Recognition is always exciting and gratifying, and unsolicited recognition from your peers is exponentially more so – especially when you’ve only got to know them through a shared interest (movies) and a shared hobby* (blogging).
What is a Liebster Award? Well, first and foremost, it’s a prestigious award given to bloggers by bloggers as a way of saying ‘hey, I like the stuff you write’. It’s like a whole bunch of Facebook ‘like’s and Twitter ‘favourites’ crammed into a giant party-size seal of approval. It’s so prestigious it comes with no financial prize at all, because money would only cheapen the kudos it brings.
Want to know a bit more? Well, from my extensive research (I Googled) it’s part recognition, part getting to know you, part encouragement and part chain letter. There are rules (which I have shamelessly borrowed from one of my award presenters):
I) Post the award on your site.
II) The blogger who has been nominated must link back to the person who nominated them.
III) The nominee must answer the eleven questions given to them by the person who nominated them.
IV) The person who has been nominated must choose eleven bloggers who have less than 200 followers to answer a set of questions.
V) When you are nominated, the only blogger you can’t nominate is the blogger who nominated you for the award.
I’m not sure what the significance of the number 11 is to the Liebster Award, but I’m assuming it’s the number agreed upon by the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group. There is an aspect of it (Clause IV) which is effectively a chain letter and I’ve had a lifelong dislike for chain letters, so I’m going to tweak it a little, and at the end of this post, I’ll provide a list of blogs I read and enjoy, but I’m going to leave it up to those bloggers to decide whether that constitutes a “nomination” or not, so I’m paying forward the good will and recognition while hopefully mitigating the obligation.
I received both my awards within the space of a week and was genuinely thrilled to do so. Writing is a weirdly personal thing to do, and writing a blog is a weirdly public way of doing it, so to know someone out there is not only reading, but enjoying what you write is a very special feeling indeed – especially when you sometimes find yourself checking your blog’s hit count as often as you check Facebook or Twitter. I’m even more honoured to be able to say that I received the awards from two great bloggers: firstly from Laura Osborn who runs Filmnerdblog and then, while I was still wrapping my head around the Liebster Award concept, another nomination from Hcmoviereviews. If I hadn’t received the award from them, I guarantee you they would be in my list of blog recommendations at the end of this post.
Because I received two awards, with two sets of questions, I’m going to answer a combination of them, so here goes:
What angers you the most when watching a movie in theatres?
Talking during a movie. Not whispering – and I mean proper whispering, not husky-voiced speaking – but talking. Up to the point the studio logo begins, go for your life. Chat away; make all the geeky in-jokes and references you want. Take the piss out of the adverts, the trailers, whatever you like but once that film starts rolling, shut the hell up. People using mobiles to text etc. during a film are annoying (dim that screen, fool!) but at least it’s quiet.
Name a movie you never want to watch. Ever.
I’m not sure there is a movie I’d never want to watch. Watching bad movies is part and parcel of the movie experience for me, and recently (especially since starting the blog) I’ve been choosing to see movies that I normally wouldn’t bother with and so far the results have been overwhelmingly rewarding. I’ve discovered and delighted in movies I would never have seen otherwise so I figure the odd stinker is a price worth paying for that. If you’d asked me this question six years ago, I would have said the “Twilight” movies. Flash forward to the present day, and I’ve seen all five “Twilight” movies. They were shit.
Name a movie you’re ashamed you haven’t seen yet.
Oh, there are so many I could answer here, and I’m gradually working my way through them thanks to “What The Craggus Saw…”. I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I only watched “Citizen Kane” about three months ago, although it was weird because it’s been referenced and homaged so thoroughly it didn’t seem unfamiliar. At the moment, the classic movie that’s nagging at my conscience the most is “The French Connection”, so that’s the classic I’ll be looking into next. I also haven’t seen “Schindler’s List”. I will get round to seeing it, and I know it’s a great and important movie. It’s just that when you have a spare evening and think, ‘ooh – I think I’ll watch a movie. Now, what am I in the mood for?’ the answer is never ‘harrowing, serious, expertly made holocaust drama’ – or is that just me?
3D. Yay or Nay?
More of a ‘meh’ for me. It’s so often applied intrusively and completely disconnected from the story that I tend to avoid it if I can. Where it’s used well, it can enhance a film to greatness (I think that’s part of the reason why, on average, people who saw “Gravity” in cinemas rate it higher than those who are now catching it on DVD). When 3D is used well by skilled filmmakers, it can be spectacular: “Hugo”, “Gravity”, “Prometheus” (whatever else you thought about that film, it looks gorgeous). When it’s tacked on as a gimmick to sell tickets, it can be a distraction at best (“Thor”) and a disaster at worst (“Clash Of The Titans”).
I am, however, quite the fan of the new High Frame Rate that’s emerging. I saw “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” at the normal frame rate and then HFR, both in 3D and the difference was amazing. For me, it transformed the 3D – especially for the action sequences – and the movie itself. I’m also an unabashed fan of IMAX – when it comes to screens, for me it’s the bigger the better.
Favourite black and white movie?
Easy: “Duck Soup”. There are a bunch of black and white movies I like but if I had to choose just one, like in a desert island scenario, it would be the Marx Brothers classic.
What film would you like to see remade?
I’m not really a fan of remakes and I find it strange that it’s usually great films which are targeted for a remake. I mean, I get the business reason for it but it would be better if remakes tended to be the unsuccessful or underwhelming films, giving them another chance to get it right. On that basis, I guess the film I’d most like to see remade would be “Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones”. It’s just awful – the worst Star Wars film of all – and should have a chance to be remade and redeemed.
What is that one movie that everyone loves but you hate?
“Forrest Gump”. I avoided seeing it for years because of the hype and when I finally caved in and watched it I wasn’t impressed. Overly long, overly sentimental and, like a lot of Robert Zemeckis’ recent output, more of an excuse to play with technology than make a good movie.
Best opening sequence to a film?
There’s a shot near the start of “The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers” where the camera is sweeping through mountaintops when out of nowhere, a higher peak swings into view, immediately forcing you to reset your perspective. It’s a small thing, really, but it’s sensational and has stuck in my memory ever since. I was still marvelling at it while Peter Jackson had moved on to showing the majesty and spectacle of Gandalf smiting the Balrog. Also, I have to give a shout out to the opening of “Star Wars”, when that Star Destroyer looms over the screen and just keeps on coming like it’ll continue roaring overhead until the end of time. Lucas’ directorial career was all downhill from that moment of visual genius. If you’re looking for an extended opening scene of a film, rather than just a couple of shots, then I’ll go for the whole Kobayashi Maru fake-out from “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan“.
What is your best movie experience?
This is probably the toughest question, because I have so many fond memories of being at the cinema. I guess, therefore, being at the cinema is an integral part of a great movie experience for me. Don’t get me wrong, I watch loads of movies on the small screen – thanks to Apple, my movie watching screens seem to be getting smaller and smaller, but there’s something about the cinema which still retains the magic it must have possessed in the early days of the medium. In fact, one of my earliest memories of my life is connected to the movie “Grease”. I don’t really remember seeing the actual film itself, but I vividly remember coming out of the cinema with my Mum and going directly to Boots to buy the soundtrack album (on vinyl, natch).
I’ve done all-nighters at the cinema watching a horror marathon of the first for “A Nightmare On Elm Street” films plus “The Evil Dead” (despite being a year or two younger than the certificated age), I’ve had a blast seeing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (with all the props) at a cinema which was condemned and closed down mere days later – unconnected with the chaos I hope and I’ve watched my then nearly four year old son be literally awestruck by his first visit to the cinema, as he stared mesmerized by a “Bob The Builder” compilation as if it were the face of God. I’ve seen “Jurassic Park” seven times in the cinema over the course of 20 years and vicariously enjoyed other people jumping (okay, I jumped the first time too. Fine – and the second time) at the bit where Spielberg cuts to the raptor enclosure with an ear-splitting shriek. Having been a dinosaur-crazy kid, when 19 year old me saw that T-Rex move on screen, my six-year old dreams came true.
The most recent one I can think of is seeing “Avengers Assemble” on the opening night in a packed cinema. The audience was on fine form, cheering, laughing and propelling an already fantastic film up to the level of a phenomenon. And don’t forget – this is a British audience I’m talking about. I could go on and on…
What is your favourite Superhero movie?
Is it a cheat to say “Avengers Assemble”? It seems unfair to all the greats that have come before it. Maybe I’ll have to cheat a little and break it down.
Favourite Superman film? “Superman II” (Not the Donner cut for sentimental reasons)
Favourite Batman film? “Batman Returns”
Favourite Spider-Man film? “Spider-Man 2”
Favourite pre-MCU Marvel film? “Blade II”
Hmm. Seems to be a sequel rule at play here…
Favourite MCU single hero film? “Iron Man” (Exception that proves the rule)
But who am I kidding, I enjoy just about every superhero/ comic book movie. Except “Batman & Robin” – that sucked donkey balls. If you’re forcing me to make a choice: Make Mine Marvel.
Why do you love movies so much?
I know, it’s weird, huh? They’ve provided me with entertainment, escapism, solace, comfort, joy, fear, thrills, romance, inspiration and wonder for decades. They’ve shown me things I could never otherwise have seen and taught me things I might never have known. They’re my go to option if I have any spare time or want to do something fun. You can watch them alone, or with friends. You can sit in a state of the art IMAX 3D emporium or snuggle up on the sofa and go anywhere, see anything. Books can do that, but they’re hard to share in a real time way. TV’s good too but you’re generally restricted to domestic settings to watch it. Movies combine the best qualities of books and TV and let you share the experience with hundreds of people you don’t know in a vast, dark amphitheatre. What’s not to love? As for the blogging? I’m just figuring this out as I go along…
Phew – ramble over. These Liebster Awards are a lot of work, I tell you. Worth it though. Thanks again, sincerely and genuinely, to Filmnerdblog and Hcmoviereviews for the nominations. If you’ve read this far, I’d consider it a personal favour if you checked out their blogs – you’ll be glad you did.
As promised, here’s a list of other blogs I read regularly. I’ll leave it up to them to decide whether they consider themselves nominated for a Liebster Award or not, but regardless of their choice, they all come with the Craggus Seal of Approval!
Hey, look at that – 11 blogs**** recommended. The Bilderberg Lizard Cabal of the Illuminati will be pleased!
* – Apologies to anyone who considers their blog more than a hobby, I meant no offence!
** – Infrequent posters but it’s a case of quality over quantity.
*** – Prone to bouts of retirement but thankfully also partial to glorious comebacks.
**** – Technically 13 if you count Filmnerdblog and hcmoviereviews. Actually, make that 14 because I wholeheartedly recommend What The Craggus Saw… too.