My Cinematic Alphabet (2014 Update)

My entry into the “My Favorite Movie Titles” blogathon a couple weeks ago got me thinking about a blog meme I participated in a few years back: My Cinematic Alphabet. I thought it would be fun to post an updated version of my list to see how much my tastes have changed since then. For every letter of the alphabet, I have chosen my favorite film beginning with that letter (I also included my favorite “#” movie as well). Some of these choices were incredibly difficult, but I’m pleased with my selections. At the end, I’ll share the differences between the two lists.

 

2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey

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Blogathon: Movie Jail Relay Race

Nostra, the King of Blogathons, has teamed up with Terrence from The Focused Filmographer to deliver one of the most entertaining blogathons yet:

Movie Jail Relay Race

The Rules:
It’s time to put some movie people in jail. The object is to give a prosecutor’s argument as to why these movie people belong in “Movie Jail” whether it be for violating the integrity of the content source of one their films, or being a sell-out, just making bad movies overall, getting worse as time goes on or not being in a good movie for many years. The baton will be passed to another blogger who will have to do the following:

In order to free someone from Movie Jail they have to do 2 things:

1 – Give a defense attorney argument defending the plaintiff
2 – Pay bail: the cost of which is another case for the court and a prosecutor’s argument against the actor/director of their choice that will replace the one set free.

There must always be 10 people in Movie Jail.

The Participants:
1. My Filmviews/The Focused Filmographer
2. Cinematic Corner
3. And So It Begins…
4. Surrender to the Void
5. Cinematic Paradox
6. The Cinematic Spectacle
7. Being Norma Jean
8. Defiant Success
9. …let’s be splendid about this
10. Lime Reviews and Strawberry Confessions
11. Aziza’s Picks
12. Flixchatter
13. i luv cinema
14. Public Transportation Snob

The Inmates:
michaelbaymoviejail1
Michael Bay

freidbergmoviejail
Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer

rajagosnellmoviejail
Raja Gosnell

katherine-heiglmoviejail
Katherine Heigl

toddphillipsmoviejail
Todd Phillips

eddiemurphymoviejail
Eddie Murphy

adamsandlermoviejail
Adam Sandler

kstew_moviejail
Kristen Stewart

jlojail2
Jennifer Lopez

gerard-butler-JAILED
Gerard Butler

Who I’m Setting Free:
todd-phillips
Todd Phillips
Honestly, it’s hard to make a case for any of these inmates, but Todd Phillips has at least made a few solid comedies over the years. Although I haven’t seen either in many years, I did enjoy Road Trip and Old School, and I even liked *both* of The Hangover films. Blasphemy, I know. Yeah, he has had some missteps along the way, and he doesn’t have a particularly positive reputation, but I think he has served enough time in our jail.

Who I’m Putting in Jail:
val-kilmer-JAILED
Val Kilmer
How did the man best known for playing Jim Morrison, Doc Holliday and freakin’ Batman end up like this?? Kilmer has resorted to almost exclusively putting out direct-to-video fodder. Just take a look at his seven (!) films from 2012 alone: Deep in the Heart, Lotus Community Workshop, Breathless, Wyatt Earp’s Revenge, Seven Below, The Fourth Dimension, Standing Up. Do any of those ring a bell? For his poor recent output, Val Kilmer deserves a stint in movie jail.

Next up in the relay race: 3 Guys, 1 Movie

Blogathon: Small Roles, Big Performances

I’m always a sucker for a good blogathon, and Ruth from FlixChatter has come up with a new idea that has taken the movie blogging community by storm. The concept? Shine a light on the ‘unsung heroes’ of a film — that being a supporting role or cameo that is often overlooked. After much debating about who I would highlight, I decided to take a look at a recent film that not many have seen: Sleepwalk With Me. Namely, the fantastic performance from Lauren Ambrose.

Lauren Ambrose

One of this year’s biggest surprises, Sleepwalk With Me is a fun little film from the creative mind of comedian Mike Birbiglia. While Birbiglia, as Matt Pandamiglio, is (rightly) at the forefront of the film, the character of Abby, his long-time girlfriend (played by Ambrose), is crucial to his career development. Abby, and his relationship with her, both become frequent targets for Pandamiglio’s standup routines, and as he begins touring, the two of them drift apart.

Although we are supposed to be on Pandamiglio’s side (as he even directly mentions in the film), it’s hard not to feel for Abby thanks to Ambrose’s endearing performance. The two characters have been dating for eight years. Matt is afraid of commitment, but Abby has steadfastly remained with him regardless. She is caring and supportive, even though Matt has spent the last few years floundering as a bartender. It’s clear that she is out of his league, but Ambrose presents Abby in a way that makes us actually believe that this slacker could be with her. Their relationship feels authentic, and anyone who has been with someone for a long time should be able to relate in some fashion.

Sleepwalk With Me [2012]

I was first impressed by Lauren Ambrose in the criminally underrated HBO series, Six Feet Under, and I am surprised to see that her film career is rather limited. After Six Feet Under, she joined two more TV shows — The Return of Jezebel James and Torchwood — while taking on more roles in indie flicks. Sleepwalk With Me is a definite highlight on her resume, and hopefully it introduces more fans to her phenomenal work. Not only is Ambrose stunningly beautiful, but she is a supremely talented and, much like Six Feet Under, sorely underrated.

Head on over to FlixChatter for a look at the rest of the entries in the Small Roles, Big Performances blogathon.

Liebster Award (x8)

Liebster Award

Over the past few weeks, a new blog meme has been taking the film blogging community by storm. Known as the Liebster Award, this award is so prestigious that only 96151272 blogs have received it! (approximately) But in all seriousness, it’s a fun little meme that asks everyone to share facts about themselves, answer questions and pass it on to other worthy blogs. I have received the award from EIGHT different bloggers, all of whom are personal favorites of mine, and it felt like the time was right to sit down and answer their questions. I won’t be partaking in the other facets of this meme, but I am more than happy to answer the questions that these great bloggers took the time to create. Thanks to all who kindly thought of me while working on this! Without further ado, here are my answers to every question sent my way:

Public Transportation Snob

1. What’s the best movie of 2012 so far?
Tough call. Right now I’m leaning toward The Dark Knight Rises, but there are plenty of contenders: Moonrise Kingdom, Take This Waltz, Beasts of the Southern Wild, to name a few.

2. What’s the worst movie of 2012 so far?
The only one that I didn’t really enjoy was Damsels in Distress.

3. What is your favorite band or artist?
Oh man, depends on the mood, I guess. My most common answer is to say The National, but when I need to chill out I will often go for some Boards of Canada.

4. What’s your opinion on singing karaoke?
I hate it. I will do it on occasion with friends, but only after much pleading and begging from them.

5. Spike Lee: Overrated or underrated?
Haven’t seen enough to have an opinion either way, unfortunately. I did really enjoy 25th Hour, though.

6. Although he won’t admit it, does Tommy Wiseau realize that The Room is terrible?
Haha yeah, I think by now he knows it’s bad. But that hasn’t stopped him from milking the cash cow for all it’s worth.

7. Beyond movies, what is your area of expertise for a trivia team?
Sports, easily. I am especially good with baseball stats.

8. What’s your favorite brand of cereal?
Honestly, I don’t eat much cereal these days. When I do, it’s usually a “healthy” one that has whole grain wheat, berries, nuts, etc.

9. Is The Tree of Life a brilliant movie, a self-indulgent mess, or somewhere in between?
Somewhere in between. I loved certain aspects of it, but it could have used some serious editing.

10. Are you excited about the Olympics? If so, which competitions?
Nope. I caught bits here and there, but I remained generally uninterested.

11. What’s the last movie that you watched?
Ingmar Bergman’s Persona. Loved the hell out of the first two acts but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the third.

Cinematic Katzenjammer

What’s your own favorite recurring feature you have on your blog?
The 50 Movies Project. It has opened my eyes to some truly amazing films, and it’s fun to interact with others after viewing them.

What’s a guilty pleasure movie you can’t help but love but don’t want anyone knowing about?
Wouldn’t it defeat the purpose if I answered this question? 🙂

If you could live in any fictional cinematic world, what would it be and why?
While not exactly fictional, I would love to take the place of Patrick Fugit’s character in Almost Famous. The chance to go on tour with a major rock ‘n’ roll band while still in high school? Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Who is your all-time favorite movie character?
Nada from They Live. I even dressed up as him last year for Halloween.

What’s one thing you want to change about your blog but have been unable to?
I’m debating on going back to a self-hosted blog and eventually expanding into a full-fledged website.

What’s your favorite curse word?
I probably say “fuck” (or its many variations) more than I should.

What’s the best widget you have on your blog?
I don’t use a whole lot of widgets, but I do enjoy sharing a weekly poll.

Where is one place you’d love to visit and why?
Iceland. I feel like I lived there in another life. Also, Peru, specifically Maccu Picchu.

If you could go back in time, strictly in your own life, what’s one thing you’d change?
I try to live life with no regrets. There are things that could have happened differently, sure, but I have tried to learn from everything.

Who is your favorite superhero?
I’m not a huge superhero guy, but I have been digging Batman stuff lately. Batman: The Animated Series is great.

What is the meaning of life? Explain in detail.
Got nothing.

3 Guys 1 Movie

1. What was the first blog post that you wrote?
No clue as to the specific post, but it was definitely a quick video game review.

2. Red Sox or Yankees?
Fuck the Yankees.

3. The toilet paper roll should it roll down from the top or from underneath?
Doesn’t matter.

4. The last thing I stole was a….
What? That’s not a question!

5. What was the worst injury you ever suffered?
I got hit in the eye with a golf club in the second grade. It was actually my birthday party, and I got a golf set as a gift. I wasn’t standing far enough back when my friend was teeing off, and BAM, got smashed right in the eye. Broke a small bone in the cheek, and I had to wear a patch for a week or two.

6. If you did not blog about film what would you be blogging about?
Well, I blog about a lot of things anyway, but video games would be my biggest focus, no doubt.

7. What kind of car do you drive? ( yes I stole that from Swingers)
I don’t have a car. Public transit, baby. But my last one was an ’03 Impala that I sold when I moved to the city.

8. Have you ever eaten a pickled egg?
Oh man, probably at some point. But hell if I remember.

9. What’s in your pull order? (If you don’t understand this question the answer is nothing)
N/A

10. Have you ever fired a gun?
Yes. My dad took me hunting when I was a kid. Bored the hell out of me, haven’t done it since.

11. Do you own an iPhone or two tin cans and a string?
Android, bitches.

French Toast Sunday

What movie character would you want to date?
Great question. I honestly have no idea.

Is there a movie that truly scares you?
Not anymore, though The Blair With Project freaked me out when I was younger.

What movies have you seen in theaters more than once?
The Room. I think I have seen it three times in a theater, twice with Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero in person.

Describe your best movie theater experience.
The Room, again. The first time seeing it in a theater while getting pelted with plastic spoons. My third time seeing it, I even got to go up on stage and shake Tommy’s hand. Talk about surreal.

What movie quote do you use in real life?
Oh man, I hate to keep saying it, but The Room has a ton of quotes I use more often than I should. “I did NAHT” and “You’re tearing me apart” are most prevalent.

What was your favorite movie in high school?
I really liked Varsity Blues. Haven’t seen it since, though I imagine I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much now.

What is your favorite movie to come out the year you were born?
Platoon. One of the best war movies ever made.

Have you ever met any celebrities in real life?
Yeah, but mostly musicians. I try not to think of them as any different than you or me, but it was pretty cool to get an emphatic hug and kiss from Tricky after one of his shows. Still can’t forget how short that dude is.

What’s a movie you’re embarrassed to admit you haven’t seen?
Oh, lots. That’s what the 50 Movies Project is for. 🙂

Is there anything film related you totally geek out about?
Not really. But when it comes to video games, I am all about the Fallout universe.

What’s your favorite film to come out so far this year?
Right now I would say The Dark Knight Rises.

Journeys in Classic Film

1. Who is your favorite Muppet (if you don’t have one you have no soul)
I’ve always liked Gonzo.

2. What are the next five items on your Netflix/Hulu/Amazon queue
Pink Flamingos, Notorious, The Philadelphia Story, Lawrence of Arabia, The Skin I Live In. The first four are for the 50 Movies Project.

3. Favorite classic actor (up till 1990 counts)
Paul Newman. Will watch him in anything.

4. Favorite ride at a Disney theme park (if you haven’t been to a Disney park, see question one)
Never been, and I have no desire to.

5. Have you ever watched an episode of Gossip Girl or Glee?
No.

6. Name one embarrassing movie in your collection.
Somehow I got a copy of The Hills Have Eyes for free. That movie never did much for me.

7. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Never got into either one. I liked the first Star Wars movie as a kid, so I guess that wins.

8. DVD or Blu-Ray?
Blu-ray, no question. Makes a world of a difference.

9. Coke or Pepsi?
I’m indifferent. I rarely drink soda.

10. What’s a movie name you’d love to use as an alias?
Any of the old Film Noir names. Stuff like Cash Brady, Van Morgan Duff or even Sam Spade.

11. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
42.

moviesandsongs365

1.) When and how did you become interested in movies?
Always liked ’em growing up but didn’t fall in love with film until 2009 or so. My girlfriend and a couple friends really got me to open my mind to new genres and older films, and soon I was watching anything I could.

2.) Who is your favorite director, and why?
Do I really have to pick one? Lately I have been on a huge Billy Wilder kick, so he would probably be my first choice. Love the diversity in his filmography, and he was an amazing writer as well.

3.) What is your favorite movie discovered in 2012 (old or new), and why?
The Apartment, probably. And also The Lives of Others, which is likely the best from my project so far. With The Apartment, it all comes back to the writing. And you can’t go wrong with Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray either.

4.) If you had to recommend any movie you think everyone should watch, what would it be, and why?
How about 12 Angry Men? That and Citizen Kane were the first two classic films that I fell in love with (many years ago), and they made me realize that older movies can be pretty damn good.

5.) Have you been to a film festival, and how was the experience?
No legitimate festivals, but I did catch a few screenings during last year’s Noir City Chicago marathon. I will be doing the same this year, and it actually starts this weekend.

6.) Which soundtrack or score do you keep going back to?
I love the hell out of Requiem for a Dream’s soundtrack, though it depresses the hell out of me.

7.) What films do you find yourself daydreaming about every so often?
Can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

8.) Who do you talk movies with in real life, outside of blogosphere?
My girlfriend and some close friends.

9.) Favorite film poster?
Secretary.

10.) What movie is the record holder that you have seen the most times, and why?
Probably Dazed and Confused. That could very well be my favorite movie of all time.

11.) Which movie websites (not blogs) do you visit?
Every time I see a movie, I hit up icheckmovies.com, IMDB and Letterboxd.

It Rains… You Get Wet

What is your favorite book about cinema (whichever type of book, covering any kind of film genre)?
I honestly haven’t read too many, but I love Roger Ebert’s Great Movies collections.

What is your favorite piece of music or song (score or the needle-dropped variety) used in a movie?
The theme to Requiem for a Dream. Also, anything from Dazed and Confused.

Charles Bronson or James Coburn?
Have only seen a couple films from each so it’s probably not fair for me to say.

What is your favorite foreign film (one made outside your country)?
Oh wow. Maybe City of God. Or Grave of the Fireflies.

When watching a movie at home, what food stuff do you almost always have nearby?
Nothing in particular. I have been enjoying mixed nuts a lot lately, though.

Vincent Hanna or Neil McCauley (reference this film if the characters don’t ring a bell)?
Oh man, I’m due to revisit Heat, but I remember digging De Niro’s character.

What movie cliché are you so tired of seeing in film?
I always hate when villains stall while they have plenty of chances to knock off the hero.

What’s the scariest scene or image your ever saw on film (and it doesn’t have to be from a horror movie)?
The only movie to ever scare me was The Blair Witch Project, and that was probably because I lived right near the woods. That final image of the dude in the corner freaked me out.

The Howling or An American Werewolf in London?
Haven’t seen either. 😦

Ever read the source book of a film adaptation that intrigued you? If so, what’s your favorite?
Yeah, a few times. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is one of my all-time favorite books, and it actually helps to understand the madness in the movie.

Have you ever fast-forwarded a movie just to get to the good part?
I know I did that as a kid, but I couldn’t fathom doing such a thing anymore.

Time Well Spent

If you could live in another country, where would you live?
I would love to be a vagabond and just live wherever the road takes me. I think I would like to settle down in Germany at some point, though. I fell in love with Bavaria when I was there a couple years ago.

Cats or dogs?
I like both, but cats are lower maintenance.

What’s your all time favourite food?
Sushi! Specifically, unagi and dragon rolls.

If you could only watch one TV show for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Seinfeld. No matter how many times I watch each episode, they never get old. An alternate would be The Simpsons, but I would have a hard time getting through anything after, say, season twelve.

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
I saw a matinee screening of The French Connection over the weekend. Loved it. As for new films, The Intouchables.

What were you doing, this time last year?
Pretty much the same thing I am now, though my blog has exploded since then.

Comic book films – they’re not going away any time soon. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
As long as they are good films, I won’t mind. I get the feeling we are going to be getting a lot of mediocrity (or worse), though.

What is your most cherished childhood memory?
Probably taking the long road trip down to Detroit to see the Tigers play in old Tiger Stadium. I’m glad I was able to catch a game there before the stadium was demolished.

Have you got sucked into the Olympics? Will you be watching the closing ceremony?
Nope. I caught bits here and there (mainly while at the bar), but I didn’t get sucked into it.

What’s the one book you would recommend everyone to read?
On the Road by Jack Kerouac. That book changed my life when I read it in college. It has accompanied me in all of my major travels.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Great question. I honestly have no idea, and I kind of like it that way.

Whew. I think that’s everything. Many thanks to everyone who was kind enough to pass this on to me. I had a lot of fun answering your questions!

My Movie Year – 2009

Andy over at Fandango Groovers puts together some really great blogathons every once in a while, and his latest is titled “My Movie Year“. I am a week late to the party, but I had to join in after seeing the great posts scattered around the blogging community. The concept is simple: select your favorite movie year and back it up with five movies to support your claim.

Now, this is actually quite the difficult question, and it has raised some interesting debates across the internet. Examples from critics include 1939, 1959, 1962, 1994 and 1999. All worthy choices, but I opted to go for a more personal route: the year 2009.

This was the year that I absolutely fell in love with film. Now, I had always enjoyed watching movies but it wasn’t until 2009 that I opened up and began indulging in anything and everything film-related. This was also my first full year living in Chicago, and there was a very cheap video store right around the corner from my first apartment in the city. Between that and Netflix, I had access to all sorts of great DVDs.

While 2009 may not be the *greatest* movie year ever, it was still a good one, and I have fond memories of many of its releases. Here are my top five, followed by some honorable mentions:

Crazy Heart
Crazy Heart

District 9
District 9

Inglourious Basterds
Inglourious Basterds

Up in the Air
Up in the Air

Zombieland
Zombieland

Honorable mentions: (500) Days of Summer, An Education, A Serious Man, Away We Go, Best Worst Movie, Black Dynamite, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Sin Nombre, Watchmen

What is your favorite movie from 2009? Do you have any interesting movie-going memories from that year?

For a full list of participants in this blogathon, head over to Fandango Groovers.

The Ten Best Actors of All Time [Relay Race]

Nostra over at My Filmviews always comes up with some pretty rad ideas for blogathons and features, and his latest may be the best one yet. I had the honor of being selected by Jaina from Time Well Spent to take part in the “Ten Best Actors of All Time” Relay Race. For those who have missed it so far, here is Nostra’s description of the series:

So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the best actors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one actor (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. The idea is to make this a long race, so that enough bloggers get a chance to remove and add an actor. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best actors.
It will also mean that those who follow this relay race will get to know new blogs as well!

As a reference point, here is the order of the race so far (starting from the beginning):
My Filmviews -> The Focused Filmographer -> Front Room Cinema -> I Love That Film -> FlixChatter -> All Eyes On Screen -> Time Well Spent

I had to do some serious thinking about this list, as it is already pretty amazing. I didn’t want to have to remove any of these guys, but rules are rules. Here we go:

Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro

Daniel Day Lewis
Daniel Day Lewis

Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin

Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall

Christian Bale
Christian Bale

Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio

My Addition: Paul Newman

Paul Newman
How can you not like Paul Newman? He was so effortlessly cool in everything he was in. The ladies loved him because of his good looks and big blue eyes, guys loved him because he was a man’s man and could play the confident anti-hero so well, and he was a hell of a guy to boot. Not only was he a successful actor for SIX decades, Newman was a humanitarian who gave back to a wide variety of charities. Hell, his profits from his Newman’s Own line of salad dressings (and other foods) amounted to over $300 million, all of which went to charity.

But regardless of how awesome of a human being he was, he was just as great on the big screen. I became a fan after watching The Hustler for the first time last year, and I quickly made an effort to see more of his work. My favorite performance so far remains his lead role in Cool Hand Luke, where he just oozes charisma and proves that you don’t need guns or explosions to be a badass.

Paul Newman was nominated for countless awards before finally winning Best Actor for 1986’s The Color of Money (the sequel to The Hustler). Other highlights from his long and varied career include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hud, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, The Verdict, and Road to Perdition.

Who I Replaced: Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks

Nothing against the guy — he has had A LOT of great roles and is one of the most charming and likable actors in the business, but I would put him a cut below the others. I feel bad for removing Mr. Hanks, but the questionable choices from his last decade of work make it a little easier for me to take him out.

Now I am passing the torch to Chris at moviesandsongs365. Good luck!

7×7 Link Award

7x7 Link Award

The latest meme going around the blogging community is the 7×7 Link Award. I had the pleasure of receiving this from three different bloggers, and I am very grateful for this. Thanks to The Focused Filmographer, Anti-Film School and moviesandsongs365 for sending the award my way — you guys rock!

THE RULES:
1.) Tell everyone something that no one else knows about you.
2.) Link to one of the posts that I personally think best fits the following categories: Most Beautiful Piece, Most Helpful Piece, Most Popular Piece, Most Controversial Piece, Most Surprisingly Successful Piece, Most Underrated Piece, and Most Pride-Worthy Piece.
3.) Pass the award on to seven other bloggers.

PART ONE:
I am a big fan of cult movies, and I have seen THE ROOM an unhealthy number of times. Over the weekend, I went to another screening of that film, my second time seeing it with both the director Tommy Wiseau and co-star Greg Sestero in attendance (I wrote about my first Q&A screening last year). This time I took a long-time buddy of mine to see it, as nothing can top introducing someone to the insanity of THE ROOM. He was so hyped up that he even asked a question during the Q&A session. I had told him beforehand that there are two parts of life: life before THE ROOM and life after THE ROOM. He asked Tommy if this was true. I have no idea what Tommy said, but we were both invited on stage, and I shook the hands of Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. Kind of a surreal experience, and one I was not expecting.

By the way, my friend loved the movie, and now the cult of THE ROOM has one new member.

PART TWO:
1) Most Beautiful Piece: I have only written about sports once on this blog, despite being a very, very big fan of them. Last year, my beloved Detroit Lions made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. I was ecstatic and just had to write about their season, in a post titled “Thoughts from a Devoted Detroit Lions Fan.” I poured my heart into that piece, though I didn’t let it get as long or detailed as I initially envisioned, and it also has a photo of myself and my girlfriend at Ford Field. She is what makes that post beautiful. 🙂

2) Most Helpful Piece: Probably my Top 25 Albums of 2011 and Top 30 Albums of 2010 posts. I put a lot of work into them, with the ultimate goal being to share new music with my readers. I am a huge music lover at heart, and I especially enjoy turning people on to new artists.

3) Most Popular Piece: Easily the introduction of the 50 Movies Project from last summer. Somehow it became Freshly Pressed and sat on the WordPress homepage for the entire Labor Day weekend.

4) Most Controversial Piece: Maybe my less-than-glowing review of Midnight in Paris? There were also a few movies from my last project that I couldn’t connect with: Akira, 8 1/2, and especially Crash. Just mentioning Crash makes me upset.

5) Most Surprisingly Successful Piece: My silent film review of Battleship Potemkin. I was expecting very little in the way of comments, but I was surprised to see such an enthusiastic response to my post. I ought to write about more silent films…

6) Most Underrated Piece: That’s a tough one. How about my review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution? This was a rare new release gaming review from me, and a bit lengthier than usual. My beer reviews don’t get much love, but that may be because I write about too many local brews.

7) Most Pride-Worthy Piece: I don’t know if I am more proud of one post than any others, but I am pleased with how my recent Into the Wild review turned out. The whole movie project is going quite well, actually.

PART THREE:
Pass the award on to seven other bloggers: I tried to go with some who I haven’t seen receive this award yet.
1) Hot Dogs in the Dark
2) It Rains… You Get Wet
3) Goto Unknown
4) GregHorrorShow
5) My Brain on Games
6) SlickGaming
7) The Vortex Effect

Blogathon: Cool Off With The Classics

Another month, another movie blogathon! Marc over at Go, See, Talk came up with another great idea that is sure to start making its rounds in the film blogging community. The idea here is to “Cool Off With The Classics” — that is, to compile a list of black & white classics you would watch to “beat the heat.” Since I have been digging into more classics than usual lately, I thought this would be a fun event to participate in. So here we go… ten of my favorite B&W movies.

12 Angry Men [1957]
1) 12 Angry Men [1957]
Sidney Lumet’s early classic was one of my first experiences with a black & white film. I watched this for the first time in high school and could not believe that an “old movie” set in a courtroom could maintain my interest from beginning to end. An incredible film, and one that I absolutely must see again soon.

The Third Man [1949]
2) The Third Man [1949]
I saw this for the first time earlier this year and fell in love with it. There is so much to like about this movie, and of course it has some of the most memorable moments in cinematic history (such as Orson Welles’ big reveal). The closing shot is one of the best I have ever seen.

Crashout [1955]
3) Crashout [1955]
I caught this earlier this month at the Music Box Theatre’s awesome Noir City Festival. This rarely-seen prison break movie is a lot of fun, and surprisingly brutal for its time period.

Among the Living [1941]
4) Among the Living [1941]
Another rarely-screened movie that I caught at the Noir City Festival. This is a wonderful noir/horror hybrid with great performances from Albert Dekker and Susan Hayward.

Citizen Kane [1941]
5) Citizen Kane [1941]
This is the movie that made me excited to see more classics. We watched the entirety of the film in my university’s Music & Film class, and I was quite frankly amazed. One of the best of all time, obviously, and it felt great to finally understand the lyrics to the Kane-referencing White Stripes song, “The Union Forever“.

City Lights
6) City Lights [1931]
My 50 Movies Project is already reaping dividends, as it provided the means for me to catch this Chaplin silent classic. Words are not needed for Chaplin’s dynamic Tramp character, and his endless pursuit of love is inspiring (with hilarious results).

The Day The Earth Stood Still [1951]
7) The Day The Earth Stood Still [1951]
I am not a big sci-fi fan, so I was a little skeptical about this movie. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. Intelligent, entertaining and backed by Bernard Herrmann’s incredible therimin-driven score, this is one of the better sci-fi films I have seen, regardless of age.

The Killing [1956]
8 ) The Killing [1956]
One of Kubrick’s earliest films is one of my favorites from him, and it has been heavily influential over the years (most notably for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs). An exciting, well-crafted heist noir.

Steamboat Bill, Jr. [1928]
9) Steamboat Bill, Jr. [1928]
I have only seen two, maybe three, Buster Keaton movies, but this is the one I have enjoyed the most. Lots of laughs and some ridiculous physical stunts make this one of the more memorable silent films I have seen.

Seven Samurai [1954]
10) Seven Samurai [1954]
It is a testament to the film’s brilliance that I am able to sit through the full three hours without ever once growing bored or impatient. I saw it for the first time last year and it just blew me away. The quintessential samurai film.

Be sure to check out the rest of the participants in this blogathon, and feel free to join in on the fun as well.

Blogathon: Double Feature Theater

Double Feature Theater

Marc over at Go, See, Talk had a wonderful idea for a blogathon, which kicked off last weekend. I am a little late to this party, but after seeing everyone’s brilliant posts I had to join in. The idea is simple — you are in charge of a movie theater, and it is your duty to come up with a double feature for every day of the week. The only exception is on Sunday, which is a triple feature. I had a blast brainstorming for this blogathon, and I feel pretty good about some of these selections. Let’s get this started!

Garden State(500) Days of Summer
– Manic Pixie Dream Girl Monday –
Garden State / (500) Days of Summer
Make it a date night.

They LiveRoboCop

– Throwback Tuesday –
They Live / RoboCop
Late 80s bliss.

Office SpaceSecretary

– Workweek Wednesday –
Office Space / Secretary
Why the hell not?

Fear and Loathing in Las VegasEnter the Void

– Trippin’ Balls Thursday –
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas / Enter the Void
Hallucinogens not provided.

Almost FamousTaking Woodstock

– Feel Good Friday –
Almost Famous / Taking Woodstock
Coming of age in the world of music. Livin’ the dream.

Troll 2The Room

– Shitstorm Saturday –
Troll 2 / The Room
Special BYOB night. Drinking encouraged!

ReligulousJesus CampDogma

– Sacrilegious Sunday –
Religulous / Jesus Camp / Dogma
Go to church then hit the cinema!

Honorable Mention: American Psycho / Thank You For Smoking (just seems like a fun combo, no?)

Again, thanks to Marc at Go, See, Talk for organizing this. To see a list of everyone else’s features, follow this link.

Blog Meme: My Cinematic Alphabet

Now that the extended holiday weekend is over, it’s back to the grind at The Warning Sign. I have put the finishing touches on my much-delayed Cinematic Alphabet, finally joining in on a blogathon that happened months ago. While there are a few overlapping titles from my Life In Movies list, I tried to diversify this compilation and present alternate films. These are still some of my favorite movies, although some entered the foray due to challenging letters (I’m looking at you, Quiz Show!). This was a lot of fun to come up with, and if you haven’t done so I highly recommend going for it. Also, be sure to check out my Video Game Alphabet as well. Gotta love blog memes, right?

American Psycho
A is for American Psycho –

Buried
B is for Buried –

City of God
C is for City of God –

Dazed and Confused
D is for Dazed and Confused –

Election
E is for Election –

Fight Club
F is for Fight Club –

Garden State
G is for Garden State –

High Fidelity
H is for High Fidelity –

Inglourious Basterds
I is for Inglourious Basterds –

Juno
J is for Juno –

The Killing
K is for The Killing –

Leon: The Professional
L is for Leon: The Professional –

Midnight Express
M is for Midnight Express –

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
N is for The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! –

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
O is for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest –

Pulp Fiction
P is for Pulp Fiction –

Quiz Show
Q is for Quiz Show –

Requiem for a Dream
R is for Requiem for a Dream –

Secretary
S is for Secretary –

They Live [1988]
T is for They Live –

Up in the Air
U is for Up in the Air –

Vacation
V is for Vacation –

Walk the Line
W is for Walk the Line –

X-Men
X is for X-Men –

Yojimbo [1961]
Y is for Yojimbo –

Zombieland
Z is for Zombieland –