December 2013

A couple of famous Oscar winners in 1939.

A couple of famous Oscar winners in 1939.


This is a companion piece to three different series.  The first is the The History of the Academy Awards, in which I covered each category in individual posts.  This was originally done in 2009 and additions were included in 2010.  You can find links to all of these pieces in each individual category.  I have grouped all of the categories together for the same reason that I did so originally – because most pieces on the Oscars don’t approach the awards through the categories, but through the years.  This specific piece is designed to take a closer look at the decade (with a couple of extra years, since there was no point in doing a separate piece on the first two years of the Oscars) and how I think the Academy did in those years.

The second series is my Year in Film series.  That is mentioned here because in those pieces I included paragraphs about the Oscars as a whole for each year and included a considerable amount of trivia.  Since I had based my Year in Film series and eligibility as such on the Academy calendar, it all seemed very relevant.  Also, starting in 1930-31, I started including various prizes (Worst Oscar, Worst Nomination, Worst Omission, etc) and I didn’t want to repeat myself, so following the links will bring you there.  Those links are at the end of this piece, where I do a brief summation of each year and how the Academy did.

The third series is my History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture series, where I reviewed every film ever nominated for Best Picture (except The Patriot, which is lost).  Those links are also down below, grouped by year. (more…)

Dick Brunt (1943-2013), at Mammoth, with Jenny Bothwell, Cody Johnson and Tony.

Dick Brunt (1943-2013), at Mammoth, with Jenny Bothwell, Cody Johnson and Tony Lu.

When I was first looking at colleges towards the end of my junior year of high school, I talked it over with my History teacher at the time.  I told him I was considering going to Occidental.  He reminded me that it was his alma mater, which I acknowledged that I knew.  He also reminded me that it was a sports rival to the schools that all three of my older siblings had attended or were attending.  I told him I was aware of that as well.  He asked me if I still wanted to major in History.  I told him that I did.  He asked me what my plans were.  I told him I was planning to get a History degree, get a teacher’s credential and come back to teach US History.  He said that he would just about be ready to retire by then and that it sounded fine to him if I came back to replace him. (more…)

Jean Gabin and Marcel Dalio escape the war in The Grand Illusion (1937, eligible in 1938).

Jean Gabin and Marcel Dalio escape the war in The Grand Illusion (1937, eligible in 1938).

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated.  The Academy added one category this year – splitting Score into Score and Original Score, though they are vague over what the precise difference is.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Grand Illusion
  2. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  3. Bringing Up Baby
  4. Pygmalion
  5. You Can’t Take It With You


There's no scene like this in the original story, but really, who cares?

There’s no scene like this in the original story, but really, who cares?

My Top 7:

  1. Bringing Up Baby
  2. Pygmalion
  3. You Can’t Take It With You
  4. Merrily We Live
  5. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  6. Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife
  7. The Citadel

Note:  Remember that this list is in order of my rank for the Screenplay, not for the film itself.  Otherwise, Robin Hood would be first.  But the wit and humor of the other scripts manage to overcome the script for Robin Hood, a film that is lifted in its overall quality by its direction and technical marvels.  Also, remember that while four of these films were nominated for Best Picture (You Can’t Take It With You, which won, Pygmalion, Robin Hood, Citadel), Merrily We Live was not, and yet received more nominations than three of the four Picture nominees listed and the other two films (Bringing Up Baby, Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife) weren’t nominated for any Oscars at all.


I have this poster.  It's not currently on one of our walls because it's enormous.

I have this poster. It’s not currently on any of our walls because it’s enormous.

Surely he’s insane, you think.  Top 100 Songs?  Do they even have 100 songs?

Well, to be precise, they have 223 235 songs that I considered for this list.  That includes the 131 142 different songs on the band’s 12 13 albums, 40 b-sides from the various singles over the year and 52 rare songs that have either been on soundtracks, tribute albums, compilations or were unreleased until the box set in 2006.

Note:  This update is coming in July of 2015, and all the updated bits are in red (except the links, which are in blue because of some formatting issues).  I could have done one much earlier – in October of 2014, say, when Songs of Innocence and Experience was released.  But, first, I wanted to give more time to listen to the album.  Second, I just saw U2 in Boston and have now had the chance to hear all the best songs off the album live.  So, I am reposting this with updates since the original post came out.  The list now covers 107 songs because I didn’t want to just lop the songs off the bottom of the list.  So, my Top 100 really begin with “Kite”.

So why would I waste my time with such a list, certainly some people are thinking.  And for those people who want to just trash on U2 or say how much they dislike them that’s fine, but I’m going to delete your comments.  Feel free to comment on something else.  Just skip the list.  If you disagree with my choice, if you say, like the band but don’t like my #1 song, well, feel free to comment.  I’m always up for the discussion. (more…)

The best children's book ever?  Yeah, I'll go with that.

The best children’s book ever? Yeah, I’ll go with that.

The Wind in the Willows

  • Author:  Kenneth Grahame
  • Published:  1908
  • Publisher:  Methuen & Co.
  • Pages:  302
  • First Line:  “The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.”
  • Last Lines:  “But when their infants were fractious and quite beyond control, they would quiet them by telling how, if they didn’t hush them and not fret them, the terrible grey Badger would up and get them.  This was a base libel on Badger, who, though he cared little about Society, was rather fond of children; but it never failed to have its full effect.”
  • Film Version:  numerous  –  see below
  • First Read:  sometime in childhood