2016 Rachies

Oscar statuettes are displayed at Times Square Studios 23 January 2006 in New York. The statuettes will be presented to winners of the 78th Academy Awards 05 March 2006 in Hollywood.

In spirit of the Oscars (which I will not be watching this year because I am not a Chris Rock fan and they will only tick me off like they did last year) I am giving my own nominations and winners for the major categories (as well as making my own categories up!).   Last year the Rachies were all animation.  This year since I saw so many more films I expanded it.  So if I ran the world this is how it would all go down!

Best Picture




The Martian

Inside Out (I’ll award it later)

45 Years


Mad Max Fury Road

Star Wars Force Awakens

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)

Matt Damon (The Martian)

Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)

Emory Cohen (Brooklyn)

Michael B Jordan (Creed)

Best Actress

Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)

Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Alicia Vikander (Testament of Youth)

Carey Mulligan (Far From the Madding Crowd)

I’ll See You in My Dreams (Blythe Danner)

Supporting Actress

Julie Walters (Paddington)

Cate Blanchett (Cinderella)

Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)

Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina)

Supporting Actor

Oscar Isaac (Ex-Machina)

Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Henry Adofo (Freetown)

Kyle Chandler (Carol)

Ian McKellan (Mr Holmes)

Animated Film

Good Dinosaur

Peanuts Movie

Inside Out

When Marnie was There


Animated Short (I didn’t use any anthology shorts)

Sanjay’s Super Team

World of Tomorrow

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

Le Gouffre

An Object at Rest

Best Song

Fine On the Outside (When Marnie was There)

Cold One (Ricki and the Flash)

See You Again (Furious 7)

Writings on the Wall (Spectre)

Better When I’m Dancin’ (Peanuts Movie)

Best Score-

I only picked movies I’ve actually seen for these nominations so no Ennio Morricone for Hateful Eight

Ben Salisbury, Geoff Barrow (Ex-Machina)

Tom Holkenborg (Mad Max Fury Road)

Michael Giacchino (Inside Out)

Max Richter (Testament of Youth)

Michael Brook (Brooklyn)

Best Vocal Performance in Animated Film

Raymond Ocha (Good Dinosaur)

Noah Schnapp (Peanuts Movie)

Amy Poehler (Inside Out)

Phyllis Smith (Inside Out)

Richard Kind (Inside Out)

Best Director

Pete Docter (Inside Out)

George Miller (Mad Max Fury Road)

Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs)

JJ Abrams (Star Wars: Force Awakens)

Todd Haynes (Carol)

Best Costumes




Testament of Youth

Far from the Madding Crowd

Hair and Makeup

Mad Max Fury Road

Jupiter Ascending


Star Wars Force Awakens



Rob Hardy (Testament of Youth)

Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)

Charlotte Bruus Christensen (Far from the Madding Crowd)

Yves Belanger (Brooklyn)

John Seale (Mad Max Fury Road)

Production Design

Colin Gibson (Mad Max Fury Road)

Francois Seguin (Brooklyn)

Dante Ferretti (Cinderella)

Rick Carter (Star Wars: Force Awakens)

Adam Stockhausen (Bridge of Spies)

Best CG Characters in Live Action

Star Wars Force Awakens




Spongebob: Sponge out of Water

Best Visual Effects

Mad Max: Fury Road

Star Wars: Force Awakens

Avengers Age of Ultron


The Revenant

Best Screenplay

Inside Out



The Big Short

The Martian

Best Faith Based Film

Kahlil Gibran The Prophet



Once I was a Beehive

Old Fashioned

Best Ensemble

The Big Short


Inside Out

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Avengers: Age of Ultron

 Best Kiss (these shows take themselves way too seriously)

Age of Adaline

Far from the Madding Crowd




My congrats to all the nominees and winners. 🙂

Movies I Saw in Theater in 2015


So last year I got the movie pass which allowed me to see a movie every day in the theater.  It’s a pretty awesome service and not including re-watches I saw 88 films in the theater in 2015.  (Crazy I know!).  Some of these are rereleases and some are 2014 releases. I tried to rank the films and it was impossible.  They are all so different and have strengths and weaknesses.

But I will give you my grade for the film if that is helpful. It was a pretty good year when you consider out of 88 films only 9 D or F films.

2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel B
Age of Adeline C
American Sniper A
Amy C
Ant-Man A-
Avengers Age of Ultron A-
Back to the Future 1 A+
Back to the Future 2 C+
Back to the Future 3 B
Breakfast at Tiffanys A
Bridge of Spies C
Brooklyn A
Cinderella A+
Creed A
Do You Believe B
Ex-Machina B+
Fantastic 4 D
Far from the Maddening Crowd B+
Freetown A+
Furious 7 B-
Good Dinosaur A
Goosebumps B-
Grease C
Home D
Home Alone A+
Hotel Transylvania 2 C
I’ll See You in my Dreams B
Imitation Game B+
In the Heart of the Sea D
Inside Out A+
Interstellar A+
It’s a Wonderful Life A+
Jupiter Ascending C+
Jurassic World C
Learning to Drive C
Longest Ride B-
Love and Mercy B-
Love the Coopers C-
Mad Max: Fury Road A-
Man from UNCLE C
Maze Runner Skorch Trials D
McFarland USA A
Me Earl and the Dying Girl C
Minions C-
Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation B+
Monkey Kingdom B
Mr Holmes C+
My Fair Lady A+
Paddington A+
Peanuts Movie A+
Pitch Perfect 2 B-
Pixels D+
Ricki and the Flash C+
Roman Holiday A+
Room A-
Selma A
Shaun the Sheep B+
Song of the Sea A+
Spectre C+
Spongebob: Sponge out of water B
Spotlight A+
Star Wars: Force Awakens A
Steve Jobs B-
Strange Magic D
Suffragette D
Terminator Genisys D+
Testament of Youth A-
The 33 C
The Big Short B-
The Drop Box B+
The Gift B+
The Intern C
The Martian A+
The Prophet B-
The Room (Riff Trax gets an A) F
The Visit C-
The Walk C
Theory of Everything B-
Tomorrowland C-
Un gallo con muchos huevos C
Walk in the Woods C+
Walt Before Mickey D
War Room C-
When Marnie was There A
Whiplash B+
Woman in Gold C-
Woodlawn B-

Oscar Nomination Reactions

Hey guys!  Today the Academy released it’s Oscar nominations and here are my reactions:

If you don’t want to watch the video basically I will sum it up.  I don’t get the love for Bridge of Spies.  It was dull, conventional and average.  Particularly the nomination for best screenplay I find baffling but as I seem to be one of the only people I know who feels that way I can’t say I am surprised. At least it isn’t offensive like last year’s baffling nominee and winner Birdman.

I was surprised to see no nomination for Aaron Sorkin for Steve Jobs– especially with how much the liberal Hollywood love his writing. Steve Jobs was way better written than Bridge of Spies.  Come on?  Nice to see Adam McKay get nominated for Best Director for Big Short and was surprised he took Ridley Scott’s spot for The Martian.  There was little love for Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight and that surprised me a little bit.

I’ve actually seen all 8 of the best picture nominations and aside from Bridge of Spies they are fine.  I would have subbed out Creed or Inside Out for Bridge of Spies but again in minority on that one.

I was glad to see Inside Out get a nomination for best original screenplay and Brooklyn for adapted screenplay.

I think the documentary Amy is overrated and uses too much home video.  I didn’t find out anything I didn’t already know.  To me it was kind of shallow but again in minority on that one.

The most absurd nomination of the night is The Revenant for production design.  The whole thing is basically set in the snow!  Are we giving the team credit for designing the snow, forest and river?  Ridiculous.  Brooklyn, Carol, Cinderella, Star Wars: The Force Awakens all had much better production design than The Revenant.

But expect The Revenant and Spotlight to take home big awards come February.  Sylvester Stallone in Creed and Kate Winslet will win supporting actor trophies.

I was glad to see A Bear’s Story, World of Tomorrow and Sanjay’s Super Team all get nominated for Animated Short.  They are all excellent.  World of Tomorrow should win if enough voters have seen.  I don’t even understand it completely but it should win.

And now for the big snub….

No nomination for the Peanuts Movie.  It is ridiculous.  To me it was exactly what a Peanuts movie should be.  If you think about the specials they are about Charlie Brown trying to gain confidence.  The Great Pumpkin is really the only one that has a complex plot.  Think about the Christmas special it is about Charlie Brown worrying about the holidays.  The Thanksgiving special is about him trying to make a meal for his friends.  What were people expecting storywise? I don’t get it!

I at least got exactly what I wanted.  A story about Charlie Brown gaining confidence to talk to the Red Haired Girl.  It was sweet.  It was emotional, and it was funny.  And even if you don’t love the plot the animation was so great.  The use of the hybrid animation with a flat 2D style combined with CG was brilliant and groundbreaking and deserved a nomination.  It really did.

All I know is Boy and the World better be really great.  That came out of nowhere but maybe it will be 2015’s Song of the Sea and it will all make sense after I see it.

For now I’m sad for Peanuts but in the end it’s the Oscars.  They usually get it wrong (Birdman winning over Boyhood…) so I don’t really care.

And we have to listen to Chris Rock host.  Groan.  But I’m sure there will be a few nice moments and at least this year I’ve seen all 8 nominees, so there’s that.

What did you think of the nominations?  Put in the comments section.  Thanks!

2015 vs 2014 Better Animation Year?

So I’ve been thinking about the year in animation to get ready for my video I am doing with Art from A to Z Reviews today.  I’ve really enjoyed the year but I keep thinking about last year.  Is 2014 better than 2015 for animation?  There can be cases made for both years.

Take a look at these vs images comparing the two years and then vote at the end which year you think was strongest.

Big Studio Films

big studios vs

Bad Movies in 2014 vs 2015

bad vsWhich year has the best of the best movies?

best of year vsThe biggest box office for 2014 vs 2015?

box office vsThe independent films of 2015 vs 2014:

artistic vsThe original films of 2014 vs 2015

original ideas vsWhich had better comedies? I’m torn because I like all 4

comedies vsBest sequels?

sequels vs2

This should be very interesting.  I think 2014 in the end was stronger just because you had so many top notch movies Lego Movie, Tale of Princess Kaguya, Song of the Sea, Book of Life, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6 and The Boxtrolls were all excellent.  And then even the middle tier stuff wasn’t half bad.  I think Inside Out is amazing better than all but Song of the Sea from 2014 but put that aside and it becomes more clear 2014 was best.

Best Movies of 2015

I don’t know if you guys enjoy end of the year lists as much as I do but it s always fun to see both the highlights and lowlights of the year of movies.  Next week we will dive into the low but today let’s talk about the best of the year! I ended up doing a top 15 because I had 15 films I felt were worthy of a shout out.

15. When Marnie was There-

when marnie9Studio Ghibli’s beautiful final film is a magical realism story of a family rescuing a girl from deep depression.  Lush, beautiful animation with incredible sound design and an emotional core that stayed with me long after I saw it.

14. Testament of Youth-

testament-of-youth-posterAn underrated film about a woman in World War 1 in Britain.  She starts out with idealism and through working as a nurse she see’s the reality of war including getting to serve the enemy for a time. Moving, beautiful and fine performances from all involved including Alicia Vikander.

13. Creed-

creed3Creed is a wonderful boxing movie and a great Rocky movie to boot.  Michael B Jordan brings heart as Adonis Creed and Sylvester Stallone is wonderful back as Rocky.  The boxing scenes are shot seamlessly and it’s a story that will make you want to cheer.

12. The Rewrite-

rewrite 7If you love old school romantic comedies then hunt down The Rewrite.  It’s the kind of movie I haven’t seen made for so long.  The kind of thing Nora Ephron used to write.  With a terrific cast starring Hugh Grant, Marissa Tomei, JK Simmons, and Alison Janey, we get great writing about work, books, teaching, movies, writing and more.  May be the movie from 2015 I rewatch the most because I loved it so much.

11. Mad Max Fury Road-

mad maxOne of the most insane experiences I had at the theater this year.  I felt exhausted after the intense experience but in an exciting way.  It was something I had never seen before and the apocalyptic battles were so well done.  I loved the strong female characters and the fact they weren’t pandered too.  They were just cool characters no girl power slogans required. Way out of my comfort zone but a great film.

10. Freetown

freetownOne of the best faith based films I’ve ever seen.  Freetown tells the moving story of a group of missionaries who must be smuggled out of Liberia to Freetown.  It is not a film of dogmatic, preachy like many faith based films.  Instead it has characters that struggle with doubt under extreme pressure and stress and their faith helps them survive.  Well made, acted and a good story make it a film I think anyone can respond too.

9. The Good Dinosaur

good dino23The second film from Pixar for the year was an emotional heroes journey of young Arlo trying to conquer his fears and find his way back home.  I found the old fashioned Disney feel to be refreshing and something we haven’t seen from Pixar yet.  The animation was stunning and I loved the relationship between Arlo and Spot.

8. Brooklyn

Brooklyn6The moving story of an Irish immigrant in 1952 who tries to make a home for herself in Brooklyn.  It really asks the question of ‘what is home?’ and I loved seeing the immigrant journey play out.  The performances are great, it looks beautiful and it was a sweet, old fashioned story you don’t see from Hollywood every day.

7. Paddington-

paddingtonPaddington is probably my biggest surprise of 2015.  I thought it was going to be a big stinker from the trailers but I ended up loving it.  The journey of Paddington being left on the train station was surprisingly emotion and yet funny and sweet at the same time.  The performances from Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville and Julie Walters were so lovely and all the details like the sets and design of Paddington were wonderful.  Most CG/Live action hybrid films are awful (think Smurfs, Yogi Bear) so that makes Paddington even more of an achievement.

6. Cinderella

cinderella 2015Cinderella gave me hope for the Disney live action remakes.  As a Cinderella aficionado I loved just about everything in this film. Lily James and Cate Blanchett are great and I loved the message of kindness and courage.  The sets, art design and costumes were top notch.  I liked they changed a few things from the cartoon but nothing that fundamentally altered the story.

5. The Peanuts Movie

peanutsThis is how you do an adaptation of a beloved franchise! I was so worried this would end up like The Smurfs but I was completely charmed by The Peanuts Movie.  I loved seeing Charlie Brown gain the confidence to talk to the Red Haired Girl.  I loved Snoopy and the Red Baron.  I loved all the other characters and the fact they stayed innocent and sweet.  I loved the hybrid animation and how it looked both rich and flat at the same time.  The voice acting was perfect and music worthy of Peanuts.

4. The Martian

martianI loved both the book and movie of The Martian.  My favorite thing about both was what a nice guy Mark is- a lesser author would have made him all brooding and conflicted.  Instead we get someone we want to see succeed and cheer for.  Matt Damon is great as Mark and I loved seeing him tackle each challenge that came his way.  Ridley Scott does a great job capturing the red planet and the entire cast does a magnificent job fleshing out characters out of small parts.  It’s a movie that will make you feel fantastic

3. Spotlight

spotlight5The movie that inspired me the most in 2015.  You’d think the story of the investigation of the Catholic priest molestation scandal would be depressing but while it is certainly sobering I left the theater wanting to do something for my fellow man.  It was empowering and so well acted/written.   It’s as close to a perfectly executed film as I saw all year.

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

force awakens posterThe most anticipated film of 2015 lived up to the hype.  Some say it is the best Star Wars film ever.  I don’t know if I’d go that far but what a great return to form for a galaxy far, far, away.  I loved all the new characters and how they meshed with the old.  I loved the grittiness and some of the storylines we’ve never seen in a Star Wars film.  I’ve seen it twice and each time walked away with a huge smile on my face. Great performances from all involved and a tremendous job by JJ Abrams as the director.  It was the movie that entertained me the most so it gets 2nd on my list

  1. Inside Out

inside out3Pixar made not only my favorite film of 2015 but one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen.  I was so moved by both Riley’s and Joy’s journeys as they figured out what happiness and sadness mean.  The world building was brilliant the heart was beautiful, the humor worked perfectly.  I loved the animation and the ending gets me every time.  A perfect film in my eyes that I like more every time I see it.



November Youtube Videos

So considering I was doing Nanowrimo I think I did pretty well on my youtube channel in November.  Most of the videos I shared with you already but there are a few I haven’t.  Here you go! Would love your feedback.  If you haven’t subscribed or given thumbs up I’d appreciate it.

This video is my monthly summary of films I saw in the theater.  It was a pretty good month for us movie fans.

My Family Movie Night review of White Christmas

This is called The Chocolate tag where I get to talk about both books and movies.

My Family Movie Night Review of Chicken Run

My Family Movie Night Review of High School Musical

My Family Movie Night Review of Fox and the Hound

My Family Movie Night review of Disney Animated Short Collection


I have also been doing videos on my Top 50 Animated Countdown you will want to check out.

Old People, Depressed Kids, Spies and Other 2015 Movie Trends

After seeing Spectre and Peanuts Movie last week it occurred to me they are both part of some eclectic trends in the movies of 2015.  2014 was a huge superhero movie year with Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America Winter Soldier, Xmen Days of Future Past, Amazing Spiderman 2 and Big Hero 6 (and in a certain way even Birdman).  This year we’ve had Avengers Age of Ultron, Ant-Man and Fantastic 4 but I still wouldn’t call it a huge superhero movie year.

On the other hand, superhero movies is hardly an original trend in movie making so this years trends feel a little bit more eclectic and different.

Let me know if I missed any in these 3 trends and please put in comments your favorite of each strange genre.

Some 2015 trends I’ve noticed are (Can click on each of the titles to be taken to my review of the films):

Old People Films-

This year we’ve had a lot of movies that are about how great it is to be old and made for a senior citizen audience.  Best of the crew either Mr Holmes or I’ll See You in My Dreams. I could almost include Ricki and the Flash in this but she isn’t really old although it deals with themes of aging.

2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The-Second-Best-Exotic-Marigold-Hotel-Cast-WallpapersWoman in Gold

WOMAN IN GOLDAge of Adaline

age of adaline 7Mr Holmes

mr holmes4

I’ll See You in My Dreams

dreams6The Intern

internSpy Movies-

The next trend has been spy movies.  We had had 7 this year and the best in my opinion was Mission Impossible 5 but in fairness 3 I have not seen because of strong R rated content.

Kingsman Secret Service (Have not seen because of violent bloody content)

kingsmanSpy (have not seen because of profanity and other content)

spyAmerican ULTRA (have not seen because of violent content)

american ultra2

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

mi5Man from UNCLE

UNCLE3Bridge of Spies

bridge of spies7SPECTRE


Kids Films Dealing with Depression –

The final odd trend is films aimed at children (and adults) that deal with depression and mental illness.  This sounds like a downer but they are each quite different and wonderfully executed.  I personally think it is great to show kids how to deal with all kinds of feelings. I love all 3 of these films but my favorite is Inside Out

When Marnie was There

when marnie7Inside Out

inside out 15The Peanuts Movie

peanuts4The other trend this year which isn’t exactly new is I must have seen a dozen movies that people said “Just turn off your brain and enjoy it”  Some of them I could but most of them didn’t do it for me even on a silly level.

Dopey Action Movies

Furious 7 (liked)

Jupiter Ascending (laughed at)

San Andreas (hated)

Avengers Age of Ultron (loved)

Terminator Genysis (hated)

Jurassic World (meh)

Pixels (disliked)

Ant-Man (liked)

Man From UNCLE (ok)

Maze Runner Scorch Trials (disliked)

Mission Impossible 5 (liked)

Fantastic 4 (hated)

Spectre (ok)

And honestly Mad Max Fury Road was a stupid action movie as far as plot goes but it was so well done and intense it worked.

And I know there are more I just can’t think of them right now.

Movies that Put Me to Sleep (yep I zonked off in the theater for just a second)

Strange Magic


Mr Holmes

Woman in Gold

Bridge of Spies

May Youtube Videos

As is my tradition I like to keep you all informed on the latest movie related videos on my youtube channel.  Please give them a watch, thumbs up and subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already done so.  Thanks so much!

And this one doesn’t really have anything to do with movies but it turned out pretty well and I think you all might enjoy it.

If you have any suggestions for movies you’d like me to review either here or on the channel (or TV or anything else) let me know!