April 2019

SALIERI: Mediocrities everywhere – now and to come – I absolve you all. Amen!
[He extends his arms upward and outward to embrace the assembled audience in a wide gesture of benediction]. Scene 19

My Top 10

  1. Amadeus
  2. A Passage to India
  3. The Killing Fields
  4. Under the Volcano
  5. A Soldier’s Story
  6. 1984
  7. The Bounty
  8. The Bostonians
  9. Once Upon a Time in America
  10. Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes


Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XXV:

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


  • Director:  Steven Spielberg
  • Writer:  George Lucas  /  Willard Huycks  /  Gloria Katz
  • Producer:  Robert Watts
  • Stars:  Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri
  • Studio:  Paramount
  • Award Nominations:  Academy Awards (Visual Effects, Original Score); BAFTA (Visual Effects, Editing, Cinematography, Sound)
  • Length:  118 min
  • Genre:  Fantasy
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  23 May 1985
  • Box Office Gross:  $179.87 mil  (#3 – 1984; #10 – all-time on original release)
  • My Rating:  ***.5
  • My Rank:  #10 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Opening
  • First Watched:  on television when it first came to cable
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  10 or so

As a Kid:  Growing up, it was easy.  Raiders was the absolutely brilliant film.  Temple of Doom was the disappointing, far too dark film whose story wasn’t nearly as interesting.  Then Last Crusade came along and made everything fun again, not to mention providing a story (the Holy Grail) that I was really interested in. (more…)

In some ways, they couldn’t appear more different.  The Other Side of the Wind was filmed in the the 1970’s (some in the early part of the decade, some in the middle), considerable portions are in black and white, it’s filmed mostly within a house, uses many people whose primary profession wasn’t acting and is clearly a film that was only fully constructed in the editing room, over four decades after filming was completed.  The Man Who Killed don Quixote was filmed just two years ago with one of the great British actors currently at work and a rising star who is the current villain in a massive franchise and a recent Oscar nominee.  Indeed, while few of the actors in the former have much on their acting resumes, four of the main actors in the latter film combine four of the biggest films franchises in history (Star Wars, Pirates, Marvel Cinematic Universe, James Bond).  It clearly had more of a budget, is shot on incredible natural scenery in Europe and started filming just over two years ago.  Yet, the films are also so much alike and their stories are so painfully similar that it makes you weep to see the shit that inhabits so many movie theaters every week given how long it took these two fantastic films to even be seen. (more…)

With the horrible events of yesterday and my Century of Film: Horror almost ready to post, I want to remind people of the greatest film version of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Notre-Dame de Paris.  The original Lon Chaney version (not the first film version but the first feature-length version), and still, by far, the greatest film version of the novel (a novel well worth reading by the way if you have never read it – I own and have read multiple translations and recommend this one) is a movie that demands to be seen.  It’s all over my Horror post, in the Top 20 all-time and landing in multiple categories in the Top 5.  If you have never seen it, you should do so right now and it’s easy to do because it’s in the public domain which means you don’t have to wait for Netflix or your local library – it’s right here.  I wrote a full review of it once as the most under-appreciated film of the Silent Era.

I know that you Oscar voters get suckered in for Best Picture but Best Original Screenplay? Really?

The 91st annual Academy Awards, for the film year 2018.  The nominations were announced on 22 January 2019 and the awards were held on 24 February 2019.

Best Picture:  Green Book

  • The Favourite
  • Roma
  • A Star is Born
  • BlackKklansman
  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Green Book
  • Vice

Most Surprising Omission:  If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  First Man

Rank (out of 91) Among Best Picture Years:  #30 (more…)

There isn’t a shot with all three of them in it and it didn’t seem right to leave one of them out. The best, wittiest and most hilarious film of what was actually a great year for films.

My Top 20

  1. The Favourite
  2. First Man
  3. Roma
  4. If Beale Street Could Talk
  5. A Star is Born
  6. BlackKklansman
  7. Cold War
  8. Black Panther
  9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  10. Mary Poppins Returns
  11. Avengers: Infinity War
  12. Incredibles 2
  13. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  14. Capernaum
  15. A Quiet Place
  16. Stan & Ollie
  17. Shoplifters
  18. Paddington 2
  19. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  20. The Other Side of the Wind

This is the best Top 5 in five years but it’s the best Top 6 since 2006.  In fact, BlackKklansman is the best #6 film since 2005 and one of the best ever.  It’s the best Top 10 since 2007. (more…)

Since the character of Garrett doesn’t even exist in the novel, this scene clearly isn’t in the novel.

My Top 10

  1. Terms of Endearment
  2. Betrayal
  3. Educating Rita
  4. The Right Stuff
  5. The Year of Living Dangerously
  6. The Dresser
  7. Reuben Reuben
  8. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

note:  That’s it.  Just eight films.  And there’s really a big drop-off after the Top 5.  Actually, there’s really kind of a drop-off after the Top 3.