Best Actor – 1982

Official Nominations: Ben Kinglsey. Dustin Hoffman. Jack Lemmon. Paul Newman. Peter O’Toole.

Kingsley’s your runaway winner year. Even if The Academy didn’t have its bizarre fetish for awarding people for impersonating real life figures, Kingsley would still deserve the win for his transformation and performance. It’s one of the best examples of an actor becoming someone else, a real life someone else.

In any other year, Hoffman would be a good shout for winner thanks to Tootsie. I’m not the biggest fan of the movie, and without Hoffman I’m not sure it would have been close to the success that it was. At this point it was becoming clear that O’Toole was never going to win. If we’d won for this, it would have been an upset – not because he’s bad in it (he’s great) – but because My Favourite Year is such an underseen and strange film. O’Toole is playing a swashbuckling 1950s actor who is mostly drunk and living off his prior status, and he spends the week with a young writer and up and coming fan. It’s in the same vein as Arthur in many ways. It’s sweet, should be seen more.

Finally, you can take your pick between the veteran nods of Jack Lemmon and Paul Newman. Lemmon is somewhat against type, Newman is the grizzled hero standing up for what’s right when he can barely stand up himself… both great, but you would expect that.

My Winner: Ben Kingsley.

When Gandhi actor Ben Kingsley shot with 4 lakh people for one scene in  India: 'Extraordinary' | Entertainment News,The Indian Express

My Nominations: Ben Kingsley. Dustin Hoffman. Jack Lemmon. Paul Winfield. Mel Gibson. Kurt Russell.

In truth, while this year features some of my all time favourite films, I struggled to justify adding any performances from those. I could have added Ford for Blade Runner, but it’s too deliberately monotone to stand alongside my other picks. Kurt Russell’s performance in The Thing is similarly terse, but has more life, a touch of humour and energy. I may not get many chances to nominate Kurt, so here we are.

Mel Gibson had made a few cult movies before 1982, but it was his performance in The Year Of Living Dangerously which brought him his first notable critical attention in the US, looking every bit like the next big hearthrob, but one with an edge and a genuine talent. Finally, Paul Winfield burns through the screen in Sam Fuller’s White Dog as a dog trainer working to change a vicious dog which has been trained to attack black people on sight. It’s a movie which isn’t always successful in its message, but Winfield is excellent.

My Winner: Ben Kingsley.

Let us know your winner in the comments!

The Young Ones – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1961, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Sidney J Furie’s The Young Ones, a British musical starring a fresh faced Cliff Richards as the member of a youth club trying to save his club from being replaced by office blocks.

Sales: 4. Did great business in the UK and was a large success, but didn’t make much of a splash anywhere else. 3 is appropriate here too.

Critical Consensus:3. Struck a chord with audiences, less so with critics due it likely being somewhat stale and lacking the flair and songs of the US Musicals.

Director: 3. Handles the song and dance routines well.

Performances: 3. It’s all sweet and smiles and energy, but only Cliff and Morley stand out.

Characters: 2. No-one particularly memorable here.

Cinematography: 3. Again, fine, nothing special.

Writing: 3. It’s a by the numbers story and screenplay, and a couple of the songs are memorable.

Plot: 2. A bunch of boys and girls like their little club. A rich suit wants to knock it down for more money. They revolt in song. Fin.

Wardrobe: 3. Bright and stylish as a musical should be.

Editing: 3. Sure.

Make up and Hair: 3. More 50s US influenced that Swinging Sixties, but this was beginning to bridge that gap.

Effects: 2. Nothing really applicable here.

Art and Set: 3. Could have been bigger and bolder for a musical, but fine.

Sound And Music: 3. A couple of good songs, crucially doesn’t go far down the musical theatre route and piss me off.

Cultural Significance: 4. 4 is your limit here – it of course would influence, even if only in name, the 80s TV series, it gave Richards a larger platform, and it would go on to see a Stage adaptation.

Accomplishment: 3. It was cashing in on Richards but like many of the Elvis vehicles in the US, it could have easily been nothing more than Cliff prancing about to a few new songs and that would have sold. It’s better than that.

Stunts: 3. Sure.

Originality: 2. By the numbers, but with some youthful British energy.

Miscellaneous: 3. The Soundtrack sold well.

Personal: 3. One of the few musicals of the era I can stand.

Total Score: 58/100.

A low score, but I think that’s okay. In the future I can see some of my Personal 5 scored films not reaching 60. Let us know in the comments what you would score The Young Ones!

Best Original Song – 1982

Official Nominations: Up Where We Belong. Eye Of The Tiger. How Do You Keep The Music Playing? If We Were In Love. It Might Be You

Two big hitters this year, with Up Where We Belong getting the official win. There’s no doubting its success as a standalone song or within the movie, and I do like it as a song. However, I can’t stand the original version – Joe Cocker can’t sing for shit and Jennifer Warnes gives a poor account of herself too. Even if we had two stronger vocalists performing here, there’s still only one winner for me. Eye Of The Tiger is the best movie song here, no question. Sure we can sneer at how cheesy and 80s it is, but in truth it hasn’t lost any of its punch over the decades. It’s a song that has been endlessly parodied and mocked, hell it’s even a song me and a friend from school did our own version of – ‘Rising up, back on my feet – bring my balls back to baby!’ No, I don’t get it either, but there you go. You hear that opening bass, then those chords come in, and you’re ready to go 15 rounds with Clubber Lang. You’d be beaten to death inside 8 seconds of course, but the song still gets you pumped up to believing you’re a God. In that respect, it’s perfect for the film too.

How Do You Keep The Music Playing is an overly sweet song for a Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn vehicle. It’s another duet, in keeping with the sexy stuff going on in the film, but it’s a dreary song. I always get hooked by the piano intro, but everything after it is boredom. You keep waiting for something to happen, but nothing does. Yes, Giorgo is a terrible name and it’s a film starring Pavarotti. Yes, that one. The song is almost as bad as the film. I jest, but it’s simply not a very good song. It Might Be You from Tootsie is pure 80s pop ballad material – all those twinkling synths, some guy delivering plaintive lines, and a hooky chorus. I like it, but then you know me and ballads. The vocals could be more interesting, the arrangement could do with a bit of updating, and the production is too sparse, but it does the job.

My Winner: Eye Of The Tiger

Survivor: Eye Of The Tiger - Album Of The Week Club review | Louder

My Nominations: Up Where We Belong. Eye Of The Tiger. Cat People (Putting Out Fire). Somebody’s Baby. Raised On The Radio. It’s A Long Road. What Shall We Do Now. When The Tigers Broke Free.

The big two make it to my list. I love this category in the 80s, because so many great songs made vital appearances in movies with the bonus of there being hardly any musicals – superb stuff. Cat People sees Bowie adding his vocals and lyrics to Moroder’s music. Bowie goes for his deeper, less breathy vocals and the first part feels like a forgotten goth classic. It descends into generic 80s rock as it progresses, but it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than most of the actual nominees. Speaking of pure 80s – Somebody’s Baby from Fast Times At Ridgemont High is a glorious song which has that unspoken combination of ingredients which made those hit 80s movie songs so special – I think those main ingredients are fun, innocence, and melody – and this is one which revels in all three and instantly makes you think of the movie. You know the film will have a great soundtrack if Cameron Crowe is involved – really this category could be nothing but Fast Times songs. Raised On The Radio is another of those – the main vocal is crap and it all sounds a bit weak, but it’s essentially another version of Summer of 69, not quite as iconic or good as that, but you get the idea.

I generally don’t like songs which simply add vocals over the main instrumental theme’s melody as the come off as fake. It’s A Long Road mostly works and gives me another excuse to nominate First Blood. Needs a better vocalist to do it justice. Given that The Wall is maybe my favourite album of all time (it moves between it and two or three others) you better believe its soundtrack is getting nominated here. What Shall We Do Now was replaced on the final album by the shorter Empty Spaces – I love both, obviously. The songs start out near enough identically, but this one has different lyrics, a slightly different vocal style and backing instruments and leads into a heavier, near heavy metal second section. It’s dark and angry, but in the scope of the original album Empty Spaces was the correct choice. When The Tigers Broke Free (both parts) is another great original song made for the movie, almost starting out like a John Williams melody, or some military celebration horn piece. As this is The Wall, that sentiment couldn’t be any further from the truth – the music of course being used in an ironic manner. This is Floyd at their most soul-rending, beautiful and horribly angry.

My Winner: Eye Of The Tiger.

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Scrooge – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1951, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Brian Desmond Hurst’s take on Scrooge. Every generation has their own version, and for many people this is the definitive. I enjoy the Muppet’s Christmas Carol more, but there was slim pickings in 1951.

Sales: 3. A hit in the post WW2 UK, but didn’t make any impact on the other side of the pond in its cinematic run.

Critical Consensus: 3. Middling, mostly positive then, middling and mostly positive now.

Director: 3. The Belfast man’s most notable work, he handles the source material well, even with various novel inclusions, he gets some great performances from the cast, and gives a grim but ultimately uplifting adaptation.

Performances: 4. Sim knocks it out of the park as Scrooge, and the other cast members admirably play catch up.

Characters: 4. They’re characters you already know, assuming you’ve been alive more than 10 years and they’re all faithfully portrayed.

Cinematography: 3. Hits the bleak Victorian look well – a little too well perhaps.

Writing: 3. Any adaptation of Dickens writes itself, and while there are additions in terms of characters and back story, this doesn’t bring any flaws.

Plot: 3. You know it. Rich miser, hates everyone, visited by ghosts, scared, turns his life around. Fin.

Wardrobe: 3. Grim, authentic – not my sort of thing but looks authentic.

Editing: 3. Yep.

Make up and Hair: 3. Sure

Effects: 3. Why not.

Art and Set: 4. If I was low on Wardrobe, I’ll go high here.

Sound And Music: 3. A variety of traditional Christmas music and new pieces, none of which are too memorable but all serve the mood.

Cultural Significance: 4. Undoubtedly the seminal version until surpassed (in some eyes) by the 70s Musical and The Muppets Christmas Carol. It’s closing scenes have been aped many times.

Accomplishment: 3. Good adaptation, can’t say much more besides.

Stunts: 3. Okay.

Originality: 3.  A mostly straight adaptation, with some notable additions which don’t add or detract significantly.

Miscellaneous: 3. I don’t know if I’ll ever go below 3 in this category, especially for any of my favourite movies.

Personal: 3. I like it, but it’s so cheap and dated to modern eyes that it’s not one I return to when there are so many other versions.

Total Score: 64/100. Not a great score, but that’s fair enough in my estimation.

Let us know your scores in the comments!

The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time (80 – 61)!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today we run down the next batch of Rolling Stone’s 2016 list of the greatest TV shows of all time. Have I seen them? What do I think? What do YOU think? Click here for part 1.

80. The Fugitive

Never seen it. Seen the movie. I’m surprised the show ran for as long as it did, considering shows back then were episodic rather than arc-based.

79. In Living Color

feel like I’ve seen parts of this, but I have no real memory of it. It’s a 90s sketch show, which is good, but it’s a US based sketch show which may not be so good. FOR ME.

78. Thirtysomethings

I don’t know what this is, but I can guess from the name.

77. The Walking Dead

Considering this list was published in 2016, I’m surprised The Walking Dead is so low on the list, but it was beginning to drop out of popularity around that time. I loved it, I still watch it now, but Fear The Walking Dead is now the superior show. It has definitely lost its way and lacks a decent set of characters we really care about any more, but still – zombies, blood, headshots.

76. Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

Sure.

75. American Crime Story – The People Vs OJ Simpson

Wasn’t this something already done in the 90s? I haven’t seen it, feels like something which would not be in the list if it were done again today.

74. The Ren And Stimpy Show

I’ll be pissed if this is here but Beavis & Butthead isn’t. Look, I watched it, I chuckled the odd time, but I never really enjoyed it – the animation style never sat well with me and it wasn’t really that funny.

73. Transparent

Never heard of it.

72. Girls

I’ve heard of it – never seemed like anything I would be interested in.

71. Mr Show.

I don’t think I’ve heard of this, but there’s a slight niggling deep in my brain meat saying ‘yeah, but you have heard of it because one of your mates in the 90s mentioned liking it one day’.

70. Roseanne

Naturally. One of the few US sitcoms of the era which actually translated well to both the UK and me personally. I watched this every week for a few years at least, before either giving up on it or it being moved to a different timeslot.

69. The Ed Sullivan Show

Of course. We’ve all seen the clips.

68. The State

This is a weird one because it sounds like something I should remember, and should have watched given it was peak ‘me watching MTV’ time, but I don’t have any memory of it.

67. The Odd Couple

I know the music better than I know the show. I’ve seen parts, I may have seen a complete episode, but can’t say I ever truly watched it.

66. Downton Abbey

If you read my Oscars posts, you know I’m not one for Costume Dramas. Or shows about aristocrats. This is both. My wife loved it. Her mum loves it. Other people’s mums love it. They don’t love Robocop. I love Robocop. Maggie Smith is made of birds.

65. Happy Days

This kind of translated in the UK, but more as a cultural statement than a thing people enjoyed. We know the music, the setting, the Fonz, the shark-jumping. I tried to enjoy it, and I think for a while I did, but unfortunately it started out for me as one of those Sunday morning shows which simply makes me think of horrible stuff like being forced to go to Sunday School/Church etc, and getting ready for actual school the next day.

64. Chapelle’s Show

Never seen it.

63. The Wonder Years

Now this one was popular over here, but again it was more of a cultural touchstone than something people actually enjoyed. I couldn’t get into it. It was too… soft? Not the humour I wanted as a kid, but it was never intended to be a full blown comedy. I think I’d enjoy it more now, but once again it was hindered by being a Sunday show.

62. Sex And The City

I watched this when it first made its way over here – I watched it for the boobs, of course, not for the incessant mewling of the hardcore fans and their ‘ARE YOU A CHARLOTTE OMG YOU’RE SUCH A CARRIE’. Too much focus on shoes and clothes which only grew in the terrible movies, but the show was funny and did make us care about the characters and their love lives, and New York was for a while a vibrant character all of its own, until it became watered down self aware muck.

61. Your Show Of Shows

I’ve never heard of this, but it sounds incredibly influential and interesting.

Over to you – what are your thoughts on these shows. Do you think they deserve a spot on this list? Am I too harsh on any, and which of the ones I haven’t seen would you recommend? Stay tuned for Part 3!

Inception – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critically eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2010, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Christopher Nolan’s Inception – a film within a film within a… you get the idea.

Sales: 5. It made almost 1 billion bucks. I think that warrants a 5.

Critical Consensus: 4. Almost Universal Acclaim, certainly from most of the ‘big critics’, but a vocal minority of people entirely bemused by the acclaim.

Director: 5. Well, yes. I don’t think you can go lower than 4 here even if you’re not a fan. Putting together something as complex as this and making it so accessible and successful, while also being influential and iconic.

Performances: 4. Good performances all round from an eclectic cast – I could go three here because there are no standouts, but everyone is consistently strong.

Characters: 3. Nothing out of the ordinary – the rich guy, the military guy, the gut haunted by the past, the sidekick etc.

Cinematography: 5. One of the most visually striking movies of recent decades.

Writing: 3. Increasingly for Nolan, we get a little lost in detail without pushing substance. There’s also the small matter of its similarity to other films, most notably Satoshi Kon’s seminal Paprika – not the first time Kon’s work has been ‘borrowed’ by Hollywood. Only 5 people outside of Japan have seen it though – me and 4 others.

Plot: 4. Right, where to begin? It’s all over the place, it just about holds together enough to make sense and be engaging, but there is a lot of waffle and asides which could be cut to deliver a more streamlined story. I can see people giving anything from 1-5 here, so who knows?

Wardrobe: 3. Lots of suits.

Editing: 4. I’ll go with a 4 here because it is all so impressive, but we’re firmly in the era of Nolan’s approach to Sound editing that I’m not a fan of.

Make up and Hair: 3. Sure.

Effects: 5. Mind-boggling, and along with Gravity one of the finest examples of Effects being pushed forwards in the 2000s.

Art and Set: 4. More striking stuff, but a little lacking in colour – deliberately so.

Sound And Music: 4. Suitably booming work from Zimmer giving the sense of epic scale, melodic when it needs to be, but on an emotional level feels a little like being trapped in a car while someone blasts their favourite ballad at full volume.

Cultural Significance: 4. It has certainly been influential in Cinema and other Media, leading to lots of memes and satires, but on a wider cultural scale its significance has not been as potent.

Accomplishment: 5. Nolan has any number of masterful accomplishment’s, and Inception might be the primary among those.

Stunts: 4. Heart-pumping action which play with our expectations and like The Matrix make sense in the context of the film’s world and objectives.

Originality: 3. I’m torn on this because it pulls ideas from so many other films and books, but it presents them in a modern, more palatable way.

Miscellaneous: 4. Cool posters, trailers, all the usual.

Personal: 4. Even though it’s in my Top 10 movies of the year, we’re entering a period where I don’t have as much love for anything outside of my top 1 or 2 picks. It’s an undoubtedly great film and piece of art, but I don’t find it as flawless as most of its supporters.

Total Score: 80/100

It may not look like a high score for any Inception fanboys who happen to have stumbled on to my blog for the first time, but if you look at my other Get Rekt posts or music reviews, you’ll see that it’s about as high as we can get. It’s still one of my favourite films of 2010, calm down, and this score will be tough to beat or equal.

The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time (100 – 81)

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Greetings, Glancers! It has been some time since I’ve made a cheap, click-bait list oriented post such as this, but I recently received a Spike in my viewership due to people discovering my Britain’s Top 50 Songs Of The 1980s post. That was a fun post to watch, and a more savvy blogger than I would know to capitalize on this momentum and try to push more similar content. I’m neither savvy, nor a blogger, nor anything really, but I do like reading lists, writing lists, and talking about them, so here we are.

It’s not music this time – as the title suggests I’m going to take a look at Rolling Stone’s Greatest TV Shows Of All Time thing from a few years ago, comment on each entry, and add my own feeble thoughts. If you’re into that, pull up a chaise-longue, recline like a Dandy, and cast a care-free or critical eye over my rantings. It should be stated that this particular list was published by Rolling Stone in 2016, and we’ve had a great many great shows since then. It’s a Top 100 in ascending (descending?) order so certain shows, great, cult, shite, and personal favourite are obviously going to be missed. Also, this isn’t just the work and opinion of one person – Rolling Stone did their due diligence and pulled results from a wide array of industry insiders and out peers and betters. It will likely be inherently US biased. Lets do this.

100. Eastbound And Down

I’ve heard of this, but never seen it and don’t know anything about it. Not a great start. Aparently it’s a Danny McBride thing. I like him. To a point.

99. Oz

I ‘have’ it, but have never watched it. Prison stuff rarely does anything for me as they follow a strict story formula with the same group of characters and situations. I’ve seen parts of it and plenty of my mates swore by it at the time. I’ll get to it eventually.

98. The Golden Girls

Yeeaaah, no. I’m sure I’d appreciate it more if I watched it now instead of when I was exposed to it as a child, but it holds zero draw for me.

97. Portlandia.

Never heard of it, don’t know what it is, seems like something which will immediately drop out of a list like this once something new comes along.

96. Gunsmoke.

One of the many, many Western oriented shows of the 1950s onwards. This shtick was a staple of US TV back then, I think I’ve seen bits of episodes here and there, but I wouldn’t know how to differentiate this from any of the other shows or suggest how it deserves a place on the list over any of the others? Was it the first? The best?

95. Key And Peele

I’ve heard of this one at least, never seen it. I know Jordan has gone on to big Hollywood business – Get Out and Us were both hit and miss for me, enjoyable but not as perfect as the wilsly positive feedback would have you suggest. I think this is a sketch comedy show, but also showed their love for horror. Humour can be hit and miss for me too, though usually sketch comedy works well.

94. Jeopardy.

Ahh, so they’re doing gameshows too? I love gameshows. Anything with questions, a novel idea, and even better some sort of physical action or hook to latch on to and make the thing more interactive or demanding. Jeopardy had a number of hooks – the whole answer backwards thing and losing your money thing. We have our own UK version of it – I don’t know how popular it was, but I watched it the odd time. It wasn’t the most exciting show – no hefty prizes or visual quirks or physical stuff. American versions of gameshows I know from other Countries almost never work for me – not sure why, something about the hosts and the comedy doesn’t seem to translate well.

93. Mystery Science Theater 3000. 

I’ve never seen it, but I know what it is and we had similar versions over here.

92. American Idol.

Oh, fuck off. There’s no doubting how hugely influential the show was (was this first or Pop Idol or X Factor? They’re all the same) and how many millions have watched it. I’ve been forced to watch it. It’s an easy format to get into, but as someone who actually cares about music at as deep a level as I possibly can – I listen, I write and talk about music, I think about music every day, I have written, recorded, performed my own (even if too an extremely limited degree). Music is and always has been a huge part of my life. The majority of the music and the opinions of this show and its ilk, are bad. It’s mass produced, image-oriented, business man music. That’s perfectly fine for some and it makes the world go round. Hell, I even enjoy some of it. But it’s not the music I go for. It ignores the talents of the creator (s) and reduces it to the single person on stage, or even worse to the people judging the person, who are often not the greatest judges of musical quality. It’s so reductive, there’s such an aura of disposability around it and the people it churns out, and at its core it is not a show about talent – it’s a show about abuse and exploitation.

91. Broad City

Never heard of it, or if I have I don’t remember.

90. The Dick Van Dyke Show.

I’ve never been a fan of Mr Van Dyke. I can’t say I’ve seen this show, but I’m sure it entertained the boomers, or something.

89. Homeland

I’ve seen the whole thing. It’s an engaging show – I love Claire Danes and the supporting cast the show built is very strong. There were a few plot mis-steps along the way. While most people were interested in the whole love triangle and mystery of the opening seasons, I got more hooked on the mid- show Pakistan terrorism ark. It lost its way, certain stories were dragged out too long, things I was more keen on were dismissed or wrapped up too quickly, and many ideas were recycled to the point of nonsense. But it continued to hold its own and was always entertaining even when it became increasingly silly.

88. Party Down

Never heard of it.

87. Doctor Who

If this were a British list I would suspect the show would be much higher. Doctor Who has always gone through peaks of popularity – after the boom of shows like Buffy, Doctor Who was given a sexy modern revamp and saw the show soar outside of the UK. I’ve never really watched it. I watched as a kid in the 80s and was scared like everyone else, but outside of McCoy and the odd episode here and there from other eras, it’s not something I’ve ever felt the desire to watch.

86. Good Times

I don’t think I’ve heard of this one, but there were so many 70s-80s sitcoms that they get a little mixed up in my mind. This is probably the era of American sitcoms I have the most nostalgia for, and I usually enjoy them, but the 90s era was the peak for my own personal enjoyment.

85. The Real World

The really Daddy of Reality TV has a lot to answer for. I never cared for any reality TV because I find reality and other people, and myself, mostly incredibly dull, self-centred, and I don’t want to spend any time with them. I prefer fiction. Nevertheless, I caught the odd episode of this when it was first popular, because the older teens were all watching it and I would get roped in to pretending to like it too.

84. Real Time With Bill Maher

This is some sort of talk show, right? We have plenty of those over here. When I was young, it was boring, shouty old men talking about news. When I was older, I had a tonne of actually interesting shows to discover and catch up on. Now, these shows are just another version of reality TV when I do as much as I can to ignore reality seen through the lens of others. I’ve seen bits of Bill, no idea if its from this show or anything else.

83. House Of Cards

Not a fan of Politics or Political shows, or US Politics (The West Wing is the single exception), and I’ve never been a fan of Kevin Spacey, even back before people realised what a fucking scumbag he is. I’m sure this is well made and all, but I have zero interest in it. Was Neve Campbell in it for a while?

82. The Jeffersons.

It’s another one of those 70s-80s US Sitcoms I never saw. I’m at least aware of this one, but frequently, inexplicably, mix it up with The Jetsons.

81. Dallas

I was too young to watch it or care at its peak, but I did catch episodes here and there when my mum watched it in the 80s. She was more of a Knott’s Landing fan though. There’s no doubting its success and cultural impact so of course its going to be on this list.

Join me again soon for Part 1, but for now are there any shows above you think I should give a chance? Which ones do you enjoy, and which ones do you think should be nowhere near such a list as this?

Almost Famous – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critically eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2000, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, the semi-autobiographical tale which follows a teenage music enthusiast as he is pulled on tour with a fictional rock band and gets to explore the pitfalls of the industry along with some great music. Great 70s music, coming of age – it ticks a lot of boxes for me, but lets see how it scores.

Before we get there, I’ve decided to change the system a little bit. Some of the categories below piss me off, but the similarity between Sales and Chart cause me the most annoyance. I’ve decided to conflate Chart into Sales and add a new category – Characters. Characters is fairly similar to Writing (and Performance), with the characters and the plot all falling under a wider umbrella of Writing, but I think that there’s enough difference between each to score them separately. That leaves me with only 19 Categories – but I need 20 to get an equally weighted rating out of 100.

Lets split out Writing into Writing (dialogue, screenplay nuance, subtext, theme etc) and Plot, with Plot being strictly about how the story plays out, if I enjoy it, does it make sense etc etc. Characters relates to how unique, human, relatable, engaging, identifiable, enjoyable the characters are.

Sales: 3. I never saw this when it was released, but I assumed it did much better than it actually did. You can’t go higher than a 3 here, given the fact that the film didn’t make back its budget. In reality I should be giving this a 2, but I’m guessing a large chunk of the film’s budget went to securing the soundtrack, inflating the spend considerably. I’m sure the movie made a bunch more money on DVD afterwards, but a 2-3 seems correct here.

Critical Consensus: 5. Likewise I could go 4 here because it’s not held in the same kind of long-term regard as say, Mulholland Drive. But you can’t compare one film’s success against another single film – that would be unfair. This is consensus, and acclaim at the time was universal, with plenty of Oscars noms and wins, and the film continues to appear on Best Of lists even today.

Director: 4. Cameron Crowe was possibly known more for being a writer or an ideas man than a director, at least until Jerry Maguire. That film’s success led to the more personal story of Almost Famous. Similar to his previous works, Almost Famous has a breezy, carefree vibe – the Linklater vibe – and doesn’t rely on anything flashy. It’s almost the lack of an apparent authority which is the authority.

Performances: 4. Following Crowe’s lead, the performances are similarly care-free to the extent that you feel like you are watching a documentary. There’s a slight knowing nod to the fact that these are people in their 20s in the year 2000 pretending to be 20 somethings in the early 70s, but there’s no escaping the cultural weight of the period they are relaying. While Hoffman steals most scenes he’s in, Kate Hudson won the plaudits and Patrick Fugit is the heart of the piece – elsewhere Jason Lee, Francis McDormand, Billy Crudup, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, and Zoey Deschanel add to the party among an array of familiar faces.

Characters: 4. Mostly composites of people Crowe knew or real life band figures, the various band members and ‘groupies’ aren’t fully defined beyond obvious caricatures, but the core characters are among the most likeable and fully realized for this type of film – always on the cusp of stardom yet never quite able to fulfil their dreams. From Lester Bangs to William and his mum, to Penny, Russell, and Jeff – and the side characters – it’s a group you want to spend a music, drug, and booze fuelled weekend with before returning dazed, confused, and happy to your normal life.

Cinematography: 3. There’s a gleam to the film which accentuates the free-spirit and hope of the time, actively ignoring the more negative elements of the period and culture. It looks great, but it’s not the first thing you notice about the film

Writing: 5. While it’s not the sort of film peppered with quotable dialogue, the best moments come from Hoffman and McDormand’s dour delivery – two sides of the same coin. Where the writing success is in its heart and humour and genuine love for the material, the people, the culture, and the music it is describing.

Plot: 4. It’s a Coming Of Age plot, so already right up my street, but also set in a time I’m fascinated by and in a world of music I love. Those are asides, but it hits the beats of a Coming Of Age plot in such a satisfactory way – everyone grows, everyone learns, everyone moves on and no threads are left hanging.

Wardrobe: 4. Authentic, though a little through the lens of 2000 styles. In any case, it helps to evoke the look and feel of the era.

Editing: 3. I never have much to say about editing – not my area of expertise but if it’s not something I notice then I assume someone has done something right.

Make up and Hair: 4. Same with wardrobe – does the job and suits the vibe.

Effects: 3. Nothing much of note to mention, so you can go N/A here or for an average 2 or 3.

Art and Set: 4. From the concert front and back stages, the media rooms, homes, tour buses, and hotels, everything has been finely tuned to evoke the early 70s with an added idealised glamour.

Sound And Music: 5. One of the great modern soundtracks, if you’re into music of the period, it’s tastefully inserted into the movie and becomes as much a part of the story as the characters who surround themselves with the music.

Cultural Significance: 3. I don’t think the film had a cultural impact at the time, or any notable impact since. A shame as it’s the sort of movie which could have helped see a widespread rejuvenation and interest in 70s rock music. Rock music around 2000 was in an interesting place with both retro and new style bands succeeding, but that was outside of any influence this movie had. The cast members went on to bigger things and some became more widely known while Crowe has had lesser successes since.

Accomplishment: 4. Depending on what you define this as – how you define what the cast and crew wanted to accomplish with the movie – this could be lower. I think Crowe wanted to show his affinity for a singular point in time while also making a pseudo-biographical film. It accomplishes both.

Stunts: 3. Another N/A or average.

Originality: 3. Biographies and Coming Of Age films are a dime a dozen, but I tend to enjoy the COA films greatly, or Biographies when it’s someone or something I care about.

Miscellaneous: 4. Cool posters, good soundtrack, good memories of the time it was released and the people I watched it with.

Personal: 5. One of my go to cool hang out movies and one of the best music oriented movies ever.

Total Score: 77/100

I think that’s our highest score yet, and it’ll be a tough one to beat. Let us know in the comments what you think of Almost Famous!

1982 Academy Awards – An Introduction

The 55th Academy Awards saw Johnny Carson losing out on hosting responsibilities to Richard Pryor, Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, and Walter Matthau. There was a clear winner this year with Gandhi leading the way in both nominations and wins, and Tootsie and ET following close behind. I already know that I could easily have at least five other movies taking the plaudits away from those officially nominated – some of my favourite movies were released this year and even if there’s no way they would be nominated in some of the bigger categories, you can’t argue against them being nominated in some of the others – you’ll see when we get there.

Presenting awards this year were Michael Keaton, Elizabeth McGovern, Steve Guttenberg, and Cher, while Sandahl Bergman (hint hint about favourite movies this year) and The Temptations, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, and others were performing.

Join us over the next few weeks to see what ludicrous choices I make in each category, and feel free to berate me in the comments with what I should have gone for.

Boiling Point – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! We’re into the 90s with my Get Rekt series, the series which sees me try to score my favourite films free from bias. Boiling Point is Takeshi Kitano’s second film, one which finds a neat level between his usual black humour and sudden violence. It presents a more grey area portrayal of character and morality than Violent Cop did, and this ambiguity would continue throughout his career.

Sales: 3: A modest success in Japan, that is tempered by limited success elsewhere. Like most of Kitano’s early movies, it has done well on DVD in other territories.

Chart: 3: Same as above.

Critical Consensus: 4: Well received at the time and highly regarded since. It’s a shame so few have seen it.

Director: 4. Kitano is firing on all cylinders, but his slow shots and silences may be off-putting for many. It’s only his second film and he would grow in nuance.

Performances: 3. Everyone is good but it’s not the sort of film which calls for Award Winning performances. Kitano is Kitano, though he only shows up halfway through, and the other two main actors tow the line between comedy, bewilderment, and shock.

Characters: 3. It’s Kitano being Kitano in short bursts, and two friends. None of them are going to going down in the record books, but they serve the story.

Cinematography: 4. I could go 3 here, but 4 seems right given the technology and budget.

Writing: 3. It’s funny, yet the story is, at least on the surface, one of simple revenge. I could see fans going with a 4 here thanks to the ending, thanks to it also being some sort of coming of age story, and thanks to its general weirdness.

Wardrobe: 3. Early 90s Japan is this weird hybrid of early 80s US and 60s France, for some reason. Nothing exciting here, though now worth it as a historic curio – average 3.

Editing: 3: Kitano has his style – long shots and silence punctuated by sudden cuts to violence. Those are here but would be honed once he took over the editing role in later films.

Make up and Hair: 2. Nothing to mention. A 2 or a 3 here is the ceiling.

Effects: 3. Nothing out of the ordinary again – all practical, all works.

Art and Set: 3: You’re going to get a lot of averages with this movie from me. Some nice exterior work but the sets and locations are serviceable.

Sound And Music: 3. Well, there isn’t really any music to speak of. It’s a very silent movie, but sound has an impact.

Cultural Significance: 3. I could go 4 here because it was an even bigger stepping stone for Kitano than Violent Cop and gained him a taste of worldwide attention. But that’s tempered by not being his first movie and by the fact that most significance was centred in Japan rather than any wider significance.

Accomplishment: 4. I’m happy to go 4 with this one because it’s a step up in competence from Violent Cop and for a stand up comedian to be breaking out with such confidence is impressive.

Stunts: 3. Nothing too outlandish and most of the violence and action is contained to 1 on 1 close quarters scenes.

Originality: 3. I could see anything from a 2 to a 4 here. I’m tempted to go a 4 due to the subversions and absurdity Kitano brings to the gangster standards, creating an intriguing piece. Others may feel it’s a simple revenge film with out of place comedy, but for me the violence is perfectly juxtaposed and more cynical than other films.

Miscellaneous: 3. Not much to add.

Personal: 5. I love it, along with most of Kitano’s films. It’s disturbing, gets close to a Lynchian hypnotic tone, and it’s both ambiguous and in your face. The violence isn’t fetishized and yet is stylish and you’ll laugh at some of the slapstick and silly moments before being brought back to earth with a gut punch.

Total Score: 65/100

A fairly average score given my own personal rating, but not surprising given that it’s not a widely known, super successful, or hugely influential film. Let us know your thoughts on Boiling Point in the comments!