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…)

Probably my mother's favorite movie, at least in part because Chris Cooper actually plays the hero.

Probably my mother’s favorite movie, at least in part because Chris Cooper actually plays the hero.

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 12 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Lone Star
  2. Trainspotting
  3. The English Patient
  4. Fargo
  5. Hamlet
  6. Secrets & Lies
  7. Jerry Maguire
  8. In the Bleak Midwinter
  9. Cold Comfort Farm
  10. The Crucible
  11. Romeo + Juliet
  12. Emma

Analysis:  There are a lot of years that have a better #1 film than Lone Star.  But not many have a better #2 than Trainspotting.  Even fewer have a better #3 than The English Patient.  The Top three films are tied with several others years for third best to-date (behind 1946 and 1950).  But Fargo is the best #4 film to-date (actually, it’s almost certainly the best #4 film ever).  And only a handful of years have a #5 film as good as Hamlet.  As a result, this year is tied with 1946 for the best Top 4 to-date and Top 5 to-date (and, probably, all-time).  There is a three point drop after that, so it’s only the second best Top 6, then another two point drop.  But, because all 10 films are ****, it is in the 6th best Top 10 to-date, behind only 1989, 1960, 1994, 1962 and 1991.
One thing I must make mention of here.  I don’t count documentaries, as I have mentioned in the past.  That is particularly relevant in this year, a year in which I actually went to see two documentaries in the theater (The Celluloid Closet, Looking for Richard) and there are a couple of others which are phenomenal (When We Were Kings, Paradise Lost).  I went with 12 films because this is my whole list of **** films.
Two of these films rank among the films I have watched the most over the last 20 years (Trainspotting, In the Bleak Midwinter). (more…)

Oskar Schindler watches in horror the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto.

Oskar Schindler watches, in horror, the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto.

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 12 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Schindler’s List  **
  2. The Age of Innocence
  3. In the Name of the Father  *
  4. Much Ado About Nothing
  5. A Perfect World
  6. The Remains of the Day  *
  7. My Neighbor Totoro
  8. Nightmare Before Christmas
  9. Three Colors: Blue
  10. Shadowlands
  11. In the Line of Fire
  12. Menace II Society

Analysis:  Schindler’s List crushes all previous Consensus records.  It sweeps the six major critics awards (a first) and wins all 10 awards.  While its total nominations have been beaten, the two other films which would sweep the critics awards (L.A. Confidential, The Social Network) would lose the Oscar and PGA and still fall short of the 10 wins for Schindler.  It still holds the Consensus record for points and it earns 49.19% of all the points, while no other post-1947 film has earned over 40%.  Even with the addition of the BFCA and the expansion of the guilds, only one film has managed to earn more total awards points in the years since (The Social Network).  Schindler’s List, even without the BFCA is still 9th all-time in total awards nominations and 2nd in wins (behind only Sideways).  It is still 5th all-time in total critics points.
It kills me to have to pick between Schindler and The Age of Innocence.  This is the second year in a row where the top two films have the same score.  The Age of Innocence is the best #2 in this category since Annie Hall.
This list has all twelve of the **** films for the year. (more…)

The poignant, tragic ending of Glory - my #1 film of 1989 since the day I saw it in the theater.

The poignant, tragic ending of Glory – my #1 film of 1989 since the day I saw it in the theater.

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 12 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Glory
  2. Field of Dreams
  3. Henry V
  4. Born on the Fourth of July
  5. When Harry Met Sally
  6. Say Anything
  7. Crimes and Misdemeanors  *
  8. The Little Mermaid
  9. Do the Right Thing  *
  10. My Left Foot  *
  11. Dead Poets Society  *
  12. Heathers

Analysis:  This is my favorite year in film history, partially because it was the year when I first became seriously interested in film, but also because it’s such a damn good year.  It’s not a coincidence that I own eight of these top 12 films (plus several more farther down the list – Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen).  The Top 5 is tied with several other years for third best to-date.  But things stay strong outside the Top 5.  This year is tied for the third best to-date for the Top 6, is the second best for the Top 7, and then is the best to-date for the Top 8 on down.  The average of the Top 10 is 94.8, which is higher than the Top 5 average for the year before.  The Little Mermaid is the best #8 film to-date while Crimes is the best #7 film since 1946.  Though, that didn’t translate at the Oscars where they nominated and even gave the Oscar to Driving Miss Daisy (though they made very strong choices with the other four).
Yes, that’s right, Born on the Fourth of July didn’t even earn a Consensus nom for Best Picture.  It came in sixth, mainly because the critics were so divided (six awards split among five films, with only Do the Right Thing winning multiple awards) and the BAFTA going to Dead Poets Society.  That makes this the only year after 1933 in which none of my top 5 are Consensus nominees.  With Driving Miss Daisy easily winning the Consensus (Oscar, NBR, Globe – Comedy, PGA wins, BAFTA nom), it is the last winner until 2000 to fail to make my Top 10. (more…)

Robert Altman on the set of Prairie Home Companion with his "standby director", Paul Thomas Anderson, who agreed to that role for insurance reasons.  In between is some actress.

Robert Altman (#33) on the set of Prairie Home Companion with his “standby director”, Paul Thomas Anderson (#28), who agreed to that role for insurance reasons. In between is some actress.

This is the penultimate ranked list of those directors who have been nominated for Best Director by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  This is part 8 of the series, with one part still left to go.  As always, you can find the previous seven posts in this series by going here.  There is also an introduction here, which explains the scope of the project as well as my scoring system.  I have been focusing on finishing this series this year, both so that I go do the bi-annual update of the Top 100 Directors of All-Time and because I want to do it before another Oscar season and some more directors potentially end up needing to be ranked.

In a reversal of the last group, these are the more experienced directors.  With the exception of four Studio Era workhorses, the 25 directors in the last post had only averaged 7.76 films.  This time, we have seven directors (Lucas, Olivier, Coppola, Fosse, Malick, Mendes, Anderson) who have only directed a combined 39 films – an average of 5.57 (I’ve seen all but two of those – the two now out or about to be in theaters).  The other 18 directors have averaged 19.83 films – or if you cut out Lynch, Branagh and Leigh, you have 15 directors who have made 325 films (21.67 each), of which I have seen 308.  I have also seen 95.2% of these films – only missing more than one film by Renoir (4) and Capra (9).  And the only film I’m missing from both Truffaut and Malle are on TCM in the next month.  And this just about caps it for the less experienced directors.  The only director in the last post with fewer than 10 films to his credit is Tarantino.

The other demarcation point between this group and the final group is the number of great (****) films they have directed.  Of the final 25, only one has directed fewer than 5 great films – Francis Ford Coppola, at #25, and he’s got four.  Only four others have directed just five – Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles (both of whom have smaller amounts of total films), Clint Eastwood and Elia Kazan.  But how many directors have directed more than five great films and aren’t in the top 25?  Just five – all of whom are here: Stephen Frears (which is how he ranks this high), Steven Soderbergh, Pedro Almodóvar, Frank Capra and Francois Truffaut.  They all have six great films.  All sixteen directors who directed more than six great films are in the final group. (more…)

Beauty and the Beast during their best song in the film ("Something There"). The best Animated Film of the 90's.

1990  –  1999

Total Films I’ve Seen:  1217

Films That Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  53

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  The Shawshank Redemption

Film of the Decade:  GoodFellas

Worst Film of the Decade:  Showgirls

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  Braveheart

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  North

(more…)

Kris Kristofferson threatens Matthew McConaughey in a tense moment from Lone Star (1996)

My Top 20:

  1. Lone Star
  2. Trainspotting
  3. The English Patient
  4. Fargo
  5. Hamlet
  6. Secrets and Lies
  7. In the Bleak Midwinter
  8. The Crucible
  9. Jerry Maguire
  10. Cold Comfort Farm
  11. Romeo + Juliet
  12. Evita
  13. Emma
  14. Star Trek: First Contact
  15. Beautiful Girls
  16. Everyone Says I Love You
  17. Breaking the Waves
  18. The Birdcage
  19. The People vs. Larry Flynt
  20. Ridicule

(more…)