A primer on great screenwriting: using characters as they existed in the book but doing what you have to do to compress the story and get it to come out right on scene. In other words, there is no scene like this in the book.

My Top 10

  1. L.A. Confidential
  2. The Sweet Hereafter
  3. The Ice Storm
  4. Jackie Brown
  5. Oscar and Lucinda
  6. The Wings of the Dove
  7. Wag the Dog
  8. Donnie Brasco
  9. Absolute Power
  10. The Winter Guest

note:  A great Top 5 and very good Top 10.  My list continues down at the bottom.


“Then Renton was hit by a wave of shock which threatened to knock him incoherent.  A girl came into the room.  As he watched her, a coldness came over him.  She was the double of Dianne, but this girl looked barely secondary school age.  It took him a few seconds to realize that it was Dianne.”  (p 145)

My Top 10

  1. Trainspotting
  2. The English Patient
  3. The Crucible
  4. Cold Comfort Farm
  5. Emma
  6. Hamlet
  7. The Birdcage
  8. Romeo + Juliet
  9. Mother Night
  10. Star Trek: First Contact

note:  A fantastic Top 5 and a strong Top 10 with a few more listed down at the bottom.  A rare year in that it’s also fantastic for Original Screenplay.  This year has the highest average score for the two Screenplay awards in history. (more…)

This is starting earlier than ever and there are several people to blame for that.

  • Me.
  • Disney
  • F.T.
  • Comic Book Resources

I’ll get to all of those in a minute.  But I’ll reiterate what I have done the past few years.  This post will go up now and whenever I update it, I will post it “sticky” so that it goes to the top of the blog (though that’s not a repost and I don’t know how that works with notifications).  Anything major that I want to make certain people read (usually having to do with comments or an announcement) I’ll stick in bold at the top.  And a reminder that all comments have to be approved so just sit tight after you post and I’ll get to them (it takes longer on workdays). (more…)

A Century of Film


The Awards

A quick note about the BAFTAs.  Their eligibility is based on the release of films in Britain so some Oscar eligible films are eligible in 1995 instead.  If they earn nominations or win awards in 1995, it will be a note after the BAFTA list in that category.

A second quick note about the Consensus awards because there are awards listed down below that are not taken into consideration for the Consensus awards.  Except for Director (see note below), I don’t consider festivals, critics runner-up, the Indie Spirits or my own Nighthawk Awards when I calculate the Consensus awards. (more…)

A Century of Film


The Studio

In 1978, the United Artists heads were tired of being told what to do by parent company Transamerica and the head of Transamerica, Jack Beckett, said “if the people at United Artists don’t like it, they can quit and go off on their own.”  Which is what they did, leaving the next day and forming Orion Pictures, with a financing and distributing affiliation with Warner Brothers. (more…)

A Century of Film


The Genre

Science Fiction on film goes back to the dawn of narrative feature film storytelling.  The first great film, A Trip to the Moon, was a Sci-Fi film complete with state of the art special effects.  But not everyone could be George Méliès and not very many people tried.  I’ve only seen three Sci-Fi films made before the advent of sound (and there’s not much out there at feature length that I haven’t seen) and all of them were foreign (A Trip to Mars, Aelita: Queen of Mars, Metropolis).

The genre mostly lay dormant in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  If you click on those links, the vast majority of what is listed there (and even what is listed there isn’t very long) is either a serial (which I don’t count) or something I list as another genre (often Horror).  I’ve seen just 11 films from those two decades which I count (and none after 1941).  Then came the 50’s. (more…)

A Century of Film


The Studio

In 1924, Loew’s was one of the most prominent studios in Hollywood.  It had a massive studio chain and with Metro Pictures, a production company that was providing a good share of films to fill them.  But Metro’s films had been slipping and Lee Shubert, whose theater chains were big on stage but less so in Hollywood, happened to be a board member of both Loew’s and Goldwyn Pictures, the studio formed by Samuel Goldwyn but which he had departed in 1922.  Goldwyn wasn’t in great shape and its mascot (Leo the Lion) was better known than most of its stars (the biggest being Will Rogers); a long explanation of Leo’s history as the mascot can be found here.  A merger became imminent but they needed someone better than anyone available at Metro or Goldwyn to run the studio.

Enter Louis B. Mayer who had a strong hand in management and had been making films for his own independent production company.  Loew’s would be the parent company, absorbing both Goldwyn and Mayer’s independent company and the combined new studio, with a large roster of talent and a steady hand at the helm would be christened Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer but would soon be known primarily as MGM. (more…)