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A True Detective recap, or why the internet nearly ruined this show

I am a fan of the programming on HBO.

It probably started by watching Sex and The City with girls in college (a terrible choice on multiple levels) and then moved onto Entourage (arguably a terrible choice) which is still a very guilty pleasure of mine. I love Band of Brothers, The Pacific, John Adams, and many more of the mini-series made possible by HBO. Factor in shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, Real Sports, Boardwalk Empire, Treme, even Real Time with Bill Maher, and you’ve got some of the best story-telling available on one channel.

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The Year in Film – 2013

Time for the annual trip down memory lane where I recap my favorite films of the year. The only requirements for ending up on this list are that it has to have been released in 2013, and I have to have actually seen it.

One of my favorite end-of-the-year activities is reading through screenplays made available online by studios, agencies, writers, and other folks. Here is a great list from the team behind The Black List. You should read about what they’re doing for writers, and check out their 2013 Blacklist. This is the best place to find the stories that will likely be heading to a theatre near you over the next couple if years, the ones that often come from out of nowhere to win Oscar’s.

Before I get into the films I loved this year, here’s a short list of films I haven’t been able to see just yet that I really want to see [UPDATED 1/3/2014], [UPDATED 1/19/2014]. Read More…

We Steal Secrets and Dirty Wars

The Belcourt is the best place to see a documentary film in Nashville. It’s not because it’s the flashiest movie complex, or because they have the best popcorn. Its the only theatre that consistently brings documentaries worth seeing to the Middle Tennessee area.

This past week, the Belcourt showed a documentary titled We Steal Secrets: the story of WikiLeaks. The documentary film walks viewers through the organization of WikiLeaks and how Julian Assange started the world’s largest secret-spilling operation. That weekend I was able to see Dirty Wars, another documentary film about covert operations around the world conducted by a clandestine group known as JSOC as covered by journalist Jeremy Scahill.

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Ramblings on “World War Z”

Since my buddy Crockett showed me the preview for World War Z I had been anxiously awaiting the film. For once, a “zombie” film where it didn’t appear the zombies walked slowly. A real leveling of the playing field. As I often do, I did a little research on the film and learned that the production had some serious issues with delays, re-writes, budget concerns, etc.

By the time the film actually hit the theaters last week, it felt like Hollywood was waiting for the project to crash and burn. It looks like the opposite occurred with the film grossing $111M in its opening weekend globally, $66M of which was earned in the USA. Crisis averted, for now.  Read More…

From the Oscars to the Nashville Film Festival – why Popularity is not synonymous with “Best”

Of the nine films nominated for “Best Picture” at the 2013 Academy Awards, not one finished in the Top Ten for Domestic Box Office gross. The first Oscar-nominated film to appear among the top domestic grossing films released in 2012 is “Lincoln”, with $180M, in 13th place.* Only two other films, “Django Unchained” and “Les Miserables” appear in the top twenty domestic highest-grossing films released in 2012.

When we consider total gross (including International Box Office receipts) and rank the films, only one film released in 2012, “Life of Pi”, ends up in the top 100 grossing films and is currently ranked behind films such as Mama Mia, Fast Five, all three Transformers films, and all four Twilight films.

This article from Freakonomics (though not written by Dubner or Levitt) suggests that box office receipts identify the best film based solely on gross revenue. Therefore, whichever film was most popular is best under this assumption.

This is not the way the Academy Awards are awarded. However, when it comes to the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press votes for the winners. It is much more of a popularity contest, evidenced most recently by the nominations of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie for “The Tourist.” This film was nominated at the Globes for Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture, yet earned no Academy Award nominations in any category.

So, if the top twelve highest domestic grossing films released in 2012 weren’t recognized by the Oscars as the best films, what does that say?

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The Year in Film – 2012

The end of every calendar year generally means two things: Holidays and “BEST OF” lists.

I’m a fan of these lists for many reasons, mainly because I often find I missed out on a new band, album, book, song, movie, tv show, article, or some other thing that I would probably find interesting for one reason or another.

Over the past few years, I’ve often compiled a list of the movies that I saw in the previous year, with a short reason why I enjoyed them. On a few occasions, my mom tells me that she and my dad will look over the list, see if anything I enjoyed is on netflix instant and watch it. So, if nothing else, it has served them to some level, so I’m doing it again.

*Note: I try to see every film that has a nomination for an Academy Award, but you can imagine this can be difficult with documentaries, shorts, foreign films, and time. This year I was able to see nearly all of them major category nominees before mid-January, so I feel pretty good about this list.*

To begin, I haven’t seen some of the films that had great reviews and I plan to see. Here are a few of those that I can’t recommend, but many others did (UPDATED with info on the ones I was able to see):

2012 Academy Awards stuff

Tonight’s the night. The Oscars 2012. The Kodak Theatre. Billy Crystal. Lots of blah blah.

The movies take center-stage for me, and 2011 was a good year for film. I’ll post another longer post later this week (or month) about my top ten for the year. The delay stems from not every film in 2011 being available for viewing in Nashville like they are in LA or NYC. #SmallCityProblems

Award Predictions: Read More…

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