52 Before 62 — The Movies

Here are the links to the entire 52 Before 62 Project.

  1. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  2. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
  3. The Horse’s Mouth (1958)
  4. Call Northside 777 (1948)
  5. Titanic (1953)
  6. Seven Men from Now (1962)
  7. Meet John Doe (1941)
  8. The Far Country (1954)
  9. Holiday (1938)
  10. King Solomon’s Mines (1950)
  11. The Informer (1935)
  12. Topper (1937)
  13. Consolation Marriage (1931)
  14. Bend of the River (1952)
  15. John Loves Mary (1949)
  16. Wagon Master (1950)
  17. A Double Life (1947)
  18. Ride Lonesome (1959)
  19. Tom Thumb (1958)
  20. The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
  21. My Darling Clementine (1946)
  22. O’Henry’s Full House (1952)
  23. Destry Rides Again (1939)
  24. Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
  25. Sherlock Holmes Double Feature
  26. The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

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52 Before 62 – #1 The Shop Around The Corner (1940)

The Shop Around the Corner - 1940- Poster.pngDirected by Ernst Lubitsch

Screenplay by Samson Raphaelson, based upon the play Parfumerie by Miklos Laszlo

Starring Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, and Felx Bressart

In The Also-Rans Project, a Lubitsch film, The Love Parade, made the cut by virtue of being a Best Picture loser.  In that one, Maurice Chevalier played a caddish soldier, who eventually marries the queen of a European country, becoming her consort.  But, while there were elements of that film to be enjoyed, overall it was not special, and did not sell me on what everybody calls, “The Lubitsch Touch.”  Nor did my encounter with another Lubitsch film, To Be, or Not to Be, leave me any better.  In fact, since I didn’t make it more than a half-hour into that film, you could argue it probably left me worse.[1]  After that one-two punch I pretty much decided Lubitsch was not for me – he might have a “touch”, but it didn’t touch me. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Green Book (2018)

Green Book (2018 poster).pngDirected by Peter Farrelly

Screenplay by Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallalonga and Bryan Hayes Currie

Starring Viggo Mortenson, Mahershala Ali, and Linda Cardellini

As awards season 2018 marched to its bitter end, I resisted seeing Green Book.  In a year in which I’d seen 5 0f the 8 nominees in theaters,[1] and saw the sixth on video,[2] and just couldn’t make time for Vice, Green Book was the one film I didn’t even try to make time for.  It didn’t matter that as time went on it looked increasingly to be the presumptive winner, and maybe I should see it out of curiosity.  It only mattered it was shit on by critics as being sloppy in how it deals with the racial aspects of its story.[3]  But also, I worried that the director of There’s Something About Mary, and Dumb and Dumber, might not be the best guy to take charge of a story that deals with race relations.  Yes, we should encourage guys to try to get out of their creative ruts whenever they can, but perhaps this was all too much of a swerve for one man’s own good. Continue reading

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52 Before 62

Image result for phantom of the opera chaneyWhen The Best Picture Project was winding down, I knew I needed a new project to occupy my time.  Thus was born  Also Rans Project.  So now that project has ended, it’s time for something new.

One notion I had for the next iteration of these series was to carry on with the Oscar-theme – perhaps look at the feature-length Documentary winners.  But just as soon as I had the notion, I stuck it aside, worrying about availability – simply, I thought the older docs would be hard to come by and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time/money tracking them down.[1]

I also considered watching all the Best Actress winners, or even all the Oscar nominated films with scripts by women – after all, watching movies outside the ‘white male filmmaker’ genre would be good for everybody.  But again, I was worried about the ready availability of the films.  Also, it seemed there might be too much repetition between The Best Picture Project, and The Also-Rans Project, and therefore too limiting.[2]

So, what did I decide on?

52 Before 62.

The rules of 52 Before 62 are simple: watch 52 movies I’d never seen before, all of which were released before 1962.  The 52 was meant to spur me to watching them all inside a single calendar year.  Freed from requirement for one film per year from a small little subset of films, e.g. Oscar losers, I wouldn’t have to worry about availability of the movies, because I wouldn’t be tied down to watching any one thing at all.  More important is that most of the movies I’ve watched in the last several years were mostly from the last two decades,[3] and I want that to change.  By focusing on the first 50 years of film history, I’d learn a thing or two, about a thing or two.

My sincere hope is this project is completed with the calendar year of 2019, which means if I’m to average one per week, I have to get moving and double up some weeks because I’m already behind.  But, if you promise to follow along, I promise to lead you.


You can follow 52 Before 62 here.

You can see the The Best Picture Project here.  Or, you could buy the revised, updated version of that project in book form:  E-Book or Paperback.  It will not include this entry, for obvious reason.

Also see the Also Rans Project here.  Or, you could buy the revised, updated version of that project here: click on the link here.

To be a pal and buy my books, jum.p over here and here and have a look.  I promise, buying always makes you feel good.


[1] One that I know struggles for availability is The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975).  I know this because, after catching it on cable as a kid – inexplicably on cable – I tried to track it down a few years ago and wound up having to watch a Polish-subtitled version on Youtube.

[2] Amongst the sure-to repeat amongst the Actress/Screenplay nominees: Funny Girl, The Big House, and Children of a Lesser God.

[3] My Letterboxd.com history is really good at exposing an inadvertent bias against older films.

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The Collected Also-Rans Project, and other news

6x9_bw_4701Hello, all.

While for you, my loyal readers, the Also-Rans Project came to an end just two weeks ago, it’s basically been over for me for about six weeks.  That’s when I wrote the last of the entries and scheduled them for publication.  In that time, and even before then, I was hard at work on collecting all the entries together and editing them all over again.  Well, after three passes at it, the work is done, and you can now buy the collection in digital and paperback form.  The digital copy is $3.99, the paperback is $19.95.  You can click on the link here, or the cover photo at left, to go to the page to buy it.

Be aware that I do not get rich on the backs of these books or this blog.  I don’t even make enough money to justify my time in doing this.  I only do it because I love it and, while I’d love it if the whole world would buy copies of everything I write, I know that won’t happen.  Nevertheless, because you’ve enjoyed this site for free for years now, it would be good kharma if you bought something for a change.

In other news, I’m going on a slight hiatus here as I contemplate my next project.  I promise to be back by March 15, 2019 with more info as we kick off something new.

Thanks for reading!

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The Also-Rans Awards

44433_lgThis is a fact: everything ends.  Good, bad, or indifferent, nothing lasts forever.    So it goes in life, and so it goes with The Also-Rans Project.

I announced this project way back on March 30, 2015, and made the first actual entry on May 31 of that year, with Ruggles of Red Gap.  Even then I knew this project would come to an end, I only hoped it wouldn’t take the 6 ½ years it took to get through The Best Picture Project.  Mercifully, it has not.  Still, that first year was slow, with just three entries, the obvious result of me trying to put an end to The Best Picture Project and focusing my energies there.  As that project ended in 2016, I pushed this one forward in earnest. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – Another Year (Best Original Screenplay Also-Ran 2010)

Another year poster.jpgDirected by Mike Leigh

Written by Mike Leigh

Starring Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville

Spanning four seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter), Another Year revolves around a long-married couple, Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), as they interact with the various friends, family, and co-workers in their lives.  There is Tom’s friend, Ken (Peter Wright), his brother Ronnie (David Bradley), Gerri’s client, Janet (Imelda Staunton), and Tom and Gerri’s son, Joe (Oliver Maltman).  The most enduring of the friends, though, is Gerri’s co-worker, Mary(Lesley Manville).  Mary is a longtime friend of Gerri’s, mostly harmless, who has been sweet on Joe for years, despite the sizeable age difference between them, and the oddly incestual feel to Mary’s attentions.  Things come to a head when Joe introduces his new girlfriend, Katie (Karina Fernandez), to the family, which causes Mary to not-so-subtly break.  Offended by Mary’s behavior, Gerri basically ghosts her, though in the end Mary comes round and atones for what she’s done. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – The Robe (Best Picture Also-Ran 1953)

The Robe (1953 movie poster).jpgDirected by Henry Koster

Screenplay By Gina Kaus, Albert Maltz and Phillips Dunne, from the book of the same name by Lloyd C. Douglas

Starring Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Michael Rennie, Dean Jagger and Jay Robinson

This entry of The Also-Rans was originally reserved for Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Shakespeare adaptation, Julius Caesar.  For weeks and months, and probably more, doing an entry on that film was the plan, and seemed a good choice.  After all, the man won Best Director and Screenplay twice each, in back-to-back years, the only time that has been accomplished.  Crazier than that, is neither of those films won Best Picture.  So squeezing in a look at his take on Julius Casear was a good way to work him into this project.


Except Julius Caesar stars Marlon Brando, who I’ve ever-so-recently come to realize sucks.  And faced with he prospect of watching Brando bring the same level of ‘acting’ to Shakespeare as he brought to Sayonara, I chose to pass.

And that’s how we got here.

Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – The Barbarian Invasions (Best Original Screenplay Also-Ran/Foreign Language Film Winner 2003)

The Barbarian Invasions.jpgDirected by Denys Arcand

Screenplay by Denys Arcand

Starring Remy Girard, Stephane Rousseau, Dorothee Berryman, Louise Portal, Marie-Josee Croze, and Marina Hands

The Barbarian Invasions won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for 2003, the first for a of Denys Arcand film, following two prior nominations in the same category.[1]  This makes him the most successful French-Canadian filmmaker in history.  That all said, because Academy rules bestow the award on the film, and on no specific individual,[2] the only actual nomination Arcand has to show for himself is for Best Original screenplay for The Barbarian Invasions.  Which he lost. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – Igra (a.k.a The Game)(Best Short Subject – Cartoon Also-Ran 1963)

Image result for igra dušan vukotićDirected and Written by Dusan Vukotic

Starring Jelena Verner and Zdravko Pavlis

Best Picture 1963 was Tony Richardson’s Tom Jones, a randy romp of a comedy that seems an anomaly amongst Best Picture winners.  The anomaly being that it’s a comedy, very few of which have won Best Picture.[1]  And also has a plot featuring lots and lots of sex.  And is also one of the rarest of Best Picture winners, which are films that explicitly acknowledged themselves as a film in the text of the film. Continue reading

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