Archive for the 'VIDEOS' Category

The 2017 Biggie Awards (and my Top 10 & Bottom 5 of 2016)

The 28th Annual Biggie Awards

for the love of movies.

Celebrating achievements in film for the year 2016

So 2016 has come and gone. A year I had big hopes for about 15 months ago turned out to be quite a dud in the grand scheme of things. It was even worse than 2015. For the second year in a row, I rated no theatrical release a ‘9’ on IMDb. There were no masterpieces, no all-time greats. There were some really good movies, and I put almost 20 more films on my “Movies I Love” list, but in terms of quality and the ability to stand the test of time, even the second or third-best movies of most past years would have easily won my Best Picture award over this lot.

Lobster Farrell bury
Me waiting for 2016 to be over.

2016 also broke a pretty long streak of spectacular even-numbered years. It was such a mediocre year that it even gave us a Steven Spielberg movie I couldn’t bring myself to watch (The BFG). General cinematic malaise aside, there were, as always, some highlights…

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The 2016 Biggie Awards (and My Top 10 & Bottom 5 of 2015)

The 27th Annual Biggie Awards

for achievements in film for the year 2015

2015. Goddamn. “Weird” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

In my view, this was the weakest year overall for movies since 2009, where I only “loved” 14 movies. In 2015, as of this writing, I added 17 films to my Love List. For perspective, since I’ve started tracking these things in 1997, this is only the third year where I didn’t love at least 20 movies. I didn’t love anything in 2015 until early May when Avengers: Age of Ultron opened, and even that was a disappointment compared to its predecessor.

This was not a year like 2000 (Gladiator), 2003 (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) or 2012 (Lincoln) where a single film dominated the year while also facing stiff competition (Gladiator fended off The Patriot, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon AND Traffic, ROTK is the most awarded film in Biggies history, but still had to face Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World AND The Last Samurai– which would have been the Best Picture winner in most other years, while Lincoln had to battle Zero Dark Thirty). The closest comp I can come up with is 2011, when Drive snuck in out of nowhere to take Best Picture in a wide open field. Drive would’ve been crushed had it come out the same year as There Will Be Blood or Titanic, but it happened to arrive in a mediocre year and was able to edge out the victory. Fast forward to now, and I don’t even know if there was a 2015 film as good as Drive. As a result, this is probably the most winnable year in Biggies history for “great but not masterful” movies, which is simultaneously really fun and disappointing by default. As I post this, I honestly haven’t decided what I think the best movie of 2015 was.

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The 2015 Biggie Awards (& My Top 10 and Bottom 5 of 2014)

The 26th Annual Biggie Awards

[UPDATED WITH WINNERS!]

for achievements in film for the year 2014

(click on any image to see the full-size version)

A year like 2014 is precisely why I created my own awards to begin with. It’s a year when the Oscars and I disagreed perhaps more than we ever have. I dutifully watched the Academy Awards this year, as I always do, but I had little to no rooting interest, as almost none of my favorite movies were up in the categories they should’ve been recognized in. Though you’ll find quite a bit of overlap in our acting nominees, I only agree with 3 of the Academy’s 8 Best Picture nominees, and they passed gas on nearly all of their technical categories. What else is new?

I thought 2014 was a good year on the whole, but not great. Maybe a B+ if I were to grade it. The barometer I use in judging an entire year is how many movies I put on my all-time “Movies I Love” list. This year, there were 21 new entrees on that list. There were 22 in 2013 and 25 in 2012. For perspective, the most ever is 31 from 2000. None of 2014’s entries will wind up in my all-time top 100, but that’s a tough list to crack any year.

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I WISH I COULD QUIT YOU, MICHAEL BAY

Note: There are quite a few YouTube videos included in this post, all of which I included for a reason and all of which I think are worthy of checking out. In case you’re some tech uber-noob, I recommend switching each video to HD where possible (use the little gear symbol on the bottom right side of the video to switch video quality), and some of the videos are best watched in their bigger versions on the YouTube site itself. Do that by clicking the YouTube logo on the bottom right of each video, and it will open in a new tab. Do I really have to explain this to you in 2014?

Michael Bay Transformers 4

All year, I’d been anticipating doing a full review of Transformers: Age of Extinction, because my reviews for the previous 2 TF films have been fairly popular, not to mention fun to write. Then, after seeing the film I realized…what’s the point? I know damn well Michael Bay hasn’t learned a thing with regards to how to tell a story, and he isn’t even remotely interested in changing the worst aspects of his filmmaking style. I’m done hoping and praying that he’ll somehow evolve into a mature filmmaker. The guy is 49 years old, but still proudly makes movies for 14-year olds. He is what he is. So…why review something when I knew going in precisely what I was going to get? So I can tell you everything he did wrong in the other Transformers movies he does wrong again here? So I can tell you the only real improvement is that we don’t have Shia LaBeouf screaming like a girl for 2 hours? So I can explain to you in 6,500 words that yes, this was in fact EXACTLY what I thought it would be? Logic demanded I not waste my time. If I was going to talk about this movie on here, I’d need a different angle. As a result, I’ve decided instead to share what it is that fascinates me so much about Michael Bay, a director I’m somehow still a fan of despite his not having made a decent movie since the first Transformers 7 years ago. A man whose best movie (The Rock) came out 18 years ago (fuck I’m old). A man who has NEVER made a truly great movie, yet whose films I still want to see anyway no matter what. There is no other mediocre director who captivates me so. WHY?!

I’ll tell you why…

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Dear Morgan Freeman: I Challenge You! (to start giving a shit again about your acting and the movies you choose to be in)

triple portrait

Disclaimer: This is a post in which I’m going to heavily criticize one of my heroes. I hate to do it, but these things need to be said out loud. I’m tired of thinking it but not saying it.

Morgan Freeman has been my favorite actor for literally as long as I can remember, probably since I was about 10. He’s one of the first actors whose name I committed to memory. Lean On Me and Glory remain two of my all-time favorite movies, and he appeared in both of them in the same year (1989)! Then, as an 11-year old, I was awed watching him kick ass in theaters alongside Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. After that, 3 of his next 5 movies were Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption, and Se7en. I mean…holy crap, friends. In a 6-year span between 1989 and 1995, he appeared in 6 of my 100 favorite movies ever, and 2 of my top 10. Actually, now that I check, all of those films are inside my top 70. If there’s such a thing as shitting greatness, Morgan Freeman had some serious cinematic diarrhea there for a while. Not only was he a great actor, but he was consistently appearing in great movies.

Morgan Freeman OWNING Denzel Washington in Glory:

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Review: 86th ACADEMY AWARDS

Oscars poster 2014
I have to say I really enjoyed the 86th Academy Awards. Moreso than most years. I think the primary reason is because there wasn’t a single result that I absolutely hated. Of course there were things I disagreed with, but there wasn’t anything this year that made me want to go on a killing spree, which is rare. The show was very light-hearted and had a really positive vibe. It seemed like it would have been really fun to have been there. That’s not always the case. People seemed genuinely happy for every winner and nominee, and there were very few instances where it seemed like most of the crowd didn’t give a shit about what was happening on stage.

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The 2014 Biggie Awards (& The 25 Movies from 2013 That You Should’ve Seen)

The 25th Annual Biggie Awards

aka The Biggies

celebrating achievements in cinema for the year 2013

First off, this is me patting myself on the back for 25 years of recognizing excellence in film. It’s pretty cool to hit a milestone like that. I’ve been doing these awards since I was 17 years old, aka half of my life. I started in 1997 with awards for that year’s amazing roster of movies, but eventually I retroactively went back and did my awards from 1989 forward. Why 1989? Well, basically it was so I could recognize Glory (one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time) as my first Best Picture winner. What other reason do I need? I take this very seriously, and I’m proud of the legacy I’ve been able to build here, even if that legacy exists only in my own mind. Hopefully that pride shows in how much time and care I put into this post every year.

Gatsby - glass raise“Happy 25th anniversary, Old Sport.”
Thanks, Gatsby!

As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, for those interested, here are all of my previous Best Picture winners, with the Oscars’ Best Picture winner that year in parentheses for comparison:

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