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…)

Not exactly a "meet cute". More of a "meet dirty, smelly and cramped".

Not exactly a “meet cute”. More of a “meet dirty, smelly and cramped”.

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

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Out of Sight  *
  2. Shakespeare in Love  *
  3. Saving Private Ryan  **
  4. The Big Lebowski
  5. Gods and Monsters  *
  6. The Truman Show
  7. Ringu
  8. Pleasantville
  9. Insomnia
  10. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Analysis:  Only the top 9 are ****.  As is discussed down below, this is not a strong year for great films but it is a very strong year for very good films.
With Out of Sight (NSFC, BSFC wins, BFCA nom) and Gods and Monsters (NBR win, Globe, PGA, BFCA noms) in instead of The Thin Red Line and Life is Beautiful, the Consensus nominees are a lot better than the Oscar nominees.
Out of Sight is a great film, but let’s be fair.  It would have finished 6th in 1996 and fifth in 1997.  The most recent year where it even would have finished second is 1988.  In spite of that, this Top 5 is one point better than 1995. (more…)

The Top 100 Novels.

The Top 100 Novels.

Here it is.  My Top 100 Novels – the complete list.

The intro was here.  The second 100 can be found here.  Various statistics and trivia about the list can be found here.

Here is the list: (more…)

the two-fisted Gonzo image I used on my shirtsfor Terry and John

“We can’t stop here.  This is bat country.”  (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, p 18)

It’s Nixon who started all of this and I can’t help but think that would make Hunter smile.  When I was first getting into a serious love of film, one of the first great films I watched was All the President’s Men.  Then I read the book, and I was just hooked.  I could do a whole For Love of Books post on books about Nixon and the Nixon administration.  And I already had the makings of a serious political junkie, having been apparently the only fifth grader at Taft Elementary willing to offer up support of Walter Mondale.  I followed the trail through the primaries in 88 and less than four years later, had a serious conversation with my best friend, John, and we decided that of all the candidates, it was Bill Clinton that was the best chance – both for the country, and for getting elected.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  And through it all, I was reading books about Nixon.  So, somewhere along the line, not long after Nixon died, I bought a book called Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72. (more…)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: our three copies plus the film

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

  • Author:  Hunter S. Thompson
  • Rank:  #26
  • Published:  1972
  • Publisher:  Random House
  • Pages:  204
  • First Line:  “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”
  • Last Line:  “I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger . . . a Man on the Move, and just sick enough to be totally confident.”
  • ML Edition:  1996  (gold cover Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Other American Stories)
  • Film:  1998  (***.5 – dir. Terry Gilliam)
  • First Read:  Spring 1996

(more…)

Poor F. Scott Fitzgerald never won a Pulitzer Prize. How distinguished can it really be?

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is the oldest and perhaps most distinguished literary award in the United States.  Faulkner, Hemingway and Steinbeck all won it, as did Morrison, Updike and Roth.  But how distinguished is it, really?  How many of these books are still studied?  How many of them are even still read?  How well do they stack up over time?

A quick comparison.  When the Modern Library did their list of the 100 Best English Language Novels of the 20th Century, only 7 of them had won the Pulitzer.  By contrast, 6 of them had won the National Book Award, which is 30 years younger.  None of those overlap, as only two post-1950 Pulitzer winners were on the list and neither won the NBA.  Only 5 Pulitzer winners have won the NBA.  Of course, the major book awards don’t like to copy each other – only twice has a Pulitzer winner also won the PEN/Faulkner award.  But the Pulitzer Prize is supposed to be the award, the one that truly lasts.  Well, now that I’m finally done reading the list of all the Pulitzers, I just wanted to a quick look back and see how well that list actually stands up to the test of time. (more…)

Terry Gilliam

Benicio Del Toro and Johnny Depp embodying Dr. Gonzo and Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Benicio Del Toro and Johnny Depp embodying Dr. Gonzo and Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

  • Born:  1940
  • Rank:  52
  • Score:  571.20
  • Awards:  LAFC
  • Nominations:  Golden Globe
  • Feature Films:  11
  • Best:  The Fisher King
  • Worst:  Tideland

Top 5 Films:

  1. The Fisher King – 1991
  2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail – 1975
  3. Brazil – 1985
  4. 12 Monkeys – 1995
  5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 1998

Top 10 Best Director Finishes (Nighthawk Awards):

  • 1985 – 3rd – Brazil
  • 1991 – 3rd – The Fisher King
  • 1995 – 3rd – 12 Monkeys
  • 1998 – 10th – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

(more…)