The Best of the Best Picture Winners (2019)


A few days ago, a friend (and fellow Oscar buff) was telling me how upset she was that most of the Best Picture nominees (not just the winners) are not ones she would want her two daughters (one in Middle School, the other in High School) to see.

While I am not a parent, I can see the concern. Most of the best picture nominees these days are not exactly going to be “family friendly” (the last Best Picture winner that was not rated R was The Artist in 2011).

There are, of course, many other winners (and nominees) of the past nine decades that Hollywood has given these awards. Here are my views on all of them (while many are some I can watch time and time again, some are still question marks to this day).

And the Oscar went to…


The English Patient

It is not the longest film to ever win best picture, but The English Patient (1996) easily seems like the longest. The story of a nurse (Juliette Binoche, who won an oscar for Supporting Actress and does a fine job here) who hears the story of a love story between a man (Ralph Fiennes) and a married woman (Kristen Scott Thomas) is beyond boring (unlike films it beat, mainly Fargo) and completely drawn out. Elaine Benes from “Seinfeld” was right about this film. True, the film does give sort of flashback vibe to old school Hollywood epics, but you are better off watching them.

Parents: Not for kids. Sexuality and violence.


The Broadway Melody

One of the first musicals (and talkies), The Broadway Melody (1929) suffers mainly because it was in the first years of talkies, when Hollywood was still working with the new technology. It reminds me a little too much of the film they were failing to make in the film Singin’ in the Rain. Of all the winners of the Best Picture award, this is the film that is hands down the most dated.

Parents: Nothing bad for kids, but I doubt they will enjoy it.


American Beauty

Even before the career downfall of Kevin Spacey, I didn’t feel like American Beauty (1999) has aged entirely as well as some would have hoped. It has great acting, but the film about a man having a mid-life crisis has far too many creepy moments in it that makes you feel a little uncomfortable, unlike better movies like The Green Mile. Now with the end of Kevin Spacey’s career, the film is very hard to watch.

Parents: Not, I repeat, NOT for kids. A lot of sexual stuff.


The Greatest Show on Earth

Considered one of the worst Best Picture winners, The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) does look nice, but the story of a circus behind the scenes is anything but great (yes, that is James Stewart next to Charlton Heston as a clown). It is certainly not better than High Noon, The Quiet Man, or (even though it was sadly not even nominated) Singin’ in the Rain. Director Cecil B. Demille has many more films that are far better.

Parents: It is okay for kids, but nothing they will really get out of it.



A nice looking movie, with nice costumes, surrounded by a creepy story, Gigi (1958) is like a nice looking apple with worms on the inside. It is a musical, but with only one song that is sub par.

Parents: I guess if you kids really like costumes?



The first Western to win Best Picture, Cimarron (1931) tells an somewhat decent story, but is easily forgettable. It is nowhere near as good as another film from 1931 (even though it was not nominated), Charlie Chaplin’s uncanny masterpiece City Lights.

Parents: Kids can see it, though I can’t promise they would like it.


Tom Jones

The late great Albert Finney does fine work here as the title character, but Tom Jones (1963) is supposed to be funny and (while I know comedy is subjective) it really isn’t. It is a tad creepy. Unlike Lillies of the Field.

Parents: Not really for kids.


Out of Africa

Out of Africa (1985) does give us a decent Robert Redford performance and a wonderful performance by Meryl Streep (no surprise). What is a surprise is how bland the movie feels. It is no match nowadays for Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple, which was left empty-handed at the Oscars, still a travesty. Still, the film does have a gorgeous film score.

Parents: Nothing too bad, but I doubt kids would like it.


Around the world in 80 Years

David Niven is pitch perfect as the man who wants to go on a huge expedition, but Around the World in 80 Days (1956) is full of wonderful sights with too simple a story to take seriously. Also, as a fan of Frank Sinatra, it was a big downer to see him in the film for nearly seven seconds. Perhaps the reason this beat out Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments (which I would argue is still the best biblical film ever made) is the academy was still questioning the win of The Greatest Show on Earth four years prior. That is my best guess, anyway.

Parents: Nothing bad for kids, if they can pay attention that long.


The Great Ziegfeld

Despite being long and a little predictable, The Great Ziegfeld (1936) is worth watching for the performances, mainly Best Actress winner Luise Rainer, who is glamorous and transcendent. Still, San Fransisco has stood the test of time better

Parents: Again, it is okay for kids if they can stand the length.


The Life of Emile Zola

The first half is very hard to sit through, but the second half of The Life of Emile Zola (1937) has the actual story to it. Paul Muni also does a wonderful job in the title role.

Parents: Nothing wrong here for kids.


Shakespeare in Love

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who likes Shakespeare in Love (1998) more than Saving Private Ryan (or even Life is Beautiful), but it does not make the film any worse. Paltrow is very good here as well in the role that got her an Oscar. Still, a horrible shame it won over Saving Private Ryan. It also has the stench over it of Harvey Weinstein.

Parents: Not for kids.



A basic melodrama, Calvalcade (1933) does tend to drag at times, but the performances of the time do a nice job.

Parents: Ok for kids.


Midnight Cowboy

One of the strangest on this list, Midnight Cowboy (1969) does feature career performances (mainly Dustin Hoffman), but I still admit to being a huge fan of Butch Cassidey and the Sundance Kid.

Parents: NOT FOR KIDS (At the time of this film, it was rated X, though today it would be a solid rated R).


A Man for All Seasons

Though it is very slow at times, A Man for all Seasons (1966) has fine acting. The stand out is Paul Scofield (who won the Oscar for Best Actor) as a man who puts his loyalty to God over that of his to the King (Robert Shaw).

Parents: If your kids can endure the length, they are fine.



Despite a great feel of the period and being a great example of an actor (Laurence Olivier) directing himself, Hamlet (1948) does not live up to another movie from the same year, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which is far superior.

Parents: Okay for kids


The Last Emperor

Another example of beauty over substance, The Last Emperor (1987) is a grand looking flick with lots of eye-popping visuals. Too bad the story is on one level, unlike other films that year like The Untouchables or Moonstruck.

Parents: Not for kids (some nudity, plus they will be bored)


Mrs. Miniver

A nice portrayal of the beginning of World War Two, Mrs. Miniver (1942) is mainly known not for its performances (which include Oscar winners Greer Garson and the always lovable Teresa Wright), but for what happened on Oscar night. Garson gave the longest speech in Oscar history, nearly six minutes long. Because of this, the time limit was invented for future speeches of Oscar winners.

Parents: Decent for kids.


All the King's Men

While it is not the best movie ever made about politics (that will always be Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in 1939), All the King’s Men (1949) is still one every politician should see. The acting is stellar, and it is a reminder that corruption is as easy to pick up in politics as ever.

Parents: Okay for kids



There is no doubt in my mind that Gandhi (1982) gives a stellar Ben Kingsley performance that makes you think it is actually the real life activist has come back to life. Still, it does drag on at times, and is nowhere near as engrossing (let alone popular) as E.T. is.

Parents: Fine for kids, if they can stand the run time (should be watched in High School).



The original best picture winner, Wings (1927) does drag on at times. Still, it does have some really nicely done fight scenes (especially considering the time it was made). Also, it is the first Best Picture winner, so that alone is still kind of cool.

Parents: One (very brief) glimpse of nudity, but that is it.



I will probably get colorful feedback for this one. Afterall, I was in middle school when Gladiator (2000) came out, and I loved it back then. Now, a decade and a half later, it still has its moments (meaning yes, Maximus, I am still somewhat entertained),  but it wears thin after a while. Admittedly, it is not as good as the years other nominees, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Traffic.

Parents: This is one of the cases where a middle schooler would be fine watching an R rated film.


The Deer Hunter

Coming out at just the right time, The Deer Hunter (1978) does go on a bit long. However, it does have great scenes including a wedding scene to inspire all wedding scenes, and, of course, Russian Roulette.

Parents: Not for kids, in any way shape or form.


Gentleman's Agreement

Gentlemen’s Agreement (1947) does give us great performances by Gregory Peck and (Oscar winner) Celeste Holm. It is also one of the best films made about anti-Semitism. Still, it is probably not as well-known now as Miracle on 34th Street.

Parents: Okay for kids



Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (2014) is definitely a film for the ages (the first to seem like it was done in a long take since Hitchcock’s Rope). The performances are uncanny throughout, though I still feel Boyhood is the better movie.

Parents: Not really for kids, though High Schoolers may be fine.



While it is certainly not the director’s best film, Rebecca (1940) is the only film of Alfred Hitchcock to win Best Picture. It does build suspense, provides acting greats like Olivier and Fontaine, and has a delicious villain in Mrs. Danvers.

Parents: Suspenseful (of course) but not too bad for kids.



Despite only winning two Oscars (Best Picture and Best Screenplay), what makes Spotlight (2015) so engrossing is how tightly sealed the script is (as well as every actor on their A game). Sure, it is not as good as All the President’s Men (the Citizen Kane of journalism movies), but it ranks up there.

Parents: The subject matter is far too intense for kids.  High School and above.


The Lost Weekend

Still the best film made about drinking, The Lost Weekend (1945) shows one of the best examples of a character battling their desires ever shown on film (thanks, of course, to the Oscar-winning performance by Ray Milland). The imagery he sees are rather frightening.

Parents: May be a bit intense for kids.


All Quiet on the Western Front

While it was not the first war film ever made, the invention of sound in movies did help All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) stand the test of time. I would argue it is still the best film ever made about World War One, and still has images that will make you quiver.

Parents: It is a war film, but because of when it was made, it is not terribly violent.


Driving Miss Daisy

I am still a bigger fan of Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, and My Left Foot, yet there is still something endearing about Driving Miss Daisy (1989). It must be the undeniable chemistry between Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman.

Parents: Okay for kids, though there is some swearing.


Mutiny on the Bounty

Although Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) only won Best Picture and nothing else, it still does a nice job of being entertaining thanks to Gable and Laughton as one of cinema’s best bad guys. Still, I would rather watch Top Hat.

Parents: Passable for kids

Parents: The film is definitely not for kids.


Going my Way

Going My Way (1944) may not be the main thing Bing Crosby is known for nowadays, but he definitely shines as Father O’Malley for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor. His co-star Barry Fitzgerald was also nominated in that category, but won for the same performance in the supporting actor category. I still need to find out how that worked out.

Parents: It is okay for kids.


How Green was my Valley

I can’t help but feel sorry for How Green was my Valley (1941). Truly, it is a rather good movie. The problem is that it beat out competition at the Oscars that are far better than it. Films like The Maltese Falcon, considered the first (and best) film noir in history. Or that other movie, Citizen Kane.

Parents: Fine for kids.



Oliver! (1968) was the last musical to win Best Picture in the 20th Century, and does not get the praise I feel it deserves. It is funny, charming, scary (Bill Sykes is creepy as heck), and delivers great numbers. Also, I would say how bad it is that this film beat 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the Kubrick masterpiece was not even nominated, which is beyond silly.

Parents: Okay for kids.


An American in Paris

Their next film, Singin’ in the Rain (this is the third time I mentioned it so I think it is obvious I am fan), is far better. Still, An American in Paris (1951) has director Stanley Donen and star Gene Kelly giving great visuals and masterful dancing. Not bad, even though A Streetcar named Desire and The African Queen (not nominated) were better.

Parents: Okay for kids.


Grand Hotel

In a way, Grand Hotel (1932) was a trend setter. It was the original all-star cast film (Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, John and Lionel Barrymore) that did not just rely on star power. It relied on stellar acting and a wonderful story.

Parents: Kid friendly



It is still a shock to me how the Oscars managed to make a mess up of announcing Best Picture (which I still felt La La Land deserved). Still, it is hard to deny the poetic power of Moonlight (not to mention the solid acting of everyone involved).

Parents: Too intense for kids


The Departed

Even if Goodfellas and Raging Bull are better movies in the long run, it was The Departed (2006) that finally brought Martin Scorsese the Oscar for Best Director. The story of mobsters has multiple layers and top-notch acting by all in the cast.

Parents: The film is definitely not for kids.


Terms of Endearment

Even though I would prefer The Right Stuff and Tender Mercies, there is no denying the emotional power of Terms of Endearment (1983). Shirley Maclaine and Debra Winger are perfect as mother and daughter, and no womanizing neighbor could be played better than anyone not named Jack Nicholson. It also has a tear-jerker scene for the ages.

Parents: Not really for kids


The Kings Speech

While others prefered The Social Network (a very good film) , The King’s Speech (2010) was more entertaining for me. No small part goes to the acting (Colin Firth is spellbinding, and Geoffrey Rush is equally brilliant), about a simple story of someone who has a stuttering problem (mind you, he is a king).

Parents: There is one 30 second scene of swearing, and another of 5-10 seconds,  but that is it. Really, just fast forward through it, and you are ok.


The French Connection

One of the more heart pounding films on this list, The French Connection (1971) is what shot Gene Hackman to film immortality. His Popeye Doyle is one character you better not have against you, especially in a car chase.

Parents: Not for kids.


The Shape of Water

Weird, original, and as outside the box as most films, The Shape of Water (2017) was far from a typical Best Picture winner (minus the fact of great direction and sublime performances). Nevertheless, it remains one of the most moving love stories of recent memory.

Parents: Not for kids, as it has much sexual content.



12 Years a Slave (2013) is easily one of the hardest films to watch on this list, but also one of the most important. It is one of those films you don’t watch as much as you can, but it is one that stays with you for the remainder of your life. All the actors are masterful here (mainly Oscar winner Lupita N’Yongo in her first film role).

Parents: Quite a bit of nudity, and the subject matter clearly makes it not for kids. Still, when you children get mature enough (High School or College) they should see the film.


Rain Man

Rain Man (1988) is what most people think of when they think of autism. Dustin Hoffman is the one with the showier role (he won his second Oscar for the performance), but Tom Cruise does equally fine work as his brother. It is a hard call for me between this and Mississippi Burning.

Parents,: Despite one minor sex scene, middle schoolers should be okay seeing this.


A Beautiful Mind

Russell Crowe may have won the Oscar for Gladiator, but I have yet to meet anyone who thinks it was a better performance than the one he gave in A Beautiful Mind (2001). The film is centered mainly on his performance (as well as Oscar Winner Jennifer Connelly’s as his wife). Now a random question: He is obviously a genius, but how on earth did he get those biceps? Just wondering.

Parents: Some sexual talk and swearing, but nothing else. Middle School and above would be okay.



Yes, I really did like the film Crash (2005). I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I do. It has great acting (which no one can deny), and it is about the characters more so than the story. I still like it more than Brokeback Mountain (which I still feel is a little overrated, though Heath Ledger was magnificent).

Parents: A sex scene (with nudity), a ton of swearing, and violence. High School and above.


In the heat of the night

Winning over films like Guess who’s coming to Dinner and The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night (1967) was a film for its time, a film about the tensions of racism (which, of course, still resonates today. While Rod Steiger won the Best Actor Oscar, it is easily Sidney Poitier you will remember as Virgil Tibbs.

Parents: High School and above, as this is when nudity started showing up more and more in movies.



I was in my preteens when Titanic (1997) came out (though I never saw it in theaters). I knew it was a big film when I saw it (and that there was a drawing scene). It was also what truly got me into the Oscars in the first place, so I owe it that.

Parents: There is the famous nude scene to avoid, and some swearing. Only High School and above.


Ordinary People

Next to Raging Bull, Ordinary People (1980) is obviously not the clear winner. Still, the film by Robert Redford does tell a very intriguing story with acting you will remember. Mainly, it is Oscar Winner Timothy Hutton who gives a performance almost as perfect as Raging Bull‘s Robert De Niro. Almost.

Parents: The film is R rated for swearing. High School and above.



I can’t say how much I liked Chicago (2002) when it came out in theaters. I loved it. It is one of a few movies I have seen four times in the theater (my personal record). True, The Pianist was a better film, but seldom has a movie come out in theaters that I had a lot of true fun at. That surpasses the fact that Harvey Weinstein was involved. Barely.

Parents: It is a musical, but not for kids. High School and above.


The Artist

The Artist (2011) made my job of telling people what movies to see and not see a lot easier. It reminded us all that films are not just about what you may or may not hear, but about what you feel. That, plus the movie has one heck of an awesome dog.

Parents: This has one “obscene gesture” (someone uses the middle finger) but that is it. The film is perfectly fine for kids.



If you bring up the name Alec Guinness to anyone nowadays, they would most likely remember him at Obi-Wan Kenobi from the original Star Wars. After that, it would be his Oscar-winning role as Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). It will be difficult seeing anyone else in the role. As for the film itself, while I do like 12 Angry Men better, there is no denying the gravity epic scope of this film.

Parents: May be a bit long for kids, but nothing too horrible.



Easily one of the best war films ever made, Platoon (1986) has about more grit than almost any film every made. This is thanks to director Oliver Stone (who was in the Vietnam War), and sums up the film perfectly with the line on the poster: The first casualty of war is innocence.

Parents: definitely not for kids (some nudity is shown but not for long), but should be watched at some point when they are in High School.



In one of the best years for film, it was Argo (2012) that took the prize. It was a story that (at least for me) was not well-known (at least compared to other movies that year like Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty), it was directed by an actor (which the Oscars like to reward a lot, despite the director not getting a nomination which is still a big question mark today), and it was (most importantly) entertaining as can be.

Parents: High School and above only.



It is hard for one actor/actress to carry a film, but George C. Scott does that and more as the title character of Patton (1970). It does go on long, but every time Scott is on-screen, you can’t help but smile.

Parents: Some violence but nothing bad. Middle schoolers and above, provided they can stand a long movie.


Sunrise A Tale of Two Humans

At the first Academy Awards, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1929) won Best Picture in the category of Unique and Artistic Production, the only time that category existed. Still, these days critics and film goers tend to like it more because of its authentic artistry that is standing the test of time a little better than Wings. I have to agree.

Parents: Okay for kids


The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King

I never read the books till I saw the first film, but I had a feeling that Peter Jackson was saving the best for last. That is exactly what happened with The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King (2003). It is a spectacle that is hard to ignore (even if great performances by Sean Astin and Viggo Mortensen were). Some could argue it won all of its 11 nominations (a record for a perfect score) for the trilogy as a whole, but the film is still easily the best of the whole series (including The Hobbit films, which I thought were just so so).

Parents: Some scary moments, but films your kids would want to see. Still, start with the first films or they will definitely be confused.


No Country for Old Men

There are few filmmakers as diverse as the Coen brothers, and it was their film No Country for Old Men (2007) that brought them each three Oscars (for directing, writing, and producing). It is terrifying (Javier Bardem gives us one of the best villains of the 21st century), enticing (Bardem is the scene stealer, but every actor is on their A game here), and thought-provoking (I still have yet to find out what I feel about the ending). Also, don’t forget some of that awkward humor.

Parents: Another film not for kids. No real nudity (some talk about sex) but it is a really dark, violent film. High School and above.


The Hurt Locker

It is the lowest money-maker of all Best Picture winners (its competition that year was Avatar, which is still the biggest world-wide money-maker), but The Hurt Locker (2009) is a better film. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (who was once married to James Cameron), it is as real a war film as you will ever see. I still feel like it is the type of film fans of first person shooter games would love. It is a film that should be shown to anyone even remotely interested in enlisting.

Parents: High School and above only.



Although Apollo 13 is a better movie, Braveheart (1995) still holds a nice place in my heart. It was the first hard rated R film I saw (though obviously not in the theater, as I was only eight at the time). True, it is known to have historical inaccuracies (a lot of movies do), but it is still entertaining as ever. It is also proof that, regardless of his personal life, Mel Gibson knows how to make a movie.

Parents: High School and above only. There is one scene of nudity, but nothing explicit. Lots of violence.



Unforgiven (1992) is Clint Eastwood’s love letter to the Western. Like all of the films Eastwood directs, it is a simple story with multiple layers that have unforgettable characters. There are a lot of tough guy actors, but seldom have there been any as memorable as Clint Eastwood. No man on-screen has ever looked as scary holding a gun.

Parents: Not for kids, but should be okayfor High Schoolers (a brief sex scene at the start, but no nudity).


Slumdog Millionaire

Probably my favorite thing about the first time I saw Slumdog Millionaire (2008) was that I knew next to nothing about the film. It is almost Capra-like in the way it tells the fairy tale story of how fighting for the one you love,  no matter what, is really wonderful. That, and an awesome ending dance number.

Parents: There is no real sex scenes, just swearing and some violence. I would think Middle School and above.


The Sting

The Sting (1973) was the first encounter I had with its two stars, Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Each are as charming as ever, and it is their presence alone that makes the film worth watching. That, and awesome music.

Parents: There is some swearing, and one scene of nudity (a strip show type of thing), but that is it. Skip that scene, and middle school and above.



Ben-Hur (1959) is a remake of a 1925 film that is easily more remembered. It is long, but it is carried by a performance by Charlton Heston, great sweeping images, and a chariot race that has never been matched. The scene where he first meets Jesus is the best biblical scene ever put on film.

Parents: It is long, and full of some violence, but middle school and above are fine. Just keep them far away from the 2016 remake.


Kramer vs Kramer

I am going out on a limb here: I think Dustin Hoffman gives his best performance in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). He plays one of the most relatable fathers in movie history, and Meryl Streep is equally good as his ex-wife. Of course, there is no doubt it is not as good a movie as Apocalypse Now.

Parents: There is a scene of nudity, a little violence, and swearing. High School and above.



Movies are not the best source for accurate details (except for Documentaries), but are awesome at entertaining. That is what makes Amadeus (1984) so wonderful. If you are looking for accurate facts,  you won’t find many. If you want entertainment, you sure as heck will.

Parents: The extended version has nudity, while the normal (PG) version does not. Either way, I would say High Schoolers and above.


From Here to Eternity

When I saw the preview for the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, I thought it looked like sure oscar bait (I was 14 and stupid). Later, I discovered From Here to Eternity (1953), and what a good movie about Pearl Harbor can be.

Parents: Aside from the beach scene (which is not that bad at all), middle schoolers and above would be fine.


Chariots of Fire

I am a bigger fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark and On Golden Pond. Still, there is something very uplifting about Chariots of Fire (1981). Mainly, it is the way the story is told, and that immortal music that has been parodied to death.

Parents: Okay for kids.


The Silence of the Lambs

JFK is one of my all time favorite movies, but the Academy went instead with another masterpiece, The Silence of the Lambs (1991). One of three films to win the top five Oscars (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay), it set a new standard for horror that many these days are trying to duplicate but none really have (to be fair, it is hard to top a villain like Hannibal Lecter).

Parents: High School and above. No one else under that age group.


Million Dollar Baby

Regardless of whether you agree with the ending. you have to love how Clint Eastwood got there. His Million Dollar Baby (2004) is one of the best sports films ever made. Each of the three main actors are at the top of their games, and it gives us the best Morgan Freeman scene ever.

Parents: It is difficult to watch at times, so I would think High School and above (or at least really mature Middle Schoolers).


Dances with Wolves

First, the obvious. Goodfellas is far better of a movie. Even so, Dances with Wolves (1990) gets bad raps for beating it. It is still glorious to behold, and deserves more love. It is gritty, realistic, and deserving of respect.

Parents: Middle Schoolers would be fine as long as they don’t mind a long run time.


Forrest Gump

In one of the best years for movies, it must have been difficult to pick Forrest Gump (1994) over better flicks like Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption. Still, the Tom Hanks film (which he is remembered for most) was the first real “drama” I had seen in my life. It still touches the heart every time I watch it.

Parents: Middle School and above.


All about Eve

It must have been a hard choice to choose between All about Eve (1950) and Sunset Blvd. I do prefer the latter, but the former is still wonderful entertainment. With stars like Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, and Marilyn Monroe, it indeed is a bumpy night of enjoyment.

Parents: Middle School and above. Any younger would get bored.


The Best years of our lives

It’s a Wonderful Life is loved by pretty much anyone who has seen it, but it lost to another great movie, The Best Years of our Lives (1946). No film about return soldiers has topped it, and while all the actors are great, the best is Harold Russell, an actual war veteran.

Parents: Fine for kids

17.You can't take it with you.jpg

Bette Davis was wonderful in Jezebel, as was Spencer Tracy in the wonderful Boys Town. Also, color films were in the arena with films like The Adventures of Robin Hood. Still, You Can’t Take it with You (1938) is definitely one of Frank Capra’s best. I smiled the whole way through. It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling you won’t forget.

Parents: Okay for kids.

16.The Sound of Music

Although it was dubbed “the sound of mucus” by film critic Pauline Kael, The Sound of Music (1965) is one of the most loved films ever made. Even the hardest hearted person can’t help but get the songs in their head.

Parents: Easily, this is the first Best Picture any kid should start with.


My Fair Lady

extravagant is the best word to describe My Fair Lady (1964). Even if Audrey Hepburn does not do her own singing, she give a beautiful performance. Also, no one can ever be Henry Higgins like Rex Harrison. No one. It is hard to find a favorite song here, but mine would be “I  could have danced all night”. Not bad for a movie that beat Mary Poppins and Dr. Strangelove.

Parents: A little long, but okay for kids.


One flew over the cuckoo's nest

When one looks at One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), one sees how it would have been a totally different movie. Heck, it would have been horrible without Jack Nicholson and Louise Rainer. It became the second film to win all five top Oscars, and is also what every movie should be in the first place: Enjoyable.

Parents: High School and above.


West Side Story

West Side Story (1961) was the first musical film I saw after seeing the stage version. It was my chance at seeing how a movie musical could, in a way, be better than the stage version. The choreography is stellar, and the songs are left in your mind, whether you want them to be or not.

Parents: Okay for kids, despite some violence.

12. Rocky

Network won three acting Oscars (only the second one to do so), Taxi Driver gave us Travis Bickle, and All the President’s Men was the best newspaper movie ever made. Still, like the character it is showing us, Rocky (1976) was the underdog winner for Best Picture. Despite  how you may feel about the sequels, the first was inspiring to everyone, including Charles Chaplin, who said he loved this as it was one of the last films he saw before he died.

Parents: Some violence, but middle schoolers and above are okay.


Annie Hall

I apologize to all my fellow fans of Star Wars, but Annie Hall (1977) was the better movie. I have not seen all of Woody Allen’s films (yet), but I can’t see them being better than this. His writing, directing, and acting are all top notch.It has truly earned its place as one of the top three or four best rom coms ever made.

Parents: There is swearing, and some sexuality. I would say (mature) Middle Schoolers and above.



The title character of Marty (1955) is one of the most realistic characters you will see in any movie, as well as one of the most relatable. It is the shortest Best Picture winner (90 minutes), but it packs in as much warmth, humor, romance, and realism as any film I have ever seen. Oh, how I wish this film was longer.

Parents: Okay for kids.


The Apartment

A year after his comic masterpiece Some Like it Hot, Billy Wilder came up with The Apartment (1960), equally as fantastic. Jack Lemmon gives possibly his best performance as a man who is as kind-hearted as ever, even if he rents his apartment out to his co workers. It is probably the best “dramedy” ever made.

Parents: The subject matter is a little adult, but nothing is ever shown. Middle Schoolers and above would be ok.


Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is the number one movie to show that movies should be shown on big screens, not on hand-held devices (I have yet to see it in theaters). It is spellbinding, action packed, and gorgeous beyond belief. Only this movie could have stopped To Kill a Mockingbird from winning Best Picture (though Peter O’Toole lost Best Actor to Gregory Peck, which is pretty much impossible to argue).

Parents: Middle School and above.


It Happend One Night

The first real sweep of the Oscars happened with It Happend One Night (1934), one of the funniest films ever made. Everything about the film has not aged, even over eight years later. Gable and Colbert are perfectly cast, and it set the standard for road comedies that none have been able to match. Actually, they have not even gotten close.

Parents: One of the best old school classics you can enjoy with your kids.


On the Waterfront

At the time On the Waterfront (1954) was released, it was a statement that director Elia Kazan used as showing his stance for out communists in Hollywood. Thankfully, the movie is so great that all of that controversy is not even a factor these days. This is thanks to the storytelling, the music, but mainly the acting. While Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Karl Malden are fantastic, it is Marlon Brando who leaves the biggest mark on the film. His performance is the best in film history.

Parents: A little violent, but okay for kids. Middle Schoolers and above.


The Godfather Part 2

Chinatown is one of history’s best film noirs, but it does not compare to The Godfather, Part Two (1974), arguably the best sequel ever made. Pacino gets more time to shine, and De Niro is mesmerizing as his younger father. Those last ten minutes are as haunting as anything you will see on film.

Parents: Not for kids. High Schoolers and above (though they better see the first one before hand).


Gone with the Wind.jpg

Apparently, screen legend Gary Cooper once said that Gone with the Wind (1939) would be the biggest bomb ever. I doubt he has said much more that could be more wrong. Just shy of four hours (the longest of any Best Picture winner), it never drags at all. In what many consider the best year for movies (other nominees included The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, and Stagecoach), GWTW swept (most of) the awards. It is also (when adjusted for inflation) the biggest money-maker domestically and worldwide. Add in the acting, the music (my personal favorite of all movies), and the epic scope, and, frankly, you should give…well, you know.

Parents: Despite the length (and some minor violence, plus the obvious swear word), it is ok for kids. Middle Schoolers and above.


Schindler's List

Schindler’s List (1993) is easily one of the most difficult films to sit through, as well as one of the most important. Director Steven Spielberg films the movie in black and white (had it been done in color, it would not have been good) to suck the life out of one of the worst times in human history. Nazis have always made memorable villains in movies, but not like this. They are not just evil-looking like in The Sound of Music or being stopped by Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Here, they are human beings, doing unspeakable crimes. Except for one, who did the unthinkable act of saving nearly 1100 Jews.

Parents: Easily not for kids, though High Schoolers most definetly should see the film at some point.


The Godfather.jpg

It is hard to believe, but The Godfather (1972) almost did not win Best Picture. It only won three Oscars (the main culprit was Cabaret, which, although a good film, could never compare with Coppola’s masterpiece). A friend of mine says it is the best film about family ever made, and I could not agree more. When one thinks of the mafia, this film is the first to come up in every mind. Even those who never have seen it. Although there are few roles for women in the movie, it is clear why it is one of the best movies ever made in so many people’s hearts.

Parents: High Schoolers and above.


Time has always been the best judge of movies, and no film has ever aged better than Casablanca (1943). There has never been a better romance, a better cast (especially the supporting), or (most of all) a better script (seriously, I have seen the movie a number of times, and still don’t know how many quotable lines there are). It is like wine: it gets better with age, and with every viewing. It is cliché to say so, but it will always get better, as time goes by.

Parents: Okay for kids.

The Top 10 Most Anticipated movies of 2019


The 2019 Cinema Forecast…

While we are still in the bulk of the 2018 Oscar Season, there is no actual real season for movie goers. This list is not meant to be a predictor of any kind (thought it would be ideal), but to just show the ten films that have me the most excited to make my way to the theater no matter what.





Of all the live action remakes Disney has done (including the upcoming Dumbo and Aladdin), none has me more anxious than that of The Lion King. Not excited, but anxious. This one needs to be perfect.





With the perfectly cast Tom Holland returning as the titular hero, and Jake Gyllenhaal as the villian Mysterio, expect another big solid hit for the MCU in Spider-Man: Far from Home.





With stars like Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Ansel Elgort, and Finn Wolfhard, The Goldfinch looks like a drama we could be talking about for the 92nd Oscars.





After 2017’s amazing first chapter, we fast forward twenty-seven years to IT: Chapter Two. With a cast such as James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader as the part of the adult “Loser’s Club”, I will gladly float to the theater in September.




The year will see some more animated sequels such as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Frozen 2. Yet even after the perfect ending of the third film in 2010, Disney/Pixar still feels they have more to tell with Toy Story 4. Oh, how I hope they are right.





Okay, I am more excited for the 2020 release Godzilla vs. Kong, but this year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters had one of the coolest trailers I have seen in the last few years. So, yeah, I am hooked to seem some awesome monster mashing.



Anytime Quentin Tarantino has a movie coming out, I am pumped. His next film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is no exception. Add in a cast including Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), and Al Pacino, and you have the workings of what may be a classic.





The title has yet to be released, but Episode 9 will more than likely bring an end to the Skywalker timeline (Mark Hamill will be in it, despite Luke’s fate in The Last Jedi). Also, how bittersweet it is that this will be the last time John Williams scores a Star Wars film.






Remember back at the start of the 21st century, when we all thought it was hard waiting for the newest film of the original Lord of the Rings films to continue. That almost seems juvinile to having to wait for the conclusion of MCU’s Thanos storyline. Avengers: Endgame is more than likely to make a good amount of money, but more importantly, give us closure on some great film characters.

As said in the trailer, “Part of the journey is the end.”






It may not be a certified blockbuster, but when a movie has a cast that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, ones heart is in shock. When it is discovered that film is directed by Martin Scorsese, ones heart does a backflip. There is no actual release date yet, but the Netflix film The Irishman, revolving around the infamous Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) is one that has me more ecstatic than ever before.

The Top 20 Movies of 2018

2018 best

The honorable mentions…

Another great year of movies is in the books.

Toward the end of 2018, I realized I actually was able to see nearly all of the movies I wanted to in time (though there are a few I admit I am still on the look out for).

As was the case for the 2017 list, I decided to make a top 20 list , because numbers 11-20 were too good to ignore. If you really want to cut the list in half, gather all six infinity stones, put them in the infinity gauntlet, and…SNAP! (Too soon?)


As the title character in the next film would say, “Off we go!”…




The minds at Disney are no strangers to taking risks, and doing a sequel to the 1964 classic Mary Poppins is one of their biggest risks yet. Still, even 54 years later, Mary Poppins Returns is a success due to new original music, fine performances, two amazing cameos, and the practically perfect Emily Blunt.




There is no doubt that The Favourite will not appeal to everyone, as it has a very dark sense of humor. In time, you will be able to see the film for its witty script and impeccable acting.




As 2018’s highest grossing film, Black Panther was also one of the best critical successes in the history of superhero films. Cultural relevance, sublime action, and wonderful acting were sure helpful, as it may become the first superhero flick to be nominated for Best Picture.




Deep, thoughtful, and chilling are some of the best ways one can describe First Reformed. As many great movies do, it provides more questions than answers. Not to mention Ethan Hawke’s uncanny performance.





In one of the biggest surprises of the year, Crazy Rich Asians told us the story of characters that are relatable and worthy to cheer for. Based off of a book, there are more films to come, of which I am looking forward to with a big smile.






In his directorial debut, Jonah Hill’s Mid90s explores the lives of kids growing up in the search of someone to look up to. The result is one of the years most authentic films.





Lee Israel was an author who made money by forging fake letters from popular authors, and the portrayal by Melissa McCarthy of her in Can you ever forgive me? is a revelation (Richard E. Grant is great as well). She has had strikeouts in her film career, yet this is a home run that clears the stadium.





The heat is on blast in Steve Mcqueen’s Widows, with an all-star cast on the top of their game (led by the always wonderful Viola Davis). Just because it is being somewhat overlooked does not take away from its brilliance.





One of the most human love stories in the last couple years of cinema, If Beale Street could talk is one that may not have the outcomes most are wishing for. They are the outcomes that are the right ones.






Newcomer (and Golden Globe nominee) Elsie Fisher shines through all of Eighth Grade, another coming of age story that oozes with real authentic material. Gucci, indeed.






Your heart may have been rock solid if it wasn’t feeling warm after witnessing Green Book. Both Ali and Mortensen give Oscar caliber performances, giving us the ultimate bromance of 2018.






As of this writing, I have yet to meet anyone I have mentioned Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to come back to me saying it was a bad movie. Believe the hype, for this is the best Spidey cinema has produced, the best animated film of 2018, and easily a post credit scene better than anything the MCU has offered.





Sorry if the above image brings back bad memories, but that is how big of a movie Avengers: Infinity War was. Even before the “snap heard round the world”, the film was unlike any superhero film we have seen before. Endgame cannot come soon enough.





A Quiet place had a nice premise, as did the currently popular (but not entirely great) Bird Box, but no film this year left me with such dread as Hereditary did. This movie will leave a unique bitter taste in your mouth for sometime after the credits, and I mean that as a compliment.





In no way would BlacKKKlansmen have been as wonderful as it was if it weren’t directed by Spike Lee. Only he could do justice to a true story about an African America undercover cop (an awesome debut by John David Washington, son of Denzel)  who joins the KKK. Yes, it gets political, but it is super intriguing.





Having a good directorial debut is one thing, but there is another level that Bradley Cooper is on in A Star is Born. He gives one of his best performances, does the fourth remake of a movie, and lets Lady Gaga show she has more than singing talent. Yeah, expect this to be mentioned more than once come Oscar night.




You can name any superhero you want, but none could hold a candle to the bravery of Fred Rogers, even if he is not completely well-known to kids today. Thankfully, the ever charming Won’t you be my Neighbor? is a chance to remind us not just of the man, but (more importantly) his ideals. A lovely day indeed.





Not since 2013’s Gravity has flying seem so realistic. Damien Chazelle’s First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong (an understated Ryan Gosling) walking on the moon, brings tension and grit to the highest of levels. Months later, the sound effects are still giving me the chills of space.





I have mentioned how Netflix’s original films are not always great, and while I have not seen all of them, I doubt many can come close to Roma. Director Alfonso Cuaron (director of the previously mentioned Gravity) delivers a passion project that is nothing short of sublime. It may be on Netflix, but the film deserves to be seen on the biggest screen you can see it on. Hands down 2018 most gorgeous film (even the cleaning of dog crap looked beautiful).





Throughout 2018, I wrestled up and down between my favorite film of the year, and then I came across a hidden treasure, Leave No Trace. The first film in eight years from director Debra Granik (her last film was the masterful 2010 film Winter’s Bone with Jennifer Lawrence), the simple story of a father (Ben Foster) and his daughter (amazing new comer Thomasin McKenzie) who try to avoid civilization is both heartbreaking and beautiful. It hit me in the feels more than any other film last year. You may not have heard of it, but it is out on DVD, and is more than worth looking for. Scratch that, it is worth buying.

The Top 10 Worst Movies of 2018

2018 Worst

Thankfully, the films above were ones I avoided.


My love for movies is vast and may have no limits. So much so that, once in a while, my mind tricks me: “Yes, the movie is supposed to be bad, but it might show that you are willing to sit through anything in order to be a professional critic”.

It is true I am willing to sit through any film if it brings me closer to being a professional movie critic, but the following ten films were the ones that tested me more than any other this year.



10 Aquaman

With the exception of 2017’s Wonder Woman, DC really is not hitting hard on the cinema front, and it continues with Aquaman. Yes, Jason Mamoa was good, but anyone with a brain stem could have predicted every possible outcome of this watered down material.




As big of a fan as I am of the original Harry Potter films, the newest ones are lacking in the department of character development and grace. Even with a plot twist at the end that had some bit of interest, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald was nothing short of exhausting.



8 Venom

Say what you will about the MCU, but at least they don’t fail when it comes to plot (mostly) and villains. The same cannot be said about Venom, which is sad because I would love to see Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock again if these companies could just get along.




There was new promise in 2015 when Jurassic World came out, reviving the dinosaur universe. Then came Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which, while it looked nice, put the movies back near extinction.



Irreplaceable You



No spoiler: Netflix original films are not always great, but Irreplaceable You is beyond the level of sappy and impossibilities you find on the Hallmark channel. I would call it the worst romantic film of the year, however…



5 The Kissing Booth

I am a fan of romantic comedies when they are smart and witty, both of which The Kissing Booth is not in the same time zone of. Good young actors are caught in a script that just gives the taste of blah.






Okay Netflix, I promise this is the last time you will have a movie on this list. Marketing of The Cloverfield Paradox was well done, but that is the only thing that can be said positive about this sci-fi crap fest.



3 The Meg

I have seen all but the last of the Sharknado movies, and those were better than The Meg.  A bucket of chum has a much more pleasant smell than this film.



2 Slender Man

If my good friend James in Michigan is reading this, consider this my deepest apology. When we last saw each other, I went with you and your family to see Slender Man, because nothing else was out. You paid for my ticket, and I would not blame you for pressing charges against me.





Of all the movies I have seen in 2018 (both good and bad), I have talked about none more than The Death of a Nation. At the end, Dinesh D’Douza gives us the website to go to if we want to learn more. When I went, I saw no facts there. Perhaps most painful of all for the film is that, at only three in a half minutes in, Hitler commits suicide. If Hitler killing himself because he does not want to be in your movie is not a metaphor for how much your movie sucks, I don’t know what is.

2018 Half Time Report



I am rather surprised that the first half of 2018 has had a rather good share of quality films, nearly breaking the tradition of having mainly bad films in the first half of a year. It actually made me realize that while I can make a top five of the year so far, I could not do a bottom five (for it would include films I actually enjoy).

That being said, such good movies like Deadpool 2, A Quiet Place, Incredibles 2, Ready Player One, and Set it Up did not make the list.

First, the bottom three…


3. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

After the nice revival of the series in 2015, we are given this let down. Nice visuals, but way too many plot turns and clichés that make you shake your head rather than nod.

2. Irreplaceable you

It is rather sad when there is a romantic movie that tries hard to bring the tears and fails. Too many characters making choices that are really difficult to relate to, let alone agree with.

1. The Cloverfield Paradox

Credit to the film makers for keeping this project a secret up until the release right after the Superbowl. That is really the only positive I can think of. I have not seen any of the other Cloverfield films, but it still does not hide what a waste of time and money this was.


Note: The last two films mentioned star actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. I point this out because I wish to say she is talented, and I hope she gets better material soon.)


Now the best so far…

5. Isle of Dogs

Leave it to Wes Anderson to, as always, give us as fresh an original movie as possible. It is weird, quirky, funny, touching, and has Bill Murray. So, you know, a basic Wes Anderson film.

4. Black Panther

Easily one of Marvel’s top films, the kingdom of Wakanda gives us some of the best action, grit, and realism we have seen in any action film. All the cast is wonderful.

3. Avengers: Infinity War

As if the previous film were not enough, Marvel then proceeded to give us the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight. Seriously, think of how bad this movie could have been, and yet there is hardly a fault. Regardless of how you feel, there is no doubt of the wonderful, terrifying screen presence of Thanos (Josh Brolin is definitely having a good 2018).

2. Hereditary

This horror thriller reminded me a lot of 2016’s unseen gem The Witch. With a stellar cast (mainly Toni Colette), this film leaves a taste that I have still not fully gotten out of my system. I don’t think I want to either.

1. Won’t you be my Neighbor?

We still have more action packed films (comic book or otherwise) to endure this year, but they did not come much more humble and respected than Fred Rogers (who took me years to realize his first name). A documentary that is sure to bring tears and cheers, it is as necessary a film as the world needs these days. Like Hereditary, it will leave a taste (albeit a much warmer and comfortable one) in your bones and soul that will not leave you (not to mention make you feel somewhat guilty for the parodies Rogers had to suffer).


Now to the second half of 2018…



The Top 20 Movies of 2017


Even with 20, these films did not make the cut.

Ladies and gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for.


I went back and forth as to whether make the traditional top ten, or go with twenty. I decided on the latter for a few reasons. First, in a great year for movies, there were too many to ignore (and even at twenty, films such as Wonder Woman, Detroit, Mudbound, and Darkest Hour did not make it). Second, so what if I added more than ten? If you really want see just the top ten, here is a trick: skip down to number ten, and go from there (though you will be missing a lot of great films along the way).



The Disaster Artist.JPG



A passion project for director/actor James Franco, The Disaster Artist tells the tale of another passion project (and cult favorite), The Room. Franco is so wonderful in the role of the aloof Tommy Wiseau that it goes beyond comedy and becomes very human. It truly tears you apart!



Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain, fantastic as Molly.


Renowned screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game, is full of electricity. As always, his dialogue snaps like fire crackers, no doubt due to the wonderful casting of greats such as Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.



Faces Places

JR and Agnes Varda, on a quest you have not seen before.

The most recent film I have seen as of this writing, Faces Places is the unique documentary about legendary french film maker Agnes Varda and her friend JR (whose eyes she has never seen). They go around meeting people as they post big pictures of their subjects on vast walls. As in all great films, it goes far beyond that. It reminded me a lot about Errol Morris’s masterpiece, Gates of Heaven.



Logan Lucky

No peaking!

Even with an all-star cast including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Hillary Swank, Seth Macfarlane, and (especially) Daniel Craig, a film like Logan Lucky could have gone wrong on so many levels. Thankfully, the script is so tight that every moment is real, authentic, and down right ludicrously hilarious.



The Last Jedi

Sometimes, questions don’t need concrete answers.

A prime example of a movie you either love or hate, I am on the former when it comes to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. No, we did not get any “answers” to questions we may have had, but so what? It was a Star Wars film that gave us new twists and turns we had not seen before, plus was much better than the overrated Rogue One.



Blade Runner 2049

Deckard returns.

From one sci-fi sequel to another, Blade Runner 2049 is full of a lot of questions that are also unanswered. What no one will question is the gorgeous scope of the film, thanks in part to cinematographer Roger Deakins (who may finally get his Oscar now).




Logan and his daughter.

In one of the best years for superhero films, my pick still goes to Logan. A swan song of epic proportions, Hugh Jackman truly goes out swinging. Or clawing.




The Post

Meryl Streep as Kay Graham, owner of The Post.


Even if the film was rushed, Steven Spielberg’s The Post has a fire burning in the soul, which shows in the cast led by Hollywood giants Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. It is a movie that, had it not been made, I would not be reminded of the right I have to be typing these words in the first place.



I Tonya

Just before the show, Robbie’s Harding is set to go…

How wickedly devilish is the film I, Tonya! So fun, and self-aware of itself, it gives a stellar Margot Robbie performance, and heaven knows how wonderful Allison Janney is as one of the worst mom’s in recent cinema history.




Miguel’s passion for music knows no bounds…

As Miguel tugs at the guitar strings, so does Coco tug at our heart-strings. Which, by now, is totally the standard Disney/Pixar films have set for all animated films (and others in general).



Lady Bird

Ronan as the title character.

One of the most original scripts in recent memory, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird is full of outstanding wit and charm. It is also more proof why Saoirse Ronan is truly one of the best actors of her generation.




The Wonder that is Jacob Tremblay.

Of all the movies I saw this year, I fought the hardest (okay, fought myself) for Wonder to be in the top ten. Based of the book of the same name (which I highly recommend), this wonderful fable of why it is important to #choosekind is something I cannot imagine parents not taking their kids to.




Many of the soldiers at Dunkirk


Very few, if any, director has a current positive track record than Christopher Nolan, and Dunkirk is no exception. Packed with more than enough tension and grit, it is as fitting a war film as they come.



A Ghost Story.JPG

Time moves by in an instant for the ghost

At only around an hour and a half, few films of this (or any) year have given me more questions than that of A Ghost Story. Like a pool, you soak in it, look at the reflection, and see all the questions you want answered. Multiple viewings are needed, and are something I plan to do in the time I have left on earth.




Mildred is a role only Frances McDormand could play

Another one of the most original scripts in years, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a tough sit through at many times. Yet it has so much dark peppered humor and spot on performances (mainly McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and especially Sam Rockwell) it is hard to turn away.



The Big Sick

A love story unlike any seen before

The true story of how one man met his wife, The Big Sick is still the best rom com I have seen in nearly a decade. All the actors are hilarious and convincing, and the writing is top-notch. I still can’t get over that 9/11 joke.



The Florida Project

Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the hotel manager who is tough but kind-hearted.

I had never thought of what could be outside the walls of Disney World before I saw The Florida Project. I doubt I am alone. With some of the best acting from children you will see, and a sublime Willem Dafoe, the movie takes us to a place that has been under the shadows of Disney for far too long.



Phantom Thread

DDL, the master at work

Like most, I had to wait nearly a month before I could see Phantom Thread, but it was far worth the wait. Daniel Day-Lewis gives (no surprise) a perfectly majestic performance as a dress-maker in 1950s London, whose new muse (Vicky Krieps) must put up with him. Director Paul Thomas Anderson treats the film as gentle as the fabric that Woodcock works with in his shop.



The Shape of Water

Though mute, Eliza (Sally Hawkins) lets herself be heard.

Of all the love stories of this year, my favorite still goes to that of a mute help worker and a sea creature in The Shape of Water. Guillermo Del Toro gives us a world of endless possibilities, filled with memorable characters (don’t get me started on how much we love to hate Michael Shannon here), astounding visuals, and a love that is not easy to forget.




“Hello Georgie”

I can imagine a lot of people being surprised at my number one pick, but after more than one viewing, I just could not deny IT. Undoubtably one of the top four or five adaptations of Stephen King, the film is far more than a horror masterpiece. It is also about coming of age (I have yet to meet anyone who though negatively of the kid performances, all of whom are perfect in their roles), young love, bullying, and, of course, clowns.

Floating has never been so terrifying. Or enjoyable.


The 10 Worst Films of 2017

Worst of 2017

The only reason these films are not on the list is that I was spared seeing them…

I am still waiting on a few movies to see before I can list my top ten movies of 2017, but I am more than ready to list the pieces of trash (trash being the most polite word I can think of) of the past year. Movies in the collage above are not going to be mentioned, only because I did not see them.


That being said, here comes the reminder of the pains I went through the past year…



The Shack

Despite having a nice message, The Shack falls in so many ways that it sadly becomes another forgettable Christian movie. Also, I still don’t see how you can see the title and not think it is a horror film.



The Space Between Us

I had hopes for The Space Between us, but was disappointed. Despite nice acting and chemistry between the young leads, the story goes nowhere and we are left wishing Butterfield and Robertson were in another movie.




The Emoji Movie


Every now and then, I feel a little sorry for The Emoji Movie, which was not as hated by me as most of the rest of the human race (even by those who did not see it). Then my mind remembers how bland and boring the film was. And the absolute worst humor imaginable.





Lousy M. Night, making me almost hopeful that he may be going back to good movie making. At the end, Split is still an utter failure, with premises that I found completely ridiculous.



Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures' THE DARK TOWER.


While watching The Dark Tower, you get a sense that this movie had so much promise, but that every decision made behind camera was the wrong one. I never read the book series (by Stephen King), but I feel that doing so will give me more reason to hate the film.




Tranformers: The Last Knight. It is a Transformers movie. That alone should be enough explanation.




Remember when the Pirates of the Caribbean movies where fresh, new, and exciting? Well, if they make more sequels like Dead Men Tell No Tales, I will forget why I liked the first film at all to begin with.




A solid cast and some neat special effects cannot stop Life from being a rip off of the original Alien, or from having one of the worst end twists I have seen in my life.



The Snowman

If you look up all the people associated with The Snowman, you will be as confused as I am. Confused not just at the plot, but at how all these people could make a film the equivalent of eating yellow snow.





It may have been a Disney animated “short” (yeah, those quotation marks are as important as ever), but I have seldom felt more anger (even hatred) towards a movie screen than when I had to sit through Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. Sure, Disney pulled the film (which was followed by the far more superior Coco) a few weeks later, but those of us who saw it were left with one of the most excruciating experiences that we are still not sure is over yet. No one asked for this film to be in a theater, and I predict it will have the same future that was given to The Star Wars Christmas Special back in the 1970s.

2017: Halftime Report


Every year, the first half is more difficult to find great movies in (since studios put their best in theaters in the last months of the year). As always, I am not able to see all the films (or avoid all of them), but I managed to make a top five of the year that are so far worth remembering the most six months from now.

However, let us first look at the five movies that I are worth forgetting (at least till I make the worst of the year list in six months).

The Worst


5.  Split

I am sorry, but the script was not something I could believe, no matter how great James McCovoy.


4. Get Out

Ok, I will get a lot of feedback on this, but I still am trying to find out how this movie is so well rated on rottentomatoes. I admit the movie was funny, but scary? Hardly.


3.  Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Javier Bardem makes an good villian, but he entered this tired franchise far too late. It has officially sunk.


2. Transformers: The Last Knight

Yeah, no real surprise here. Does this franchise still have fans?


1. Life


Predictible. Unoriginal. Don’t get me started on the ending.



Ok, now the best of the year so far…


5. Okja

Streaming now on Netflix, this story of a little girl on a quest to save her giant pet pig is no kiddie flick. It is strange and weird, but also beautifully original.


4. The Lego Batman Movie

Lego strikes again with originality and humor. Stretching even further into the Lego universe, it is got plenty of entertainment for any age.


3. Wonder Woman

DC has not had as many solid hits as Marvel, but this was definetly a big one for the company. Gal Gadot gives a solid performance in a movie that will have both genders rooting.


2. Baby Driver

With the exception of Mad Max: Fury Road, no movie in the last few years has had as much road raging action and octane. Not to mention the acting and comedy.


1. Logan

Hugh Jackman gives a bittersweet performance in his swan song film of the character he brought to life over a decade ago. Add in a tight script with fine supporting acting, and you have a comic book movie for people who don’t like comic book movies.


Here is to the second half of the year…

Top Ten Movies of 2016


To be honest, it took me sometime to realize that there were actually some really good movies to be released in 2016. So much so that the pictures you see above of movies like Sully, Hacksaw Ridge, Captain America: Civil WarMoana, Jackie, and Zootopia were not able to crack my top ten list.

Again, I don’t see every movie that was released (how I wish I could!), so please comment if I am missing one you liked.

A friend of mine said he does not like making lists like this, as they get harder to do every year. I am starting to get the idea of that more and more as the years go by. Some of the movies on my top ten edged each other out by the narrowest of margins.

If you must blink, do it now…


Wild Card


Playing like a modernized version of an old western, Hell or High Water is refreshing in how original the concept is. Two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster), desperate to keep their farm, resort to stealing from banks. Hot on their trail is the local nearly retired police sheriff Marcus Hamilton (a wonderful Jeff Bridges), who we don’t always root for when we see what the brothers (mainly the Chris Pine character) are going through.



Sorry fans of Rogue One, but the title of best sci-fi movie of the year belongs to Arrival. Clearly inspired from Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind, the movie  depicts how being approached by beings outside of earth would not always immediately mean war fare. The movie takes time to show that we as humans need to reason before pulling a trigger. All the cast is wonderful, but the key performance is the one of Amy Adams, showing once again how versatile an actress she is. Director Denis Villeneuve gives us some stunning images as well.





It is rare for a horror film to actually scare you these days, especially if it comes out very early in the year (which is when most of the forgettable movies are sadly released.) That is not all the case for The Witch. While witches are now nearly forever associated with the world created by J.K. Rowling, this horror classic reminds us that, when witchcraft was feared in the 1600s, it was truly feared. The images and gorgeous cinematography reflect that, making us fear as the characters do. The film is directed by Robert Eggers. Remember the name.



A movie sure to be up for many Oscar nominations, Moonlight tells a simple story of a man growing up in slums of Miami. To say it is more than that is a gross understatement. Told in three acts, I am still finding it hard to believe that the main character, Chiron, was played by three different actors (the same can also be said of his friend Kevin). It was almost like they filmed the same actor years apart like Boyhood. The stand outs are Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, sure to be nominees in February (alongside director Barry Jenkins).



While some movies feel like a punch in the gut, Manchester by the Sea feels like (as Rick Blaine from Casablanca would say) your “insides have been kicked out.” Casey Affleck gives a mesmerizing performance as a janitor who is sent back to his hometown after his brother (Kyle Chandler) dies to take care of his nephew (an equally stunning Lucas Hedges) while face the demons of his past, including his ex-wife (the always reliable Michelle Williams). How often does a drama of this magnitude also produce laughs equivalent to a comedy? Kudos to the writer and director, Kenneth Lonergan.



It has been a while since I have seen a great film where the lead actor also directs himself in a performance for the ages. Yet that is what Denzel Washington does in Fences, based off the play by August Wilson. Casey Affleck may be the front-runner for Best Actor, but Denzel is clearly hot on his heels. However, no one will be catching up with Viola Davis in the Best Supporting Actress category, for her performance as Washington’s wife is sure to give Davis her Oscar she deserves.



Moving from an actor/director to arguably one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema, Martin Scorsese’s Silence just squeaked in at the end of 2016, meaning it was not screened in time for award consideration for the Golden Globes or SAGs. A shame, because it deserved to be. The film stars Andrew Garfield (who was also brilliant in Hacksaw Ridge) and Adam Driver (aka Kylo Ren) as priests trying to find their mentor (Liam Neeson) in 1630s Japan. The movie is hard to watch, yet you still can’t take your eyes from the screen. It is rare for a movie to be so difficult to observe you may not want to watch it again, yet at the same time filled with unanswered questions that multiple viewings are needed.



As someone who has (mild) autism, I can safely say I have not seen many films that approached the subject as well as the documentary Life, Animated. It tells the story of Owen Suskind, an autistic man who learned to communicate through his true love, animated Disney movies. Very few movies this year have touched me more on a personal level.



This entry was actually inserted much later, which is something I don’t do long after the year is over. Still, I cannot say enough about the wonder that is Sing Street. After classic hits like Once (2007) and Begin Again (2014), director John Carney strikes musical gold again with this coming of age tale of growing up in 1980s dublin. Like his previous films, it did not take me long to buy the soundtrack.




If you have not heard of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land by now, well, it will be surely mentioned when the Oscar nominations are announced next Tuesday, for I feel it is the clear front-runner for Best Picture (it already set the record at the Golden Globes for winning all of it’s seven nominations). It is more than a love letter to Hollywood, or even to musicals of the past. It is a modernized musical as well, with glamorous performances by Ryan Gosling and (in particular) Emma Stone (her solo song at the end about her aunt is the best acting I have seen all year). I have no shame at all in declaring I bought the soundtrack the day after I saw this film. It made me proud to be one of the ones who dream.



At the end of the day, movies are stories, as told by many story tellers. When I first saw Kubo and the Two Strings, I was clearly affected by it, but did not know at the time that I would be selecting it as my favorite movie of 2016. Only months later, when I got on Blu-Ray was when I realized it more and more as a masterpiece. Of course, the animation is gorgeous, but what impressed me the most was the story. Laika (whose movies I still have to see) does not have the history and resume of Disney or Pixar, but it has more nerve. I found myself hoping Kubo would not end the way the audience would have wanted, and it didn’t. It ended the way the audience needed it to. Towards the end, Kubo gives a speech to his grandfather while in the cemetery. If you think of it, that speech is one to bring hope to those who may not have had the best 2016 they would have wished for.



The five disappointing movies of 2016


As of this moment, I am not a paid film critic, so I am not able to see all the movies I want, or even the ones I would have to suffer through (Though I do like to sit through a few pieces of trash, just so I can bad mouth them). That being said, not all of these films are what I would actually call bad, but disappointing.

In other words, here are the five most disappointing movies of 2016…





Jesse Owens was an athlete who gave 110% and became an athletic American icon and legend. Sadly, those who made the film Race did not give that amount of effort (at most they only gave 50%), and it shows all the poor results on-screen.



Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice

While Suicide Squad was indeed disappointing, it was not as bad as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Ben Affleck (the one everyone thought would be the worst part) was great as Batman, but the story was all set up and little pay off. That, and Jesse Eiseberg (a talented guy, no doubt) giving a very bad and awkward performance as Lex Luthor.


Me Before You

I so badly wanted to like Me Before you, I really did. Despite a likable Emilia Clarke, the story makes us believe that these characters can stick with the choices they make, and they are not at all for one minute.




It is no secret that, when it comes to remakes, the outcome is normally not going to be good. In the case of Ben-Hur, saying it is not good is a gross understatement. It is totally unneed, bland, and beyond boring.



Independence Day Resurgence

The poster read “We had 20 years to prepare. So did they.” In the case of Indendence Day; Resurgence, no one could have prepared us for a movie so by the books, so inconsistent with the original, so extraordinarily long, and, above all, so much an utter piece of crap.