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Sunday, January 2, 2011

*BEST MOVIES AND MUSIC IN 2010 (and 1960)

But first, the sunset this evening:
If you scroll to the bottom of this posting, you will arrive at my reviews of two excellent films I saw today, The King's Speech and Black Swan.  I would be disappointed if the former did not produce a Best Actor Oscar, while the latter, perhaps a Best Actress nomination.

But, as indicated in the title, the three top grossing movies for 2010 were:

1.  Toy Story 3 ($415 million)
2.  Alice in Wonderland ($334 million)
3.  Iron Man 2 ($312 million)

Sad, in a way, that they were all remakes or sequels.

Music depends on the genre and source.  According to Billboard, the top musical moments of 2010 were:

1.  The Great Eminem Recovery
2.  American Idol Goes Through Changes
3.  Taylor Swift Sells More Than One Million in a Week

The top selling songs themselves were:

1.  Train (left)
        Hey, Soul Sister

2.  Katy Perry and
     Snoop Dog
        California Gurls

3.  Eminem and Rihanna
        Love the Way 
       You Lie

Susan Boyle had the best selling album, I Dreamed a Dream.

In comparison, the best movies half a century ago, 1960, were:

1.  Swiss Family Robinson ($20 million)
2.  Psycho ($11 million)
3.  Spartacus ($11 million)

While that $20 million sounds puny, the worth today would be closer to $145 million, still quite a bit lower than those current box office hits.

Likewise, the #1 song in 1960 were:

Music Imprint          Chubby Checker
                                   The Twist

Cash Box                Percy Faith
                                  Theme from a 
                                  Summer Place

Music Outfitters      Everly Brothers
                                  Cathy's Clown

Acclaimed Music   The Shirelles
                                 Will You Love 
                                 Me Tomorrow

In South Africa it was Elvis' "It's Now or Never," while the world liked Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John."

The best selling songs of all time are Bing Crosby's (50 million)  "White Christmas (1942)," Elton John's (33 million) "Candle in the Wind (1997)," Bing Crosby's (30 million) "Silent Night (1935)" and Bill Haley and His Comets' (25 million) "Rock Around the Clock (1954)."

The three top grossing films of all-time are Avatar (2009, $2.8 billion), Titanic (1997, $1.8 billion) and The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King (2003 ($1.1 billion).  Wow, James Cameron is doing something right!

On this note, I saw two films today:

1.  The King's Speech:  a true story of stammering King George VI, played by Colin Firth, assisted by a war-educated speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), the film reminded me of me.  I re-lived my stammer and how I coped.  I recall in the eighth grade purposefully misspelling a word early in a spelling bee to avoid further embarrassment.  As best as I can determine, I overcame this ailment by just gaining confidence in myself.  I would predict that Firth will win an Oscar for Best Actor this year.  About George VI's older brother, King Edward VIII, I'm still mystified why he abdicated to marry a two-time divorcee, Wallis Simpson (below).  I guess it was love!

2.  Black Swan:  could also have been called Dark Swan, for this is a disturbing ballet film on mental illness, somewhat reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, the story of delusional Nobel Laureate John Nash.  This could not have been the Natalie Portman whose high school science fair project was entitled "A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar" nor the Harvard graduate nor the actress from the Star Wars prequel...but was, and might well gain an Academy Award nomination.  She actually danced much of the role, too.  Look for Winona Ryder, but you won't recognize her.

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