Archive for December, 2011

B+ Movie Blog: Year One

It is December 31st, at 11:59 pm, as this goes up.

One year ago today, this blog was started.

I had no idea what would happen when I started it.

My only plan was to document the Oscar Quest, and talk about film.

It gave me an excuse to keep writing. Keep creating. Keep talking about my favorite topic.

I told myself I would try to write one post every day. The goal was 365.

This post will be my 800th. (more…)

Pic of the Day — Oscar Season

Not rabbit season. Or duck season.

Back in August, I had the idea to have the January and February Pics of the day be Oscar-themed. It goes along with all the theme months I’ve been having since September. For the next 60 days (it’s Leap Year, motherfucker), all the Pics of the Day will be Oscar-themed, such that, while they’ll all be winners of major Oscar categories (aka, the Quest), they’ll also be (for the most part) really classic shots from the films as well. Such that, when you see them, they should give off that classy, Oscar vibe. Like when you pay that extra couple hundred bucks so your prostitute for the evening gives off that “professional” vibe and not the “I’ll suck yo dick for rocks” vibe. That’s normally how it is around here.

Plus, since I love symmetry and even numbers — sixty days, six categories (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director), it all works out. I’ll just go through the categories. So that’s the way this is gonna work. Tomorrow will start with Best Picture (one of the most famous shots in all of cinema to boot), and then go through the categories (in the order stated up there) until the end of February. We’ll end up with ten Pics from each category (there’s no system here past the fact that it won in the category I’m putting it in).

The goal here is for every Pic of the Day from now until the Oscars to be one that you can look at and think, “Oscar film.” We’re looking to class up the place, the way a bride waxes her bush before the wedding. (I’m getting it all out now.) Now… let it begin.

Mike’s Top Ten of 2011

Everyone’s got one. Here’s mine.

Pretty simple — just a list of my ten favorite films of 2011. No arguments, no, “I agree, but I liked this film better,” none of that. This is my list, that’s that, end of story. I do this for me. I do this so I can see, in one year, in three, in ten, which films retain their status with me, and which fade over time. It’s a tough business, making a Top Ten list. Most people are pretty short-sighted about it. I try to put a little thought into it and think, “Will I want to be watching this movie in six months?”

That said — thinking about it with that in mind — it’s been a rough year. I had a pretty tough time coming up with an acceptable list. Of course, within the list of films, there were more than ten to choose from. But, in terms of past years — this one has definitely been the weakest in a while, maybe since 2006 (though last year was a bit tough). I guess the key is just not overthinking it, and going with what I felt I liked the best. So, let’s just get into it.

One quick note to make — this will be the only time I actually rank a Top Ten of the year list. After this, it reverts to a simple list of ten in alphabetical order. I’m only doing it this way now because we’re in the middle of it, and people want to know specifically what was liked. Don’t focus so much on the numbers. I’m simply just listing the films I liked the best. Think of the long game here. That’s what I’m doing.

So, here they are — my Top Ten Films of 2011: (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!”

2011: The Unforgivables

I had a crisis of conscience this year.

I turned over a new leaf in 2011 in terms of how I watch movies. I became much more open about certain films, trying to go into (and come out of) them with a more positive outlook. I stopped looking for things to attack and ridicule, because that goes against what movies are. You’re supposed to look for the value in them, not watch and go, “Oh, I can annihilate this one.” The change in mindset led to me being much more okay with some movies that I just wouldn’t have been okay with last year. I still didn’t like them, but I just didn’t get so upset at them.

Last year, I posted a list of what I considered to be the Unforgivable films of 2010. What made a film unforgivably bad instead of just regular bad was the fact that it made me physically angry as I watched it. We know films like Twilight are gonna suck. They’re bad, but they’re not Unforgivable because we know they’re bad. An Unforgivable movie is one that’s not only bad, but it makes you want to tell people how bad it is while you’re watching it. So I made my list and wrote some pretty funny rants about them (all stemming from one I wrote on The Switch that began as a Jerry Maguire-type memo (or mission statement) to my friends about how they should avoid the movie at all costs).

Thing is, though — afterwards I felt bad. Sure, I didn’t like the films, and I wanted to tell people that I did not like them Sam-I-Am, but the rants were somewhat unnecessarily harsh, even though they were meant for humor. And this year, with my newfound positive outlook, I wondered whether another list of Unforgivables was the right thing to do. I thought, “Why just bash something in the name of humor?”

And then I thought, “Why not just bash something in the name of humor?”

So welcome to the Unforgivables list for 2011. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?” “Not yet. Any complaints or suggestions?” “A few.” “Which?” “Complaints.” “All right shoot.” “Well, you don’t scold, you don’t nag, and you look far too pretty in the mornings.” “All right, I’ll remember: must scold, must nag, musn’t be too pretty in the mornings.”

The Box Office Report – December 30-January 1

Last week, in Box Office…

In what shocked the shit out of everyone, Tom Cruise stood up and said, “Fuck y’all, I’m still a badass motherfucker at the box office.”

Okay, so maybe he didn’t say that. He said, “I can go back to my well really well. And my movie made $46 million, so I can rhyme well with well. Do something.”

Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (I hope you’re all appreciative of the fact that I get the punctuation right every time for your benefit when trying to repeat it.) made $29.5 million. And this is after it opened really strong last week. Everyone is amazed at how this happened. Some blame Scientology. I, honestly, blame no one, since this was actually a really entertaining film, and was everything a Mission: Impossible film should be. So let it make the money. It’s well on its way to recovering its budget back. It has currently pulled in about $95 million so far (off a budget of around $150 million. Not to mention pulling in almost $200 million worldwide so far).

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows finished second for the weekend, with $20.3 million. Still pretty strong for it. I’m not sure why they’re considering this such a failure. “Oh no, it only made $40 million instead of $60 million! We’re fucked a dinosaur’s story! It’s crossed $100 million domestically already. Disappointment, my ass! (more…)

Oscars 2011 Update: Important Dates

Just a quick one while he’s away to update everyone about what’s going on. Here are all the dates for when all the pertinent groups announce stuff (Note: if it doesn’t say “nominations” it means that’s when they’re announcing the winners):

  • 1/3 — Producers Guild nominations (big day)
  • 1/4 — Art Directors Guild nominations
  • 1/5 — Writers Guild nominations
  • 1/9 — Directors Guild nominations / Visual Effects Society nominations
  • 1/10 — American Society of Cinematographers nominations
  • 1/15 — Golden Globes
  • 1/16 — American Cinema Editors nominations
  • 1/17 — BAFTA nominations (more…)

2011: The Year in Review (Observations & Wrap-Up)

I did the compiling — now it’s time to actually figure out what it all means.

I have made a list of every film that appears on Wikipedia’s 2011 in film article (and even some that don’t), as a list of all films that came out in 2011. I’ve cross-checked that list with every film I’ve seen this year (every single one has been reviewed in my Movie Year in Review articles: here, here and here), as well as all of the films I previewed back in January as they were, at the time, scheduled. Then I wrote a final review of my thoughts on the films as they stand now, days, weeks and even months after seeing them. And then I concluded with a quick analysis of how close I was, based on what I thought I’d rate the film back in January and what I actually thought about the film.

So now what? Now it’s time to add everything up, and really see how close I was, all things considered. Admit it, you don’t remember anything I said in those articles. You probably didn’t even read them. Come on. I know you. You know you can’t read. I’m compiling everything here, so you don’t need to go back and look at all those. I’m not sure exactly how I’m gonna go about it, so we’re both gonna find out together. Keep reading, it’ll be exciting. (more…)

2011: Year in Review (The Post-Script)

So we took care of everything that came out. Now — let’s talk about everything that didn’t come out.

That is, everything that either was scheduled and was pushed, or was not scheduled but was in the process of being shot/edited/tinkered with/reshot/shelved/what have you, and still hasn’t been heard from.

First, we start with a shitty Julianne Moore movie. (The only film from the first six months of the year to not come out at all.)



Pic of the Day: “Did you hear what I said, Miss Kubelik? I absolutely adore you.” “Shut up and deal.”

2011: The Year in Review (Part III)

And we reach the final portion of the year in Review. Don’t worry, this isn’t the end (technically that’s next year. Right Mayans? Right? Oh, right, you’re all dead. Too bad. I was curious to know if you guys had an enzyme called Mayan-ase). Later on today, I’m gonna put up an article about all the films I previewed back in January that didn’t come out at all (it’s not many), then tomorrow I’ll put up some numbers about all of this — how well I did and such, as well as talk about the films that surprised me, for better and for worse. That stuff.

But before we do that, let’s finish this up. First, a quick recap: In January, I previewed all the films coming out this year (that were scheduled at the time), and guessed what I’d think of them. This article will cover the films in the September & October and November & December articles. Also, over the year, as I saw the films, I kept track of what I thought about them. I did that here, here and here. Now what I’m doing is taking what I said in January (which I didn’t looked at after writing it, until now), taking what I actually thought about the movie, summing up what my thoughts on the films are now (having digested the films more), and then writing how close I was or not. Got it?

Okay then. Let’s get into the final batch… (Ha ha. Gremlins.) (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Hard to believe it was last Christmas that me and Harmony changed the world. And we didn’t mean to. And it didn’t last long, you know. A thing like that can’t. Now that I’m in L.A., I go to parties. The kind where if a girl is named Jill, she spells it J-Y-L-L-E, that bullshit. That’s me there. My name’s Harry Lockhart, I’ll be your narrator. Welcome to L.A. Welcome to the party.”

Oscars 2011 Update: Oscar Nominations Ballots Mailed

Right now, the check actually is in the mail.

Nominations ballots for the 84th Academy Awards are out. This means that, between now and January 14th at 5 pm, Academy members will be able to fill out their ballots and nominate what they thought were the best films in their respective categories.

A quick breakdown as to how this works: All categories, save three, are voted on by their respective members. That is — actors nominate actors, directores nominate directors, etc. The only three categories that do not adhere to this method are Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, and Best Foreign Language Film. Best Picture is something everyone can vote on. And the other two — they are nominated best on subcommittees. Basically — they get a bunch of people from each branch and screen the films for them. And they’re the ones who nominate films. (Foreign Language Film is always like this. In order to vote on the category, you need to have seen all the films.)

Okay, that’s all taken care of. It’s pretty straightforward. And there’s not much here in terms of that except — things are happening. Soon we’ll have nominations. But in the meantime, I figured, why not go and cast my own ballot for the proceedings? So that’s what I’m doing. (more…)

2011: The Year in Review (Part II)

Today we continue seeing how well I did with my January predictions. To recap:

In January, I laid out the 2011 Release Calendar, previewing all the movies (as they were scheduled at the time) and writing what I thought I’d think of them. I thought it would be interesting to see how right (or wrong) I was. I’m cross-checking what I said with January with what I wrote in my reviews for the films as I saw them (in those Movie Year in Review articles). Today, we’re doing May through August.

You can see the January reviews here (should you want to. Read the rest of the intro before you click): The 2011 Release Calendar (May & June) and The 2011 Release Calendar (July & August).

Here are all my Year in Review articles: The Movie Year in Review (So Far) — the first third, January through April. The Movie Year in Review (2/3 of the Way Through) — May through August. And The Movie Year in Review (The Final Third) — September through December.

I wrote the films up as I saw them, so the reviews could be on any one of the three. But I quoted parts of what I said in January and the reviews (the pertinent sections) here. The links are so you can double check if you don’t believe me. It’ll be just like yesterday: what I said in January, what I actually thought, a final review, and how close I felt I was in guessing. Now, let’s get reviewing… (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Carl? Carl! Merry Christmas! How is it we’re always talking on Christmas, Carl? Every Christmas, I’m talking to you!” “Put your shirt on, Frank. You’re under arrest.”

Oscars 2011 Update: The Voting Academy

A lot of people don’t quite know just how voting happens in the Academy.

To most people, it’s just this nebulous body that gets ballots and votes and then the ballots are tallied by this secret firm that shows up on Oscar night with the envelopes in briefcases handcuffed to their wrists. No one ever really explains just what “the Academy” signifies, and what the actual numbers are in terms of who is voting.

So I figured, why don’t I do it? (more…)

2011: The Year in Review (Part I)

Back in January — within the first ten days of the start of this blog, even — I previewed the entire 2011 release calendar. You can see those articles here:

The 2011 Release Calendar (January & February) and  The 2011 Release Calendar (March & April). We’ll stick with these two for now, since this will be split into three parts. (You won’t need to read them first, though. They’re only there in case you want to double check that I did, in fact, say what I said. You can cross-check what I thought I’d say from there alongside my Year in Review articles here, here and here.)

What I did was, I went and looked at all the films (as they were scheduled at the time) — what they were about, who was in them, who directed them — and basically formed an opinion on what I thought I’d think about the films. It was the kind of thing where — by this point, I know exactly what I’m gonna think about certain movies, or at least I think I do. So I figured I’d preview all the movies that were coming out, guess what I’d think of them, then revisit the list at the end of the year and find out just how right (or wrong) I was.

It’s that time. Now I get to go back — I deliberately didn’t read those preview articles after I wrote them. I didn’t want my actual opinions of the films to be swayed by what I thought I’d think. And now — I get to see which films surprised me, for better and for worse, and which fell precisely within my expectations (for better, and for worse). I’m excited to see how I did. (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Now I have a machine gun. Ho, ho ho.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1939

1939 is the best year for American movies. The Golden Year, as they call it. And it really was. And the best thing about a year that’s this strong is when it has a definitive Best Picture winner, like this one does.

Gone With the Wind wins Best Picture, Best Director for Victor Fleming (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actress for Hattie McDaniel (talked about here). Best Actor this year went to Robert Donat for Goodbye, Mr. Chips, which, as I said here, is an award that should have went to Jimmy Stewart for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and the Academy realized it so much that they gave him an Oscar the year after this for an unworthy performance. And Best Supporting Actor was Thomas Mitchell for Stagecoach, which, as I said here, is a brilliant decision (with my deepest condolences to Claude Rains).

And then there’s this category, which — it’s Gone With the Wind. It’s Scarlett O’Hara. Come on now.


And the nominees were…

Bette Davis, Dark Victory

Irene Dunne, Love Affair

Greta Garbo, Ninotchka

Greer Garson, Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.”

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1946

Love me some 1946. I’m always a fan of years that have definitive winners, yet other nominees that are strong enough to make people vehemently argue that those films should have won instead, and yet not be wrong to argue for them. 1939 is one. 1957. 1997, 1994, 1991 — there are lots of them. Here, The Best Years of Our Lives wins Best Picture, as it should have (historically this is a big film for Hollywood), and It’s a Wonderful Life is the film everyone argues for. And no one is wrong. I love that.

The Best Years of Our Lives also won Best Director for William Wyler, which was gonna happen, and Best Supporting Actor for Harold Russell, which, as I said here, I actually really, really hate. Best Actress was Olivia de Havilland for To Each His Own, which, as I said here, I love and support fully. And Best Supporting Actress was Anne Baxter for The Razor’s Edge, which I liked very much, actually.

So, in all, 1946 is a strong, strong year, with only one slip up that’s actually understandable (though still bad). And this category — looking at it objectively — as much as we all love Jimmy Stewart — this was a good decision.


And the nominees were…

Frederic March, The Best Years of Our Lives

Laurence Olivier, Henry V

Larry Parks, The Jolson Story

Gregory Peck, The Yearling

James Stewart, It’s A Wonderful Life (more…)

Pic of the Day: “A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.”

It's a Wonderful Life - 14

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1957

Love 1957. 4 out of 6 really strong decisions. The Bridge on the River Kwai wins half the major awards (rightfully so), winning Best Picture, Best Director for David Lean (talked about here) and Best Actor for Alec Guinness. All perfect decisions. And Best Actress was Joanne Woodward for The Three Faces of Eve (talked about here), which was also a perfect decision.

Okay, that takes care of almost everything. Now we’re at the two Supporting categories. First was Red Buttons, winning Best Supporting Actor for Sayonara, which, as I said here, I hate very much as a decision. And the second was here, which I also hate very strongly and consider one of the worst decisions ever made in the history of the Best Supporting Actress category.


And the nominees were..

Carolyn Jones, The Bachelor Party

Elsa Lanchester, Witness for the Prosecution

Hope Lange, Peyton Place

Miyoshi Umeki, Sayonara

Diane Varsi, Peyton Place (more…)