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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.

Continue reading ‘The 2016 Biggie Awards (and My Top 10 & Bottom 5 of 2015)’

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The Early October Update

Helluuuur! Yeah yeah, it’s been awhile, I know. I haven’t had much to say over the past couple months, so by extension I haven’t had much to share. But I have seen a buttload of good movies of late, and figured it was time for a review dump. I’ve got some recommendations for yo ass, so pay attention.

GONE GIRL

Gone Girl poster

The 3-year wait between David Fincher films (his last was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2011) has been excruciating, even if we did get two Fincher-directed House of Cards episodes last year on Netflix. But he’s finally back, all is right in the cinematic universe, and of course he has not disappointed with one of the mostly hotly anticipated films of 2014. Why do people like me worship this man’s work so much? It’s not too complicated. When people say the first job of a director is to know what he or she wants, David Fincher is the embodiment of that. If you’ve watched the A+ special features on any of Fincher’s movies, you know what I’m talking about. I have learned so much about the filmmaking process just by watching this man work, and I’m grateful to him for having been so open with his audience. I can’t wait to get Gone Girl on Blu-ray and spend hours poring through the bonus content. He also does some of the best, most informative commentaries you’ll ever listen to. He’s one of the most consistent and talented filmmakers alive, and he hasn’t made a bad movie since his first movie, which was 22 years ago. That’s something worth admiring, methinks.

Continue reading ‘The Early October Update’

The 2013 Biggie Awards (& My Top 10 of 2012)

The 24th Annual Biggie Awards

aka The Biggies

for achievements in film for the year 2012

I’ll be the first to admit I had unfair expectations for 2012. Given the impressive roster of movies on tap, I predicted as early as April of 2011 that 2012 would be the best year in movies since 2000, which I consider to be the best year for movies in my lifetime. In the end, it wasn’t quite the year I wanted it to be, but it was still quite a year. Actually, by my official tally of new entries on my “Movies I Love” list, this was the best year for movies since 2007. I “loved” 24 movies in 2012 (for comparison, 2000 holds the record with 31). What I liked most about 2012 was that it had a lot of variety, as I think you’ll see reflected here in my nominees.

We’ll get into most of the specific films in the descriptions under each category, but there are a few things I want to mention up front.

Continue reading ‘The 2013 Biggie Awards (& My Top 10 of 2012)’

Mini-Reviews: THE DICTATOR, MEN IN BLACK 3, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

I don’t have time (of the desire, really) to do full reviews for each of these recent flicks, but I did want to throw my two cents into the fray. Aside from The Avengers, summer 2012 is off to a fairly slow start, both at the box office and from an overall quality standpoint. Let’s hope Ridley Scott can inject some life into June tomorrow (or tonight if you’re gong to a midnight show!).

I went into The Dictator with semi-high hopes, because the trailers and advertising had been really good. I like the fearlessness of Sacha Baron Cohen‘s comedy, and I thought this kind of character perfectly suited his style. While the movie does have several laugh-out-loud scenes, it doesn’t fully come together in the way that Borat did. Unfortunately, aside from Cohen’s Admiral General Aladeen character, there isn’t a whole lot going on here. Thankfully though, Cohen is in almost every scene, so this doesn’t become a glaring issue. My favorite gag is the scene in the helicopter where Aladeen and his associate are taking a tour of New York, and making the middle-aged white American couple across from them go from friendly to uncomfortable to paranoid to fearing for their lives. I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say he somehow manages to make September 11 humor work, something I can’t imagine more than 1 or 2 other comedians even attempting. There are a few funny recurring bits and some good fish out of water jokes once he’s stuck on his own in New York City. I thought Cohen injected some of his own political views (shocker, he’s a lefty!) with the subtlety of Thor‘s hammer (there are a few painfully obvious Bush/Cheney jokes that weren’t funny 5 years ago, let alone now), but at the same time he uses his character to effectively mock Anna Faris‘ activist, all-natural, terrified-to-offend store manager, so there is some balance. To give you a sense of how far Cohen is willing to take some of the jokes, at the end of the film, when he and Faris are married happily ever after, and it’s revealed she’s pregnant with their first child, he asks her, “Are you having a boy or an abortion?” Needless to say, I laughed. Because fuck political correctness.

Continue reading ‘Mini-Reviews: THE DICTATOR, MEN IN BLACK 3, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN’


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