The Acadamey Award Goes To

side_oscarAs they finish polishing up the statues for tonight’s awards ceremony, it’s time to finish up our predictions with the major categories. In a strange change of pace, I’ve actually seen one or two of these. So, without further ado, we begin with:

Best Picture

Ford V Ferrari
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

I’ve seen a grand total of two of these, so I’ll go with 1917, since Hollywood seems to love a war epic.

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas, Pain And Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

I’ll pick one of the two performances I’ve seen and go with Adam Driver.

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saorise Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renee Zellwegger, Judy

I’ve only seen one of these, so I’ll go with the talented Saorise Ronan from the perennial favorite Little Women.

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You Ought To Be In (10) Pictures

Many years ago, using the weekly TV guide that came with the Sunday Chicago Tribune, I started keeping track of all of the movies I had seen over the course of my lifetime. The guide would list the two main stars for each movie, and that is a tradition that I’ve carried on in my database ever since. So, given those guidelines, it is time to look at all of the actors that have starred in at least 10 films that I have seen, as of July 1st.

Today, we start with the 22 actors that have starred in 10 movies that I have seen, a big increase from the 14 at this level 3 years ago.

Jessica Alba

There has been no change for Jessica Alba since I saw her in 2010’s Valentine’s Day in 2011.

Dan Aykroyd

No change in Aykroyd’s total, with 2002 being the last year I saw one of his starring roles.

Kate Beckinsale

Our first new entry, the comely British actress first came to my attention in 1998, when I saw her in both Cold Comfort Farm and Last Days of Disco.  Her heyday was 2006-2008, when I saw her in 4 films over the 3 year span.  2010 had been my last experience with her work, until I was coerced into seeing Underworld: Blood Wars earlier this year.

Kristen Bell

The Veronica Mars star made her first “big screen” appearance in my life with the television remake of Reefer Madness in 2005.  She’s been a pretty steady presence since, with a 2 year gap in 2015 and 2016 being her largest.  The Boss, which I saw earlier this year, is my most recent exposure to her.

Chevy Chase Continue reading →

2016: The Year In Movies


2016 saw a bit of an uptick in movie watching for me, with the vacation over the past 3 weeks of December helping to greatly boost my total to its highest level since 2011.  I managed to watch 88 movies last year, 19 more than last year, though my fifth consecutive year under 100.  Again, many things contributed to this, chiefly the insane amount of TV I’ve been watching, the greater effort made towards going out for walks, and the awful amount of time I spend either at work or getting to and from work.

Here’s a look back at the first 50 movies I did manage to watch last year and what recollection, if any, I have of them. The films are listed in the order I saw them.

RU Awake? (2015)
A short film starring the lovely and talented Molly C. Quinn.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
A young kid tries to solve a mystery connected to his father who died in the 9/11 attacks.

The Pact (2012)
A bad horror film starring TV’s Caity Lotz.

Tell Tale (2010)
A short that I have no real recollection of.

Let’s Be Cops (2014)
Two Purdue alums find that impersonating cops is better than their normal lives.

John Wick (2014)
Keanu Reeves returns in a surprisingly good turn about a mourning hitman who returns to work after his former boss turns on him.

If I Stay (2014)
A teenage girl faces a choice to live or die after a car accident puts her in a coma.

Two Night Stand (2014)
A snow storm forces a hookup to last much longer than either participant anticipated.

Hot Pursuit (2015)
Reese Witherspoon is a no-nonsense cop who learns to bend the rules while trying to arrest Sofia Vergara.

Backcountry (2015)
A city couple gets lost in the woods while camping. Continue reading →

And The Academy Award Goes To…

side_oscarAs they finish polishing up the statues for Sunday’s awards ceremony, it’s time to finish up our predictions, which are based on not having seen any of the nominated films, with a look at the acting categories and the big one:

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge Of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Having seen none of these films, I don’t have any real idea of which should win.  I’m going to go with Spotlight for no particular reason.

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

It seems that this is Leonardo DiCaprio’s year to take home his first Oscar.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

As a fan of Brie Larson, I’m hoping that she’ll take home this award.

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Predicting The Non-Acting Oscars

side_oscarThe 88th Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday night, so here’s my uneducated predictions for the non-acting awards. I likely have seen very few of these movies, so I will mostly be going on gut feel and word of mouth.

Best Original Screenplay

Matt Chapman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen, Bridge Of Spies
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Peter Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus, Straight Outta Compton

I haven’t seen any of these films yet, but if I had to guess, which I guess I do, I’m going to say that, partially thanks to the outrage over the relative whiteness of the acting nominees, Straight Outta Compton will take home the prize.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, The Big Short
Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Drew Goddard, The Martian
Emma Donoghue, Room

Another category where I have not seen any of the nominated work. I’m guessing, based on very little, that The Big Short will win this one.

Best Animated Feature

Boy & The World
Inside Out
Shaun The Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

No clue here either, but Inside Out was the only one I had heard of.

Best Cinematography

Ed Lachman, Carol
Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Roger A. Deakins, Sicario

Well, I’ve almost seen one of these, since I have Mad Max home from Netflix.  My guess is that Emmanuel Lubezki takes home the Oscar for capturing the rape of Leonardo DiCaprio by a bear.

Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell, Carol
Sandy Powell, Cinderella
Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
Jacqueline West, The Revenant

The odds do seem to be in Sandy Powell’s favor, but I’m guessing Paco Delgado brings home the prize for The Danish Girl.

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And The Oscar Goes To

side_oscarAs they finish polishing up the statues for tonight’s awards ceremony, it’s time to finish up our predictions, which are based on not having seen any of the nominated films, with a look at the acting categories and the big one:

Best Picture

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





12 Years a Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street

The race seems to be coming down to either Gravity or 12 Years a Slave.  As we discussed Friday, I think Gravity is going to clean up on the technical awards, but I think 12 Years a Slave will win the big award of the night.

Best Actor

Christian Bale, American Hustle

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

At some point over the past few years, Matthew McConaughey seems to have decided to take his acting game to another level.  Between his work in the indie Mud, a supporting turn in The Wolf of Wall Street, his likely Emmy-winning turn on True Detective, and his work here in Dallas Buyers Club, he seems to have taken the jump to the next level.

Best Actress

Amy Adams, American Hustle

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Judi Dench, Philomena

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Cate Blanchett seems to have this one wrapped up, with the only thing standing in her way being the backlash against Woody Allen that started after the Golden Globes when allegations of his abusing his adpotive daughter heated back up again.

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2011 Review – Movies Part 1

Like last year, I’m going to take a look back at the movies I saw during the previous year.  When not working, watching too much TV, going to baseball games, or reading, I managed to watch 131 new movies last year.

Natalie Portman starred in 4 films I saw for the yearly lead, with Leonardo DiCaprio coming in second with 3.

For fun, here’s a quick review of the first 50 films I saw last year and what recollection, if any, I have of them.  They are listed in the order I saw them.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
2 vacationing American girls fall in love with the same Spanish painter.

Night At the Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian (2009)
I never saw the first one, but Amy Adams was enough of a draw to give this one a chance.


Splice (2010)
An entertaining look at what happens when scientists worry more about what they can do instead of what they should do.
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
The children of two lesbians go searching for their father.  My first exposure to Mia Wasikowska, who I think has a chance to be really good.


Bandslam (2009)
A kid obsessed with music lies about his father in order to fit in. 


All Good Things (2010)
Ryan Gosling kills Kirsten Dunst, and then dresses up in womens clothing. 


Frozen (2010)
A very engaging tale of three friends stuck on a ski lift for a week.


Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Tom Hanks goes looking for Leonardo DiCaprio. 


Inception (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio (him again?) looks for secrets in other people’s dreams while avoiding his own.

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