“Smiley shrugged it all aside, distrustful as ever of the standard shapes of human motive, and settled instead for a picture of one of those wooden Russian dolls that open up, revealing one person inside the other, and another inside him. Of all men living, only Karla had seen the last little doll inside Bill Haydon. When was Bill recruited, and how? Was his right-wing stand at Oxford a pose, or was it paradoxically the state of sin from which Karla had summoned him to grace?” (p 316)

My Top 10

  1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  2. The Descendants
  3. Hugo
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
  5. The Ides of March
  6. My Week with Marilyn
  7. Jane Eyre
  8. Moneyball
  9. Incendies
  10. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

note:  A solid Top 5 and Top 10. (more…)

Screen Shot 2022-05-08 at 3.34.23 PMThe penultimate grouping of 50 has films that earn a 97 down through 2001.  After that, they are a 98.  The intro is here.  Other parts can be found here. (more…)

Screen Shot 2022-04-23 at 6.22.30 AMLists are not a new thing for me.  Lists of the best films are not a new thing for me.  I have been doing this for so long that some of my old lists look like the work of a different person.

When cleaning up stuff at my mother’s house, I took her old Macintosh to be recycled.  But it wasn’t just her old computer.  It was the family computer that we bought in 1990.  It had old homework of mine from high school and among other things, what is possibly the first (certainly the oldest in existence) list of the Top 100 Movies of All-Time made by me.  As I prepare to dive into the Top 100 (through 2011), here’s a look back at a list I can’t really explain.  I’ll add a few notes at the bottom, but suffice to say, tastes change over time. (more…)

Screen Shot 2022-04-02 at 7.29.48 AMThree parts left in the first 1000 (before the updates).  The introduction can be found here.  The preceding parts of the list can be found here. (more…)

If Beale Street Could Talkbeale

  • Author:  James Baldwin
  • Published:  1974
  • Publisher:  The Dial Press
  • Pages:  197
  • First Line:  “I look at myself in the mirror.
  • Last Lines:  “Fanny is working on the wood, on the stone, whistling, smiling.  And, from far away, but coming nearer, the baby cries and cries and cries and cries and cries and cries and cries and cries, cries like it means to wake the dead.”
  • Film Version:  2018  (****)
  • First Read:  sometime in the early 2010s


Screen Shot 2022-03-06 at 7.31.14 AMGetting close to the (initial) end of the Top 1000 list.  The introduction is here and the rest of the list can be found by going here.  Films through Inglourious Basterds (#174) are a 95 which is high ****.  The rest are a 96.  A 96 is, to me, worthy of a Best Picture win.  That means any Oscar winners from that point on, even if they don’t win the Nighthawk, earn no complaints from me.  Ironically, one of those films doesn’t even earn a Nighthawk nomination (The Hours) because 2002 is just that tough.  There are also a few films that come 5th in their years while the only actual Nighthawk winners in this post are all 95 films.  Things are so even across genres and major studios that only one film in this group of 50 is in the Top 5 all-time for its genre or major studio. (more…)

Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XXVI:

Real Geniusreal genius

  • Director:  Martha Coolidge
  • Writer:  Neal Israel, Pat Proft, PJ Torokvei
  • Producer:  Brian Grazer
  • Stars:  Val Kilmer, William Atherton
  • Studio:  TriStar
  • Award Nominations:  none
  • Length:  108 min
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  9 August 1985
  • Box Office Gross:  $12,952,019 mil  (#66 – 1985)
  • My Rating:  ***
  • My Rank:  #41 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Line Comedic  (“I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, ‘I drank what’?”)
  • First Watched:  on television when it first came to cable
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  5 entirely, the ending at least 10


Screen Shot 2022-02-12 at 9.19.40 AMAnother part of the Top 1000 films through 2011.  The introduction can be found here.  Preceding parts of the list can be found here.  All of these films are a 95, which is high ****.  All but 6 of these films (all in very good years) earned Nighthawk nominations for Best Picture. (more…)

Steve JobsSteve-Jobs-Biography-Swells-to-656-2

  • Author:  Walter Isaacson
  • Published:  2011
  • Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
  • Pages:  630
  • First Line:  “When Paul Jobs was mustered out of the Coast Guard after World War II, he made a wager with his crewmates.”
  • Last Lines:  “He fell silent for a very long time.  ‘But on the other hand, perhaps [death] is like an on-off switch.’ he said.  ‘Click!  And you’re gone.’  Then he paused again and smiled slightly.  ‘Maybe that’s why I never liked to put on-off switches on Apple devices.’”
  • Film Version:  2015  (****)
  • First Read:  late 2020


Screen Shot 2022-01-08 at 6.50.30 AMAnother part of my countdown of the 1000 greatest films through 2011.  Through Pinocchio, these are all a 94 and after that, they are all a 95.  So, high ****.  The introduction can be found here.  Previous entries can be found here. (more…)