Archive for June, 2011

The Oscar Quest Update: 13 Months (REMIX)

Sometimes I exceed even my own expectations. When I posted the 13 Months update ten days ago, I figured — that’s it. That’s all I’d be able to watch for the month. Because, eight days ago, I moved from New York to Los Angeles. (Which also explains the time shift in when posts go up.) I figured there’d be no way I could get in enough movies to post another update before the end of July. Yeah, I was wrong.

Turns out, I watched another 50 films. Qu’est-ce que c’est? Oh yeah, I’m a psycho killer. (Fa fa fa fa fa…) 50 films in 10 days. Because what else was I gonna do in an unfurnished apartment while waiting for all my shit to come in? Watch 50 films. That’s what.

That leaves us with only 100 more films to go. Total. I’m such a fucking boss. I also managed to find some heretofore unavailable films (and have leads on some others, but I’m only telling you about what I’ve found as of this posting). It’s all very exciting.

As it stands, of the 100 films left, I have, in my possession, 60 of them. There’s 1 in the Netflix Watch Instant Queue (6-hour mini-series. Really dreading it). Of the remaining 39 that are not in my possession — 15 of them I can’t find anywhere (at the moment), 17 of them I found on DVD via Amazon, Archive Collections or on sites that seem to find old movies and put them out on DVD. Which is a surprising number. And there are also 7 of them that I may have leads on, but I don’t want to presume anything until I have them.

So let’s do this one more time. Here are the final 100 filmsRemix, baby! (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1992

Unforgiven. There’s really nothing more I need to say about 1992. It was a great year. Eastwood wins Best Director for it (which I talked about here). Al Pacino finally wins Best Actor, for Scent of a Woman (which I talked about here), Emma Thompson wins Best Actress for Howards End, and Marisa Tomei wins Best Supporting Actress for My Cousin Vinny. Really not a bad decision in the bunch.

And now this category. Another one of those, good decision by default, ones. There really wasn’t much else they could to here.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1992

And the nominees were…

Gene Hackman, Unforgiven

Jaye Davidson, The Crying Game

Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men

Al Pacino, Glengarry Glen Ross

David Paymer, Mr. Saturday Night (more…)


Pic of the Day: “What do you do for recreation?” “Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.”


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1937

Very important category. The second Best Supporting Actress category ever. As such, we have to view it in terms of legitimacy as much as we view it simply as just another category. That is, just like all the other categories — Picture, Director, Actor and Actress — the first few are always the ones that make it legitimate. Example: the first few Best Actor and Best Actress awards went to: Emil Jannings, Janet Gaynor, Mary Pickford, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, Frederic March, Charles Laughton — these are all really highly regarded actors at this time. These people had to get the awards in order to legitimize them and actually make them something worth having. Then, once they’re established, then they can start voting. Foundation. That’s the word I’m looking for. So this category is part of a foundation.

The first Best Supporting Actress award went to Gale Sondergaard for Anthony Adverse. She was a very respected character actress of the day, so it makes sense. Here, Alice Brady, another respected character actress, wins. This is a good decision historically. You establish what a supporting performance is by holding up the best known examples. There’s a reason Walter Brennan won Supporting Actor three times in the first five years of its existence. So for the first five years (1936-1940), you have to allow some leeway in the decision-making just to take into account the legitimization of the category. Bad decisions aren’t necessarily bad until the category is established.

And to recap the rest of this year before we get into the category. The Life of Emile Zola wins Best Picture, which is actually a bad decision. It makes some sense, but it’s not a very good decision and it’s a pretty weak effort overall. Spencer Tracy wins Best Actor for Captains Courageous, the first of his two back-to-back wins. I don’t love this decision, but I’ll accept it. It’s the second of his two wins that I really consider the terrible one. Best Actress this year was Luise Rainer for The Good Earth, the second of her back-to-back wins. I haven’t made up my mind on this one yet. There are a lot of elements to take into account. I’m gonna need a bit more time on this one. Best Supporting Actor, in its second year of existence, goes to Joseph Schildkraut for The Life of Emile Zola, which, I guess is fine. Haven’t yet decided on that one either. Oh, and Best Director this year went to Leo McCarey, for The Awful Truth, which was the best decision they could have made — only it was for the wrong film. I’ll explain that when I get to the category. All you need to know now is that it was a great decision.

Overall I consider this a weak year. This has little to do with the Supporting categories though, since they’re on their own timeline at this point. Still, a weak year. (more…)


Pic of the Day: “How could this happen? I was so careful. I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?”


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1963

I consider 1963 one of the worst years in Academy history. Or rather, one of the worst years in terms of its Best Picture nominees and its Best Picture choice. This is definitely one of the top five weakest sets of nominees I’ve ever seen. Tom Jones wins Best Picture in a field that includes Cleopatra, How the West Was Won, Lilies of the Field and  America, America. What would you have voted for there? (Personally, I have it down between Cleopatra or America, America. But it’s still a terrible set of five.) There was no good choice here.

Best Actor this year was Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field, which I consider a good decision historically, but also kinda racist, which I talked about here. Best Director this year was Tony Richardson for Tom Jones, which makes sense since they went that way for Best Picture. Best Supporting Actor was Melvyn Douglas for Hud, which I actually like as a decision, even though it would have been so much more interesting if they gave it to John Huston. (Right?) And Best Supporting Actress was Margaret Rutherford for The V.I.P.s, which was really the only decision in that category (it had three Tom Jones nominees and a Lilies of the Field nominee).

Now we come down to this one. What the fuck happened here? This is the capper on a terribly bad and uninteresting year. Worst of the 60s, actually. They had the opportunity to give an Oscar to Leslie Caron, Shirley MacLaine (already overdue and once blatantly snubbed), or Natalie Wood (ditto what I said about Shirley MacLaine). And they give it to Patricia Neal? Seriously? What a bad end to a terrible year this was.

BEST ACTRESS – 1963

And the nominees were…

Leslie Caron, The L-Shaped Room

Shirley MacLaine, Irma La Douce

Patricia Neal, Hud

Rachel Roberts, This Sporting Life

Natalie Wood, Love with the Proper Stranger (more…)


Pic of the Day: “When you’re in love with a married man, you shouldn’t wear mascara.”


The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1989

1989 is pretty self-explanatory. Driving Miss Daisy wins Best Picture. One final “fuck you” from the Academy to end the 80s. When ranking the 80s Best Pictures, Miss Daisy is not the worst of the bunch. In probably like 6th or 7th. But in the category it was in — a terrible decision.

It beat — for those who haven’t memorized it like I have — Field of Dreams, Born on the Fourth of July, My Left Foot and Dead Poet’s Society. Just one, “oh god” after another, isn’t it? Four clearly superior films. Or three and a, “I’d probably take that one over it too.” Still — not good. Jessica Tandy won Best Actress for Miss Daisy, which was a good choice. A veteran win was fine, since there wasn’t really another choice. Also, Oliver Stone won Best Director for Born on the Fourth of July, which I was against here. Brenda Fricker won Best Supporting Actress for My Left Foot, which I liked a lot here. And Denzel Washington wins Best Supporting Actor for Glory, which I’m very okay with.

And of course, we all know about this category. Clearly one of the best decision ever made. Which means, aside from the awful Best Picture choice and poor Best Director choice, this was actually a really good year. Damn shame what they did to that dog.

BEST ACTOR – 1989

And the nominees were…

Kenneth Branagh, Henry V

Tom Cruise, Born on the Fourth of July

Daniel Day-Lewis, My Left Foot

Morgan Freeman, Driving Miss Daisy

Robin Williams, Dead Poet’s Society (more…)


Pic of the Day: “Voice confirmation required.” “Uhh…” “Accepted.”


The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1973

I must have said this already, but fuck it, I’ll say it again. It bears repeating. 1973 is a year that I really like, but I’m never sure just how much everyone else likes it, so I always temper my volume when talking about it. I think The Sting is a perfect film and was the perfect choice to win Best Picture this year. But I’m never sure if everyone else feels that way. They might think The Exorcist was a better choice. Which, to each his own, but I’m still taking The Sting. Some people might also think American Graffiti should have won, in which case — I say you’re wrong. Good film, but — no. Either way, I love this year. The Sting was a wonderful choice.

Also this year, Jack Lemmon finally wins Best Actor for Save the Tiger, a decision I like a lot. Glenda Jackson wins Best Actress (again), for A Touch of Class, which I talked about (vehemently, I hope) here. John Houseman wins Best Supporting Actress for The Paper Chase, which I lament, but am kind of okay with, here. And Tatum O’Neal wins Best Supporting Actress, a decision that I’m over the Paper Moon about. See what I did there? I know, I’m clever.

Anyway, regardless of what you think of the Best Picture decision this year, I think this is a category that everyone can get behind. Because even though William Friedkin directed the shit out of The Exorcist, George Roy Hill also directed the shit out of The Sting, and he also directed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Friedkin had already won an Oscar for directing The French Connection. So all around, I think we can agree that giving George Roy Hill this one was a superb decision. Right? Right? Right. Okay.

BEST DIRECTOR – 1973

And the nominees were…

Ingmar Bergman, Cries and Whispers

Bernardo Bertolucci, Last Tango in Paris

William Friedkin, The Exorcist

George Roy Hill, The Sting

George Lucas, American Graffiti (more…)


Pic of the Day: “I’ve never heard of half of these guys and the ones I do know are way past their prime.” “Most of these guys never had a prime.” “This guy here is dead!” “Cross him off, then!”


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1976

I love 1976. How can you not? Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, Network and Rocky. And Bound for Glory, but, whatever on that one. But those first four — wow. For me, 1976 was going to be a great year no matter what they chose for Best Picture. Personally I thought they made the best choice with Rocky, though I bet that’s the one choice people bitch about the most. Best Director for John G. Avildsesn — okay, fine, maybe Sidney Lumet or Alan Pakula should have won. But, hey, Avildsen also directed the Karate Kid, so at least he’s got two redeemable movies on his resume. I think that’s enough for him to have earned it (independent of those two.

Also this year, Peter Finch wins Best Actor for Network, which I swear I just talked about. Oh, wait, that was Beatrice Straight for Best Supporting Actress, which I talked about here. And also Faye Dunaway wins Best Actress for Network as well. So really that film swept almost every other major award at the ceremony except Picture, Director, and this one. This one, now, is a horse of a different color.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I love Jason Robards, but, he won twice, in a row, here and in 1977, and I feel as though he only needed one. And that’s really because, in this category, I really think someone else should have won. But, outside of that, can we all just agree on how amazingly stacked this category is, with the performances and the films they were in? Holy fuck it’s good, right?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1976

And the nominees were…

Ned Beatty, Network

Burgess Meredith, Rocky

Laurence Olivier, Marathon Man

Jason Robards, All the President’s Men

Burt Young, Rocky (more…)


Pic of the Day: “What have you done to Brad?” “Nothing. Why, do you think I should?”


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1968

1968. A pretty drab year. Not a bad one, because, they did make the best of what they had. But, not a very interesting one. Five relatively ho-hum Best Picture choices. Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Oliver!, Rachel, Rachel and Romeo and Juliet. I’d agree that of those choices, Oliver! is probably the best decision. (That or The Lion in Winter. Which feels too on-the-nose.) I think we’d all have something to rally around if, instead of the Paul Newman directorial effort on the list (you know that’s why they nominated it), they nominated 2001: A Space Odyssey instead. (I just heard like ten people go, “Oooh, yeah.”)

Also this year, Cliff Robertson wins Best Actor for Charly. Personally I’d have given Peter O’Toole his richly deserved Oscar for The Lion in Winter, but, whatever. Best Actress was a tie (the only exact tie in Academy history), with both Katharine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter) and Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl) winning. Streisand was the one who should have won, so, at least she tied. Then Best Supporting Actor was Jack Albertson for The Subject was Roses (which I agree with, even though I’d have totally voted for Gene Wilder in The Producers). And finally, even though Stanley Kubrick really deserved Best Director for 2001, Carol Reed wins for Oliver!. This I’m actually very okay with, because Carol Reed deserved an Oscar twice over for his direction of The Third Man (which he got passed over for in favor of All About Eve. You tell me which was the better directorial effort there. [Oh yeah, it also beat Sunset Boulevard. Just sayin’.])

So, that’s why I consider this a pretty drab year. Not necessarily bad, but also — not as good as it could have been.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1968

And the nominees were…

Lynn Carlin, Faces

Rosemary Gordon, Rosemary’s Baby

Sondra Locke, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Kay Medford, Funny Girl

Estelle Parsons, Rachel, Rachel (more…)


In Appreciation of Peter Falk

This one hurts.

I’m very picky about who I write these little “In Memory Of” articles. Because — once somebody dies, everybody writes one of these things. I don’t really like doing the whole, “This person died thing” either. I’m much more a fan of — Jeez, look at all the awesome shit this person did, especially when they’re someone whose major exploits might not be the first things you think of.

For instance, look at the two people I wrote one for already — John Barry and Sidney Lumet. Well, the John Barry one was more of a — it was upsetting he died and I posted a bunch of links to his Bond themes. It was more an excuse to start my Pic of the Day series. The Sidney Lumet one was more of an appreciation article. Because the man directed a lot of films, and a lot of people probably didn’t know the extent of his resume. And that’s what I wanted people to appreciate. I’m gonna do the same thing here. Because Peter Falk really does deserve it. (more…)


Pic of the Day: “You blew up my car. I really loved that car.”


The Box Office Report – June 24-26

Last week, in Box Office…

Green Lantern did poorly! Yes! I was so hoping that happened. And yet — it made the most sense. Even from last year this one looked like the worst of the bunch. Captain America looked like the best, and Thor looked like a wild card. X-Men I assume from experience will always throw out something that’s at the very least watchable. But, I was really hoping for this to fail (relatively). I was hoping it wouldn’t do the $60 million everyone was expecting it to. I was hoping it would do less than X-Men. And it did. It made $53.2 million. And since they were expecting 50, and estimated on Sunday it did 55, and it only did 53 — that ain’t good. And that’s great for me. Ha ha. (But, come on. You knew this was shit. I got done with that movie and was like, “Nothing happened.” You’ve seen this origin story so many times it’s not even interesting anymore. Which — oh man, Spider-Man‘s in trouble.)

Finishing second, as most expected, was Super 8. My exact words on this were: ” At best, you’re looking at a 40% drop and $21 million….I’m figuring around $20-21 million here…I’d skew higher than lower, if you had to pick.” It made $21.5 million. It’s drop was 39.4%. Just sayin’.

Finishing third was Mr. Popper’s Penguins, with an exactly as expected $18.4 million. Just shy of 18.5. For some reason, when I see a film that I think will do like $25 million, and everyone else says 15 — $19 million is always the number. Almost always. $19 million or $14 million. You’d be surprised at how often those two are the right numbers to pick. But, that’s almost exactly as it was tracking, which, makes sense. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1954

Oh, I love 1954 very much. Not necessarily as a year in and of itself (though I’m sure I can produce a nice list of great films that came out this year if I went to the trouble to do so), but in terms of the Oscars. How can you not like a year that includes On the Waterfront winning Best Picture, Best Director for Elia Kazan (his second), Best Actor for Marlon Brando, and Best Supporting Actress for Eva Marie Saint. Right there, you have what amounts to a near perfect year.

Also this year, you have the added bonus of Grace Kelly vs. Judy Garland for Best Actress, with Grace winning for The Country Girl. I haven’t yet decided who I’d vote for there. But it’s such a highly contested race, I might actually have it be the last category I do (maybe…we’ll see). And Best Supporting Actor this year was Edmond O’Brien for The Barefoot Contessa, mostly as a result of a vote split between the three Waterfront nominees (much like Supporting Actor 1972). Not one bad decision in the bunch. And the one that kind of was, was totally understandable because of the situation. Plus Edmond O’Brien is awesome. Just watch this. So, 1954 is a great year all around. We should be lucky to have a year like this.

BEST DIRECTOR – 1954

And the nominees were…

Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window

Elia Kazan, On the Waterfront

George Seaton, The Country Girl

William A. Wellman, The High and the Mighty

Billy Wilder, Sabrina (more…)


Pic of the Day

The General - 10


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1990

Oh boy, 1990. Just what I need. A year that lives in infamy. Dances with Wolves beats Goodfellas for Best Picture, and there, the Academy cemented their retarded selection process yet again. Kevin Costner beats Martin Scorsese for Best Director (which I talked about here), and that right there about tells you what the Academy thinks. Don’t dwell upon it too much, you might get brain damage.

Jeremy Irons wins Best Actor this year for Reversal of Fortune. This is mainly considered a makeup Oscar for a performance he wasn’t even nominated for. I’ll talk about that eventually. Best Supporting Actor goes to Joe Pesci for Goodfellas and Best Supporting Actress goes to Whoopi Goldberg for Ghost, which I talked about here. So, of the six categories this year, I can say, pretty definitively, the Academy made about — two good decisions. They made one that’s okay, one bad one, and two really bad ones. Which basically makes this a bad year for me almost all around. I hate 1990. It upsets me every time I see it.

BEST ACTRESS – 1990

And the nominees were…

Kathy Bates, Misery

Anjelica Huston, The Grifters

Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman

Meryl Streep, Postcards from the Edge

Joanne Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (more…)


Pic of the Day: “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go on an overnight drunk, and in 10 days I’m going to set out to find the shark that ate my friend and destroy it. Anyone who wants to tag along is more than welcome.”

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - 308.png


The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1953

Every time I talk about this year, I say, “I love 1953.” Wanna know why? Because 1953 is a fucking great year. I’ll spare you the list of films that came out this year — those are on the other articles. Just know, this year is great. And this category is great too. So that’s something we have going for us.

Best Picture this year, quite understandably (it’s got “prestige picture” written all over it), was From Here to Eternity. It wins that, along with Best Director for Fred Zinnemann (inevitable, since he didn’t win for High Noon the year before, and everyone acknowledged he should have), Best Supporting Actor for Frank Sinatra (which I talked about here), and Best Supporting Actress for Donna Reed. The other big award was Best Actress, which went to Audrey Hepburn for Roman Holiday, which I talked about here.

That’s really all there is to say. It’s a strong year with a pretty strong set of winners. I wouldn’t necessarily have made all the same choices, but, I agree most of the way with them, and that’s all I need, really. It’s a great year.

BEST ACTOR – 1953

And the nominees were…

Marlon Brando, Julius Caesar

Richard Burton, The Robe

Montgomery Clift, From Here to Eternity

William Holden, Stalag 17

Burt Lancaster, From Here to Eternity (more…)


Pic of the Day: “Listen kid, I’m not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don’t give a good fuck what you know, or don’t know, but I’m gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It’s amusing, to me, to torture a cop.”


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1961

What happened here? Not that I’m totally against it, since I like Sophia Loren, but, come on now.

Otherwise, though, 1961 is a pretty good year. West Side Story wins Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (first double Best Director winner in history. One of two, including the Coen brothers), Best Supporting Actor for George Chakiris and Best Supporting Actress for Rita Moreno (which I talked about here). Big film. Great film. The other award was Best Actor, which went to Maximilian Schell for Judgment at Nuremberg, which I don’t even hide as one I consider one of the worst decisions of all time.

But back to this category. It’s tough to say, since Sophia Loren is a legend, but I really don’t think she should have won this one. And it’s not even because of Audrey Hepburn. I don’t think she should have won this one either. But, because of the love I have for Sophia Loren, it makes it cloud the fact that I consider this win a terrible decision. And that’s what’s so difficult about this year.

BEST ACTRESS – 1961

And the nominees were…

Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Piper Laurie, The Hustler

Sophia Loren, Two Women

Geraldine Page, Summer and Smoke

Natalie Wood, Splendor in the Grass (more…)