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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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"Chris, you are very gifted as a reviewer. Often I will read your words about a movie I wasn't particularly drawn to and be "well, gotta see that now, don't I?" -Carmen

"Not sure how I feel about this new movie trend of Creepy [Prestigious Actress]. This year alone gives us Creepy Isabelle Huppert, Creepy Lupita Nyong'o, and Creepy Octavia Spencer." - Brevity

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Christian Petzoldt (Transit)

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Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
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Entries in The Film Experience (209)


Nathaniel's (Belated) Top Ten List of 2018

by Nathaniel R

Given that we're two months into a new year, the best cinema of 2018 is receding in our mind's eye, still shimmering but moving out of focus. But so much vivid color and feeling remains. Before we are fully blinded to its beauties (until, that is, they are "old films" and we can revisit) by a whole new batch of cinematic images to obsess over, here's one last post to honor the year that was. Here's your host's choices for the 25 best films of 2018.

This year's HONORABLE MENTIONS are a varied bunch taking us from horny self-discovery in Swedish woods to a trash-heap island in Japan. Strangely, grief was the year's most defining theme across genres as diverse as horror, tragicomedy, bopics, thrillers, character studies, and romantic dramas.

The films are listed in loosely ascending order, though we always reserve the right to change our minds where lists and rankings are concerned:

  • Paddington 2 (Paul King, UK) If all franchises were crafted with this much heart and warmth and wit, Hollywood wouldn't feel souless at all.
  • Border (Ali Abassi, Sweden) A refreshing oddity which totally commits to its own hybrid identity as its protagonist discovers hers.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Ramsey, Persichetti, and Rothman, US) If all superhero movies were this fun, inclusive, and inventive, they'd deserve their now automic success in the marketplace.
  • First Man (Damien Chazelle, US) A nation's epic ambitions paired with a marriage's intimate drama. So elegantly crafted.
  • Burning (Lee Chang-dong) as elusive and mysterious as a cat that doesnt want to be seen, until it saunters boldy into sight to stare you down.
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader, US) The year's most disturbing drama. Hard to shake and necessary.
  • Widows (Steve McQueen) Overstuffed and strangely paced, but reverberating with provocative ideas and juicy characters. 
  • Capernaum (Nadine Labaki, Lebanon) For all that urgency and visceral feeling, not to mention one of the great child performances.
  • Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, US) for its ramshackle charms and subtle character-portrait
  • Hereditary (Ari Aster, US) What a calling card debut, from that dollhouse opening shot all the way through that psychotic break ending, a new horror classic. 

RUNNERS UP. Oh, if there were room in the top ten for all of these...

Click to read more ...


Our Coverage of the 91st Academy Awards is a Wrap

24 articles later, and with the exception of this Sunday's Podcast, we should probably call it quits on The Film Experience's coverage of the 91st Academy Awards. Whew. Hope you enjoyed! Please sign up for our weekly email, follow us on Instagram (we'll improve that accont soon!), and follow our individual team members too, won'cha? We promise lots of goodies soon in 2019 like the new season of the Supporting Actress Smackdown, an improved podcast, and the usual goodies in our potpourri of new cinema, classic cinema, and the occasional sidebar dips into theater and TV.  Oh, and lots and lots of actressing just the way you like it. 

Index of Oscar Charts We went 17/24 on our predictions this year
Reader Poll Results Who you were rooting for
New Oscar Trivia Since we've wrapped up another year
The 5 Musical Performances - Chris Feil, our Soundtracking Man, ranks them
We are the Champions - Deborah on LGBT stories at the Oscars 
Ranking the 20 Acting Clips - from 'cringe-worthy' to 'favourite'

Wins & Losses
Glenn Close's Oscar Curse A 7th historic loss for the great actress
Complicated Feelings about Green Book's Win - Lynn Lee has conflicted feelings
Black Panther Wins - The zeitgeist smash has three historic wins 
Regina King's James Baldwin Tribute - Will we get more adaptations?
Worst Acceptance Speech - Vice wins Best Makeup
Appropriate Speeches? - Should the tone of the speech match its film? 

Oscar night's most unexpected photo: Madonna & Gaga at an after-party

Best Dressed Supporting Actress - VOTE! 
Best Dressed Best Actress - VOTE !
Men's Fashion - Chadwick, Viggo, Diego, Henry, Rami, and more
20 More Oscar Lewks - Notable gowns from non-nominees
Joe vs Nicholas - VOTE !

Quickie Takes & Inspired Silliness
"Jenniferhudsoning" How many times did you do it on Oscar night?
Best Reaction Shot Hang this in the Louvre
First Gentleman of the Oscars Chris Evans is love 
Richard Met Barbra - Actors stanning other actors is always fun
Melissa McCarthy & Brian Tyree Henry - The funniest awards presentation
Team Reactions Pt 1 - Horniest & most joyful moments
Team Reactions Pt 2 - MVPs and noticeable absences  

Alison Janney has obviously seen The Favourite.

P.S. And here's a perfectly irreverent post-script to the Oscars... and an unintentional answer, surely, to why Paul Schrader had never before been nominated (his brutal honesty probably pisses off a lot of people in the industry!)  Here he is on Facebook the day after the Oscars...


Follow Team TFE, please!

Hello, with Oscar season closing up, there is generally some attrition in readership but we're here all year long so dont desert us. In fact, follow more of us on social media won'cha? We have an Instagram and a Newsletter that you should sign up for since they'll start up again about a week from now once we've recovered from Oscar exhaustion. A big thanks to the team here which keeps your host Nathaniel (c'est moi) alive because daily content requires more than just one voice. 

I thought we'd highlight eight team-members today. Get to know us better...

Hi neighbor!

CHRIS FEIL (sample tweet - very Chris)
As one of our most frequent contributors and intermittent podcast guest, you know Chris well. He writes the "Soundtracking" column and just co-wrote a piece with Joe Reid that you really have to read over at Vulture
Instagram | Twitter | Letterboxd | "This Had Oscar Buzz" | Rotten Tomatoes

Bri and I can only relate to women in film (dunno why), so please enjoy our Extremely Long and Incredibly Glenn Close episodes of Broad Appeal about the 2 actress categories at the #Oscars.

SEÁN MCGOVERN (sample tweet - very Seán)
You'll know Seán from film festival coverage here (Berlinale and more), his actress podcast 'Broad Appeal, as well as a Smackdown appearance.
Instagram | Twitter | "Broad Appeal" Podcast

Official holiday portrait

MURTADA ELFADL (sample tweet - very murtada!)
You already know and love Murtada from the podcast. He also does reviews, interviews, festivals
Instagram | Twitter |  YouTube Interview

The Craft (1996) 🥀 #witchesoffairfax

New contributor so we're excited to see what she'll bring us.
Instagram | IMDb 

THE CORPSE BRIDE (2005) | dir. Tim Burton

JORGE MOLINA (sample tweet - very jorge!)
You know Jorge from his Mamma Mia! obsession and the screenplay series "Blueprints"
Instagram | Twitter | Letterboxd

Lovefest trashfest

SPENCER COILE (sample tweet - very spencer!)
If you see a Spencer byline here, it's usually for a review of something currently streaming at you
Instagram | Twitter | Letterboxd 

There were worse ways to spend four months, although the view is somewhat spoiled this weekend by storms

GLENN DUNKS (sample tweet - very Glenn!)
Glenn is our longtime collaborator and currently stationed in Australia. He writes "Doc Corner" here at the site
Instagram | Twitter | Letterboxd | Rotten Tomatoes

She hates me. #catsofinstagram

Deborah has been on hiatus but hopefully she'll be back now. She loves James Bond movies and Mad Men and ran the now departed but much beloved Mad Men site "Basket of Kisses" which got frequent attention from Matthew Weiner and the actors themselves.


THAT'S NOT ALL OF US -- YOU CAN READ MORE TEAM BIOS ON THE  "ABOUT" PAGE  BUT THAT'S ENOUGH SELF-PROMOTION FOR NOW.  I'm aware that we need more women and more writers of color! Working on expanding the team as the site grows. We're always looking for new contributors especially those with the following five things:

  1. Strong accessible writing skills
  2. Unique takes on current / classic cinema and the arts in general
  3. Interest or obsession with the Oscars
  4. Passion for movies that bleeds into their every day life in some demonstrable or engaging way.
  5. Commitment to contribute once bi-weekly

13 days til Oscar - Voting Begins Tomorrow!

Timothée & Glenn, together again at the BAFTAsOscar voting begins tomorrow. The Academy will have eight days to pick their winners -- we're in the homestretch! That's right y'all, we made it through the PGA's Green Book fandom, the DGA's Roma love and Eighth Grade surprise, the entirety of the Sundance Film Festival, the SAG f***ery where only lead actors won prizes, the adorable Oscar Nominee Luncheon, BAFTA's love in for The Favourite, the Cold War surprise at ASC, Four current Oscar nominees winning Grammys (including Bradley Cooper of all people), and here we are.

The only thing left (er, actually, it's still a lot) is our last minute frenzy of interviews and coverage, the remainder of the Film Bitch Awards, final Oscar predix, Supporting Actress Smackdown, César Awards, Spirit Awards, CDG Awards, and OSCAR NIGHT. Please visit us every hour on the hour and express your love so that we can borrow your energy to conjure the stamina.


January. It's a Wrap

Only one month of the film year left to go - haha. We all know the film year doesn't end until Oscar night, right? But we have technically begun another calendar year and we're already 1/12th done with it. We were reminded not by the calendar but by Murtada and Abe's Sundance coverage which is nearing completion. And the end of Sundance always means the end of January.

Herewith highlights we don't want you to have missed...

10 Reasons to Stream Support the Girls -Ilich's funny ode to this great indie
Say a Prayer for Serenity - Jason's must-read review of a future camp classic
Toni Collette: The Interview - Nathaniel talks to the great actor about her iconic performances and her feelings about grief and horror
Soundtracking: Best of 2018 - Chris surveys the best recent musical movie moments
Podcast Special - Murtada and Nathaniel answer reader questions
Mary Poppins vs Mary Poppins Returns - Lynn compares their ensemble of kooks
A Simple Favor's Design - Mark's ode to the very best of 2018's contemporary costuming
Ben Foster: The Interview - The Leave No Trace star is in a good life & career place
Months of Meryl: The Epilogue - Matt & John wrap up their year-long Streep series with a 10 best list
Film Bitch Visual Awards - the 12 most beautifully shot movies of the year, plus other eye candy

Most Discussed Articles

7th Annual Team Experience Awards - The Favourite wins big
Post Nomination Eulogies - odes to the Oscar-snubbed 
• Glenn Close Is Not Going To Be Ignored - Murtada on the actress's emotional Globe speech
Kevin Hart and a Crisis Of Oscar's Own Making - Nathaniel has words for The Academy (and Ellen)
Was 1993 the best "Best Supporting Actor" linup ever?- Ben looks back
12 Things we learned from the Oscar nomination - RT scores didn't matter, Alfonso Cuarón's precursor acceptances definitely did...

Hiccup is all grown up! COMING IN FEBRUARY
Oscar night obviously. But until then, a handful of new interviews with filmmakers and actors, the completion of the Film Bitch Awards as we wrap up the year in film coverage, favourite screen kisses, favourite acceptance speeches, the 25th anniversary of Reality Bites, the Berlinale, the return of the Supporting Actress Smackdown, and new releases like Birds of Passage, Alita Battle Angel, and How to Train Your Dragon 3

Any requests as we near Hollywood's High Holy Night?


43 Days 'til Oscar

The countdown is progressing. Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences only have 3 more days to turn in their nomination ballots. We're getting worried about a really uninspiring Supporting Actress race made up of mostly leading roles. Voters, there are so many great women that are not leads to choose from, you know? You never ever ever need to cheat and shove leading roles in there. If you love a leading lady you're supposed to vote for her in Best Actress, not Supporting.

Since 43 is the number of the day, our minds are thrown back to the Smackdown of 1943. That was so much fun and yours truly fell so hard for Paulette Godard. Your favourite series will return next month. We begin with the 2018 Smackdown in February (we're just waiting to find out who the nominees are!) and then the new season kicks off with the long delayed 1972 episode. Dates TBA. 


Mark Your Calendars!

Here's every important date (that we could find) for the remainder of awards season. It's totally here! Are you ready for it?


"How awards season treats actual supporting actors" - this joke borrowed from twitter.

10 - Makeup and Costume Design Guild Nominees + Final Oscar Predictions begin right here one chart at a time
12 - Nathaniel's Film Bitch Award nominations announcement begins
13 - Critics Choice Awards Ceremony 
14 - Oscar nomination balloting ends...

Click to read more ...