Polls Archive

Pick Best Picture

Poll

As of December 23, The Gurus o' Gold pick these 10 movies as their Best Picture nominees. Which will win?

Voting is now closed for this poll, but here are the results:

Total votes: 13

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Which is your favorite among these low-cost horror movies?

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Which of these summer 2009 blockbusters (the five highest-grossing movies of the year so far) is your favorite?

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Potter Mouth, Part II

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Which director/writer pair has done the worst job translating J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books for the big screen?

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Potter Mouth

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Which director/writer pair has done the best job translating J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books for the big screen?

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oscar.jpgThe announcement that the Academy Awards will double the number of Best Picture nominees this year has certainly generated buzz, although it has mostly led to jokes about the length of the awards telecast. (And while we’re at it: What’s the deal with airline peanuts?) The Film Experience’s Nathaniel Rogers summarizes the reactions and remains doubtful that the move will broaden the appeal of the nominees:

“Mostly the expanded competitive field will just mean more slots for the type of movies Oscar likes to nominate — i.e., serious dramas, message movies, period pieces, war films, and films that smell of prestige in some way (lauded source material, famous auteurs, you know the type).”

I’m skeptical of his skepticism — at least looking backward.

Poll

Do you like or dislike the idea of expanding the number of Best Picture Oscar nominees from five to 10?

Voting is now closed for this poll, but here are the results:

Total votes: 21

monsters-aliens.jpgThe $59.3-million opening-weekend domestic take for Monsters Vs. Aliens is being touted as proof that 3D is a viable way to pry people off their couches and get them into the damned movie theater. Nearly 56 percent of that amount came from 3D theaters, even though 3D projection accounted for only 28 percent of the movie’s screens.

That all sounds impressive, but consider that WALL·E took in $63.1 million its first weekend, Kung Fu Panda $60.2 million, and Cars $60.1 million. Yes, those were all summer movies, but they didn’t benefit from the higher ticket prices for 3D that inflated the take of Monsters Vs. Aliens. They also didn’t have the aid of a massive and well-timed handjob (in 3D, of course) from Time Inc.

Monsters Vs. Aliens admittedly did well; on the strength of its box office and solid reviews, it won this past weekend’s Box Office Power Rankings — unseating I Love You, Man.

But its success doesn’t herald the dawn of a new era, no matter what 3D messiahs Jeffrey Katzenberg and James Cameron say. Their sermons amount to wishful thinking on the part of the speakers and the converted.

Here’s my argument, having seen Monster House and some IMAX movies in 3D:

  • The supposed value of 3D is immersion. Yet surround sound already effectively and cheaply provides that illusion without the damned glasses and all the negatives that go along with them.
  • If you’ve ever watched a plunge on an IMAX screen (say, in The Dark Knight), you know that scale can also create the illusion of immersion without the glasses.
  • Great painters aren’t necessarily great sculptors, and the extra dimension requires different skills. 3D movies suck (or the 3D is superfluous) because those making them don’t know how to appropriately use the extra space. We’d have to unlearn more than a century of filmmaking to do it right.
  • 3D is antithetical to one of the major trends in cinema: the decreasing shot length. 3D effects must be set up with a stable perspective, which runs counter to the current cut-cut-cut culture.
  • 3D will be best employed in mindless entertainments, but isn’t one of the goals of mindless entertainments to maintain a safe distance — and a wall — between the consumer and the entertainment? An immersive movie — no matter the genre — will likely be too intense to allow escape; it would replace one set of stressors with another.
  • Obviously, the novelty will wear off.
  • Remember how we were all supposed to be living in our virtual-reality suits by now, and having virtual sex, and flying virtual planes?

Continue reading for the methodology and the weeks’ full rankings.

Poll

How do you feel about 3D movies and the current 3D technology?

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Feeling Blu, Ray?

blu-ray.jpgUp to six times the resolution of DVD! Perfect picture and sound! Sparkling high definition!

The marketing push for Blu-ray players and discs has been full of these and similar pronouncements, trying in a shitty economy to get you to upgrade your DVD player and (ideally) replace your current movie collection with this relatively new format. Concurrent with that has been the debate about whether Blu-ray will “survive” after winning the “format war” with HD DVD in February 2008. Concurrent with that have been silly partisan arguments using adoption rates and sales figures to show that Blu-ray reigns victorious! or that Blu-ray is already dead!

If you’re anything like me — and my sincerest condolences if you are — that’s a lot of noise to filter, and experts only add to it. Read a wonky review of a Blu-ray disc, and it’s easy to be baffled by jargon such as “edge enhancement” and “DNR.” Read enough of them and you’ll get sick of the phrase “inky blacks.” Read reviews of players and you’ll be buried in technical specs, from supported sound formats to analysis of upconversion to connection types.

But you want an answer to a simple question: Should I upgrade to Blu-ray?

A simple answer from this layperson’s perspective: not yet, unless you have cash to burn.

Poll

Poll: What best describes your relationship with Blu-ray?

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Poll

How much will Watchmen earn in the United States in its first weekend?

Voting is now closed for this poll, but here are the results:

Total votes: 10

Poll

I offer you Slumdog Millionaire, and I would get the remainder of the Best Picture field. What stakes would make you say "no"?

Voting is now closed for this poll, but here are the results:

Total votes: 25

wrestler.jpgWhen people talk about Oscar snubs, they’re usually speaking emotionally. But we can quantify snubs, at least when it comes to Best Picture.

You’ll need to accept one major assumption: that critics in the aggregate are good arbiters of the quality of films.

Here is a list of movies — the Best Picture nominees (in bold), other serious contenders, and a few never-weres — ranked by their combined scores from Rotten Tomatoes (listed first) and Metacritic:

WALL•E (96, 93: 189)
Slumdog Millionaire (95, 86: 181)
The Wrestler (98, 81: 179)
Milk (93, 84: 177)
The Dark Knight (94, 82: 176)
Iron Man (93, 79: 172)
Frost/Nixon (91, 80: 171)
Rachel Getting Married (87, 82: 169)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (88, 78: 166)
Kung Fu Panda (88, 73: 161)
Ghost Town (83, 72: 155)
Tropic Thunder (83, 71: 154)
In Bruges (81, 67: 148)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (72, 70: 142)
The Reader (60, 58: 118)

We all know that certain types of movies are Oscar-y and others aren’t, but consider the excitement around a Best Picture lineup of WALL•E, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, Milk, and The Dark Knight.

Poll

Which of these would you have most liked to see nominated for Best Picture?

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Poll

Among the Best Picture Oscar nominees, which do you think should win?

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Best Picture Winner

Poll

Among the Best Picture Oscar nominees, which do you think will win?

Voting is now closed for this poll, but here are the results:

Total votes: 14

Vampires

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Bond

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Poll

What's your favorite Kevin Smith movie?

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W.

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Summer 2008 Hits

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Which among the following summer 2008 hits was your favorite?

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Pixar Perfect

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Which is the best Pixar movie?

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Poll

Which is the worst Pixar movie?

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Bad Buzz

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When we reminisce fondly about 2008, which much-maligned movie will look better?

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Anton Chigurh

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No Country for Old Men's antagonist is

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