Why the scariest show on Netflix is…Marie Kondo

February 23, 2019

Why the scariest show on Netflix is…Marie Kondo

There are a lot things that scare people on Netflix: Poltergeist, The Witch, The Haunting of Hill House, Jaws, American Horror Story…

I can watch (and enjoy) horror movies/TV shows, and have for a very long time.

There’s one show, though, that I can’t bring myself to watch…just thinking about it raises my heart rate and starts the fear sweat stirring.

What is it?

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

I suspect that a lot of other people feel the same way, even if it’s an immensely popular show.

Why this fear?

As a collector, as someone who champions what most people feel is unimportant, the idea of getting rid of things scares me.

I would guess it always has.

Now, I have to be clear…as stated, I haven’t seen the show, so I’m just going on what I know about it through summaries and such.

As I understand it, the basic idea (and I’m sure there are a lot of subtleties to it) is that you go through the items in your house. You pick up an item (say, a book or a piece of clothing), and commune with it in some manner, to see if it “sparks joy”. If it does, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you thank it for what it has contributed to your life, and then remove it from your life, preferably by donating it if it would have value to someone else.

What a bizarre idea! ūüėČ

Clearly, this resonates with people…thrift shops have indicated that they’ve gotten so many items donated by people inspired by the show, and I presume, to a lesser degree, by the book

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) | 4.4 stars out of 5 | 13, 889 reviews at time of writing

that they have had to turn donations away.

Now, on the surface, this makes some sense.

One of the things I do in my day job is help people with time management, and I’m very effective. I once sat with someone for an hour who was routinely leaving work two hours or so late. Within a few weeks, that person was leaving on time.

Part of that is cleaning things up.

Let’s take e-mails.

Suppose you get lots of e-mails, and you either take action on them or delete them…at least, that’s the theory.

However, there are many of them that you read….but then just don’t bother to delete.

You may think having those undeleted e-mails in your inbox doesn’t affect your efficiency, but it does.

You can think of it this way: you have two systems of mental processing.

One of them works very quickly, and you aren’t even aware of it most of the time. It’s constantly assessing everything around you…one of its main functions is to determine threats.

It’s very shallow and judgmental…it makes snap decisions.

If you are about to cross the street, your System One looks at traffic for you. It analyzes whether that traffic is dangerous to you. If it is, you might instinctively jump back on to the curb. You probably couldn’t articulate why, exactly, in many cases…what it was about a car or traffic flow that made you consider it dangerous.

Now, in some cases (relatively few), that system can’t make a decision…it then passes the problem to your “slow” system, which engages your intellect for a thoughtful decision.

Stick your hand in the fire, System One.

See a stranger on the other side of the street, creeping along like Bela Lugosi…System Two. There may be nothing wrong with that person, and it may be prejudice that tripped your initial concern, but you consider it.

When you leave those e-mails in the inbox, you likely don’t engage System Two at all. However, your System One still needs to assess them…every single time. If you have a thousand e-mails, your System One will make that super fast decision that they are unimportant…on all of them.

You aren’t aware of it, but that takes intellectual energy…which makes it harder to deal with the actual important (probably new) e-mails.

So, why wouldn’t the same thing apply to the clothes in your closet and the books on your shelves?

It does.

Absolutely, no question: if you have a bunch of clothes in your closet that have no sentimental value, and that you will never wear again, they are stressing your intellectual systems. It makes perfect sense to get rid of them.

I’m fine with that.

Donating is great: I’m fine with that, too.

What I don’t like is the “sparks joy” test, which could lead to a lot of false positives…identifying things as having no value when they do.

First, it suggests that you will always be exactly the same as you are now. If something doesn’t “spark joy” for you now, it never will. I don’t know about you, but there are things I didn’t need, but years later, they were exactly the solution I needed for something.

Second, it feels selfish…I have a lot of things that I have * don’t have just for me…I have them for the value they’ll have for someone else at some point…even for society at large.

The latter can be a big part of collecting, when you aren’t doing it for just economic reasons (hoping to make a profit).

There are items I’ve kept for decades…I may have some of the few copies of them that exist.

That doesn’t mean they have economic value…that used to be true for a lot of geeky stuff, like science fiction novels, although that has changed some.

I grew up with the belief that some comic books were valuable because people’s parents threw out the vast majority of them. It turned out later that wasn’t exactly the case…there was an intentional campaign against comic books which even led to public burnings, as explained in this excellent book:

The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Still, a lot of what I have would be considered ephemera by mainstream society…something that doesn’t have any lasting value.

It’s possible, in some cases, that I have one of the only ones of these items in existence.

I’ll just make something up: let’s say it’s the schedule for a local science fiction convention (maybe 200 attendees) from the 1980s. Most people would just throw it away (or nowadays, recycle it), and that’s fine. Picking it up is not necessarily going to spark joy for me.

If I get rid of it, though, there may no longer be a copy of it in the world.

Your response may be, “So what?” ūüôā

Well, it was a part of our society…undoubtedly, a very small part. It may not have affected anything else in any meaningful way…pop culture doesn’t always follow “The Butterfly Effect” hypothesis, although I suppose it might. Maybe somebody who went to that con became more involved in geeky things, and eventually, contributed to a movie which changed the world.

Maybe not.

Even if it didn’t, objects like that didn’t just grow on a tree. People contributed to it…human-made objects are evidence of people, of their dreams and efforts.

If I just say that this item doesn’t mean anything to me now and therefore should be destroyed…well, as I said above, it feels very self-centered.

Sure, it’s easier to get rid of things, and I know why it feels good short-term. I’ve said in the past, though, that I’ve never regretted keeping something but I have regretted getting rid of something.

That doesn’t mean that I just keep everything! I’m not a hoarder…really, I’m not.

For example, I’ve recently started donating a very large percentage of my library. I started with something like ten thousand paperbooks in my home (I’m a former bookstore manager, for one thing). I recently had major surgery, and that made me rethink what might happen if I died (even though it was a very low risk surgery, it’s a good specific impetus). I got my will in order.

I also thought about all those books.

Why did I have them? I almost always read e-books now.

What I pictured was that, after my death, my offspring would donate the books.

That would be a considerable burden!

I know where I want the books to go. I want them to go to people who will preserve them and make them available, perhaps for sociological study.

It would be ridiculous for my now adult kid to need to deal with ten thousand books!

I’ve started donating them. I’ve been sending boxes to Loren Coleman’s

International Cryptozoology Museum

I trust Loren: I’ve been a reader of Coleman’s books from the beginning, we’ve had some correspondence, and while we don’t really know each, we did have lunch once.

The museum is a non-profit: I can write off the donations. It’s tough to assess the value, and they often won’t assess as being worth much…one good thing: I can write off the shipping costs, which are not insignificant.

If they are duplicates, ICM could sell them, of course, as a way to raise funds….I’m confident, though, that they would make sure some copy of it is preserved.

Couldn’t I sell these books myself?

Sure…we could do that through eBay or Amazon. That’s a lot of work, and there’s no guarantee that the person buying them would try to preserve them or make them legally publicly available. I’d rather donate them.

I’m certainly going to keep some books: my Doc Savage paperbacks, my original Oz books…those are more like family heirlooms. Somebody in the family might want to read them later. I’m toying with the idea of keeping all the floor to ceiling bookshelves, and “facing” the books…putting them with the front cover showing. That might be cool, like art, but I’m not sure yet.

Yes, I get rid of things. Yes, I donate things.

My criterion isn’t simply if they “spark joy” now. My “Kondophobia” has to do with the idea that people would just indiscriminately toss or even donate things. They’ll follow the old saying, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

One important strategy: do separate the “archives” from the current use. If you have a t-shirt from a concert you saw in college, don’t keep it with the t-shirts you wear every day. That’s going to stress your System One. You want to keep it as art? Frame it, hang it on the wall, just like you would a picture.¬† Just preserving it for your kids? Put it in a box or a special closet.

You want me to watch The Exorcist? I’m there. You want me to watch Tidying Up? You’re on your own… ūüėČ

What do you think? Do you think keeping things is ridiculous, a waste of space? Do you think I should sell my books, rather than donating them? Do you want to keep your “collectibles” as a legacy for your descendants? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. 

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The Oscars are tomorrow! Help us predict the winners

February 23, 2019

The Oscars are tomorrow! Help us predict the winners

For decades, I’ve done an Oscar prediction contest, BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness).

We tend to be very accurate: last year, we scored 94% overall.

Why is that?

It’s the wisdom of crowds, and the method I use for people to make their predictions.

You can still make your predictions, and the more people who do so, the better I think we’ll do. Use this form:

https://t.co/AgRAFC30xe

It should just take you a couple of minutes: you rank every nominee in every category.

You have until noon Pacific time on Sunday, 24 February to complete it. I’ll close the voting then.

That will give me time to put out our predictions before the ceremony.

In case you are wondering, I make my own predictions before I receive anybody else’s, so I’m not unfairly influenced. I also don’t make our predictions publicly available until I close the voting.

While so far, I’ve talked about the group value, individuals certainly do compete as well. We announce winners in The Big Six (the acting categories, Best Picture, and Director), the Incredibly Difficult Maven Section (everything else), and Overall (combining the two). We play for that most valuable of human possessions…Bragging Rights. ūüėČ

You also have the option to have your guesses e-mailed to you, so you can play along.

I’d love it if you play, but even if you don’t, you can see our predictions in this blog on Sunday.

See you in the movies!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard!

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. 

 

Yay, it’s the Big Game! Here’s what to watch instead… ;)

February 3, 2019

Yay, it’s the Big Game! Here’s what to watch instead… ūüėČ

…or, you know, what to watch tomorrow (and the rest of the month).

Let me be clear first: lots of geeks watch the Superbowl, and no, not just for the movies trailers which will debut. There’s a stereotype that geeks aren’t into sports, and I would say that it used to be legitimate that geeks didn’t¬†participate as much in sports in school (at least decades ago). That’s part of the social stratification of high school…people tend to end up, to some degree, in groups (especially if you consider “misfits” as a group). I would guess that hasn’t really gone away…one of the key initial plot points in Glee (which, okay, debuted almost a decade ago) was the conflict of a “jock” participating in the traditionally non-jock activity of the glee club.

Participating and watching are two different things, though. Some big sports are very geeky, with lots of stats and math. Fantasy football (and other fantasy sports) has certainly increased geek engagement.

The first traditional big sport which I followed closely was football. I argue that it is the most intellectual of the big sports. It’s the only one where they stop frequently to decide what they are going to do. Some people think of it as just big people crashing into each other, but that’s not how it works. Monday morning quarterbacks don’t say, “We lost because they were bigger than us.” ūüôā They say, “They shouldn’t have gone for it on third down!” It’s a criticism of the intellectual part of the game, not the physical part. I’ll entertain an argument for baseball….there are tons of decisions made there.

We’ve also got our own geeky fictional sports (which may crossover into real life): Quidditch; Rollerball; Death Race, to name a few. Additionally, we have fiction about the real world sports: Bugs Bunny playing all the positions on a baseball team…at the same time; the Richard Matheson robot boxer story Steel, which became a Twilight Zone episode and a Hugh Jackman movie; or the android football game in Piers Anthony’s

Blue Adept (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Still, a lot of geeks (and some muggles) may risk social ostracism by not watching the Superbowl. For one thing, the internet will give us summaries very quickly, so it’s possible to nod knowingly at the right times on Monday without watching it in real time. In terms of the ads, they are generally released to YouTube ahead of the game. You can watch them in this

USA Today story

although movie trailers may actually be held back until the game.

I’ve been doing a feature called

Prime Geek

where I would write about geeky movies/TV that were available through Amazon Prime. However, in thinking about it, that’s really an artificial restriction. I doubt there are many people nowadays who limit themselves to streaming Prime Video. Amazon itself has introduced a free with ads service, IMDb FreeDive. I watch pretty much everything on a member of the

Fire TV family (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

…we use a Fire TV Cube in one room, a Fire TV Stick in another (except for shows I watch in Virtual Reality).

Even then, that doesn’t mean it’s just Prime Video…it’s Netflix, Hulu, Tubi (and to a lesser extent, HBO on DirecTV which I get for using AT&T).

So, starting this month, I’m going to focus just on the videos, and then indicate the availability. Prime requires you to be a Prime member. Hulu and Netflix are paid subscription services (you might pay monthly or annually). Tubi and IMDb FreeDive are free with ads (the video will stop periodically for commercials…like old-fashioned TV).

Here are some recommendations (and this is a tiny fraction of what’s available), and the reasons why. This may be my prejudice, but I’m not going to list a TV series where you can’t start from the beginning…Hulu has current seasons of some good shows, but I always like to start at the top. I’m okay if the service doesn’t have the current season of a TV series, though…for me, I can wait for them to release it. I will, however, list movies where you might not be able to see the preceding ones. It’s a lot rarer that somebody will have all the earlier movies in a series (see Marvel, for example). Oh, and I’ll only include things where I’ve watched at least part of it.

Note: videos can leave a service at any time, and this listing was created using USA-based listings.

Supernatural (Netflix) (14 seasons, TV series)

One sentence summary: Two brothers travel around the country “hunting” supernatural creatures

With 300 episodes, you could literally watch an episode every day (taking off weekends) and still be watching it by next year’s Superbowl! The chemistry between the leads (playing brothers) is amazing, there are horror elements (but scarier than gross), good writing, strong supporting characters, and a through line that doesn’t get you stumbling over the mythology. Most episodes are stand-alones. Start at the beginning: it’s good right away.

The 100 (Netflix) (5 seasons, TV series)

One sentence summary: a group of young people return to an abandoned Earth and face hardships

Honestly, better than I thought it was going to be. Yes, it’s a bit soapy (it’s based on a young adult series), but I enjoyed the writing & acting on this one. It’s post-apocalyptic.

Avengers: Infinity War (Netflix) (2018 movie)

One sentence summary: Marvel heroes are brought together to face a big bad (Thanos)

Superhero blockbuster which pulled together a lot of different characters. Yes, it’s a little like one of the early Star Trek movies, where everybody gets a “moment”, but there are some really fun exchanges (I liked the back-and-forth with Thor and Rocket Raccoon). I wouldn’t start here for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and you won’t feel like you are done, but I enjoyed it.

Supergirl (Netflix) (3 seasons, TV series)

One sentence summary: Superman’s cousin deals with having powers, but also every day life.

For those of us who grew up with the “Silver Age” of DC, we think of it as fun, rather than the dark, pessimistic world it was in the movies (at least until Wonder Woman). The Flash and this show went back (initially) to that more light-hearted feel. The cast is good, and there’s some workplace comedy elements which work.

Doctor Who (Prime Video) (10 seasons/series, TV series…this is the reboot that started in 2005)

One sentence summary: “Time Lord” and human “companions” have adventures

There’s a reason why the character of Doctor Who has been around for so long! S/he’s unique: an alien who is full of curiosity and fond of humans, but has some deep darkness as well. We all have our favorites, and it’s often our first. For me, mine was Tom Baker…but I really liked Matt Smith in this version. Part of that is the companions (Amy Pond!), but I thought he really captured the doctor’s conscious desire to enjoy life. My favorite episode of Doctor Who altogether is The Girl Who Waited. You can watch this without having watched the early seasons, even though there are some references to old events.

The Walking Dead (Netflix) (8 seasons, TV series)

One sentence summary: after a zombie apocalypse begins, a group of survivors bands together

This one can be gross, and it’s certainly harsh, but (and I’ve had this discussion with people) I think it’s the best cast of characters since the original Star Trek. I don’t think the first season is the best, but I’d start there…this one does have a heavy through story, and it wouldn’t make sense most of the time to see it out of order.

Birdbox (Netflix) (TV movie)

One sentence summary: creatures appear in contemporary society, and if you see them, you try to kill yourself…so being blindfolded is the best defense

I wasn’t crazy about this one, but it’s been very buzzy. It’s certainly dark and arguably creepy. Sandra Bullock stars.

Black Panther (Netflix) (2018 movie)

One sentence summary: superhero from advanced secret society faces challenges from within and without

This has been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and is an adventure movie that’s a lot of fun! There is some intersection with the rest of Marvel, but you don’t need to know that to enjoy this. Many strong elements with a lot of attention to detail: this one has broad appeal.


Okay, I”m running out of time for you to make your decision, so here are a bunch more in much shorter versions (and I’ll be looser with what I include):

  • The Addams Family (Hulu)
  • Agent Carter (Hulu)
  • American Horror Story (Hulu)
  • Annihilation (2018 movie)
  • The Animal (2000 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Angel (Hulu)
  • The Angry Red Planet (Prime Video)
  • Archer (Hulu)
  • Arrival (2016 movie) (Hulu)
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1977 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Attack of the Mushroom People (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Avengers (Steed, some pre-Peel) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Babe (1995 movie) (Hulu)
  • Battle Royale (2000 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Battlestar Galactica (reboot) (Hulu)
  • Beetlejuice (Hulu)
  • Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Black Sunday (1960 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Blankman (1994 movie) (Freedive: free with ads)
  • A Boy and His Dog (1975 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Brain that Wouldn’t Die (1962 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Brazil (1985 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Bubba Ho-Tep (2003 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Hulu)
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Carnival of Souls (1962 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Cat Women of the Moon (1953 movie)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005 movie) (Hulu)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1972 movie) (Prime Video)
  • The Color of Magic¬† (Freedive: free with ads)
  • The Dark Crystal (Prime Video)
  • The Dead Zone (TV series) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Death Race 2000 (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Deep Blue Sea (Hulu)
  • Defenders of the Earth (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Destroy All Monsters (1969 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Dinosaurs (Hulu)
  • Dollhouse (Hulu)
  • Dreamscape (1984 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Dresden Files¬† (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Eternal Law (Freedive: free with ads)
  • The Exorcist (Hulu)
  • Field of Dreams (1989 movie) (Hulu)
  • Fireball XL5 (supermarionation) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Firefly (Hulu)
  • Fringe (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Futurama (Hulu)
  • Gammera the Invincible (1966 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Gargoyles (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Ghost Whisperer (Hulu)
  • The Greatest American Hero¬† (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Gumby’s Best Episodes (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Hereditary (2018 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Heroes (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Highlander (movie) (Hulu)
  • Highlander (TV series) (Hulu)
  • Hot Tub Time Machine (2010 movie) (Prime Video)
  • House on Haunted Hill (1959 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Hugo (2011 movie) (Prime Video) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • James Bond: Dr. No (Hulu), From Russia with Love (Hulu), Thunderball (Hulu), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Hulu), Moonraker (Hulu), For You Eyes Only (Hulu), A View to a Kill (Hulu), License to Kill (Hulu), Goldeneye (Hulu) Tomorrow Never Dies (Hulu)
  • Kentucky Fried Movie (1977 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Kick-Ass (2010 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Knightriders (1981 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Last Man on Earth (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Librarians (Hulu)
  • LIfeforce (1985 movie) (Prime Video)
  • The Little Shop of Horrors (1960 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Lost (Hulu)
  • Lost in Space (original) (Hulu)
  • The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004 movie) (Prime Video)
  • The Lost World (1925 movie)
  • The Manster (1959 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Mars Attacks (1996 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Masters of the Universe (1986 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Medium (Hulu)
  • The Monster Club (Tubi: free with ads)
  • My Favorite Martian (TV series) (Prime Video)
  • My Living Doll (TV series) (Prime Video)
  • The NeverEnding Story (1984 movie) (Hulu)
  • Night of the Comet (1983 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Night of the Creeps (1986 movie)¬† (Freedive: free with ads)
  • One Step Beyond (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Phantom (1996 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Painkiller Jane (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Pokemon (Hulu)
  • Power Rangers (2017 movie)
  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017 movie) (Hulu)
  • Puppet Master (1989 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Q: The Winged Serpent (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Quantum Leap (Hulu)¬†(Freedive: free with ads)
  • Reboot (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Riverworld (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Rocketworld X-M (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Roswell (Hulu)
  • Sapphire and Steel (Tubi: free with ads)
  • She Demons (1958 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Sherlock Gnomes (2018 movie) (Hulu)
  • Shrek (Hulu)
  • Silver Bullet (1985 movie)
  • Smallville (Hulu)
  • Spaceballs (1987 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Space Jam (1996 movie) (Hulu)
  • Spider baby (1967 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Spirit (2008 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Star Crash (1979 movie)¬† (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Stargate (1994 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Stargate SG-1 (Hulu)
  • Stargate Atlantis (Hulu)
  • Star Trek (2009 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: Voyager (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: Enterprise (Hulu)
  • Star Trek IX: Insurrection (1998 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Stingray (supermarionation) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Supercar (supermarionation)¬† (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Swamp Thing (TV series) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Tank Girl (1995 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Hulu)
  • Thunderbirds (original supermarionation)¬† (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Three Stooges in Orbit (Prime Video)
  • Total Recall (1990 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Timeless (Hulu)
  • Twilight (2008 movie) & sequels (Hulu)
  • Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016 movie) (Prime Video)
  • Warehouse 13 (Freedive: free with ads)
  • Warm Bodies (2013 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • The Weird Al Show (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Werewolf of Washington (1973 movie) (Tubi: free with ads)
  • Wolf (1994 movie) (Freedive FwA)
  • Xena: Warrior Princess (Hulu)
  • The X-Files (Hulu)

Wow! I really got sucked into the vortex on this one! ūüėČ I’m going to have to find a different way to do this, because I would really like to tell you why I put each one on the list. I have seen almost all of them (the exceptions are really recent ones…I think that was it). Feel free to ask my about any of them as to why I put them on this list. Believe it or not, I was pretty selective: there are reasons why I’m glad I saw all of these.

I also know that some things above may be incomplete…I might have left dates off movies and/or not listed all the viewing options.

Anyway, if you’d prefer to watch something besides the big game, I think you have a lot of good choices!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project (AKA Enwoven)! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. 

Oscar noms: their other 2018 performances (or, how to get an Oscar nom…hint: it helps if you are playing a human being)

January 29, 2019

Oscar noms: their other 2018 performances (or, how to get an Oscar nom…hint: it helps if you are playing a human being)

While we tend to think of Oscar acting nominees as being recognized as the “Best Lead Actor”, it’s actually the specific performance that is being recognized…not that person’s intrinsic acting abilities.

Most actors are inconsistent…sometimes, their performances are better than others (there are some possible exceptions…Vincent Price comes to mind as someone who always had a good performance). Sure, that could have to do with the material or the director or the amount of time that actor has to work on the part.

I always found John Carradine’s approach to that interesting. Carradine (father of David, Keith, and Robert) was a Shakespearean actor who appeared in prestige movies including the Grapes of Wrath, ended up in movies like The Astro-Zombies and Star Slammer. As I recall, he said he’d made it a rule to just always accept the next script that was offered. He thought that waiting for a “good script” and/or a “good director” was cheating…the actor’s job was acting, and they should do the best possible with whatever the situation was.

That’s not how most actors do it in Hollywood, and certainly not what their agents would want them to do. They choose roles in part because of how they will affect their careers (whether that’s because they want to make more money or get offered particular types of parts or work with particular directors).

So, while Melissa McCarthy was nominated for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” for her performance as Lee Israel (in Can You Ever Forgive Me?) that wasn’t her only performance last year. I suppose it was just a coin flip between that and her work as Detective Connie Edwards in The Happytime Murders, a movie with the tagline SEX. MURDER. PUPPETS. ūüėČ

How about the other acting nominees? I’ll deliberately describe the parts in ways that might emphasize their non-Oscar bait qualities…that’s not meant to diminish those movies, it’s just fun to play up the contrast.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close nominated for Joan Castleman in The Wife

Close didn’t have another theatrical release in 2018…but The Wife was technically released in 2017. That year, she also appeared as Dr. Caroline Caldwell in The Girl with All the Gifts, an R-rated dystopian horror movie.

Lady Gaga nominated for Ally in A Star Is Born

No other theatrical releases in 2018

Olivia Colman nominated for Queen Anne in The Favourite

No other theatrical features in 2018…small screen roles included Strawberry the rabbit in Watership Down & Marion with Thomas the Tank Engine.

Yalitza Aparicio nominated for Roma in Roma

Only screen acting credit to date.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper nominated for Jack in A Star Is Born

Cooper appeared as Rocket Raccoon in Avengers: Infinity War.

Christian Bale nominated for Dick Cheney in Vice

Also appeared as Bagheera the panther in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.

Rami Malek nominated for Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody

No other theatrical releases, but had a recurring role as Flip McVicker on BoJack Horseman, an animated series about a washed-up alcoholic horse.

Viggo Mortensen nominated for Tony Lip in Green Book

No other credits in 2018.

Williem Dafoe nominated for Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate

Also appeared as Vulko the merman in the movie Aquaman.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Adam Driver nominated for Flip Zimmerman in BlacKkKlansman

As Toby in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, he goes time traveling and is mistaken for Sancho Panza.

Mahershala Ali nominated for Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book

Ali was in another Oscar-nominated movie…voicing Uncle Aaron in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Richard E. Grant nominated for John Hock in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Played the leader of the Land of Snowflakes in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

Sam Elliot nominated for Bobby in a Star Is Born

I would have loved to have seenElliot’s nomination read out for Calvin Barr in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot. ūüėČ

Sam Rockwell nominated for George W. Bush in Vice

While uncredited, Rockwell appeared in Mute, set forty years in the future where Cactus Bill helps Leo.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams nominated for Lynne Cheney in Vice

No other theatrical release in 2018.

Emma Stone nominated for Abigail in The Favourite

On the small screen, co-starred with Jonah Hill in Maniac, the comedy-drama involving an experimental drug trial.

Marina de Tavira nominated for Senora Sofia in Roma

Appeared in Cómplices a comedy where a womanizing uncle takes his nephew on a beach trip to meet women.

Rachel Weisz nominated for Lady Sarah in The Favourite

Also appeared in The Mercy…but that’s based on real, serious events, so doesn’t support the premise of this article well. ūüėČ

Regina King nominated for Sharon Rivers in If Beale Street Could Talk

No other theatrical releases in 2018.

What can we determine from this?

Assuming that the actors didn’t have a quantum leap in improved acting ability between movies, it’s safe to say that playing a Homo sapiens is a better bet than another species (raccoon, panther, merman…um, snowflake?), and playing an historical figure (Dick Cheney, Lynne Cheney, George W. Bush, Vincent Van Gogh, Queen Anne, Don Shirley, Tony Lip, Flip Zimmerman, Freddie Mercury…something like half of the total nominated roles) is even better. Definitely being in a geek-friendly movie is a hindrance to get Oscar acting noms. That certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them! I’ve loved the trend of prestige actors appear in GF movie…just, maybe, do more than that in a year. ūüėČ

What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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The Masked Singer: spoiler speculation

January 27, 2019

The Masked Singer: spoiler speculation

What is “spoiler speculation”?

It’s when I don’t know something to be true, but it might be…and if it is, it could spoil something in entertainment. You’ve been warned…you may want to skip this article if you want to keep guessing about which celebrities are inside the costumes on

The Masked Singer

I’m pretty good at these sorts of things. ūüôā I always say that my favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised, and it almost never happens. That doesn’t mean I always know¬†the right answer (although I often do), but the odds that I haven’t even considered it are quite small. I knew The Sixth Sense’s twist right away. I predicted nine out of the last ten eliminations in an American Idol season…in order, before any of them happened.

First, a little bit about the show, for those who haven’t seen it. Celebrities (could be athletes, singers, actors, and so on) compete as singers, while wearing full body character costumes (and their heads are concealed). Four regular judges (and there can be guest judges) guess who they are…the regular four are Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, and Nicole Scherzinger.

Of course, the actual performances can be helpful, but the main thing for me are the “packages” (video intros) which provide clues (they can be visual clues, such as objects in the background, or clues in phrases that are used as the singer explains their background. The panelists can also ask a question…I think that’s always just one per episode.

I’ve been right on some who were already revealed (the one with the lowest votes for their performance is unmasked at the end of the episode).

In each case, the clues lined up well with the identity.

These, then are some speculations on which singers have not yet been unmasked. I’m very confident on the first one, quite confident on the next. I’m not a betting person (at least, not for money or actual physical goods…in my annual Oscar prediction contest,¬†BOPMadness, we vie for “braggin’ rights”)…I’m not suggesting any of you are in a money pool on this, but this might help you if you are speculating with friends.

The Rabbit (my confidence level: very high!)

The Rabbit is Mark Wahlberg (AKA Marky Mark). I have no doubts about this one. Here are some clues they’ve given us and how they apply to Mark Walhberg:

  • Cooking: the panel speculated that this might mean a celebrity chef, but it’s tied into Wahlburgers, the restaurant chain that also involves brothers Donnie & Paul. There was a reality show built around it, and Mark would certainly want it promoted on this show
  • Being “boxed” in: this doesn’t have to do with cardboard boxes, but with Wahlberg’s role as a producer of (netting an Oscar nom for Wahlberg for Best Picture), and appearance in, The Fighter, a boxing biopic
  • That would probably be enough to convince me, but everything else fits: on stage as part of a group (New Kids on the Block), synchronized singing, being the “last mask standing” (probably an allusion to his movie Lone Survivor), amusement park (it was a big deal when a Wahlburgers opened at the OWA complex in Alabama)…there’s probably been something about Chevy’s as well, another business in which Wahlberg has an interest

I’d be shocked if it’s not him.

The Alien (my confidence level: high)

The alien is Kendall Jenner:

  • Many sisters (the Kardashians)
  • Snake (this was the clincher…there was a lot of publicity when she had a ((temporary)) snake tattoo for a photo shoot for V magazine)
  • She’s recorded many things (having been on television so much)
  • “out of fashion” (she’s a fashion model)
  • Everything else fits, especially anonymity being an “alien” concept

The Bee (my confidence level: moderately high

The Bee is Gladys Knight:

  • There were peaches in the background of a package. Knight had a big hit with Midnight Train to Georgia (Georgia peaches)
  • “Empress” could apply to her, and she appeared on the show Empire…that’s pretty clear for me
  • The other clues fit about wanting to sing for a younger generation and having sung in the 1950s. One that surprises me because it is more personal is The Bee’s comment to “Take me to court”…Knight has famously been involved in a court case

I think I’ll stop there for now…this is long enough, and I’ve likely give you three! These are the other remaining contestants, and some quick speculation:

  • The Peacock: Macaulay Culkin (friends with Michael Jackson, a “teeny bopper” (character in Home Alone making things hit the bad guys)
  • The Monster
  • The Unicorn: Denise Richards (lost her “sheen” and she had been married to Charlie Sheen; model behavior)
  • The Lion
  • The Raven: Update: The Raven is Ricki Lake. “Good morning, Baltimore (Ravens)!” This is a clear reference to her breakout, Hairspray. The Raven is a talk show host, and everything else fits. My confidence level on this one is now moderately high.

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Just published: The Measured Circle’s 2018 Box Office MVPs

January 25, 2019

Just published: The Measured Circle’s 2018 Box Office MVPs

Well, I’ve just finished crunching the numbers and published the

2018 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs

list at IMDb!

That doesn’t mean that it won’t still change…there are certainly 2018 releases (especially those released late in the year) which are making money, and an Oscar bump could have an impact after those awards are announced on February 24th.

Still, it doesn’t look to me like people are likely to be added…more that standings might change.

The Mule is very likely to break $100m dogro (domestic gross), but I think the cast members of that movie who are to make the list have already done so.

The Oscar bump may bring some movies up to $40m which aren’t now but I think what you can see is going to be the vast majority of MVPs.

To briefly explain how you get on the list (the complete explanation is part of the list):

  • You need to be first-billed in a movie which dogros $100m
  • You need to also appear in another movie which dogros at least $40m, but you need not be first-billed

Our #1 MVP this year was…Letitia Wright!

Like several of her co-stars in Black Panther (the top four all appeared in that movie), she also appeared in Avengers: Infinity War. Unlike Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, and Winston Duke, she had a¬†third movie: Ready Player One. That gave her a list total of $1,511.6m ($1,511,600,000…give or take, since we round the numbers to a single decimal digit).

Congratulations, Letitia!

There are a lot of newcomers to the list, probably reflecting the more diverse movies last year.

Here is the list…the amounts are in millions of dollars of dogro for the qualifying movies:

Name 2018
Letitia Wright 1516.6
Danai Gurira 1378.9
Chadwick Boseman 1378.9
Winston Duke 1378.9
Samuel L. Jackson 1287.4
Chris Pratt 1096.5
Josh Brolin 1047.4
Angela Bassett 1038.1
Bradley Cooper 981.5
Benedict Cumberbatch 949.1
Sope Aluko 913.6
Paul Bettany 892.6
Michael B. Jordan 815.4
Sterling K. Brown 751.1
Florence Kasumba 751.1
Daniel Kaluuya 742.4
Chris Hemsworth 724.6
Craig T. Nelson 677.2
Holly Hunter 658.7
Randall Park 524.5
Toby Jones 516.9
Alan Tudyk 513.1
Patrick Wilson 493.1
Alec Baldwin 473.6
T.J. Miller 456.2
Tye Sheridan 456.2
Dolph Lundgren 432.2
Angela Lansbury 431.5
Woody Harrelson 427.3
Hannah John-Kamen 412.6
Carter Hastings 408.0
Emily Blunt 391.4
Judy Greer 375.9
Leigh Whannell 375.6
Michael Pe√Īa 362.9
Simon Pegg 357.9
James Corden 338.7
Mika Kubo 334.4
Walton Goggins 332.9
Kathryn Hahn 329.4
Rashida Jones 325.0
Julie Walters 324.0
Zo√ę Kravitz 320.9
Awkwafina 314.7
Laurence Fishburne 314.4
√ďlafur Darri √ďlafsson 304.4
Andy Garcia 287.0
Meryl Streep 281.8
Colin Firth 281.8
Liang Chang 280.1
Hailee Steinfeld 279.7
Kurt Yue 268.2
Chris Pine 262.4
Michelle Williams 262.3
Aidan Gillen 260.8
Michael Harney 247.2
Mindy Kaling 240.7
Taraji P. Henson 238.1
Henry Golding 228.0
Ken Jeong 221.2
Miles Robbins 219.6
Keegan-Michael Key 218.5
Taissa Farmiga 215.3
Chris Parnell 214.2
Deirdre Goodwin 209.7
Cate Blanchett 208.7
Drew Scheid 206.0
Victor Rasuk 198.2
Jack Quaid 184.3
Rose Byrne 183.0
John Cena 178.1
Omid Djalili 175.5
Dwayne Johnson 169.4
Elizabeth Debicki 157.6
Eric Johnson 153.9
Sakina Jaffrey 149.0
P.J. Byrne 143.9

For more details (such as which movies make up the number), please see that IMDb list at¬†2018 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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2019 Oscar noms

January 22, 2019

2019 Oscar noms

This is preliminary, almost live-blogging…I’ll refine it soon this morning.

Some thoughts:

  • Black Panther got a number of noms, including Best Picture. Kendrick Lamar gets a nomination for song, and this is the first Marvel movie to be nominated for Best Picture
  • No acting noms in GF (geek-friendly) movies: are we back to the Academy thinking that people don’t act in GF movies? They aren’t exceptionally well directed or written?
  • Generally, this year is not as geek-friendly as it could have been. A Quiet Place, which some thought might follow Get Out as an Oscar-nommed horror movie, Mary Poppins Returns, Bird Box, Annihilation, certainly didn’t see much action. AQP was nommed for Sound Editing, but major noms didn’t go geeky…compare that to last year, especially with The Shape of Water, the aforementioned Get Out, and Beauty and the Beast
  • Netflix gets its first Best Picture nom for Roma
  • The Mary Poppins Returns showing (Song, Score, Costume, Production Design) has to be seen as disappointing
  • While not geek-friendly, it was interesting to see Melissa McCarthy get nominated for Leading Actress (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)…congratulations! She was in a geek-friendly movie in 2018…but wasn’t nominated for The Happytime Murders ūüėČ
  • If you want to see the big name movies online, you can shell out for HBO and watch them on Now or Go (or, if you have AT&T for internet, you get it on DirecTV…although I have to say, I find that app particularly difficult to use). For the roughly $10 a month club, it’s definitely Netflix, at least for geeky titles

I’m going to call out the geeky nominees, and I’ll make some comments.

Note: I used Gold Derby to help me determine “buzz”. I was surprised to see Suspiria show up as much as it did there…

Best Original Song

  • All the Stars (Black Panther)
  • The Place Where Lost Things Go (Mary Poppins Returns)

SFX (Special Effects)

  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Christopher Robin
  • Ready Player One
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • First Man (geek status debatable)

Doc Short

Documentary Feature

Editing

No GF nominees in this category

Sound Mixing

  • Black Panther
  • First Man (geek status debatable)

Sound Editing

  • Black Panther
  • A Quiet Place
  • First Man (geek status debatable)

Production Design

  • Black Panther
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • First Man (geek status debatable)

Live Action Short

Animated Short

Best Animated Feature

  • Incredibles 2
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mirai
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

 Supporting Actor

No GF nominees in this category

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
  • John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
  • Alex Wolff (Hereditary)
  • Hugh Grant (Paddington 2)
  • John Malkovich (Bird Box)
  • Trevante Rhodes (Bird Box)
  • Oscar Isaac (Annihilation)
  • Kyle Chandler (First Man) (geek status debatable)
  • Corey Stoll (First Man) (geek status debatable)

Supporting Actress

No GF nominees in this category

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
  • Danai Gurira (Black Panther)
  • Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
  • Letitia Wright (Black Panther)
  • Tilda Swinton (Suspiria)
  • Sarah Paulson (Bird Box)
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh (Annihilation)
  • Gina Rodriguez (Annihilation)
  • Meryll Streep (Mary Poppins Returns)
  • Clare Foy (First Man) (geek status debatable)

Makeup and Hairstyling

No geeky nominees in this category

Costume

  • Black Panther
  • Mary Poppins Returns

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Suspiria
  • Ready Player One
  • A Quiet Place
  • Annihilation
  • Hereditary
  • Bird Box
  • First Man (geek status debatable)

Cinematography

No GF nominees in this category

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Black Panther
  • A Quiet Place
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Suspiria¬†
  • Hereditary
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  • Bird Box
  • Annihilation

Original Screenplay

No GF nominees in this category

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • A Quiet Place
  • Hereditary
  • Isle of Dogs

Adapted Screenplay

No GF nominees in this category

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Black Panther
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Bird Box
  • Paddington 2
  • Incredibles 2
  • Suspiria
  • Annihilation
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Original Score

  • Black Panther
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mary Poppins Returns

Foreign Language

No GF nominees in this category

Directing

No GF nominees in this category

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Ryan Coogler (Black Panther)
  • John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
  • Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns)
  • Luca Guadagnino (Suspiria)
  • Wes Anderson (Isle of Dogs)
  • Susanne Bier (Bird Box)
  • Alex Garland (Annihilation)

Lead Actress

No gf nominees in this category

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
  • Toni Collette (Hereditary)
  • Sandra Bullock (Bird Box)
  • Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
  • Dakota Johnson (Suspiria)
  • Natalie Portman (Annihilation)

Lead Actor

No GF nominees in this category

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther)
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
  • Ryan Gosling (First Man) (geek status debatable)

Best Picture

  • Black Panther

Other geeky movies which had buzz in this category:

  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • A Quiet Place
  • Hereditary
  • Incredibles 2
  • First Man (geek status debatable)
  • Bird Box
  • Suspiria
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Annihilation
  • Isle of Dogs

Where can you legally stream any of these Oscar nominees without paying additional money (subscriptions required)?

Amazon Prime:

Hulu:

Netflix:

  • Black Panther
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story

HBO Now/HBO Go/the HBO Amazon Channel

  • Ready Player One
  • Isle of Dogs

As we saw last year, Netflix is the place to be for the nominated geek-friendly movies. People are thinking of them more for original content, but they still walk the big dogs.

How about streaming if you are willing to piece pay to rent or buy? All links are to JustWatch:

Complete list of nominees from the Academy website:

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Stay tuned for our annual BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) if you want to predict the winners!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

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2018 The Measured Circle’s most profitable movies: looking back

January 15, 2019

2018 The Measured Circle’s most profitable movies: looking back

For years, The Measured Circle has tracked not only box office, but profitability.

We do it at IMDb…this year’s is here:

https://www.imdb.com/list/ls022217945/

I like to take a look at it in the beginning of the following year, even though it will change quite a bit over the next couple of months. Some very big movies open very late in the year, and then there is the phenomenon of the “Oscar Bump”. This tends to benefit “art house” movies more than blockbusters, and that may be through getting a wide release after having a limited release. Still, that can make a difference of tens of millions of dollars.

I’m going to first reproduce the introduction at IMDb, then the values, and finally, I’ll give you some of my thoughts on it.


While tracking a movie’s box office is fascinating, The Measured Circle is also interested in how profitable a movie is.

This list of movies making a domestic gross (“dogro”) of at least $40 million in the USA in 2018 ranks them in order, based on their dogro against their rumored production budgets. Certainly there are other costs (including the not inconsiderable marketing budget) and other income (including foreign box office and merchandising), but this can give us an interesting picture.

Expect studios to look at these types of results, and sometimes greenlight projects based on them (although it’s hard to resist spending a $100 million on a possible blockbuster).

Note that recent releases will typically appear lower on this list than their eventual results. If they were in the top ten the weekend before the list is updated, they will normally be marked with “and counting”.

Movies where the rumored production budget is not available on IMDb (or elsewhere…we prefer using BoxOfficeMojo, which, like IMDb, is owned by Amazon, but which have dogroed at least $40m in 2017 in the USA appear at the bottom of the list. They may be more profitable than many of the movies above them, but we can’t do the math on them.

As a new feature (introduced in 2013), we’ve decided to label movies, to make this clearer. A traditional measure of success is the dogro being twice the production budget. Using that as a starting point…

Dogro 2X production budget = “Money”
Dogro 3X production budget = “Golden”
Dogro 30X production budget = “Platinum” (God’s Not Dead prompted the creation of this new award)

Dogro less than 50% of production budget= “Underperformer”

Starting in July 2017, we added another Measured Circle Award: Road Winner. These movies have at least 2/3rds of their box office from “foreign”, per BoxOfficeMojo. While we specifically focus on US box office, that can help explain why, for example, a sequel might be made to a movie which was an Underperformer. This number is also particularly unstable in the early part of a movie’s release, since movies don’t open in all markets simultaneously. For that reason, not every movie that qualifies may show the award, and it’s possible we’ll award a movie and then the percentages will change.


Title DoGro ProdBud Profit % Intl Award Road Winner
Black Panther 700.1 200 500.1 350% 646.9 Golden
Incredibles 2 608.6 200 408.6 304% 634.1 Golden
Avengers: Infinity War 678.8 300 378.8 226% 1370 Money Yes
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 417.7 170 247.7 246% 891.8 Money Yes
Deadpool 2 318.5 110 208.5 290% 419.1 Money
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch 269.6 75 194.6 359% 235.1 Golden
A Quiet Place 188 17 171 1106% 152.9 Triple Golden
A Star Is Born 203.6 36 167.6 566% 200 Golden
Halloween 159.3 10 149.3 1593% 94.3 Quintuple Golden
Bohemian Rhapsody 198.5 52 146.5 382% 553.4 Golden Yes
Crazy Rich Asians 174.5 30 144.5 582% 64 Golden
Aquaman 287.9 160 127.9 180% 732.4 Yes
Venom 213.4 100 113.4 213% 642.2 Money Yes
The Nun 117.5 22 95.5 534% 248.1 Golden Yes
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation 167.5 80 87.5 209% 359.8 Money Yes
I Can Only Imagine 83.5 7 76.5 1193% 0 Triple Golden
Ocean’s 8 140.2 70 70.2 200% 157.5 Money
Peter Rabbit 115.3 50 65.3 231% 236 Money Yes
Creed II 114.9 50 64.9 230% 51.7 Money
Book Club 68.6 10 58.6 686% 0 Double Golden
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 147.8 90 57.8 164% 154.6
The First Purge 69.5 13 56.5 535% 67.5 Golden
Ant-Man and the Wasp 216.6 162 54.6 134% 406
Night School 77.3 29 48.3 267% 25.6 Money
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again 120.6 75 45.6 161% 274.1 Yes
Fifty Shades Freed 100.4 55 45.4 183% 271.5 Yes
Mission: Impossible – Fallout 220.2 178 42.2 124% 571 Yes
Breaking In 46.8 6 40.8 780% 4.6 Double Golden
The Mule 90.6 50 40.6 181% 3.6
The Equalizer 2 102.1 62 40.1 165% 88.3
Blockers 60.3 21 39.3 287% 33.7 Money
The House With a Clock in Its Wall 68.5 30 38.5 228% 62.9 Money
Overboard 50.3 12 38.3 419% 40.9 Golden
Truth or Dare 41.3 3.5 37.8 1180% 53.9 Triple Golden
Hereditary 44.1 10 34.1 441% 35.3 Golden
A Simple Favor 53.5 20 33.5 268% 43.5 Money
Tag 55 28 27 196% 23.4
Disney’s Christopher Robin 99.2 72.5 26.7 137% 98.4
Uncle Drew 42.5 18 24.5 236% 2.4 Money
Love, Simon 40.8 17 23.8 240% 25.5 Money
Tyler Perry’s Acrimony 43.5 20 23.5 218% 2.9 Money
Life of the Party 53.1 30 23.1 177% 12.8
Mary Poppins Returns 150.7 130 20.7 116% 137.2
Instant Family 66.7 48 18.7 139% 13.3
BlacKkKlansman 48.5 30 18.5 162% 40.9
I Feel Pretty 48.8 32 16.8 153% 45.7
Ralph Breaks the Internet 190.4 175 15.4 109% 243.7
The Meg 145.4 130 15.4 112% 384.8 Yes
Sicario: Day of the Soldado 50.1 35 15.1 143% 25.8
Den of Thieves 44.9 30 14.9 150% 35.6
Game Night 69.2 55 14.2 126% 69.2
Insidious: The Last Key 67.7 55 12.7 123% 100.1
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween 46.7 35 11.7 133% 46.5
12 Strong 45.8 35 10.8 131% 21.6
Smallfoot 83.2 80 3.2 104% 130.9
Paddington 2 40.9 40 0.9 102% 186.4 Yes
A Wrinkle in Time 100.5 100 0.5 101% 100.5
Widows 42.2 42 0.2 100% 32.9
Maze Runner: The Death Cure 58 62 -4 94% 230.2 Yes
First Man 44.9 59 -14.1 76% 55.6
Sherlock Gnomes 43.2 59 -15.8 73% 47.1
Rampage 101 120 -19 84% 327 Yes
Red Sparrow 46.9 69 -22.1 68% 104.7 Yes
Bumblebee 108.3 135 -26.7 80% 258.1 Yes
Tomb Raider 58.3 94 -35.7 62% 216.4 Yes
The Predator 51 88 -37 58% 109.5 Yes
Ready Player One 137.7 175 -37.3 79% 445.2 Yes
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald 158.2 200 -41.8 79% 486.4 Yes
Skyscraper 68.4 125 -56.6 55% 236.5 Yes
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 54.8 120 -65.2 46% 118.6 Yes
Solo: A Star Wars Story 213.8 300 -86.2 71% 179.2
Pacific Rim Uprising 60.3 150 -89.7 40% 231.1 Underperformer Yes

The first thing I’ll point out is that, in this group, close to 2/3rds of the money comes from international (61% of it…about a third are Road Winners, but those that are may make significantly more money abroad). That explains why some movies which don’t do that well domestically get sequels. While I haven’t specifically analyzed this, movies with a lot of dialogue don’t tend to do as well internationally as movies with action and visuals, which makes sense (although it’s possible that translation will get better in the future). Comedies tend to suffer from that: a comedy may not do as well in countries outside of its originating one…not just based on language. A joke which works in the USA may not work in the UK, and vice versa.

Within the use, the top ones in terms of gross profit are as you might expect: big budget and geek-friendly.

However, let’s look at this again, but this time, sorting by return on investment…percentages:

Title DoGro ProdBud Profit % Intl Award Road Winner
Halloween 159.3 10 149.3 1593% 94.3 Quintuple Golden
I Can Only Imagine 83.5 7 76.5 1193% 0 Triple Golden
Truth or Dare 41.3 3.5 37.8 1180% 53.9 Triple Golden
A Quiet Place 188 17 171 1106% 152.9 Triple Golden
Breaking In 46.8 6 40.8 780% 4.6 Double Golden
Book Club 68.6 10 58.6 686% 0 Double Golden
Crazy Rich Asians 174.5 30 144.5 582% 64 Golden
A Star Is Born 203.6 36 167.6 566% 200 Golden
The First Purge 69.5 13 56.5 535% 67.5 Golden
The Nun 117.5 22 95.5 534% 248.1 Golden Yes
Hereditary 44.1 10 34.1 441% 35.3 Golden
Overboard 50.3 12 38.3 419% 40.9 Golden
Bohemian Rhapsody 198.5 52 146.5 382% 553.4 Golden Yes
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch 269.6 75 194.6 359% 235.1 Golden
Black Panther 700.1 200 500.1 350% 646.9 Golden
Incredibles 2 608.6 200 408.6 304% 634.1 Golden
Deadpool 2 318.5 110 208.5 290% 419.1 Money
Blockers 60.3 21 39.3 287% 33.7 Money
A Simple Favor 53.5 20 33.5 268% 43.5 Money
Night School 77.3 29 48.3 267% 25.6 Money
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 417.7 170 247.7 246% 891.8 Money Yes
Love, Simon 40.8 17 23.8 240% 25.5 Money
Uncle Drew 42.5 18 24.5 236% 2.4 Money
Peter Rabbit 115.3 50 65.3 231% 236 Money Yes
Creed II 114.9 50 64.9 230% 51.7 Money
The House With a Clock in Its Wall 68.5 30 38.5 228% 62.9 Money
Avengers: Infinity War 678.8 300 378.8 226% 1370 Money Yes
Tyler Perry’s Acrimony 43.5 20 23.5 218% 2.9 Money
Venom 213.4 100 113.4 213% 642.2 Money Yes
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation 167.5 80 87.5 209% 359.8 Money Yes
Ocean’s 8 140.2 70 70.2 200% 157.5 Money
Tag 55 28 27 196% 23.4
Fifty Shades Freed 100.4 55 45.4 183% 271.5 Yes
The Mule 90.6 50 40.6 181% 3.6
Aquaman 287.9 160 127.9 180% 732.4 Yes
Life of the Party 53.1 30 23.1 177% 12.8
The Equalizer 2 102.1 62 40.1 165% 88.3
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 147.8 90 57.8 164% 154.6
BlacKkKlansman 48.5 30 18.5 162% 40.9
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again 120.6 75 45.6 161% 274.1 Yes
I Feel Pretty 48.8 32 16.8 153% 45.7
Den of Thieves 44.9 30 14.9 150% 35.6
Sicario: Day of the Soldado 50.1 35 15.1 143% 25.8
Instant Family 66.7 48 18.7 139% 13.3
Disney’s Christopher Robin 99.2 72.5 26.7 137% 98.4
Ant-Man and the Wasp 216.6 162 54.6 134% 406
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween 46.7 35 11.7 133% 46.5
12 Strong 45.8 35 10.8 131% 21.6
Game Night 69.2 55 14.2 126% 69.2
Mission: Impossible – Fallout 220.2 178 42.2 124% 571 Yes
Insidious: The Last Key 67.7 55 12.7 123% 100.1
Mary Poppins Returns 150.7 130 20.7 116% 137.2
The Meg 145.4 130 15.4 112% 384.8 Yes
Ralph Breaks the Internet 190.4 175 15.4 109% 243.7
Smallfoot 83.2 80 3.2 104% 130.9
Paddington 2 40.9 40 0.9 102% 186.4 Yes
A Wrinkle in Time 100.5 100 0.5 101% 100.5
Widows 42.2 42 0.2 100% 32.9
Maze Runner: The Death Cure 58 62 -4 94% 230.2 Yes
Rampage 101 120 -19 84% 327 Yes
Bumblebee 108.3 135 -26.7 80% 258.1 Yes
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald 158.2 200 -41.8 79% 486.4 Yes
Ready Player One 137.7 175 -37.3 79% 445.2 Yes
First Man 44.9 59 -14.1 76% 55.6
Sherlock Gnomes 43.2 59 -15.8 73% 47.1
Solo: A Star Wars Story 213.8 300 -86.2 71% 179.2
Red Sparrow 46.9 69 -22.1 68% 104.7 Yes
Tomb Raider 58.3 94 -35.7 62% 216.4 Yes
The Predator 51 88 -37 58% 109.5 Yes
Skyscraper 68.4 125 -56.6 55% 236.5 Yes
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 54.8 120 -65.2 46% 118.6 Yes
Pacific Rim Uprising 60.3 150 -89.7 40% 231.1 Underperformer Yes

Doing that, the top ones tend to be lower budget (under $50m, certainly), and with horror movies (and faith-based, often) being the best investments. You need to get down to #15 before a movie which cost $100m to make gets our Golden award (profit three times production budget). Black Panther and Incredibles 2 (both Disney) are in that rarefied stratum: movies which cost over $100 to make (they both have reported estimated production budgets of $200m) but still got our Golden award.

Pacific Rim Uprising is an Underperformer (it’s too soon to make that call on Nutcracker), but it’s also a Road Winner, with hundreds of millions of dollars and close to 80% of the box office coming outside of dogro…so don’t be surprised if there is a third PacRim.

With so many other sources of income (streaming services, for one major one), movie studios seem to be figuring out how to keep from having big losers much more reliably.

See you in the movies!

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

2019 Critics’ Choice Awards geek-friendly results

January 14, 2019

2019 Critics’ Choice Awards geek-friendly results

AWARD SPOILER ALERT

Congratulations (again) to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for its

Critics’ Choice award

win last night as Best Animated Feature!

This follows its groundbreaking first Marvel (but not MCU) Golden Globe win

AWARD SPOILER ALERT: Marvel wins 1st Golden Globe as all other geek-friendly movie nominees shut out

Unlike the Globes, though, other geek-friendly movies and TV shows did go home with trophies.

Black Panther picked up three technical/design awards, which I think presages possible Oscar nominations (it could also get nominated at the Academy for other categories, including Best Picture…a nomination it got from the CCs as well):

  • Best Production Design (Hannah Beachler & Jay Hart)
  • Best Costume Design (Ruth Carter) (I think it’s a serious contender to win at the Oscars in this category…brilliant design)
  • Best Visual Effects (I haven’t seen that they name individuals for this…sigh)

The Critics’ Choice Awards has a category specifically for Sci-Fi/Horror, and A Quiet Place took that one.

For TV, it’s really significant that Thandie Newton won as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Westworld. That’s an equal-playing field category for GF and mainstream…congratulations!

Best Animated Series went to BoJack Horseman, beating out Archer, Adventure Time, Bob’s Burgers, and veteran shows The Simpsons & South Park. I’d congratulate them, but somehow, I think BoJack would find that distressing. ūüėČ

Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (starring John Legend) was the Best Movie Made for TV winner.

If we count First Man (which I haven’t seen) as geek-friendly (as I’ve said before, I’m not sure on that…geek-friendly is usually fiction for me, but it can include geek-friendly non-fiction about makers of geek-friendly fiction), we’d up it to include Tom Cross for Editing and Justin Hurwitz for Best Score.

Overall, this is a pretty good showing! I think it’s possible that the Oscars will be even more geek-friendly than these earlier awards have been, but we’ll know soon! Voting is wrapping up and nominations are announced in about a week (22 January) with the ceremony on 24 February.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

AWARD SPOILER ALERT: Marvel wins 1st Golden Globe as all other geek-friendly movie nominees shut out

January 7, 2019

Marvel wins 1st Golden Globe as all other geek-friendly movie nominees shut out

Congratulations to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for winning Best Animated Feature at last night’s 76th annual Golden Globes!

That is Marvel’s 1st win at the Golden Globes…although notably, this movie is not part of (now) Disney’s MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies, but produced by Columbia and Sony in association with Marvel.

As I noted in

The Geeky Golden Globes 2019

there were certainly other geek-friendly movie nominees (including the MCU’s Black Panther and Mary Poppins Returns…A Quiet Place was nominated for score, as was Isle of Dogs). However, Spidey got the only win…counting TV nominees as well, provided that we don’t count First Man (which won Best Original Score). Generally, we count as geeky fiction which depicts things which can’t happen in consensus reality…and non-fiction about those works or about people who produce those works (as long as those works are part of the non-fiction). First Man is non-fiction about an astronaut, which certainly is something about which many geeks are passionate, but doesn’t fit the rule of thumb.

Does this bode ill for geek-friendly works at the Oscars?

I think we’ll still see quite a few nominations, although winners may be a different story. Some of the noms I think could happen (I’m leaving off animated movies, since they are almost all geek-friendly, and Visual Effects):

  • Black Panther: Best Picture (probably one of 10), Costume, Hair, song, score, maybe Ryan Coogler for Director, sound awards, Design
  • Mary Poppins Returns: Best Picture, Rob Marshall for Director, score, maybe song, Meryl Streep for Supporting Actress, Lin-Manual Miranda for Supporting Actor, maybe Emily Blunt…be interesting to see Dick Van Dyke and/or Angela Lansbury nominated, lots of technical awards
  • A Quiet Place: maybe script, maybe John Krasinski for Director
  • Bird Box: maybe script

There are likely more than that in the Maven categories (we count the acting categories, director, and Best Picture as the Big Six), but that should give some sense. I’d love to see acting nominations for Black Panther, but those may be more for A Quiet Place of Bird Box.

Do you have opinions on any of this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.


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