Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Civilian 2020 Wrap-Up and Year-End Stats!


Well, hello again!

(dramatic pause)

What a year. Where to even begin to try and summarize the goings-on of the last 365 days? I’m fond of saying that every year is different in its own way, but this one seemed to go the extra mile to distinguish itself. Amidst all the turmoil and confusion and isolation, I leaned heavily on the moving pictures to provide some sense of normalcy, and even though this did not mark my highest annual tally, it was up there for sure.

However, the fright flicks just did not capture my imagination as they had in years past. Instead I found myself gravitating toward brainless action flicks and brainy documentaries. I know the sociology students out there will have a field day with this bit of intel, claiming that the real-life COVID horrors outside my door were just too much to enjoy the made-up scares. Sorry, kids, as much as I would love to serve as your case study, the fact of the matter is that my passions were simply being pulled in a different direction, fascinated instead by Bronson’s taciturn charms, the mushmouthed flying feet of JCVD, Sly’s breakneck career highs and lows, the pleasing and pummeling indulgences of QT, that intangible but unmistakable Coen quirk, and the negected genius of Karel Zeman.

It was clearly time to follow a different beat, and so I did, spending less time looking to the horizons ahead and digging instead in the bones of the past. I regret nothing, but I understand if the results might be less satisfying for those looking for the latest and greatest.

With that bit of preamble, and having already given the fright flicks their moment in the moonlight, it’s now time to give the Civilian flicks their moment in the sun. As always, all titles listed were encountered for the first time from January 1 to December 31, 2020 (i.e. no repeat viewings were eligible), with top picks denoted with an asterisk. (*) 

There is also the annual multitude of minutiae that I love to ponder, ranging from sequels to performers to directors to soundalike titles. Hopefully you’ll find something here to giggle over as well.

Let the madness begin!


Beasts Clawing at Straws
Becoming: Michelle Obama
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
Ford v Ferrari
JoJo Rabbit
Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film
The Need to Grow
Sound of Metal


The Assistant
Black Bear
Circus of Books
A Good Woman is Hard to Find
Knives Out
My Octopus Teacher
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini


Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Hillbilly Elegy
I’m Thinking of Ending Things


Out of Shadows

TOP CIVILIAN DISCOVERIES (First Time Views released before 2019)

Breakout (1975)
The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1962) (*)
Film Adventurer Karel Zeman (2015)
Macon County Line (1974)
Mr. Majestyk (1974)
Oscar (1991)
The Rider (2017)
Shogun Assassin (1980)
xXx (2002)
The World Before Your Feet (2018)


The Expendables 3 (2014)
Four Lions (2010)
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Jackson County Jail (1976)
King Cohen (2017)
The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)
Monty Python: Almost the Truth (2009)


Angel 4: Undercover (1994)
Bruce’s Deadly Fingers (1976)
Death Wish 3 (1985)
Lady Battle Cop (1990)
Let My Puppets Come (1976)
Rhinestone (1984)

2020 Totals: 434 films, 260 first time views, 148 horror, 2 cinema

(2019 Totals: 467, 222, 247, 41)
(2018 Totals 346, 211, 173, 41)
(2017 Totals: 251, 179, 111, 52)
(2016 Totals: 272, 183, 131, 31)
(2015 Totals: 352, 190, 224, 41)
(2014 Totals: 399, 203, 251, 48)
(2013 Totals: 306, 240, 185, 69)
(2012 Totals: 607, 520, 362, 166)
(2011 Totals: 640, 419, 355, 59)
(2010 Totals: 364, 253, 242, 45)
(2009 Totals: 472, 276, 289, 38)
(2008 Totals: 384, 278, 226, 39)
(2007 Totals: 409, 284, 260, 40)

SEEING DOUBLE (so nice we watched ’em twice)

Attack of the Super Monsters
The Fabulous Baron Munchausen
Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story
True Romance
Saw V
Saw: The Final Chapter


13 Tzameti / 13
Avenging Angel / Avenging Angelo

The Fly (1958, 1986)
The Ladykillers (1955, 2004)
My Bloody Valentine (1981, 2009)
Once Upon a Time in the West / Once Upon a Time in America / Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Queen of Blood (1966, 2014)
The Witch / La Bruja / Return of the Witch
Parasite / Parasyte


Saw (7 films)
Death Wish (6 films)
Angel (4 films)
The Expendables (4 films)
Captive Wild Woman (3 films)


Avenging Angel, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Saw II, Borat Subsequent Moviefilim, Creed II, Death Wish 2, The Expendables 2, Return of the Seven, Parasyte: Part 2, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, Wolf Creek 2


Anatomy of a Drum Solo
Becoming: Michelle Obama
Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson
Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police
Circus of Books
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out
Film Adventurer Karel Zeman
The Fly Papers: The Buzz on Hollywood’s Scariest Insect
Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway
Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce
Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror
I Am Not Your Negro
I Am Steve McQueen
It Might Get Loud
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
King Cohen
Lugosi: The Forgotten King
Maelstrom: The Odyssey of Waterworld
Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film
The Making of 1941
Monty Python: Almost the Truth
My Octopus Teacher
The Need to Grow
Out of Shadows
Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage
Rush: The Boys in Brazil
Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini
Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed
Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story
Through My Father’s Eyes: The Ronda Rousey Story
Too Macabre: The Making of Elvira, Mistress of the Dar
k The World Before Your Feet
The Wrecking Crew


Eddie Murphy: Delirious
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas
Henry Rollins: Keep Talking, Pal
Randy Writes a Novel
Rush: A Show of Hands
Rush: R30
Rush in Rio
The T.A.M.I. Show


Joel and Ethan Coen (Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Intolerable Cruelty, The Ladykillers, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, True Grit, Inside Llewyn Davis, Hail Caesar!, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)

Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood)

J. Lee Thompson (St. Ives, The White Buffalo, The Evil That Men Do, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Messenger of Death, Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects)

Michael Winner (The Mechanic, Chato’s Land, The Stone Killer, Death Wish, Death Wish II, Death Wish 3)

John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Planes Trains & Automobiles, Uncle Buck)

Walter Hill (Hard Times, Bullet to the Head, 48 Hrs., Wild Bill)

Mario Bava (Hercules in the Haunted World, Blood and Black Lace, A Bay of Blood)
Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV)
Terence Fisher (Brides of Dracula, Curse of the Werewolf, The Phantom of the Opera)
Lucio Fulci (Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, City of the Living Dead, The New York Ripper)
Ron Clements/John Musker (The Princess and the Frog, Moana, The Great Mouse Detective)
John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Chino)

Dario Argento (Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Mother of Tears)
Gela Babluani (13 Tzameti, 13)
Joe Begos (Bliss, VFW)
Terry Bourke (Inn of the Damned, Lady Stay Dead)
Kevin Burns (The Fly Papers, Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed)
John Carpenter (In the Mouth of Madness, Big Trouble in Little China)
Sam Firstenberg (Ninja III: The Domination, American Ninja)
William Friedkin (The Brink’s Job, Cruising)
Kevin Greutert (Saw VI, Saw: The Final Chapter)
Tom Gries (Breakout, Breakheart Pass)
Curtis Harrington (Night Tide, Queen of Blood)
Norman Jewison (F.I.S.T., ...and Justice for All)
Ang Lee (The Ice Storm, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk)
Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time in the West, Once Upon a Time in America)
Alexander Mackendrick (The Man in the White Suit, The Ladykillers)
James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari, Copland)
Sergio Martino (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, All the Colors of the Dark)
Bruno Mattei (Cruel Jaws, Violence in a Women’s Prison)
John McTiernan (Die Hard, Last Action Hero)
Robert Vincent O’Neill (Angel, Avenging Angel)
John Schlesinger (Marathon Man, Ronin)
Tony Scott (True Romance, Man on Fire)
Jack Smight (Harper, Frankenstein: The True Story)
Sylvester Stallone (Paradise Alley, The Expendables)
Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer)
Takashi Yamazaki (Parasyte: Part 1, Parasyte: Part 2)
Terence Young (Cold Sweat, The Valachi Papers)
Karel Zeman (The Fabulous Baron Munchausen, Journey to the Beginning of Time)
Chloe Zhao (Nomadland, The Rider)


Charles Bronson: 41
Pat and Mike, Machine-Gun Kelly, The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Sandpiper, Farewell Friend, Once Upon a Time in the West, Rider on the Rain, Lola (aka London Affair), Violent City (aka The Family), Cold Sweat, Someone Behind the Door, The Mechanic, Chato’s Land, The Valachi Papers, Chino, The Stone Killer, Mr. Majestyk, Death Wish, Breakout, Breakheart Pass, Hard Times, From Noon Till Three, The Raid on Entebbe, St. Ives, Telefon, The White Buffalo, Love and Bullets, Borderline, Death Hunt, Death Wish II, The Evil That Men Do, Death Wish 3, Assassination, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Messenger of Death, Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, The Indian Runner, The Sea Wolf, Death Wish V: The Face of Death

Sylvester Stallone: 21
The Lords of Flatbush, Capone, F.I.S.T., Paradise Alley, Nighthawks, Rhinestone, Over the Top, Oscar, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Cliffhanger, Cop Land, Avenging Angelo, Eye See You, The Expendables, Bullet to the Head, The Expendables 2, Escape Plan, Grudge Match, The Expendables 3, Creed, Creed II

Jill Ireland: 14
Lola (aka London Affair), Violent City (aka The Family), Cold Sweat, Someone Behind the Door, The Mechanic, The Valachi Papers, Chino, Breakout, Breakheart Pass, Hard Times, From Noon Till Three, Love and Bullets, Death Wish II, Assassination 

Jean-Claude Van Damme: 12
Bloodsport, Black Eagle, Kickboxer, Cyborg, Lionheart, Universal Soldier, Hard Target, Last Action Hero, TimeCop, Double Team, JCVD, The Expendables 2

Steve Buscemi: 10
Tales from the Darkside, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Reservoir Dogs, The Hudsucker Proxy, Pulp Fiction, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The King of Staten Island

Frances McDormand: 8
Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Burn After Reading, Hail Caesar!, Nomadland

Robert De Niro: 6
Jackie Brown, Ronin, The Irishman, Joker, Grudge Match, Once Upon a Time in America

Arnold Schwarzenegger: 5
Last Action Hero, The Expendables, The Expendables 2, Escape Plan, The Expendables 3

Al Pacino: 5
...and Justice for All, Cruising, Scarface, The Local Stigmatic, The Irishman

Henry Fonda: 4
The Cheyenne Social Club, The Tin Star, Once Upon a Time in the West, My Darling Clementine

(1951-2020.... except for the fact that I somehow missed 1969)


The Astrologer
Barb Wire
Curse of the Blue Lights
Dolemite is My Name
Experiments in Terror
Fist of Fear, Touch of Death
Ghost Dance
Hamburger Hill
Inside Out
Just Mercy
Kiss of the Vampire
The Love Butcher
Munster Go Home!
The Old Ways
The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak
The Quick and the Dead
The Ref
Smooth Talk
The Vengeance of Lady Morgan
Warlock Moon
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
Zone Troopers


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)



Pulp Fiction

Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA,


January – 46
February – 21
March – 51
April – 37
May – 45
June – 25
July – 32
August – 23
September – 21
October – 43
November – 36
December – 54


1910s – 0
1920s – 0
1930s – 1
1940s – 7
1950s – 15
1960s – 38
1970s – 63
1980s – 75
1990s – 56
2000s – 47
2010s – 132

That’s all, folks! Let’s make it a great year!!!!


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