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…)

A trio of Austen sisters brought to life with magnificence and humor.

A trio of Austen sisters brought to life with grace and humor.

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. Sense and Sensibility  **
  2. The Usual Suspects
  3. Richard III
  4. Les Miserables
  5. 12 Monkeys
  6. Leaving Las Vegas  *
  7. To Die For
  8. Toy Story
  9. Clockers
  10. Mina Tannenbaum

(more…)

Astute readers will realize I have used this picture before. Being astute, they will also realize it's the perfect image to encompass the only film to sweep the big 5 at the Oscars that deserved all five.

Astute readers will realize I have used this picture before. Being astute, they will also realize it’s the perfect image to encompass the only film to sweep the big 5 at the Oscars and the Nighthawks.

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 12 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  I’m going with 12 because most categories have at least that many, if not more on my list and they stay strong 12 deep.  In future years, it will probably even expand beyond 12.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Silence of the Lambs  **
  2. JFK  *
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. The Fisher King
  5. Boyz N the Hood
  6. Europa Europa
  7. The Commitments  *
  8. Grand Canyon
  9. Thelma & Louise
  10. Dead Again
  11. Homicide
  12. Barton Fink

Analysis:  All 12 of these films are **** as well as three others: The Killer, Truly Madly Deeply and City of Hope.  The Top 10 for this year are the third best to-date and the Top 20 are the best to-date (the rest of the Top 20 are Life is Sweet, Ju Dou, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Bugsy and La Femme Nikita).  The #6-10 films are the third best to-date and the #11-20 are the best in a single year so far (beaten out by the combined year of 1912-26).  Dead Again is the best #10 film since the combined year of 1912-26.
The Silence of the Lambs is the first Oscar winner I agree with since 1984.  It is also the first film to win four critics awards and go on to win the Oscar.  Even today, it is one of only four films to do that (Schindler’s List, No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker).  It is still in the Top 10 today of all critics winners with 1187 points and is one of only four films in history to earn at least 250 points from four different critics groups (GoodFellas, LA Confidential, The Social Network).
Since 2011, when I wrote my most recent review of JFK, I have had my view on what happened on November 22, 1963 changed considerably by reading all 1600+ pages of Vincent Bugliosi’s masterful Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, including going through a lot of the footnotes on the accompanying CD-ROM.  That Bugliosi’s book changed my mind about what happened on that day has not changed my mind about Stone’s film.  I think now what I thought then: “Stone isn’t really showing us an analysis of anything, no matter how many research notes he gives us.  He is using one particular case to explore history.”
This category earned a 71.8 Oscar Score, the highest in nine years. (more…)

ran-1985-1You 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. Ran  *
  2. Blood Simple
  3. Kiss of the Spider Woman
  4. The Purple Rose of Cairo  *
  5. Brazil
  6. Witness  *
  7. Back to the Future
  8. The Color Purple  *
  9. After Hours
  10. A Private Function

Analysis:  It’s the fourth time that Kurosawa wins Best Picture at the Nighthawks, although Bergman has won it three times since Kurosawa won it last.
This is the strongest Top 5 in this category in five years, namely because Brazil is the best #5 film in five years.  Witness is the best #6 film in six years.  That strong top 5 means a low Oscar score (54.1 – the lowest since 1977 and second lowest since 1969).  The Oscar itself goes to Out of Africa, the worst choice since the 50’s; it’s the first film since 1974 to win without a single critics award.  But the Consensus Award goes to Prizzi’s Honor, which is my #12. (more…)

Guess what? It was the best of the five nominated films. Seriously. Choose a different film to base your Oscar bashing on.

The 71st annual Academy Awards, for the film year 1998.  The nominations were announced on February 9, 1999 and the awards were held on March 21, 1999.

Best Picture:  Shakespeare in Love

  • Saving Private Ryan
  • The Thin Red Line
  • Elizabeth
  • Life is Beautiful

Most Surprising Omission:  The Truman Show

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Out of Sight

Rank (out of 83) Among Best Picture Years:  #30 (more…)

Sexiest. Couple. Ever.

My Top 20:

  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. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  10. Dark City
  11. Rushmore
  12. The General
  13. Primary Colors
  14. A Simple Plan
  15. Bulworth
  16. Velvet Goldmine
  17. Still Crazy
  18. The Butcher Boy
  19. Without Limits
  20. Ronin

(more…)