Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XX:

The Cannonball Run

  • cannonballrunDirector:  Hal Needham
  • Writer:  Brock Yates
  • Producer:  Raymond Chow
  • Stars:  Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLouise, Farah Fawcett, Roger Moore
  • Studio:  20th Century-Fox
  • Award Nominations:  Razzie – Supporting Actress (Farah Fawcett)
  • Length:  95 min
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  19 June 1981
  • Box Office Gross:  $72.17 mil  (#6 – 1981)
  • Ebert Rating:  .5
  • My Rating:  **.5
  • My Rank:  #57 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Guilty Pleasure
  • First Watched:  on television
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  5-10

As a Kid:  It wasn’t just this film – there was also Smokey and the Bandit.  Both of them were films I watched a number of times as a kid, both of them star Burt Reynolds and were directed by Hal Needham, a former stunt driver and good friend of Reynolds who directed a considerable number of films with Reynolds as the star, many of them terrible.  Perhaps the reason I watched both of them so many times lies in the rating – they were both rated PG.  Neither film is really one you want a kid getting too attached to given the basic immorality of their plots; in the first, Reynolds is trying to illegally sneak a large truck’s worth of beer across the border while in this film, it’s about driving across the country as fast as you can, speed limits and safety be damned. (more…)

Get ready for Series 10 with our Doctor lists.

Veronica’s Intro: I started watching Doctor Who because of Harry Potter.  I was rewatching Goblet of Fire for the umpteenth time and found myself thinking, “Barty Crouch Jr. is a really horrifying character, but the guy playing him is really compelling.” Okay, I may not have used the word “compelling,” but you get the idea. All I really knew about him was that he played Doctor Who and that a new season (or series if we want to be British about it) was coming to BBC America. Ironically, it was 2010, so the first episode I watched was The Eleventh Hour featuring Matt Smith, not David Tennant. And while I still have a huge crush on David Tennant, I don’t actually love his Doctor, but I appreciate that he’s what drew me in. I do, however, love Smith’s Doctor because he is a clown and all of my favorite Doctors are clowns: Troughton, Smith, and McCoy. Granted, they are clowns covering up deep pain and immense power and intrigue, but you never doubt they care for their companions and that they trying to make things better, even when they are running away.

Erik’s Intro:  I wrote more on the Doctors than Veronica did because writing is my thing.  I first started watching Doctor Who when I was a Freshman at Brandeis and I met a group of like minded geeks and we would gather to watch that and Black Adder on Saturday nights.  I never really took to Adder like I did to Who.  Watching those Fourth Doctor adventures, with Sarah Jane Smith as a companion was great fun and nights like those were really the only things I missed when I decided to leave Brandeis after just one semester.  It was after Veronica got into watching Matt Smith that I insisted we should do it right.  We started with the halfway measure, watching from the start of the new series, but after catching up (in 2012), we bounced all the way back to the beginning and began everything with Hartnell and did it right.  And long, as it took us five years. (more…)

The best film in what is one of the best years in film history.

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 Two Towers  *
  2. Gangs of New York  *
  3. Spirited Away
  4. Talk to Her
  5. The Pianist  **
  6. The Hours  *
  7. Minority Report
  8. Y tu mamá también
  9. Chicago  *
  10. Adaptation
  11. Road to Perdition
  12. Solaris
  13. The Quiet American
  14. Catch Me if You Can
  15. 8 Women
  16. Heaven
  17. Lilo and Stitch
  18. 24 Hour Party People
  19. Spider-Man
  20. Sunshine State

Analysis:  This year is a bit of an oddity.  First, for the first time in five years, the five Oscar nominees are also the five Consensus nominees.  But, much more strangely, for the only time after 1965, the Consensus winner (The Pianist) doesn’t have the highest raw total, but its weighted total turns a 20 point deficit to Chicago into a 10 point advantage.  The Pianist has three wins (BAFTA, NSFC, BSFC) among six total noms (Oscar, Globe, BFCA) while Chicago wins four awards (Oscar, Globe, PGA, BFCA) and earns one other nom (BAFTA).  It will be another decade before the second place film is even within 100 points of the 1st place film.  This is also the first time we have two films that go 0 for 5, earning nominations from all five awards groups (Oscar, PGA, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA) and winning none: Gangs of New York and Two Towers.  There won’t be another year with two such films until 2008. (more…)

"Your future's all used up." The line doesn't go with this scene, but neither that line nor this scene are in the original novel. All that great work comes from Welles.

“Your future’s all used up.” The line doesn’t go with this scene, but neither that line nor this scene are in the original novel. All that great work comes from Welles.

My Top 10:

  1. Touch of Evil
  2. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  3. Separate Tables
  4. The Horse’s Mouth
  5. Vertigo
  6. Therese Raquin
  7. The Last Hurrah
  8. The Bravados
  9. The Horror of Dracula
  10. The Brothers Karamazov

Note:  There are 13 films on my list.  Me and the Colonel is reviewed because its was a WGA nominee and the other two are listed down below. (more…)

I, Claudius

  • Roman depravity, decay and decadence in all its literary glory.

    Roman depravity, decay and decadence in all its literary glory.

    Author:  Robert Graves

  • Published:  1934
  • Publisher:  Arthur Barker
  • Pages:  432
  • First Line:  “I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as ‘Claudius the Idiot,’ or ‘That Claudius’, or ‘Claudius the Stammerer’, or ‘Clau-Clau-Claudius’ or at best as ‘Poor Uncle Claudius’, am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach that fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the ‘golden predicament’ from which I have never since become disentangled.”
  • Last Lines:  “What a miraculous fate for a historian!  And as you will have seen, I took full advantage of my opportunities.  Even the mature historian’s privilege of setting forth conversations of which he knows only the gist is one that I have availed myself of hardly at all.”
  • ML Edition:  #20; tan cover
  • Acclaim:  ML Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century #14; TIME 100 Best Novels Since 1923 List; James Tait Black Memorial Prize
  • Film Version:  1937 (aborted); 1976  (TV – ****)
  • First Read:  Late 1998

(more…)

And in the morning, I'm making waffles!

And in the morning, I’m making waffles!

The 74th annual Academy Awards for the film year 2001.  The nominations were announced on February 12, 2002 and the awards were held on March 24, 2002.

Best Animated Film:  Shrek

  • Monsters Inc.
  • Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Most Surprising Omission: Waking Life

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  n/a

Rank (out of 15) Among Best Best Animated Film Years:  #11

Oscar Score:  100

Alternate Oscar Score:  100

(more…)

Back in 2009, I wrote a series of posts about each of the categories that have awards at the Oscars.  I organized it by category because almost all things written about the Oscars group them by years and never discussed the categories as a whole.  In 2010, I went back to that series and added the 2009 nominees to the original posts (you can find that original post here, but this post supersedes everything in it).  Once I concluded that series (it ran every day from the day of the nominations to the day of the Oscars) I would go on to write a series about all the films ever nominated for Best Picture, writing a review of every nominee because it didn’t seem like anyone had ever done that.  When that ended (in early 2013), I went on to other things, including beginning my Nighthawk Awards, my list of my own personal awards from each year.  I have been doing that series for four years now and am rapidly approaching the end (if I did as many years in 2017 as I did in 2016, I would finish it this year).  So, partially in an effort to put off the end of that series, I am starting this series.  This is essentially the same as the Best Picture series, except with the category of Best Animated Film.  So now, just before I post each Nighthawk Awards, starting with 2001, I will do a separate piece on the nominees for Best Animated Film.  This post is going up after the 2000 post because that was when the Academy finally decided to create this category, probably inspired, in part by the run of great animated films from previous years like Toy Story 2, Princess Mononoke, South Park, The Iron Giant and Chicken Run.  Also, with the rise of Pixar, the greater American visibility of Ghibli and new films from Aardman and DreamWorks, there were a lot more animated films out there and they wouldn’t just be giving the award to Disney every year (well, they would be mostly giving the award to Pixar, who was first distributed, then later, owned by Disney, so they actually were pretty much giving it to Disney almost every year), so it was time for the award. (more…)