The Great Spicy Movie Catch-Up: Ranking with Star Ratings Every 2024 Movie I've Seen


It has yet to be a stellar start for Beyond the Balcony or The Movie Breakdown in 2024, though you could say it is just following the path of 2023. I'm about to toss on my engine driver hat and get the movie review train back on track. 

I haven't seen the typical number of releases by this point in the year, but I'll aim to catch up on the major missed movies while trying to uncover some hidden gems too. Sadly, there are far too many movies that I have seen without a written review, but most have or will be covered on The Movie Breakdown.

Yes, some podcasts have been recorded that need to be edited and uploaded. My career (and life) has been a cyclone and my emotional and mental state have been lost in Oz lately. I will tap those ruby slippers together and start delivering the goods again soon.

As a sign of a much better future, I've decided to declare a new beginning by ranking from least liked to favourite every 2024 movie I've seen along with their star rating. For some of these movies, I hope to return to them and give them a proper review, and by the end of the year, the plan is to have covered, discussed and reviewed most of the major pictures of the year. And you know, start acting like a movie critic again.

Are we ready?


19. Woody Woodpecker Goes to Camp *: Nauseau and headaches in cinematic form with a lead that makes one yearn for the days of Pauly Shore in mainstream movies. Yes, it is for kids, but they deserve good movies too.

18. Rebel Moon Part Two: The Scargiver *: This confirms that it really should have been one movie, or even better, just remained a pitch for yet another Star Wars movie we would never see. If you cut out the slo-mo farming, it may have only been an hour, but then you're still stuck with huge stretches of expository dialogue passing as character development and a truly derivative story. 

17. Unfrosted *½: The movie is stacked with comedians who all find a way to not be the least bit funny or used in any compelling way. It is too goofy to be a proper look at the history of the Pop Tart but not over-the-top or energetic enough to be a Mel Brooks-style parody either.

16. Night Swim *½: I actually reviewed this movie! Stephen King and movies like Oculus taught me that everyday objects that haunt a family can work and be scary, but the story about a spooky pool lacks scares or any sense of campiness. Instead, it is just a sad reminder of the generic jump-scare supernatural movies Blumhouse was pumping out a decade ago.

15. Lift **: The good news is Kevin Hart isn't playing his usual high-pitched neurotic character in this very by-the-number heist picture, but the bad news is he just plays very dull and lifeless instead. The usually great F. Gary Gray directs the action sequences flatly and predictably making this an immensely forgettable experience. 

14. Irish Wish **½: Lindsay Lohan proves why she was a star with some fun comedic energy and romantic chemistry, but the picture is fairly predictable and falls apart the moment you start asking questions like why she loves the author who apparently can't even write. Her charm makes the movie an enjoyable but generic romcom.

13. Good Grief **½: This is my first exposure to Dan Levy, and he stars and directs a picture that balances grief with witty humour. It missed the mark when giving the crucial supporting characters a well-balanced story and believable development.

12. Suncoast **½: The coming-of-age dramedy that explores grief has some great character moments and scenes anchored by a talented cast in Nico Parker, Laura Linney, and Woody Harrelson, but it all ends up being moments rather than a fully-fleshed out and engaging story. Harrelson's character also never quite becomes a fully believable character but rather just a less interesting Jiminy Cricket in human form.

11. Shirley **½: Regina King delivers a powerhouse and nuanced performance as a woman who is opinionated, stubborn, and strong but also has a tender and loving side. The real-life first-ever Black congresswoman Shirley Chisholm is a captivating historical figure but sadly, the movie isn't much more than your by-the-numbers Wikipedia entry biopic.

10. Damsel ***: Millie Bobby Brown further proves she is a star, and the picture has some great set pieces and action sequences. It does a proper balance of having a kickass lead who also provides empathy, kindness and compassion thus making it stand out from your typical fantasy adventure. The movie is predictable and could be more tightly paced, but Brown is charismatic enough to carry the picture.

9. Greatest Night in Pop ***: If you're an 80s kid then you likely know what a pop culture phenomenon the 'We Are the World' star collaboration was, and this documentary offers some intriguing behind-the-scenes footage of the iconic night.

8. Spaceman ***: Modern-era Adam Sandler has been one of the most exciting actors with the chances he has taken and the interesting characters he has explored in movies like Uncut Gems and Hustle. Sandler does a great job crafting a character suffering from extreme isolation and trying to rescue his marriage despite drifting into literal outer space. It also may be the best movie ever with a giant space spider. 

7. Argylle ***: This is a strong contender for my underrated list this year because many critics really disliked this movie while I had a blast with this romantic comedic action spy adventure. Bryce Dallas Howards and Sam Rockwell have great chemistry together, and Director Matthew Vaughn pulled off some really fun and inventive action set pieces. The twists aren't as surprising as the movie thinks, but this delivered fun escapism.

6. Scoop ***: The based on true events explores how the BBC Newsnight team landed the infamous interview with Prince Andrew regarding his relationship with the human piece of trash, Jeffrey Epstein. The movie may not quite compare to other classic investigative journalism pictures like All the President's Men and Spotlight, but it is loaded with solid performances and the direction makes the build towards the interview and the actual event thrilling and suspenseful. 

5. Mean Girls ***: I love the original movie, and this is a different take with some alternative perspectives and new insights into social media and other cultural shifts. The music and performances pop especially Auli'i Cravalho shining with her musical numbers and fleshing out the Janis character. It doesn't quite measure up to the original but is a fun take on modern high school life wrapped with fresh empathy and optimism.

4. Society of the Snow ***½: This is based on the Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes mountains and their fight for survival as they wait to be rescued. This actually does a much better job of making us feel their emotional turmoil and exploring the toll the events have on the survivors than the original movie of this event, Alive. You get to know the character much better this time and it does a good job of exploring their faith and how life-changing the choice was to eat the dead to survive. Easily one of the best Netflix originals and definitely should be tracked down.

3. Orion and the Dark ***½: I didn't ever expect Charlie Kauffman to write the screenplay for a family movie, but this is an imaginative and adventurous animated feature. It uses dark and light to explore the need for opposing forces in life, and it is very philosophical and deep for a kids' movie but presented in a way that remains entertaining and accessible. It has an army of memorable and fun characters. Netflix has proven they are a force when it comes to animated kid movies.

2. The Fall Guy ***½: I should have written a full review of this movie. It deserves to be championed. I hope to write one before the year is done. This is exactly what I want out of a big-budget studio summer movie. Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt are fantastic together, and they are a lovable couple you want to root to be together. Gosling is a great blend of believable action star but also relatable and hilarious. There are several great stunts and action set pieces. The one negative is that it overstays its welcome, but every movie now seems much longer than it needs to be. It delivers lots of action-packed fun, and you need to support this and experience it on the big screen. It is sure to be one of the highlights of the summer.

1. Dune Part Two ****: Will Denis Villeneuve for the third time be the director of a movie that ends up being my best of the year? It is secure in that spot for now, and looking ahead, I'm not sure what can topple it. This picture was the pure definition of a sweeping epic with amazing visuals, tackling various themes, rich characters with intriguing arcs, fantastic memorable villains, and great big-scale action sequences. They don't make many adventures like this, but it is a treasure when they arrive. This is destined to be a classic that I'll want to return to many times.

Consider this my kick-off to returning to reviewing movies both in written and podcast form. I apologize for the long absence, but I'm excited to catch up on what has been missed and delve into what should be an interesting rest of 2024 in movies.