15 Years of #1s

number-1It occurred to me that this is the 15th year I have been actively keeping a Top 10 movies list. So I did a little number crunching.

Of movies released from 1999-2013, I have seen 1029 (or 68.9 movies a year). Granted I see movies years after they are released and I also see movies released before 1999, so this is not an actual record of how many movies I see a year. But apparently I see quite a lot.

Of the movies I have seen, 144 of them were “not worth seeing” or 14%. Considering I intentionally skip most movies with terrible reviews, this means featured986% of the time I find the movie redeeming.

My picks for the best film of the year stand up as an eclectic collection. Only 1 of the films is not well known (50/50). 3 won the best picture Oscar. Another 7 were nominated (and Gravity might win). 5 were not nominated for best picture.

I can’t say which is the best. I haven’t watched 6 of the 15 a second time. I have seen 6 of them multiple times. One director repeats on the 15 – Ang Lee for two wildly different genres. I have watched other films (ex. Mean Girls) more than any of these films, but that doesn’t make it the “best,” just the most enjoyable.

See my #1 list below.

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The Academy Awards – Who Should Win?

Academy AwardsI love the Academy Awards. It isn’t just who wins or loses. That’s often predictable way in advance and sometimes is a terrible choice (Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan? Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas? Out of Africa over The Color Purple? Crash over Brokeback Mountain? How Green Was My Valley over Citizen Kane? – to name a few) I love the whole experience – the stars, the glamour, the jokes, the celebration of movies.

As a matter of Oscar pride, I have seen every Best Picture winner. I’ll tell you now, Cimarron from 1931 is a terrible, terrible film. For the past decade or so, I have made sure to see every film nominated for the Top 8 awards (picture, director, acting, writing) and also Animated Film, just because I love Animated Films.

1313641431db2db-1So here are my thoughts on who SHOULD win the awards. If you want to know who WILL win, there are plenty of sites that will guide that better than I can. Siskel and Ebert used to this every year and I loved it.

PICTURE – Argo – I thought it was the best film experience of the year, so no surprise I think it SHOULD win.

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Best Films of 2012

bestmovies 2012As an armchair film critic, it takes me a while to finish seeing most of the “best” films of a year. There are still a half dozen smaller films that got great reviews I haven’t seen from 2012, about 15 films I’d still really like to see, and others I’ll discover down the road. So my Top Films list is always a work in progress. I feel no obligation to establish it in stone right this second.

As a whole, I thought 2012 was an outstanding year – one of the best overall in a while in depth. And, unlike some recent years, the best films weren’t all completely depressing. Of the 9 films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, 8 of them made my top 20. Only Amour (AKA 2 hours of incredible sadness) didn’t quite make it.

Just before the Oscars, I will reveal my picks and predictions, but here is (ever-evolving) Top films of 2013.

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Argo – No Spoilers

One of the joys of the movies is ignorance. Sometimes the less you know the better off you are. So this is a spoiler free (I hope) review of Argo. I won’t even use one of the great lines of the film that fits well into a blog just out of consideration for you.

Here’s 7 things to know (since there are 7 key people in…oh I say too much):

1. It’s based on a true story. But stop learning about the story and go in with a little knowledge as possible.

2. The 70s were full of drinking, chain smoking, ugly cars, big lapels, poor means of reaching people by phone, and grainy footage – all wonderfully recreated for the film.

3. Ben Affleck is not a stupendous director. But he makes eminently watchable, enjoyable, and tense films (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and this).

4. This was the best film I have seen so far in 2012 and is a lock for a Best Picture nomination. It might even win.

5. Alan Arkin is ridiculously great in this.

6. John Goodman and Bryan Cranston are pretty excellent too. But not Arkin-good.

7. The film is tense ALL THE TIME.

Go see it. It is fun, enjoyable, dramatic, original, and well-worth it. Plus there is a deluge of seemingly great films coming. Get a jump on it and go see Argo ahead of the rest.