No+Country+for+Old+Men+final+scene

“And in the dream I knew that he was goin on ahead and that he was fixin to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up.” (final lines)

My Top 10

  1. No Country for Old Men
  2. Atonement
  3. There Will Be Blood
  4. Away from Her
  5. Gone Baby Gone
  6. Charlie Wilson’s War
  7. A Mighty Heart
  8. Persepolis
  9. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  10. 3:10 to Yuma

note:  An excellent Top 5 but not nearly as strong Top 10.  It’s worth noting that thanks mostly to Harry Potter and the MCU this is the last year until 2020 where none of my Top 10 are franchise films. (more…)

Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 12.02.51 PMAll 50 films in this post earn an 89 which is low ****.  The introduction to the entire list can be found here. (more…)

This is the start of my Top 1000 Countdown, the 1000 best films made in the first Century of Film (1912-2011).  A reminder that the introduction should probably be looked at first and will answer any questions about abbreviations.

Every film in this group of 50 earns an 86, which is high ***.5. (more…)

A Century of Film

Original Screenplay

It’s a bit difficult to write the history of original screenplays on film.  First of all, it’s been hard to determine, a lot of times, over the years, if a film truly is original or not.  When the old oscars.org site existed they listed films by a source author which was really helpful for determining if something was adapted or not but not perfect as sometimes the “source” was just a screen story or an idea.  There were also occasions where they didn’t list anything, the same way that sometimes the IMDb or Wikipedia don’t list a source material and I end up considering something original until someone points out that it’s not. (more…)

“I would rather be a ghost, drifting by your side as a condemned soul, than enter heaven without you.” Because the book has never been translated, I have no idea if that brilliant line exists there in any way.

My Top 10

  1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  2. Traffic
  3. Wonder Boys
  4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  5. High Fidelity
  6. Thirteen Days
  7. The Virgin Suicides
  8. Quills
  9. The Claim
  10. Aimee and Jaguar

note:  A truly fantastic Top 7 though it drops a bit after that.  My list continues down below though my #18 (Chocolat) and #19 (All the Pretty Horses) aren’t on that list because they’re reviewed as nominees. (more…)

If you don’t know what is being said in this scene you are sadly deficient when it comes to the greatest Comedy film ever made.

A Century of Film


Comedies


The Genre

“As America’s principal purveyor of entertainment, Hollywood packaged comedy in many forms.  In 1929, Variety surveyed the major studios and classified production trends into seven categories.  Comedy was divided into two – comedy drama and comedy.  The types subsumed under comedy drama consisted of society, rural, city, mystery, college, and domestic, and the types under comedy consisted of farce and action-adventure.  A quarter of all the films produced by the majors in 1929 could be classified as comedies of one sort or another.  Although comic types metamorphosed into the sophisticated, low-life, anarchistic, sentimental, folksy, screwball, populist, or romantic, the production trend remained a key component of every studio’s roster.”  (Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930-1939, Tino Balio, p 256) (more…)

A Century of Film

Editing

The very first films didn’t have editing.  But it didn’t take long for a filmmaker such as George Milies to discover how important editing was – his entire concept of special effects was built around what could be done with editing.  When films started to come out at feature length, it was the D.W. Griffith films that showed how editing could craft a great picture, followed just a few years later by the masterful work in the Sergei Eisenstein films. (more…)

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…)

 

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…)