19) Troy’s Pick – Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is one of those films that just worked on Troy’s brain for months. There’s something about kids having to deal with their parents’ bullshit that just entertains me. Check out the review here.

19) Daniel’s Pick – Solo

Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t care about the behind-the-scenes controversy. I also don’t care about fandom’s fatwa on Lucasfilm and Disney in the wake of The Last Jedi. All I care about is whether or not the film I sit down to see thrills me. Solo thrilled me.

Was a Han Solo prequel needed? No, but no movie is needed. As far as pulp sci-fi adventure movies go, prequel or not, this one is a grand old time. It’s a fast, breezy, and fun tale that is devoid of the weighty concerns of Rogue One or the Force-fueled shenanigans of the main saga. That alone makes it a breath of fresh air, so the fact that it’s packed with amusing performances, cool creatures, and some highly enjoyable feats of daring do makes it a keeper in my book.

19) Mike Flynn’s Pick – Mandy

It appears that only two schools of thought exist for Mandy: you despise it, or you’re as crazy for it as Nicolas Cage’s relentlessly unhinged performance. I lean towards the latter, although I’m not at a point where I have Cage’s face tattooed on my back. That said, I frantically drove through rush-hour traffic to see it in the one theater it was playing at, fearing it would be my only chance to see it theatrically. Subsequent weeks proved me wrong. Panos Cosmatos’ surreal, colorful aesthetic certainly helps how nutzoid it is and props up the straightforward revenge yarn. And is it bonkers. To put things in perspective, here’s a choice moment from the film.

At one point, Academy Award Winner Nicolas Cage wears just his underwear and a baseball tee with a tiger on it. He’s been tortured by the film’s villain (Linus Roache), a billowy, demonic, folk-singing cult leader who is evil but is also a pretentious hippie that is probably a vegetarian because a freak tarot card reading made him allergic to meat. Cage’s Red screams for a good 90 seconds in a shag-carpet bathroom, finds a bottle of vodka under the sink (like in common households), chugs it, screams, pours it on himself, screams, repeat.

What I’ve just described is one of the more intimate scenes in Mandy, which also features chainsaw duels, a bitching battle axe, knock-knock jokes about Erik Estrada, a gorgeous metal score by the late Johan Johansson, and a macaroni-and-cheese shilling goblin. It’s as good as narcotic psychedelia gets on film.

Make no mistake, however. This is Nic Cage’s show—and it’s perhaps the first time that the movie he’s in somehow exceeds his performance in terms of gonzo intensity.

19) Jamie’s Pick – Anna and the Apocalypse

Jamie was the AV personality that actually enjoyed this one. I asked him why and he said something about girls playing around with dead things and singing. At least that’s what his Adult Friend Finder profile said.

Leave No Trace Solo Mandy Anna and the Apocalypse

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