I'm making the most definitive list of favorite movies ever.

For every year, I'm listing every movie I've seen and compare them all to each other asking one question; Which movie do I like more. Movies that score in the 80th percentile or higher, advance to the next round: Favorite of the Decade. After each Decade is done, an All Time list will be formed.

Monday, February 20, 2012

All From John Carter

I was first made aware of John Carter of Mars by the Special Edition of the TV series of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. I took from this that John Carter of Mars was to Carl Sagan, what Star Wars and Star Trek were to me. I've always wanted to know the inspirations for the entertainments I enjoy, if selfishly, just to find more to enjoy. This graphic shows only those that seem to be most directly inspired by John Carter.

Click for Larger Size
Captain Kirk and Luke Skywalker don't qualify for this list. Captain Kirk, and Star Trek stem from Forbidden Planet and it's Commander J. J. Adams. Star Wars was a re-invention of Flash Gordon. I'm sure I've missed some candidates, Colonel Taylor from Planet of the Apes comes to mind as a possibility.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Favoritest Movies of 1976

Once upon a time...

There was a box called television.  Locally in St. Louis we had somewhere between 6-8 stations depending on how much your antenna could pick up.  The three network affiliates (ABC, CBS, NBC, there was no such thing as FOX kiddies.) We had PBS, and two locally run stations; KPLR, the network that created Voltron, and KDNL.  There was also KNLC and C-13 (WCEE) out of Mt. Vernon IL.

I paid special attention to that station out of Mt. Vernon, as I couldn't do anything to get my TV to pick it up ever long enough to watch anything and never during daylight.  But, channel 13 would have made my childhood more interesting, an entire new channel!  It had different cartoons on at different times than KPLR and KDNL did.  This was greener grass, that I was reminded of every time I went to look for what to watch.  There were no DVR's or on screen program guides, we had to read a book to see what was on.  My grandmother subscribed to TV-Guide, an expense my father didn't like, nor did my grandfather.  My dad being a complete slut for all things home-entertainment eventually subscribed to TV-Guide.  My grandfather thought the TV guide (non-branded) that came with the newspaper was sufficient.  Accuracy and articles had me favoring TV guide.
Then, came cable television.  Still no on screen guide.  It didn't have TV Guide (for several years), but it's own, the size of a catalog.  And one station, that cost extra to have, had a program guide all to itself.

Early cable had a lot less original programming, and a lot more of what seemed to be, whatever they could get their hands on.  So, back when MTV showed almost nothing but music videos, and it was possible to catch The Empire Strikes Back on HBO, when Nickelodeon was only on during the day, and showed mostly programs from Canada.  The Disney Channel was doing it's damnedest to be the most special place on cable.  It was the farthest thing from the seemingly wall to wall sitcoms about rich spoiled brats, whining about everything except their perfectly white, straight teeth and pristine complexions.

Back then, The Disney Channel was the channel I turned to first thing in the morning, Good Morning Mickey actually made getting out of bed for grade school slightly less dreadful, and made the oatmeal or rice taste better.  And when the Disney Channel Magazine would come in the mail, I'd eagerly look through it to discover what they were offering up throughout the next month.  Condorman was one such discovery.  But, the biggest, the best was:

The world of Asterix is of a texture we don't easily find in American comics until Jeff Smith's Bone. Like Star Wars, Pixar and Looney Toons, It's for everyone, including children.  It's something you can grow old with.  When it's forgotten that that's the best elements of family entertainment, that it entertains the family, regardless of age, we create more barriers between each other, unnecessary borders within households and across generations.

  1. The Twelve Tasks of Asterix
  2. Logan's Run
  3. All the President's Men
  4. Network
  5. At the Earth's Core
  6. King Kong
  7. Murder by Death
  8. Rocky
  9. The Smurfs and the Magic Flute
  10. Futureworld
  11. The Omen
  12. Silent Movie
  13. The Outlaw Josey Wales
  14. Midway
  15. The Enforcer
  16. Carrie
  17. The Bad News Bears
  18. In the Realm of the Senses
  19. The Shootist
  20. Lipstick
  21. The Shaggy D.A.
  22. The Man Who Fell to Earth
  23. Family Plot
  24. Robin and Marian
  25. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
  26. Silver Streak
  27. Shout at the Devil
  28. Freaky Friday
  29. Marathon Man

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Favoritest Movies of 1977

So, not yet age two, or close enough, and Han Solo activates the hyperdrive and I get turned into a nerd for life.  All the top-ever movies will get their own write up, so this is not Star Wars' moment in the sun.  But, it's the first movie I saw in the theater, and there's nothing else to talk about in 1977.

Oh shit.

Alright, let's talk about you.  Let's say that you're actually a more original, more intelligent and more creative movie than Star Wars.  Let's imagine a world, not far off, (ours) where you may have deserved "Best Picture".  You have two or three moments where you actually are self aware and creative enough to see how movies can go beyond their narrative conventions, and be an intellectually interactive experiential medium.  I get that, probably only, because I was comparing you to Star Wars.  Just as Star Wars ripoffs, for the most part thought they could spray paint junk, and blow it up in slow motion, and say anything without it even being intelligible (if you just thought ""the prequel trilogy", get over it!  See a new movie or three...).   The movies you influenced mister Annie Hall, did not even notice your narrative originality, and instead acted like every guy with blue balls and an Arriflex SHOULD make a movie about just how hard his spoiled brat life is.  Sure, if Lucas made a Kurosawa film into a Douglas Trumball looking Flash Gordon serial in England, then all you did was make a '60's French movie in New York in the '70's.  And, after that the only movie that seemed to learn any actual positive lessons from you was the second Austin Powers movie.

I don't think you won Best Picture.  I think you were in the right place to benefit from jealousy, like Chicago, A Beautiful Mind, and The Hurt Locker.  You've been an ongoing life lesson that I was just reminded of the other night.  Taste is fickle.  There is so little separating the popular from the pariah, that often it's just the movement of the flock.

The other night we were watching a movie that took dramatic license with the life of William Shakespeare, with spectacular performances and production values told an all but completely impossible, but no less intriguing fiction in Elizabethan times.  Which one were we watching?


Romantic or Tragic?

Entertaining, or Challenging?

Satisfying or Piquing?

Lauded or Scorned?

The story goes that Lucas and Spielberg swapped points on Close Encounters and Star Wars, both thinking the other had the bigger hit.  So, if they don't know what's good, why do so many others act like experts?  The question might require more thought than that.  I've no idea what, if anything is actually "good", I just know what I like, in relation to whatever I'm comparing it to...

  1. Star Wars
  2. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  3. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
  4. The Hobbit
  5. The Spy Who Loved Me
  6. Oh, God!
  7. Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo
  8. The Amazing Spider-Man
  9. A Bridge Too Far
  10. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
  11. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  12. The War in Space
  13. Kentucky Fried Movie
  14. Annie Hall
  15. MacArthur
  16. Smokey and the Bandit
  17. High Anxiety
  18. The Gauntlet
  19. Cross of Iron
  20. Saturday Night Fever
  21. Airport '77
  22. Pete's Dragon
  23. The Island of Dr. Moreau
  24. Exorcist II: The Heretic
  25. Orca
  26. Wizards

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Favoritest Movies of 1978

We join the 1978 list results already in progress:  A man who looks like Alec Baldwin enters that room full of movies ,like in the old Netflix commercials.

"Listen up movies of 1978!  The good news is -- you're tired.  The bad news is you've got, all you got, the rest of civilization to languish on cable, home video and on-demand to be watchable movies again, starting tonight. Starting with tonight's viewings. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. 'Cause we're adding a little something to this years favoritism contest.  As you all know, first prize is being a good and loved movie. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize's being a television pilot. Third prize is you're tired. You get the picture? You're laughing now? You got scripts. The script monkeys, carefully selected pigtailed macaques, worked tirelessly and cluelessly in a sweatshop near the Jewelry District.  So be interesting, be movies."

Okay, there's more than two good movies from '78, but, a TV pilot being one of the better ones, makes the year look bad.  I'm sure I've committed some sin by not praising Animal House.  It's proof of quality is just how high it made it on this list.  I'm just not a partier.

It's not going far, so this is our last chance to talk about a movie that did make the next round; Message from Space.  But, a movie that is going to probably place in the All-Time Top 10, owes a lot to it.  I mean, almost everything after leaving Jabba's palace, and the closer you get to the ending, the closer you get to Jedi.  This is one of the more engaging and better executed Star Wars try-to-be's.  I've tried to see as many as one can, though the line between ripoff, and greenlit because of the success of is subject to controversy, and hurt feelings.  You hear, read all sorts of stories, and the bigger the movie the more it has.  Message from Space is an anime come to life, and Return of the Jedi, is Message from Space come to life.  Science fiction led me to discover a lot of anime and still does to this day.  I've also always wondered how many other major movies have had secret anime influence, since seeing shades of Gall Force in Terminator 2.  Why, is that some Space Battleship Yamato in Das Boot?   I suspect they'll never admit it.

  1. Superman: The Movie
  2. Battlestar Galactica
  3. Force 10 from Navarone
  4. Grease
  5. Coma
  6. The Cat from Outer Space
  7. Message from Space
  8. National Lampoon's Animal House
  9. Jaws 2
  10. The Lord of the Rings
  11. Death on the Nile
  12. Harper Valley PTA
  13. The Deer Hunter
  14. Drunken Master
  15. The Amazing Captain Nemo
  16. Watership Down
  17. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  18. The Bad News Bears Go to Japan
  19. The Cheap Detective
  20. Capricorn One
  21. Return from Witch Mountain
  22. Dawn of the Dead
  23. Revenge of the Pink Panther
  24. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
  25. Eyes of Laura Mars
  26. The Boys from Brazil
  27. The Swarm
  28. Damien: Omen II
  29. Heaven Can Wait
  30. Corvette Summer
  31. Every Which Way But Loose

Favoritest Movies of 1979

 The top 4 all share something in common, we owned them on CED videodisc. Our Realistic CED-1 felt like my own personal home entertainment system in our basement.


My dad dove into this format with all sorts of optimism and excitement, but then stuck it in the basement.  At the time, he was also put drop ceiling in the basement, but I think he lost interest in home theater with getting cable TV not much more than a year after getting this.  I've read that the needle on CED players needed to be changed every 500 hours of use.  Ours beat the snot out of that, heck the Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie saw at least 200 hours of play.  I'd occasionally watch TV off of the antenna down there, King Kong ('76), The Martian Chronicles, and V, and The Muppet Show just about every weeknight.  I forget if Laverne & Shirley preceded or followed The Muppet Show, but it was something my 7 year old self had no interest in.  I'd like to think my tastes have changed in the last 30 years, but 1979 just hasn't weathered the way most other years have.

  1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  2. The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie
  3. The Black Hole
  4. The Muppet Movie
  5. Alien
  6. Moonraker
  7. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  8. Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro
  9. Time After Time
  10. The First Great Train Robbery
  11. Mad Max
  12. Apocalypse Now
  13. The China Syndrome
  14. The Lathe of Heaven
  15. Monty Python's Life of Brian
  16. Escape from Alcatraz
  17. The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again
  18. The Concorde ... Airport '79
  19. Dracula
  20. The Shape of Things to Come
  21. Zulu Dawn
  22. Rocky II
  23. Hair
  24. Caligula
  25. The Black Stallion
  26. Love at First Bite
  27. Beyond the Poseidon Adventure
  28. C.H.O.M.P.S.
  29. Meatballs
  30. Butch and Sundance: The Early Days
  31. Kramer vs. Kramer
  32. More American Graffiti
  33. The Jerk

Wait, we had all of the ones she mentioned by name... Maybe they DIDN'T want me watching TV! Thank you Youtube, you've explained my childhood.