thirteen fantastic movies & what i thought of them.

I did a post like this last year, so I decided to do it again!

Now, before you start saying, “Thirteen movies?!  Well, GOSH, Ashley – you spend so much money on movie tickets!”

  1. I wasn’t allowed to go to the theater much when I was little because (a) there wasn’t much I could see and (b) because my parents always had to pay for my ticket and, because of that, (c) they always had to be slightly interested in the movies as well, so now I go fairly often because I have a car and money to pay for myself.
  2. I never get popcorn or drinks.  (However, I did manage to sneak in a Starbucks frappucino this year.  #win)
  3. I didn’t pay for some of these tickets.  (PRAISE THE LORD FOR PARENTS & PARENTS OF KIDS I NANNY.)
  4. I go at the cheap times.  Every day from 4 to 5:30 at my theater is $6.  BOOM.
  5. I like movies.

Let’s do this thing.  (Links to the trailers are in the movie titles.)


God’s Not Dead 2 | 1/21

Well.  This one was a colossal flop.  I didn’t even want to talk about it at all when I saw it, and did an April Fools post mainly consisting of Kevin McCreary’s review of it.  I can’t even remember most of what I thought about it, but I know I didn’t like it.  My dad got tickets to a super early screening because he’s a pastor (#perks) and we talked about it on the way there, basically laying out our (super low) expectations and what we wanted it to ultimately do.  It barely met my expectations, and, well, let’s just say that I got more out of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World than this movie.  Not only were there some issues with the court sequence (you cannot have surprise witnesses.  the end.  go home.), there were major issues with the basic story as well.  The one thing I did like, however, was that the hot lawyer (whose face almost made driving 45 minutes to go see this movie worth it) didn’t become a Christian at the end.  I know that may sound awful of me, as a Christian, to say that I’m glad someone didn’t become a Christian.  But think about it – how many movies have you seen where the meek, submissive, Christian main character influences his/her non-Christian rivals so much that they radically turn from their heathen ways and go to church, ending up raising their hands with tears streaming down their faces?  TOO MANY.  And that’s all I’ll say.  For more, watch Kevin’s actual review.  It’s totally worth an hour of your time.  (And this is the longest paragraph.  Obviously.)


Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens | 1/28

HECKLES YES.  Back to the good stuff.  So, I had already watched this movie a month before with my relatives, but my friend Katelyn and I wanted to see it again.  So we did.  Four girls (including us and my two sisters) going to a Star Wars movie sounds pretty awesome to me, especially since we spent half of it whispering about how hot Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver are.  (“You know… I can take anything I want.”  *entire row bursts out laughing*)  And there were only like ten people in the theater, including us, so it worked out marvelously.


Captain America: Civil War | 5/5 & 5/15

SWEET. BUTTERED. CRUMPETS.  What a masterpiece.  What an absolute cinematic masterpiece.  I saw it the first time with my siblings and a friend, and then again with my siblings, my dad’s intern, and Morgan and her sisters.  (This is when we sneaked in our frappucinos.)  Such a good movie.  I loved it so very much.  See my actual, non-fangirly review here.


Finding Dory | 6/18

I saw this one with friends after exploring World of Coke in Atlanta, and it was super fun!  Our group totally symbolized the majority of the movie’s audience, since our group consisted of six people with ages ranging from sixteen to twenty-five.  We fell in love with Finding Nemo when we were little and gosh darn it we were absolutely gonna see Finding Dory as soon as possible.  I loved it so much.  It actually made half of us cry – that one scene with all the shells, guys.  I’ve heard people say that it’s not as good as the first, but I don’t think they can be compared.  They’re both fantastic movies.  I watched it again on Christmas Day and remembered how much I liked it.  It’s about family and persistence and bravery and it’s just so good.


The Secret Life of Pets | 7/8

I took my little twins I nanny to see this one, and I think someone went with us (their grandma, I think?), but I can’t remember.  (Stupid brain, lol.)  I thought this movie was cute!  A little confusing, but still adorable.  I wasn’t planning on watching it, but I couldn’t pass up free tickets to see an animated movie that may or may not be good.  I’d watch it again with my younger siblings, if only for Kevin Hart’s adorably hilarious bunny character.


Star Trek Beyond | 7/24

Goodness gracious.  This has to be one of my favorite movies of the entire year.  I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, but I’ve really enjoyed the reboots.  (Call me what you will, but the original show is so cheesy!)  Even though it was tainted in my mind because of Anton Yelchin’s tragic death the month before, it still made me laugh, sit on the edge of my seat, and even tear up a little.  From what I’ve seen of the show, Beyond was more in the vein of the classic episodes, and contained significantly less objectionable content than the other movies.  Because of that, it just worked.


Pete’s Dragon | 9/2

I took the twins and my younger sister to see this one, and I knew it would be good, but it absolutely exceeded my expectations.  I’ve always been a Karl Urban fan, but Slightly Evil Lumberjack Karl Urban?  Um, YES PLEASE.  (The first time he came onscreen, my sister and I reached across the two kids between us and waved fingers at one another with excited looks on our faces.)  That, combined with Seneca Crane and Opie’s daughter… yep.  Fangirling about actors aside, it was just beautiful in a cinematographic sense as well.  I loved how they altered the story slightly, and I didn’t miss the songs ’til the credits started rolling.  It’s like the classic, but it’s a little more green and focused on slightly different aspects of the story.  And I was crying in the first scene, if that says anything.  (They showed Pete’s parents dying.  Like, heck no.  Why, Disney.  Why.)  Definitely would’ve liked to see this one in the theater again, but at home will have to do.


Doctor Strange | 11/8

YIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS.  Honestly, this is one of the cleanest Marvel movies ever, and I have no idea why.  There’s not much language, no sensual stuff, and very little blood.  And when you add BennyC into the mix… wow.  I really enjoyed this one – so much, in fact, that I wrote a critical thinking journal entry on it (a school project, which I got a great grade on).  I haven’t done research to see if the director is a Christian, but there are definite allusions to the Bible and Christian themes.  The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of females in it.  The Ancient One is, I think, female (played by Tilda Swinton {aka the White Witch}), but the character might’ve been ambiguous, and the only other girl is Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams.  McAdams did well in the role, but the role itself isn’t that great.  Christine saves his life once with medical assistance, but she’s barely in fifteen minutes of the movie.  I like my female characters to be kick-butt and awesome.  Besides that, I really liked this one.  Not my favorite Marvel, but not my least favorite either.


Hamlet {National Theatre Live} | 11/15

I saw this with two friends when I was in Florida for a week.  It was actually perfect timing because I already had to read Hamlet and then watch a production of it, and it was so much fun to go to a coffee shop, read the play, then go see the movie (and be able to say “Yeah, I read the play this morning; no biggie.  Now I’m going to see the version with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Again, no biggie.” when, in fact, it was a biggie).  This is, by far, the most expensive movie ticket I purchased this year ($20), but it was oh. so. worth. it.  The show itself was almost four hours long, and I can’t remember if that included the intermission or not.  I did a three-page review of this for school, and I could ramble almost that much just about Ben’s performance.  (It’ll be the basis on which I judge all other Hamlets.)  The sound production alone had me and my friend fangirling.  Every time he’d soliloquize, the sound would go “FubwubwubwUBWUBWUBWUBWUB” and everybody would slow down and the spotlight would be on Ben and it was just absolutely amazing.  And if anyone has a bootleg, I will send you both of my novels right now in return for it.


Fantastic Beasts | 11/17

To be completely honest, I didn’t initially like this one when I left it, but I’ve since realized that it’s still pretty good, regardless of the issues I had with the story.  (Spoiler-free, I feel like it was two different stories that met together in the last ten minutes of the movie.)  I still loved Newt, though.  He’s the best thing to happen to Harry Potter since Deathly Hallows Part 2.  So good.  I’ll probably go watch it again and see if my opinion’s changed.  My favorite part of the movie, however, was the fact that I went with a big group of friends, and half of us dressed up in 20’s costumes.  So. Much. Fun.


Moana | 11/27

OKAY SO I LOVED THIS ONE.  I knew I’d love it ever since I heard about it last year – and, um, hello, it’s LIN, so what’s not to love?!  The music was, obviously, phenomenal.  Loved the cast, loved the story, loved the animation (so beautiful).  I didn’t feel like I was watching a kids movie, which is exactly what I was hoping.  The story was so precious and so relatable – and I LOVED the fact that Moana’s story isn’t centered around a guy.  She’s a princess, but she’s not looking for a prince, and I think that puts her a cut above all of the other princesses.  I mean, I love all of the Disney princesses, but her story seems so much more pure because her story has to do with doing something meaningful to benefit her people, not sleeping while waiting for true love’s kiss or waiting for a prince to find her or falling in love with the guy who keeps her imprisoned in a castle.  (Yes, this is my feminist side coming out.  #dealwithit)


Hacksaw Ridge | 12/10

This was the first R-rated movie I’ve seen in the theater.  I went with my dad for my birthday and he loved it almost as much as I did.  Truth be told, I knew very little about the story when I saw it (I saw the trailer when it first came out, but by the time I saw it, I’d forgotten what was in it), and that makes me even more glad that I watched it because it was amazing and so inspirational!  It’s based on a true story about a guy who saved dozens upon dozens of soldiers during WWII.  I loved the fact that they portrayed his faith and his stance against violence and war without demeaning him for it or making him look stupid.  And it stars Andrew Garfield, so obviously it was amazing.


Rogue One | 12/28

I went into this one with pretty low expectations – not because I didn’t think it would be good (I knew it would be), but because I’m still not much of a Star Wars fan.  But hooooooo boy.  SO GOOD.  I adored it, actually.  By the end, I was shipping characters so hard that the only thing keeping me from yelling “JUST KISS HER ALREADY!!!” was the fact that my fourteen-year-old cousin was sitting a few seats over and I didn’t want to set a bad example.  For real, though, it blew almost every other movie I’ve seen this year (in the theater at least) out of the water.  The story was so unique and the characters were all so wonderful.  GAH.  I loved it.

What do you think of my list?  Have you seen any of these?  Want to fangirl with me?!

24 thoughts on “thirteen fantastic movies & what i thought of them.

  1. Oh wow! You have fantastic taste in movies!

    I think I probably with agree with just about all of these–except those I haven’t seen yet but have now moved to the top of my list! My favorites off this list would probably be Moana, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America: Civil War and Finding Dory.

    I just wanted to say I found your blog via a sort of friend of a friend of a friend? This post was enough to make me decide to follow you!

    • Haha thanks! 🙂

      NICE. SAME. They’re allllllll SO good! 2016 was a great year for movies!

      PS: Aww you’re so sweet! Thank you! Welcome to the chaos, lol.

  2. I think you may need to re-title this. It threw me when it said “13 Fantastic Movies” and then the first movie was one you were clearly far from impressed with. I do appreciate the pun/play on words tho. 😛

  3. I’ve heard the Hamlet is really good!

    Yeah, Rogue One was amazing! And Civil War. Hacksaw Ridge was pretty intense. I agree, I liked how they portrayed his faith but almost didn’t make a super big deal out of it. It was just very matter of fact and very refreshing to see. 🙂 I wanted to see Finding Dory and Star Trek but never got a chance too. Although I think they’re both out on dvd now, so maybe a movie night is in my future. 🙂

  4. Glad to know it’s not a good idea to watch God’s Not Dead 2! My only incentive (that I never acted upon) was seeing pastor Dave being arrested in the trailer (I love that character so much, so I was worried about what was going to happen to him). I’ve seen The Force Awakens (although I did that back in ’15), Civil War, Finding Dory, and Rogue One. Now I am convinced I am the only person in the world who does not ship Jyn + Cassian. From what I could tell in the movie, they were not romantically attracted to each other (they hated each other in the beginning), and I’m tired of the cliché “the two main characters must fall in love by the end of the movie”. Although I do ship their platonic friendship. Just not their romantic relationship. Can’t we just have characters who don’t fall in love? is it too much to ask from hollywood and the fandom?
    ranting aside,(don’t be offended. please) I really really *really* want to see Doctor Strange (because Benedict Cumberbatch, and the trailer is just awesome), Fantastic beasts (also awesome trailer, also Eddie Redmayne, also Hufflepuff), and Moana (main plot not romantic, animation (I’ve seen a few snippets from the movie), and last, but not least, Lin :D)
    p.s. I really like your blog 🙂

    • HA, well that *literally* didn’t happen until a tag scene in the end (see all of Marvel’s post-credits scenes). #falseadvertising #God’sNotDead3

      LOL! I’m sure you’re not the only person. I don’t think my sister ships them either. It’s okay, though. I totally understand why you’re not eager to ship them! (I’m tired of that trope too!) (And I’m not offended at all! 🙂 ) They’re all SO GOOD!

      P.S. Thank you!!

    • Not the only person! I don’t think I ship anyone romantically in Rogue One. I find it really refreshing that they could just be in a platonic relationship 🙂

  5. I don’t go to movies much at all–I’ve only seen Finding Dory out of this list! Although I normally don’t like animated movies, I really really loved it. I want to see Fantastic Beasts!

    • Animated movies are such hit-and-miss. Sometimes they’re super cheesy (like Secret Life of Pets) and sometimes they’re SO GOOD (like Finding Dory). Fantastic Beasts is amazing! A must-see for any Harry Potter fan. 🙂

    You saw Bitterroot Cuddlesnatch in Hamlet LIVE?!?!?! *wipes away bitter tears of jealousy* My friends went to see it… TWICE. And I curled into a ball at home and died.
    We’re going to see Rogue One today so I am prepared to let my heart be crushed. But seriously those stUPID PINTEREST SUGGESTED PINS SPOILED EVERYTHING ANDNOWIKNOWHOWITALLENDSANDICANT

    • I DIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDD. (Well, it was a pre-recording, but yes “live.”) AHH TWICE?! JELLYYYYYY. It was so good in the theater. Amazing sound design, like I said. Amazing sets, costumes, and FREAKING AWESOME ACTORS. Incl my main man, BennyC.

      AHH STUPID PINTEREST. Stupid Pinterest ruined it for me too but I didn’t care bc I didn’t think I’d like it but then I DID and well. Now I’m dead inside.

  7. Ah yes, MOVIES :D. We never went to the movies when I was a kid either..too expensive. 😦 My dad gets free movie tickets from his work now, though, so we’ve actually been going to the theater a lot more, which is awesome! I saw several of these in the theater, which was great.

    God’s Not Dead 2- okay, despite all the hate about the first one, I actually half liked it. However, I have pretty much zilch interest in seeing this one…so no comment. Not my type of thing.

    The Force Awakens- So. many. mixed. feelings. I really liked the first half, and I love Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8, but I had some major annoyances with the plot, and as a HUGE fan of the original trilogy, it ruined some of what I love about those movies. So I guess the things I like about this one I REALLY like, but the things I don’t like I REALLY hate.

    Civil War: Fabulous Marvel movie. Of course. But also really stressful.

    Finding Dory- I shamelessly went to see this for my birthday. I loved it! I’m actually not a huge Finding Nemo fan (I’m more of a Monsters Inc. kinda girl) but I definitely thought this one was as good (if not better) than the original. I COULDN’T HANDLE THE SHELL PART. I JUST COULDN’T.

    The Secret Life of Pets- I didn’t see this one. I’m not an animal movie person, and it looked like it had some potty humor, which is a major pet peeve of mine (no pun intended 😉 )

    Star Trek Beyond- Great!. The first Star Trek movie I’d seen in the theater, and I went with friends, which was fun. But I admit Anton Yelchin’s death made it bittersweet.

    Pete’s Dragon- Not one I was terribly interested in, even with Karl Urban and Bryce Dallas Howard, so I don’t have much to say about it.

    Dr. Strange- Haven’t seen this one yet, but I want to.

    Hamlet- WELL I’M JEALOUS. I love Hamlet, and Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome, so I would have loved to have seen this one.

    Fantastic Beasts- I don’t “do” Harry Potter, so I didn’t see this one either. (although those 1920s outfits look fabulous, I’ll admit)

    Moana- I. Still. Haven’t. Seen. This. One. Ahhhh. I really want to, though. It looks great. (Although I’ve totally got to take you to task a bit, since while a romance-less movie is a nice change, I don;t think an inclusion or exclusion of it makes a movie good (or pure) or not….and I could write a thesis on why Beauty and the Beast is more than about a girl falling in love with a guy who’s keeping her prisoner…but that’s just my B&B obsession [and my anti-feminist side, haha] coming out. BUT I WON’T ARGUE WITH YOU.

    Hacksaw Ridge- so I didn’t really know this movie existed until a few weeks ago, but I’ve heard really good things about it since then.

    Rogue One- Totally, totally one of my favorite movies this year. I loved it so darn much. My favorite Star Wars film since the originals. I will fangirl about this one with you until the end of time. (And I’m pretty sure I was doing a lot of shipping there too. I’m not going to lie.) But yeah…I loved all of the characters so much. I’m definitely buying this one when it comes out on DVD.

    • SAME. I’m so happy for you! YAY FOR MOVIE LOVERS. 🙂

      Both GND movies had redeeming qualities but I hate it when people tout them as the best thing to happen to Christians. Um, haven’t you seen, like, literally. any. other. Christian. film?! Ugh. *rolls eyes* I will probably never watch it again.

      Totally understand about TFA. It wasn’t for everyone. I know absolute fans who despised it, and absolute fans who thought it was the greatest thing ever. I didn’t adore the older movies, but they’re nostalgic for me, which is pretty major in my book. 🙂

      THE SHELL PART IN FINDING DORY THO. I was a gross, sobbing mess. It was so heartwrenchingly beautiful.

      HAMLET WAS AMAZING. And I just found out that a friend has a bootleg so muahahahaaaaa.

      Moana is beautiful and everyone should see it, amen and amen. And lol I know BatB isn’t about Stockholm Syndrome, I just like messing with people. XD We all have our opinions. 🙂

      Hacksaw Ridge is SO GOOD. You should ClearPlay it, though, because it had way more violence than I’ve ever seen. (However, that doesn’t mean I won’t recommend it bc it’s such a good movie.)

      YESSSS. Loved Rogue One so much. It literally blew me away. I couldn’t even. (And I’ll be getting it too!)


    Rogue One!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was really hoping it would be good–but I had NO IDEA just how good it was going to be. It was absolutely one of the single best films I’ve seen this year, and it made the #7 spot on my all-time favorites list. IT BLEW MY MIND. I walked out of the theater in a literal daze and didn’t really wake up again for the next 24 hours. The story . . . the characters . . . aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggghhhhhhhhhhh.

    I was shipping ’em too. And they did not kiss, and I was sad. But they are still one of my #OTPs forever. *sheds single tear*

    (Also can we talk about what a frajabulous hardcore DRAGON OF FEROCITY Jyn Erso is????? Because I loved her. And Cassian is my precious cupcake. And I want to be Chirrut Imwe when I grow up.)

    I am completely, 1000% behind you on “Moana” and how important it is that she’s NOT looking for a prince. Romance is great, romance is special–but we already have sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many stories out there already about young female characters that focus mainly or exclusively on romance. We need more stories–like “Moana”–that show you it’s OKAY to have other priorities if you’re a girl. It’s OKAY if you’re not looking for a man. It’s okay, too, if you don’t actually get married in the end!!!! You’re a special individual with your own unique gifts and talents, and your worth should NOT be determined solely by whether you “find your prince” or not. It’s your faith and your heart and your compassion towards others that truly counts; and this movie showed that, so beautifully.

    And the music!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I freaked out when I heard Lin sing in the theater (even though I KNEW it was coming). That boy is a genius.

    Did you have a favorite scene? Mine was DEFINITELY the last part, with Te Fiti and the “Know Who You Are” song. It was . . . it was perfection. The end.

    • Rogue One is sooooo goooooooddddddd. Can’t wait to see it again. I loved every minute of it. JYN IS SO GREAT AND CASSIAN IS SO GREAT.

      YES ABOUT MOANA. I loooooooved it for ALL OF THOSE REASONS. YES YES YES. okay that is all. (Also, Lin is precious and needs to be protected.)

      Ooh I loved that scene too! I loved all of the songs/scenes but I think Moana’s second song with her grandma was my favorite. “I am a girl who loves my island…” ❤ ❤ ❤

      • Protect. the. cinnamon. roll. #hamiltrash 🙂

        I know!!!!! I had listened to the soundtrack beforehand, and I LOVED that song–but still, the audio track in no way prepared me for what I saw in the actual scene. I was like, “Whoops okay I’m dead now.”


    Cassian + Jyn = Jynssian. It’s an AWESOME couple name that a friend came up with. AND SERIOUSLY. I LOVED THE ENDING SO MUCH AND I CRIED SSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HARD. Rogue One is, was, and ALWAYS will be my favorite movie with my favorite couple in it. ❤ ❤ ❤ *extreme fangirling*

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