Category: Trivia

John Wayne’s Best Films!

Jack Hawkins at /Film ranked his favorite John Wayne films.  It got me thinking about how I’d rate the Duke’s best.  So without further jibber-jabber, here’s how thinks shook out.



10. The Cowboys 10. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
9. Stagecoach 9. The Shootist
8. Fort Apache 8. Red River
7. The Longest Day 7. 3 Godfathers
6. El Dorado 6. Rio Bravo
5. Baby Face 5. Hondo
4. Hatari! 4. True Grit
3. True Grit 3. The Cowboys
2. The Shootist 2. Stagecoach
1. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1. The Searchers

Challenger Shuttle Disaster Facts That You May Not Know

On this day in 1986, at 11:38am EST, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. On board were F. Richard Scobee (Mission Commander), Michael J. Smith (Pilot), Mission Specialists Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Payload Specialist Gregory Jarvis and Payload Specialist/Teacher Christa McAuliffe. Seventy-three seconds into the flight, the shuttle broke apart in a cloud of fire. There were no survivors.

I was a middle school science teacher in Holly Hill, Florida on that day.  I’d just walked my students to lunch.  Since the shuttle was going up, I walked outside. We could see shuttle launches once they reached altitude.  It was cold so there were only a few of us watching.  We saw the shuttle vapor trail and it looked like a normal launch until it didn’t.  We all commented that this launch was different.  We’d never seen a vapor trail split like that before.

I went to the teacher’s lunch room.  As I was sitting down we received word that the shuttle had exploded.  We ate in silence.  I picked up my students and we went back to class.  Students had so many questions.  At that point we had no answers.  One of my students, a class clown, said he wished there had been more teachers on board.  The class shut him down quicker than I could.

Today posted 5 Things You May Not Know About the Challenger Shuttle Disaster.  Before you click over for the full story, here are my thoughts on each.

1. The Challenger didn’t actually explode. (Although news media and even NASA at first referred to the disaster as the result of an explosion, it wasn’t.  There was a leak from the fuel tank and a fireball but not an explosion.  Many still think the Challenger exploded. – Craig)

2. The astronauts aboard the shuttle didn’t die instantly. (This was the topic of much speculation.  It’s rumored there are tapes which have never been released of the astronauts aware there was a major problem.  I hope that they lost consciousness and the end came quickly for them. – Craig)

3. Relatively few people actually saw the Challenger disaster unfold on live television. (Living in Florida, shuttle launches have always generated a lot of interest.  Since we’re close enough to see launches once they reach altitude most folks will go outside to watch.  On that January day, because it was so cold, there were only 3 or 4 of us watching. – Craig)

4. In the aftermath of the tragedy, some suggested that the White House pushed NASA to launch the shuttle in time for President Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union address, scheduled for later on January 28. (There was pressure, but it wasn’t from the White House.  Ronald Reagan was applauded for his words about the astronauts. – Craig)

5. More than a decade after the Challenger disaster, two large pieces from the spacecraft washed ashore at a local beach. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 10 Best Movie Characters!

Simon Bland at /Film took a look at his choices for The 10 Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Roles That Aren’t The Terminator.  I thought I’d play along, so before you click over, here are how are choices play out (in no particular order)…



Dutch – Predator Dutch – Predator
John Matrix – Commando John Matrix – Commando
Jack Slater – Last Action Hero Mark Kaminski – Raw Deal
Julius – Twins Ivan Danko – Red Heat
Dt. John Kimble – Kindergarten Eraser – Eraser
Mr. Freeze – Batman & Robin Rottmayer – Escape Plan
Quaid – Total Recall Quaid – Total Recall
Trench – The Expendables Series Trench – The Expendables Series
Harry Tasker – True Lies John ‘Breacher’ Wharton – Sabotage
Conan – Conan The Barbarian Conan – Conan The Barbarian

Kevin Costner’s Ten Best Movies!

Hunter Cates at /Film posted The 14 Best Kevin Costner Movies, Ranked.  That got me thinking about what I would choose as Kevin Costner’s best films.  Here are how Cates and my rankings turned out.



10. Thirteen Days 10. 3,000 Miles to Graceland
09. The Upside of Anger 09. No Way Out
08. A Perfect World 08. Silverado
07. Hidden Figures 07. The Bodyguard
06. No Way Out 06. Waterworld
05. The Untouchables 05. JFK
04. JFK 04. Dances with Wolves
03. Dances With Wolves 03. Revenge
02. Field of Dreams 02. Open Range
01. Bull Durham 01. The Untouchables

Craig’s “The Best of 2022”

As we start 2023, let’s pause for a look at the BEST OF 2022. I hope you you see something that you enjoyed or gets you interested to check it out. Here we go…

Movies and Limited Series

In 2022, I watched 409 movies and limited series. That number is up 37 from last year. None were seen in a theater! My favorite films and limited series released in 2022 included (in alpha order):

  • The Batman
  • Better Call Saul: Final Season
  • The English
  • God Forbid
  • Interceptor
  • Interview with a Vampire: Season 1
  • Ozark: Final Season
  • The Patient
  • Primal: Season 2
  • Reacher: Season 1
  • RRR
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
  • Top Gun: Maverick
  • Werewolf By Night

Tulsa King would have made the list, but since the season hasn’t finished yet, I haven’t added it. It will definitely make next year’s Best Of list.


In 2022, I read 37 books (2 less than last year). My favorites from this year included (in the order I read them):

  • Love & Bullets Megabomb Edition by Nick Kolakowski

  • Boise Longpig Hunting Club by Nick Kolakowski

  • The Devil’s Own Piss… by Whiskey Leavins

  • 61 Hours by Lee Child

  • Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

  • At Their Own Game by Frank Zafiro

  • IQ by Joe Ide

  • Murder in Grease Paint by Whiskey Leavins

  • And Sometimes I Wonder About You by Walter Mosley

  • Righteous by Joe Ide

  • Trouble is What I Do by Walter Mosley

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino

  • Later by Stephen King

  • Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley

I’m surprised I didn’t read anything by Joe Lansdale this year. How did that even happen??

My Most Popular Posts of the Year

I continue to find some surprises in what became my most popular posts each year. Here are the top ten for 2022 and some thoughts for each…

10. Top 10 Most Iconic Horror Movie VillainsDropped from #7 last year. Second year in a row to drop.

09. Batman & Manbat by Marshall Rogers & John Beatty! New to the list!

08. The Different Covers for David Morrell’s First Blood. New to the list!

07. “Clean” starring Adrian Brody – The Poster and Trailer are Here! New to the list!

06. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose – was in the 8th spot last year.

05. Evidence Points to NEW Suspect as the Zodiac Killer. New to the list!

04. Louis Meyers: Evidence He was the Zodiac Killer – came in the #3 spot last year and #2 the year before.

03. Dracula Through the Ages – was in our 4th spot last year. Flipped places with Louis Meyers.

02. The TWILIGHT ZONE New Year’s Eve Marathon is Coming and the Full Schedule is Out!was the most popular post last year but was beat out this year by Schwarzenegger and Williams.

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalkregains the #1 spot for the year.

My All-Time Most Popular Posts

The top 4 didn’t change and only one new post broke in to the All-Time most popular posts. Let’s see how things shook out…

10. Joel Osteen in Jacksonville – dropped one spot from 7th to 10th. Two years in a row of drops. May not make the list next year.

09. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose – was in the 9th spot for the last two years.

08. The TWILIGHT ZONE New Year’s Eve Marathon is Coming and the Full Schedule is Out! New to the list!  I love the love that the TZ is getting!

07. Steve Reeves as Superman – was the #5 all-time most popular post last year.

06. Dracula Through the Ages up from the 10th spot. Vampires are in.

05. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! – from 6th to 5th. Two years in a row of moving up!

04. New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered – No change!

03. Zodiac Killer Code Cracked? – No change!

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer – No change!

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk” – was #1 last year and continues to be our most popular post of all-time.

It’s always interesting to see which topics resonate with fans and continue to be popular long after their initial post.

Variety: The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time!

Variety recently sought input from over 30 of their critics, writers and editors to come up with a list of The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. The list isn’t thought to be definitive, but more to stir up discussion. So in that spirit, here are my thoughts on the list…

I’ve seen 59 of the 100 movies listed. Here’s the breakdown:

01 – 10: 10

11 – 20: 05

21 – 30: 08

31 – 40: 09

41 – 50: 06

51 – 60: 05

61 – 70: 03

71 – 80: 02

81 – 90: 06

91 – 100: 05

Using just Variety’s Top Ten, here’s a comparison to how I’d rank them.



10. Saving Private Ryan (1998) 10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
09. All About Eve (1950) 09. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
08. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) 08. All About Eve (1950)
07. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 07. Seven Samurai (1954)
06. Seven Samurai (1954) 06. Citizen Kane (1941)
05. Pulp Fiction (1994) 05. Psycho (1960)
04. Citizen Kane (1941) 04. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
03. The Godfather (1972) 03. Pulp Fiction (1994)
02. The Wizard of Oz (1939) 02. The Godfather (1972)
01. Psycho (1960) 01. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie (2022) / Z-View

The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie (2022)

Director: Mark Moormann

Starring: Don McLean, Peter Gallagher, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Jiles Perry “J.P.” Richardson Jr. aka The Big Bopper, Garth Brooks, Brian Wilson  and Tyson Fury

Tagline:  None.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

In December 1971, Don McLean’s American Pie single was released.  It went to #1 and held that position for four weeks.  At the time it was the longest song (8 minutes and 42 seconds) to enter the Billboard charts.  At the time a single of that length was unheard of.  American Pie was a worldwide hit topping the charts in the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.  Fifty years later and people of all ages know the words to the song, but speculation runs rampant about their meaning.

Don McLean wrote the song as a musical poem open to interpretation.  While McLean admitted that “the day the music died” referred to the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, speculation was that the song also referenced the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, political protests and more.  McLean would never confirm or deny the meaning of his lyrics.  He was quoted as saying, “You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me … Sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on.”

The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie looks at the genesis of the song, it’s impact on the world and Don McLean shares the meaning of the lyrics.  I was in 7th grade when American Pie was released.  Everyone, including adults, were talking about the song and it’s meaning.

I enjoyed this documentary.  It was cool to see the struggle McLean had in getting the lyrics just right.  Then to learn (and see) that the producer and musicians knew that they had something special, but the recording session wasn’t working until.. (I won’t give it away),  While I’m glad that Don McLean has confirmed the things that inspired his lyrics, I’m taking the perspective that like all poetry, once it’s released, it is up to each individual to determine what the poem means to him/her.

The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie earns 4 of 5 stars.

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) / Z-View

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)

Director:   Alan Rafkin

Screenplay by:  James Fritzell, Everett Greenbaum and Andy Griffith (uncredited)

Starring:  Don Knotts, Joan Staley, Liam Redmond, Dick Sargent,  Skip Homeier, Reta Shaw and Charles Lane


The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Luther Heggs (Knotts) is a typesetter for the local newspaper.  He dreams of being a reporter.  Luther also dreams of having Alma Parker (Staley) as his girl.  Unfortunately Luther becomes an easy target for jokes when his reports of a murder turn out to be just a drunk knocked unconscious by his wife.  Ollie Weaver (Homeier) a reporter for the newspaper is especially cruel to Luther and to make matters worse, Ollie is dating Alma!

Luther gets a chance at redemption when his boss assigns him a story — Luther will spend the night in a haunted house where a brutal murder occurred years ago.  Despite his fears, Luther spends the night.  Strange things happen that could lead to solving the murder mystery… if anyone will believe Luther!

Don Knotts starring in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a natural.  Knotts was built to play Luther.  Luther’s dream girl, Alma was played by Joan Staley and she was also built — she was a Playboy playmate of the month!  Fans of The Andy Griffith Show will recognize the similarities between The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and an episode of the tv show.  It was Andy Griffith who suggested that the episode would make a great feature film starring Knotts if the idea was expanded for a new character.  Knotts recruited James Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, writers on The Andy Griffith Show to come up with a screenplay.  Knotts also suggested Alan Rafkin (who directed several episodes of the tv show) to helm the feature.  There are also cast members in the movie who appeared on the tv series.

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken rates 4 of 5 stars (and higher if you’re a kid).

“The Munsters” TV Show Trivia!

Sara Snow at posted 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Munsters.  Before you click over, here are my top three and comments on each…

The Addams Family Coincidence:  …As a coincidence, The Munsters and The Addams Family premiered on their respective networks on the same day.  While this does appear as if CBS was completing ABC, the networks were unaware they were both producing spooky-themed family sitcoms. (I find it hard to buy that either network wasn’t aware of what the other was producing. – Craig)

Mel Blanc Was The Voice Of The Raven: The man behind the raven was famed voice actor and radio personality Mel Blanc, “The Man of 1,000 Voices.” (Who doesn’t love Mel Blanc? – Craig)

Why The Munsters Was Shot In Black & White:  the main one was cost; it was cheaper to film a show in black and white than in color… execs were concerned kids would find the show too scary if the spooky characters were in color… <Black and White> worked in the show’s favor since it felt like the classic black and white Universal monster movies… (I liked it for exactly the last reason.  It reminded me of the classic horror movies. – Craig)

FAN2FAN Podcast: Craig Zablo Talking Stallone Interview Part 1

The Fan To Fan (F2F) podcast with hosts Bernie Gonzalez, Peter Charbonneau and Doug Ziegler takes a simple idea and does it well.  Each episode of F2F features a conversation between fans.  The subject could be movies, comics, TV, video games, toys, cartoons, or anything pop culture! Bernie, Peter and Doug pick a fan with a love and/or knowledge of the episode’s topic and then do a deep dive.

Recently, the F2F team spoke with me about Sly Stallone.  When I was approached to be a guest, I explained that there are Stallone fans with greater knowledge and bigger collections than mine.  Still, they were interested in how I became a Stallone fan, the creation of StalloneZone and more.  I was already a fan of  Bernie’s Midnight Mystery, so I checked out F2F and became a fan of it as well.

Talking to Bernie, Pete and Doug was a blast.  It was truly fans hanging out.  Here’s part one of the conversation.  I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did.

Movie Snacks – National Survey Results!

Fandango, the nation’s largest ticketing service surveyed 2,500 film goers across the U.S. about movie concession snacks.  Above we see a summary of the results.

  • 83% said that movie theater popcorn tastes better than popcorn made at home.  (100% agree.)
  • 53% says nachos are the best hot snack, but 77% avoid messy snacks when on a date.  (I agree with the 53% and pity the 77%  – of course I’m married, so she expects me to be messy).
  • 47% buy concessions even if they are late to a movie.  (If I’m late, I don’t go.  There will be other showings.  And to that 47% – shame on you for disrupting the movie for others!)
  • 48% like to mix candy in their popcorn.  (Genius! I’ve eaten popcorn and candy at the same time, but never mixed the candy into the popcorn!  Genius, I say again!)

Survey: Top Five Candies Mixed into Popcorn

Zablo’s Choices

1. M&Ms / Peanut M&Ms

1. M&Ms / Peanut M&Ms

2. Reese’s Pieces

2. Reese’s Pieces

3. Rasinets

3. Goobers

4. Goobers

4. Rasinets

5. Milk Duds

5. I do not want Milk Duds in my popcorn!

Source:  /Film.

“A Fistful of Dollars” Trivia!

Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects came up with 21 Things We Learned from the Fistful of Dollars Commentary.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

Eastwood was paid $15,000 for the film with a six-week Spanish “holiday” included. Other actors originally considered for the role, including Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Henry Fonda, and others, all asked for too much money. (I always find it interesting to see who was offered a role compared to who ended up playing it.  Of the three listed, Charles Bronson is my hands-down favorite.  Eastwood is iconic as the Man with No Name, but it would have been interesting to see what Charles Bronson could have done with that role. – Craig)

The opening title credits were designed by Luigi Lardani and based in part on the popular James Bond title credits of the time. (If you watch the opening credits, the 007 title credits influence is clear.  It was a smart idea to use modern title credits for a movie set in the old west.  – Craig)

You know this already, but the film is very directly based on Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961). Kurosawa had already acknowledged that his samurai films were in some ways a reworking of traditional Hollywood westerns, but A Fistful of Dollars is a very, very clear remake of Yojimbo — “the trouble was that nobody had cleared the rights.” Kurosawa eventually wrote to Leone after seeing the western and said “I like your film very much, it’s a very interesting film, unfortunately it’s my film not your film.” They settled out of court with the Japanese director going on to earn more from this film than from any of his own releases. (Wow!  I knew that A Fistful of Dollars was a reworking of Yojimbo, but had no idea that Kurosawa’s settlement made him more money than any of his own films!  I also love his quote: “I like your film very much… unfortunately it’s my film not your film.” – Craig)