Posts tagged “2011

Mike’s Top Ten of 2011

Love me some 2011. I moved to LA midway through this year, so a lot of the movies in the top ten were ones I saw right as I got to LA, which gives them an extra sense of specialness to me.

As a year… I forget how strong it is at the top. It feels like just another year to me when I think about it in the abstract, but here, I could legitimately almost make two separate top ten lists with the movies in the top 20.

This was my first official top ten list created after this site was in existence. So in a way this was the one where my knowing it was gonna go on here affected the decision-making. For better or for worse, I guess. Mostly I’m just happy that a lot of my choices are still ones I would put on the list. But it’s also a strong enough year to where anything that got swapped out is basically a toss-up situation anyway. So it’s hard for me to be disappointed with anything that made it on. (more…)


A Pictorial History of the Movies: 2011 – Bridesmaids

How can it not be?

This was the breakout hit of 2011. This came out to little fanfare, really, and then gradually, through word of mouth, became one of the biggest comedy hits of all time.

The important thing about this film is the fact that it really brought women to the forefront of comedy. It’s not that women were never present in comedy. You think of writers like Ruth Gordon and Elaine May, and stars like Lucille Ball and so on. It’s just that, over the past 20 years, women have become marginalized. They’re always playing a type, or stuck playing the girlfriend role. Especially has comedy has become… whatever the hell it’s become. That dumb, raunchy, sophomoric Apatow shit. Which is so clearly male dominated.

So the real importance of this film is that it brought women back to mainstream comedy and allowed them to do the kind of comedy men do and have a lot of people enjoy it. (more…)


Mike’s Top Ten of 2011 (REMIX)

I’m in the middle of revisiting the last few years of top ten lists.

I won’t do all of them, don’t you worry. I’m just doing the ones that I made since the blog started.

Well — technically I made all of them since the blog started. But I’m talking about the top ten lists I made for specific years and not for decades. The ones where I ranked stuff specifically and did it with less than a few weeks of time to think about it. Which are 2010, 2011 and 2012. Everything else I’ve had lots of time to sit with and decide my opinion on. So those I don’t need to update. These — these will be interesting.

So yesterday I updated my 2012 list, which is just about three months old now. Today I’m doing last year’s list, and tomorrow I’ll do 2010’s list. Each will be interesting for their own reasons. This one because 2011 was a hard year to create a top ten list for (and I still think I’ll need some more time to fully create one), and 2010 because I didn’t really list all the films I list now, so there’s a whole different set of work to do there.

That said, here is my (REMIXED) Top Ten list for 2011: (more…)


The Hidden Gems List (2011)

I wish I had a sticker or jpeg I could put on all the films I talk about on the blog that I consider to be hidden gems, but this blog (as well as myself) is not that advanced. So we’ll just have to make due with these lists.

This is a new feature on the blog. I got the idea for it earlier in the year, as I was thinking of ways to fill out days. Basically the idea behind this was — I have a shitload of lists available of films I really like. But say someone clicks on one of them, say my Top Tens of 1970-1979. There’s somewhere between 200 and 300 movies there. And that’s just that decade. It can be overwhelming for someone who just wants one movie. And invariably someone goes through and sees something they haven’t seen in a while and goes, “I should rewatch that.” Or they just skip over all the stuff they know nothing about because I don’t really elaborate on stuff in those lists, I just list them. So the idea was — say someone wants to watch a movie, one they haven’t seen before. I’m the person who’s seen a lot of movies, so I’m always the person delegated to pick out the movie for the group to watch. And the only directions you’re ever given are, “Pick something I haven’t seen. Something good.” And people know what they haven’t seen/need to see, so they don’t want you to say, “You haven’t seen Gone With the Wind, watch Gone With the Wind.” People know they need to see Citizen Kane. People don’t know they needed to see something like Murder by Death until they’ve seen it.

So the idea behind these lists is to point out films that (for the most part) nobody knows about. Ones people  will watch and go, “Man, that was really good,” and then be able to recommend to other people and turn them onto it. That’s what we want. We want to see movies that make us go, “You gotta see this one…” If you wanted to see something you hadn’t seen, and I showed you 2001: A Space Odyssey — even if you loved it, I don’t think you’d have that feeling of excitement about it that you would for something more obscure. You might have a strong reaction to the film, but it wouldn’t give you that feeling we all love, which is the feeling of being on the inside of an exclusive club. People love knowing about something before other people do and being able to tell them about it. That’s what these lists are. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Director (1990-2011)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Supporting Actress (1990-2011)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Supporting Actor (1990-2011)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actress (1990-2011)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actor (1990-2011)

These performance articles are going to be tougher than the Best Picture ones. But before we get into that, let me explain:

I’m doing a series of articles where I sort of mediate my opinions about what should have been nominated in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress), all time (1927-1928 to present), next to what the actual nominees were. I’ve never actually gone on record about what I think should have been nominated, mostly because I treat the Oscars as something that’s just a thing. I have opinions each year about what should or shouldn’t be nominated, but once a category is in place I (unlike many other people), have respect for the category as an entity. I don’t fuck with them, and treat everything as, “Okay, it’s there. Now how do I vote?”

But I figured I could accomplish two things by actually telling people what I’d nominate. First, I figured I could use my opinions to create what I’m calling a Compromise List, which is basically a mixture of what actually happened and what I think should have happened, which, to most rational people who like movies (and respect the Oscars), actually ends up being something that perfectly mediates the two. I feel like these Compromise Lists give everyone the best of both worlds — we get to nominate shit that was ignored, and the films that the Academy clearly liked get to stay. And (hopefully) everyone’s happy. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Picture (1990-2011)

This seemed like an obvious next step after I did the Oscar Quest. I try not to deal in ‘what-ifs,’ so pulling that bullshit of simply saying, “Oh, this is what I would have nominated,” felt like a dick move to me. Because people do that all the time, and they’re always too subjective to take seriously. It’s like, “I would totally have voted for Blade Runner over Missing,” meanwhile they haven’t seen Missing and there’s no fucking way in any world that Blade Runner would have been nominated for Best Picture. And I refused to get involved with that without being able to tell people — “Look, don’t be stupid.”

But I found a way around that. I decided, that if I was going to say, “Here’s what I would have voted for if I had a ballot,” I would also point out that some of the shit I’d vote for would never happen.  And that gave me the idea for the “Compromise List.” The Compromise List is basically — I have films I think shouldn’t have been nominated. I have films I’d nominate that other people (more importantly, the Academy) don’t think should be nominated. So, the idea of the Compromise List is — we swap out shit I don’t like with shit we all can get behind (since most of it has been established as stuff that’s great).

I, personally, found myself unable to be totally subjective here. Because I, unlike most people, have respect for the Academy as an institution, and the history they have. Sure, I think they make asinine decisions all the time, but I refuse to pull that bullshit of “Star Trek on Best Picture list!” No. I don’t care if it was a better movie than The Blind Side — I won’t do it. And to even think it would have happened is to belittle what the Oscars are. I know a good movie is a good movie, but we have 85 years of precedent before us. You can’t tell me certain movies should be nominated. Hence the compromise list. (more…)


Best Original Song: A Categorical History (2006-2011)

Yeah…

2006: “I NEED TO WAKE UP,” FROM AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

(more…)


Hugo and the History of the Movies (Part I)

This was originally going to be my 1,000th post. I was thinking of something to write up, and saw that the article I wrote about my favorite moments from the film was getting a ridiculous amount of traffic as compared to everything else (I guess because of the HD screenshots), so I figured, “Well, that would be fun to talk about how the film relates to film history and all of that, plus I can throw in a lot of screenshots, and make it like those Tron articles (which still get by far the most views on the blog, because people just link to all the pictures).” Basically — fun, and a calculated risk to boost traffic. Because if you can, why not?

So my plan was to write up an article with screenshots about, as the title says, Hugo and the history of the movies. Only, with me, nothing is ever that simple. I started watching the film again (third time now) and then my film student brain turned on, and I started noticing all these great moments, which turned into a whole film analysis, and — it became a whole thing. I can never contain myself to just one article. Ever.

Anyway, here’s part one of me talking about Hugo and its use of and reliance upon the history of movies (as well as some other stuff. Mostly about how Martin Scorsese is a genius). (more…)


2011 Oscars Recap

Well, another year is in the books, and I have to say — this was a damn good Oscar year. I don’t think they truly made that many mistakes. And in all, I actually agreed with just about every major category. Sure, I could quibble about some of the minor ones, but overall, I think they did a terrific job with this one.

I’ve also went and updated all my other articles, like the Rankings, the Viewer’s Guide, the Facts and Trivia, and all the little odds and ends articles (Ranking the Best Pictures, etc.) with the new results we now have.

That aside, let’s get into the recap of the big night: (more…)


84th Academy Awards Results

The winners for the Oscars tonight were:

Best Picture: The Artist

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help (more…)


Oscars 2011: The Quick Picks

For those who don’t want the bells and whistles, and all the explanations, here is an abbreviated list of all my picks for the show (which is set to get underway in just under an hour). I’m telling you what I’m picking, what I told you to pick (for your office pool. Since I’m not competing. I’m just having fun with it), and alternates for each one (just to show that I’ll be within the ballpark on at least 22 of them). I’m also going to do it in the order they’ve announced that the awards will be going out:

Best Cinematography

What I Told You to Pick: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
What I’m Picking: Robert Richardson, Hugo
(alt: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life. If The Artist wins this, expect a sweep.)

Best Art Direction

What I Told You to Pick: Hugo
What I’m Picking: Hugo
(alt: The Artist) (more…)

Oscars 2011: Picks, Votes, Analysis, Rankings

It’s that time again. Oscar night. My favorite night of the year. This is the first year I’m really out in the deep end. Before, I was the only one amongst my circles who knew anything about the Oscars. And last year, no one read this blog, so it didn’t matter. No one still reads the blog (relatively), but the drastic increase in views (what I had in total blog views last Oscars is what I get in less than a week now. In fact, the views from yesterday total more than 60% of what I had that entire month) means that my opinion will at least be out there slightly more.

I used to treat the Oscars as a game (as they should mostly be treated the night of the ceremony, since everything’s decided by then anyway). I told all my friends that if they could outguess me, I’d give them some sort of reward, just to get them somewhat as interested in the awards as I was (plus I knew they’d never be able to do it). Now that’s over with (and my picks are on the internet), I’m much more lax about stuff. I don’t try to guess everything like I used to. I’d still love to get as close to 24/24 as I can, but I’m willing to take more chances now, rather than going with the safe stuff just to “win.” Though generally I do like to hit at least 16. To me, that’s a passing grade. (Last year, I got 17/24, and that after trying to will it to happen and taking Social Network all the way through. Had I picked to win, I’d never have done that.) This year, I might take some wild bets (i.e. disregard the possibility of a sweep) just to make it interesting. I’d like to beat last year’s 17, but I’m very prepared to do horrible. (It’s how I treat everything: assume abject failure and everything turns out okay.) (more…)


Oscars 2011: Box Office Figures

I was looking back over last year’s articles and saw that I wrote one about how the Academy likes voting for a film that’s made money. Which is generally true. Though The Hurt Locker being one of (or maybe it’s the lowest, I forget) the lowest-grossing Best Picture winners of all time shows that it’s not always the case. But generally, I think I found (and you can read that article here) that most of the time, the film that won Best Picture was in the top half (or top 3, when there were 5 nominees) of the nominees in terms of gross. I didn’t actually read through that entire article, but I’m pretty sure that was the gist of it.

I mostly wanted to use that as an excuse to check in with how this year’s nominees are doing, box office-wise. I haven’t really done that in a while. I’m curious to see how they’re doing. So, according to Box Office Mojo (which has it plastered on the front page), here are the grosses of all the Best Picture nominees as of right this second: (more…)


Guessing the 2011 Oscar Clips

This is always a fun thing to do. Guessing what clips they’re gonna show for each of the acting nominees. Seems pretty obvious. I’m very familiar with most of the performances, so I should be able to guess specifically for all but like, two of them:

Best Actor

Demián Bichir — almost definitely that speech he has at the end to his kid. Or one of the scenes with the kid in the truck, telling him how he works hard so he can have (insert title here).

George Clooney — him talking to his wife at the end and crying, right? Or do they want to mix it up and not have all tears?

Jean Dujardin — you’d think the clip of him on the stage, goofing around, but I’m really hoping one of their clips is the dance-off behind the screen. Or maybe it’ll be him quitting the studio. But honestly probably his first scene. (more…)


The 2011 Razzie Awards Nominees

The 2011 Razzie Awards nominees were announced today. I won’t waste any time. Let’s just get into them. This is the first I’m seeing of them, as I type them, so I’m really excited to see how close they match with my Unforgivables:

Worst Picture

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Jack and Jill

New Year’s Eve

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

I don’t understand the Transformers hatred, but I’ve come to expect it. Otherwise, I understand most of those. Why New Year’s Eve instead of Just Go With It, I don’t know, but I think we all know which film is gonna… twin this award.

Oh, I’m fucking hilarious. (more…)


Oscars 2011 Update: The Independent Spirit Awards

Today, the Independent Spirit Awards were announced. I didn’t post it immediately for two reasons: one, I was in the middle of my Best Picture articles (which I really enjoyed and didn’t want to break the flow of), and two, they don’t really matter so much for tomorrow. Though, in this case, we did get a big arrow.

My major problem with the Independent Spirit Awards is how they’re basically like the Oscars “Lite.” Most of the stuff that wins are the films that are nominated at the Oscars. Sure, they’re technically independent, but it almost feels unfair to the nominees that are actually independents. That is — The Artist stopped being independent once the Weinstein’s picked it up. Did you really think Take Shelter stood a chance against it in the Best Feature race?

Either way, here are the winners from the Independent Spirit Awards: (more…)


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: War Horse

And our final Best Picture nominee, War Horse. An unfairly maligned film by most people (because it’s a film that seems like an obvious Oscar winner), it’s a film whose reputation, I feel, will grow in the coming years because it is actually quite good. It seems like Spielberg doing Spielberg while trying to do John Ford, and I say — what’s so wrong with that?

Here are my favorite moments from War Horse:

(more…)


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: The Tree of Life

Our next Best Picture nominee is The Tree of Life. More visual poetry from the mind of Terrence Malick.

I don’t really have five moments for this film in the way the other films had moments. So I’m more going to post my favorite images from the film. Because this is a film you need to experience as a whole. It’s just beautiful from beginning to end. And there’s not really a set story, so I won’t structure this the way I structured the others. I’ll just link to my five favorite images from the film. Which is a hard enough task in itself.

Here are my five favorite images from The Tree of Life:

(more…)


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: Moneyball

Our seventh Best Picture nominee is Moneyball. Here’s a film that not many people thought would be quite as good as it was. I think we all knew the talent involved would make it a good picture, but I don’t think we ever thought we’d get this. This is a top five or ten movie of the year. It took a subject most people wouldn’t think could be adapted for the screen and made a compelling sports movie out of it. And, it stayed almost completely off of the field! That’s a testament to the strength of this film.

Here are my favorite moments from Moneyball:

(more…)


My Favorite Moments in the 2011 Best Picture nominees: Midnight in Paris

Our next Best Picture nominee is Midnight in Paris. A delightful film. One of my favorite of Woody Allen’s films. It’s a delightful little fantasy, and definitely one of Allen’s best films in recent years.

Here are my favorite moments from Midnight in Paris:

(more…)