My Top Ten Steven Spielberg Movies

Happy 75th Birthday (tomorrow, again, as I don’t post on weekends!) to Steven Spielberg. I thought now would be a good time to fully update & repost this old top ten list I first did years ago for The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger.

As there are SO many Spielberg movies I’ve seen and I’m obsessed with lists, I figured it was time to just go ahead & rank every single film of his that I’ve seen (leaving a few out that I really do need to rewatch before knowing where to rank them, including Saving Private Ryan before someone tells me I forgot to include it…). 🙂

Here are My Top Ten Steven Spielberg Movies:

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

17-11:

17. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
16. Hook
15. Empire Of The Sun
14. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
13. War Of The Worlds
12. A.I. Artificial Intelligence
11. Ready Player One

Top Ten:

10. The Terminal

Fantastic story in this, even if I never bought the romance. Loved the extra characters who worked at the airport as well. And my hubby seems to absolutely love this movie, which I think is sweet…

9. Minority Report

Great film that I haven’t seen in a very long time. I think I need a rewatch to see how it stands up. Am sure it’s still good as Spielberg’s sci-fi films feel timeless to me.

8. Catch Me If You Can

Fascinating story and excellent performances. I’d always known Leonardo DiCaprio was an underrated actor but, being the same age as him, it took until I saw this one for me to finally see him as a proper grown-up actor.

7. Always

My controversial choice, maybe. I don’t care. I LOVED this movie when it came out and watched it over and over. So romantic and full of quirky, loveable characters – why don’t more people like this one?

6. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

This one doesn’t seem to get the credit it deserves. The mashed potato mountain, the entire ending and, of course, those musical notes: Classic.

5. Jurassic Park

This was mind-blowing when it came out. And it still looks a hell of a lot better than some of the CGI nightmares they’re giving us these days. This movie is pure fun.

4. Schindler’s List

Truly a masterpiece but very hard to place in a list like this. It’s not, as I like to call it, a “multiple watcher” for me. Too tough to watch more than once, I can’t “love” it in the same way I do the rest on this list.

3. Jaws

Starts out a little slow (trust me – re-watch it) but when the three of them get on that boat to go find the shark, this becomes a true classic. And, come on – that MUSIC! John Williams is a genius. Which is why Spielberg uses him all the time. Spielberg is a genius too but the John Williams scores are just as much to thank for his films becoming the classics that they are.

2. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Number one and two are so close and, to be honest, I changed them around a few times. I don’t know what to say about this one… Who hasn’t seen E.T.? Who doesn’t know the image of that flying bicycle with the moon behind it? Who doesn’t like this?!?! It’s the first film I ever saw in the theater more than once. (Oops – showing my age!) E.T., like Indiana Jones, is such a great character and just thinking about this movie never fails to make me smile. 🙂

1. Indiana Jones Original Trilogy: Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Temple Of Doom, Last Crusade (I had to put these together as it’s perfect as a trilogy. Wish it was only a trilogy…)

Raiders: The film that introduced us to one of the all-time best movie characters – Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford was so awesome (and sexy) as Indiana and we’ve not had “adventure” films like these since. Why can’t they make movies like this anymore??


Temple Of Doom: Temple Of Doom, that crazy and violent one with hearts being RIPPED out of chests and chilled monkey brains!


Last Crusade: Fun fun fun! And I loved Harrison Ford & Sean Connery together in this. I’ve watched this film so many times!

Need To Rewatch These:
Duel, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Saving Private Ryan, The Color Purple

Not Seen These:
The Sugarland Express, 1941, Amistad, Munich, Tintin, War Horse, Lincoln, Bridge Of Spies, The BFG, The Post, West Side Story

And I should just mention that I loved the original Amazing Stories TV series created by Spielberg. The Mission, which he directed, was a great episode…

My Top Ten Jeff Bridges Movies

Happy Birthday (tomorrow) to Jeff Bridges, who will turn 72. But I don’t post on weekends usually, so here we are a day early!

I really like Jeff Bridges. I think most people do? This is an interesting list as several of his biggest films aren’t included. That’s because I’ve either never seen them at all or I just really need to rewatch them, such as Starman. So I’ve listed those at the end. People will also probably roll their eyes at my number one choice but, hey, I like what I like!

I rank these lists based on how much I like the movie itself, not on the performance. He’s always good, though. Thought he was especially good in Crazy Heart.

I’ve seen quite a few so I’ll rank them all. Here are My Top Ten Jeff Bridges Movies, counting down to my favorite & including all I’ve seen & remember well:

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

18. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
17. Seabiscuit
16. The Vanishing
15. The Little Prince
14. Stick It
13. The Giver
12. King Kong (1976)
11. Bad Times At The El Royale

10. The Big Lebowski (I don’t love this film but Bridges is good)

9. K-PAX

8. The Fabulous Baker Boys

7. Arlington Road

6. TRON: Legacy (The Daft Punk score for this is amazing!)

5. Crazy Heart

4. Hell Or High Water

3. Iron Man

2. TRON

1. The Last Unicorn

Need To Rewatch:
Starman, Jagged Edge, The Last Picture Show, Blown Away

Not Seen:
Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, Heaven’s Gate, Against All Odds, Tucker: The Man And His Dream, The Fisher King, Fearless, White Squall, The Mirror Has Two Faces, The Contender, The Men Who Stare At Goats, True Grit, R.I.P.D., Only The Brave

My Top Ten Ridley Scott Movies

Happy Birthday to Ridley Scott, who turns 84 today.

I used to do these top ten lists for the birthdays of directors & actors/actresses. Not sure why I stopped but I still have plenty sitting in drafts. I had to change this one from “turns 80 today” to “turns 84”, so it was in there a while.

Well, I figured it was time to drag this one out of drafts with the recent releases of two Ridley Scott films. Which I haven’t seen as I’m still not going to the cinema! That’s partly due to viruses and not missing inconsiderate audiences anyway but also thanks to being completely & utterly broke. To be honest, though, neither of the two new ones appeal to me – I can update this list if need be when I do see them but I doubt they’d be very high.

So, counting down to my favorite & including all I’ve seen, here are My Top Ten Ridley Scott Movies: (I love the top three, really like 4 & 5, and could probably do with rewatching all of the rest. Except those highly disappointing Alien thingies…)

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

12. Black Rain
11. Hannibal

My Top Ten:

10. Alien: Covenant

9. Prometheus

8. Matchstick Men

7. Legend (but need to rewatch this)

6. American Gangster (could do with rewatching this too)

5. The Martian

4. Gladiator

3. Thelma & Louise (if I was honest with myself I’d put this at number 2 – I’ve watched this one way more)

2. Blade Runner

1. Alien (love love love love love!)

Not Seen:
House Of Gucci, The Last Duel, All The Money In The World, The Duellists, Someone To Watch Over Me, 1492: Conquest Of Paradise, White Squall, G.I. Jane, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom Of Heaven, A Good Year, Body Of Lies, Robin Hood, The Counsellor, Exodus: Gods And Kings

Figured I should also mention some famous ads directed by Ridley Scott – Hovis: Boy On The Bike & the great Apple Mac: 1984. I remember watching & discussing the Apple Mac one in an advertising course in college. Here it is:

Happy 9th Blogiversary To Me

I know I say this every year but I can’t believe I’m still here (somewhat) blogging. 9 years now!

I almost completely forgot to put a post together for it this year. Work has been crazy busy and I was badly wanting to catch up on actually reading other blogs this month. I’ll try to visit my favorites soon, I promise! 🙂

So as I’m preparing this post at the last minute, I’ll keep it short again & just list my Top Ten Movie Lists For 2021 So Far as it’s nearly the end of the year anyway. I’m still not really braving the cinemas yet, so this is mainly movies “released in the U.K. for the first time in whatever format in 2021 that I actually managed to watch”. So, yes, most big cinema releases are sadly missing.

So here are My Top Ten Movies Released To U.K. Cinemas Or Streaming Services In 2021 So Far:

1. Dune – 8.5/10
2. Spontaneous – 8/10
3. Promising Young Woman – 8/10
4. Minari – 7.5/10
5. Willy’s Wonderland – 7.5/10
6. Space Sweepers – 7.5/10
7. Moxie – 7.5/10
8. The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things – 7.5/10
9. Raya And The Last Dragon – 7/10
10. The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – 7/10

Honorable Mentions: (7/10)
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Palmer, tick, tick… BOOM!, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Free Guy

My Top Ten Older Release Movies Seen In 2021 So Far (a MUCH stronger list than the 2021 releases!):

1. Gandhi – 8.5/10
2. When Marnie Was There – 8/10
3. It Happened One Night – 8/10
4. Black Narcissus (1947) – 8/10
5. Swallow – 8/10
6. Wings Of Desire – 8/10
7. Dracula (1931) – 8/10
8. The Secret Of Kells – 7.5/10
9. Les Diaboliques – 7.5/10
10. Battleship Potemkin – 7.5/10

Honorable Mentions: (7.5/10)
Bloodsport, Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, The Hunt (2020), Hud, Kind Hearts And Coronets, The Innocents (1961), Trees Lounge

And…. Screw it! I watched the most TV I’ve watched in years in 2021. So let’s rank those too! Especially as there were some great shows.

Here are My Top Ten TV Shows Watched In 2021 So Far:

1. Squid Game: S1
2. Cobra Kai: S3
3. Ted Lasso: S1, S2 E1-2
4. WandaVision: S1
5. Monsters At Work: S1
6. Sweet Tooth: S1
7. Midnight Mass: S1
8. Loki: S1
9. Lisey’s Story
10. The White Lotus: S1

The full list of everything I’ve watched & read in 2021 is HERE.

Remembering John Hughes On His Birthday

Today would have been the 71st Birthday of John Hughes. Being a part of Generation X, his movies obviously meant a lot to me as a big-haired ’80s teenager & it was very sad when he passed away in 2009.

It’s also Molly Ringwald’s 53rd birthday today. How cool is it that they had the same birthday? Happy Birthday to Molly!

As well as being a great writer, John Hughes also had excellent taste in the music he chose for his films. I recently teamed up with Strange Adventures Music (@StrangeAdvMusic) to create a comprehensive John Hughes playlist. The playlist includes the currently available music from every movie directed, written or produced by Hughes. You can check that out at Apple Music (HERE) or Spotify (HERE). I still listen to that playlist a lot myself.

I also have very fond memories of running a John Hughes Blogathon here in 2014. Thanks again to the many bloggers who participated & helped to review every movie directed or written by Hughes. I thought it was time to again share all the reviews below if you’d like to have a look. And if you love John Hughes too & have a review you’d like me to add to this post as well, feel free to post a link to it in the comments. 🙂

JOHN HUGHES MOVIE REVIEWS:

101 Dalmatians by Fearsome 5 (and family!)

Baby’s Day Out by Film Grimoire

Beethoven by Film Grimoire

The Breakfast Club by The IPC

The Breakfast Club by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

The Breakfast Club by A Clockwalker Orange

The Breakfast Club by MIB’s Instant Headache

Career Opportunities by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

Curly Sue by MovieRob

Dennis by MovieRob

Drillbit Taylor by Rhetologue’s Movie Logs

Drillbit Taylor by MovieRob

Dutch by MovieRob

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by Fast Film Reviews

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by The Dirk Malcolm Alternative

Flubber by MovieRob

The Great Outdoors by Smashing Through Life

The Great Outdoors by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

Home Alone by MovieRob

Home Alone 2 by Screenkicker

Home Alone 3 by Ten Stars Or Less

Just Visiting by JJames Reviews

Maid In Manhattan by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

Miracle On 34th Street by Where The Wild Things Are

Mr. Mom by JJames Reviews

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation by Tvor Travels

National Lampoon’s Class Reunion by Brian at Hard Ticket To Home Video

National Lampoon’s European Vacation by Tvor Travels

National Lampoon’s Vacation by The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger

Only The Lonely by Ten Stars Or Less

Planes, Trains & Automobiles by Film Nerd Blog

Planes, Trains & Automobiles by The Cinematic Frontier

Planes, Trains & Automobiles by The IPC

Pretty In Pink by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

Pretty In Pink by Tranquil Dreams

Pretty In Pink by MovieRob

Savage Islands by MovieRob

She’s Having A Baby by Rhetologue’s Movie Logs

She’s Having A Baby by MovieRob

Sixteen Candles by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

Sixteen Candles by Where The Wild Things Are

Sixteen Candles by Film Nerd Blog

Sixteen Candles by The IPC

Sixteen Candles by MIB’s Instant Headache

Some Kind Of Wonderful by Silver Screen Serenade

Some Kind Of Wonderful by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

Some Kind Of Wonderful by MovieRob

Tajna Nikole Tesle by 501 Must-See Movies Project

Uncle Buck by The IPC

Weird Science – special double review by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me) & Eric of The IPC

Weird Science by What About The Twinkie?

Weird Science by MIB’s Instant Headache

EXTRAS:

My Top Ten John Hughes Movies by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

Don’t You Forget About Me (documentary about John Hughes) by Cinema Parrot Disco (Me)

John Hughes Mini-Reviews by Mr Mutant (my hubby)

Happy 8th Blogiversary To Me

Hello Everyone! Another year of blogging. Why am I still here?!? No one else is. Oh well – I have to keep this movie diary going. If I didn’t spend time making lists, I don’t know what the hell I’d do with myself. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Avoid people. (And that was before lockdown…)

What can I say? 2020 has been a terrible year for the whole world. So I just keep watching movies & reading books as usual. And that’s all I write about on this blog so I’ll shut up now & just stick to that. 🙂

As the year is almost over, here are my current Top Ten Movie Lists For 2020 So Far. Very awkward doing a “2020 Releases” list this year as I always go by U.K. cinema release date. But as so many went straight to streaming services, it was harder to determine which movies “became available to watch in the U.K. in the year 2020”. I ignored festival release dates. I may be wrong on some of these. Oh, who the hell cares what list they end up on?!

My Top Ten Movies Released To U.K. Cinemas Or Streaming Services In 2020 So Far:

1. Parasite – 7.5/10
2. The Platform – 7.5/10
3. Bill & Ted Face The Music – 7/10
4. Jojo Rabbit – 7/10
5. The Gentlemen – 7/10
6. Weathering With You – 7/10
7. A Whisker Away – 7/10
8. Onward – 7/10
9. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – 7/10
10. Color Out Of Space – 6.5/10

My Top Ten Older Release Movies Seen In 2020 So Far:

1. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale – 7.5/10
2. Meet Me In St. Louis – 7.5/10
3. The Peanut Butter Falcon – 7.5/10
4. Mid90s – 7.5/10
5. First Man – 7.5/10
6. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – 7/10
7. Little Women – 7/10
8. Long Shot – 7/10
9. Crimson Peak – 7/10
10. The Vast Of Night – 7/10

The full list of everything I’ve watched in 2020 is HERE.

Happy 7th Blogiversary To Me

Wow. Seven years of doing this blogging thing. 🙂

I’m not posting as regularly these days & plan to cut down even more in the New Year. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to post anything other than maybe my Monthly Roundups with mini-reviews of what I’ve watched each month. Because the one thing I’ll never stop doing is keeping lists of what I’ve watched. I’m a List NERD.

So, as the year is almost over, here are my current Top Ten Movie Lists For 2019 So Far. Will be interesting to see if they change much over the next month. Please please please let Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker be good enough to make the list…

These lists are from numbers 1 to 10 (just to be awkward as I usually count down to number one).

My Top Ten 2019 UK Movie Releases So Far:

1. Doctor Sleep – 8/10
2. Alita: Battle Angel – 7.5/10
3. Yesterday – 7.5/10
4. Fighting With My Family – 7.5/10
5. It Chapter Two – 7.5/10
6. Judy – 7.5/10
7. Hustlers – 7.5/10
8. Joker – 7.5/10
9. Rocketman – 7.5/10
10. Avengers: Endgame – 7.5/10

My Top Ten Movies Seen At Home In 2019 So Far:

1. A Matter Of Life And Death – 8/10
2. Yojimbo – 8/10
3. Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) – 8/10
4. Ip Man – 8/10
5. Infernal Affairs (Mou gaan dou) – 7.5/10
6. In The Heat Of The Night – 7.5/10
7. Wind River – 7.5/10
8. The Hunt (Jagten) – 7.5/10
9. Miss Hokusai – 7.5/10
10. The Great Adventure Of Horus, Prince Of The Sun (aka The Little Norse Prince) – 7.5/10

My Top Ten Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs

Happy Birthday to Anthony Kiedis, who turns 57 today.

I’ve been meaning to do this post for the past three years. I like the Chili Peppers a lot, although I’m not sure if I’d now call them a favorite band of mine. Hmm. Maybe Top 30. Okay, maybe Top 20. They were certainly a favorite when I was in my late teens/early twenties, though. And I had a huge crush on Kiedis. I have fond memories of this Rolling Stone cover on my dorm room wall:

Lovely! Well, as with most of my “Top Ten” lists, I’m just going to do a ranking of all the Chili Peppers songs that I can think of. To be fair, I don’t remember some at this point and don’t know everything from their later years. Blood Sugar Sex Magik is the album I listened to like crazy in my late teens and it’s still my favorite. I should refresh my memory on their oldest stuff. Time to go dust off those CDs…

So, counting down to My Top Ten Red Hot Chili Peppers songs, here’s my ranking for 35 of them:

35. Get Up And Jump
34. True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes
33. Desecration Smile
32. Aeroplane
31. Fight Like A Brave

Top Thirty:

30. Around The World
29. Hump De Bump
28. Monarchy of Roses
27. Me & My Friends
26. Snow (Hey Oh)
25. The Zephyr Song
24. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
23. Fire
22. Mellowship Slinky In B Major
21. Road Trippin’

Top Twenty:

20. The Righteous & The Wicked
19. Funky Monks
18. Dani California
17. Otherside
16. Can’t Stop
15. Suck My Kiss
14. Blood Sugar Sex Magik
13. If You Want Me To Stay
12. Californication
11. Breaking The Girl

Top Ten:

10. By The Way
9. Soul To Squeeze
8. I Could Have Lied
7. Scar Tissue
6. Knock Me Down
5. Taste The Pain
4. Brendan’s Death Song
3. Higher Ground
2. Under The Bridge
1. Give It Away

I can’t do a Red Hot Chili Peppers post without a cocks in socks picture…

My Top Ten Woody Harrelson Movies

Happy Birthday to Woody Harrelson, who turns 58 today.

I like Harrelson but I can’t say I was always a fan. But his roles and movies keep getting better and better. I’m glad he’s finally being taken more seriously as an actor. I think he’s one of those actors who people will eventually realize was underrated for many years. I think being in fairly controversial films maybe didn’t help at the time, like Natural Born Killers & The People Vs. Larry Flynt, but he was fantastic in those. At least he was an Oscar nominee for Flynt, I guess. I’d like to see him get an Oscar someday. He’s proven he can do any sort of role; from comedy to serious drama to complete and utter psycho.

So I figured I’d do a full ranking of all the Harrelson films I’ve seen. I’ll be honest and say that I could really do with re-watching most of those outside of the Top Ten. Maybe some would end up in the ten on a re-watch. We’ll see. But, for now, these are My Top Ten Woody Harrelson Movies (ranked by how much I like the movie, not the role):

22-11

22. Friends With Benefits
21. Kingpin
20. Seven Pounds
19. The Glass Castle
18. Doc Hollywood
17. EDtv
16. Indecent Proposal
15. 2012
14. Now You See Me
13. Anger Management
12. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
11. A Scanner Darkly

TOP TEN:

10. White Men Can’t Jump

9. Seven Psychopaths

8. The Hunger Games Movies

7. The People Vs. Larry Flynt

6. The Edge Of Seventeen

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

4. War For The Planet Of The Apes

3. Solo: A Star Wars Story

2. Zombieland

1. Natural Born Killers

Some I’ve Not Seen:

Wildcats, Moneytrain, Wag The Dog, The Thin Red Line, Palmetto, After The Sunset, North Country, A Prairie Home Companion, No Country For Old Men, Semi-Pro, Transsiberian, Out Of The Furnace, Free Birds, Triple 9, Now You See Me 2, The Duel, LBJ, Wilson, Venom

And I won’t count his uncredited roles in She’s Having A Baby & L.A. Story

TV Shows:

I’m not forgetting, of course, his role as Woody on Cheers. I miss classic American TV here in the UK! It was weird to see him go from that sweet, lovable role to things like Natural Born Killers. And I know a lot of people loved True Detective but I hated it with a passion. I’m glad it helped keep him so popular, though.

It was fun watching him at Wimbledon the other day. People were going crazy on Twitter over the announcers commentating on everything Harrelson was doing. I saw more of Harrelson at Wimbledon than I did of any actual tennis.

My Top Ten Dwayne Johnson Movies

Happy Birthday To Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), who turns 47 today.

I have to admit that I’m only a recent fan of The Rock. I don’t watch wrestling so didn’t really notice him until he became a big blockbuster movie star (I’m not talking about shit like Tooth Fairy). Also, he seems so sweet & likable on Twitter, etc. I like an actor who doesn’t seem like a dick in real life! Mostly, though, I’ve become a bit of a fan thanks to my daughter. She loves The Rock! Which means I’ve seen a lot of his movies that I otherwise may not have bothered to watch. I think it’s adorable that she likes him. Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger for my generation, The Rock is the big action star for her generation.

There’s still a lot I haven’t seen, though, as he’s done so many of the types of movies that aren’t really my thing (Fast & Furious, etc). I’ve listed all I’ve not seen at the end. So, at the moment, my “Top Ten” is a cheat as I’ve only seen nine. Oh well. I can add to this list later. I’ll definitely be watching the next Jumanji movie (loved the last one).

So for now, these are My Top Ten (nine…) Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Movies, counting down to my favorite:

9. Baywatch (Good god this was horrible! You know it’s bad when it’s lower than Tooth Fairy. And, no – the kid hasn’t seen this one.)

8. Tooth Fairy

7. Race To Witch Mountain

6. San Andreas

5. Rampage

4. Skyscraper

3. Fighting With My Family

2. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

1. Moana

Movies I’ve Not Yet Seen:
Longshot, The Mummy Returns, The Scorpion King, Welcome To The Jungle, Walking Tall, Doom, Be Cool, Gridiron Gang, Southland Tales, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Planet 51, Why Did I Get Married Too?, The Other Guys, Faster, Fast & Furious 5 & 6 & 7 & 8, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Empire State, Pain & Gain, Snitch, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Hercules, Jem And The Holograms, Central Intelligence

Happy 6th Blogiversary To Me

I seriously thought I’d quit this blogging thing once I hit my five year anniversary. Well, shit – I’m still lingering a year later. Sorry – I think you’re stuck with me! I enjoy this online movie diary. I may not post as many full-length reviews anymore but I’m obsessed with keeping lists so I’ll continue my monthly roundup posts.

As it’s so close to the end of the year, I’ll do what I always do for my anniversary posts & just do a short roundup of my favorite things I’ve watched & read so far this year. That means lists! So here are My Top Tens for 2018 so far (and likely to change order by the end of the year as I’m totally indecisive).

My Top Ten Books (& Short Stories) Read This Year:

10. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon – 3/5
9. The Outsider by Stephen King – 3/5
8. Brother Odd by Dean Koontz – 3.5/10
7. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – 4/5
6. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – 4/5
5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – 4/5
4. Bird Box by Josh Malerman – 4/5
3. Strange Weather by Joe Hill: Stories 1 & 2, Stories 3 & 4 – 4/5
2. Ghastle And Yule by Josh Malerman – 4.5/5
1. The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe – 4.5/5

A quick comment on the ones I’ve just finished & not yet reviewed: I really enjoyed Bird Box by Josh Malerman. It has been made into a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock but the trailer looks rubbish (it looks like too much has been changed). I recommend the book to horror fans, especially if you liked A Quiet Place. And I got a nice surprise as the UK version of the book has a bonus story called Ghastle And Yule. I loved this!! If you’re a lover of films, and especially if you’re a lover of classic horror films & filmmaking, I highly recommend finding a copy of this story about two rival horror filmmakers. I loved it so much that I tweeted the author & got a nice reply. It’s great having these kind of exchanges with authors, filmmakers & actors whose work you appreciate.

My Top Ten Movies Seen At Home This Year:

10. TIE: Fist Of Fury – 7.5/10 & The Handmaiden – 7.5/10
9. 5 Centimetres Per Second – 7.5/10
8. The Garden Of Words – 7.5/10
7. War For The Planet Of The Apes – 8/10
6. Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem – 7.5/10
5. Mary And The Witch’s Flower – 7.5/10
4. Colossal – 8/10
3. Metropolis – 8/10
2. Splendor In The Grass – 8/10
1. Enter The Dragon – 8.5/10

A quick comment on these: I’m clearly enjoying exploring more anime as so many are in my top ten (I’ve watched loads of movies this year – the full list is HERE). And I certainly didn’t expect a martial arts film to easily be my number one so far (Bruce Lee kicks ass!). I’ll say that the Blind Spot project is worth doing each year as most of them end up being in my top ten. So far, my top three are all Blind Spot choices of mine.

My Top Ten 2018 UK Movie Releases Seen This Year:

10. Darkest Hour – 7.5/10
9. Ready Player One – 7.5/10
8. Mandy – 7.5/10
7. Avengers: Infinity War – 8/10
6. The Shape Of Water – 8/10
5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – 8/10
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story – 8/10
3. A Quiet Place – 8/10
2. A Star Is Born – 8/10
1. I, Tonya – 8/10

A quick comment on these: I always go by UK release date so I, Tonya makes this list. It’s still my favorite, although I wouldn’t say it’s the “best” film on the list. I’ve just always been fascinated by the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan story and the movie was entertaining as hell. Plus I love dark comedy/drama. “Best” film is probably A Star Is Born. Cooper & Gaga are brilliant. Not sure if it’ll stay in second place, though. Straight drama isn’t really my thing and I probably enjoyed some others on this list a bit more. I do have the urge to move Mandy way up the list but I’m not sure why. I’m not sure if I even liked it all that much! But it’s weird and trippy and crazy as shit and looks good and sounds good and is maybe a little bit pretentious. It’s so my type of thing.

Thanks to everyone who still reads my occasional posts and my annoying lists. I do appreciate it!

I usually end these posts with a music clip so I’ll go with Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger from the thoroughly entertaining anime Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem:

My Top Ten Brian De Palma Movies

Happy Birthday to Brian De Palma, who turns 78 today.

I really love some of De Palma’s films. And feel “meh” about some. And kind of hate a couple. And still haven’t seen some of his big ones (I’ve listed those at the end). His movies really are all over the place on quality & on genre! I do really like when he’s gone more “horror” but his crime films are great.

So here are my top ten De Palma films that I’ve seen, although I didn’t really like number 10 and barely remember number 9. And 11 was…. Ugh! I’m sure some of those I haven’t seen or need to re-watch would make this list (certainly Blow Out or Body Double). I’ll update this list when I see or re-watch any.

My Top Ten Brian De Palma Movies (I’ve seen 11…):

11. Mission To Mars (UGH)

Top Ten:

10. Snake Eyes (ugh)

9. Casualties Of War

8. The Fury

7. Mission: Impossible

6. Sisters (aka Blood Sisters)

5. Carlito’s Way (I could do with re-watching this…)

4. Phantom Of The Paradise

3. Scarface

2. The Untouchables

1. Carrie

Saw But Need To Re-Watch As Don’t Really Remember Them:
Blow Out & Body Double

Some I’ve Not Seen:
Hi, Mom!, Obsession, Dressed To Kill, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Raising Cain, The Black Dahlia, Redacted, Passion

**Oh, and De Palma made that Bruce Springsteen video for Dancing In The Dark where he pulls that “random” pretty girl (Courteney Cox) out of the audience to dance with him (this is probably the only time you’ll see a Springsteen video on this blog. I’m not a fan…):

My Top Ten Charlize Theron Movies

Happy Birthday To Charlize Theron, who turns 43 today.

I like Theron but that’s only really happened in the last few years or so. I think Fury Road probably helped. She kicks ass in that!

So here are My Top Ten Charlize Theron Movies, counting down to my favorite (and including everything I’ve seen). As always, these are ranked by how much I like the movie, not her performance:

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

14. The Astronaut’s Wife
13. Reindeer Games (aka Deception)
12. Mighty Joe (I don’t actually remember much of this)
11. A Million Ways To Die In The West

Top Ten:

10. Hancock (I don’t actually remember this very well either…)

9. The Italian Job

8. Snow White And The Huntsman

7. Atomic Blonde

6. Prometheus

5. The Devil’s Advocate

4. Young Adult

3. Tully

2. Kubo And The Two Strings

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Saw But Don’t Remember At All:
2 Days In The Valley, That Thing You Do!, 15 Minutes

Some I’ve Not Seen:
Celebrity, The Cider House Rules, Men Of Honour, The Legend Of Bagger Vance, Sweet November, Monster, The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers, North Country, Aeon Flux, In The Valley Of Elah, The Road, Dark Places, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Fast & Furious 8, Gringo

My Top Ten Dean Koontz Books

Happy 73rd Birthday To Dean Koontz.

I love Dean Koontz. Yeah, I’m a huge Stephen King fan but I’ve spent almost as many years obsessively reading Koontz books as well. I started reading King in my teens but was introduced to Koontz in my early 20s when a relative recommended him and let me borrow some of her books. I was immediately hooked.

I’ll always remember the very first Koontz books I read (The Funhouse was my first and then Whispers, The Servants Of Twilight & Dragon Tears). So each of these make it into my top ten but this may be partly because of the fond memories I have of reading my first Dean Koontz books. The Funhouse was admittedly cheesy & pulpy but it’ll always be special to me since it was my first. And I do love that sort of setting for stories (as you’ll see by my number one choice).

In looking up his books on Wikipedia for this list, I’ve now seen JUST how many books Koontz had written. Wow! His first novel was published in 1968 when he was 23. No wonder I can’t keep them all straight in my head. As so many involve similar supernatural stories & characters, there are some books where I honestly can’t remember if I’ve read them or not and some I know I read but can’t remember a thing about. I’ve listed everything after my top ten. As with Stephen King books, I do find it interesting that I remember some of the books I read 20 years ago more than some that I read more recently. Why is that?

Anyway! Dean Koontz books are a hell of a lot of fun and I recommend his stuff if you love supernatural stories (and horror and a bit of sci-fi). He also always writes very likable characters, which is important to me. And dogs! The guy loves dogs and you’ll find plenty in his books.

So here are My Top Ten Dean Koontz Books (at the moment). Counting down to my favorite…

10. TIE: Dragon Tears & The Servants Of Twilight
9. Whispers
8. The Funhouse
7. Strangers
6. Fear Nothing & Seize The Night (Moonlight Bay Series) (I could do with re-reading – think a 3rd in this series is coming out?)
5. Cold Fire
4. Lightning
3. Odd Thomas Series (I’ve read books 1 through 4 so far – the first is the best by FAR but the character is fantastic and I’ll definitely read them all)
2. Watchers
1. Twilight Eyes

Honorable Mentions:
Life Expectancy, Darkfall, Phantoms, Sole Survivor, Hideaway, Ticktock

More Honorable Mentions:
The Moonlit Mind, The Face, The Good Guy, The Darkest Evening Of The Year, One Door Away From Heaven, Dark Rivers Of The Heart, The Door To December, Mr. Murder

I Read But Didn’t Love:
From The Corner Of His Eye (was this the puking & pooping one??), False Memory, The Key To Midnight, Shadow Fires, Winter Moon, The Mask

Think I Read But Can’t Remember:
The Voice Of The Night, The House Of Thunder, Midnight, Strange Highways, Velocity, The Husband

Honestly Don’t Know If I Read:
Night Chills, The Face Of Fear, The Bad Place, Intensity

Some I think I Definitely Haven’t Read: (Christmas present ideas!) 😉
Frankenstein Series (I have the first book – should I make a start?), Makina Series, Jane Hawk Series, Demon Seed (but I’ve seen the movie), Shattered (I have this so I’ll read it soon), The Vision, The Eyes Of Darkness, Icebound, By The Light Of The Moon, The Taking, Your Heart Belongs To Me, Relentless, Breathless, What The Night Knows & Darkness Under The Sun, 77 Shadow Street, Wilderness, Innocence, The Neighbor, The City, Ashley Bell, Ricochet Joe (I have this – it’s an interactive Kindle book with moving images. Sounds interesting!)

By the way – Koontz has also used ten pen names & I’m now determined to find a copy of all his oldest & most obscure books. I’ve not even listed his most obscure. This dude has seriously pumped out loads of books! And I hope that continues for many more years. Happy Birthday, Dean Koontz!

My Top Ten Nicole Kidman Movies

Happy 51st Birthday To Nicole Kidman.

I used to find Nicole Kidman annoying. I have no idea why… Maybe the Tom Cruise connection didn’t help. Anyway, she’s grown on me in recent years and I did think she was really good in Big Little Lies. And, wow, I’ve seen quite a lot of her movies so I don’t find her so annoying that I avoid her. She’s a good actress.

So counting down to my favorite and including everything I’ve seen, these are My Top Ten Nicole Kidman Movies. I only really like the top four…

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

24. Happy Feet
23. The Invasion
22. Batman Forever
21. The Stepford Wives
20. Bewitched
19. Cold Mountain
18. Far And Away
17. Just Go With It
16. The Beguiled
15. The Peacemaker (Don’t really remember this)
14. Eyes Wide Shut
13. Dead Calm
12. My Life (Could do with re-watching)
11. The Golden Compass

Top Ten:

10. The Hours

9. Days Of Thunder

8. Moulin Rouge!

7. Lion

6. Stoker

5. Dogville

4. Practical Magic

3. The Others

2. To Die For

1. Malice (Sorry! Guilty pleasure. I always really liked this movie.)

Some I’ve Not Seen:

BMX Bandits (I totally want to see this), Flirting, Billy Bathgate, The Portrait Of A Lady, Birthday Girl, The Human Stain, Birth, The Interpreter (Actually, I think I did see this but don’t remember it), Margot At The Wedding, Australia, Nine, Rabbit Hole, The Paperboy, Before I Go To Sleep, Paddington, Secret In Their Eyes, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Also:

Panic Room (Uncredited so I’ve not included it in the Top Ten. Panic Room is good – I’d put it at number 4)

My Top Ten Natalie Portman Movies

Happy 37th Birthday (tomorrow!) to Natalie Portman.

I’ve always liked Portman but probably wouldn’t think to include her in a list of favorite actresses. And after doing this list, I see she’s really not been in any favorite films of mine. I mean, even number one on my list isn’t exactly one that I love. That’s a shame. She’s a very good actress – she just seems to not be in many movies that are my type of thing.

As always, I’ve ranked these according to how much I like the movie instead of by Portman’s performance. Here are My Top Ten Natalie Portman Movies (counting down & including all I’ve seen):

The Rest I’ve Seen:

17. No Strings Attached
16. Jackie
15. Cold Mountain
14. Where The Heart Is
13. Anywhere But Here
12. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
11. Garden State

Top Ten:

10. Closer

9. Beautiful Girls

8. Annihilation

7. Mars Attacks!

6. Black Swan

5. The Thor Movies

4. V For Vendetta

3. The Star Wars Prequels (Well, they kind of suck but I’m being nice since it’s Star Wars)

2. Heat

1. Leon

Some I’ve Not Seen:

Zoolander, The Darjeeling Limited, My Blueberry Nights, The Other Boelyn Girl, Brothers, I’m Still Here, Your Highness, Knight Of Cups, Jane Got A Gun, Song To Song

My Top Ten Kirsten Dunst Movies

Happy 36th Birthday (soon) to Kirsten Dunst.

Her birthday is next Monday but, since I’m watching that Avengers: Infinity War thingy tonight, I figured I better leave Monday free to review that instead. Sorry, Kirsten! You’ve been bumped by the Avengers! Hmm. I’d like to be bumped by Thor.

I like Dunst okay. I wouldn’t say she’s ever been a favorite of mine but she’s a decent actor and I wouldn’t avoid a film if she’s in it. But not that many actors make me avoid films (other than Gwyneth Paltrow, of course).

So here are My Top Ten Kirsten Dunst Movies, counting down to my favorite and ranked by film instead of performance. And including everything I’ve seen. Oh! And I’m kind of cheating again by including animated movies she has provided her voice for so, like with Saoirse Ronan, I can include my beloved Studio Ghibli. 😉

The Rest:

18. Small Soldiers
17. Elizabethtown
16. The Beguiled
15. Mona Lisa Smile
14. Crazy/Beautiful
13. Wimbledon
12. Bring It On
11. All Good Things

Top Ten:

10. TIE: Interview With The Vampire & Hidden Figures

9. Marie Antoinette

8. Midnight Special

7. The Spider-Man Movies

6. Jumanji

5. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

4. Melancholia

3. Anastasia

2. The Virgin Suicides

1. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Some I’ve Not Seen:

The Bonfire Of The Vanities, Greedy, Little Women, Wag The Dog, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dick, The Crow: Salvation, On The Road, Upside Down, Anchorman 2, The Two Faces Of January

Also:

The Bling Ring (she was uncredited so I didn’t include it in the list)

My Top Ten Saoirse Ronan Movies

Happy 24th Birthday To Saoirse Ronan.

It’s good to see Ronan becoming really famous now. She was very good in Atonement, which was my March Blind Spot film (although I didn’t love the movie itself). And, of course, Lady Bird. It’s very impressive to have already been nominated for three Oscars at her age!

Well, I’m sure this is a top ten I’ll have to keep adding to as she makes more movies. So, for now & ranked by favorite film instead of performance, these are My Top Ten Saoirse Ronan Movies: (FYI – I’m including animated films she’s voiced, which is slightly cheating but allows me to include my beloved Studio Ghibli even though I prefer those without the English language dub) 😉

12. Justin And The Knights Of Valour
11. The Grand Budapest Hotel (amended to add this as I saw it after posting – it deserves to be in the top ten, I suppose, but I hated it)

TOP TEN:

10. Byzantium

9. City Of Ember (I don’t remember a damn thing about this but kind of hated Byzantium, so……)

8. I Could Never Be Your Woman

7. How I Live Now

6. Atonement

5. Hanna

4. The Lovely Bones

3. Brooklyn

2. Lady Bird

1. Arrietty

Movies I’ve Not Seen:

The Christmas Miracle Of Jonathan Toomey, Death Defying Acts, The Way Back, Violet & Daisy, The Host, Lost River, Stockholm Pennsylvania, Weepah Way For Now, Loving Vincent, On Chesil Beach

My Top Ten Reese Witherspoon Movies

Happy 42nd Birthday To Reese Witherspoon.

I’ve liked Reese Witherspoon ever since The Man In The Moon back in 1991. I’ve even liked all her girly romcoms despite not being a girly romcom girl. She comes across as so wholesome & likable (which I’m sure some people find annoying). I do wish she’d find a different sort of role that would make Hollywood take her more seriously as an actress, though. She was very good in Walk The Line but it still feels like she’s somewhat ignored even though she has an Oscar. And I have to admit that I’ve not seen Wild (I just checked and it has disappeared from Netflix). Damn – I feel like that’s one I really should’ve seen before making this list. Seems like a more gritty role than usual?

Well, I’ll add Wild once I’ve seen it. And, of course, A Wrinkle In Time (released tomorrow in the UK – 4.2 rating on IMDb. Ouch!). Of all that I’ve seen (counting down from 19), these are My Top Ten Reese Witherspoon Movies:

19. Sing
18. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
17. American Psycho
16. This Means War
15. Little Nicky
14. Water For Elephants
13. Four Christmases
12. Penelope
11. Monsters Vs. Aliens

TOP TEN:

10. S.F.W.

9. TIE: Sweet Home Alabama & Just Like Heaven

8. Mud

7. Election

6. The Man In The Moon

5. Legally Blonde

4. Fear

3. Walk The Line

2. Pleasantville

1. Cruel Intentions

Yep, I love Cruel Intentions. I don’t apologize. But I do apologize for Fear being way too high. It’s really shit but it’s a guilty pleasure. And I like that roller coaster scene

Saw But Don’t Remember Well Enough To Include In List:

Twilight, How Do You Know

Some I’ve Not Seen:

Jack The Bear, Freeway, Overnight Delivery, Best Laid Plans, The Importance Of Being Earnest, Vanity Fair, Rendition, Devil’s Knot, The Good Life, Inherent Vice, Wild, Hot Pursuit, Home Again, A Wrinkle In Time

Part of me wonders if I liked the Just Like Heaven movie because I adore The Cure song.

My Top Ten David Cronenberg Movies

Happy 75th Birthday To David Cronenberg.

I love Cronenberg’s older films but have to admit I’ve seen very few of his films from more recent years. I preferred the really weird shit he used to do. The good old-fashioned body horror days! Which is weird, as I’m a mega wuss when it comes to violence in movies. But I love a good body horror (from the days when the special effects were pretty dodgy looking). Most of his films make the list of My Top Ten Body Horror Movies.

Counting down to my favorite, here are My Top Ten David Cronenberg Movies:

11. Dead Ringers (don’t remember this well now)

Top Ten:

10. Crash

9. A History Of Violence

8. Rabid

7. Shivers

6. Scanners

5. The Dead Zone

4. Videodrome

3. eXistenZ

2. The Brood

1. The Fly

Movies I’ve Not Seen:

Stereo, Crimes Of The Future, Fast Company, Naked Lunch, M. Butterfly, Spider, Eastern Promises, A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis, Maps To The Stars

My Top Ten Samuel L. Jackson Movies

Happy Birthday to Samuel L. Jackson, who is 69 today.

I love Jackson! I’m not sure if I ever see him as anything other than Samuel L. Jackson in his roles… But that’s okay since he’s cool.

And, holy crap, Jackson has been in loads of stuff. He has 167 credits with another 10 “upcoming” roles listed at IMDb. I know he does a lot of cameos so I’ve included every movie I’ve seen where he’s been given a credit (other than Inglourious Basterds, where he apparently provided an “uncredited voice”). I’ll be honest – I don’t remember him in some of the below films. And some I saw so long ago that I barely remember the films themselves so I’ve left them off the main list & listed them separately.

So, counting down to my favorites (films, not performances) & including everything I’ve seen, here are My Top Ten Samuel L. Jackson Movies:

29-21:

29. Cell
28. Sea Of Love
27. The Long Kiss Goodnight
26. A Time To Kill
25. Jumper
24. Deep Blue Sea
23. Die Hard: With A Vengeance
22. Snakes On A Plane
21. Big Game

Top Twenty:

20. The Hateful Eight
19. Patriot Games
18. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
17. Out Of Sight
16. Kingsman: The Secret Service
15. 1408
14. Do The Right Thing
13. Coming To America
12. Fluke
11. Unbreakable

Top Ten:

10. Django Unchained

9. True Romance

8. The Avengers Movies

7. The Star Wars Prequels

6. Pulp Fiction

5. Jackie Brown

4. Kill Bill: Vol 2

3. Goodfellas

2. The Incredibles

1. Jurassic Park

Some I Saw But Don’t Remember Well Enough To Include In List:
Menace II Society, Juice, Lakeview Terrace, Loaded Weapon, Sphere, Changing Lanes

Some I’ve Not Seen:
The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Kong: Skull Island, The Legend Of Tarzan, RoboCop (2014), Turbo, Old Boy (2013), The Other Guys, Black Snake Moan, Coach Carter, The xXx Movies, The 51st State, Shaft, Rules Of Engagement, The Red Violin, The Negotiator, 187, Hard Eight, Trees Lounge, Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, The Exorcist III, Betsy’s Wedding

My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies

Happy Birthday to Steve Buscemi, who turns 60 today.

I love Steve Buscemi. What a great face! I like an interesting face. And I like when he’s in those Adam Sandler movies. I don’t care what people say – I don’t hate Sandler (but I don’t love him, either).

Anyway! It’s close to Christmas & I have a lot of bullshit going on & I don’t have time to dilly-dally (I love that word). So let’s just get to my countdown…

Here are My Top Ten Steve Buscemi Movies (ranked by how much I like the movie – not by performance). I’ve seen 24 in total, though, so let’s start counting down from 24 to be awkward.

*List updated November 2021 to add Trees Lounge & Hubie Halloween*

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

26. Rising Sun
25. Domestic Disturbance
24. The Grifters
23. Mr. Deeds
22. Hubie Halloween
21. Escape From L.A.

20. The Island
19. The Hotel Transylvania Movies
18. Grown Ups
17. Ghost World
16. 28 Days
15. Billy Madison
14. Airheads
13. Fargo
12. Armageddon
11. The Big Lebowski

Top Ten:

10. Trees Lounge

9. Big Daddy

8. Monsters University

7. Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

6. Big Fish

5. Pulp Fiction

4. Con Air

3. Reservoir Dogs

2. The Wedding Singer

1. Monsters, Inc.

Need To Re-Watch:
Monster House (I know I liked it at the time but don’t remember it now)

Some I’ve Not Seen:
Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Billy Bathgate, The Hudsucker Proxy, Desperado, Interview, On The Road

Honorable Mention:

I need to mention an episode of Tales From The Crypt called Forever Ambergris, which starred Steve Buscemi & The Who’s Roger Daltrey. I reviewed that episode in full a couple of years ago and, for some odd reason, it’s become my second most-viewed post of the past five years. A week doesn’t go by without it getting some views. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because of the nasty images from it that I posted (it was a pretty damn gross episode!). This is Buscemi and it’s not the worst he looks in the show:

Well, I have to say that I’m happy it’s one of my most-viewed posts since it’s one of my favorites. I went to town on that one! I actually made a half-arsed effort to make that one somewhat entertaining. What I mean is this: it sucks slightly less than my usual shit. So here’s a link to that post if you’re bothered. 🙂

Oh, and tomorrow afternoon I’ll do my best to post my review of a little indie film called Star Wars: The Last Jedi…. (I’m so damn excited!).

Ace In The Hole (1951) Review

Happy 101st Birthday (tomorrow) to Kirk Douglas! Last year, I reviewed his film The Fury for his 100th birthday & said that I really should review Spartacus for birthday 101. And I’ve totally not watched it yet again! Maybe for birthday 102. 🙂

Instead, I noticed this obscure Billy Wilder film showing on TV & was intrigued by its synopsis. Here’s my review of the Kirk Douglas film Ace In The Hole

Ace In The Hole (1951) (aka The Big Carnival)

Directed by Billy Wilder

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Ace in the Hole (aka The Big Carnival) is a 1951 American film noir starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper.

My Opinion:

I’ve now seen more Billy Wilder films than I realized. He has an impressive resume (CV to the British)! Let’s see what I’ve seen… The Apartment (my favorite), Witness For The Prosecution, Sunset Boulevard, Double Idemnity, and Some Like It Hot (I just watched this over the weekend & thoroughly enjoyed it). So I really liked the sound of Ace In The Hole and was happy to watch it as I’ve been impressed with Wilder’s cleverly written & entertaining films so far.

I’d say that this movie certainly has his fantastic writing style and its themes make it feel far ahead of its time and just as relevant nowadays (maybe even more so now). But I can see why it’s not as well known as the others I’ve just listed. No, I lie – I can’t explain why it’s not as good as the others. It’s just not as memorable. The writing is just as clever but, compared to those others, it’s lacking the truly iconic imagery & quotable lines that I instantly think of from all of Wilder’s other movies.

It’s a good story, however. It’s very dark and shows the lengths the media will go to in order to sell newspapers. The medium may be different nowadays but things haven’t changed at all. I suppose the only difference is that nowadays we have people happily willing to exploit themselves thanks to the Internet. In Ace In The Hole, Kirk Douglas plays a shady reporter who happens upon a story involving a man who has become trapped in a collapsed cave. In order to prolong the story, Douglas helps convince those involved in the rescue effort to use a method that will take much longer to free the man. I won’t say much beyond that to avoid spoilers but the whole thing becomes a big story and lots of people travel to the site of this cave-in, which becomes a big spectacle (the movie was also known as The Big Carnival as they literally turn the place into a carnival while the man remains trapped).

Overall, Ace In The Hole isn’t Wilder’s best film but it’s worth watching if you’re a fan of his work. It’s much darker & more cynical than a lot of his other films, which seems to be a big reason why the film wasn’t that well received at the time. I liked it as I always enjoy films that show humanity in its worst (true) light. Douglas does well as the cocky reporter and I think he took his shirt off at least once if I remember correctly (seriously – that guy is always half naked in his movies. What’s up with that??). It probably deserves a slightly higher rating and it’s a well written film but it’s a bit disappointing compared to Wilder’s most famous movies.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Happy 5th Blogiversary To Me

Yikes. Five years?! I honestly didn’t think I’d be doing this movie blogging thing for five years.

I want to say a huge thank you to the fellow bloggers who’ve dropped by in these last five years & had little chats with me on my silly movie & book reviews. I’m sorry I’ve been around a lot less this year and hate that it’s becoming almost impossible to spend any time on my blog or on the blogs that I follow. The whole reason for starting this blog was so that I could discuss movies with fellow film lovers since, in the real world, it’s hard to find obsessive movie nerds. You think I talk about movies all day long with people at work? Hell no! (That would be fun, though – where can I get a job like that?). So, thank you again to the special few who were here from the start and are still around and to all the lovely newer bloggers who’ve come along since. I feel like an “old blogger” now!

I always say I need to cut back on the time I spend here and I’ve done that this year but I’ll be doing it even more in 2018. I’d always kind of planned on quitting on my 5th anniversary but I’d miss the occasional movie chats as well as the one other reason I keep this thing going: to use it as a “movie diary” and keep a log of all I’ve seen & read. Because, as well as being a movie nerd, I’m also massive LIST NERD! I now have a record of every movie I’ve watched since 2012. Which is totally not important when the world is f*^%ing falling apart, right?! To psychoanalyze myself, I think it helps keeps me calm in the face of all the bullshit in the world. Or something. Nicely ordered lists! Nicely ordered lists could create world peace!!

So, I do have a plan to keep this blog going with a bare minimum of posts in 2018. I’ll focus only on reviewing 12 more Blind Spot movies (as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed that project) and the 2018 UK cinema releases I manage to see. The main other thing I’ll do is bring back an end-of-month post so I can at least very briefly discuss all I’ve watched in that month. At the moment, the movies I watch at home are getting no attention as I don’t have time for full-length reviews. I’ve watched a lot of really good movies this year and am annoyed to have not even mentioned some of them (For example, I really liked an obscure movie called The Frame. Here’s the IMDb link. I believe it’s still showing on Amazon Video.)

With these blogiversary posts, I tend to do a “Year In Review” post since it’s close to the end of the year anyway. This time, I’m going to do a “Five-Year Review“(!!). One thing I can really thank this blog for is that I’ve seen some TRULY brilliant movies since starting it because of things like my IMDB Top 250 Challenge and the Blind Spot project. Knowing you’ll be writing for a blog kind of helps “force” you to finally watch the more highly acclaimed classics you’d been avoiding for no good reason. Plus there’ve been some damn good new movies released since 2012. SO GET READY FOR SOME LISTS!!!! Let’s see if these can create universal harmony.

Here are some ranked lists of my favorite movies I’ve seen & the best books I’ve read for the very first time since starting this blog in November 2012….

My Top 20 Books Read Since 2012 (No one gives a shit about books so let’s get this list out of the way first.): 😉

Top Twenty:

20. End Of Watch by Stephen King
19. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
18. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
17. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
16. The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker
15. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
14. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
13. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
12. Horns by Joe Hill
11. The Fireman by Joe Hill

Top Ten:

10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
9. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
8. The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
7. Joyland by Stephen King
6. The Martian by Andy Weir
5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
3. The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett
2. Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin
1. 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

My Top 30 Older Movies Seen For The First Time Since Starting This Blog (Movies Released Before November 2012):

Top Thirty:

30. Daft Punk’s Electroma
29. The Return Of The Living Dead
28. Million Dollar Baby
27. The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari
26. Escape From Alcatraz
25. Howl’s Moving Castle
24. The Last Unicorn
23. Ghost In The Shell (1995)
22. Ikiru
21. Natural Born Killers

Top Twenty:

20. The Untouchables
19. The Secret In Their Eyes
18. The Kid
17. Watership Down
16. Grave Of The Fireflies
15. Escape From New York
14. Battle Royale
13. Kiki’s Delivery Service
12. The Great Escape
11. Laputa: Castle In The Sky

Top Ten:

10. Road House (Seriously. How had I never seen this huge slice of AWESOMEBAD?!)
9. Rocky
8. Modern Times
7. Princess Mononoke
6. Akira
5. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
4. The Bridge On The River Kwai
3. City Lights
2. The Warriors
1. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind 

(If you only knew how many times I flipped numbers 1 & 2 around…)

My Top 30 New Releases Seen For The First Time Since Starting This Blog (Movies Released After November 2012):

Top Thirty:

30. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
29. Your Name
28. Rush
27. Circle
26. Gravity
25. Robot & Frank
24. The Way Way Back
23. Baby Driver
22. Wreck-It Ralph
21. Edge Of Tomorrow

Top Twenty:

20. Train To Busan
19. The Wolf Of Wall Street
18. The Lego Movie
17. Ex Machina
16. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
15. It Follows
14. The Babadook
13. Predestination
12. Space Station 76
11. Sing Street

Top Ten:

10. In Your Eyes
9. Frozen
8. Blade Runner 2049
7. Mad Max: Fury Road
6. It
5. Inside Out
4. Guardians Of The Galaxy
3. Arrival
2. Room
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Yep – I can’t NOT have a Star Wars film as my number one movie released since 2012. I can’t wait for The Last Jedi in a couple of weeks!

As you can see from these lists, I really do have this blog to thank for my newfound love of Studio Ghibli & Charlie Chaplin. I’d seen & loved My Neighbor Totoro & Spirited Away before blogging but decided to watch all the rest of the Miyazaki films for a month of Ghibli reviews. I’d seen no Chaplin at all before 2012. I highly recommend his stuff to all true film lovers, especially City Lights & Modern Times.

Oh yeah! I also discovered a love of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, it seems. I loved The Dollars Trilogy (especially the music in The Good, The Bad And The Ugly) and Once Upon A Time In The West. Brilliant! Thank you, blog! 

The other two directors I’ve been trying to further explore are John Carpenter (I’d already seen the majority of his best films, though) and Akira Kurosawa. That’s why they have the only two films in the lists above which I haven’t yet reviewed as I want to devote an entire week (or month) to their work someday in the future.

Okay – it’s time for me to shut up. You all probably stopped reading halfway through my lists anyway. Ha! I don’t know how many movies I’ve seen in these last five years (I’m too lazy to count, although I do have them all listed year by year on my blog pages). But I’d say I average about 100 per year. So… Narrowing it down to 60 favorites out of 500 isn’t too bad! Thank you again, everyone! Especially those who made it to the very end of this post… 😉

Now, as I feel really bad about putting The Warriors in second place after originally having it at number one, I’ll end this post with the ending of the movie. Seems appropriate. All our lives deserve appropriate songs that play over our end credits. Hmm. That sounded a little morbid. Sing it, Joe!

Actually, I want Morricone to score my real life end credits…

My Top Ten Sigourney Weaver Movies

Happy Birthday (soon) to Sigourney Weaver, who turns 68 on Sunday.

Ellen Ripley is one of my all-time favorite characters in two of my all-time favorite films (only the first two Alien films really count). I’m obsessed with those movies – they’re definitely going with me to my desert island.

As for Sigourney Weaver as an actress? Well, she IS Ellen Ripley to me. How awesome must it be to be able to say you played one of the all-time greatest cinematic characters?! Outside of the Alien films, however, I’m not gonna lie: I’d never call her a favorite actress of mine. But who cares? Ripley is all that matters.

As for her movie resume (aka movie CV in the UK), she’s been in a wide mix of things and not many I’d say I love other than numbers 1 & 2 on the below list. But who cares? She was in the Alien films. The f*^king ALIEN films. Nothing else matters. They can’t be topped. But, what the hell, I’ve done a Top Ten anyway. 😉

Counting down to my favorite, these are My Top Ten Sigourney Weaver Movies (not ranked by character or performance):

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

21. Heartbreakers
20. Copycat
19. Red Lights
18. The Tale Of Despereaux
17. Be Kind Rewind
16. Paul
15. Dave (could do with rewatching)
14. Ghostbusters (2016)
13. Galaxy Quest
12. Finding Dory
11. Avatar

Top Ten:

10. The Ice Storm

9. Working Girl

8. Holes

7. Chappie

6. Gorillas In The Mist (could do with rewatching this)

5. The Cabin In The Woods

4. The Village

3. Ghostbusters I & II (even though I just tweeted the other day that Ghostbusters has NOT aged well. and I barely remember II…)

2. WALL-E

1. The Alien Films (but really just Alien & Aliens)

Some I’ve Not Seen:

Annie Hall, The Year Of Living Dangerously, 1492: Conquest Of Paradise, Infamous, Vantage Point, Baby Mama, Exodus: Gods And Kings, A Monster Calls