Friday, October 16, 2015

A Fistful...of My 100 (and then some) Favorite Films!

So, it has come to this.  I've been avoiding this for the very reason that it's such a massive undertaking, and I'm watching something new almost every day, but there is always an edit button and so I've decided that this was the perfect way to take my (temporary) leave.  Yes, this is the last post you'll see from me for a while, since I'll be displaced and in transit and then on vacation and before I know it the end of the year will be upon us, but I'm hoping that come January I'll be back into the swing of things (maybe sooner).


I cheated a bit here.  This is not a list of exactly 100.  I couldn't do that.  As it is, the snubs are horrendous, and I know that come next week I'll probably have a new film or two that I wish I would have included, but narrowing this list was so hard that I had to bend the rules a bit.  Also, aside from my Top 10, this list is probably all over the place.  I mean, on any given day I could reorder this drastically and still be completely happy with it.  This is a list of 100 films (out of THOUSANDS) that I've seen that are the best of the best, and so there are mere slivers of difference in placement between #100 and #11; for real.

So here goes nothing.  Enjoy.  Comment.  Let me have it.  Agree...disagree...discuss...whatever you wish.  I will try my hardest to respond to all comments when I can get to a computer.  Until I can get back into the swing; goodbye...or shall I say, "See you later!"

Monday, October 12, 2015

That awkward moment…

…when you realize that your best friend is a psycho.  That happened to me this past weekend.  As I lounged in bed in a Las Vegas hotel room with my best friend (who surprised me with the trip Friday afternoon with a, “pack a bag, our plane leaves in three hours”), nursing a hangover and sipping a beer, we decided to watch a movie.  What we decided to watch was ‘Creep’…and as my best friend laughed and laughed and laughed I realized he was laughing because he knew that I knew that he knew this movie was about our friendship.  Every single thing that Josef does, my best friend has done (like, I’m not even joking…there is a comparison for EVERYTHING, including Peachfuzz) and will continue to do.  In fact, he literally pretended to stab me during the closing credits just to see that split second look in my eyes where I look like I want to kill him, because, as he noted, that was his favorite part of the film.  And I did jump, the same way I jumped about three weeks ago when he walked out of his bedroom with a shotgun and shot me…with a blank, but he shot me nonetheless, and for a split second I actually thought I was dead.

Why?  Why did I jump, when I’ve been best friends with this man for five years and I swear nothing he does surprises me?  I jumped because of that very reality.  Nothing surprises me…even the idea of him killing me.

OF COURSE I don’t think he’d kill me.  Like, I know he wouldn’t, at least I think I know, but you know…there is always that deeply buried thought that maybe, just maybe, he really is as crazy as he tells you he is.

And now Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice are also trying to tell me he’s crazy, and I’m a little worried.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A pirate and a fairy walk into a bar…

So, last night I took the kids to see Pan.  The buzz for this film (negative buzz, at that) has been insane since the film was announced.  Between the feeling of ‘fairy tale live action fatigue’ and the issue with ‘white washing’ and that terrifying (and quite alarming) Instagram post by Hugh Jackman to the idea of an origin story to a beloved classic to the feeling that Joe Wright is a gimmick of a director (a sentiment I do not share, but have heard many times), it felt like Pan was plagued with ill intent.

In other words; no one was going to like this.

And, much as I suspected, the initial reviews were quite savage, with critics armed with knives they’ve been holding for half a year tearing into this flick like it was the worst film ever made (and using puns that, like, made them sound seven years old).  I don’t care much for critics, to be honest.  Following the movie/Oscar game for quite a few years now, it’s become evident that once you get ‘paid’ to write a review, you start coming at things from a different perspective.  You start to suck. 

 Sitting in the theater last night, my little ones spread out around me in those really cool recliner seats that literally made me feel like I was watching this in bed, I started to wonder just why this was getting panned so severely.  It is flawed, I won’t deny that…but it’s also really good.  Like, it has so much going for it, which is also a tinge of a flaw (‘too many ideas’ syndrome) and yet those things it has going for it are so intriguing that even in the moments were I felt like someone probably should have yelled, “EDIT!”, I’m really glad they didn’t.

I’d rather take a messy film with too many ideas than an elegant film with none at all.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Semi-Final Oscar Predictions

I feel like such an Oscar loser this year.  UGH, I feel like a blogger loser, period.  I've been so lackluster here since July, all thanks to this big move (moving is SO STRESSFUL) and so I feel so far behind on everything.  LOL, my last Oscar predictions look like a batch of "no, no, nope" thanks to the fact that reviews, screenings and production notes have changed the face of the Oscar race so drastically over the past few months.

So, here we come to the last chance I'm going to get to update these predictions until the new year, which will be deep into the heart of the race, and so I'm calling these my semi-final predictions because, let's be honest here, I won't be updating these again until the night before nomination morning.

So what am I thinking?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Revenant Trailer: Or (why Chivo is going to win his third Oscar (back to back to back) this year)

Have you watched this yet?  Of course you have.  Everyone has.  I'm the last person to watch this, I know.  Listen, I don't know if anyone has ever (in any category) won three Oscars back to back to back (speak now Josh), and I know that everyone is groaning for Deakins to finally win (which isn't going to happen for Sicario), but I don't think that anyone could deny that Emmanuel Lubezki, while always a brilliant cinematographer, has been on the grandest of hot streaks this decade.  I've spoken my piece about my feelings on his Oscar win for Gravity, but even disregarding that film we're still left with The Tree of Life, To the Wonder and Birdman; all stunning work.

And now we have The Revenant.

I'm not going to lie, this looks like his best work to date.  BY A LOT.  The use of light, NATURAL LIGHT, the framing, the breadth of landscape captured coupled with such grand, sweeping movement and energy.  


And speaking of every frame; feast!

Monday, September 28, 2015

So, this is 47...

Naomi Watts turns 47 today.  Not only is she jaw-dropping in her absolute beauty, but she's one of the most talented and versatile actresses working today, and she only gets better and better.  The reality that this woman has yet to win an Oscar is shame enough, but the fact that she's only been nominated TWICE in her incredible career is probably the bigger shame.  In this disgusting day and age where women not named Streep fail to maintain their careers past 50, it's strange to think that time may be running out for this thespian to attain the highest of acting honors, but her youthful beauty and undeniable range may (hopefully) work in her favor.

So, while Oscar has so unjustly shunned her in the past, let's take a few minutes to bask in her talents and remember her best work!

Friday, September 25, 2015

1946 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged By Clicking on Them]

1946.  This was a great year.  Even Oscar got a lot of stuff right.  The year was great even before 1945 stepped in and handed it some treasures.  Yes, due to the Fisti rule that any foreign film nominated for an Oscar must compete in the year in which it was nominated, there are quite a few 'technically' 1945 films that are competing here.  

One of which is my Best Picture winner.

But more on that in a minute.  First, let's talk about Oscar.  While the debate will continue to the end of time as to whether of not The Best Years of Our Lives should have defeated It's a Wonderful Life for Best Picture, the fact remains that both films are truly beautiful.  Personally, I feel that The Best Years of Our Lives IS the better film, while It's a Wonderful Life is understandably the more iconic feature.

They're both treasures, and that's the most important thing.

One thing that The Best Years of Our Lives was able to capture, and a clear reason as to why it won (and won SO MUCH) on Oscar night, was the state of the times.  It understood that, in that moment, the message it carried was a very important one.  In fact, with WWII just barely over, the welcome home of the men and women who defended the country was on the minds of every single person, and so the year became a bounty of films that tried to understand more fully the mindset, not only of the soldiers coming home, but also of the men and women standing at the front door to greet them.  

And that brings us to...another Lee Hirsch Award for Change!

Yes, with the war over, the incredible John Huston put together a series of PSA-Documentaries, and the final film in that series is a chilling look at PTS-Syndrom.  Let There Be Light is a film designed to help the general public understand that there is help for those soldiers returning home and that they can and should be accepted back into a normal way of life.  The fear to hire these young men and women was real, and so John Huston's powerful documentary served a real purpose and is still stirring even today.

Alright, alright, alright...let's get on with it!  I now present to you the Fisti Awards of 1946!