Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Films of 2012

Click here to see the Top 10

Life of Pi
The Avengers

Les Miserables
Cabin in the Woods
The Dark Knight Rises
Killing Them Softly
Wreck-It Ralph
The Hobbit
The Sessions
Seven Psychopaths
Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Grey
Premium Rush

The Amazing Spider-Man
Snow White
Hyde Park on Hudson
The Hunger Games
Anna Karenina
Magic Mike

Mirror Mirror
Rise of the guardians
John Carter
Men In Black III
The Master
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
The Pirates!
Dark shadows
The Expendables 2
Wrath of the Titans
Bourne legacy
The Campaign

Top 10 Films of 2012

I just found an older Top 10 list, pre-this-blog, that was only ever published in a random Facebook status update. It got me thinking: I’ve been making these year-end lists almost every year since I graduated high school. I wan’t to go through my old files and see how many of these lists I can find, and publish them here for posterity.

With that in mind I’ve added a special “End-of-Year Lists” menu at the top of the screen. There you can find links to all the lists I have published so far. I’ll continue adding more as I find them. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: Here’s the rest of 2012

In the meantime, here’s my Top 10 Films of 2012, as posted on Facebook…

Django dicaprio

It’s official! This year was too hard (read: too many equally excellent films!) to create a ranked list. It was hard enough to come up with a #1 with this amazing mix.
Just barely outside the Top 10: Life of Pi, The Avengers, and Amour.

#1 Best Film of the Year:


#2-10, alphabetically:

  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Lincoln
  • Looper
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Skyfall
  • This is 40
  • Zero Dark Thirty

“The Hateful Eight” Accidentally Destroyed 145 Year Old Antique Guitar


There is a scene in The Hateful Eight in which Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) picks up a guitar and strums a soulful ballad. At the end of the song, John Ruth (Kurt Russell) grabs the guitar and smashes it violently.

Quentin Tarantino’s production acquired an authentic Martin guitar built in the 1870’s, on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum, to use in the film. Of course, for the actual smashing part a replica was supposed to take the abuse instead of the priceless antique.

Oscar-winning sound mixer Mark Ulano explained what happened in an interview with

What was supposed to happen was we were supposed to go up to that point, cut, and trade guitars and smash the double. Well, somehow that didn’t get communicated to Kurt, so when you see that happen on the frame, Jennifer’s reaction is genuine.

Ulano later continues:

Kurt shattered the antique guitar and everyone was pretty freaked out. Tarantino was in a corner of the room with a funny curl on his lips, because he got something out of it with the performance.

Tarantino’s reaction sounds a bit self-serving, if unsurprising, though we don’t have his take on the incident.

Apparently Dick Boak, director of the museum, archives and special projects for C.F. Martin & Co., was previously unaware of some of the details of the incident, as revealed in an article on Boak discussed his reactions with that publication:

We assumed that a scaffolding or something fell on it. We understand that things happen, but at the same time we can’t take this lightly. All this about the guitar being smashed being written into the script and that somebody just didn’t tell the actor, this is all new information to us. We didn’t know anything about the script or Kurt Russell not being told that it was a priceless, irreplaceable artifact from the Martin Museum.

As a result of the incident, the company will no longer loan guitars to movies under any circumstances.

To make matters worse, the guitar was apparently only insured for the purchase price, which was surely far below its actual value as “a priceless, irreplaceable artifact.”

We want to make sure that people know that the incident was very distressing to us. We can’t believe that it happened. I don’t think anything can really remedy this. We’ve been remunerated for the insurance value, but it’s not about the money. It’s about the preservation of American musical history and heritage.

Take a look at the scene and guitar in question here. The reaction definitely seems authentic…

[Sorry for the pirate quality. This video will probably be taken down sooner or later. In the event that happens you can still listen to the audio here…]

Read, Download This Year’s Oscar Nominated Screeplays

Almost all of the Oscar nominated screenplays are currently available online to read or download for free!

Big Short

Click on each title to see that film’s script.

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

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

* Drew Goddard’s adaptation of The Martian is not available online, but I highly recommend everyone just go read Andy Weir’s original novel. It’s the absolute best book I’ve read in years.


SAG Awards Results and What They Mean for the Oscars


This past weekend the Screen Actors Guild handed out their yearly awards for film and television acting. I have updated the Oscar Predictions page to reflect what we’ve learned.

But really, what have we learned? Well, Saturday’s winners went something like this:

Ensemble – Spotlight
Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Actress – Brie Larson, Room
Supporting Actor – Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Stunt Ensemble – Mad Max: Fury Road

Ensemble, Drama – Downton Abbey
Actress, Drama Series – Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Actor, Drama Series – Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Ensemble, Comedy Series – Orange is the New Black
Actress, Comedy Series – Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Actor, Comedy Series – Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Actress, TV Movie/Mini-Series – Queen Latifah, Bessie
Actor, TV Movie/Mini-Series – Idris Elba, Luther
Stunt Ensemble – Game of Thrones

This diverse list stands in stark – seemingly deliberate – contrast to the current list of Oscar nominees and the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has surrounded them. Those who defend the nominations by arguing that “maybe all of the best performances actually just happened to be from white actors this year” – yes, some people actually said that – were answered by Idris Elba’s not one but TWO trophies.

As for those Oscars and their eventual outcome, that Supporting Actor win interestingly gives us our biggest clue, despite Elba not being nominated. Historically, even when the nominees don’t line up exactly, SAG has always given it’s trophies to actors who were also nominated for Oscar. In this case that should’ve been Mark Rylance or Christian Bale. The fact that they lost tells us that their candidacies are not a strong as we once thought. Had either of them won, they would’ve been a strong threat to the current Oscar frontrunner, Sylvester Stallone. But since he doesn’t have to worry about competition from Elba, Sly actually gets a boost from this win.

Supporting Actress has been a pretty close race between Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara. Both are actually lead roles relegated the supporting category, a fact that helps nominees more often than not. (There’s a slight threat from Golden Globe winner Kate Winslet, but while her presence is more likely to pull votes away from the two leads, it’s not clear who actually benefits more from this.) But Vikander’s win this weekend, combined with actually giving two awards-worthy performances this year, gives her a solid lead above the rest.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larsen have been frontrunners in the lead categories most of this race. While Saoirse Ronan may have had a little bit of heat from the early season, SAG essentially just gave our leads a platform to practice their Oscar speeches.

The most interesting result was Spotlight.


The Ensemble award is SAG’s equivalent to Best Picture. Spotlight was the presumed frontrunner until The Big Short took the PGA a couple weeks ago. The two had pretty much the same precursors leading up to that, except for Spotlight curiously missing out on an ACE Eddie nomination. Still, it’s a far more universally well-liked movie. It has no drawbacks and offends absolutely no one. That’s the kind of thing that usually does win with the preferential balloting system used by exactly two groups: the PGA and the Oscars’ Best Picture.

Since the Oscars started using the preferential ballot for Best Picture 6 years ago, they have matched the PGA every single year. Since The Big Short came out ahead with the PGA, it moved pretty solidly into the lead. It’s a very strong statistic, and one that may yet hold, despite the latest development.

But Spotlight‘s SAG win does make things interesting. It clearly has a great deal of support, and would make a great winner. Honestly either one could still take Best Picture. So now we look to next week’s Director’s Guild Awards for a little clarity. The DGA have been a very reliable stat for the Best Picture Oscar (even moreso than Best Director) for a much longer time than the recent PGA matchups.

But if the DGA goes as I suspect it might, things could remain just as up in the air as they are now.

In terms of shear numbers, this year is dominated by two major epic films: The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road. With 12 and 10 nominations respectively, they are going head to head in every viable category, except the the former’s two acting nods. Both are serious threats. Well, for director anyway. They are both unlikely to win Best Picture because of a surprisingly important stat: Since the SAG awards have existed, no film has won the Oscar for BP without at least a SAG Ensemble nomination. That’s something neither of these epics has. In fact, The Big Short and Spotlight are the only movies this year with this qualification.

The closest we’ve come to breaking that is when Gravity tied for the PGA and won the DGA and the Oscar for Directing. But even that eventually lost Picture to it’s PGA co-champ 12 Years a Slave.

But while The Revenant and Mad Max are unlikely to win the big prize they are still major threats for directing and for DGA. Or at least one of them is. Unfortunately for The Revenant, that director’s last film, Birdman, just swept the entire awards season, including the Oscars last year. While there’s a lot of passion for his new film, it doesn’t have that kind of inevitability it would need for Alejandro G. Iñarritu to win two years in a row.

That leaves George Miller and Mad Max.

Mad Max Fury Road sniper

In recent years visual and technical marvels Gravity and Life of Pi have had success in directing awards despite not winning Best Picture. I believe George Miller is in this camp, and I believe he’s got enough precursor wins to prove it. That’s why I think Mad Max: Fury Road will win the DGA and eventually the Oscar for Best Director.

But if he does win the DGA, it will only confuse the Best Picture race even further. If the 3 biggest and most important precursors go to 3 different films, who has the edge?

Hard to say. But for now I’m going with that PGA stat and sticking with The Big Short.

Once again, check the Oscar Predictions page for the most recent updates. You can also click the Oscar 2016 menu link at the top of the page for more Oscar information.

Oscar statues

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