swI have always been a proponent of the idea that I can separate what I think is brilliant from what I personally enjoy.  Let’s just look at 2015.  I think that Carol and The Revenant were the two best films of the year.  But if I’m going to sit and watch a movie from 2015, odds are it will be The Force Awakens (this is borne out by the fact that I’ve seen Carol twice, The Revenant all the way through once and The Force Awakens, at a modest count, 21 times complete plus the final 20 minutes about 15 more).

To that extent, I have finally culled together a list of my 100 Favorite Films, the ones I am most likely to sit still and watch, or at least not change the station if I come across them.  They’re not heavy Drama.  In fact, when I went through the genres, only one film on the entire list is one that I classify primarily as Drama (Casablanca).

It’s really hard to do this kind of list when you’ve seen as many films as I have (14,000+).  I put it together by going through year by year and adding films, and once I hit 100, knocking off the films at the bottom.  When I first read Veronica a list of 50 films, I then pointed out that those were the 50 I was about to delete because they didn’t make the list and she was stunned.  “But you love those films!” she pointed out.  “But I love the Top 100 even more,” I replied.  It was very, very tough.  Though they are easily two of the greatest directors of all-time if not the two greatest directors of all-time, not a single Kurosawa or Kubrick film ended up on the list.  There is no Bergman.  There is no David Lean.  The Ealing Comedies and the Hammer Horror, both of which I love so much I wrote about them only have one film each.  I did For Love of Film posts for James Bond (1 film) and Star Trek (2 films).  It’s really, really hard to narrow it all down. (more…)

No matter what, it's the best soundtrack of the year.

No matter what, it’s the best soundtrack of the year.

For the last several years, I have been putting together a piece on Oscar trivia on the morning of the Oscar nominations and I will do so again this year.  In fact, my initial piece, in 2010, is the reason for the biggest day in this blog’s history – because it had a picture of Kathryn Bigelow, and on the night of the Oscar ceremony a month later, it got swept up in Google searches for her once she won and a blog which normally gets around 1000 hits a day suddenly had 8000 hits in the space of about 12 hours.  My previous pieces of Oscar trivia can be found here (2010), here (2011), here (2012) and here (2013).  I also did a piece on DGA trivia last year and the year before.

So, with a couple of days left before the Oscar nominations, I’ll throw up some trivia I have noticed about this year’s awards groups already. (more…)

Marty directs Leo on how to beat the hell out of Matt. Oh, and he finally wins an Oscar.

My Top 20:

  1. The Departed
  2. Children of Men
  3. Pan’s Labyrinth
  4. The Fountain
  5. The Queen
  6. United 93
  7. The Prestige
  8. Army of Shadows
  9. Casino Royale
  10. Tristram Shandy
  11. Volver
  12. The Lives of Others
  13. Stranger Than Fiction
  14. The Painted Veil
  15. Blood Diamond
  16. Sophie Scholl – The Final Days
  17. Joyeux Noel
  18. Perfume
  19. Brick
  20. Thank You for Smoking

(more…)

My Harper Perennial Classic copy of Great Expectations

Great Expectations

  • Author:  Charles Dickens  (1812  –  1870)
  • Rank:  #35
  • Published:  1861
  • Publisher:  Chapman & Hall
  • Pages:  495
  • First Line:  “My father’s family name being Pirrip and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.”
  • Last Line:  “I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw the shadow of no parting from her.”
  • ML Edition:  Modern Library Classics (2001) – surprisingly, never in hardcover
  • Film: many – most notably 1946 (**** – David Lean), 1998 (*** – Alfonso Cuarón)
  • First Read:  Spring, 1989 (more…)