The Ten Most Popular Guides of Pajiba’s Five-Year History
The year 2006 was a huge turning point for the site. In May of that year, we debuted our very first Pajiba's Guide to What's Good for You, which -- for the first time -- allowed us to explore movies, books, television, and even music in far more depth than we had previously. This came before the underappreciated gems, the Pajiba Blockbusters, and Hangover Theater, so it was also our first opportunity to look back on films from before the site was conceived in 2004. The Guides were also great because they brought in a lot more eyes to the site, many of whom would stop by and wind up sticking around for years to come. It also created a lot more opportunities for our readers to bitch at us.
Today, because it's our 5th Anniversary week, I'm taking the opportunity to reintroduce the ten most popular Guides since we started running them. (There are a couple of Guides that would've otherwise made the list, but they'll be along later this week in a different form.) If you haven't read any of these, they're a pretty great way to get to know the site, as well as our cultural tastes. In many cases, we also offer a few solid recommendations of books, television, comics, movies, and even Booze.
Action flicks are not necessarily the genre for which we are known here at Pajiba, but we are not immune to a quality film that prioritizes the three Bs (blood, bullets, and disemBowelment) over everything else. The list was compiled as such: Each of us ranked our top 20 action films of all time, and the top 15 vote-getters comprised our list, with only one caveat: no comic-book films (saved for a future Guide, perhaps). So, without further ado (and with apologies to our ovarian sistren), here are the Top 15 Nut Twisters of all time.
With this Guide, I've tried to bring attention to 10 science-fiction films that largely flew under the radar -- underrated or unknown gems that make use of the imaginative bombast of sci-fi through big ideas or unlikely images. They may not all be as visually stimulating as the well-known classics, e.g. Blade Runner or Close Encounters, but they're just as challenging, and maybe even more rewarding for their ability to connect with the imagination using thought as much as sight.
The 20 Best Seasons of the Last 20 Years, laid out in all its splendor. We don't mean to brag, but agree or disagree with the substance of the list, I don't know any other website or periodical that's taken on an endeavor of this size: Extensive, detailed write-ups covering on the some of the smartest, most complex, and most irreverent television shows that have aired over the last 20 years.
I used to think the Oscars were about pure quality. Of course, I also used to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the notion that love could keep two people together; I've come a long way in realizing the error of my ways. I used to watch the Oscars with a sense of excitement and anticipation, hoping that the films I loved would be honored and also secure in the knowledge that whatever judgment was passed down would be sound, and true. But, like I said, I've gotten older and wiser since then, and the years of seeing good films passed over for bad ones -- the brave ones spurned in favor of the safe ones -- have finally gotten to me.This list is to decry those choices, and to try to set right the Academy's missteps by speaking truth to power and being honest about the films that should have been gifted with the Best Picture statuette but were sadly overlooked.
I've been thinking a lot about kid-friendly films of late. In a couple of months, Mrs. Pajiba-hyphenate is due to have Pajiba, Jr., and I'm starting to feel that tingly fatherness well up inside of me whenever I think about what sort of movies I want to inflict on my son.To that end, I've formed a Top 10 list of films I plan to show my son when he's old enough to appreciate them. The criteria for the Top 10 is pretty simple: Aside from limiting the scope to films made in the last generation (20 years) and movies that an 11-year-old could understand (and hopefully value)*, everything else is subjective. In other words, they're my favorites.
There are a number of organizations that have ranked the Top 100 Movie Quotes of All Time, most notably AFI. But whenever you check these Great Quote Lists, they inevitably tend to include the same iconic quotes from Rocky or Casablanca or Titanic, etc. Most of them have been so overused and parodied in pop culture they've become quote clichés. They are the quotes your great uncle reels off at family outings in order to sound contemporary. He's not. And most of those quotes have had their day and should be retired. So, the other day, our readers amassed an incredible list of great movie quotes rarely, if ever, included on lists that count down the 100 Best Quotes of All Time. These aren't those quotes -- they're the ones you throw back and forth at each other over drinks. The ones you work into conversations. The ones that have become part of the running jokes in your lives.
As promised, Pajiba presents The Generation's Best Books as defined by our readers. I'm sure many will find egregious omissions and outrageous additions, but overall, I think you did a damn fine job -- this top 15 list encompasses the high-brow, the sci-fi, the romance, the best sellers, and the cult favorites -- much to our dismay, there are even two Oprah selections on the list (we can't help it that she picks a decent novel on occasion). And certainly arguments could be made for the inclusion of many other books, but it's hard to argue with the choices below.
The criteria are straightforward. The film need not be about alcohol, but alcohol must be a central or recurring element. The film must not preach about the sins of boozing -- indeed, the successful candidate, while self-deprecating on the subject, will frown upon hectoring. Most important, the film must make me itchy for a snootful of sassy sauce, and not only because I want that happy-happy sliding down my throat, but also because the film kindles the essence and feeling of my best boozy moments. In sum, the film must have a strong theme or backdrop that evokes the joys and rewards of boozing while withholding the lecture.
The 1980s and early '90s were the heyday of classically cheesy soundtracks, back when producers crafted horrible light adult-pop songs to drive the film and boost sales of the soundtrack album. Dozens and dozens of soundtrack albums still come out each year, but many are simply forgettable compilations of pre-existing hits that were used in the film. Some modern soundtracks do rise above their typically niche appeal and experience broader sales but for the most part soundtrack albums don't have nearly the impact they had even a few years ago, when terrible songs and sometimes terrible movies went hand in hand, resulting in some gloriously awful music. That's what this list is devoted to: the cheesy singles, almost always created specifically for the film, that get stuck in your head and make you regret ever seeing the movie in the first place. There's no real room on the list for quality, so keep your bellyachin' to yourself.
I suspect that the Pajiba readership similarly falls all over the place, and it's with that in mind that I present this Guide. In particular, I'm catering this discussion to those folks who generally wouldn't touch a comic book for fear that it would shrink their sexuality and re-virginate them. My goal here is to discuss some comics/graphic novels that I think most Pajiba readers would enjoy, if only they gave themselves the opportunity. So this is not intended to be any "best of" list, although many of these frequently appear on such lists. If you generally trust my opinion and judgments (and how can you not, seeing as how I'm always right?!), go pick one of these up, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.