October 2009


melies_trip-to-the-moon_1902

One of the first great film images: the rocket landing in the eye of the Moon in George Méliès' A Voyage to the Moon (1902)

Back in January, I decided to write a several part series on the history of the Academy Awards which turned out quite nicely for the blog.  The final post, my personal ranking of the Best Picture nominees is far and away the most successful post we’ve ever had on the blog.  But the main reason I wrote it (aside from a plethora of Oscar knowledge and the desire to write about it) was that most places that talk about the Academy Awards do it in terms of years instead of categories.  I felt there was a space to be filled in providing for context in terms of each category.  I feel there’s a kind of gap there as well when it comes to talking about film, year by year. (more…)

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So I went to Spanish class with Thomas today and it turned out fine. They played a series of games focusing on nine Spanish nouns (why he needs to know worm and snail, I’m not sure, but hey, it’s vocabulary). He was wiggly and not particularly verbal, but with me there he wasn’t any more of a handful than the other kids.

Unfortunately the afterschool daycare isn’t going to work out. The ratio of teachers to kids is just to great for him to be there. They were willing to take him for an hour until they go to recess, but that would only be 3:15. I’d need to leave work an hour early to get him, or Erik would not be able to work full shift (which was the whole goal in trying daycare in the first place).

Another positive however is that Thomas is going to start going to start going to music class tomorrow with one of the other kindergarten classes, and he is going to start going to one of the other classrooms twice a week for one of their sessions. We are hoping to build that up to daily soon.

Most people who read the blog for the family updates have already seen his kindergarten picture, but just in case I thought I’d post it here as well.
2009-09-29_kindergarten_picture

I’m taking this opportunity now that Erik has completed his director’s list, but hasn’t started his year in film list to post another family update. My job continues to be good. I’ve been a little unfocused lately, but still able to get some work done. Erik is finishing up his first week at the Brookline Booksmith. He is much happier there than at Borders.

It’s been a very busy week for Thomas. First of all, we are trying out the on-site afterschool daycare program. We visited one a week ago, and he went on Monday and Friday. The director still hasn’t said that they will accept him, but he has been doing better than she expected. We are going to send him next Monday and Friday, and hopefully he will settle into the routine more so that the director feels she doesn’t need to have a teacher shadow him so closely. If he gets accepted, it will really free up Erik’s schedule to take on more hours at work.

We also signed Thomas up for afterschool Spanish lessons on Thursdays. This hasn’t gone so well. The first week he had a potty accident and ended up spending much of the time in his classroom with his regular teacher. This last week was pretty much a fiasco with Thomas running all over and finally being sent to the principal’s office since his regular teacher was out sick. The principal tried calling me at work and on my cell phone to come pick Thomas up immediately, but I was in a meeting (and at the time my phone didn’t ring at the front desk-this has since been rectified). He didn’t try calling the home phone or Erik’s cell phone however, so Thomas ended there until the normal pick-up time. At that point the principal told Erik that Thomas was “not appropriate” for the class and basically that he was kicked out. It was probably good that Erik picked him up, because if the principal had said that to me there is a strong possibility I would now be banned from the school grounds. Anyways, I was able to write the director of the Spanish program and it became VERY clear that she and her teachers had no idea Thomas is autistic, nor how to deal with an autistic child. They are, however, willing to try again if I attend the class with him to keep him focused and settled down. So this upcoming Thursday I will be taking him to the class and hopefully that will work out better. If this works out, the only issue is that I have a standing meeting on the second Thursday of each month, but maybe we’ll be lucky and Erik can take him those days.

Akira Kurosawa

the dividing of lands scene in Akira Kurosawa's final masterpiece: Ran (1985)

the dividing of lands scene in Akira Kurosawa's final masterpiece: Ran (1985)

  • Born:  1910
  • Died:  1998
  • Rank:  1
  • Score:  941.80
  • Awards:  BAFTA / 2 NBR
  • Nominations:  Oscar / DGA / BAFTA
  • Feature Films:  30
  • Best:  Rashomon
  • Worst:  Sanshiro Sugata Part II

Top 10 Feature Films:

  1. Rashomon – 1950
  2. Ran – 1985
  3. The Seven Samurai – 1954
  4. Ikiru – 1952
  5. Throne of Blood – 1957
  6. Stray Dog – 1949
  7. High and Low – 1963
  8. The Hidden Fortress – 1958
  9. Kagemusha – 1980
  10. The Bad Sleep Well – 1960 (more…)
4 of the Top 100 in one picture: Martin Scorsese receiving his Oscar from three close friends: Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg

4 of the Top 100 in one picture: Martin Scorsese receiving his Oscar from three close friends: Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg

THIS LIST IS NOW SUPERSEDED BY THE 2.0 VERSION OF THE LIST, WHICH YOU CAN FIND HERE.

With only one director left to go (and if you haven’t figured out who it is, you’re not paying attention), this is a good time to throw up the complete list.  I’ve gone ahead and provided links to all the directors, as well as listing what particular film I decided to focus on.  It was not always necessarily their best film, but rather the one I wanted to write about.

The first thing is, if there is a director here you were expecting to see and didn’t see them, you can go back to my Introduction, where I mention various directors who didn’t make the list and why.

Second, I will probably do a revision of this list sometime after the Oscars.  Because cumulative awards points are one of the categories I have used to make this list, I will re-calculate everyone after the awards season has concluded.  Also, in December, TSPDT re-does their list (they do it annually) and I will also be changing some point totals based on those re-calculations.

Third, almost certainly at some point, some younger directors will start to make the list.  Sofia Coppola finally has a fourth film in post-production, and unless it’s a complete disaster, she will be making a future version of the list.  Several other directors who were mentioned in the Intro still haven’t made a fourth film and at least three of them have just come out with their third films this year, but they will probably make a future version (those include Joe Wright, Stephen Daldry, Rob Marshall and Spike Jonze).  If I have someone who moves up the list, I will do an individual post for that director, with whatever rank they have acheived, and then will re-list all the ranks in the next February re-calculation.

But that’s it for now.  Here’s the complete initial list: The 100 Greatest Directors of All-Time.

(more…)

Martin Scorsese

Ray Liotta, Oscar winner Joe Pesci, Catherine Scorsese (Marty's mother) and Robert De Niro in what is widely considered (including by me) to be the best film of the 90's: Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas (1990)

Ray Liotta, Oscar winner Joe Pesci, Catherine Scorsese (Marty's mother) and Robert De Niro in what is widely considered (including by me) to be the best film of the 90's: Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas (1990)

  • Born:  1942
  • Rank:  2
  • Score:  928.90
  • Awards:  Oscar / DGA / BAFTA / 2 Golden Globes / 2 NYFC /  LAFC / 3 NSFC / 2 NBR / 2 BSFC / 2 CFC / 2 BFCA
  • Nominations:  6 Oscars / 7 DGA / 7 BAFTA / 7 Golden Globes / 3 CFC / 3 BFCA
  • Feature Films:  20
  • Best: GoodFellas
  • Worst:  Boxcar Bertha

Top 10 Feature Films:

  1. GoodFellas – 1990
  2. Raging Bull – 1980
  3. The Age of Innocence – 1993
  4. The Aviator – 2004
  5. The Departed – 2006
  6. Mean Streets – 1973
  7. Gangs of New York – 2002
  8. Taxi Driver – 1976
  9. After Hours – 1985
  10. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore – 1974 (more…)

Steven Spielberg

it doesn't get any cooler than this - Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

it doesn't get any cooler than this - Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

  • Born:  1946
  • Rank:  3
  • Score:  928.70
  • Awards:  2 Oscars / 3 DGA / BAFTA / 2 Golden Globes / 2 LAFC / 2 NSFC / NBR / 3 BSFC / CFC / 2 BFCA
  • Nominations:  6 Oscars / 10 DGA / 4 BAFTA / 10 Golden Globes / 3 BFCA / 3 CFC
  • Feature Films:  25
  • Best:  Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Worst:  1941

Top 10 Feature Films:

  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981
  2. Schindler’s List – 1993
  3. Munich – 2005
  4. Jaws – 1975
  5. Minority Report – 2002
  6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – 1977
  7. Saving Private Ryan – 1998
  8. Empire of the Sun – 1987
  9. Amistad – 1997
  10. A.I. – 2001 (more…)

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