Wednesday, December 9, 2015



The 1970s

Continuing my series of posts on the subject of what I think are the best films of each year, we now tackle the 1970s.  The movies of the 1970s changed from previous decades.  Gone were the big-budget biographic epics (except for one notable exception in 1970, but more on that in a bit) and the big-budget musicals (except for another notable exception in 1971, but more on that in a bit and the last of the great musicals Grease in 1978).  Taking their place were grittier, more realistic movies dealing with flawed and often violent anti-heroes (this trend climaxing in the Martin Scorsese movie Taxi Driver in 1980).  But also we see the beginning of sci-fi and adventure movies that would populate the movie cinemas in the late 70s and early 80s.

But, for now let's examine the best movies of each year for the 70s.
So, without further ado...

In the tradition of Spartacus and Lawrence of Arabia comes this biographic epic of the famous WWII general played brilliantly by George C. Scott.  It is without doubt, one of the greatest male performances of all time, along with Peter O'Toole in Lawrence and Ben Kingsley in Gandhi of 1982 (but more on Ghandhi in a later post), housed within an almost perfect movie.

Fiddler on the Roof
The last of the great musical movies, Fiddler is sometimes a forgotten classic with a towering performance by Topol as the milkman Tevye, but it is every bit as good as any musical ever made.

The Godfather
Could there be any other choice?
Really nuff said.

The Exorcist
Possibly the most disturbing movie of all time.  It is not easy to watch and not easy to go to sleep after watching.  But beyond the shock-factor of the subject matter, this is a very well-crafted movie and although he's only in the movie for a bit, Max Von Sydow gives an absolutely riveting performance as Father Merrin.

Murder on the Orient Express
This could be the greatest ensemble cast ever assembled for a movie of this Agatha Christie classic mystery but the real star of this movie is Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot in a spot-on performance that is amazing to watch.  Watch it first to solve the mystery, watch it multiple times for that Finney performance.

Easy choice.
Spielberg's best movie and the first true summer blockbuster movie.

All the President's Men
A personal choice for this year (most people would probably go with Rocky in this year) but considering the times (post-Watergate), this movie was as timely and important as a movie can get.  And it is a quality movie as well.  If you haven't watched this one in a while, go back and pay attention to the way this movie is shot and directed.

Star Wars
No other choice.
My personal favorite movie of all time.
The movie that changed my life by firing my imagination.
It also changed the movie business forever and was the sleeper hit of all time.
No other choice.

A comic book icon comes to the big screen in this magnificent adaption with an iconic performance by Christopher Reeves.  Just Super!!!

Apocalypse Now
A difficult year to pick the best picture.  It came down to Alien or Apocalypse and I have to go with the latter.  Apocalypse Now is an amazing movie (there are scenes in this movie that I wonder at how they were filmed).  Apocalypse Now is a disturbing movie (the scene at the bridge is about as weird as you will ever see in a war film).  Apocalypse Now is a timely movie.  The country was still reeling a bit out of control in 1979 and was not fully healed from the times of the Vietnam War and here comes this movie that illustrated the chaotic nature of that war probably better than any other movie on the subject matter and can be painful to watch even in all its disturbing greatness.

1970s done.
Onward to the crazy 1980s.


Every year from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I like to exclusively listen to Christmas music.  It gets me in the Christmas spirit and I just like Christmas music overall.  I also try to, each and every year, buy at least one new Christmas album so you can imagine that through the years I've managed to collect quite a few Christmas CDs.  In this post I would like to highlight one of the best Christmas albums that I've ever heard.
It is Michael W. Smith's Christmas from 1989 (the best year of my life and one of the best years of the century).  If you don't know the name, Michael W. Smith is one of the most successful and talented Christian music artists of all time.  In his nearly 30 year career he has released 23 studio albums that represent the best of Christian music.  He is my favorite Christian singer and I have all of his albums on CD.  Around the time of the release of Christmas in 1989, Smitty (as he is known) was at his peak.  In 1988 he had released  i 2 (EYE), his best and most successful album up to that time (and IMO still his best) and followed it up with 1990's Go West Young Man followed by the monster album Change Your World in 1992 which had huge crossover appeal with the hit "Place in this World".  And lodged in between these releases was Christmas in 1989.  As a Christmas album, Christmas offers up the expected carols such as "O Come All Ye Faithful", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Silent Night" but in unexpected arrangements such as piano solos (all the keyboards on the album are played by Smitty) or accompanied by orchestra and choir.  Some tracks don't even feature Smitty singing at all and are just choral works with orchestral accompaniment.  The album also features some original songs such as "All is Well" and the highlight of the album, a song called "No Eye Had Seen" which is a duet with fellow Christian singer Amy Grant.  But this duet is not like a common duet as each singer (Smitty and Grant) sing different words at the same time crescendoing to an almost euphoric climax of sound.  The conclusion of the album is a song called "Gloria" which incorporates "Angels We Have Heard on High" with Smitty singing and on piano accompanied by full orchestra and a full choir.  It is a tour de force which can be heard below.
If you have never heard of this album, do yourself a favor and pick it up.  It is a true Christmas delight.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015



The 1960s

Continuing my series of posts on the subject of what I think are the best films of each year, we now come to the 1960s.
So, without further ado...

What a year 1960 was for film!
It was quite difficult to narrow it down to just one film as the best of 1960 because several classic films came out that year.  In fact, there are no less than three films that are in my Top 25 that date from 1960 (and a fourth film that as a Texan, its only natural I would love it).
In addition to Spartacus (which I will talk about in a bit), The Magnificent Seven and Psycho also came out in 1960.  Magnificent Seven boasts one of the great ensemble casts of all time (maybe the best) and Psycho features one of the greatest male performances on film of all time of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates.  The film that, as a Texan I love, is The Alamo directed and starring John Wayne and is an incredible epic of Texas history featuring great performances by an iconic cast.
But, we must address the best movie of the year which is Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus.
Continuing a tradition of "sword and sandal" epics, Spartacus is a lavish production with big battle scenes and even bigger performances.  Kirk Douglas gives his finest performance in a role that seethes with inner tension and rage.  Lawrence Olivier is along for the ride in a stately performance that only he can give.  But who can forget Peter Ustinov in one of the best supporting roles ever.  Ustinov steals every scene that he is in, but it's not the over-the-top scenery-chewing that he did as Nero in Quo Vadis.
This was Kubrick's only truly great film as he then ventured into more esoteric film-making that tainted his reputation as a great film-maker.

West Side Story
And here again is a musical for the Best Picture of the Year and it is probably the greatest musical film of all time (and the argument could be made that this is one of the best movies of all time - it ranks #5 on my list of all-time greatest movies).
Jerome Robbins achieved choreography in this film not seen since Singing in the Rain for its sheer perfection.
And don't forget Natalie Woods in her most radiant performance (even if she lip-synced her songs).

Lawrence of Arabia
The finest male performance in a film ever.
Peter O'Toole.
'Nuff said?

The Great Escape
Another great ensemble picture that comes together seamlessly and even though its a long movie it holds its tension remarkably well throughout.

My Fair Lady
Another remarkable musical of lavish proportions with a performance for the ages by Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn as radiant as ever (even though she also lip-synced her songs much like Natalie Wood in West Side Story and interestingly both singing performances were by the same woman, Marni Nixon).

The Sound of Music
The turbulent and society-changing 1960's produced some of the greatest musical films of all time and the trend continued with Rogers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music with a female performance by Julie Andrews (who had been rejected for My Fair Lady due to not being a big-enough star) that is one of the greatest of all time.
This movie was so popular at the time that it actually challenged Gone With the Wind as the all-time box office king running in some theatres for over a year.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Epic and Western don't often go together but that's exactly what this movie is with a barn-storming performance by Eli Wallach who absolutely carries this movie.  But don't forget Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleaf giving steely-eyed performances (or Angel-Eyed in the case of Van Cleaf).

And the musical parade continues with perhaps my favorite musical in Camelot.  Richard Harris gives his best performance as King Arthur in this magical adaption of the Lerner & Lowe classic musical.
This movie is pure magic and scrumptious to behold onscreen.

Romeo and Juliet
Franco Zefferelli delivers my favorite and the best Shakespeare movie of all time in the tale of the star-crossed lovers.  Leornard Whiting and Olivia Hussey deliver spot-on performances that elevate this movie to absolute greatness.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Bond.  James Bond.
George Lazenby delivers the finest performance of Bond ever onscreen in the best Bond movie of all time.
I've blogged about this movie (and other James Bond movies) extensively.  See post here:
A personal favorite.

Before I conclude this entry, I can't not mention some of the other great movies of the 1960's (and perhaps a few stinkers as well).
I addressed 1960 earlier as one of the best years for film of the 60's but consider 1962 with not only Lawrence of Arabia but also the movie adaption of the musical The Music Man with Robert Preston iconic performance and Shirley Jones as effervescent as ever (and super-talented too, no lip-syncing here), The Miracle Worker with two incredible female performances from Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke as Helen Keller, the remake of Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard giving an incredible performance as Captain Bligh, and finally, the iconic How the West Was Won starring half of Hollywood (just kidding) in the other great epic Western of the 1960's.
And speaking of epics, consider Cleopatra in 1963 (Rex Harrison, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor in the title role and dozens and dozens of costumes).
And let's give a shout-out to Richard Burton as Becket in 1964 alongside Peter O'Toole.  Does it get any better?
Well, let me throw this out when thinking of iconic performances.  How about Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger in 1964?  The best Bond movie?  The case could be made.
And how about another shout-out to another Cleopatra co-star with Rex Harrison in Agony and the Ecstasy of 1965 along with a certain Charlton Heston.
Did anyone mention epics of the 1960's?  Doctor Zhivago of 1965.
1967's Best Picture winner was In the Heat of the Night with a stellar performance by Rod Steiger and cool as the other side of the pillow Sidney Poitier.
Paul Newman gave his best performance in the ultimate guy movie - Cool Hand Luke in 1967.
1968 was an interesting year as the musical Oliver won Best Picture, Charlton Heston played with the monkeys in Planet of the Apes and the worst movie of all time (IMO) 2001: A Space Odyssey was released.
Truly, the 1960's was a great decade for movies.  I wish I could have seen some of these in the theatres.
I have been lucky enough to see Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen which may be the best movie of the decade so I'm satisfied and this concludes my survey of the Best Pictures of each year of the 1960's.

Coming Soon - the 1970's

Tuesday, September 15, 2015




I'm going to start a new series of posts with this one on the subject of what I think are the best films of each year beginning with the year 1939 (and hopefully I can narrow it down to just one per year).
Now, going back so far into film history, I have to admit that there will be years that are not going to be represented since I haven't seen any films from those particular years.
To begin, I'm going to take the 20 year period from 1939 to 1959 and discuss briefly the best movie for each year IMO.
So, without further ado...

Gone With the Wind
This is an obvious choice and I have blogged about this film extensively (see post here: )
I believe it to be the best movie ever made with all of the facets of movie-making at the highest level.
I also recently blogged that I believe Viven Leigh's performance in this movie to be the best film performance of all time.
So, GWTW - obvious choice but before going on, lets talk about the other films of 1939 that are noteworthy.
1939 is widely considered to be the greatest year for film of all time.  More classic movies came out in 1939 than ever before or since.
As an example, just consider the male performances in 1939.  Not only did Clark Gable give his definitive performance in GWTW, but Laurence Olivier was also lauded for his portrayal of Heathcliff in the arch-romantic version of Wuthering Heights of 1939 (which also starred Merle Oberon in one of her finest roles as Cathy, the obsessive love of Heathcliff).  Charles Laughton gave a mesmerizing performance as Quasimodo in Hunchback of Notre Dame (along with Maureen O'Hara as Esmeralda).  Jimmy Stewart starred in a little movie by Frank Capra called Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Henry Fonda brought President Lincoln to life in John Ford's classic Young Mr. Lincoln (Ford also directed Stagecoach with a young actor named John Wayne in 1939).
And also, lets not forget a little movie called The Wizard of Oz starring the effervescent Judy Garland.
1939 - The finest year for film ever.

And now we come to one of those difficult years because I've only seen two movies from 1940.
One of those movies is the Disney classic, Fantasia which is a wonderful experience but not a traditional movie in any sense due to its lack of narrative so I'm not going to say that Fantasia is the best movie of the year.
The other movie that I've seen is The Grapes of Wrath starring Henry Fonda.  Now Grapes is considered a classic movie with an iconic performance from Fonda but I've always found the movie a bit dull and not very satisfying.
So, 1940 is the first of those years that I can't commit to any film as the best since I don't have enough knowledge of those films to make a judgement.

Sergeant York
Sergeant York is the quintessential Gary Cooper film role (and he was rewarded with the Academy Award for Best Actor for this role) and a very good movie directed by Howard Hawks.
As a sidenote, 1941 was the year Orson Welles made Citizen Kane which regularly is regarded as the greatest movie of all time but to me, Kane is a very ordinary and dull movie that I've never connected with.

Obvious choice here as Casablanca is one of the greatest movies of all time (and could be argued as THE greatest movie of all time).
This seems like a good time to mention that many of these movies are in my Top 25 Movies of All Time which you can view here: 

And here we go again with my limited viewing of films from a certain year.
The only film I've seen from 1943 is Jane Eyre starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine and it is a fine film but, once again, its the only film I've seen from 1943.

I haven't seen any films from 1944.

And Then There Were None
This is the first adaption of Agatha Christie's classic novel (one of my all-time faves) with an all-star cast including Barry Fitzgerald and Walter Huston. 

It's A Wonderful Life
This is another obvious choice with the quintessential Jimmy Stewart performance and the shimmering Donna Reed.  Easily the best film of the year.

Let's move on.

I'm a huge Shakespeare fan and this is the only film of 1948 that I've seen.  Luckily it is Laurence Olivier in probably his best role that he also directed (the only actor ever to direct himself to a best actor Oscar in the Oscar winning Best Picture of the Year).

The only film of 1949 that I've seen is the musical On the Town which is a good musical (although many of the songs from the Broadway original were not included in this film version) but perhaps not a great film.  However, it does have Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and the blazing dancing of Ann Miller.
This is the first musical that is mentioned on this list and you probably should get used to them appearing because I'm a huge musical film and they will be coming hot and heavy.

Annie Get Your Gun
And here we go with the musicals.
Annie Get Your Gun is Irving Berlin's musical masterpiece (much like Kiss Me Kate is Cole Porter's) and this is a great film adaption of the Broadway hit starring Howard Keel and the absolutely superb Betty Hutton as the title character.  Wonderful music and a wonderful film

The African Queen
To me, this is an obvious choice.  I think it is Humphrey Bogart's finest role and he is more than complemented by Katherine Hepburn.  To me, this movie is magical as you watch these two very different people fall in love and you believe it every step of the way.
As a sidenote, 1951 also featured the musical Showboat starring Katheryn Grayson and Howard Keel and is a wonderful musical of one of the most iconic musicals in history.

Singing in the Rain
Did I mention that I like musicals?
The dancing.  Absolutely amazing.
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds.  Absolutely amazing.

Julius Caesar
Another great love of mine is William Shakespeare.  I've already mentioned Hamlet of 1948 and in 1953 Julius Caesar was adapted with an all-star cast including Marlon Brando, James Mason, and John Gielgud.  My only complaint with this movie is Louis Calhern as the title character seemed a bit out of his depth and not up to the other members of the cast.  Just to see Brando doing Shakespeare is the highlight of this movie.

Once more Gene Kelly and once more a musical.
This lush adaption of the Lerner and Loewe Broadway show is a delight and one of my all-time fave musicals.

A landmark Broadway musical is made into a beautiful movie with incredible dancing and singing.  Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones (in her first movie) are wonderful and you throw in Rod Steiger as the menacing villain and you have a great movie.

The Ten Commandments
Is there any other choice?
Charlton Heston in his most iconic role along with Yul Brynner and the legendary Cecil B Demille directing, you know you can't go wrong with this one.
As a sidenote, Yul Brynner also starred in his best role in the film adaption of the Broadway hit, The King and I and won an Oscar for his efforts.
Likewise, I think Gregory Peck also delivered his greatest performance in the film adaption of Moby Dick in 1956.
And don't forget, Laurence Olivier as Richard III was also in 1956.

12 Angry Men
An amazing cast highlights this great movie anchored by Henry Fonda in what is, IMO, his best performance with a supporting cast for the ages - Martin Balsam, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Jack Warden, Ed Begley, and most importantly Lee J. Cobb in a barnstorming performance.
South Pacific
One of Rogers and Hammerstein's best musicals is given the big-screen treatment and is a beauty to behold and a joy to watch.  Another great musical movie in the pantheon of musical films.
And in conclusion to this part of the survey is another obvious choice in William Wyler's epic starring Charlton Heston in one of the greatest performances of all-time (and Oscar rewarded).  Heston and the movie itself are a tour-de-force and an absolute treasure of filmmaking.
OK, that will do it for this part of the survey.
Coming soon - the 1960s.

Monday, August 31, 2015


YouTube clips that I think are incredibly cool or incredibly funny and are a must-see for everyone.


I found this video the other day of some of the most beautiful playmates ever.
Its definitely worth a look.
And don't worry, there is no nudity so it is SFW.

This is a really great video with a bunch of beautiful playmates but actually a couple of these women were never playmates, namely Carmen Electra and Torrie Wilson.  And I'm so glad to see my girl Tiffany Taylor in this video as she is rarely given her due as one of the most beautiful playmates of all time.

Friday, August 28, 2015


If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

The Road Less Travelled?


YouTube clips that I think are incredibly cool or incredibly funny and are a must-see for everyone.

If this is true, this is some next level stuff!!!


A couple of years ago this month, I blogged about the movie, Gone With the Wind and that, in my opinion, it is the finest and greatest movie ever made.
In addition to the reasons I outlined in my above post, there is another reason I regard GWTW so highly.  It is because of the performance by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara.  In my opinion, Leigh delivers the greatest performance by an actor in any film ever made (including both male and female).  It is this mesmerizing performance that holds the film together and elevates it from the soap-opera melodrama that could have enveloped the film.
And this got me thinking...
If Leigh gives us the greatest performance by any actor, and accordingly, the greatest female film performance of all time, who would give the greatest male film performance of all time?
I think I would have to say that, IMO, the greatest male film performance was given by Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.  No other film so depends upon its leading man to carry the film and no actor shows the incredible range in one film that O'Toole supplies in Lawrence.
In thinking about this subject, I ran across a blog that gives a list of the Top 100 Female and Male Film Performances of All Time and might provide some perspective to this topic.
Check it out here:


About a year ago, Empire Magazine published its list of the Greatest 301 Movies of All Time.  It was a wild, weird, and woolly list that I blogged about here: 
Well, now they have come out with a new list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time and I thought the list was interesting for a very particular reason.
On this list, Han Solo was ranked #3 (behind Indiana Jones at #1 and James Bond at #2) and Darth Vader was ranked at #9 but Luke Skywalker was ranked at #50.  Wait.  What?
Luke Skywalker at #50?  I wouldn't have a problem with Luke at #50 if it wasn't for Han Solo being ranked at #3.  To me, this reveals a deep misunderstanding of the Star Wars saga.  If you are not a Luke Skywalker fan, then why are you watching Star Wars at all.  Everyone else in the original trilogy is a side character (including Han and Leia) and their stories are secondary when compared with the epic journey of Luke Skywalker.  I remember when I saw Return of the Jedi in 1983, I came out of the movie loving it but also thinking that the best part of the movie was the conclusion of the Luke story while the conclusion of Han and Leia's story felt a bit forced (I also thought the rescue of Han from Jabba's palace was a bit long and most of the time when I watch the movie today, I skip this entire beginning part and go right to Luke returning to Dagobah for the big reveal about Darth Vader from Yoda).
Coincidentally, I saw another magazine which ranked the top 50 sci-fi characters of all time and at #1 was - yep, you guessed it - Han Solo.  Luke ranked at #24 on this list. 
It's also interesting that in the trailer for the new Star Wars movie - The Force Awakens, Han Solo is in the trailer but Luke is nowhere to be found.  For me, this set off some warning signals beyond my trepidation about the movie due to the involvement of JJ Abrams (I'll never stop saying it - Abrams destroyed Star Trek for me!!!  If he destroys Star Wars... )
Luke Skywalker is what the original trilogy is all about (while the prequel trilogy is about Anakin) and in my opinion the sequel trilogy should, naturally, be about Luke's son but that is another discussion that I have blogged about here:

Monday, July 6, 2015


YouTube clips that I think are incredibly cool or incredibly funny and are a must-see for everyone.

Here is a clip of Tyrone Magnus reacting to a rising YouTube sensation from Mexico.
Tyrone is a YouTube guy that posts a bunch of reaction videos to different events and movie trailers with hilarious results.
In this clip he is watching a young weather-girl from Mexico named Yanet Garcia who is becoming quite the sensation on YouTube and you'll understand why when you see the clip.
You only need to watch about the first 3 minutes of this clip as he tends to ramble on after that point.

And now how about a few more highlights from Yanet's video library.


I know it's difficult, but did anyone else notice the really cool music in the above clip.  It's an electronic song called Fade by Alan Walker who posts alot of his electronic music on YouTube, so if you have the time, check it out.  Very cool song.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


YouTube clips that I think are incredibly cool or incredibly funny and are a must-see for everyone.

In a couple of days it will be Doctor Who day at work, so in keeping with that, here is a mini-episode called Time Crash that I just discovered featuring the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) meeting the 5th Doctor (Peter Davison) at the conclusion of the third season of the new Doctor Who series.

What I didn't know until my Doctor Who day at work (which involved a trivia contest) was that Peter Davison is actually David Tennant's father-in-law.  That explains alot about this video and how much Tennant's Doctor admires Davison's Doctor and its kind of cool how real life intrudes on this video.


If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.



Last Monday, June 22, 2015, I came home from work and got on my computer only to discover from Google news headlines that one of my favorite film composers had apparently died.
James Horner was dead.
I read the reports in shock as my brain assimilated the information and my eyes filled with tears.
James Horner was dead.
With his death, music has lost one of its leading luminaries and the world has become just a bit darker and drearier.
James Horner is dead but his music will live on forever to me.

In honor of his memory and to express my own sadness over this event, there will be no YOU TUBE FILM MUSIC CUE OF THE DAY for this month.

the rest is silence - Hamlet

Monday, April 20, 2015


It's time for a new feature on this blog which will once more feature YouTube clips that I think are incredibly cool or incredibly funny and are a must-see for everyone.

This is Funny!!!

Check out Matthew McConaughey's reaction to watching the new Star Wars trailer as taken from the movie Interstellar.
I totally laughed out loud when I saw this.
I enjoyed watching this more than watching the whole movie of Interstellar.
(Plea to Christopher Nolan:  Please stop writing movies!!! You have some talent as a director but as a writer you really need to stop)


OK, its time for a new feature on this blog featuring micro heroes.

The new Avengers movie is coming out soon.
So, here we go...

If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

without futher ado here is the

With the new Star Wars trailer that has just come out, how about a little patriotic Jedi action.


This feature on my blog showcases one of my great loves and personal hobbies:
I am a passionate fan of film music and my collection of film music is vast but I want to combine that with a visual aspect (which film music should be aligned too) so I'm going to use You Tube to accomplish this goal.
I will search through You Tube and find videos that feature film music and embed those videos on this blog.

There are certain movies that I really like but everyone else seems to disdain.  Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines is one of those movie.  I really liked the movie and I thought it was a good addition to the Terminator franchise.  Now, of course, it wasn't as good as T2 but I liked it about on par with the first Terminator movie.
For me, the highlight of the movie, especially from a film score point of view, was the final scene of the movie which featured Marco Beltrami's music over Nick Stahl's narration and I think it worked brilliantly and capped the movie off with a powerhouse emotional impact.
So, for your enjoyment, here is the final scene to Terminator 3 with music by Marco Beltrami.



So in my last post, I presented my choices for the Best Albums of the Year for 2014 (see post here: )
And I thought it was a pretty good post so I decided to do it again but this time for 2013 and I may go back a few more years and present my picks for albums that I found to be really good during those years.

But for now, here are the outstanding albums of 2013:

Best Contemporary Christian Album of the Year

Well, here we hit a snag.
I didn't think there was a Christian album that stood out this year but one album that I would point out is Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman.  Chapman is a mainstay of CCM and one of its most important artists (and I have every one of his albums) but often his albums (which tend to be rather long, at least 12 tracks most of the time) become monotonous and the songs lose any distinctiveness and all the songs begin to sound just alike.  However, the title track is really good and the best track on the album.
Here is the video of the song:

Best Pop Album of the Year
More Than Just a Dream - Fitz & the Tantrums

Whoa!!!  Now here is a pop album!!!  Wow!!!  This is probably one of the best pop albums I have ever heard!!! 
Amazingly, there is not a bad track on this album and many of the tracks are pure gold.
This album kind of flew under the radar and didn't get recognized as it should have but it is head and shoulders above any pop album I've heard in a long time.
I mentioned this album in a post of mine a few months ago with the video of the track, Out of My League.  See it here:

Best Christmas Album of the Year
Wrapped in Red - Kelly Clarkson

What a great pic of Kelly Clarkson.  Kelly Clarkson is one of the best pop vocalists out there (as long as she contains the shouting and actually sings) and in 2013 she released her first Christmas album, Wrapped in Red and it turned out to be the outstanding holiday offering of the season.  Consisting of many previously recorded songs (naturally) there were a couple of original tracks such as the title track that highlighted Kelly's vocal abilities to the utmost.
Here is the video of the title track:

Best Classical Crossover Album of the Year
Lindsey Stirling - Lindsey Stirling

What a terrible pic of Lindsey Stirling.  However, the girl has talent.  Real talent.  I've put this album under the Classical Crossover category because of its instrumental nature but it doesn't feature any classical tracks and it could actually be classified more as classical pop or even electro-classical as it consists mostly of Lindsey on violin playing original tunes to beat-box accompaniment and electronic backing.  And that being said, this album comes off as a breath of fresh air and an exciting genre-bending listening experience.
Here is the video of one of the outstanding tracks from this album called Transcendence:

Best Jazz Album of the Year
Say That to Say This - Trombone Shorty

Now I'm not a huge jazz fan but this album caught my attention and it is all good.  Trombone Shorty's third studio album does it on all levels.  It's not just a great jazz album, it is a great album all the way around.  And what a talented artist.  He plays the trombone (obviously) but he also plays the trumpet and sings lead vocals on this album.  It is a tour de force from an artist that has reached his creative maturity.
Here is the video of the more funky than jazzy track, Fire and Brimstone:

Best Score Album of the Year
The Book Thief - John Williams

John Williams.  He is the maestro of film music.  Not only was this the best score of 2013, it was also the best film of 2013 and one of the best films of this decade.  This score was pure Williams with orchestration and themes that no one composing today can match.  He is simply the best and anytime he scores a movie, attention must be paid.
Just give a listen to the following suite from the score and marvel at the magnificence that is John Williams.

And before I get to the Best Album of the Year, here are a couple of honorable mentions (including the aforementioned Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman).  I didn't single out a Best Adult Contemporary Album for 2013 but there were a few albums that fit into that category that were good but not great.  Il Divo released A Musical Affair consisting of tracks from the Broadway stage with almost every track being a collaboration of some kind.  Now normally I would be all over this album (and I did buy it on cd) but the inclusion of foreign language usage on these mostly English songs just didn't really do it for me.  Surprisingly, Josh Groban and Michael Buble both put albums out in 2013 but both were a bit lesser efforts than they had previously put out so even though both were Adult Contemporary albums, neither merit the title of Best to me.

Best Album of the Year
Random Access Memories - Daft Punk

This is the Best Album of the Year.
What can I say about this album?  It is a masterpiece.
Daft Punk is generally considered an electronic group but this album delves into symphonic, funk, disco, and melds it all together into a listening experience that is incredible.
No wonder it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year because it is the Best Album of the Year.
I can't really say more, you just have to listen to understand so here are a couple of videos of the two of the best tracks but all the tracks are good so do yourself a favor and go buy this album.
Here is Get Lucky (featuring Pharrell Willaims and Niles Rodgers):

And here is Instant Crush (featuring Julian Casablancas):

And that's just a sampling from this incredible album.  All the tracks on this album are unique and quality.  Random Access Memories is an album that just keeps going and is good all the way to the end.
The Best Album of the Year.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Usually, I pick a Top Five Film Score Albums for the past year.  However, this year I was unable to pick 5 scores that I thought were good enough to put on my Top Five Scores List.  For some reason, many of the scores this year that others lauded, I wasn't very impressed with including The Battle of Five Armies by Howard Shore, Interstellar by Hans Zimmer, Maleficent by James Newton Howard, The Winter Soldier by Henry Jackman, and The Guardians of the Galaxy by Tyler Bates.
So, instead of picking five scores that I liked this year, I thought I would branch out a bit and pick one score album I really liked and five other albums from five different music genres and briefly highlight them, because, believe it or not, I do listen to other types of music other than film scores.
Without Further Ado

The Best Albums of the Year

Best Score Album of the Year
Draft Day - John Debney

John Debney delivers a score that does exactly what it needs to do for this football movie that has no football in it.  He actually overscores the movie with short fanfare-like cues that build the suspense to the final draft scenes.  I thought this was the best score of the year in the best movie of the year.  If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and go rent the DVD.
To hear a bit of the score, I featured Draft Day as my Film Music Cue of the Day right here on this blog right here:

Best Christmas Album of the Year
That's Christmas to Me - Pentatonix

The acapella group Pentatonix (in case you don't know what acapella means - it means singing without any instrumental accompaniment - just vocals) came out with their first official album this last year with That's Christmas to Me (prior to this album, Pentatonix has only released EPs, which, in case you don't know, are half albums with 5 to 7 tracks only).  If you are a fan of Christmas music and acapella music like I am, this album is, simply put, a joy to hear.  Probably the outstanding track on the album for me is the hybrid of Winter Wonderland and Don't Worry Be Happy sung along with Tori Kelly.  The video is below.

Best Contemporary Christian Album of the Year
Sovereign - Michael W. Smith

Not a lot of people know that I am a huge collector of Christian music (maybe a lot of people don't even know that I'm a Christian, but that would be my fault) and Michael W. Smith is one of my all-time favorites.  I have all his albums on cd and he is a cornerstone of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) as we know it.  For his 22nd studio album, Smitty gives us Sovereign which continues the trend in his music, and Christian music in general, toward a more worship-oriented sound (instead of the more pop-flavored music of the 90's).  And that best describes this album - it is a stirring worshipful experience to listen too.
Here is a lyric video of the title track - Sovereign Over Us.

Best Classical Crossover Album of the Year
Wonders  - The Piano Guys

The Piano Guys released their third studio album this last year named Wonders and I must say that this was a "Wonder"ful album.  There is some great stuff on this album including their rendition of "The Mission/How Great Thou Art" to what I think is the most outstanding track which also coincides with my love of film music and that is "Batman Evolution" going through some of the music associated with Batman from the TV series to the Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard music of the movies.  Really good stuff.  If you aren't familiar with The Piano Guys, do yourself a favor and pick up this cd.
Here is a video of "Batman Evolution".

Best Adult Contemporary Album of the Year
Stars - Collabro

If you haven't heard of Collabro, they are an English musical theatre boy group (or boy band) that won the UK's Britain's Got Talent a couple of years ago and this is their first studio album and what an effort this is.  The album begins with two songs from Les Miserables, the title track and then Bring Him Home.  It moves on the Come What May from Moulin Rouge (the only thing good to come from that movie and its a very good song that is being covered by everyone from these guys to Placido Domingo on his 2012 album Songs - the best Classical Crossover Album of 2012).  Then comes a particular highlight of the album in the song With You from the musical version of the movie Ghost.  Next comes the massive hit from the movie Frozen - Let it Go.  Then the standard, Anthem from Chess.  Then Somewhere from West Side Story and rounding the album off with Somewhere Over the Rainbow from Wizard of Oz.  Whew!!!  Now that's a collection of songs.  There are also two covers of pop songs on this album (OneRepublic's Secrets and John Legend's All of Me) for mass appeal and consumption.  This is a standout first recording from a group that has a bright future.

Best Pop Album of the Year
My Everything - Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande hit this last year with her second studio album like the bomb she is with the best pop song of the year -  Problem (w/ Iggy Azalea).  This is a really interesting and incredible pop song (the video I featured here on my blog here:
It is also highly unique as I pointed out in my post above when discussing the video.
This album does feature a lot of collaborations, especially with rap artists but there are also some techno influences (as in the track Break Free featuring DJ Zedd) and some R&B sexiness (as in Love Me Harder featuring Weekend).
Ariana is kind of a cross between Mariah Carey and Britney Spears (perhaps closer to a Christina Aguilara if Christina would calm down and sustain some notes in her songs).  She portrays a demure sexuality that's almost kittenish but is still adult in her image and her music.  This is probably the best pop album by a female artist since Britney Spears' 2011 album Femme Fatale (and much better than Britney's 2013 album Britney Jean) and well worth buying and I must admit to having a little bit of a crush on her (Thank God she's 21 but I still sorta feel like a dirty old man, heh-heh).
Here is the video for the aforementioned Love Me Harder (featuring Weekend):

Well, there you go and that about covers all my musical interests in one post.
2014 wasn't a great year for music but if you search hard enough, there is good stuff out there so Keep Listening!!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

If you got to know me a little, you would find out that I'm one of the few regular people that is on Twitter.

One thing that I like about Twitter is that you can get sent all kinds of interesting and funny and amazing pics, so I'm going to be posting those pics that I find interesting or funny or amazing.

without futher ado here is the


Wednesday, February 18, 2015


This feature on my blog showcases one of my great loves and personal hobbies:
I am a passionate fan of film music and my collection of film music is vast but I want to combine that with a visual aspect (which film music should be aligned too) so I'm going to use You Tube to accomplish this goal.
I will search through You Tube and find videos that feature film music and embed those videos on this blog.

For this Film Music Cue, I have selected a scene from Oliver Stone's epic movie Alexander.  To me and IMHO, Alexander is one of the best movies of the decade but I also think that I am the only person on the planet that feels that way.  It's just the way I am.  There are certain movies that I like that no one else does like Alexander and there are certain movies that I loathe that everyone else thinks are great such as Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
(I'm actually thinking of doing a new feature on this blog that highlights this dichotomy so be on the lookout in the future).
But back to Alexander and this clip.
This clip and film cue features the scene in which Alexander "tames" his legendary horse Bucephalus and as he does so, Vangelis' transcendent music is on full display.  I really believe that, like me, Vangelis loved this movie because he provided some of his best material ever for this movie so it must have inspired him somewhat.  Just listen and marvel at the majesty of this music for a simple scene of a boy riding a horse for the first time.



Have you ever been curious about that card game called Magic: The Gathering?

Well, I was.  
So, I bought some pre-made decks and began the process of learning how to play the game.
However, learning how to play the game turned out to be a daunting task as I watched some instruction videos and only understood about half of what I was seeing.
So, as an industrious and intelligent person who has played a lot of different games over the years, I proceeded to just make up my own rules.
And somewhat surprisingly, my rules work and the game plays smoothly and with a good deal more excitement than when using the regular rules (if you can decipher and implement the regular rules, they are incredibly complicated made even more so over the years as new card-types have been added).  I found the game when using the regular rules to be overly-complex and a bit taxing (meaning the game proceeds slowly) and some of the best cards can't be used because of the slow pace of the game.  Utilizing my rules, many of the more powerful cards can easily join the game.  However, other cards and the effects of those cards cannot be used because certain mechanics of the game in my system are not employed.
Actually, I was proud of myself that I could take a very complicated game and simplify it down in a way that still worked and proved to be enjoyable.
I'm tempted to go to one of those Friday Night Magic Gatherings and see if anyone would want to play the game using my rules.  Maybe I can start a new trend in Magic gaming.
Anyone up to the challenge?