A brilliant final image from the best film of the year.

A brilliant final image from the best film of the year.

My Top 20:

  1. Birdman
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. The Imitation Game
  4. Gone Girl
  5. Inherent Vice
  6. Interstellar
  7. Selma
  8. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  9. The LEGO Movie
  10. Still Alice
  11. Nightcrawler
  12. Ida
  13. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  14. Foxcatcher
  15. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them
  16. The Theory of Everything
  17. Boyhood
  18. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  19. Guardians of the Galaxy
  20. Big Hero 6

note:  There are a few films this year that might very well end up on this list that I still haven’t seen, notably Mr. Turner, A Most Violent Year, Into the Woods, Wild and Two Days, One Night.  For the record, the first 11 films are ****, the rest are ***.5. (more…)

Still one of the greatest covers in comic book history.

Still one of the greatest covers in comic book history.  Art by George Perez.

Every now and then I write a post about comic books for a few reasons.  First of all, they were really important to me for a really long time.  Second, this site is actually named after a comic book character that I adopted as my own: Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond), a Marvel character who was originally created as a Batman counterpart.  There were two versions of Nighthawk – the Squadron Sinister villain who would eventually become a hero and a member of the Defenders before dying (it would be his costume that I really loved), but it would be the second Nighthawk – the Squadron Supreme member, who I would really like.  He would also die, in a dramatic event that was unlike almost anything Marvel had ever published before, loaded with death.  Which brings me to this list. (more…)

As always, my favorite backstage Oscar photo - Hepburn had won the year before but here Kelly would win.  Both deserved it.

As always, my favorite backstage Oscar photo – Hepburn had won the year before but here Kelly would win. Both deserved it.

Introduction:

This is a companion piece to three different series.  The first is the The History of the Academy Awards, in which I covered each category in individual posts.  This was originally done in 2009 and additions were included in 2010.  You can find links to all of these pieces in each individual category.  I have grouped all of the categories together for the same reason that I did so originally – because most pieces on the Oscars don’t approach the awards through the categories, but through the years.  This specific piece is designed to take a closer look at the decade and how I think the Academy did in those years.

The second series is my Year in Film series.  That is mentioned here because in those pieces I included paragraphs about the Oscars as a whole for each year and included a considerable amount of trivia.  Since I had based my Year in Film series and eligibility as such on the Academy calendar, it all seemed very relevant.  Also, I include various prizes (Worst Oscar, Worst Nomination, Worst Omission, etc) and I didn’t want to repeat myself, so following the links will bring you there.  Those links are at the end of this piece, where I do a brief summation of each year and how the Academy did.  Word note on the Year in Film posts – I did those before Oscars.org started putting up official information about release dates.  Several films have been moved from the years where they appeared in those posts – see the Nighthawk Awards posts for more accurate placement – I have included links in the years.

The third series is my History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture series, where I reviewed every film ever nominated for Best Picture (except The Patriot, which is lost).  Those links are also down below, grouped by year. (more…)

Raymond Chandler meets Ken Kesey.  Or, film noir on acid.  Or, as Veronica put it, a Pynchon novel.

Raymond Chandler meets Ken Kesey. Or, film noir on acid. Or, as Veronica put it, a Pynchon novel.

Inherent Vice

  • Author:  Thomas Pynchon  (b. 1937)
  • Published:  2009
  • Publisher:  The Penguin Press
  • Pages:  369
  • First Line:  “She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to.”
  • Last Line:  “For the fog to burn away, and for something else this time, somehow, to be there instead.”
  • Film:  2014  –  (**** – dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • First Read:  the day before it was released in 2009

(more…)

These two seemingly unconnected directors now have something in common.

These two seemingly unconnected directors now have something in common.

As will be seen when my Year and Film and History of Academy Awards for this year are done (after the Oscars), this has been a strange year.  Going into this morning, I had no idea what was going to happen with Best Picture.  I knew that, historically, at least a couple of trends were going to be bent.  They were bent far more than I thought.

Because they were announcing every category live this morning, I wrote ideas for all the categories, because it’s easier to just cross out the ones that are wrong and fill in the others.  There was a lot.  I went 4/5 in Director, Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress.  But I only got 7/9 for Picture (I wrote down 9 and got 7 right, but my #9 choice made it in, so I can’t say I was 7/8) and I didn’t get a single category 5/5.  I did correctly predict that Selma would be mostly snubbed, but was then stunned when it made it in the final Picture list rather than Foxcatcher, which I didn’t think would make it, but the other categories were there for it, so who knows.  So, I will just start in on the trivia. (more…)

The best of all Christmas traditions.

The best of all Christmas traditions.

Revisiting Childhood Movies Part X:

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street

  • Director:  Jon Stone
  • Writer:  Jon Stone  /  Joseph A. Bailey
  • Producer:  Jon Stone
  • Stars:  Carroll Spinney, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Debbie Chen, Sonia Manzano
  • Studio:  Children’s Television Workshop
  • Awards:  Emmy – Outstanding Children’s Program
  • Length:  60 min
  • Genre:  Kids  (Christmas special)
  • Release Date:  3 December 1978
  • First Watched:  3 December 1978
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  at least 5 or 6

I realized that my next post was going to be an RCM and that it would time for Christmas.  So I figured it should be Christmas themed.  But, I didn’t really have a Christmas movie that worked for this.  I didn’t watch Miracle on 34th Street as a kid, It’s a Wonderful Life I have already reviewed and Love Actually came out years later.  I could have reviewed the 1951 A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim.  But I kept coming back to my real Christmas tradition – watching Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.  Yes, it’s television, but it’s the best of all television, and so it seemed right. (more…)

"Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine's lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied.  A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face.  Then Spade smiled."  (p 46)

“Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine’s lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied. A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face. Then Spade smiled.” (p 46)

My Top 10:

  1. The Maltese Falcon
  2. The Little Foxes
  3. Here Comes Mr. Jordan
  4. The Devil and Daniel Webster
  5. High Sierra
  6. How Green Was My Valley
  7. Hold Back the Dawn
  8. Meet John Doe
  9. Suspicion
  10. Pépé le Moko

Note:  I have a Top 10, but unlike 1940, my list doesn’t go any further than that. (more…)

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