Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve started a post with that greeting! I know I’ve been a bit quiet lately and I will get to that later. But first, it’s celebration time as today marks the ninth blogiversary of Drew’s Movie Reviews! Like 2021, I set a goal to watch a film from my chosen director every month and this year’s chosen director is Steven Spielberg. I’ve been through some amazing films of his in these first seven months of 2022. Not surprisingly, one of his films crept onto this post’s list. Since the films on this list are not based on the calendar year, one of the films from last year’s chosen director, Alfred Hitchcock, that I watched after last year’s blogiversary made it to the list as well. Before I get into my list, as what is tradition for my anniversary celebration, I watched a film trilogy to lead up to my blogiversary. This year, with Jurassic World: Dominion coming to theaters and concluding the Jurassic Saga, I decided this year was a good year to review the Jurassic World trilogy for my celebration. If you missed any of those reviews, here are links to all of them:
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World: Dominion
Here are my five favorite films I watched during my ninth year of blogging:
5) Saving Private Ryan
I chose Steven Spielberg’s filmography to focus on in 2022, similar to what I did with Alfred Hitchcock’s filmography in 2021, because although I consider him as one of my favorite film directors, I knew there were many of his highest rated movies I have not seen. Saving Private Ryan is one such example. I knew many of the references and memes but never saw the full film myself. I don’t know how I waited this long to finally see this film! This has quickly jumped to a top spot in my list of favorite Spielberg films. The casting is great, the story is emotional and gut-wrenching, and the action is exciting. I really was missing out not seeing this sooner.
4) Top Gun: Maverick
In this current Hollywood era of cashing in on nostalgia, many of the sequels to decades old films during this time are, to put it kindly, not very good. However, every now and then, a film comes along with a crew that has love and affection for the franchise and wants to do right by what came before; Top Gun: Maverick is one such example. Top Gun is one of my quintessential 80s films, never failing to make me smile or make me feel good by the end. Tom Cruise and the crew of Top Gun: Maverick clearly took their time to craft a story that not only honored the 80s original but thoughtfully built on the characters of the 80s original. It’s rare that these nostalgia-focused sequels are as good as the original and it’s even rarer that the sequel is arguably better.
There is no doubt that Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most important and talented directors in Hollywood history. His ability to use suspense to manipulate his audience is unrivaled. The way Hitchcock frames his shots in Psycho is a masterclass. Anthony Perkins delivers one of the best performances I have ever seen as Norman Bates. And although color films had been out for several years by the time Hitchcock started on Psycho, he still chose to shoot in black and white, which added a noir aesthetic to the film that added to the suspense. Psycho is a much watch for any fan of cinema.
2) Free Guy
At the start of 2020, Free Guy was at the top of my most anticipated list of films for that year. Then the pandemic hit and Free Guy was pushed to 2021. Just as quickly as this movie was delayed, it became one of my favorite films of the year after it finally came to theaters. If you want to watch a feel-good movie or need a pick-me-up, Free Guy is the movie for you. I don’t even believe Ryan Reynolds plays different characters anymore, he just shows up on set and plays himself while the director films him. As a gamer, I appreciated all the easter eggs to games and gaming culture. For me, this became an instant classic.
I am a HUGE Spider-Man fan, and particularly of the Spider-Man films. The Tobey Maguire films were from some of my earliest independent theater-going days, and while Andrew Garfield’s films might not have been as successful, they still did some things right by the character and hold a special place in my heart. The last thing I ever expected was to see the Maguire and Garfield together with current Spider-Man Tom Holland. When that happened I was ecstatic. The shot of all three Spider-Men together during the climactic scene of the film is up there with the “Avengers Assemble” moment from Avengers: Endgame. There is no other film worthy of the top spot on this list.
Now, for one final announcement. In the beginning of this post I mentioned I have been quiet lately. Unfortunately, that will not be changing anytime soon. I started this blog nine years ago as a means to occupy my time and try something new. I found myself watching movies very often and wanted to try my hand at writing about them and sharing my enjoyment with all of you. In these last few years, and these last few months in particular, my interest in writing reviews has been waning. I am still watching movies, though not as frequently as during this blog’s early years, but my desire to write up my thoughts has drifted. I’ve tried a few different approaches to writing my reviews to continue writing in a way that would take less time or feel fresh, yet nothing has stuck. And in the same way I was using this blog as a hobby, I have picked up other hobbies that I enjoy more at this moment than writing.
In a decision I do not make lightly, I am announcing Drew’s Movie Reviews is going on hiatus. I don’t know when, or if, I will return to writing reviews. And I haven’t yet decided what will happen with my weekly Trailer Round-Ups. I do enjoy watching new trailers every week so that may continue but we’ll see.
I want to thank each and every one of you for my nine wonderful years of blogging. Interacting with all my readers and forming friendships has been the best part of this experience and I will cherish it always. Thank you all for the support! I wish you all the best of luck in your blogs and other endeavors. Here’s to hoping this isn’t a “goodbye” but a “see you later.”