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Kumerica

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  1. Pretty busy, so haven't been on these boards in some time, but I'm happy to participate in any way possible, even if it's just for commentary, kudos, personal anecdotes, fun facts re: writing/recording, or general whining about a song's ranking. Also, while I'm in agreement of your no remix rule, I do second Anarchy's emotion that their B-sides are exceptional, especially in the 80s AND the 90s, and you should reconsider. This rule would then exclude songs like the original recordings of Party Girl and Sweetest Thing, Alex Descends Into Hell, Lady With The Spinning Head, Love Comes Tumbling, Everlasting Love, Night and Day, One Shot of Happy/Two Shots of Sad, etc. Do additional songs to Greatest Hits albums count? Anyway, I humbly request you rethink that particular aspect of the rule. But I do look forward to this . . .
  2. I spent my entire season in various leagues on the EPL app, and knew after Week 1 that I wasn't going be able to keep up with the pace here and on the Fantrax app. I'd like to thank you all for allowing me to be your Weekend at Bernie's draw, but I think I'm gonna pass on next season. Good luck to all.
  3. I haven't given up. I got busy in work and life and forgot all about it. I also play in a couple of different FPL leagues using a different app and my focus was on those. I'll work harder at paying more attention and being somewhat competitive.
  4. Once upon a time, I, like an idiot, offered to judge the Fantasy category. Fantasy The (Un)Scientific Scoring Methodology: 1. As with every other category, while I was busy watching or rewatching some of the films, I enlisted some trusted and reliable movie-loving friends to assist. I asked them each to force rank everything in the category--without consulting the internet or other sources—according to their preferences. Sure enough, the results often differed substantially. 2. I took the average of their rankings to help create an initial tier. IN THIS CATEGORY, THESE TIERS WERE VITAL, PARTICULARLY AT THE BOTTOM HALF. 3. Since they weren’t very helpful previously, I did NOT consult lists from a wide swath of publications this time around. I just ain't got the time. 4. I went ahead and created my own ranking based on the following, in no particular order: - My personal enjoyment watching and/or rewatching the movie, as well as my history with it. - Does it belong in this category? My definition of Fantasy was definitely put under duress for this draft. - Weight (i.e. Legacy, influence, timelessness, awards (rarely), average rankings of my friends, etc.) In the end, there is such a thing as “best” vs. “favorite,” and as far as these rankings are concerned, in case it was close, my favorites tended to edge out what might be technically/ commercially/critically considered a better film within the genre. The movies listed here are all great films in their own rights. But, before you get upset at the point assignments, please remember . . . One does not simply walk into the FFA and judge fantasy films. 16. Big Fish (1 pt.) I do love this movie. A lot. It’s terrific fun and definitely Tim Burton’s most tender movie. But it suffers greatly here because A) its average by my friends put it in the bottom tier, B) once you’ve seen it once, its magic diminishes a bit. 15. Heaven Can Wait (2 pts) Here’s where my definition of FANTASY differs, I s’pose. Sure, it’s fantastical . . . I mean, heaven, amirite? Anyway, it’s classic-ish, I loved it as a kid, and hey, Charles Grodin. Great movie, not sure it’s in the right place. 14. Jason and the Argonauts (3 pts) This classic also suffered from the averaged tiering. Also, my first rewatch in 30+ years didn’t greatly change my indifference. Animation still holds up pretty nicely, though. 13. Big (4 pts) Classic. Fun. Emminently rewatchable. Kinda creepy if you think too hard on it. 12. The Thief of Baghdad (5 pts) Magical for the time, often overlooked since it followed Wizard of Oz, and it still looks great. Now I think about it, I don't know why it's so low, but I was told to hurry up and put the rankings up as is. 11. Field of Dreams (6 pts) I ordinarily wouldn’t call this a fantasy movie, but it’s a terrific film as a whole, has ghosts and voices to rep the category, and there aren’t many sports movies in the categories I’ve judged. Plus, a road trip with Darth Vader and Robin Hood? Totally worth 6 points. 10. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (7 pts) The sequels, the Disney-fied franchise-ness of it all, can help us forget how well done, fresh, and funny this swashbuckling original was. It does run a bit long, but I love it. 9. Conan the Barbarian (8 pts) Look, some might think it’s ranked too high, some might think it’s too low. It was the perfect vehicle for early Arnold because he didn’t have to speak very much. From most critical standpoints, it sucks, but the kid in me—who will never die—still finds it totally awesome. 8. Pan’s Labyrinth (9 pts) A beautifully crafted, darkly artistic tour de force that I loved a lot. 7. Excalibur (10 pts) An awesomely dark, super-depressing take. Kudos, Mr. Boorman. 6. Groundhog Day (11 pts) My personal bias wouldn’t have placed it in this category, but my personal bias also rates this as an all-time favorite. How would you feel if you were stuck in one place, every day was exactly the same, and nothing you did mattered? That sums it up for me. Totally relevant in 2020, and not feeling all that fantastical. Too late for flapjacks? 5. Mary Poppins (12 pts) Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of musicals, but this is a timeless classic. It probably has less appeal for adults, but so do most fantasies. 4. It’s a Wonderful Life (13pts) It’s no Die Hard, but it’s a damn fine Christmas movie. Not sure it's fantasy, but at this point, I've stopped caring. 3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (14pts) I loved the books, I loved the series, and this being arguably the best of the series, shall represent them all. 2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (15 pts) This film series practically defines the category for me. Now, some call this the finest film of the series. My personal favorite was always FotR, because it showed me that my favorite books of all times were in good hands, I love the preparation part of a journey, and a few months after 9/11, I needed the escape. The Two Towers I watched at a midnight pre-opening day release about 30 minutes after seeing Lyle Lovett and Randy Newman tape segments of the PBS show “Soundstages.” I don’t know why I mentioned that. Anyway, in this case, I’m going to assume the drafter selected The Extended Edition and not the Theatrical Release, because the Extended Editions are A) Far superior, and B) the only versions I own in digital format. 1. The Princess Bride (16 pts) Unless I am wrong, and I am never wrong, this movie also defines the category. It’s perfect, and my second favorite movie of all time. Kudos, drafter.
  5. You're forgetting a lot of that movie. I'd give it away, but would instead recommend you indeed give it a rewatch--it's really good.
  6. That's a great question and I did wrestle with it briefly. Ultimately, I figured most post-apocalypse movies tend to be categorized as a sub-genre of Science Fiction, so I let it stand.
  7. 4. Metropolis (13 pts) I’ll be the first to admit that I frequently underestimate old timers when it comes to films, and maybe I still am with this movie. After all, not only did Metropolis damn-near introduce the world to the sci-fi/futurist film genre, but it pioneered a wide-range of movie making techniques that are taught and used today. So beautiful and technically ahead of its time. From a story/narrative perspective, however, it is pretty bananas, and that weakness allows it to climb no higher. Also, I just adore the other movies more. 3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (14pts) Yes, it could be considered slow moving or sappy at times, but damn is it expertly crafted and executed. A slow-burn thriller that keeps its feet in the dirt mound and it’s ambitions beyond the stratosphere, Close Encounters took a very different path than most of the alien invasion films before it and delivered an almost perfect Sci Fi Comes to Earth film. So good. 2. The Terminator (15 pts) I’ve seen The Terminator way too many times to be surprised by anything in this movie. So, for my rewatch of this, I had to try extra hard to pretend I’d never seen it before. Sometimes that approach works well, sometimes not. In this case, it wasn’t easy, but it did briefly highlight something I’d long forgotten over the years: that it could be scary as hell. When the future comes to the past and tries to kill you, RUN. And, by all means, have unprotected sex with an unwashed stranger who’s wearing a drifter’s clothes. Seriously, though, this is one of my all-time favorite movies of any genre, so I could never rank it too much lower. 1. Blade Runner (16 pts) We can argue about different cuts, versions, editions, etc., but it’s still one of the best damn sci-fi flicks of all time. Its pacing can drag sometimes, but everything else about it is just amazing.
  8. 8. Planet of the Apes (9 pts) For me, its reputation exceeds it. It’s a classic, sure—its influence and place in popular culture is forever secured which, frankly, is why I gave it so many points. But, after my first watch in 30+ years, I decided that while it’s definitely entertaining and cute, that’s about all. 7. The Prestige (10 pts) This film (and the next one) were very difficult to rank, because on their faces, they aren’t in the proper category. But, although the “science” of the science fiction is not overt, without it, their plots could not move forward and there would be no story. Case in point: The Prestige, one of my favorite Nolan films, though underrated and underseen. A mystery, a thriller, a period drama, its place in time and the almost steam-punk vibe of its scientific characteristics give it an H.G. Wells quality. The writing, the direction, the production design? Phenomenal. The cast? Aces, all. And big ups for an excellent David Bowie as Tesla. 6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (11 pts) The Prestige and ESotSM were two of my favorite movies of the 00s, which is why they rank higher with me than they might with others in this category. If you saw a basic logline for this film, you might think it sounds stupid. But, with Charlie Kaufman’s odd and heartfelt script, director Michel Gondry’s artistic and technical wizardry, and the beautifully understated performances of Carrey, Winslet, & Co, this movie is sublime. 5. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (12 pts) Post-apocalyptic landscapes have always fascinated me (and this is the standard). Thanks, Cold War! Seriously, not a lot to write here because it’s just terrific, well-done fun. So great.
  9. 12. Arrival (5 pts) Recency bias may have this a bit lower than some might expect, but it feels right to me. There’s not a lot to complain about—the production design is stand-out fantastic—and the overall plot, alien intentions, narrative style, flash forwards, etc. are all woven together nicely. I really liked this movie, in the theater, as well as a few rewatches, but with each viewing I was constantly left feeling as though it’s a well-executed composite of things I’d already seen, and that I wanted it to be better. 11. Robocop (6 pts) 1980s Detroit, baby! It’s not a particularly high ranking for this classic, but that could be because it’s dated . . . or because it’s feeling a bit too real now. That said, I still love it, and will always watch it when it’s on, I just can’t rank it higher than the others above it. 10. Ex-Machina (7 pts) The conversations we have when Science Fiction steps into Science Fact. The production design on this is stellar, the film is tight overall, and the actors are all aces. It’s quiet and meditative, leaning on its script and the nuances of its actors to carry it through—this is its strength, as well as its weakness in terms of ranking. As much as I liked it, in a scenario similar to Arrival, it didn’t resonate long-term with me as much as the films above it (or even some of those below it). Still, a small but mighty film with vision. The lesson? Be nice to your appliances. 9. Snowpiercer (8 pts) My first Bong Joon-ho film, I saw this at the theater and, over the 7 years since, have been insisting to friends that they watch this movie. Liked Okja? Man, you need to see Snowpiercer! Loved Parasite? Yeah, you can see more of his class-based awesomeness in Snowpiercer, which really brought him to the fore! I’ve seen this several times, and although a rewatch in this case wasn’t necessary, I did it anyway. It’s grim, but I love it. I wish I could rank it higher, but there are some classics, surprises, and sentimental choices ahead of it. Still, a worthy contender.
  10. Don't get me wrong, I loved this movie and practically wore out the VHS back in the day. but, after the rewatch, I couldn't quite rank it highly among these other 15 films. Still, it is great. I'm (sorta) sorry I didn't explain in my write-up, but I just felt like posting the vid, which some old friends made back in the 90s, for entertainment purposes.
  11. Sorry for the delay. Eddie Van Halen died and I was inconsolable, listening to VH music, trying to remember how to play riffs, etc. When I looked up, it was later than I wanted to post. Science Fiction On Earth The (Un)Scientific Scoring Methodology: 1. As with every other category, while I was busy watching or rewatching some of the films, I enlisted some trusted and reliable movie-loving friends to assist. I asked them each to force rank everything in the category--without consulting the internet or other sources—according to their preferences. Sure enough, the results often differed substantially. 2. I took the average of their rankings to help create an initial tier. 3. Since they weren’t very helpful previously, I did NOT consult lists from a wide swath of publications this time around. 4. I went ahead and created my own ranking based on the following, in no particular order: - My personal enjoyment watching and/or rewatching the movie, as well as my history with it. - Does it belong in this category? - Weight (i.e. Legacy, influence, timelessness, awards (rarely), average rankings of my friends, etc.) In the end, there is such a thing as “best” vs. “favorite,” and as far as these rankings are concerned, in case it was close, my favorites tended to edge out what might be technically/ commercially/critically considered a better film within the genre. The movies listed here are all great films in their own rights. But, before you get upset at the point assignments, please remember, whatever you think . . . I make this look good. 16. Independence Day (1 pt.) I remember seeing this for the first time in the theater. As the credits began to roll, my friend turned to me and said, “It was bad, but I liked it.” And that kind of sums it up for me. It was a 90s popcorn-and-Cherry Coke summer blockbuster. Poop, yes, but fun poop. 15. The Fly (2 pts) Do You Have Room? 14. Men In Black (3 pts) I feel kinda bad for ranking this film so low, I remember enjoying it a lot and it was tremendous fun. But when I rewatch it now, I just don’t enjoy it as much. It could be that it feels too much like a cartoon, or a a kids’ movie . . . I don’t know. More likely is that I’ve simply become jaded by the Will Smith swagger, particularly from this era, apparently. 13. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (4 pts) Cold War paranoia at its finest, this movie was a template for many a SciFi horror trope, but not necessarily for the positive. It’s a classic, to be sure, but a classic B-movie that my rewatch only hindered and did not help. Sorry, drafter.
  12. I'll post Sci Fi on Earth Tonight--about 1/3 through my write-ups before work and outside interference took me away.
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