Note: This is the hundred-and-fifty-eighth in a series of historical/critical essays examining the best in film from each year. Essentially, I am watching films from the beginning of cinematic history that interest me and/or hold some critical or cultural impact. My personal, living list of favorites is being created at Mubi, showcasing five films per year. All this being explained, what follows is an examination of my third favorite 1930 film, WESTFRONT 1918, directed by G.W. Pabst.

War is hell, as the popular saying goes. G.W. Pabst’s WESTFRONT 1918 doesn’t disagree. By the end of his film, with its four…

Robert Young and Fred Astaire at the 11th Emmy Awards in 1959

Welcome to “Emmys Evaluated,” a series that looks at the nominations and wins in the television industry’s foremost awards ceremony and performs some revisionist history to retroactively pick the winners from the categories and nominees the The Television Academy selected.

As the Emmy Awards entered its second decade, it continued to mix up categories on a yearly basis. For its 11th ceremony, held on May 6 at the Moulin Rouge Nightclub in Hollywood, a clear change in the television landscape was the introduction of the Best Western Series category. Meta jokes had been flying (even in the previous year) around…

I ran a poll on Twitter last week, asking “Are the Kings of Leon bad?” Honestly, I was surprised by the results: 83 percent “no,” 17 percent “yes.” I was surprised because, like many millennial rock bands, the discourse around the Kings of Leon concerns their evolution from an exciting, raw act to a stadium group that sells pop music barely disguised as rock. At least, that’s what I thought the discourse was, independent of what I really think of the band from Nashville. But then, I do kind of believe that the Kings of Leon, like countless other bands…

The nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards were announced today, and perhaps more than any other entertainment industry and awards show, the Oscars are facing a strange new paradigm. COVID-19 changed every facet of life, but music, television, video games, and more were essentially consumed in much the same way they were before. The movies, of course, were not. Certainly, the realities of the streaming world has already been changing viewing habits of the pictures for some time, but the theater experience was totally wiped out for a year-plus. …

The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Trevor Noah, were held in a semi-virtual setting last night, with no in-person audience populating the Los Angeles Convention Center. As usual, social media ran with the snubs, the big performing moments, and praiseworthy wins, which is how I consumed the event. What was unusual, at least for the Grammys so far, was the dynamic that COVID-19 has wrought for every event, and all the other awards shows. Of those awards shows, I feel the most out of touch with the Grammys, but as with all of them (the main ones for each…

French electronic music duo Daft Punk announced their breakup on February 22, 2021, 28 years after Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter came together to popularize house music in the 1990s, then generally represent the contemporary electronic sound. Famously eccentric and almost always covered in robot masks, Daft Punk wasn’t exactly the most prolific group, releasing just five albums from 1997 to 2013, a 16-year span. A new album has been eagerly awaited from the duo for some time, but their sudden split of course dashed any hopes for that. Although I just wrote they weren’t prolific, Daft Punk was…

PLAYHOUSE 90 writer Rod Serling (with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on the man) and producer Paul Monash at the 10th Emmy Awards in 1958

Welcome to “Emmys Evaluated,” a series that looks at the nominations and wins in the television industry’s foremost awards ceremony and performs some revisionist history to retroactively pick the winners from the categories and nominees the The Television Academy selected.

In 1958, the Emmy Awards were a decade old. It’s kind of a strange milestone because, from today’s perspective, 1958 still feels like the primeval days. But unlike the film or recording industries, television had had its flagship awards show essentially from the beginning of its significant commercial emergence. By the 10th Emmy Awards, held on April 15, 1958, the…

THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE (2004) — Stephen Hillenburg

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS (1999-present) is one of my favorite cartoons of all time. I have many fond, nostalgic memories of watching the show as a child, and I’ve written about how the show represents a maturation of cable children’s programming. What I mean is that SPONGEBOB perfectly hit the nexus of the anarchic Nicktoons that preceded it and a mass appeal; it could appeal to children and adults. After five years on the air, SpongeBob got his first feature film treatment. It’s strange to me, in hindsight, because I remember feeling like it had taken forever for a SPONGEBOB movie to…

I love Dave Grohl. The former Nirvana drummer and the Foo Fighters’ charismatic frontman is rock’s resident “good guy,” a positive and funny force for a kind of popular, alt-mainstream, radio-friendly music. The guy is super talented, and the longevity and success of the Foo Fighters is all the more remarkable considering the great success of Grohl’s previous, more legendary gig with Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. The Foo Fighters have always been a presence in my musical awareness, a big part of my tween and teenage years as I discovered “edgier” music. But then, as I’ve reviewed the Foo…

CAESAR’S HOUR stars Sid Caesar, Nanette Fabray, Pat Carroll, and Carl Reiner at the 9th Emmy Awards

Welcome to “Emmys Evaluated,” a series that looks at the nominations and wins in the television industry’s foremost awards ceremony and performs some revisionist history to retroactively pick the winners from the categories and nominees the The Television Academy selected.

A significant change for the categorization of the 9th Emmy Awards meant that a fewer spread of shows ended up nominated. Instead of recognizing the best shows of 1956 by genre, as it had done for previous years, The Television Academy instead distinguished nominees by length: half hour or less and one hour or more. …

Tristan Ettleman

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