A Century of Film
Crime Films

The Genre:

There seems to be an idea that Gangster Films and Crime Films are interchangeable.  But to me, a Crime film is more than just a Gangster Film and the latter is just a sub-genre of the former.  The Rough Guide to Gangster Movies kind of sums up the idea right away even if they are just talking about Gangster films and not Crime films:

“Every book about gangster movies has to have a working definition of what a gangster movie actually is.  And each will disagree with the other.  For the purposes of the Rough Guide to Gangster Movies, it is one in which the gangster is the protagonist, not the supporting player or bête noir of the long-suffering cop hero.” (p 3) (more…)

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A Century of Film
Westerns

The Genre:

Westerns are a uniquely American art form.  It has been said that the three things America has contributed to world culture are baseball, Jazz and Westerns.  The very start of Westerns goes back to the start of narrative story-telling in American film with The Great Train Robbery perhaps the first great narrative American film.

I had written a paragraph about what I see as the basic Western (as opposed to the sub-genres listed below) but then I found this bit on page 195 of The Rough Guide to Westerns that summed it up much better than I had:

Pulp writer Frank Gruber says there are seven essential Western plots:

  1. The Union Pacific story (the railroad/stagecoach comes to town or wagon train adventures)
  2. The ranch story (conflict between ranchers or ranchers vs. others)
  3. The empire story (an epic version of the ranch story)
  4. The revenge story
  5. The cavalry and indians story
  6. The outlaw story
  7. The marshal story.

Those pretty much sums it up.  The fifth one is a specific sub-genre below and the third one really kind of fits into the “Epic” sub-genre.  But otherwise, those are pretty much the films that don’t have a sub-genre.  Ironically, most of the films starring the biggest Western stars (also listed below) aren’t in any of the sub-genres but fit those basic story types.  You can also get much more detailed by going here, though most of what is down below you will only find here which is why I wrote all this. (more…)

If we kept watching, would it keep spinning? And would it matter?

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. Inception  *
  2. The Social Network  **
  3. True Grit  *
  4. The King’s Speech  *
  5. The Ghost Writer
  6. Winter’s Bone  *
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  8. Black Swan  *
  9. Toy Story 3  *
  10. The Town
  11. Biutiful
  12. Another Year
  13. The Kids are All Right  *
  14. Tangled
  15. Shutter Island
  16. Never Let Me Go
  17. Rabbit Hole
  18. Blue Valentine
  19. Green Zone
  20. Somewhere

Analysis:  This is one of those rare years where I have changed my original Best Picture winner.  It’s not that Social Network went down at all, but that Inception went up.  And, really, it’s a pretty close finish between the two.
The Social Network ties LA Confidential for the most Consensus noms ever (11) and no film since (through 2016) has had more wins (8) or points (845) though both are fewer than The Hurt Locker in the year before.
With seven nominees in my Top 10, the Oscar Score is 87.7, by far the highest in any year with more than five nominees (and the third highest ever irregardless of the number of nominees).
(more…)

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 15 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  I’m only going with the Top 15 because there are 15 **** films and several categories don’t even get that far.  It’s a weak year all around.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Inglourious Basterds  *
  2. The Hurt Locker  **
  3. A Serious Man  *
  4. Up  *
  5. Broken Embraces
  6. An Education  *
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  8. Up in the Air  *
  9. A Single Man
  10. District 9  *
  11. The White Ribbon
  12. The Informant
  13. Sin Nombre
  14. Coraline
  15. Revanche

Analysis:  As mentioned above, I went with 15 films because that’s how many **** films there are in this year.  That the Oscars nominated seven of them (as well as my #16 film, Precious) speaks well of their first year with 10 nominees in 66 years. (more…)

No one knows how to bring you back around better than Danny Boyle.

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. Slumdog Millionaire  **
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Wall-E  *
  4. Milk  *
  5. Revolutionary Road
  6. Rachel Getting Married
  7. Let the Right One In
  8. I’ve Loved You So Long
  9. Happy-Go-Lucky
  10. The Visitor
  11. In Bruges
  12. Iron Man
  13. Doubt
  14. Burn After Reading
  15. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  16. A Christmas Tale
  17. The Reader
  18. The Wrestler
  19. Changeling
  20. Paranoid Park

(more…)

Oh, Josh, that dog was the least of your concerns.

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. No Country for Old Men  **
  2. Atonement  *
  3. Across the Universe
  4. There Will Be Blood  *
  5. Ratatouille
  6. Eastern Promises
  7. Michael Clayton  *
  8. Gone Baby Gone
  9. Juno  *
  10. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
  11. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  12. 3:10 to Yuma
  13. Away from Her
  14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
  16. Lust, Caution
  17. I’m Not There
  18. Persepolis
  19. Charlie Wilson’s War
  20. Once

Analysis:  Those are all **** films.  There are also a few more (24 in total), but they will be listed down below in the Drama and Comedy sections.  Both the 24 **** films and the total of 46 **** / ***.5 films are the second most ever, behind only 2005. (more…)

“We set out to save the shire. And it has been saved. But for not for me.”

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 Return of the King  **
  2. Mystic River  *
  3. Lost in Translation  *
  4. In America
  5. City of God
  6. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World  *
  7. Finding Nemo
  8. Kill Bill Volume 1
  9. A Mighty Wind
  10. Whale Rider
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  12. American Splendor  *
  13. Dirty Pretty Things
  14. The Station Agent
  15. Nowhere in Africa
  16. The Triplets of Belleville
  17. Tokyo Godfathers
  18. The Barbarian Invasions
  19. The Last Samurai
  20. 21 Grams

Analysis:  After three straight years where the Consensus race came down to less than 100 points, Return of the King almost doubles any other film.  Master and Commander, on the other hand, becomes another film to earn nominations from the five awards groups but win none of them.
The Top 10 is eight points lower than the year before and it still tied for the second best to-date (and third best ever).  The Top 20 is 14 points lower than 2002 and 13 points lower than 2001 but still the third best to-date.  The Top 5, though, is actually the best since 1996 and tied for the third best ever.
The first 18 films are **** films.  The last two are ***.5. (more…)