night Stand

You’ve never heard of this movie. There is no reason you should have. It got relatively horrible reviews and is one of those things you stumble upon when cruising through on demand when you have insomnia. It is a pretty silly little flick where a girl (Analeigh Tipton of America’s Next Top Model fame) and a boy (Teller) hook up for a one night stand only to have the girl get snowed in the next day. It is stupid, but it is a fun stupid that I enjoy because the plot is silly, but the dialogue is pretty well done and, once again, Teller wins me over in a movie where he is required to carry half the film and does so with ease:

3. That Awkward Moment (Currently free on HBO Go)

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t understand the terrible reviews for this movie. Honestly, I think they come from people who don’t have to date in the current dating scene, which is scary and confusing, and filled with crap like these guys pull in this movie. Nothing is clear, nothing ever makes sense, and this flick nails it and does so with three leads who are dripping with charm and talent (yes, I’ll even give Zac Efron props on this one). I highly encourage any and every person who is single or who is in their late twenties or early thirties to check it out:

2. Whiplash

Number two, you say aghast and angry? The movie just nominated for Best Picture in which this kid clearly pours his heart, sweat, tears, and soul into. It is incredible, I don’t disagree. Teller, who was a drummer prior to getting the part in this movie about an ambitious jazz drumming student and his maniacal teacher, is sensational as a kid driven to succeed, obsessed with impressing his teacher and reaching greatness, and willing to sacrifice anything and everything to get there. It is a must-watch performance in one of the best movies of the year. Just watch these two minutes and tell me you aren’t intrigued:

1. The Spectacular Now (Currently free on Amazon Prime)

Yes, Whiplash is incredible and Teller gets all the flash and grit and an incredible sparring partner in the presumed Oscar winner JK Simmons. But the movie where you can see a guy who can deliver incredible performances with just a subtle delivery of a line or a seemingly insignificant drag from a Big Gulp is this teenage love story where Teller plays Sutter, the life of the party who simply thinks he is incapable of getting his shit together, so he doesn’t even bother. Then he meets a girl, takes her in, makes her his project if you will, and suddenly he has to face where his future is going and whether or not he likes it at all. It is an incredible love story with memorable performances from both the leads, but when you are outshining Shailene Woodley, you know you are giving one of the best performances of your career.

There we have it, ladies and gents, my Miles Teller obsession in one giant blog. And because this kid seems so unique and interesting to me, with touches of Tom Hanks, John Cusack, and Vince Vaughn, I think I am going to keep trying to see whatever he is in, including those horrible-looking Fantastic Four movies. Because I am calling it right now. This kid is legit. The Oscar is coming one of these days, and I just hope he continues to make unique and wide-ranging choices the more opportunities come his way.

My Golden Globes Picks

While may of you are betting on the NFL games and sweating your DFS line-ups (For once, I have a couple of promising ones!), but tonight begins the season I wish wagering was more popular in: Movie and TV awards.

Should you choose to make some predictions with friends, these are my picks for this year. I should preface that I am much more confident in my movie picks than my TV ones, because the TV voters tend to get cuckoo crazy with whatever is new and amazing. The movie ones though, I feel pretty strongly about, so we shall see how I fare in a few hours. The bolded ones are my picks to win.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Imtation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything

Best Actress – Drama

Jennifer Aniston – Cake
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Best Actor – Drama

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
David Oyelowo – Selma
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Best Motion Picture – Comedy

Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into the Woods
Pride
St Vincent

Best Actress – Comedy

Amy Adams – Big Eyes
Emily Blunt – Into the Woods
Helen Mirren – The Hundred-Foot Journey
Julianne Moore – Maps to the Stars
Quvenzhane Wallis – Annie

Best Actor – Comedy

Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Bill Murray – St Vincent
Joaquin Phoenix – Inherit Vice
Christoph Waltz – Big Eyes

Best Animated Feature Film

Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie

Best Foreign Film

Force Majeure
Get: The Trial of Vivane Amsalem
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Keria Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
JK Simmons – Whiplash

Best Director

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ava Duvernay – Selma
David Fincher – Gone Girl
Alejandro Gozalez Inarritu – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood

Best Screenplay

Wes Anderson  – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Gillian Flynn –Gone Girl
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giabone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Graham Moore – The Imitation Game

Best Original Score

Alexandre Desplant – The Imitation Game
Johan Johannsson – The Theory of Everything
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – Gone Girl
Antonio Sanchez – Birdman
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar

Best Original Song

Big Eyes – Big Eyes
Glory – Selma
Mercy Is – Noah
Opportunity – Annie
Yellow Flicker Beat – Mockingjay Part 1

TELEVISION

Best Television Drama

The Affair
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
House of Cards

Best Actress – Drama

Claire Danes – Homeland
Viola Davis – How to Get Away with Murder
Julianna Marguiles – The Good Wife
Ruth Wilson – The Affair
Robin Wright – House of Cards

Best Actor – Drama

Clive Owen – The Knick
Live Schreiber – Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey – House of Cards
James Spader – The Blacklist
Dominic West – The Affair

Best Comedy

Girls
Jane the Virgin
Orange is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Transparent

Best Actress – Comedy

Lena Dunham – Girls
Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin
Taylor Schilling – Orange is the New Black

Best Actor – Comedy

Louis CK – Louis
Don Cheadle – House of Lies
Ricky Gervais – Derek
William H Macy – Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor- Transparent

Best Miniseries or Made for TV Movie

Fargo
The Missing
The Normal Heart
Olive Kitteridge
True Detective

Best Actress – Miniseries or Made for TV Movie

Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Honorable Woman
Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Freak Show
Frances McDormand – Olive Kittridge
Frances O’Connor – The Missing
Allison Tolman – Fargo

Best Actor – Miniseries or Made for TV Movie

Martin Freeman – Fargo
Woody Harrelson – True Detective
Matthew McCounaghey – True Detective
Mark Ruffalo – The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton – Fargo

Best Supporting Actress – TV

Uzo Aduba – Orange is the New Black
Kathy Bates – American Horror Story: Freak Show
Joanne Froggatt – Downton Abbey
Allison Janney – Mom
Michelle Monaghan – True Detective

Best Supporting Actor – TV

Matt Bomer – The Normal Heart
Alan Cumming – The Good Wife
Colin Hanks – Fargo
Bill Murray – Olive Kitteridge
Jon Voight – Ray Donovan

A Requiem for This Season’s Bengals

I’ve only ever cried during one sporting event, and, no, it wasn’t the 2006 National Championship game where Vince Young’s knee was so clearly down on the go ahead score in the second quarter that shifted the momentum in this game that transpired nine years ago today.

Instead, I cried four days later when Carson Palmer threw an incredible 66-yard pass to Chris Henry, then be tackled right at the knees by Kimo von Oelhoffen of the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the time, it felt like a dirty play, but I came to realize the guy was just doing his job. And, while I hate that the game has taken to over-protecting the quarterback, I don’t mind the Carson Palmer rule that ensued from this play.

Because this was our year, his year. That 66 yard bomb was his first throw of the game. I was jubliant, watching Henry reel in the ball only to have my heart stop when they cut back to Palmer. We were legitimate contenders that year. We weren’t just wildcard one and dones.

To be honest, my Bengal fandom wasn’t particularly strong until I started college, because I was never much of a football fan before that. Geography dictated the Bengals and the Reds were my teams, but I was fairly aware we were pretty crappy.

But then Carson Palmer made me love football and, in turn, made me a fiercely loyal Bengal fan. And on the first series of the first playoff game we stood a chance in in ages, I watched him writhe in the grass.

Yesterday, in the first round of wildcard games, I was treated to a similar image, as the opening montage featured Palmer going down with a torn ACL again, face-down in agony in the grass. I wanted Arizona to pull it out because I knew what it felt like to be there. To know you had a chance and now that chance is gone. Plus, I still love Carson Palmer more than any other football player in history, so to see him prove to the haters once again that he is not mediocre quarterback only to go down during his swan song is genuinely fate being cruel. He is a guy who rehabbed from a seemingly unrehabable injury, the kind Peyton Manning gets lauded for all the time. 

Perhaps I set the bar too high with Carson and that is why I really am not a fan of our quarterback. I’m used to Dalton Daltoning. Last year, it was almost comical to watch him single-handedly flush our playoff hopes down the drain in a game we were supposed to win.

This year, I can’t even blame Dalton. I knew things would be rough with AJ Green out, then I heard our old, albeit clutch, TE Jermaine Gresham was not going to play either. With Dane Sanzenbacher on IR too, that left us with Mohamed Sanu, Greg Little, and Brandon Tate to catch balls.

I tried to believe that Jeremy Hill could pull through on the offense, even though I constantly find myself undewhelmed by him.

But mostly, my hope that we could somehow break this two-decade losing streak lay in our defense. Yes, Burrfect was out, but Dre Kirkpatrick, George Iloka, Terence Newman, Pacman Jones, Domata Peko, Leon Hall, and, of course, my two Trojans/Bengals: Taylor Mays and the insanely talented linebacker Rey Maualuga.

When Maualuga went down in the first half and I watched him get carted off the field, I thought back to that game in 2006. This year was most certainly not our year. After all, we’ve had basically half the squad in the hospital the entire season. The fact we found success with Sanu and Hill and Gresham resurging in the absence of Tyler Eifert is a remarkable stroke of good fortune that got us to the playoffs in the first place.

I almost wonder though if Marvin Lewis and Dalton and the gang need a break. That maybe not making the playoffs and hearing once again about how terrible we are in the playoffs might just be good for them. Because, as heartbreaking as it was to see Rey carted off, seeing the faces of the veteran Bengals in the fourth quarter was so much worse. Newman’s stoney stare knowing that no amount of effort on defense was going to make up for the fact our offense was all on the sidelines. Dre Kirkpatrick doing everything he could to battle through injury so we could go three and out again before eventually resigning himself and his ankle to defeat.

Who really wants to make the playoffs four years running, knowing every time you don’t a chance and the fact you don’t stand a chance is the only thing anybody is going to talk about in the week leading up to the game?

So, as I sit here in my new Sanu jersey, thinking ahead to our next season and who we will draft, I remind myself that sometimes things don’t go your team’s way. I also think about the many happy regular season moments this team gave me. I fell in love with Mohamed Sanu, I began to think Dre Kirkpatrick is a year or two away from being a really unstoppable cornerback, and my favorite bench player Dane Sanzenbacher even managed an interception against the Steelers last week.

It won’t make up for 2006, but it will remind me this time next year that I should be less preoccupied with the playoffs. When it comes to the Bengals, I think I could stand to cut them some slack and not talk about the playoffs for a while. I’m not gonna kick my guys when they’re down, especially when it is so clear there is no one kicking themselves harder than Marvin Lewis and his squad.

Who Dey? A team to be proud of, that’s who.

Firing the Canon–My Netflix Purge

Being the beginning of the year, I always try to ruminate on some sort of pop culture project. The first place I look tends to be my Netflix queue. I tried to start with “Breaking Bad”, thinking there would be something to be blogged about my anxiety watching fictional people make bad decisions butting heads with a show about a good guy gone bad, but then really really not being into the show after eight episodes. I went back to Season 1 of “The Wire”, but stopped there knowing that I was content to end things with, “Where’s Wallace?”

As I perused the rest of the list, I realized it has become a vast wasteland of movies and TV shows that have languished there (many for years), mostly because I don’t really *want* to watch them. I know they’ve been nominated for some Oscars, or I feel I’m missing part of the canon, so I keep them around, but they have grown to feel like nothing but a chore.

In other words…I don’t want to watch them for the most part. Or, in many instances, they are foreign, which you all realize requires more than your standard amount of movie-watching attention. Rather than set out to finish this list off, I’m setting myself free and doing some real talk about what I’ll be watching in 2015.

Currently, here is where the list stands:

1. Broadchurch (TV Miniseries)
2. 21 & Over (Movie)
3. 30 for 30: Survive and Advance (Doc)
4. 30 for 30: Free Spirits (Doc)
5. Two Days in New York (Movie)
6. Bottle Shock (Movie)
7. The Rocketeer (Movie)
8. The Wolf of Wall Street (Movie)
9. Liberal Arts (Movie)
10. Varsity Blues (Movie)
11.Your Sister’s Sister (Movie)
12. Good Morning, Vietnam (Movie)
13. The Trip (Movie)
14. Mud (Movie)
15. The Importance of Being Earnest (Movie)
16. An Ideal Husband (Movie)
17. Julia (Movie)
18. The Wood (Movie)
19. Kinky Boots (Movie)
20. The Hunt (Foreign Movie)
21. The Punk Singer (Doc)
22. The Men (Movie)
23. Cutie and the Boxer (Foreign Doc)
24. The Returned (Foreign TV)
25. The Act of Killing (Foreign Doc)
26. A Walk on the Moon (Movie)
27. In Bruges (Movie)
28. What Maisie Knew (Movie)
29. There Will Be Blood (Movie)
30. Mrs. Brown (Movie)
31. The Kite Runner (Movie)
32. Trainspotting (Movie)
33. Cinema Paradiso (Foreign Movie)
34. Sling Blade (Movie)
35. The Elephant Man (Movie)
36. Four Weddings and a Funeral (Movie)
37. Boss (TV Show)
38. The Endless Summer (Doc)
39. Tora! Tora! Tora! (Movie)
40. Luther (TV Miniseries)
41. Twin Peaks (TV Show)
42. Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (Swedish Version)
43. Coupling (TV Show)
44. Fawlty Towers (TV Show)
45. Evita (Movie)
46. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Movie)
47. Django Unchained (Movie)
48. Snowpiercer (Movie)
49. Nebraska (Movie)
50. Labor Day (Movie)

Do most people have 50 items on their Netflix list? At one point my number hovered in the 70s and only once can I recall it dipping below 40, but I am I the norm or the outlier? Back when it was a DVD mailing service, it made sense to have lengthy queues to get the biggest bang for your buck, ensuring there was always something waiting to be mailed to you. Now though, what do I really get from having this lengthy list of movies staring me in the face reminding me I am never going to watch them?

This is what I am starting to realize. There really is no contemporary canon, there is simply too much entertainment being produced to possibly keep up. Many critics on Twitter lamented the top 10 list problem, noting that it is impossible to watch all the great TV shows, so perhaps including a list of what they watched a reasonable amount would help contextualize their selections.

It might also explain why this year feels like one of the more wide-open Oscar races in recent memory. Perhaps it was just a dud year for movies or perhaps there weren’t as many obvious prestige pics like “The Theory of Everything”. Right now, it seems like it is “Boyhood” is in pole position, but who knows what will happen with the Globes in a couple of weeks?

So, much like one cleans out the closet, I cleaned out the queue. We’re down to 15. You’ll notice a couple of weird ones, like 21 & Over (part of a larger project of mine trying to watch the entire Miles Teller ouevre, as I am obsessed with this remarkably talented young kid, and no, I haven’t seen Whiplash yet) or keeping one 30 for 30 instead of another. Don’t get me wrong, I love these sports docs, but with so many more than 30 now, I find myself picking and choosing, rather than blindly DVRing all of them.

Here goes:

1. Broadchurch (TV Miniseries)
2. 21 & Over (Movie)
3. 30 for 30: Survive and Advance (Doc)
4. Two Days in New York (Movie)
5. The Wolf of Wall Street (Movie)
6. Liberal Arts (Movie)
7. Good Morning, Vietnam (Movie)
8. The Returned (Foreign TV)
9. The Act of Killing (Foreign Doc)
10. There Will Be Blood (Movie)
11. Cinema Paradiso (Foreign Movie)
12. Luther (TV Miniseries)
13. Twin Peaks (TV Show)
14. Snowpiercer (Movie)
15. Nebraska (Movie)

If I picked one off you think is worth my time, let me know on Twitter (@jesswelman) and I’ll consider adding it back. But I think rather than starting off this year feeling daunted by my long lists I’ve created, I am going to try to keep it brief. No more than 15 at a time. Nothing gets added until something gets watched. In 2015, I’m not watching anything I feel like I have to (hence why Django got the boot), I’m only watching movies I want to, whether it be to understand the hoopla (The Wolf of Wall Street), because I will always love Ted Mosby (Liberal Arts), or because I just need more Chris Rock in my life (Two Days in New York).

Let’s see how it goes.