Archive for May, 2020

Mike’s Top Documentaries of the Decade (50-41)

When I first got into film, I somehow decided I was adamantly against documentaries as a medium. Part of it’s an attention span thing — most of the time when I watch a documentary, I get what it’s trying to say within fifteen minutes and the rest of the time it just feels like I’m being beat over the head with the same themes over and over again. I also, for a time, felt like every documentary was the same. They were either about how badly the government and corporations were screwing us and how awful certain issues are, or they were looking back at the Holocaust for the millionth time. So, for a time, I avoided all documentaries unless I had to or if they seemed really interesting.

Though, over the decade, there’s definitely been a real uptick in how many documentaries I see. To the point where I now rank my favorite 15 documentaries at the end of each year. I still, of course, have a preference for certain subject matters over others and do tend to not care about docs others might deem important and essential, but I’m definitely not as dismissive as I used to be about them. So as I rank my favorite 100 documentaries of the decade, the message I’d like to impart is this — people grow. The fact that I’m even doing this list when, a decade ago I’d have scoffed at the notion of it — you don’t have to love everything in order to appreciate everything.

So here are my favorite documentaries of the past decade: (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #93 – “What’s Up Danger,” from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

 

93. “What’s Up Danger,” from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

This song fucking slaps. This shit goes hard, and I love it. This is, I think, the first song we hear in the film, too. Or maybe it’s just the first track on the album. I forget. But this just gives you an idea of what you’re in for with the rest of the music, and when you see the film for the first time, you are not expecting this. Which just makes me like it even more.


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Pic of the Day: “I am Lieutenant John J. Dunbar and this is my post.” (30th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Documentaries of the Decade (60-51)

When I first got into film, I somehow decided I was adamantly against documentaries as a medium. Part of it’s an attention span thing — most of the time when I watch a documentary, I get what it’s trying to say within fifteen minutes and the rest of the time it just feels like I’m being beat over the head with the same themes over and over again. I also, for a time, felt like every documentary was the same. They were either about how badly the government and corporations were screwing us and how awful certain issues are, or they were looking back at the Holocaust for the millionth time. So, for a time, I avoided all documentaries unless I had to or if they seemed really interesting.

Though, over the decade, there’s definitely been a real uptick in how many documentaries I see. To the point where I now rank my favorite 15 documentaries at the end of each year. I still, of course, have a preference for certain subject matters over others and do tend to not care about docs others might deem important and essential, but I’m definitely not as dismissive as I used to be about them. So as I rank my favorite 100 documentaries of the decade, the message I’d like to impart is this — people grow. The fact that I’m even doing this list when, a decade ago I’d have scoffed at the notion of it — you don’t have to love everything in order to appreciate everything.

So here are my favorite documentaries of the past decade: (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #94 – “Bang Bang,” from The Great Gatsby

 

94. “Bang Bang,” from The Great Gatsby

Gatsby’s back. This is where we start getting into the good stuff. This soundtrack, a lot of people forget about it. It’s amazing. They incorporate a lot of the songs into the score, which makes the whole thing feel really seamless. And also, it’s just all-out excessive, which fits the film perfectly. This one I like because of the 20s-echoing big band intro that comes in and out. I’m not as in love with the beat portions of it, but that’s fine. Because in the later parts, they bring both in at the same time, and it’s awesome. Plus it just feels like a party song, which works for me.


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Pic of the Day (100th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Documentaries of the Decade (70-61)

When I first got into film, I somehow decided I was adamantly against documentaries as a medium. Part of it’s an attention span thing — most of the time when I watch a documentary, I get what it’s trying to say within fifteen minutes and the rest of the time it just feels like I’m being beat over the head with the same themes over and over again. I also, for a time, felt like every documentary was the same. They were either about how badly the government and corporations were screwing us and how awful certain issues are, or they were looking back at the Holocaust for the millionth time. So, for a time, I avoided all documentaries unless I had to or if they seemed really interesting.

Though, over the decade, there’s definitely been a real uptick in how many documentaries I see. To the point where I now rank my favorite 15 documentaries at the end of each year. I still, of course, have a preference for certain subject matters over others and do tend to not care about docs others might deem important and essential, but I’m definitely not as dismissive as I used to be about them. So as I rank my favorite 100 documentaries of the decade, the message I’d like to impart is this — people grow. The fact that I’m even doing this list when, a decade ago I’d have scoffed at the notion of it — you don’t have to love everything in order to appreciate everything.

So here are my favorite documentaries of the past decade: (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #95 – “Tuff Love (Barb Wire),” from Patti Cake$

 

95. “Tuff Love (Barb Wire),” from Patti Cake$

So this song, for those who haven’t seen Patti Cake$ (which, based on what I’m gauging just by talking to people these past few years, is most of you), is one of the more important songs in the entire film. It’s not a rap, unlike almost all the others, because it’s not sung by Patti, but by her mother. The film is partially a mother-daughter story, and this song represents her mother, portrayed brilliantly by Bridget Everett. She was a minor singer in the 80s who released one album under the name Barb Wire. And then she had a kid and is now this single mother who bartends at a cop bar, gets drunk and sings karaoke, sort of reliving her past glory that way. Which, of course, her daughter can’t stand, because her daughter wants to actually make it. And this song, which she puts on at one point, represents all of that, and also factors into another song at the end of the film, which we’ll eventually get to on here. But also, in terms of just the song, isn’t it just a great 80s-style rock song? You can definitely hear someone like a Pat Benatar or someone like that performing something like this, which is what makes it feel so perfect for the film. It feels like it could be real.


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Pic of the Day: “There once was a dream that was Rome.” (20th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Documentaries of the Decade (80-71)

When I first got into film, I somehow decided I was adamantly against documentaries as a medium. Part of it’s an attention span thing — most of the time when I watch a documentary, I get what it’s trying to say within fifteen minutes and the rest of the time it just feels like I’m being beat over the head with the same themes over and over again. I also, for a time, felt like every documentary was the same. They were either about how badly the government and corporations were screwing us and how awful certain issues are, or they were looking back at the Holocaust for the millionth time. So, for a time, I avoided all documentaries unless I had to or if they seemed really interesting.

Though, over the decade, there’s definitely been a real uptick in how many documentaries I see. To the point where I now rank my favorite 15 documentaries at the end of each year. I still, of course, have a preference for certain subject matters over others and do tend to not care about docs others might deem important and essential, but I’m definitely not as dismissive as I used to be about them. So as I rank my favorite 100 documentaries of the decade, the message I’d like to impart is this — people grow. The fact that I’m even doing this list when, a decade ago I’d have scoffed at the notion of it — you don’t have to love everything in order to appreciate everything.

So here are my favorite documentaries of the past decade: (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #96 – “OYAHYTT,” from Sorry to Bother You

 

96. “OYAHYTT,” from Sorry to Bother You

I’m pretty sure everyone is at least partially aware of this one. It was all over the advertising for this movie, which felt like it was everywhere around the time the film came out. It’s catchy as shit, this song. And yes, in case you didn’t realize it, the title is short for “Oh yeah, alright, hell yeah, that’s tight.” It’s all about the instrumentation for this one, but also… it fits the film. It just sort of encapsulates the entire film in my mind. It’s a pretty unforgettable melody that makes you want to get up and party. Hard not to put it on this list.


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Pic of the Day: “Goonies never say die!” (35th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Documentaries of the Decade (90-81)

When I first got into film, I somehow decided I was adamantly against documentaries as a medium. Part of it’s an attention span thing — most of the time when I watch a documentary, I get what it’s trying to say within fifteen minutes and the rest of the time it just feels like I’m being beat over the head with the same themes over and over again. I also, for a time, felt like every documentary was the same. They were either about how badly the government and corporations were screwing us and how awful certain issues are, or they were looking back at the Holocaust for the millionth time. So, for a time, I avoided all documentaries unless I had to or if they seemed really interesting.

Though, over the decade, there’s definitely been a real uptick in how many documentaries I see. To the point where I now rank my favorite 15 documentaries at the end of each year. I still, of course, have a preference for certain subject matters over others and do tend to not care about docs others might deem important and essential, but I’m definitely not as dismissive as I used to be about them. So as I rank my favorite 100 documentaries of the decade, the message I’d like to impart is this — people grow. The fact that I’m even doing this list when, a decade ago I’d have scoffed at the notion of it — you don’t have to love everything in order to appreciate everything.

So here are my favorite documentaries of the past decade: (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #97 – “Hollywood Ending,” from Anna and the Apocalypse

 

97. “Hollywood Ending,” from Anna and the Apocalypse

Aww yeah, baby. Our first Anna and the Apocalypse song. For those who don’t know what it is, the simplest way to put it is — Shaun of the Dead with show tunes. That’s the film. It’s a zombie musical. In fact, it’s based on a short film called… Zombie Musical. And it’s so much fun. This song is sort of the refrain throughout the film. It shows up near the beginning and then closes out the film in a reprise. It’s the song, if you will. Every musical sort of has their one ‘big’ song. This is the one for this film. It’s basically their way of saying, “Look, things don’t always work out well,” which allows for the characters to be eaten by zombies throughout it. But the songs in it are really good. And it’s one of those nice little gems that’s just out there for those who like a little song and dance with their flesh-eating zombies.


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Pic of the Day: “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be’ – she always called me Elwood – ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant’. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” (70th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Documentaries of the Decade (100-91)

When I first got into film, I somehow decided I was adamantly against documentaries as a medium. Part of it’s an attention span thing — most of the time when I watch a documentary, I get what it’s trying to say within fifteen minutes and the rest of the time it just feels like I’m being beat over the head with the same themes over and over again. I also, for a time, felt like every documentary was the same. They were either about how badly the government and corporations were screwing us and how awful certain issues are, or they were looking back at the Holocaust for the millionth time. So, for a time, I avoided all documentaries unless I had to or if they seemed really interesting.

Though, over the decade, there’s definitely been a real uptick in how many documentaries I see. To the point where I now rank my favorite 15 documentaries at the end of each year. I still, of course, have a preference for certain subject matters over others and do tend to not care about docs others might deem important and essential, but I’m definitely not as dismissive as I used to be about them. So as I rank my favorite 100 documentaries of the decade, the message I’d like to impart is this — people grow. The fact that I’m even doing this list when, a decade ago I’d have scoffed at the notion of it — you don’t have to love everything in order to appreciate everything.

So here are my favorite documentaries of the past decade: (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #98 – “Moonfog,” from The Beach Bum

 

98. “Moonfog,” from The Beach Bum

Oh god, do I love this song. I got so happy in the theater when Jimmy Buffet was on Snoop Dogg’s — I’m sorry… Lingerie’s — boat and improvising/writing this song about Moondog. And then for the full song to be the end credits song — it’s really the best payoff you can get in a movie like this. It’s so perfect for everything this movie is and what it aspires to be. I know not everyone’s into the whole Jimmy Buffet, Parrothead thing (they’re like Juggalos but in khakis and Hawaiian shirts, for those of you who don’t know what that means), but man, isn’t this just such a great song to groove along to? The man definitely knows how to give you that lazy beach feeling, doesn’t he?


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Pic of the Day: “Is your handwriting legible?” “Except on weekends.” (55th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Film Scores of the Decade (10-1)

Film scores are one of my favorite things to listen to and the list of my top ones is one of the articles I get most excited for each year. I put way much more effort into that than I really ought to. I go deep, listening to some scores that I probably shouldn’t even bother with. And it’s because I love that aspect of film so much. The care that goes into all those notes. Think about how many films there are each year and how many have true, dedicated scores to them. Now consider that, despite there only being a handful of notes out there, each of them is utterly unique in its own way. It’s crazy to think about.

So when I was considering lists to talk about for this past decade, this one was one I couldn’t wait to get into. I know most people won’t rush to put a score on, but if you’re gonna go in for one, these are some of the best that have come out these past ten years: (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #99 – “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

 

99. “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ah, yes. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Sneaky choice, I know. But also… how many more memorable songs out there are there than this one? You start this movie that you thought was gonna be a miniseries but instead becomes an anthology film, and then here we are with this opening segment that’s just hilarious. And then all of a sudden, after a shootout, this dude just starts singing. And it’s completely ridiculous and hilarious. But then the movie goes all in on the song, which makes the whole thing even better. The beautiful thing about this song is how completely straight the whole thing is played, even though they’re dragging one guy’s corpse out of the street as his soul floats away into heaven, singing this song. It’s incredible.


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Pic of the Day: “Playing music is supposed to be fun. It’s about heart, it’s about feelings, moving people, and something beautiful, and it’s not about notes on a page. I can teach you notes on a page, I can’t teach you that other stuff.” (25th Anniversary)


Mike’s Top Film Scores of the Decade (20-11)

Film scores are one of my favorite things to listen to and the list of my top ones is one of the articles I get most excited for each year. I put way much more effort into that than I really ought to. I go deep, listening to some scores that I probably shouldn’t even bother with. And it’s because I love that aspect of film so much. The care that goes into all those notes. Think about how many films there are each year and how many have true, dedicated scores to them. Now consider that, despite there only being a handful of notes out there, each of them is utterly unique in its own way. It’s crazy to think about.

So when I was considering lists to talk about for this past decade, this one was one I couldn’t wait to get into. I know most people won’t rush to put a score on, but if you’re gonna go in for one, these are some of the best that have come out these past ten years: (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #100 – “Remember Me,” from Coco

 

100. “Remember Me,” from Coco

This is the flashy version of the song, but I much prefer the later version, that Miguel sings to his grandmother at the end of the film. Still, it’s a very well-written song and my only real gripe with it is that it’s so short. I kinda wish there were more to it. But still, as it stands, it’s a very great song that serves a very important function within its film, which you can’t say for a lot of original film songs out there.


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Pic of the Day: “We all want to forget something, so we tell stories. It’s easier that way.” (70th Anniversary)