There has been a recent trend going around on Facebook apparently in which people put up 10 albums that influenced them.  The problem is that it’s supposed to be just one album at a time and you’re not supposed to list the reasons why it influenced you.  What’s the point of that?  Why list something that was influential but not give any idea as to why?

Well, my brother Kelly thought the same thing.  He put together a list of the 10 albums that really influenced him.  Except there are a few things.  1 – He didn’t want to put up just one a time because it works better as one story.  2 – He wanted to make certain to include that story as part of it.  And 3 – Like me, he’s not on Facebook.  So when he sent me his list to read, I offered to put it up on the blog for him.  So here, in my older brother (six years) Kelly’s own words, are his 10 albums that influenced him: (more…)

A Century of Film
Original Song

Like with score, the first awards for such film music came in 1934 when the two categories were added at the Academy Awards.  Unlike with Score, where they seemed to be confusion for quite a while over what qualified, the Oscars from the start tried to limit this category to songs that were written for the film in which they appeared.  This would be more stringent than what the Golden Globes would eventually do, after finally getting started in this category in 1961 and much more so than the BAFTAs which only tried a false-start with such a category and then gave up after just a few years.

Various rules and machinations over the years made the category confusing.  For years, the Oscars allowed every studio to submit a song (and automatically receive a nomination) but that also meant that studios were limited to the one nomination (and thus films were as well).  The Oscars would later have different rules about how many songs from a film could be eligible and when they had to play in the film while the Globes would have no such rules.  Also, because of the rule on original songs, people would often be confused, with some people thinking that a film like Casablanca or Singin’ in the Rain should have earned an Oscar for a song that had existed for years.

For my own rules, I have tried, with some variations, to stick to the Oscar concept.  That means I try to find films in which a song is written for the film that contains both original music (ruling out any song that is new but uses an old tune) and lyrics (ruling out a song like “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” in which the lyrics were from the novel even if the music was new).  For the most part, I have tried to rely on the old oscars.org database which listed songs in various years but that database sometimes listed ineligible songs and sometimes didn’t list songs that actually earned nominations.  In some cases, I have gone with what I know or at least suspect to be the case.

My own list limits itself to five songs in a film only because my Top 5 only has room for five.  But I don’t care which songs were Oscar submitted in determining my own five.

I will also go ahead and point out my posts on the Top 250 songs of both the 80’s and the 90’s, each of which include several songs that earn Nighthawk wins or nominations.  Those posts will go into depth on each song listed.

My Top 5 Original Songs in Film History:

  1. “Over the Rainbow”, The Wizard of Oz, 1939
  2. “The Rainbow Connection, The Muppet Movie, 1979
  3. “Help”, Help!, 1965
  4. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, Mary Poppins, 1964
  5. “A Hard Day’s Night”, A Hard Day’s Night, 1964

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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…)

“Yeeha!”

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. Dr. Strangelove  *
  2. Mary Poppins  *
  3. A Hard Day’s Night
  4. Harakiri
  5. High and Low
  6. My Fair Lady  **
  7. The Night of the Iguana
  8. The Americanization of Emily
  9. The Best Man
  10. Goldfinger

Analysis:  For the second straight year, all of the Top 10 are **** films.  This year is slightly better than the year before in the Top 5 and Top 10, but that’s because 1963 didn’t have anything higher than a 95, while Dr. Strangelove is a 99 and Mary Poppins is a 96.  This year also shows much more homegrown (or British grown) quality – there are only 5 Foreign films in the Top 20, as opposed to the 7 Foreign films in the Top 10 the year before.  Goldfinger becomes the first Bond film to make the Top 10.  If this year was as weak a year as the next year, From Russia With Love would also make the Top 10.  The top three films are all Comedies; not only is this the first time this has happened, it’s the first time since 1934 that even the top two films were both Comedies. (more…)