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Entries in List-Mania (95)

Wednesday
Dec312014

A Year with Kate: Epilogue

Epilogue - In which we rank films, learn Life Lessons, climb Mount Hepburn, and wrap this up with the party it deserves!


Happy New Year, everybody! Before 2014 and A Year With Kate officially end, I wanted to give us all a proper send off. If Kate got 9 more years after she retired in 1994, consider this our own ride into the sunset, complete with gifs, gifts, and thank yous.

At the beginning of A Year With Kate, I set some unofficial goals. The most obvious was to watch all 52 films chronologically. In order to do this, I started building a stack of research that I dubbed “Mount Hepburn.” It changed size and content a bit thanks to library deadlines and a lot of late nights on ebay. To the right is a picture of Mount Hepburn at present, having outgrown my table and moved to the floor. It stands just about 3 feet tall. (I actually bought another Katharine Hepburn biography after taking this picture because I do not know how to stop.)

My second goal was to better understand a movie star that I loved. This happened in a way I didn't expect. Week by week, we watched each of Katharine Hepburn’s films add to her star image like pieces in a puzzle. She developed from prickly unformed actress in the 1930s, to glamorous star in the 1940s, to "spinster" and great actress in the 1950s, to living legend in the 1960s. From the 1970s on, Katharine Hepburn the star slowly eclipsed Katharine Hepburn the woman. Watching and writing every week, I discovered that it was that myth of Hepburn that I'd initially fallen in love with, not the person. There's nothing wrong with that. We need myths to look up to. Even after Katharine Hepburn passed away in 2003, her myth lives on. It inspires actresses, audiences, and occasionally a series like this.

As for that Major Life Lesson I was supposed to learn should Hollywood ever decide to buy the movie rights: I actually did learn something life-changing this year. Watching Katharine Hepburn age like good wine over 62 years, I learned about time. Life is short, but life is very large, too. With help and determination, you have the potential to fill your life extraordinary things. You might make mistakes. You might make Spitfire. But think of how much more there still is for you to do. That’s a pretty incredible thing, the depth of a life. I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what else I can do with mine.

Speaking of which, as a thank you to the amazing TFE community, and in answer to those of you who’ve asked: A YEAR WITH KATE IS BECOMING A BOOK!

 

A Year With Kate the book will expand on the series, with full entries on every film, updated Box Office charts, and even some fun trivia and lists. We're kicking around a few different ideas for how best to get A Year With Kate into your hands and onto your e-readers, but know that it will happen in 2015. For now, you can sign up for email updates using this form (Facebook account not required).

Last, but not least, here is my Top 10 List. Please note that this is a carefully thought through list based on months of research and personal bias. I tried to take into consideration career placement, iconic status, acting skill, and just plain fun. Post your list in the comments below!

Anne Marie’s Top 10 Katharine Hepburn Movies

1. Long Day’s Journey Into Night

2. The Philadelphia Story

3. The Lion in Winter

4. Bringing Up Baby

5. Suddenly, Last Summer

6. Woman of the Year

7. Little Women

8. Holiday

9. Alice Adams

10. Morning Glory & Stage Door

Thank all of you lovely readers for watching the movies when you could, commenting even when you couldn’t, and providing insight, humor, and conversation every week. You made 2014 a truly life-changing year. Here’s to 2015, and the possibilities ahead.

Tuesday
Dec232014

some say the blog will end in fire, some say in ice

GeekRex on great sounding movies of 2014. So glad they included Wild but I don't understand the defense of Interstellar's sound mix given how difficult it sometimes was to hear the dialogue
Gurus of Gold I believe there's an update today but look at where things stand now in the big Oscar categories
AV Club Sarah Jessica Parker may be returning to HBO sitcom glory via Divorce (no, not from Matthew Broderick. On the show!)
In Contention Antonio Sanchez is not happy about his disqualification from Best Original Score for Birdman and why shouldn't he be. Their rules are so arbitratily enforced. Remember when Gustavo Santaolla won his second consecutive Oscar for a film FILLED with pre-existing music (Babel) and his score only being a small percentage of it.

The Dissolve Robert Rodriguez to helm a live action remake of Ralph Bakshi's Fire & Ice. I used to love that rotoscoped sword & sorcery movie so much but Rodriguez seems like he'll amplify what was already turned up to 11
MNPP I love this review of Mommy by Jason
Newsweek Maggie Gyllenhaal working all the actor mediums
VF Selfie hijinx with Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, The Baker's Wife and Cinderella
The Atlantic on the year's best trailers
Carpet Bagger looks at the costumes of The Homesman
Playboy Matt Patches goes looking for Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop, Midnight Run, Scent of a Woman) in this cinematic true life detective story 
Comics Alliance Mike Coulter will play Luke Cage (Power Man) for Netflix's Marvel Series. No word yet on Iron Fist but now would be the perfect time to do that reverse white washing and cast an Asian man in a lead role, since he's white in the comics but his origin story involves growing up in an Asian mystical city in the Himalayas, you know? Please money and Marvel people -- Come correct!  It's a whole new world than it was was in 1974.

Happy (?) Christmas

Yikes.

Sorry about that.

Binge Watch Worthy?
I enjoy being an Opinion-Maker but I'll admit I am usually happy to cede that responsibility to others when it comes to TV. There's just too much product to keep up with.  So whoever is binge-watching Mozart in the Jungle let me know, will you? The cast includes two of my all time favorites (Gael García Bernal and Bernadette Peters) but this is my single busiest two-month stretch of the year so I need someone else to do such scouting. Report back!

Top Ten Film Critic Frenzy
If you love reading top ten lists, pick an article any article... 'tis the season!

Richard Brody (The Grand Budapest Hotel to Butter on a Latch) | Justin Chang (Boyhood to Interstellar) | Manohla Dargis (Beyond the Lights to well mostly Beyond the Lights) | Peter Debruge (Calvary to Class Enemy) |  David Denby (Ida...well, mostly Ida) | Scott Foundas (Goodbye to Language to American Sniper) | Stephen Holden (Boyhood to Only Lovers Left Alive) | Lou Lumenick (Boyhood to Into the Woods) | Omar PL Moore (The Grand Budapest Hotel to The LEGO Movie) | Wesley Morris (Norte the End of History to Stranger by the Lake) |  A.O. Scott (Boyhood to The Babadook) | Dana Stevens (The Babadook to We Are the Best) | Stephanie Zacharek (Under the Skin to Top Five)

Monday
Dec082014

Best American Films & Television This Year? 

Does production money really equal nationality? The American Film Institute does many wonderful things in the world including the highly enjoyable AFI film festival in Los Angeles each year (free for movie-lovers! and not many things are) but each year I feel the side-eye urge when they announce their top Ten American films and TV programs.

They use a shifting jury each year but I always wonder how they choose those jury members because the lists often betray an obvious desire to be "relevant" when it comes to TV usually including a defining popular hit even if the quality is shit (Look, I think "trash" has a place in "best of" lists but it needs to be good trash and How to Get Away with Murder is, frankly, bad trash. Poorly written, unevenly acted. Etcetera. I watched it and wrote about it, so I know) whereas with movies they seem quite beholden to Oscar buzz each year, often opting for films that don't fit their criteria as a result (The Imitation Game is a movie about Engand, starring British actors and directed by a Norwegian) or which haven't opened; this year's top ten list, which includes 11 films so AFI is even worse at math than I am, is 36% movies that haven't opened yet. 

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE MOVIES OF THE YEAR

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman (Or, the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Nightcrawler
  • Selma
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash 

Aside from Nightcrawler you could have lifted that list from virtually any 15 wide Oscar Best Picture prediction chart (like uh my own) and simply extracted the other British film (Theory of Everything), the film that opened the longest ago because "old" things are gross (Grand Budapest Hotel), Gone Girl (even though the AFI usually does try and throw one zeitgeist blockbuster into the list so its absence is surprising and at the very wrong time when we're trying to get people to notice Carrie Coon! ) and there it is, no thought processes required beyond Oscar-watching expertise!

Here is my favorite tweet about the list from A24 Films which missed...

 

 

And my own because, you know, i WOULD waste the question this way...

 

 

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE TELEVISION PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR

  • The Americans
  • Fargo
  • Game of Thrones
  • How to Get Away With Murder
  • Jane the Virgin -keep hearing this is great. guess I should watch
  • The Knick
  • Mad Men - here's to consistent pleasure even if the half season is a cheat
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent - brilliant. addictive

this is what i'll be remembered for ??? *shudder*

WHERE IS BOB'S BURGERS!?!?!? My heart just pooped its pants. 

 

Thursday
Dec042014

Linkless

Whoa we're getting behind on the linkages... here ya go

The Babadook order the pop-up book so that I have someone to commiserate with when it keeps us awake at nights in 2015
NYT looks at Ava DuVernay's direction of Selma
MNPP Continually undersung TFE favorite Alessandro Nivola celebrates the shortness of his shorts and how it helped A Most Violent Year win NBR's Best Picture. Hee
The Credits on the makeup work on Wild. How to keep Reese dirty?!

Hey U Guys interviews the always welcome Judy Greer on Men Women and Children and Ant-Man
Dissolve Sundance announces its titles for 2015. I should probably go again but haven't committed yet
Carpetbagger interviews costume designer Albert Wolsky on Birdman's briefs and super suit
In Contention Kris interviews TFE's communal husband, cinematographer Bradford Young (Selma / A Most Violent Year) 
Awards Daily mad scramble of wide open Oscar year
Heat Vision Suicide Squad, which I guess is a Batman movie without Batman (isn't TV's Gotham already covering that beat), gets an all star cast: Smith, Hardy, Robbie, Jai Courtney and Jared Leto as the Joker risking Heath comparisons less than a decade later. Yikes.
Boy Culture on Madonna's much talked about new Interview photoshoot 
The Atlantic Joe Reid thanks the NYFCC for expanding rather than narrowing the Oscar conversation this year (may other orgs and associations and circles do likewise)
/Film everyone is talking about the Fantastic Four synopsis which I find incredibly strange since its the vaguest thing ever and everyone already knows it (four young people are cosmically transformed in super odd ways and have to face an enemy that was once a friend - duh!)
Variety a bunch of major screenplays are ineligible for the WGA awards this year including The Theory of Everything and Selma
Daily Mail Kathleen Turner profiled for Dumb and Dumber To

I don't look like I did 30 years ago, get over it.

Sorry Kathleen, I'll never get over you! Then or now. (Though I'll skip this type of cameo and wait for the next great stage performance)

Absolute Must Read of the Day
Garden & Gun 98 year-old two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland gets sassy remembering her career and Gone With the Wind (1939). On working with some of the greatest directors of all time from George Cukor to William Wyler...

They didn’t get the performances out of me. I gave the performances to them.

Videos o' the Day
Louis Virtel details all the reasons why Madonna is the greatest celebrity of all time. And David Ehrlich countsdown his 25 favorites of the year with a neato montage with wonderful music choices

 

THE 25 BEST FILMS OF 2014: A VIDEO COUNTDOWN from david Ehrlich on Vimeo.

 

Top Ten / List Manic Season Begins
John Waters the inimitable director does his annual duty for Artforum. It's always refreshingly eclectic and this year he loves Maps to the Stars and Nymphomaniac
Washington Post from Boyhood to Under the Skin 
AV Club kicks off it's best & worst of the year with comedy albums, least essential albums (heh) and worst tv. ouch.
The Film Stage looks at the best of 2014 according to Cahiers du Cinema from Under the Skin to Love is Strange
Sight & Sound from Boyhood to Mr Turner

THE FILM EXPERIENCE's YEAR IN REVIEW begins Dec 11th
[Lee Pace doesn't believe us! ------->]
I've seen nearly all the films one has to see (but I have about 10 more I'd like to screen or rescreen before the list-making proper). We'll have a couple of days of "Cinematic Shame" beginning on the 11th to cleanse the palette and from December 14th through January 14th is when "everything is awesome" and we celebrate the Best Ofs. But, as you know it's tough to keep up 'in the season' so some lists/categories from Year In Review will obviously trickle out after the Oscar nominations on January 15th. Stay tuned!

Tuesday
Jul152014

Tues Top Twenty: Halfway Hotties (Best of 2014)

The power of list compels me! Yes, yes, I need to move on from halfway mark madness (we've previously covered best visuals, best acting, best sounds, and best movies) since they're already out of date and it's been so busy what with chart updates (in progress), Emmy nominations, Smackdown panel announcements, Dawn of the Planet and Apes, Boyhood. We need to be back in THE NOW. But I'm dragging my feet mostly because I really like what 2014's been giving. I'm crushing on it hard and thinking about asking it to go steady. 

This is the final halfway mark list. A shorter version of it was published in my column at Towleroad which happens to be "a site with homosexual tendencies" but I've significantly altered it for you because you are all movie mad and the best moviegoers are polysexual when it comes to lusting after big screen beauty.

Why aren't old favorites in this list?
This list is dedicated to Steve Rogers' impossibly broad shoulders and Natasha Romanoff's awesome cleavage (it was generous of Scarlett to unzip for that helicopter scene, don't you think?) but here's the thing. Doing the same shtick over and over again is not sexy. It's like choosing between missionary style and horizontal with man on top. So I've determined that people are totally ineligible if we've seen them do their character multiple times so no franchise babes that aren't newbies or signifantly altered.

Why isn't Marion Cotillard's Immigrant on this list?
Because we'd feel guilty if we lusted after beautiful Polish immigrants who are tricked into becoming sad whores to provide for their sickly sister.

20 HOTTEST ACTOR/CHARACTERS OF 2014 

 

20 Tom Hiddleston as “The Great Escapo” in Muppets Most Wanted
Boyfriend Material?: Great sense of humor. Into light bondage to spice things up. Looks fiiiiine in a pair of longjohns. Is, to date, the only performance in the Muppets 35 year franchise that’s likely to cause pervy crotch-focused gifs on the internet.
Dealbreaker: Probably in a Russian gulag for a reason

 

19 Nick Thurston as “Blue Eyes” in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
Boyfriend Material?: "Blue Eyes" is right... so soulful. This one's for the plushies... but not the bears. Blue Eyes hates the bears. Easily manipulated (a plus for you control freaks). Plus scars can make you strong / give you character. 
Dealbreaker: Limited conversationalist. Daddy issues.

18 more AFTER THE JUMP...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun252014

List Mania

Two interesting lists came out in the past couple of days which are worth discussing / poring over / loving deeply / fuming at for various reasons.

Three LGBT Films I'm Always Wishing More People Had Seen. Paris is Burning (#3), Lilies (#64), and Show Me Love (#168)

• The Advocate crowd-sourced the 175 Essential LGBT Movies list which is a mix of non gay movies that gays love and actual queer films. Brokeback Mountain (2005) tops the list and the top ten is really cool and varied though it's obviously skewing toward historically important cinematic breakthroughs (regardless of quality) which I suppose explains the high ranking of Philadelphia (1993) which is not a good movie and so so timid and Making Love (1982), just outside the top ten which is interesting and way less timid than many movies which came after it (how's that for an odd turn of events) but it's also stiffly made. I've seen all but 34 of these pictures but some of the choices are... unfortunate. The foreign classics are shoved toward the back of the list (Almodóvar is present of course but woefully underrepresented and poorly ranked) but basically every popular American gay film from the last 25 years that actually sucks is accounted for; it's a myth that gays have good taste!

P.S. My Beautiful Laundrette, which we were just discussing, comes in at #21. 

 

And now a more mainstream list...

Only 5 live action musicals made the list. No Cabaret (1972)? I weep.

• The Hollywood Reporter surveyed industry types like Oscar winners, studio chiefs, and TV personalities and came up with a list of Hollywood's Favorite 100 Films of All Time. As a very mainstream list that only grazes Old Hollywood with the most iconic pictures (All About Eve, Gone With The Wind, On the Waterfront - that sort of thing) and heavily favors New Hollywood (roughly the 70s forward) it's fun. But you have to know what you're getting into. Most interesting to me is how beloved the year 1994 is with Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump all in the top 15 !!! The most recent picture listed is Inception (2010) which... gross. Spielberg, Coppola, Hitchcock and Nolan all have multiple entries. Curiously Hollywood only loves modern animated movies - nothing made earlier than Beauty & The Beast (1991) which comes in at #86. Brokeback Mountain (2005) comes in at #76 (Crash is nowhere to be seen. I think Hollywood was embarrassed about that Best Picture win as soon as the morning after if not as soon as Jack Nicholson read the card).

P.S. Since we were just surveying 2004 I think it's worth noting that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the only picture from that year listed... none of the actual Best Picture nominees made the cut, not even Million Dollar Baby

What should we make lists of here at TFE? Summertime is obviously ideal for movie lists since nothing is actually happening at the movies (besides, you know, CG robots, monsters, and explosions)