Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XX:

The Cannonball Run

  • cannonballrunDirector:  Hal Needham
  • Writer:  Brock Yates
  • Producer:  Raymond Chow
  • Stars:  Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLouise, Farah Fawcett, Roger Moore
  • Studio:  20th Century-Fox
  • Award Nominations:  Razzie – Supporting Actress (Farah Fawcett)
  • Length:  95 min
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  19 June 1981
  • Box Office Gross:  $72.17 mil  (#6 – 1981)
  • Ebert Rating:  .5
  • My Rating:  **.5
  • My Rank:  #57 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Guilty Pleasure
  • First Watched:  on television
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  5-10

As a Kid:  It wasn’t just this film – there was also Smokey and the Bandit.  Both of them were films I watched a number of times as a kid, both of them star Burt Reynolds and were directed by Hal Needham, a former stunt driver and good friend of Reynolds who directed a considerable number of films with Reynolds as the star, many of them terrible.  Perhaps the reason I watched both of them so many times lies in the rating – they were both rated PG.  Neither film is really one you want a kid getting too attached to given the basic immorality of their plots; in the first, Reynolds is trying to illegally sneak a large truck’s worth of beer across the border while in this film, it’s about driving across the country as fast as you can, speed limits and safety be damned. (more…)

Get ready for Series 10 with our Doctor lists.

Veronica’s Intro: I started watching Doctor Who because of Harry Potter.  I was rewatching Goblet of Fire for the umpteenth time and found myself thinking, “Barty Crouch Jr. is a really horrifying character, but the guy playing him is really compelling.” Okay, I may not have used the word “compelling,” but you get the idea. All I really knew about him was that he played Doctor Who and that a new season (or series if we want to be British about it) was coming to BBC America. Ironically, it was 2010, so the first episode I watched was The Eleventh Hour featuring Matt Smith, not David Tennant. And while I still have a huge crush on David Tennant, I don’t actually love his Doctor, but I appreciate that he’s what drew me in. I do, however, love Smith’s Doctor because he is a clown and all of my favorite Doctors are clowns: Troughton, Smith, and McCoy. Granted, they are clowns covering up deep pain and immense power and intrigue, but you never doubt they care for their companions and that they trying to make things better, even when they are running away.

Erik’s Intro:  I wrote more on the Doctors than Veronica did because writing is my thing.  I first started watching Doctor Who when I was a Freshman at Brandeis and I met a group of like minded geeks and we would gather to watch that and Black Adder on Saturday nights.  I never really took to Adder like I did to Who.  Watching those Fourth Doctor adventures, with Sarah Jane Smith as a companion was great fun and nights like those were really the only things I missed when I decided to leave Brandeis after just one semester.  It was after Veronica got into watching Matt Smith that I insisted we should do it right.  We started with the halfway measure, watching from the start of the new series, but after catching up (in 2012), we bounced all the way back to the beginning and began everything with Hartnell and did it right.  And long, as it took us five years. (more…)

The best film in what is one of the best years in film history.

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 (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers  *
  2. Gangs of New York  *
  3. Spirited Away
  4. Talk to Her
  5. The Pianist  **
  6. The Hours  *
  7. Minority Report
  8. Y tu mamá también
  9. Chicago  *
  10. Adaptation
  11. Road to Perdition
  12. Solaris
  13. The Quiet American
  14. Catch Me if You Can
  15. 8 Women
  16. Heaven
  17. Lilo and Stitch
  18. 24 Hour Party People
  19. Spider-Man
  20. Sunshine State

Analysis:  This year is a bit of an oddity.  First, for the first time in five years, the five Oscar nominees are also the five Consensus nominees.  But, much more strangely, for the only time after 1965, the Consensus winner (The Pianist) doesn’t have the highest raw total, but its weighted total turns a 20 point deficit to Chicago into a 10 point advantage.  The Pianist has three wins (BAFTA, NSFC, BSFC) among six total noms (Oscar, Globe, BFCA) while Chicago wins four awards (Oscar, Globe, PGA, BFCA) and earns one other nom (BAFTA).  It will be another decade before the second place film is even within 100 points of the 1st place film.  This is also the first time we have two films that go 0 for 5, earning nominations from all five awards groups (Oscar, PGA, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA) and winning none: Gangs of New York and Two Towers.  There won’t be another year with two such films until 2008. (more…)

Miyazaki’s amazing vision still stands as the best winner in the history of this category.

The 75th annual Academy Awards, for the film year 2002.  The nominations were announced on February 11, 2003 and the awards were held on March 23, 2003.

Best Animated Film:  Spirited Away

  • Lilo and Stitch
  • Ice Age
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
  • Treasure Planet

Most Surprising Omission: n/a

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  n/a

Rank (out of 16) Among Best Picture Years:  #14

Oscar Score:  100

Alternate Oscar Score:  96.4 (more…)

Kayce at the Bat

sometimes people leave you, halfway through the wood
do not let it grieve you, no one leaves for good
s sondheim

I am really big on favorites.  Ever since I was really little, I have always had favorites of everything.  My favorite book is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  I love the way it dives back into the back story of Voldemort before moving forward with a plan of how to finally finish him.  But who knows?  The final book isn’t coming out until next year probably and I may love that one more.  My favorite song is “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  That’s the influence of my Uncle Kyle who has been playing Springsteen for me since before I can remember.  My favorite movie is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because I love how it makes Lupin (who is my favorite character in a book) and Sirius come to life but a close second favorite is Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is definitely my dad’s favorite movie and which is probably the movie I’ve seen the most.  My favorite scene from a movie is the one that makes me cry every time: the ending of Spider-Man 2, because when Mary Jane says to Peter “isn’t it about time somebody saved your life” it reminds me of the last thing my mom said to me.  But my favorite comic book character is Batgirl.  My uncle has a lot of Batman comics and there’s a lot of Batgirl, and she’s cool and she reads (because she’s a librarian) and she kicks butt and she’s smart.  She’s awesome. (more…)

"Your future's all used up." The line doesn't go with this scene, but neither that line nor this scene are in the original novel. All that great work comes from Welles.

“Your future’s all used up.” The line doesn’t go with this scene, but neither that line nor this scene are in the original novel. All that great work comes from Welles.

My Top 10:

  1. Touch of Evil
  2. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  3. Separate Tables
  4. The Horse’s Mouth
  5. Vertigo
  6. Therese Raquin
  7. The Last Hurrah
  8. The Bravados
  9. The Horror of Dracula
  10. The Brothers Karamazov

Note:  There are 13 films on my list.  Me and the Colonel is reviewed because its was a WGA nominee and the other two are listed down below. (more…)

Hungry Heart


I can not stand.  I try for five minutes while he is in the shower.  I know his schedule, the preciseness of his timing, how he shaves first, filling the sink with water while lathering his face, then turning off the water.  It’s a safety razor and has been since the day I tried to use his razor blade.

He starts with his neck, moving from the right to the left, then does his chin, then his upper lip.  He then moves the razor to his left hand and does his left cheek.  Putting the razor back into his right hand, he shaves his right cheek.  He then lets the water drain as he dries his face.

He turns on the shower, then cleans the whiskers from the sink.  From the time he turns the shower on, I will have nine minutes before he will turn off the water and reach for his towel. (more…)