Monday, June 04, 2018

Knott's Berry Farm on the Super Cheap for One Day from Las Vegas

Well, I went to Knott's Berry Farm in June, and this technique worked great!

We got our Megabus tickets leaving Las Vegas at 1 a.m. from the South Strip Transit Terminal. We mostly got $5 tickets, but we did have a couple of $10 tickets because I ended up having to change weekends.

We were dropped off at the same ARTIC Sports Complex and picked up bus 15 from there and paid for a day pass with the Token Transit app. Bus 18 only runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to and from Disneyland, so that was one difference to keep in mind. We walked over to IHOP and ate breakfast and then picked up the bus 18 at 9 a.m. The bus runs every hour from there, and they even stop it in the middle of the day, so that means it picks up at 9, 10, and 11. We were able to get into Knott's Berry Farm before 10 a.m., even though it says it doesn't open until 10. Be sure you purchase your tickets ahead of time on the app or online. We paid $50 on the app versus the $79 price it is at the gate.

The bus stops and picks up down the block from the entrance of Knott's Berry Farm. The bus ride takes about a half an hour, so that means that on the Knott's Berry Farm side, the bus picks up starting at 4:30 p.m., so we could take the one at 8:30 or 9:30 p.m. We chose to get the bus back at 8:30 p.m., just to make sure we got back. We timed the bus trips, and the bus from the ARTIC Complex to Disneyland takes about 15 - 20 min. The bus from Disneyland to Knott's Berry Farm takes about a half an hour. Since we split the morning one up with eating at IHOP, we didn't get a good idea about what time they pick up and drop off.

On the way back, we went from Knott's Berry Farm straight back, and it ended up taking over an hour if you include waiting at Disneyland for bus 15. Bus 15 runs every 20 minutes. So even though we got on the bus at 8:30 at Knott's Berry Farm, we didn't get back at the ARTIC Complex until about 9:40. We watched, and we theoretically could have come back on the 9:30 p.m. bus from Knott's Berry Farm, but it really is cutting it close. There was an Angel's game that night, so traffic wasn't normal. The bus 15 we saw got back about 5 or 10 minutes before the Megabus came and left at 10:50 p.m. So theoretically you could take the 9:30 p.m. bus from Knott's Berry Farm back, but that is cutting it close. The total price of this trip per person was $80.13 plus food and gas to Las Vegas. That included park tickets and bus tickets. So, that's a pretty good price for a day of fun!

Next up, I'm going to go to an LA Rams game. I'll update about that when I go!

Also, Megabus just added routes from Las Vegas to Phoenix for $.99. Yes, ninety-nine cents! I might try that sometime.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Disneyland on the Super Cheap for One Day from Las Vegas

I think that self-driving cars are a fantastic idea. I want them to become prolific in my lifetime. It has been my dream for quite some time to be able to get off work on Friday and get in the car in my pajamas and wake up somewhere else, like Yellowstone or Disneyland or Universal Studios or Knott's Berry Farm. Self-driving cars could increase travel and tourism exponentially. At least for me.

Anyway, I discovered something that's close, but not quite the same as that, and it's a really cheap option. Enter Megabus. Maybe you've heard of it, and maybe you haven't. Well, they are famous for their $1 fares, which honestly are really hard to get, even though I snagged one my first time trying. Most of the tickets I got were actually $5, which is also insanely cheap. They charge you $3.50 per transaction when you buy the tickets, so it's best to buy them all at once if you're trying to save.

Megabus does have a route in the West that was perfect for me. I live close enough to Las Vegas, and I saw that they had a route that goes to Southern California, stopping in Riverside, Los Angeles, and Anaheim. How does this fit into my dream? Well, they have a trip that leaves Las Vegas from the RTC South Strip Transfer Terminal at 1 a.m. and arrives at 9 a.m. in Anaheim (I live in Utah, so it's 2 a.m. my time!). I decided to try to live "my dream" by driving to Las Vegas Friday night, boarding the bus, sleeping on the bus, waking up in Anaheim, and going to Disneyland. I decided to try California Adventure for the day, though, since I wanted to ride California Screamin', they were closing Paradise Pier for refurbishment the week after I was going, and I hadn't been on the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride yet. The return tickets on the bus were for 10:50 p.m. that night.

I knew some of the problems of the trip ahead of time:

1. 1 a.m. is late (2 a.m. for me!), and buses are not hotel rooms, so we would likely be tired at California Adventure, as we didn't expect to sleep well on the bus.

2. 9 a.m. is arriving at the bus station in Anaheim. We would still have to actually get to Disneyland from there, so we would get to the park after everyone else and miss the shorter lines that you get when you're there as the park opens.

3. Not having a car or hotel room would mean we would have to figure out the food situation for all the meals.

4. We would need to leave the park early to make sure we got back to the bus station in time.

5. Driving home exhausted after two nights on the bus was going to be scary.

How did the trip go? It actually went pretty well!

These are the things we did to combat the above problems:

1. We ate dinner on the way to Las Vegas at a casino buffet, so we were really full for the bus ride. We all took water and snacks. If you don't prepare, the bus stops each way in Barstow or Baker (I can't remember which because I was sleeping) at a gas station, so you can use the facilities and get more drinks or snacks if you under-prepared. Since I was pretty full and tried to sleep, I only drank water and didn't feel the need for snacks. We also took stuff for breakfast. I took granola bars and an apple. Some people took frozen Go-gurts, string cheese, Rice Krispies treats, muffins, etc. We had enough snacks. I also took floss, a toothbrush, and toothpaste because I really can't stand un-brushed teeth. My teeth get really gross after a while and especially after sleeping.

2. I took a jacket that collapses into a pillow. The rest of my friends took travel pillows and blankets. When I do it next time, I'll probably take a travel pillow and blanket or a travel pillow and jacket.

3. We figured out the bus routes ahead of time. Megabus drops off at ARTIC station that's located close to the Angels Stadium. They pick up and drop off at bench #11. You can ride bus route 15 (Artic Sports Complex Line) from there (picks up at bench #13 or #14), and it drops you right off at Disneyland after a stop or two. My suggestion if you're just going for the day is to download the mobile app called Token Transit and pay on there for a day pass. It's $5.50 for the day per person or something like $3 each way. I downloaded the app and paid for all five of us. Then you just have to show the driver your app when you get on the bus.

4. We left the park at about 9:30 p.m. to pick up the bus (bus route #15) to head back to the ARTIC station. One thing we noticed was that it was best to get there early because then we could pick our seats on the Megabus, instead of being the last ones on the bus. I suggest being there an hour in advance, both to and from Anaheim. The absolute latest you should leave Disneyland is 10 p.m. because the time it will take you to get back to the Artic Station may be slower in the evening due to traffic.

With all of these things, our trip went really smoothly. Here are some additional tips if you decide to try it!

1. Parking at the RTC South Strip Transfer Terminal is free as of my writing this. However, you do need to make sure nothing is in your car because it seems like they get people breaking into cars there sometimes. Also, you are supposed to fill out a form if you are leaving your car there for longer than a day.

2. Realize that these are extremely cheap bus tickets in the middle of the night. I cannot vouch for the characters who will be on the bus with you. We had a woman who was constantly crying out, which made sleeping difficult. I think she needed a doctor for whatever pain she was having. She and her husband got in a big fight with the employee because they hadn't paid for a ticket for their infant son. You have to buy a ticket for everybody, even if babies sit on your lap. It was resolved when my friend said they could use our extra ticket (one of my friends backed out at the last minute, which is more likely when you just buy $5 tickets). All was well after that. Also on the way home, the person across the aisle from me was completely plastered. So I wouldn't necessarily suggest this cheap trip for children. But really, I did notice that there were a bunch of Chinese tourists on the bus from Las Vegas to Anaheim, and they were all fine of course.

3. The bus stops in Riverside first, then Los Angeles, then Anaheim. It also arrives at its destination, entirely subject to however traffic is that day. Mondays through Fridays they post 9 a.m. as the time due to traffic, but since we went on a Saturday, we actually got there right around 7 a.m. We were excited about this because California Adventure opened at 8 a.m., and we ended up being there as it opened. I also suggest downloading the Disneyland app and purchasing your tickets on there so you can go straight to the entry turnstiles.

4. We rented a locker at California Adventure. This adds an extra cost to the trip if you rent one. I think it was $15 for the day, but it was nice to stow our blankets and pillows and toothbrushes in there. Our stuff just barely fit.

5. We ate all our meals except breakfast at California Adventure. You may have an issue with the price of the food, but one thing to remember is that there are some items that can be easily shared with another person. Also, I've basically enjoyed everything I've eaten there. Just know what you like and get that. I hate hot dogs, so I would never get one. Follow your taste buds and you won't regret the cost.

6. Pack light. Seriously. I had this tiny bag with only a bottle of water and my toothbrush/toothpaste/floss, which I would have been okay with carrying around in my purse. I would take a blow-up pillow next time, but that's the only thing I'd change. Well, maybe I'd take a charger for my phone, since I used my phone a lot and almost ran out of batteries. Megabus does have electrical outlets, so you can charge your phone on the bus, as well. Two of the guys with me said they would pack less next time. If you forgot something or need it, they probably have it for sale at Disneyland.

7. If you're trying to take your family on the best Disney Vacation EVER, don't do this. Drive down, get a hotel and enjoy yourselves. This is meant to be a one-day quick trip technique. If you have a family, it's probably actually cheaper to drive down. The joy of this technique is not having to drive and instead of staying in a hotel, sleeping on the bus. Doesn't sound like the best vacation, right? Right. It's a quick day trip and nothing more than that.

8. I'm not going to lie. When we got back to Las Vegas I was SO TIRED. I could not have driven home if I had been the one driving. Since I wasn't the driver, I was out snoring and drooling in the back seat. The driver was so tired the whole time. You get back to Las Vegas around 4:50 a.m. Since I live in Utah, we had to drive back, and it was 5:50 a.m. our time. This was the worst part of the trip. I am so grateful for my friend who drove. If you're planning on making it to 9:00 a.m. church and live where I do, you're not going to make it, even if you don't have to stop for gas at all. You can definitely make 11:00 church, though.

9. To get the $1 or $5 fares on Megabus, you have to book them right when they go on sale, which could be four months in advance or two months in advance. It really depends on when they release them. You have to watch. I'd say the average is three months in advance, but for Christmas season, I think it's even sooner than that. You don't have to sleep on the bus, either. They have routes during normal awake times.

Total cost of the trip to Disneyland including the ticket? $150.50 per person plus gas to Las Vegas and meals!

10. You can also use this technique easily for the following touristy things in Southern California at any time:

Disneyland - Take ART bus 15 from the Anaheim ARTIC station straight to Disneyland.

Knott's Berry Farm - Take ART bus 15 from the Anaheim ARTIC station and switch to bus 18 on the Buena Park Line either at Disneyland or Anaheim Convention Center Grand Plaza (Disneyland is easiest). See my post about the time I went to Knott's Berry Farm on the super cheap for one day from Las Vegas.

Angel's Baseball Game - Just walk from the Anaheim ARTIC station to the stadium. It's basically right there.

Universal Studios Hollywood - Get off the Megabus at Los Angeles, which is at Union Station. Take the red line metro toward North Hollywood, and it takes about 20 to 25 minutes to get to the Universal City stop. Map You have to buy a TAP pass for $1 and load it with money for the fare. The day pass is $7. I think each ride is like $1.75.

Dodger's Baseball Game - Get off the Megabus at Los Angeles, which is at Union Station. Take Dodger Stadium Express. Apparently your ticket counts as your bus fare. Or you can walk if you feel like walking 2 miles.

I'll report back on these. I'm going to do Knott's Berry Farm in June and maybe Universal Studios later this year! Otherwise, enjoy your day trip!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The 2017 Movie Post

I'm finally getting to write about this. Better late than never? I actually didn't see many movies in 2017, and even one of these I actually saw in 2018. Oh well, I feel like I still should write this!

Here are my previous years' posts: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

I think that the amount of movie watching that I do directly correlates to how much my friends at the time like seeing movies and also how much I fly on planes. The more I fly, the more I tend to watch movies. In 2017 I actually flew some red-eye flights, so I slept instead of watched movies. I think I only watched 12 movies from 2017. And it was harder to write this post this year because Netflix doesn't do stars anymore. They do thumbs up and thumbs down, which is annoying for purposes of doing this list because I can't go back and see how many stars I gave them. This is hard. Welp, here it is!

1. Murder on the Orient Express - I remember reading this book a long time ago, but somehow I didn't remember the ending of it. Well, I love a good mystery, and this movie kept things mysterious. While a lot of the characters were pretty one-dimensional, I still enjoyed the portrayal and the delivery of the movie. It was a delightful movie that was imaginative with beautiful scenery and costumes.

2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi - This was not my favorite Star Wars movie. In fact, it might be my least favorite, but I still enjoyed it. I liked some of the humor but also the seriousness of the movie. Kylo Ren is one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe. He's whiny like Anakin and very volatile, but there are times when you're like... this guy is redeemable. I think that's why his relationship with Rey is so interesting. He plays with her mind, and she tries to save him, but then he kind of turns against everything again. It's so frustrating but also brilliant.

3. The Greatest Showman - I know that a lot of people love this movie, like they gush over this movie. That is not me. That being said, I really enjoyed this movie. This is the best chick-flickish movie I've seen in a while. I absolutely love what they did with the relationship of P.T. and Charity Barnum. In fact, I enjoyed most of the relationships of the film. The conflict of the movie was real and relatable, and I liked how everything wrapped up nicely, but not in a way that isn't realistic. Problems and conflict still existed at the end, but everyone was able to move on with their heads held high with confidence that they tried and would try again. They also discovered the positive things of their lives and saw the beauty in the journey and in their relationships with each other. I liked this movie. Oh, and the music and dancing was good.

4. Dunkirk - I guess that I was already bugged by the spelling of the movie because my awareness of Dunkirk began when I actually traveled to Dunkerque. The French spelling, to me, should have been used. We English-readers can all read it with its real spelling. Anyway, my opinion is that the story of Dunkerque was actually one of the greatest single stories of the entire war. So the story for me was and has been a huge thing. It is one that can evoke emotion and is symbolic of humanity's ability to accomplish miraculous things when everyone is willing to work together, no matter how small a part they play. Somehow, though, the portrayal didn't quite hit the gravity of the story and situation for me. I don't know if it's because of the theater environment when I saw it, or missing the part where one of the stories was one hour, another one day, and another one week and all of it ultra-chopped up together, or if it's just because I had high expectations that weren't quite fulfilled. I think this movie deserves a rewatch, but when I heard the story the first time, I cried, and watching this movie evoked very little emotion from me.

5. Split - First of all, I think that this is a movie that anyone with a history of sexual abuse should not watch. It is quite disturbing in a lot of ways and would probably cause bad memories to surface. However, it was also creepy and suspenseful and scary, which is what it was supposed to be. It's like a modern-day Psycho, where the antagonist is so mind-bogglingly crazy, that you feel helpless. That is a really scary scenario, and since the movie is supposed to be that way, it succeeded. I also enjoyed the reference to Unbreakable because I love the movie Unbreakable.

6. Thor: Ragnarok - This movie is like the bridge between the Avengers movies and Guardians of the Galaxy. Each of them have their own sort of feelings, where the Avengers movies tend to be more politically heavy with humor and Guardians of the Galaxy is downright wacky with a bit of seriousness. Thor: Ragnarok is serious and wacky and takes out-of-this-world creatures and attempts to infuse the flavor of the Avengers movies with some of the characters. It absolutely didn't take itself seriously and made fun of itself, and that's why I thought it was pretty good. A lot of the make up in these movies goes a bit overboard for me, though.

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming - Like I've said before, why are we continuously rebooting Spider-Man? I get that this particular Spider-Man is a goofy teenager, and you had to reboot him to get him there, but seriously. Enough. It is enjoyable, though, but a lot of the reason I liked it was because I think his friend Ned is hilarious. Also, it fits into the Avengers overall storyline.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - This movie was not as good as the first one. It was still enjoyable, but his father's planet and everything there was really wacky, along with pretty much everything else. It's such a wacky, wacky movie.

9. Wonder Woman - I liked this movie alright, but there were parts of it where I couldn't suspend my disbelief, like when she's wearing a sword down the back of her dress, and she dances with the guy, and somehow he doesn't notice that there's a sword down her dress. Also, I didn't care for the love story portion with Wonder Woman and Chris Pine's character. And I felt like the plot was really see-through. And the part at the end with David Thewlis's character was a bit garbage with the effects.

10. Cars 3 - This is probably my least favorite of the Cars movies, but it was alright still. I enjoyed the parts where they did crazy eights because I actually do enjoy demolition derbies, so I thought that part was pretty funny.

I also saw:

Beauty and the Beast - I kind of liked the art, and I kind of hated the art. It was like I was watching an animated movie, but it wasn't really an animated movie, so ultimately, it didn't really work for me. And I feel like the hamminess of some of the characters like Lefou only really works for me in cartoon form. If I'm going to watch a movie and rewatch it at home, like Beauty and the Beast, I'll be watching the animated version, which I like.

The Mountain Between Us - The guy taking the ticket at the movie theater gave away an important plot point right when my friend and I were going into the movie. I was annoyed. It bothered me through the whole movie. I also was just bugged kind of by the way it ended and that these people are dying, but then they're like, ah well, let's just break into this cabin and do it, even though we're dying and one of us is engaged. That wasn't really that enjoyable to watch.

I also saw from 2015:

Selma - I enjoyed it. I felt like it kind of abruptly ended, though.

Far from the Madding Crowd - I liked it, but I was also very frustrated by aspects of the movie. I felt so many conflicting things about it.

A Royal Night Out - I actually really enjoyed this one.

The Walk - I felt so much anxiety watching this one. I guess it's cool that he accomplished that, but WHY?!?

I also saw from 2016:

Hail, Caesar! - I don't know what I'm supposed to say about watching a movie about pretty much everyone doing crazy things and the clean up and cover up of all of it. It's really uncomfortable in a lot of ways but also interesting.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - I actually really liked it, even though some of the creatures were artistically disturbing. It was odd but good.

Love & Friendship - I didn't care for it that much. It might deserve a rewatch, but I'm not positive I'm that interested in a rewatch because one of the characters drove me nuts!

The Magnificent Seven - It was like it was going to be good, but then it ended up being kind of corny. I really need to watch the earlier version. My friend tells me it's much better.

Central Intelligence - It was really, really dumb. But it was also kind of funny.

La La Land - I liked it, but then at the end, I kind of disliked it. I'm conflicted.

Kubo and the Two Strings - It was kind of weird, but it was just barely on the good side of weird. I enjoyed it.

Passengers - I already had my tickets and had a meeting that went long, so I got there about 30 minutes in. Because I missed the beginning, Chris Pratt's character was that much creepier. I didn't know the whole time if he was an insane psycho or what, so it made it suspenseful and thrilling because I had missed the whole beginning where I saw his motivation. When I saw the beginning later, I was kind of like... oh. Meh. It was an interesting premise. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really that great, either, and there is no way they would have survived that, so I had to seriously suspend my disbelief.

Fences - It's really not that exciting to watch disfunction, but I did like the showing of good moral character of Viola Davis's character. But I also had a hard time watching Denzel Washington's character.

Lion - Really liked it.

Hidden Figures - Loved it.

Movies I still want to see from 2016:

The Secret Life of Pets
Suicide Squad - maybe
Miracles from Heaven
Queen of Katwe

Movies I might still want to see from 2017:

Shanghai Dawn
The Space Between Us
The LEGO Batman Movie
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The Dark Tower
Justice League

Coco and Wonder are the only ones I'm really itching to see. The rest are sort of like meh.

I'm in a movie slump where I'm just not that interested in sitting down to watch a movie with my undivided attention, which is the only way I can really watch new movies. We'll see how many I'll watch in 2018.

Please tell me if you have any recommendations because I'm just not feeling it lately, and I know I can count on you guys with good suggestions!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Opinion About Movie Editing

In my lifetime it seems like there has always been the debate about movie editing and the legality thereof. It is my opinion that movie studios should allow movies to be viewed with editing. Perhaps, even, they should allow and do the filtering of movies themselves. I say this because I believe it is in the best interest of the movie studios and the people.

What is the point of making movies? I mean, a lot of people would say, it's art. And it totally is, but people don't usually do or make such costly and time-consuming art unless they are going to make money doing it. People totally have hobbies, and I truly believe that people enjoy making movies, but you've gotta pay all the people it takes to make a quality movie. I mean, the sound people probably aren't going to do it for free. So, what is the real point of making a movie? It's to make money for all involved in the process.

So how does allowing the filtering of movies allow people to make more money off of their art? It allows the audience to LIKE the movie more. Maybe people would disagree, but there are apparently a lot of people who want to use the filtering service. If there are companies that make money off of filtering movies, then I would assume that studios are making money off of them, as well, even if they are being filtered in the process.

There is a movie that I originally saw back in the day when there were rental places that edited movies, like, before they were shut down. I really liked that movie when I first saw it edited. It was one of my favorite movies. Later I saw it in its unedited form. I now dislike the movie. Why? Because I ended up viewing content that I didn't like. There is some content that will automatically decrease my enjoyment of any movie, such as blood, guts, excessive swearing, most nudity, sex, puppets (especially if they're supposed to be people), claymation, etc. If I can filter a movie or watch it as a filtered movie, the likelihood that I will purchase the movie, rent it, or watch it in some other paid manner increases. I realize that I will never find a filtering service that edits out puppets or claymation, but I just don't watch most of those movies, no matter how much critical and audience acclaim it gets. I get that it's an atypical aversion.

Another thing I don't get about studios being opposed to these movie filtering companies is that they are not doing anything different than what TV stations are doing. Obviously studios allow television channels to edit movies to play them for the public to watch. What is the difference? And what is the LEGAL difference between what television studios do and these filtering companies? Do the studios make more money when television stations air them as opposed to when people rent, buy, or stream movies? I mean, I've even watched a movie on an airplane that was edited for content!

So, clearly studios allow movies to be edited (hence, rendering the art argument as invalid). I just don't understand the disconnect between TV providers/airlines having edited the movies for content and the actual individual editing a movie for what that individual knows that he/she will not enjoy. We used to record movies off of TV all the time on our VHS player. I can't tell you how many movies I watched AND enjoyed that way that I no longer view because I don't have an available way to own/view it as an edited movie. People's interests, interpretations, and tolerance for various forms of art are different. Movie studios should allow people to experience this art/entertainment in a way that they enjoy themselves.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The 2016 Movie Post

Sometimes I wonder why I even do these posts, but then I'm like... uh, I like doing them! It's fun to look back and see what I watched and what I thought at the time. I can't believe this is my twelfth year writing them. I feel old.

Here are my previous years' posts: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

I feel like I saw a lot of movies in 2016. Like, way more than I thought. This is probably due to Tightwad Tuesday making a comeback at the theater AND the fact that we have a second run theater now (and I have Netflix) (and maybe that I flew five times this year). Plus, they have $1.50 popcorn (formally $1 popcorn) at the Tightwad Tuesday theater. I'm pretty sure I eat that value in butter alone.

Here is my list for 2016. It was a hard one this year. No five stars, again. SPOILER ALERT!

1. The Finest Hours - Something struck a chord with me in this movie. I think it was the presentation of a moral dilemma about risking your own life for your duty/job and in the off chance that you could save people's lives. Obviously this movie would have been terrible had it not ended somewhat happily. I say somewhat because plenty of people still died. My job doesn't require that I put myself in physically dangerous situations. I'm not married to someone who has to do that. It was just a good real-life example of sacrifice and heroism, and it touched my heart.

2. Captain America: Civil War - I like the Captain America movies. Their plot seems to be a bit more of political commentary than the rest of the Marvel movies and can get borderline preachy, but I have truly enjoyed these movies. I like that they tend to include more of the Avengers, as well. This one was painful to watch sometimes because of the plot, but it was still enjoyable.

3. Doctor Strange - This was a bit of a strange movie. It was nice to see Chiwetel Ejiofor again. I had enjoyed him in Serenity, and I was totally waiting for him to become a debonair bad guy (wish sort of granted) the whole movie. I'm not a huge fan of all of the kaleidoscope special effects. It's like, apparently between Doctor Strange and Ant-man if you get really small or go really far into outer space, it all becomes a kaleidoscope. Sure, the special effects might be easier than making up a non-kaleidoscope scene, and the kaleidoscope can seem to represent infinity, but still. Something different than kaleidoscope view, please. Also, the cape and librarian were funny.

4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - This movie was sort of depressing and tragic. It was emotionally heavy, even for a story in the Harry Potter/Voldemort world. Somehow, though, I enjoyed it. They had enough whimsical characters and situations to prevent me from being overly depressed, but it really was more of an adult movie. Also, I feel like the plural of No-Maj should be No-Majes, not No-majs.

5. Star Trek Beyond - I'm amazed at how well this movie has kept the tone set by the other two of the series. They added Jaylah to the mix, but she was a welcome and funny addition. I hope that she is in some of the future movies. I mean, there was plenty of ridiculousness in the movie, but it still succeeded. It is such a nerdy movie.

6. Zootopia - I thought that this movie was really funny. The premise was enjoyable, as well. They put a lot of funny antics in the movie. None of it was ground-breaking, but it was enjoyable.

7. Finding Dory - I was actually not looking forward to this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised! I thought it would be a complete rehash of Finding Nemo, and it was, but it was also thoughtful, fun, and cute! It was so preposterous at some parts, but I enjoyed it!

8. Arrival - This was a thinker movie, and it was a little boring, slow, and even predictable at parts, but it was also a good movie and with an interesting premise. I am reminded of the game Pac-Man while I watch it for some reason. I am also reminded of the movie The Tree of Life. I will have to see it once again, but I probably won't be interested in watching it more than that. I liked the conclusion and the main character's choice. That was nice.

9. 10 Cloverfield Lane - This movie made me feel so tense. I was freaking out during this movie. John Goodman was so good or maybe bad or whatever! I was completely freaked out and startled at many parts of this movie. It was crazy. Is this going to merge in with the movie Cloverfield at some point? Will there be another movie?

10. The Jungle Book - I almost didn't put this here because it's a remake, and I don't want to put remakes on my list. But then again, I really enjoyed this movie. I think it's great. They did an awesome job. I love the music. I actually really, really liked Scarlett Johansson's version of Trust in Me. Lots of people were raving about Christopher Walken, but I'm more of a fan of the King Louie played by Louis Prima from the 1967 version. I actually like the music better from the 1967 version, except for the new Trust in Me version in the credits of this 2016 one.

I also saw the following movies:

Jason Bourne - This was, you know, a Jason Bourne movie again. At least they killed off Julia Stiles' character this time. Unceremoniously, I might add. So at least she won't be back. I actually did enjoy the movie, though. It was good.

The BFG - This was a great adaptation of the book. I was pleased. My nephew said that he liked the movie's ending better than the book's ending, and I think I might agree. I was glad that they didn't ruin this movie for me. It was cute!

X-Men: Apocalypse - I enjoyed this movie pretty well. The antagonist was a bit of a monster, but I liked it enough.

Moana - This was a cute movie. I wasn't a huge fan of the crab, even though it was Jemaine Clement, but overall I enjoyed the movie. There were some really good and catchy songs, and I don't think I knew that Dwayne Johnson could sing.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - This was a good movie, but I really didn't like the CGI people. I could tolerate it for the brief moment that Princess Leia had in the movie, but they really should have just used an actual human for Tarkin if he was going to have such a big role or not give him so many close ups or something. It's like I was supposed to be amazed by the ingenuity and artistry of the thing, but instead I was creeped out by the hollow-eyed non-human on the screen in a human movie. If you're going to do a mix of actual humans and cartoon, take a page from the Bedknobs and Broomsticks book, not from the Matrix millions of video game Agent Smiths book. K-2SO was funny, and Chirrut Imwe was good. I guess I'm more interested in Jedi and less interested in the Muggles of the Star Wars galaxy.

The Legend of Tarzan - This movie was sort of like Australia or Pearl Harbor. It's like it was supposed to be this epic movie, but something fell flat. It wasn't the cinematography or even the acting. All of those were fine. I think it was the plot or how they put together the movie. At the end I felt like I wasn't very invested in the movie. I'm not sure what could have been fixed, but it's almost like they were shoving the supposed epicness of the movie down my throat, and I didn't swallow it.

Ghostbusters - Overall this movie was kind of meh as far as a strict remake. Like, they didn't really need to redo Ghostbusters at all. However, it was really funny. I saw it with two different people, both of whom were cracking up out loud at parts. That is the sign of a good comedy. It truly was very funny, even though it was totally ridiculous.

Independence Day: Resurgence - Okay, so the first Independence Day was totally preposterous and funny, right? Well, this one was similarly preposterous but somehow not as good as the first one. There is a difference, but most of that difference was slight as far as the plot goes. A big difference is the time period in which they came out and the willingness of the viewers to accept the silliness of the original movie. This second one just wasn't quite as good, but I didn't think it was as bad as most people.

Pete's Dragon - I don't know that I've seen the original Pete's Dragon all at once. I recall bits and pieces of it, but I'm not sure I've seen it all the way through, so I didn't care how it compared to the old one. It was alright. With the actors that were in it, I guess I expected it to be less cheesy or something. It was quite cheesy.

The 5th Wave - I saw this because my friends were watching it when I went to their house. I didn't know what it was and hadn't heard of it. This movie solidified for me the fact that the dystopian teen movies are past their prime. That being said, this movie really wasn't bad per se, it is just victim to over-saturation of the market of that sort of movie.

Collateral Beauty - I can see how this movie was supposed to be a ground-breaking drama, but it was too see-through. I mean, who didn't know that it was Helen Mirren's character in the hospital the minute there was a conversation going on? Also, I felt like they were trying to get people to wonder if the actors were real or not, but that was lame. Just a little bit of tweaking, and this movie could have been better. I didn't like that it was trying to surprise me. My friend with whom I saw the movie was crying through the movie because it really spoke to her. She had a mother who unexpectedly died, so my friend was unable to say good-bye. So I guess if this movie is something that appeals to you and your situation, it works. I just thought it was okay.

Alice Through the Looking Glass - These movies are curious. I felt like this one was clearly made to appeal to the Chinese people. Alice even had a dress that was Chinese. The artistry was cool, like in the first movie, and the story line was different.than most, but it was just okay.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant - I didn't particularly care for this one. I think I'm not interested in the series.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - I actually thought this was alright. I love Batman, but his character was insufferable, which it was supposed to be, so I guess if you're going to have an insufferable Batman, it's okay that it's Ben Affleck. I enjoyed Wonder Woman.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 - This was an unnecessary movie. It felt contrived and was just okay. It was like a reunion show, sort of like they did in the 90s with shows like The Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island. They were also so unnecessary.

Kung Fu Panda 3 - This movie was not as good as the first two movies. It was cute, though, and it maintained the same tone as the other two, which was good.

Ben-Hur - I can't remember seeing the original one, but I'd like to watch it. I thought it was pretty good. Very violent, though.

Sully - It was good, but of course I knew most of it because I lived in the world when it happened not so long ago.

I also saw from 2014:

The Fault in Our Stars - It was really sad. It's another one of those movies that's probably better for people going through similar experiences.

Earth to Echo - It was basically E.T. and Super 8 combined.

Planes & Planes: Fire & Rescue - They were both good enough. I feel like they're the Cars movies, only planes instead of cars.

The Hundred-Foot Journey - I loved this movie.

The Giver - I don't really care for the book that much, so I felt similarly about the movie as I did the book. It was actually better than I thought it would be.

The Book of Life - I actually really enjoyed this!

Belle - I also enjoyed this movie.

I also saw from 2015:

Tomorrowland - I actually enjoyed this movie.

Creed - It was good enough.

Bridge of Spies - I really, really enjoyed this movie. It was great!

Brooklyn - I enjoyed it.

Once I Was a Beehive - It was alright.

The Good Dinosaur - I thought this was cute.

The Intern - I liked it a lot better than I thought I was going to.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials - I had no idea that this was a zombie movie. It is just okay. I think this series is slightly more interesting than the Divergent Series at this point.

Pitch Perfect 2 - Not as good as the first one but very similar.

Hitman: Agent 47 - Too violent and contrived for me.

Goosebumps - This was my first experience of any Goosebumps thing, and I actually thought it was pretty good for a kids movie. It reminded me a little of Mr. Boogedy.

Movies I still want to see from 2015:

Tangerines (from Georgia)
Still Alice
Woman in Gold
Far from the Madding Crowd
Maybe Age of Adaline
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
A Royal Night Out
The Walk

Movies I still want to see from 2016:

Hail, Caesar!
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Love & Friendship
The Secret Life of Pets
Suicide Squad - maybe
The Magnificent Seven
Central Intelligence
Miracles from Heaven
Queen of Katwe
La La Land
Kubo and the Two Strings

What did you guys think about movies this year? What are your recommendations to me?