Posts Tagged 'steven spielberg'

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.

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

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Jurassic Park & Me: 20 Years Later

jurassic-park-3d-poster

Chills.

My first viewing of Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park, on June 11, 1993, at the age of 13, at a sold out show in the biggest and best movie theater in my hometown, was one of the 5 most significant events of my life. At least half of the people I know today would not have met me were it not for that night. Continue reading ‘Jurassic Park & Me: 20 Years Later’

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)’

The Case Against ARGO (& why the Oscars matter to me)

Argo Grumpy Cat

I shouldn’t be writing this, but I’m fed up. I’m fed up with Argo sweeping every major award this season. More than being fed up, I’m frustrated. I simply do not understand how so many people can call Argo the best movie of 2012. Are people even voting for it because they believe that? Or are there other factors at play? All signs point to the latter, which is complete bullshit. Once again, merit loses to emotion and groupthink. The awards blogs (yes I read them, I’m that big a nerd) will give you any number of reasons that Ben Affleck and his film have swept up in the past month or so, and I find all of them despicable, even more so because they’re actually plausible given what I understand about the inner workings of Hollywood. Let’s just say there are some things I wish I didn’t know.

With the Academy Awards coming up this Sunday, devoted fans of films other than Argo are losing hope that their favorite movies of 2012 have any chance of winning the major awards. I count myself among those people.

Continue reading ‘The Case Against ARGO (& why the Oscars matter to me)’

Reaction: J.J. Abrams as STAR WARS director

“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.”

I anticipated that it wouldn’t take long after the announcement of Michael Arndt as Episode VII‘s screenwriter that we’d have a decision on the director. Well, now we know. None other than J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII. In doing so, he will face the unenviable task of bringing the Star Wars franchise back to respectability after George Lucas‘ “disappointing” (I’ll be nice) prequels, and on top of that, he has to follow Return of the Jedi. Thanks to the internet, this will probably be the most scrutinized movie project of all time. That’s Death Star-sized pressure, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. That said, any director who took this job must have understood what he was getting into.

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Review: LINCOLN

I typically don’t do a full review for a movie unless there were several things I liked and didn’t like. I like to share the good and the bad. Lincoln, however, is not such an instance. I have zero major complaints about the film. It’s actually one of the few 2012 films that actually fully lived up to expectations. As of this writing, I believe it is the best movie of 2012. That doesn’t mean it will stay that way when it’s all said and done, but as of right now, Steven Spielberg is on top of the hill yet again. It’s his best movie since Munich in 2005, and since he’s been my favorite director for almost 20 years now, I’m ecstatic to see he’s still capable of this, because it’s been awhile since he’s blown me away.

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