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.

Continue reading →

And The Nominees Are

side_oscarThe 92nd Academy Awards are going down Sunday night, so here’s my uneducated predictions for the non-acting awards. I have seen a couple of these movies, so I will still mostly be going on gut feel and word of mouth with just a little bit of personal experience.

Best Original Screenplay

Rian Johnson, Knives Out
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite

I’ve seen none of these films, so this is a total shot in the dark, but I’ve heard lots of good things about Knives Out.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, Joker
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes

I’ve only seen one of these, but my guess is that Greta Gerwig takes home the prize.

Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

I’m assuming the continuing adventures of the talking Mr. Potato Head and friends will be the winner.

Best Cinematography

Rodrigo Prieto, The Irishman
Lawrence Sher, Joker
Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse
Roger Deakins, 1917
Robert Richardson, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Well, again, I’ve seen one of these, so I will go with the war effort 1917.

Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson, The Irishman
Mayes C. Rubeo, Jojo Rabbit
Mark Bridges, Joker
Jacqueline Durran, Little Women
Arianne Phillips, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s tale of 1960s Hollywood is my choice to win this particular prize.

Continue reading →

Top 200 Albums – #120 – 129

itunes_imageNearly 4 years ago, we first counted down the Top 200 albums in my iTunes library. Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact. So, I figured it was time to take another look, based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2018.

We continue things with the next batch of 10 albums that rank between #120 and 129, including 4 studio recordings, 3 compilations, 2 greatest hit packages,  and 1 live performance from a marching band.

#129: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – Very Best Of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
iTunes stats: 58 plays
Previous Ranking: 100

21 new listens to the four tunes from this particular greatest hits package caused a bit of a drop.

#129: Various Artists – On The Edge
iTunes stats: 58 plays
Previous Ranking: 139

This compilation, featuring 80s alternative hits from the likes of The Smiths, Love & Rockets, and Michael Penn, had 5 different tunes make up its total.

#127: Various Artists – Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1970
iTunes stats: 59 plays
Previous Ranking: 164

This compilation of the biggest hits of 1970 by bands that would allow themselves to be on such a compilation, like Ides of March or the Partridge Family, has 7 tunes making up its total.

#127: Liz Phair – Whitechocolatespaceegg
iTunes stats: 59 plays
Previous Ranking: 112

10 different songs make up this total for this third studio album by the one-time indie darling.

#125: Nirvana – In Utero
iTunes stats: 60 plays
Previous Ranking: 112

The last studio album from Nirvana uses 4 different tracks to make up this total.

Continue reading →

2015: The Year In Movies Part 2

Movie_Reel_22128 different people starred in the movies I saw last year (starring in being the first two named stars, a tradition dating back to the old Chicago Tribune TV guide which populated the early days of my database), and a whopping 10 of them were in more than 1.  Those 10 thespians are:

Name Films
Jason Bateman 2
Ashley Bell 2
Tom Cruise 2
Karen Gillan 2
Kevin Hart 2
Leslie Mann 2
Paul Rudd 2
Emma Stone 2
Aaron Taylor-Johnson 2
Shailene Woodley 2

Now let’s take a look at the remaining movies that I saw in 2015, following up on Tuesday’s post.

Not Another Happy Ending (2014)
Karen Gillan’s first project post-Doctor Who.

Nice Guys Finish Last (2011)
A short where Danielle Harris tries to date a normal guy but misses the excitement of the bad boys.

Idiocracy (2006)
An army slacker and a prostitute wake up in a future populated by stupid people.

Three Fugitives (1989)
Martin Short and Nick Nolte avoid the police.

Interstellar (2014)
In a near future where the Earth can no longer sustain human life, a group of astronauts look for a new home for the human race.

Aloha (2015)
A military consultant falls in love and turns on his boss in this mess of a film.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
Michael Keaton’s comeback performance that earned him a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination.

Get Hard (2015)
Continue reading →

Top 200 Albums – #131 – 138

itunes_imageMy latest desktop computer arrived in late 2007, at which point I transitioned all of my music off of my laptop. 2 iPods, 3 iPhones, and an iPad later, that computer is still my main repository of music, with iTunes updating its stats every time I listen to something.

Having already gone through cassette tapes and CDs, and digital music, it’s time to roll everything up with the Top 200 albums whose songs I’ve listened to as of September 2014, according to iTunes. Today we continue climbing up the list and look at the 4 albums tied for 135th with 31 listens and the 4 albums tied for 131st with 32 listens.

#131: Pearl Jam – Vitalogy
iTunes stats: 32 plays
The 3rd studio album from the Seattle grunge band, and the last that I purchased, uses the totals from 4 different tracks.

#131: Various Artists – Rock N’ Roll Era: 1958
iTunes stats: 32 plays
This edition of the Time Life series, featuring songs by The Big Bopper, The Monotones, and Little Richard, had 7 songs make up its total.

#131: Various Artists – Pulp Fiction OST
iTunes stats: 32 plays
The soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s magnum opus, featuring tracks by Urge Overkill and Dusty Springfield, had 6 songs and/or movie clips make up its total.

#131: Various Artists – Bones (Original Television Soundtrack)
iTunes stats: 32 plays
Only one tune, the original version of the theme song, contributes to the total for this soundtrack album for the long running Fox show.

#135: Weezer – Weezer (Green Album)
iTunes stats: 31 plays
After a long layoff, Weezer returned in the early 2000s with their third album, which had 2 songs make up this total.

#135: Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I
Continue reading →

You Ought To Be In (14) 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 May 30th.

Today, we look at the 6 actors that have starred in 14 movies that I have seen.

Samuel L. Jackson

20 years ago, I first made the acquaintance of Samuel L. Jackson in 2 polar opposite films, Pulp Fiction and National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1.  Aside from 1994, I also saw 2 Jackson films in both 2000 and 2006.  The last starring role of Jackson’s I took in was in 2010, when I saw Lakeview Terrace.

Scarlett Johansson

I was first introduced to Scarlett Johansson in 2001 when I saw the comic-book adaptation Ghost World.  Starting in 2004, there was a 6 year run where I saw 11 of the 14 films that make up this total, including 5 in 2006 alone.  My most recent experience with her was earlier this spring, when I headed to the Arclight Theater in Pasadena to take in Captain America: Winter Soldier during my California adventure.

Winona Ryder

I first became aware of Winona Ryder in the hit film Beetlejuice, but her first starring role that I saw came in 1990, when I saw the dark comedy Heathers.  My biggest Ryder year was 2000, when I saw 2 of her films.  The last films of her’s that I saw was 2002’s Mr. Deeds, which I finally got around to watching in 2011.

Adam Sandler Continue reading →

Mix Tape Monday – Cool Tracks

After my tape deck crapped out in 1997, I was stuck listening to either the radio or full albums in whatever order the artist intended. That all changed in 2001, when the new-fangled MP3 technology got combined with my new CD burner.

In addition to the occasional series of CDs I had burned in order to keep abreast of new music, I had created a bunch of genre-specific mixes that could be used both in the car and at the gym. This week we will take a look at the first disc covering the world of 60s and 70s rock music. This CD was kind of a counterpart to the ballads disc we covered a few weeks back, with most of the songs coming from the same era but with a decidedly harder bent.  So, without further ado, I bring you Cool Tracks, volume 1.

Paul McCartney & Wings – Live And Let Die

Became the first James Bond theme song to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

iTunes stats: 6 plays, most recently on 3/19/2013

Blood Sweat & Tears – Spinning Wheel

Nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 1970 ceremony, it won for Best Instrumental Arrangement.

iTunes stats: 7 plays, most recently on 3/22/2013

Warren Zevon – Werewolves Of London

BBC Radio 2 listeners rated it as having the best opening line in a song.

iTunes stats: 6 plays, most recently on 7/5/2011

Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4

The song was released as a single in June of 1970, climbing to number 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

iTunes stats: 1 play, on 6/17/2010

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Purple Haze

Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at number 17 in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and also at number 2 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

iTunes stats: 1 play, on 5/29/2009

Jefferson Airplane – Somebody To Love

Originally recorded by 1960s folk rock band The Great Society, featuring Grace Slick’s brother-in-law.

iTunes stats: 3 plays, most recently on 7/6/2011

Patti Smith – Because The Night

Originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen during sessions for his Darkness on the Edge of Town album, he was not satisfied with it so the song was passed to the Patti Smith Group, who were working in the studio next door.

iTunes stats: 4 plays, most recently on 11/9/2012

Ohio Players – Love Rollercoaster

Urban legend says that the scream heard in the background belonged to a woman being murdered at the studio.

iTunes stats: 2 plays, most recently on 3/24/2011

Five Man Electrical Band – Signs

The song was released during an era of social and political change, and its lyrics carry themes of intolerance and exclusion.

iTunes stats: 3 plays, most recently on 3/11/2013

Janis Joplin – Piece Of My Heart

Originally recorded by Erma Franklin in 1967 as a romantic love song.

iTunes stats: 4 plays, most recently on 12/27/2012

Continue reading →

People Who Will Get Played Off Before Their Speech Ends

With the Academy Awards scheduled for Sunday night, here’s my 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

Amour, Michael Hanake

Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino

Flight, John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

I haven’t seen any of these films.  Personally, I would like to see Quentin Tarantino win, but I don’t see that as a possibility given the n-word backlash he saw after the movie came out.  Zero Dark Thirty has the upper hand, I think.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Argo, Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin,

Life of Pi, David Magee

Lincoln, Tony Kushner

Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell

Silver Linings Playbook and Argo are the two films here that I really want to see, with Lincoln coming in a distant third.  I’m not sure if SLP will do as well in the “big” categories as people are expecting, but I think it will pick up some hardware here.

Best Animated Feature




The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph

Again, I haven’t seen any of these and I’m likely not going to.  That said, Wreck-It Ralph looks to be the most fun out of these entries.  Not to imply at all the Academy puts any consideration to fun.

Best Cinematography

Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey

Django Unchained, Robert Richardson

Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda

Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski

Skyfall, Roger Deakins

My feeling is that this comes down to either Django Unchained or Skyfall, and I think James Bond loses this battle.

Best Costume Design

Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran

Les Misérables, Paco Delgado

Lincoln, Joanna Johnston

Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka

Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

I’ve actually seen 2 of these films.   My thought is that it will come down to Lincoln or Les Misérables, and who doesn’t like a musical?

Continue reading →

30 Day Movie Challenge Day 28 – Favorite Movie From Your Favorite Director

So, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who my favorite director might be.  Kevin Smith?  Maybe at one time.  Quentin Tarantino?  Possibly.  Someone else I’m not thinking of at the moment?  Quite likely.  I decided to go with the current it-boy and summer box office champion Joss Whedon, who I’ve been a big fan of for years, dating back Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the movie).  Given the enormous success of the Avengers, Joss can do pretty much whatever he wants going forward, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.