2017 Year End Awards Extravaganza!

The time of year is nigh when critics dump their 10 Best Lists on the world, and the various organizations and guild awards are awarded.  And, being a person who never finds a trend he won’t at least dabble in, I’m joining the fray.  But, rather than do a 10 Best List, like most individual critics do, I’m going to do mine as an actual award, similar to a critics group.  Why do it this way?  Because it’s my blog and I do things my way over here.[1]

Better, because I’m not a professional critic, and do everything here at my own expense, you should give what I have to say extra gravity.  After all, I did not see any of these films via critics screeners or free screenings, and I did not get anything labeled “For Your Consideration”.  Rather, I actually paid my own money to see all these films in  a theater – for the most part – and since I have skin in the game, that makes my opinions more valid than the rest.

So, without further ado – it’s The Last Blog Name On Earth 2017 Awards![2]

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Nobody’s Perfect — The Best Picture Project

front-cover-01So, a little more than a year ago the complete, collected, and re-edited Best Picture Project appeared in book form.  It sold like gangbusters, which is to say, it barely sold at all.  But, I don’t necessarily write to be paid, I write to give me joy, and so if anybody bought it and enjoyed it, great!

And then…

And then I was notified of a comment on a post on this site — to the post regarding The Sound of Music, a Best Picture Project entry.  The comment?  Apparantly I forgot to include The Sound of Music in the book.  It took about two minutes for me to confirm that, yes, I did forget it.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that everything should be fixed now.  I revised the Kindle version of the book right quick and you should be able to get that one now.  The paperback version has also been corrected but that might take a couple days for all the kinks to work out between the old version and the new.

Nevertheless, feel free to purchase now and, as before — if you find an error in it, let me know, because I fix that shit.

Thanks!

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The Also-Rans Project – La Cage Aux Folles (Best Director Also-Ran 1979)

La Cage aux Folles (film).jpgDirected by Edouard Molinaro

Screenplay by Francis Veber, Édouard Molinaro, Marcello Danon, and Jean Poiret, based on the play by Jean Poiret

Starring Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault

The further back into Academy Awards I delve, the easier it is to find films to include in this project – that is, it’s easier it is to find a Best Picture loser I haven’t seen before.  Which is to be expected, given people tend to be more interested in things contemporary to their own lives, and not so much on things before.  So, my knowledge of films since the mid-70s is much deeper than my knowledge of those films from before then. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – Funny Girl (Best Picture Also-Ran 1968)

FunnyGirlPoster.jpgDirected by William Wyler

Written by Isobel Lennart, based on the stage-musical by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill

Starring Barbara Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford and Walter Pidgeon

Twice there has been a tie at the Oscars in the acting categories.  That’s just two ties in nearly 90 years of awards, during which time there were four acting Oscars for all but 8 of those years.[1]  Or, less than 1% of the awards resulted in a tie.  And really, one of those ties wasn’t even a tie, but was close enough that under the rules at the time, it was considered a tie. Continue reading

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Happy Holidays! Buy Something!

Image result for christmas baubleAh, here we are at the time of year when the good people of the world start throwing around shitloads of money on gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Or, because we grew up in a culture that values yearly gift giving.  So if you are one of those people, but don’t quite know what to get for that special someone, maybe tried spending your hard-earned cash on something I wrote.

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The Also-Rans Project – The King and I (Best Picture Also-Ran 1956)

Original movie poster for the film The King and I.jpgDirected by Walter Lang

Screenplay by Ernest Lehman, based upon the musical of the same name by Rodgers and Hammerstein, which was based upon the novel, ‘Anna and the King of Siam’ by Margaret Landon

Starring Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr and Rita Moreno

I watch three movies at least once per year: The Shining, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Gone With The Wind.  And with Gone With The Wind, I’ve read the book multiple times, too – more times than I’ve read The Shining.  Which is actually a pretty big commitment to make when you remember Gone With The Wind the book is somewhere between 800 and 1000 pages, depending upon your copy. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project — The Yearling (Best Picture Also-Ran 1946)

Original movie poster for the film The Yearling.jpgDirected by Clarence Brown

Screenplay by Paul Osborn, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Starring Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman, Claude Jarman Jr., Clem Bevans, Margaret Wycherly, Forrest Tucker, Chill Wills and Henry Travers

A small farm in 1870’s Florida.  A small family – mom, dad, son – struggling to eke out a small existence.  While they might not have a dirt floor in their cabin, they’re not all that prosperous, having to haul water up from a creek when they want to do the washing.

In the middle of this, a baby deer drops into their lives.  The son, eager for a pet, adopts it right away.  Mom, is a bit circumspect.  And while the deer is accepted into the family, the second it starts to get too old to contain, and begins eating their crops right out of the field, threating the family with starvation, hard choices have to be made. Continue reading

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The Also-Ran’s Project — The Madness of King George – Dir. By Nicholas Hytner (Best Actor, et al, Also-Ran 1994)

Madness of king george-715444.jpegDirected by Nicholas Hytner

Screenplay by Alan Bennett, based upon his play

Starring Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, Amanda Donohoe, and Rupert Everett

The year 1994 belonged to box office juggernaut, and improbable awards darling, Forrest Gump.  It’s domestic gross, thanks to Box Office Mojo, was $329 million,[1] on top of its seven Oscar wins from 13 nominations, which included taking the trophies for Picture, Director, Actor and Adapted Screenplay.  And somewhat rare among Best Picture winners, it’s actually fairly enjoyable.  It’s not great – certainly not Best Picture worthy – but it’s not bad, either.  And that’s how we would remember the film today if not for it having one Best Picture over a true classic, Pulp Fiction.

Just as Crash would be forever tainted by beating Brokeback Mountain and could never be a movie judged on its own merits again, Forrest Gump is derided for having bested Pulp Fiction.  The win doesn’t change the quality of either movie, only the perception of them, and opens them up to harsher criticism than they might otherwise face.  As Pulp Fiction’s faults are overlooked because it didn’t win Best Picture, Forrest Gump’s are magnified because it won. Continue reading

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The Also-Ran’s Project — Airport – Dir. By George Seaton (Best Picture Also Ran 1970)

Airport film.jpgDirected by George Seaton

Screenplay by George Seaton, based upon the novel by Arthur Hailey

Starring Burt Lancaster, George Kennedy, Dean Martin, Jacquline Bissett, Helen Hayes, Maureen Stapleton, Van Heflin and Barry Nelson

Back in the days before I was a cord-cutter, and before the channel stopped playing movies sans commercial breaks, I watched a lot of the IFC channel.  To date it, this was back in the Matt Singer/Allison Wilmore days, both of whom have gone on to do other things, including the excellent Filmspotting SVU podcast.

Anyway, part of what I enjoyed about IFC was it’s eclecticism.  Where else would you find blackspoitation classics like Foxy Brown and Coffy, rubbing shoulders with modern TV classics like Arrested Development?  The other part I loved about IFC was it’s array of documentaries.  I’m pretty sure that’s where I first saw This Film Is Not Yet Rated, and also The Bus Movie.[1]  And it’s where I was first introduced to Jon Ronson’s documentary, Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes, which I love so much I bought the blu-ray of Full Metal Jacket, which I already had on DVD, simply because it has that doc on it. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project — Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Best Picture Also-Ran 1967)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner poster.jpgDirected by Stanley Kramer

Screenplay by William Rose

Starring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Houghton, Isabel Sanford, Roy E. Glenn St., Beah Richards and Cecil Kellaway

In an alternate timeline, racism in America has been solved.  There is no disharmony, everybody gets along, and whatever differences they do have aren’t based on bullshit things like race or gender or sexual orientation.

Three cheers for irrational hostility based on looking different being a thing of the past! Continue reading

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