There are few popular movies from the past 15 years I have not seen

Last week, Marco Arment posted a list of popular movies he hasn’t seen from the past 15 years.  His lack of familiarity with popular movies has come up on several episodes of his podcast, so his list didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is how many popular movie I have seen. I don’t feel like I watch that many movies now, but based on the results below, I do (or at least I have).

The list below consists of each year’s Academy Awards best picture nominees and the top 10 grossing movies. That provides a good balance of critical and commercial popularity.

It is surprising how many of the older movies in this list still seem fresh and warrant second viewing. When launch Netflix, it is always the Watch It Again section that seems to have all the best movies. There is  a handful of more recent movies I intend to watch, but most of the ones I haven’t seen are not ones I intend to seek out.

Titles in bold are the ones I have seen.

2000

  • Gladiator
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Traffic
  • What Women Want
  • Meet the Parents
  • Chocolat
  • Erin Brockovich
  • Mission: Impossible II
  • Cast Away
  • Dinosaur
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Perfect Storm
  • X-Men
  • What Lies Beneath

2001

  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Ocean’s Eleven
  • Gosford Park
  • In the Bedroom
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Shrek
  • Pearl Harbor
  • The Mummy Returns
  • Jurassic Park III
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Hannibal

2002

  • Spider-Man
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Men in Black II
  • Die Another Day
  • Minority Report
  • Chicago
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Hours
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Pianist
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Signs
  • Ice Age
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding

2003

  • Finding Nemo
  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • The Matrix Revolutions
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lost in Translation
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  • Mystic River
  • Seabiscuit
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Bruce Almighty
  • The Last Samurai
  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
  • X2
  • Bad Boys II

2004

  • The Incredibles
  • Ocean’s Twelve
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • The Aviator
  • Finding Neverland
  • Ray
  • Sideways
  • Shrek 2
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Spider-Man 2
  • The Passion of the Christ
  • The Day After Tomorrow
  • Meet the Fockers
  • Troy
  • Shark Tale

2005

  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Crash
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • Good Night, and Good Luck
  • Munich
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • War of the Worlds
  • King Kong
  • Madagascar
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Batman Begins
  • Hitch

2006

  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Casino Royale
  • Cars
  • The Departed
  • Babel
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • The Queen
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown
  • Night at the Museum
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • Mission: Impossible III
  • Superman Returns
  • Happy Feet

2007

  • No Country for Old Men
  • Juno
  • Ratatouille
  • I Am Legend
  • Atonement
  • Michael Clayton
  • There Will Be Blood
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Spider-Man 3
  • Shrek the Third
  • Transformers
  • The Simpsons Movie
  • National Treasure: Book of Secrets
  • 300

2008

  • The Dark Knight
  • Quantum of Solace
  • WALL-E
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Hancock
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  • Iron Man
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

2009

  • The Hurt Locker
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • 2012
  • The Twilight Saga: New Moon
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Angels & Demons
  • The Hangover

2010

  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • The Kings’ Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
  • Shrek Forever After
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
  • Iron Man 2
  • Tangled
  • Despicable Me
  • How to Train Your Dragon

2011

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1
  • Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Fast Five
  • The Hangover Part II
  • The Smurfs
  • Cars 2

2012

  • Skyfall
  • Argo
  • Amour
  • Beasts of the Southern WIld
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • The Avengers
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
  • The Hunger Games
  • Men in Black 3

2013

  • Monsters University
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Frozen
  • Iron Man 3
  • Despicable Me 2
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • Fast & Furious 6
  • Man of Steel
  • Thor: The Dark World

2014

  • Birdman
  • American Sniper
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Maleficent
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Interstellar

Five years of a non-conformist commute

Five years ago today I bought and started restoring the bike I currently ride to work—a 1972 Schwinn Super Le Tour. I’ve spent the last five years using it to commute in a city that is not particularly bike friendly and whose weather is too hot and rainy for most of the year. That hasn’t stopped me.

I rarely see other bikers who look as if their commuting to work. It just isn’t common in this part of South Florida. However, my understanding is that bikes are the most used mode of transportation in the world. Riding a bike is also how I got around during most of my childhood and through high school.

For the first year after my wife and I moved to South Florida, I had a 40 minute commute to work each way (which I have been led to believe isn’t that bad). When I got a new job closer to home, I was happy to give up all the time I had been spending sitting behind a steering wheel and being part of the constant traffic congestion. Fortunately, there have always been relatively safe routes to and from work, and when I get caught in the rain or stranded with a flat tire, my wife has always been able to come and rescue me.

When I started biking to work, it wasn’t to save money on gas or wear and tear on the car. It also wasn’t for an idealistic environmental purpose. The primary reason I began biking to work, was because I knew I could not trust myself to exercise consistently without it being a prebuilt part of my day. Since I needed to get to work five days a week, it just made sense to me to combine that necessary task and my daily exercise into one activity. Bikes run on fat and save money. However, I wouldn’t have stuck with it for this long were it not for the best reason to ride: It’s fun!

For nearly all of those past five years, I have been planning on purchasing a new bike. However, the one I have works just fine and takes me where I need to go. A more modern bike would be lighter, faster, and more efficient. However, those improvements would take away from the bike’s purpose—to make sure I am getting enough exercise every day. A newer more efficient bike may not be better as a fitness device, but a faster smoother ride would certainly be more enjoyable.

I look forward to many more years of riding—either on my trusty Super Le Tour or on whatever new bike I get the future.

The world needs a House of Cards / 24 crossover

Like many others, I’ve been bingeing on the latest season of House of Cards over the past several days. This morning I woke up with an idea for a crossover between House of Cards and another show I’ve been guilty of bingeing on–24. The idea wasn’t for a full series or episode–just for a single scene.

The scene opens at the top of the back stairwell in the White House with Jack Bauer interrogating President Frank Underwood.

“Who else knows about this,” Bauer demands, referring to some dubious plot Underwood concocted.

“Just you,” says Underwood, unfazed.

“Who else knows!” shouts Bauer, pushing Underwood against the railing.

Underwood does not look afraid, just annoyed. He glances at the camera for a moment–breaking the fourth wall.

Bauer, unlike every other character in the series, notices the glance and comes closer to the camera. He looks directly at the audience.

“You stood by and let this happen!? I will find you.”

The screen goes black, and the episode ends.

And now I’m a guy that writes fan fiction.

Albums in the age of the algorithmic playlist

Today I listened to the Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness from beginning to end. The two-disc album has more than two hours of music spread across 28 tracks. This album was one of the musical staples of my college years. I bought a second-hand copy of it on my way freshman orientation and listened to it throughout my undergrad. The album has some amazing hits, some strange lyrics, some hidden gems, some bad songs, and even one that can only be described as musical malpractice. When you listen to the full album you get everything the band had to offer at one particular moment in its history.

Listening to a band’s playlist or radio station on services like Pandora and Spotify will get you the hits from throughout their career. However, you will miss out on the many songs that make a band what they are. I don’t listen to many to albums from beginning to end anymore, and I don’t know many people who do. In this age of Spotify’s smart playlists, themed radio stations, and algorithmic DJs, you can listen to hours of back-to-back hits. But I think I’m missing out on something important when I listen that way. There is a lot of value in hearing a full album in the order the artist chose.

There were so many albums that defined my teens and early 20s. I think it might be time to go back to listen to my favorite bands’ albums in their intended order. Playlists give me the hits, but I feel like I’m missing out on the depth and variety of music that my favorite musicians have produced over the years.

You might want to try it too. I am certain that there is more to [insert your favorite band name here] than their “best of” compilation would suggest.