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BOT's Top 100 Movies of All Time - Hindsight is 2020 Edition

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29 minutes ago, The Panda said:

Here is the next batch of honorable mentions, one more large batch of 25 after this and then they'll come in smaller doses with mini write ups attached

 

176.    The Third Man
177.    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
178.    Ben-Hur (1950)
179.    Shrek 2
180.    Young Frankenstein
181.    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
182.    Black Panther
183.    Arsenic and the Old Lace
184.    The Elephant Man
185.    The Raid (2011)
186.    The LEGO Movie
187.    Hot Fuzz
188.    American Beauty
189.    Modern Times
190.    RoboCop (1980)
191.    Gone With the Wind
192.    Zootopia
193.    Captain America: Civil War
194.    Up (2009)
195.    City Lights
196.    Zodiac
197.    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
198.    All the President’s Men
199.    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
200.    No Country for Old Men

 

 

Not 1 but 2 martial arts classics stuck in limbo

 

:whosad:

 

Hopefully no one thinks I'm referring to BLACK PANTHER

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"I'll be back."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Sent back from a dystopian 2029--where the cold machines have conquered the entire world--to 1984 Los Angeles, the indestructible cyborg-assassin known as the "Terminator" commences his deadly mission to kill humankind's most important woman: the unsuspecting, Sarah Connor. However, from the same war-torn post-apocalyptic future comes a battle-scarred defender--Kyle Reese, a brave soldier of the human Resistance Army--bent on stopping the cybernetic killer from eliminating the world's last hope. But, the Terminator has no feelings, he doesn't sleep, and above all, he won't stop until he carries out his grim task. Does our future lie in our past?"

 

Its Legacy

 

"Thirty years ago, a killing machine from 2029 — assuming the form of an Austrian bodybuilder — arrived with a lethal directive to alter the future. That he certainly did. The Terminator, made for $6.4 million by a couple of young disciples of B-movie king Roger Corman, became one of the defining sci-fi touchstones of all time. Its $38 million gross placed it outside of the top-20 box-office releases for 1984, yet the film grew into a phenomenon, spawning a five-picture franchise that’s taken in $1.4 billion to date and securing a place on the National Film Registry, which dubbed it “among the finest science-fiction films in many decades.”  The movie launched the career of James Cameron, who went on to direct the top two box-office earners of all time, Avatar and Titanic. It also boosted Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose monotone delivery and muscle-bound swagger made a cyborg assassin the height of cool. The actor, now filming next summer’s Terminator: Genisys in New Orleans, took a break to reminisce about his most indelible role. Settling for a landline call after four failed attempts to FaceTime — the former California governor’s favorite mode of communication — Schwarzenegger quipped, “Obviously we need James Cameron to provide the technology to link us.” His Terminator comrades also shared their memories via phone — just like it was 1984 again."

- The Terminator at 30: An Oral History, Joe McGovern

 

From the Filmmaker

 

DEATH METAL NIGHTMARE

It all started in 1981 with a dream. Cameron, then a 26-year-old model maker and art director for Corman, was in Rome attempting to get his name off the ignominious Piranha II: The Spawning, a low-rent horror sequel he had directed for five days before being fired.

 

JAMES CAMERON (director-coscreenwriter) Nightmares are a business asset; that’s the way I look at it. I was sick, I was broke, I had a high fever, and I had a dream about this metal death figure coming out of a fire. And the implication was that it had been stripped of its skin by the fire and exposed for what it really was. When I have some particularly vivid image, I’ll draw it or I’ll write some notes, and that goes on to this day.

Returning to Los Angeles, Cameron showed his sketches to Gale Anne Hurd, a 26-year-old Corman assistant. She would soon become, in succession, Cameron’s writing partner, producer, wife, and ex-wife.

 

CAMERON Gale was working for Roger on a movie called Humanoids From the Deep, and they were doing reshoots of some teenagers in a pup-tent getting raped by slimy creatures from the swamp. She was young and supersmart. I showed her what I was working on, and she thought it was pretty cool.

 

GALE ANNE HURD (producer-coscreenwriter) He told me about the dream he had of the metal endoskeleton, and the whole story came together as a result of that stirring image.

 

CAMERON We both were committed to the same principle. It could be shot out in the streets of L.A., cheaply, guerrilla-style, which is how I was trained by Roger Corman. And it involved visual effects elements that I could bring to the table that another director couldn’t and do them economically, because I knew all those tricks.

 

HURD We had what we called a scriptment. It was 40 pages, single-spaced typed. We batted ideas back and forth and always kept in mind that if we wanted to not only sell this script but produce and direct, it had to be at a budget level that wasn’t intimidating to investors.

 

THE WAR ZONE

Crucial to both Cameron and Hurd were the ideas of a strong heroine — hence Sarah Connor, a waitress who is targeted by the Terminator because she will give birth to a rebel leader — and an annihilated future world.

 

HURD For me and Jim, always, was the idea that heroic people are the ones who least expect to be heroes. There’s a tradition of male characters who go to war, who are in the boxing ring, who rise to be the corporate titan, you name it. But Jim has always found women to be the more compelling parts to write. Culturally, they’re the ones who feel less equipped, because that’s what society tells them.

 

CAMERON People think that I was a typical male director who was brought to task by a strong female producer and forced to do these themes. But they have connected the dots in the wrong way. My respect for strong women is what attracted me to Gale. It’s what made me want to work with her. Ultimately, it’s what made me want to be married to her. When we went into [1989’s] The Abyss, we were already divorced but we still wanted to work together because we knew how strong the creative partnership was.

 

MICHAEL BIEHN (Kyle Reese): In preparation for the film I’d read a book about the guys that held out in Warsaw during World War II. When they were killing all the Jews or taking them away and putting them on trains, there was a bunch of Jewish guys who were hiding in the rubble. And they fought the Germans against insurmountable odds, like 30 or 40 of them, some women, some children. That grittiness and that mentality — that there’s no time for love or tenderness or music or religion, there’s only time for survival. I said to myself, “This is where this guy came from. This is how he would feel.”

 

HURD Being of Jewish descent, of course I also read all those things. I don’t think we explicitly wanted to say that this future world was inspired by stories of living underground in Warsaw. But on the other hand, whatever I read as historical fact was going to influence our work by virtue of the verisimilitude of that experience and how profound it was. It’s that same kind of a violent harrowing experience.

 

CAMERON The Terminator themes had been important to me since high school. Those apocalyptic visions, ideas about our love/hate relationship with technology, our tendency as a species to move in a direction that might ultimately destroy us, and a central faith in the resourcefulness of humanity. And those are motifs that have gone through all my films — Titanic has a lot in common with Terminator for those reasons."

- The Terminator at 30: An Oral History, Joe McGovern

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"The strangest realization you’ll have re-watching James Cameron’s The Terminator is that it’s a low-budget film. That feels surreal, considering the legacy this film has cemented in sci-fi and action cinema, let alone making Arnold Schwarzenegger the 1980’s most bankable Hollywood star. But The Terminator is just that: a B-movie premise that Cameron’s masterful vision and memorable characters transformed into an A-list thriller. And more than thirty years later, the film holds up remarkably well. Mostly.  The Terminator was a gamble for Cameron. With only Piranha II: The Spawning under his belt at the time, Cameron sold his script- conceptualized from a nightmare of a killer machine attacking him- for a dollar in exchange for being put in the director’s chair director. A mish-mash of gritty sci-fi, John Carpenter’s Halloween and the dystopian landscape of Mad Max, the film’s narrative genius was its time-travel component. In The Terminator, Los Angeles waitress Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) finds herself hunted by the Terminator (Schwarzenegger), a cybernetic assassin disguised under a layer of human skin who’s been sent back to 1984 from the dystopian, robot-ruled future of 2029. Sarah’s only salvation lies in Kyle Reese (Michael Bien), a human resistance soldier sent from that future to protect her, or rather her unborn son John, who will eventually grow up to lead the Resistance against the machines.

 

Most moviegoers familiar with Schwarzenegger’s action hero status, especially post-T2, will probably find his role in The Terminator slow-paced by comparison. More importantly, they’ll find it scary. Upon arriving in the present, the Terminator’s first act is to rip out the heart of a punk who won’t give him some clothes. When he needs to self-repair, he peels back synthetic tissue on his arm to reveal mechanical gears and wires covered in blood. And once the mechanical exoskeleton rise from an explosion like Frankenstein’s monster, it really feels like this creature is unstoppable.  Equally unique is the mystery surrounding the film’s first act. Until Reese tells Sarah about the future she’s destined to birth, the audience is relatively in the dark about what’s going on. As the Terminator goes on a killing spree against random Sarah Connor’s across L.A., hoping he’ll get the right one eventually, it’s clear our Sarah is being targeted, but for what? The answer’s obvious now, but this Sarah Connor isn’t the weapons expert mom from T2 who regularly tops “Best Female Character” lists. This is an ordinary woman with a roommate and a lackluster job who’s gotten caught in some greater futuristic war beyond her comprehension. Sarah’s arc is about growing into the fighter she’s destined to become.

 

This emphasis on characterization is something the post-T2 films have unfortunately downplayed in favor spectacle and revisiting franchise high points. Because of the film’s cat and mouse pursuit, we’re made to spend time with Connor and Reese as they gradually grow closer together. It’s great character development that also builds on film’s paradoxical sci-fi moments, turning John’s birth and Kyle’s relationship with Sarah into a self-fulfilling act. Ironically, Terminator’s inevitability of history would be completely rejected in the sequel, still the better film in my opinion."

- Ben Wasserman, mxwdn

 

User Opinion

 

"Cameron's best by quite some margin. The ultimate chase movie." - @The Stingray

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Ready for the hunt

 

Coldly picking up the gun

 

Hasta la vista

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 28, 2013 - 91, 2014 - 83, 2016 - 81, 2018 - 68

 

Director Count

 

Alfonso Cuaron - 2, Richard Linklater - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Lee Unkrich - 2, Mel Brooks - 1, James Cameron - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, David Lean - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1, The Russo Brothers - 1,  Martin Scorsese - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 1, Pixar - 2, Predator - 1, Scorsese -1, Spider-Man - 1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1, Toy Story - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1950s - 1, 1970s - 1, 1980s - 5, 1990s - 1, 2000s - 4, 2010s - 9

 

 

 

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"That's the way it crumbles... cookie-wise."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Insurance worker C.C. Baxter lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs. When his manager Mr. Sheldrake begins using Baxter's apartment in exchange for promoting him, Baxter is disappointed to learn that Sheldrake's mistress is Fran Kubelik, the elevator girl at work whom Baxter is interested in himself. Soon Baxter must decide between the girl he loves and the advancement of his career."

 

Its Legacy

 

"Billy Wilder was at the peak of his directing powers negotiating the tricky mix of melancholy and humour. Shirley MacLaine recalls Wilder never sitting, often chain-smoking and pacing while directing. Every word mattered. (Diamond stood nearby, policing the exact delivery of each line.) Sometimes she would take a relieved breath after completing a long speech, only to find she’d left out an “and” or a “then”. The takes continued until the dialogue was perfect.  This is not to say that Wilder couldn’t swing with a good suggestion. MacLaine, who was then embroiled in a difficult love affair of her own, once casually sighed: “Why do people have to fall in love with other people anyway? Why couldn’t they fall in love with a kangaroo?” Wilder rebuilt the entire set, and re-filmed a key scene to include the line. And again, when MacLaine shared the trials of learning how to play gin, lessons she was then getting from Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Wilder and Diamond wrote that into the script too. And so was born the gin game between Lemmon and MacLaine that continues throughout The Apartment.

 

When filming on The Apartment was completed, so exact was Wilder’s execution that the entire movie was edited in a matter of days. “There was about five feet of unused film,” Wilder remembers with only slight exaggeration. It was, he also recalls, one of the few occasions when he knew the power of the picture while filming. Reviews were not uniformly excellent, with some critics attacking the raciness of the film’s subject matter, not to mention Lemmon’s pimp-hero, but audiences responded quickly. The film was a hit, and the roll continued through Oscar night.  When Wilder was at the podium, accepting the Academy award for best director, playwright Moss Hart half-seriously whispered in his ear: “It’s time to stop.” But Wilder did not stop. Moments later, he was awarded the Oscar for best picture as well. And Wilder would go on to direct nine more films. He often discusses future ideas, though he wonders if his physical stamina could match his still-racing mind. He is, as he says with characteristic lack of pretension, a writer. But if you look hard enough around Wilder’s apartment, you can spot his Oscars standing in a clump within the cabinet by his den. And the one out front, standing guard among the other statuettes, is his best picture award for The Apartment. He offers the film his highest compliment. “It worked.”

 

Though our book is finished, our relationship continues. Just the other day, a small miracle happened when Wilder agreed to a rare on-camera interview for The Today Show. I sat beside him in the NBC studio that was once the home of Johnny Carson, and listened as the interviewer leaned forward and posed what was clearly an important question.  “We are doing a show on the Century’s Great Thinkers,” he said, “and I’d like you to comment on the next millennium. What would you like to say about the future?”  In our current world where anyone of even questionable importance feels a duty to offer lofty thoughts about The Next Thousand Years, Billy Wilder blinked suspiciously behind large glasses.  “Nothing,” he said, slightly incredulous, as if to answer would condemn him to a prison filled with pretentious twits. “Nothing.” I watched the frustrated interviewer with some sympathy. Wilder is, after all, not the easiest interview. Just as he has for some seventy years of film-making, today Wilder will leave the chest-beating to others.  The interviewer thumbed through his pages of questions. “What’s next,” Wilder asked, professionally pleasant, stealing a look at his watch. “How else can I help you?”"

- Cameron Crowe, The Guardian

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"BW: Yeah, but I am not a Strasberg man. I am not an actor. I’m not even a born director. I became a director because so many of our scripts had been screwed up.
The idea was that we [Wilder and collaborator Charles Brackett] were under contract to Paramount, and had to deliver eleven pages every Thursday, on yellow paper. Eleven pages. Why eleven, I do not know. And then the script. We were not allowed to be on the set. We were supposed to be upstairs on the fourth floor writing the script. So they would chase us off, and [Mitchell] Leisen was the worst one. Mitch Leisen.  I remember one episode. Leisen was directing Hold Back the Dawn [1941]. We were already writing the next script, and not allowed on the set. Policemen! Policemen were on the set to say,

 

“No, no, no!” That was the situation we had then. In pictures, in those days, they didn’t even let you watch what you wrote. So we had written a scene in Hold Back the Dawn where the hero — actually, he’s a gigolo — Charles Boyer, is lying there in that dirty Hotel Esperanza, across the border. It was for the first third of the picture, he’s stranded in Mexico. He hasn’t got the papers to get in, but he would like to get to America. He lies there in bed all dressed, and there is a cockroach that is crawling up the wall and the cockroach wants to get onto the broken, dirty mirror. And Boyer was to imitate a border guard, with a stick in his hand, and say to the cockroach [officiously], “Hey, where you going? What are you doing? Have you got a visa?…What, no visa?! How can you travel without a passport!! You can’t!” That was the scene, meant to appear in the first act. They are shooting the picture, and Brackett and I are going for lunch to Lucy’s — that was the restaurant across the street from Paramount. Now we are finished with lunch, and we passed a table where Mr. Boyer had a nice French lunch with the napkin tucked in here, and a little bottle of red wine. “Hi, Charles, how are you” “How are you boys?” “What are you shooting today?” “We are shooting the scene with the cockroach.” “Oh, yeah, that’s a good scene, isn’t it?” He says, “We changed it a little bit.” [Wilder’s eyes widen.] “What do you mean, you changed it?” He says, “We changed it because it’s idiotic — why would I talk to a cockroach if a cockroach can’t answer me?” I say, “Yeah yeah yeah, but just the same, we would like you to do it.” “No no no,” say Boyer, “we talked and I convinced Mr. Liesen, I’m not talking to a cockroach.” So it was nothing. The scene became flat, nothing.  So now we were upstairs writing the end to this picture, Hold Back the Dawn, the last ten pages. I say to Brackett, “If that son of a bitch doesn’t talk to a cockroach, he ain’t talking to nobody! Cross out his dialogue!” [Laughs] We won…kind of."

- Conversations with Billy Wilder, Medium

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"Back in the day, The Apartment scooped the Academy Awards, taking home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. It was a major hit and gets top ratings in all the movies-on-TV guides, yet it’s not often revived. Considered as a Billy Wilder movie, it has never become as admired as Double Indemnity or as beloved as Some Like It Hot.  Perhaps its relative obscurity is down to the lack of a movie icon. And maybe it’s that this comedy tells truths about American business and sexual morés as uncomfortable now as they were in 1960. However, since even committed Wilder fans are likely to have seen The Apartment only once, years ago on late-night television, this re-release reveals a fresher picture than many a classic you can recite by rote.

 

Made just after Some Like It Hot, the film has barbed jokes about the Marilyn-style blondes most of Jack Lemmon’s lecherous colleagues drag to his apartment for a quick shag, before they take the commuter train to their wives and families.  Lemmon, an everyman stranded in a sea of desks who spends more time juggling other people’s affairs than his job, shows the subtlety that marked the maturing of his manic comic personality MacLaine, with a serious haircut, embodies Wilder’s horrifying notion of what Marilyn’s screen character might be like if she were real (who, sadly, Monroe was never actress enough to play). Here MacLaine plays to perfection, heartbreaking with MacMurray and offbeat sexy with Lemmon.  Wilder fan Cameron Crowe recently lifted wholesale from The Apartment for the climax of Almost Famous, but the original walking-off-the-overdose scene is more affecting in the shift from farce, to sober drama, to bizarrely touching."

- Kim Newman, Empire

 

User Opinion

 

"One of my favorites, a wonderful mix of comedy and drama. It says it all that this is an extremely rare romantic film that actually earns the shot of one character running desperately for the other in the last moment. (It helps that Wilder follows it with a great joke - the champagne bottle - and a perfect closing line, and also doesn't have the characters kiss and fall all over each other).  Shirley MacLaine in this movie is one of my all-time biggest cinematic crushes." - @Jake Gittes

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

I have not seen this

 

Nor do I know about it

 

Uncultured Panda

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - Unranked, 2013 - Unranked, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - Unranked, 2018 - Unranked

 

Director Count

 

Alfonso Cuaron - 2, Richard Linklater - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Lee Unkrich - 2, Mel Brooks - 1, James Cameron - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, David Lean - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1, The Russo Brothers - 1,  Martin Scorsese - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 1, Pixar - 2, Predator - 1, Scorsese -1, Spider-Man - 1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1, Toy Story - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1950s - 1, 1960s - 1, 1970s - 1, 1980s - 5, 1990s - 1, 2000s - 4, 2010s - 9

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Cap said:

GOOD JOB EVERYONE!!  🥰🥰🥰

It's about time though alas everyone = the 5 who voted for this Wilder masterpiece

 

I choose to believe that means only 5 have seen it who sent in a list otherwise :apocalypse:

 

 

Edited by TalismanRing
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(Yes, the American flag circle is meant to look like a death star)

 

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"On your left."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"For Steve Rogers, awakening after decades of suspended animation involves more than catching up on pop culture; it also means that this old school idealist must face a world of subtler threats and difficult moral complexities. That becomes clear when Director Nick Fury is killed by the mysterious assassin, the Winter Soldier, but not before warning Rogers that SHIELD has been subverted by its enemies. When Rogers acts on Fury's warning to trust no one there, he is branded as a traitor by the organization. Now a fugitive, Captain America must get to the bottom of this deadly mystery with the help of the Black Widow and his new friend, The Falcon. However, the battle will be costly for the Sentinel of Liberty, with Rogers finding enemies where he least expects them while learning that the Winter Soldier looks disturbingly familiar."

 

Its Legacy

 

"The Winter Soldier is really the film that made Captain America the leader of this sprawling franchise and the MCU almost unimaginable without Chris Evans’ steady hand. With all its breathtaking action set pieces, callbacks to past films, and genuinely ballsy plot progression, it’s also a desperately sad portrait of a man who’s lost everything and is about to lose even more.  With its character-driven story, interesting politics, and rich, emotional relationships, the film engaged a hugely diverse audience, too. The MCU takes great pains to appeal to everyone, of course, but the community that’s built up around Steve Rogers is something else entirely and has helped fuel the popularity of these characters.  Put simply, The Winter Soldier is Marvel’s first great sequel – one that surpasses its predecessor in almost every way, and one that sets up an arc for its leading character that’s still waiting to be resolved five years later." - Caroline Preece, Den of Geek

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"/Film: When you first read the script, what was the most intimidating thing you were gonna have to pull this off?

 

Joe Russo: That would be Zola.

Anthony Russo: Oh that’s a great question.

Joe: I mean, that by far was the hardest thing to execute in this film. And, honestly, we didn’t even, we locked that scene maybe a week ago. ‘Cause it’s been changing.

The scene…?

Anthony: The Zola, yeah, the scene down in the bunker, yeah.

Joe: It’s just ’cause the movie, up till that point, is an extremely grounded political thriller and then suddenly it becomes a science fiction movie. So it’s a hard shift in tone and you gotta make sure you don’t lose the audience. So we always knew that that would be a tough scene.

Anthony: But we didn’t wanna get rid of it. We really loved the idea of the scene and it was just getting it right was the trick.

Yeah, you can’t really get rid of it ’cause it’s sort of what influences the rest of the movie.

Joe: Exactly. Yeah, it’s woven into it.

 

Now you guys have some pretty innovative action here. Is that something that was always in you, but you never got to do it because you were doing so much comedy?

 

Joe: It’s a film geek approach and a pop culture geek approach to making movies. You know, we started collecting comics when I was 10. We love films. We love action films. So this was something we always wanted the opportunity to do. And then we just went to all of the great influences on us and we would show them to the crew and talk about, you know, “How do we get this feeling like the bank heist in Heat?” To me, it’s like eight minutes of the most intense filmmaking I’ve ever seen. So for the causeway sequence in this movie where Winter Soldier attacks Cap and Natasha and Sam in the car, we want the feeling of the heist from Heat. We want that camerawork and that energy. Or the car chase with Nick Fury. You know, that’s a combination of DePalma, that tension where you’re putting a character in an impossible situation and the audience is going “How the hell is he gonna get out of this?”  And what we liked about borrowing from DePalma is the first Mission: Impossible was the last time anybody had done sort of this protracted DePalma kind of sequence with this tension. And then the second half of that chase is Ronin, you know. It’s influenced by Frankenheimer’s work in Ronin and all the intensity and visceral quality of the car chases in that movie. So it’s just us as geeks drawing on our favorite experiences over the years and trying to put them all into one movie."

- Slashfilm interview with The Russo Brothers

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"Just another day’s work for the savior of the Western World, but straight-arrow Steve suspects that something’s up when Natasha seems more concerned with saving the ship’s computer data to her flash drive than fighting the Algerian terrorists swarming the boat. It turns out Steve has reason for suspicion, as “The Winter Soldier” proves that, even back at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in what seems to be Northern Virginia’s coolest — if vaguely fascistic — office complex, no one can be trusted.  One of the great strengths of the Avengers mega-franchise has been its canny casting, and “The Winter Soldier” is no exception: Chris Evans once again brings a clean-cut, straight-shooting air of simplicity to Steve’s principled paragon, even evincing a whiff or two of prissy self-righteousness along the way. Happily, directors Joe and Anthony Russo, working from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, have decided to make “The Winter Soldier” something of a two-hander between Steve and Natasha, who as portrayed by Johansson continually threatens to steal the entire movie with her slinky martial arts moves and sultry, smoky-voiced one-liners. (If Hollywood was waiting for proof that the Black Widow was ready for her own installment, here it is. Get cracking, fellas.)

 

For a script that presumably has been in development for more than a few years, “The Winter Soldier” uncannily taps into anxieties having to do not only with post-9/11 arguments about security and freedom, but also Obama-era drone strikes and Snowden-era privacy. Indeed, there are moments that, in their taut writing and ingenious staging, recall the icy-hot paranoid thrillers that Redford himself made back in the 1970s.  But lest audiences think that “The Winter Soldier” will fall into the trap of taking itself too seriously, the filmmakers make sure that for every serious motif there’s at least one joke (a scene set in a bunker full of ’70s-era computer equipment is particularly piquant, as is a terrifically legit-looking Air and Space Museum exhibition devoted to Steve’s career) and one-and-a-half scenes of pulverizing, knuckle-splitting action. At a running time of over two hours, “The Winter Soldier” easily could have trimmed its long-winded action set pieces, extravaganzas of promiscuous gunplay, all-engulfing fireballs and loud lashings of shattered glass that begin to feel repetitive by the film’s Big Finish, a fight that plays out with over-the-top violence that’s both cartoonish and repellently brutalizing."

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

 

User Opinion

 

"The Russo Brothers, Markus & McFeely, and Kevin Feige created a modern genre masterpiece with their sequel to the fabulous Captain America: The First Avenger. More importantly, they catapulted the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a completely new stratosphere of creativity and quality. TWS proves that modern blockbusters can nuanced, emotional character moments, and brilliantly choreographed action sequences.
 

The shrewdest creative decision in TWS is to have Natasha Romanoff fill the role/trope of the Best Friend/Sidekick and Sam Wilson to fill the role/trope of the Love Interest. By flipping these gendered norms, the movie now explores refreshingly modern takes on friendship and trust.
 

My favorite element of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is that for a superhero action movie, it features a hero whose true power is his goodness, and his ability to inspire others.  His big power play in the Third Act is to give a speech, over the PA system.  Steve's Price of Freedom Speech is the perfect example of all that's good about Captain America."

- @Cap

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Boo America, Hail Hydra

 

A fascist takeover, Hail Hydra

 

Fight on Cap, Hail Hydra

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - Unranked, 2013 - Unranked, 2014 - 78, 2016 - 96, 2018 - 76

 

Director Count

 

Alfonso Cuaron - 2, Richard Linklater - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Lee Unkrich - 2, The Russo Brothers - 2, Mel Brooks - 1, James Cameron - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, David Lean - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,   Martin Scorsese - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 2, Pixar - 2, Predator - 1, Scorsese -1, Spider-Man - 1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1, Toy Story - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1950s - 1, 1960s - 1, 1970s - 1, 1980s - 5, 1990s - 1, 2000s - 4, 2010s - 10

 

 

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"Oi! Ten thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Aladdin is a poor street urchin who spends his time stealing food from the marketplace in the city of Agrabah. His adventures begin when he meets a young girl who happens to be Princess Jasmine, who is forced to be married by her wacky yet estranged father. Aladdin's luck suddenly changes when he retrieves a magical lamp from the Cave of Wonders. What he unwittingly gets is a fun-loving genie who only wishes to have his freedom. Little do they know is that the Sultan's sinister advisor Jafar has his own plans for both Aladdin and the lamp."

 

Its Legacy

 

"While Disney’s Aladdin was popularly received and well liked by most film critics, there were critics who panned the movie based on the more problematic aspects of the film. In Jack G. Shaheen’s book Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, Shaheen reviewed and analyzed hundreds of films that either had a Middle Eastern setting or had Arab and Muslim characters. In his book, he criticized Disney’s Aladdin for portraying Arabs and Muslims as barbaric (Shaheen, 2009, p. 57). The violence that both Aladdin and Jasmine faced portrayed the inhabitants of Agrabah as violent and cruel (Shaheen, 2009, p. 57-58). Shaheen highlighted particularly troubling lines from the opening song “Arabian Nights”, where a caravan driver sings that he comes “From a faraway place/Where they cut off your ear/If they don’t like your face/It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home” (Shaheen, 2009, p. 57-58; Clements and Musker, 1992, Aladdin). The lyrics were so offensive that after the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee requested for Disney to remove the last two lyrics from the video release, the company complied, realizing that the lyrics were indeed harmful to Arabs (Wingfield and Karaman, 1995). Shaheen also points out the exaggerated racial features that the villain, his cohorts, and other characters were designed with; “The animators attribute large, bulbous noses and sinister eyes to palace guards and merchants” (Shaheen, 2009, p. 57). In comparison, both Jasmine and Aladdin were lighter in complexion to Jafar and had American accents, setting them apart from other “foreign” and “backwards” characters and making them more relatable to American audiences (Shaheen, 2009, p. 57- 60). 

 

In Nasser Al-Taee’s chapter “Reel Bad Arabs, Really Bad Lyrics: Villainous Arabs in Disney’s Aladdin”, the author raised the same criticisms as Shaheen. Al-Taee gave examples of Aladdin’s continuous use of cultural elements that were not native to the Middle East: Indian style turbans, Indian street performances, and Jasmine’s pet tiger Raja (Al-Taee, 2010, p.256). It illustrated that Disney either was ignorant of Middle Eastern cultures or more likely, did not think the effort to research was necessary for a fictional world. The music also portrayed a contrast between the Orientalism trope of a barbaric and traditional East and an enlightened and freedom loving West (Al-Taee, 2010, p.257). The opening song “Arabian Nights” was set in a more traditional style of Arabian music while every other musical number in the film was based on Western-style musicals (Al-Taee, 2010, p.257). Al-Taee cited the example of the song “A Whole New World” as a song supporting a West vs. East mentality; both Aladdin and Jasmine as rebelling against their culture and customs, yearning for a more “western” way of life (Al-Taee, 2010, p.257, p. 267).

 

In Alan Nadel’s essay “A Whole New (Disney) World Order: Aladdin, Atomic Power, and the Muslim Middle East”, Nadel made a connection between the Gulf War, Disney’s Aladdin, and American policy in the Middle East (Nadel, 1997, p. 184). Aladdin was created only a year after the end of the Gulf War in March 1991 and memories of Saddam Hussein as well as the fear of rising military threats in the Middle East were still fresh in the minds of American audiences (Nadel, 1997, p. 187). Nadel argued that the character of Genie symbolized the United States as a “liberator” to Arabs in the Middle East from their “backwards” culture (Nadel, 1997, p. 192). Nadel also compared the Genie to a nuclear bomb, both being a terrible force of destruction should it fall into the wrong hands; in this case comparing the villain Jafar to Saddam Hussein (Nadel, 1997, p. 192-200). Disney’s Aladdin had the heroes as “Americanized” Arabs, Jasmine and Aladdin, in comparison to more “traditional”, “dark”, “evil” Arabs such as Jafar as a way to justify wars in the Middle East as a way to liberate the “good” Arabs who share American values from the “bad” Arabs that do not (Al-Taee, 2010, p.267, p.269).

 

Walt Disney’s Aladdin and the original story of Aladdin essentially have many elements in common, the most important being the title character. However Disney’s Aladdin had a distinctly American flavor to it with American musical numbers, American-style comedy, and characters with American accents (Clements and Musker, 1992, Aladdin). Because Disney’s Aladdin was so Americanized compared to the original story, it also absorbed, intentional or not, the political climate of its time. While the film is a fun and colorful, the racist and Orientalist tropes that are weaved into the fabric of the movie should be discussed more openly in hopes that future Disney films will be more cultural sensitive to the people and places that it portrays in its films."

- Rachel Bridges, History Blog

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"Did Aladdin feel like a risk at the time, in the sense that you’d put out these two animated films that were successful in every possible way, and they were quote-unquote princess movies. Here, you’re kind of veering off toward aiming for the boys?

 

MUSKER: Well, it was a comedy with a boy protagonist.

 

CLEMENTS: And the idea of Robin Williams as Genie, I think it was John’s idea to begin with, it wasn’t really looking to change animated movies as much as it might have changed animated movies. But it was looking for some animated hook that would make it something that you couldn’t do in a live action, something that would really take advantage of the medium. But by the very nature of Robin Williams being the Genie, that set a tone. And we didn’t want to limit him. We wanted him to be able to do as much as he could, which meant that the tone was going to be very different than the other Disney classic films. So it was risky. And jumping into it, the big question was — we kind of felt this is going to be very funny, this is going to be entertaining — but will the audience really care? Will they get involved with the story? Will they care about the characters? Somehow they did. It sort of works on multi levels. Somehow in animation, it still was emotional and the music certainly—

 

MENKEN: We put emotion in. We snuck it in. Like that one little moment, which we had a little tussle over, after “One Jump Ahead,” I wanted to take [sings] “Riff-raff, STREET-RAT, I don’t…” Even if it’s the tiniest thing, I knew that would give the signal that we really want you to care.

 

MUSKER: Emotional investment in Aladdin’s predicament and his plight.

 

CLEMENTS: And really, the Genie was Robin Williams. When he first came in, he was like, “Should I play this with an accent? Should I create a character?” And it was like, “No, really, the Genie is sort of like a stand-up comedian who’s been trapped in a lamp for 1,000 years and is suddenly released and is looking for an audience and wants to perform.” And that’s Robin.

 

MUSKER: I think Robin as a person, he wanted to make people laugh. It was like a Genie, like a wish-granter: I know that people enjoy humor, so I’m going to give them the gift of my comedy. So I feel like, yeah, he really was the Genie.

 

MENKEN: As far as the songs went, Howard and I were both concerned, because our conception of the Genie was kind of like a Fats Waller character. It was very much like, “Ya feets too big, ohhh mama, yeah, your feets too big.” So I wanted it to be, “Well, Ali Baba had them forty thieves, Scheherazade had a thousand tales.” And I made it very clear to Robin, “I want you to really perform it like that.” Knowing that there’d be improvisation, I wanted to make sure we got that basic track. And so Robin dutily learned both “Prince Ali” and “Friend Like Me,” every note, singing it in that style. Came into the studio and sang everything I wanted. Everyone sat very patiently saying, “Alan, did you get everything you need? Good. Now can Robin have some fun?” And then, Wow.

 

CLEMENTS: The Genie was let out the bottle. It was written for him in the sense that you read the script, you got the sense, yeah, this is what Robin Williams does. But at the same time, we were thinking that’s just going to be the starting point. Some people don’t realize that animation is really great for improvisation because the voices are recorded first. And what Robin did, he’d come in and he’d just start playing in front of the microphone. I don’t think we ever worked with an actor that gave more in the sense of that, you know…

 

MUSKER: He was physically spent.

 

CLEMENTS: We would record the scenes several times and he’d do many variations and we’d feel like we’ve got more than we can ever use. But he kept going, “I’ve go another idea, I’ve got another idea.” He kept expanding."

- Aladdin directors and Alan Menken remember Robin Williams

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

""Master, I hear and obey," said the Genie in the storybook version of "Aladdin," and his comments seldom went further than that. For an exercise in contrast, consider the dizzying, elastic miracle wrought by Robin Williams, Walt Disney Pictures' bravura animators and the Oscar-winning songwriting team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman in "Aladdin," the studio's latest effort to send the standards for animated children's films into the stratosphere.  It may be nothing new to find Mr. Williams, who provides the voice of a big blue Genie with a manic streak, working in a wildly changeable vein. But here are animators who can actually keep up with him. Thanks to them, the Genie is given a visual correlative to the rapid-fire Williams wit, so that kaleidoscopic visions of Groucho Marx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, William F. Buckley Jr., Travis Bickle and dozens of other characters flash frantically across the screen to accompany the star's speedy delivery. Much of this occurs to the tune of "Friend Like Me," a cake-walking, show-stopping musical number with the mischievous wit that has been a hallmark of Disney's animated triumphs.

 

If the makers of "Aladdin" had their own magic lamp, it's easy to guess what they might wish for: another classic that crosses generational lines as successfully as "Beauty and the Beast" did, and moves as seamlessly from start to finish. "Aladdin" is not quite that, but it comes as close as may have been possible without a genie's help. The fundamentals here go beyond first-rate: animation both gorgeous and thoughtful, several wonderful songs and a wealth of funny minor figures on the sidelines, practicing foolproof Disney tricks. (Even a flying Oriental rug is able to frolic, sulk and move its thumb, which has evolved out of a tassel.) Only when it comes to the basics of the story line does "Aladdin" encounter any difficulties.  It may date back to the early 18th century, but the "Aladdin" story has a 1980's ring. Here is the ultimate get-rich-quick tale of an idle boy (a cute, raffish thief in Disney's modified version) who has the good luck to be designated the only person able to retrieve a magic, Genie-filled lamp from a subterranean cave. Once in possession of the lamp, the original Aladdin goes to work improving his fortunes. He acquires slaves, loot and an extravagant dowry so as to win the hand of a princess, eventually ordering the Genie to build them a palatial home. Even in the movie version, this hero, who has been made more boyish and remains unmarried, dreamily tells his pet monkey: "Some day, Abu, things are going to change. We'll be rich, live in a palace and never have any troubles at all.""

- Jane Maslin, The New York Times

 

User Opinion

 

"My favorite animated film ever." - @DAR

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Get on for a ride

 

When the carpet reaches its height

 

Shove that dumbass off

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 56, 2013 - 78, 2014 - 73, 2016 - 84, 2018 - 43

 

Director Count

 

Alfonso Cuaron - 2, Richard Linklater - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Lee Unkrich - 2, The Russo Brothers - 2, Mel Brooks - 1, James Cameron - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, David Lean - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,   Martin Scorsese - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 2, Pixar - 2, Predator - 1, Scorsese -1, Spider-Man - 1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1, Toy Story - 1, WDAS - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1950s - 1, 1960s - 1, 1970s - 1, 1980s - 5, 1990s - 2, 2000s - 4, 2010s - 10

 

 

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Last one for tonight!

 

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"Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?"

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Arthur Fleck works as a clown and is an aspiring stand-up comic. He has mental health issues, part of which involves uncontrollable laughter. Times are tough and, due to his issues and occupation, Arthur has an even worse time than most. Over time these issues bear down on him, shaping his actions, making him ultimately take on the persona he is more known as...Joker."

 

Its Legacy

 

"Movies are designed to reel the audience in and offer an escape from reality for a couple of hours. They give a glimpse into the mind of the characters onscreen. Movies also allow viewers to reflect on their own feelings and experiences. When a movie evokes current events, it can provoke emotions and reactions ranging from glee to anxiety.  “Joker” is one such film.  It is one of the most talked-about movies of the past year. Joaquin Phoenix earned the Best Actor nod at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, and the movie received 11 Oscar nominations, with 2 wins.  However, a debate among mental health advocates has erupted. Is “Joker” harmful—or helpful—to mental health conversations?  “Joker” was released at the end of a decade Huffington Post coined as “the decade that changed the way we think about mental health.”  There have been huge shifts in awareness about mental health issues and more candid discussions about mental illness. McLean’s Deconstructing Stigma is at the forefront of campaigns working to make mental health part of everyday discussion, not a shameful subject.

 

Hollywood has frequently depicted mental illness onscreen over the years. But many recent depictions have become more empathic and less sensational,” said Benjamin J. Herbstman, MD, MHS. Herbstman is an assistant psychiatrist at The Pavilion and chair of Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Off the Couch series.  “Since 2000, more than a few Academy Award nominees for Best Picture have compassionately explored mental health. “A Beautiful Mind” portrayed psychotic illness. “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Manchester by the Sea” include mood disorders. Substance misuse and suicide are integral to the story told in “A Star Is Born.” Such films can help destigmatize these problems while also providing the public with a means to better understand them.”  However, myths remain about mental illness that have proven difficult to debunk. One such myth is an association between mental illness and violence.  “The reality is that only 3-5% of violent acts can be tied to those living with a serious mental illness,” said Dost Öngür, MD, chief of McLean’s Center of Excellence in Psychotic Disorders. “In fact, people with serious mental illnesses are up to 10 times more likely to be the victim of a violent act than someone who doesn’t have a mental illness.”  When “Joker” was released, there were concerns about behavior that would mimic Arthur [the character’s given name] and his erratic and concerning behavior.  In addition to public concern, the movie has opened multiple avenues for interpretation. For mental health professionals, many have used its popularity as an opportunity to educate about mental illness. Multiple articles have focused on where “Joker” has cinematized mental illness, what has been glossed over, and how we can support those who are struggling—visibly or internally.

 

The cast and creative minds behind “Joker” had their own perceptions of the movie as well. Todd Phillips, the director, shared in an interview that Arthur’s inability to be helped—by his peers, family, society, career, and providers—was what contributed to his downward spiral. Phillips said, “It’s about the power of kindness, and a lot of people miss that … that’s where it started from, and there are other things in the movie, like lack of love, the lack of empathy in society, and childhood trauma, but the power of kindness really runs through this film.”  Perhaps the movie is a call-to-action for the viewers to reflect on their own roles in society. We can learn how to help each other and feel motivated to better understand each other’s internal motives, experiences, and feelings. Maybe under the grimness and grey area around mental health in “Joker,” there’s an opportunity. We can all learn, discuss, and further destigmatize mental illness."

- McLean, Harvard Medical School Affiliate

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"In a new interview with Vanity Fair (ostensibly centered around star Phoenix), the filmmaker opined about why he chose to move from broad comedies to something as dark as “Joker.” Turns out, he just couldn’t hang with the current culture. “Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips told VF. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the fucking funny guys are like, ‘Fuck this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’”

 

Phillips was apparently afraid of the hordes of comedy-haters currently active on social media. He continued, “It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’ I’m out, and you know what? With all my comedies — I think that what comedies, in general, all have in common — is they’re irreverent. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but fuck comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from.”

- Todd Phillips Left Comedy to Make Joker because of Woke Culture

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

 

User Opinion

 

"A+++++

 

My movie of the decade. Just about as good a social commentary as can be expected from a Hollywood movie. For me it worked on every single level. Magnificent!

 

All I kept remembering throughout the movie was a quote by Jean-Jacques Rousseau-When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.  How easy it is in modern society to sit surrounded by comfort, blissfully unaware (or purposefully ignorant) that we sit on a powder keg and at any time the match could be lit and the whole system could come crumbling down. Watching the Joker was great but watching Gotham crumble was better still." - @glassfairy

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

They neglected the rose

 

But he tells the last joke

 

Rise, gamers, rise up

 

Joker-377.jpg

 

Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - N/a, 2013 - N/a, 2014 - N/a, 2016 - N/a, 2018 - N/a

 

Director Count

 

Alfonso Cuaron - 2, Richard Linklater - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Lee Unkrich - 2, The Russo Brothers - 2, Mel Brooks - 1, James Cameron - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, David Lean - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Todd Phillips - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,   Martin Scorsese - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Batman - 1, Before Trilogy - 1, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 2, Pixar - 2, Predator - 1, Scorsese -1, Spider-Man - 1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1, Toy Story - 1, WDAS - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1950s - 1, 1960s - 1, 1970s - 1, 1980s - 5, 1990s - 2, 2000s - 4, 2010s - 11

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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