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…)

He rules.

He rules.

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 16 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  I’m going with the Top 16 because that’s how many **** films there are.  It’s not because Cate Blanchett comes in 16th in Supporting Actress.  That’s only a coincidence.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. American Beauty  **
  2. Magnolia
  3. The End of the Affair
  4. All About My Mother
  5. Eyes Wide Shut
  6. Three Kings
  7. Topsy-Turvy  *
  8. Princess Mononoke
  9. Being John Malkovich  *
  10. The Sixth Sense  *
  11. Toy Story 2
  12. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  13. The Insider  *
  14. Sweet and Lowdown
  15. Run Lola Run
  16. Following

Analysis:  This year sets a new high mark.  The Sixth Sense earns a 92 from me, which makes it the best #10 to-date, the first film to earn a higher mark in the #10 spot than Foolish Wives, the #10 film in the very first Nighthawk Awards.  The Top 20 (the remaining four films are Fight Club, Limbo, Abre Los Ojos and Man on the Moon) beats out 1994 for the best to-date.  As mentioned above, all 16 of these films are ****.
Three Kings had been in my Top 5 from the day I saw it in the theater all the way until I did these awards, when it was finally pushed out because I bumped up All About My Mother.
American Beauty becomes the first film to sweep the five awards groups (Oscar, BAFTA, PGA, Globe, BFCA).  It’s also the first to win the Oscar and the Consensus since Schindler’s List (which pre-dated the BFCA by one year). (more…)

The Star Wars Action Figure 2016 Memorial Tribute

The Star Wars Action Figure 2016 Memorial Tribute

Well, everyone didn’t die in 2016 in spite of what you may think.  Would you be stunned if I told you that as many acting Oscars were won by people who turned 100 this year as people who died this year?  (It’s true: Olivia de Havilland, who turned 100, won 2 Oscars, which matches the Oscars for the two people who died this year, George Kennedy and Patty Duke).  Though, sadly for me, my first childhood crush, Carrie Fisher died, as did Kenny Baker and Erik Bauersfeld (the voice of Admiral Ackbar). (more…)

or, what I did when I got pneumonia over Thanksgiving for a second damn time.

deathstar (that’s a Powerpoint presentation)

img_1512So, I recently sold some books and my deal with Veronica was that if I made enough off the sale, that I would be spending that money on the new version of the LEGO Death Star that was being released this fall.  Well, I made enough and when this was released, I immediately ordered it.  It arrived on September 25.  And then it sat.  And sat.  And sat.

See, I knew I needed the dining room table to put it together.  I also knew I would need several days to do it.  Which meant I needed a break from Thomas’ ABA so that I could have the table for enough days.  So it sat and I waited.

Then I got pneumonia.  For the third time (I had it in 2010 and I had it the first time way back during Thanksgiving of 1995).  So, last Monday, I finally opened this box that I have had for two months and the building began.  There were 10 numbered bags (the way LEGO works these days that actually meant there were something like 50 bags, but you open them in groups by the number), which meant I could do it in 10 sittings essentially.  So, two on Monday, two on Tuesday, two on Wednesday, only one on Thursday morning, then moving it to the Star Wars LEGO cabinet (of course I have a cabinet entirely for Star Wars LEGO – in fact, my Star Wars LEGO no longer fits in just one cabinet) and clearing the table and adding in the leaf for Thanksgiving dinner, then one sitting each on Friday, on Saturday morning and then on Sunday evening during the Chiefs – Broncos game (which was still tied and scoreless when I finished, so clearly they were waiting for me to finish before starting the scoring).  So, it’s finally done.  Enjoy the link above, which is a Powerpoint presentation I put together with all the pictures.

Whether you go with the 3 hour theatrical release or the 6 hour television version, Fanny and Alexander is the best film of the year.

Whether you go with the 3 hour theatrical release or the 6 hour television version, Fanny and Alexander is the best film of the year.

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. Fanny & Alexander  *
  2. Terms of Endearment  **
  3. The Big Chill
  4. Zelig
  5. The Right Stuff
  6. Betrayal
  7. Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi
  8. Educating Rita  *
  9. Miss Europe
  10. Danton

(more…)

The first black-and-white Nighthawk winner since 1966.

The first black-and-white Nighthawk winner since 1966.

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 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. Raging Bull  *
  2. Breaker Morant
  3. The Elephant Man  *
  4. The Empire Strikes Back
  5. Ordinary People  **
  6. Tess
  7. Kagemusha
  8. The Shining
  9. Stardust Memories
  10. Airplane!

Analysis:  The best Top 5 in six years and tied for 7th to this date.  The Top 10 (all **** films) is also the best since 1974, but is the 4th best to this date, behind only 1960, 1962 and 1974.  There are no other **** films in this year.  Melvin and Howard, a high ***.5, is my #11 and was a Consensus nominee. (more…)

The two best performances of the year in the best film of the year.

The two best performances of the year in the best film of the year.

My Top 20:

  1. Carol
  2. The Revenant
  3. Inside Out
  4. Spotlight
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  6. Bridge of Spies
  7. The Martian
  8. Steve Jobs
  9. The Hateful Eight
  10. The Big Short
  11. Anomalisa
  12. Black Mass
  13. Ex Machina
  14. Tomorrowland
  15. The Peanuts Movie
  16. Brooklyn
  17. When Marnie Was There
  18. Labyrinth of Lies
  19. Beasts of No Nation
  20. Mr Holmes

note:  The first 12 films are ****, the rest are ***.5.  Ever since 2012, I have been posting these as soon as I can after the Oscars.  However, that means, as I have noted in the last three Years in Film, that there are several films I haven’t seen (45 Years, Creed, Son of Saul, Mustang).  Aside from the films that I was most anxious to see in the theater (Star Wars – 8 times) and the ones that are out on DVD by now, I try to focus most on the Best Picture contenders.  Eventually, this and the three years preceding it will have these Top 20 lists superseded by the Nighthawk Awards, once I get to those years. (more…)