Category: Trivia

Craig’s 2021 Best Movies, Books, and Posts Lists!

End of the Year lists are fun and so I decided to compile a few of my own. I hope you enjoy them. Below is my Best Of list for 2021…

Movies and Limited Series

In 2021, I watched 372 movies. Most were streamed. The only film I saw in a theater was Rocky vs Drago, Sly Stallone’s Director’s Cut of Rocky IV. Although the total movies watched was less than last year, it was still nearly double of what I saw prior to retiring.  My favorite films and limited series released in 2021 included:

  • Army of the Dead
  • Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali
  • No Sudden Move
  • Rocky IV: Rocky vs Drago Director’s Cut
  • Midnight Mass
  • Who Killed Malcolm X?


In 2021, I read 39 books (5 more than last year). Prior to retiring I usually read about 20 – 24 per year so the increase is a good sign that I’ll some day make it through my book cases of “to be read” books.  My favorites from this year included:

  • The Revelators by Ace Atkins
  • Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
  • Two in the Head by Eric Beetner
  • She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
  • Paradise Sky by Joe Lansdale
  • Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby
  • Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby
  • The Heathens by Ace Atkins
  • The Driver by Hart Hanson
  • My Darkest Prayer by S.A. Cosby

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 2021 and some thoughts for each…

10. Michael Biehn Talks “Tombstone – broke into the top ten. I’m not surprised due to the continuing popularity of Tombstone.

09. Jack Benny in “Casablanca – dropped from the 7th spot to the 9th. I love that Jack Benny is still popular enough to make the top ten for the year since I consider him very under-rated.

08. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose – Two of the most popular movie stars in the world together? Yep and that’s why they came in at #8.

07. Top 10 Most Iconic Horror Movie Villains – dropped from #5 to #7 for the year. Horror movie posts remain popular but maybe a bit less this year than last year.

06. The Girl Who Didn’t “Flinch” Trailer is Here! – This one surprised me more than any other post. A crime film from a director and cast I didn’t know and it not only made the top ten most popular posts of the year but also nearly made the top 5.

05. Rare “Batman” Screen Tests: Lyle Waggoner & Peter Deyell and Adam West & Burt Ward – I love that this one got a lot of love this year.

04. Dracula Through the Ages – was our 4th most popular post last year. Horror movies always get love and Dracula counts (see what I did there) as horror.

03. Louis Meyers: Evidence He was the Zodiac Killer – came in the #2 spot last year. Real life horror trumps fictional this time.

02. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk – was our most popular post last year and clocks in at #2 this year.

01. The TWILIGHT ZONE New Year’s Eve Marathon is Coming and the Full Schedule is Out! – was the most popular post of the year and surprised me almost as much as The Girl Who Didn’t “Flinch” Trailer is Here!

My All-Time Most Popular Posts

There weren’t many changes on the All-Time Most Popular Posts list. One post managed to break through while the others mostly stayed in their same spots. Let’s see how things shook out…

10. Dracula Through the Ages – made it into the top ten!

09. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose – was in the 9th spot last year and remained there this year.

08. Real Clown or Horror Movie Clown? – was in the 7th spot last year and dropped to 8.

07. Joel Osteen in Jacksonville – dropped one spot from 6th to 7th.

06. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! – moved up 2 spots from 8 to 6 this year.

05. Steve Reeves as Superman – was the #5 all-time most popular post last year and continues to be this year.

04. New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered – was the #4 all-time most popular post last year and continues to be this year.

03. Zodiac Killer Code Cracked? – was the #3 all-time most popular post last year and continues to be this year.

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer – was the #2 all-time most popular post last year and continues to be this year.

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.

The 100 Best TV Series of the 21st Century!

Recently came up with the 100 Best TV Series of the 21st Century.  To get their rankings they polled…

206 TV experts – critics, journalists, academics and industry figures – who came from 43 countries, from Albania to Uruguay. Of these voters, 100 were women, 104 were men, and two were non-binary. Each voter listed their 10 favourite TV series of the 21st Century, which we scored and ranked to produce the top 100…

Before you click over, here are my top ten (in alphabetical order) using just their list…

  • 24 (2001-2010)
  • Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
  • Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)
  • Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
  • Deadwood (2004-2006)
  • Fargo (2014-)
  • Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
  • Mindhunter (2017-2019)
  • Office, The (US) (2005-2013)
  • Shield, The (2002-2008)

And I have to ask… how did Justified not make the top 100???  It would have been in my top ten for sure.

Ranking the “Alien” Franchise Films from Best to Worst!

Joshua Meyer at /Film decided he would come up with his list of Every Alien Movie Ranked From Worst To Best.  Using just his list (he considers Aliens vs Predator a “side-series”), here are my rankings and thoughts on each…

1.  Aliens: is my choice for the best of the series.  I won’t argue against Alien being #1 though.  Either of these two films are heads and shoulders above all that followed.

2.  Alien: will be the #1 choice of many and there is a strong case for it to be first.  Without Alien we’d have no Aliens (or all that followed), even if no sequel(s) were ever made, Alien would still be considered a great film.

3. Alien Resurrection: as my third choice will probably surprise a lot of folks.  I’m  a fan.  I like the supporting cast (Winona Ryder, Ron Perlman, Gary Dourdan, Dominique Pinon, Michael Wincott and Dan Hedaya).  There’s a comic book feel to the film (I say that in a good way).  Alien Resurrection is a fun ride (that I’ve taken many times and look forward to again in the future).

4.  Alien3: was a let-down.  While it wasn’t an Alien or Aliens, it did have Sigourney Weaver back and David Fincher as the new director.  I need to rewatch Alien3 to see if it has improved with age.

5. and 6.  Alien: Covenant and Prometheus:  Neither of these films resonated with me.  They didn’t feel like Alien films to me (if that make any sense).  I definitely need to give them another viewing.    


Witness Protection Program – Interesting Facts You May Not Know!

Meredith Danko at Mental Floss came up with an interesting list that she simply calls 23 Facts About the Witness Protection Program.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites with thoughts on each…

WITNESSES MAKE SOME UNUSUAL REQUESTS. (One guy wanted to take his girlfriend with him… and leave his wife behind! Ha!  I’d love to see an article about more of the unusual requests. – Craig)

THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM USED TO PROVIDE PLASTIC SURGERY FOR WITNESSES.  (This was stopped in the 1990s.  Prior to that a mobster going into the program was able to get his wife a facelift and a boob job. One mobster, and I’m not kidding, requested penis surgery to give his self-esteem a boost.  THAT was denied. – Craig)

SOME WITNESSES HAVE BROKEN WITSEC’S RULES.  (Daniel LaPolla broke rules to return to his home city to attend a funeral.  Sadly the next funeral he attended was his own — he was killed by a boobytrap set for him. – Craig)

Marlon Brando’s Greatest Roles!

Molly Turner at /Film came up with her list of The 15 Best Marlon Brando Movies Ranked.  Considering that Brando has nearly 50 performances on his resume, ranking them is a tough job.  Turner’s list is a good one and I am in total agreement with her top two choices.  We differ on the third spot and my fourth and fifth Brando performances didn’t even make her list!  So before you click over, here are my top five and thoughts on each…

1.  The Godfather: is not only Brando’s greatest performance of all-time, but is also the role that put him back on top.

2.  On the Waterfront: isn’t Brando’s flashiest role, but is undeniably one of his best. 

3.  Guys and Dolls:  I’m usually not a big fan of musicals, but I do like Guys and Dolls and much of the credit is due to Brando as Sky Masterson.

4.  One-Eyed Jacks:  is the only film Marlon Brando directed, he also stars in it and it’s a western!

5.  Mutiny on the Bounty:  I prefer Brando over Clark Gable as Fletcher Christian!

“I Love Lucy” Trivia

Blake Hawkins at came up with what he calls I Love Lucy: 7 Shocking Facts About the Classic Sitcom.  While I wouldn’t call them shocking, Hawkins did come up with interesting trivia for one of America’s most beloved and groundbreaking sitcoms.  Before you click over, here are my favorites from Hawkins’ list and some additional thoughts…

I Love Lucy Made Reruns Possible.  (This fact alone should make I Love Lucy famous.  Despite the additional cost using 35mm film allowed the episodes to be replayed making re-runs possible! – Craig)

Fred And Ethel Couldn’t Stand Each Other Offscreen.  (I learned this years ago and was shocked.  You’d never know this from just watching the show.  I guess that’s why they call it acting. – Craig)

William Frawley Skipped Two Episodes For His Yankees.  (This is new to me.  It’s funny sometimes the things actors put into their contracts.  It payed off for Frawley though. – Craig)

Desi-Lu Productions (Lucy and Desi’s company) were responsible for I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, The Untouchables, Mission: Impossible and Star Trek!

My favorite I Love Lucy episode involves Lucy getting stuck on an upper story ledge in the rain dressed as tv’s Superman for Little Ricky’s birthday.  George Reeves guest stars.

The Crazy (and Sad) Lives of Silent Movie Stars!

Adrian Sharp at Listverse came up with 10 Crazy Stories about Silent Film Stars.  It’s a good read that includes video to back up the chosen tales.  Before you click over…

I’m a silent movie fan.  When I watch a silent film, I look up information about the people who created it.  I’ve often been surprised at the lives they lead and how many ended with tragic or even mysterious deaths.  Sharp brings us the stories of ten silent film stars.  Here are my three favorite from his picks and my thoughts on each…

Stunt Pilot Ormer Locklear.  This is the one star I wasn’t aware of.  When you click over check out the video of Locklear’s stunts – wing walking, hanging by a knee, doing flips, climbing above and below the wings of a plane flying hundreds, if not thousands, of feet in the air… and WITHOUT A PARACHUTE.  Fearless or crazy – you decide.  Sadly, Locklear died performing an airplane stunt for a film.

Jean Harlow in “Kill and Be Killed”.  Jean Harlow was discovered by Howard Hughes who cast her in Hell’s Angels, Harlow would go on to work with Chaplin, Gable, Cagney to name just of a few of her leading men.  Fay Wray said that Harlow was the original choice for King Kong.  She was a close friend of gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.  She married MGM executive Paul Bern, who two months into their marriage was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head.  His death was ruled a suicide, but some believe Bern was murdered due to some unusual circumstances and the fact that the police were called AFTER Louis B, Mayer had a chance to get to the crime scene.  Harlow died at the young age of 26 under what some consider mysterious circumstances as well.

Thelma Todd’s Impossible Suicide.  Todd ruled the silver screen making over 100 shorts and feature films, appearing with Buster Keaton, The Marx Brothers and Laurel & Hardy.  Todd was found dead inside her car that was in the garage of her lover’s ex-wife.  There were conflicting reports of injuries to her body, she left no suicide note and had appeared to be in good spirits in the time preceding her death.  Although her death was considered a murder by many, it was ruled a suicide by a grand jury.

Although not on Sharp’s list, the story of Louise Brooks is another sad tale of a silent era star.  Brooks quickly rose from being an uncredited extra to getting contract offers from both MGM and Paramount.  At the start of her career she worked with top directors and stars and by the end she left Hollywood and worked as a high priced call girl.  

“Ocean’s Eleven” Trivia!

Jon O’Brien at Mental Floss came up with 20 Fun Facts About Ocean’s Eleven.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and my thoughts on each…

OCEAN’S ELEVEN NEARLY STARRED THE WILSON BROTHERS. (I don’t think Ocean’s Eleven starring the Wilson brothers would have had the same impact. – Craig)

THERE ARE CAMEOS FROM TWO OF THE ORIGINAL MOVIE’S CAST MEMBERS.  (Henry Silva and Angie Dickinson were in the original and had cameos in the remake.  It’s always a good idea to find cameos for stars from the original film as a sign of respect for the film that came first. – Craig)

EVERY ACTOR TOOK A SIGNIFICANT PAY CUT TO APPEAR IN THE MOVIE.  (Interesting that a Vegas movie involved actors who took “significant” pay cuts and gambled on back-end profits — which paid off! – Craig)

The All-Time Best Movie Fight Scenes!

Andrew Gestalt at Listverse posted his choices for the 10 Best Fight Scenes in Movies.  Choosing the best movie fight scenes is an interesting task. Gestalt’s choices are hard to argue against.  With that said here are my thoughts on some of them…

Rocky vs Apollo (from Rocky):  Gestalt placed Rocky’s first fight against Apollo in the #2 spot.  He choose it for emotional reasons (Rocky loses the fight but achieved his goal) as much as the fight itself being awesome.  There’s no doubt that a fight scene from the Rocky series deserves to be listed as an All-Time Best Movie Fight, but is THAT the fight you would have chosen?

Sly probably would go with Rocky’s battle against Drago.  I’ve always loved Rocky’s return fight against Clubber.  The Rocky / Apollo rematch would be hard to argue against.  

Lee vs Han (from Enter the Dragon):  is another excellent choice, but it is not the Enter the Dragon fight that I would have picked.  I would have gone with Lee’s fight with the guards.  As Han himself said, “The battle with the guards was magnificent.”  Who can argue with that?

John Wick vs Too Many To Name (John Wick 1 -3):  Agreed… but which fight from the Wick franchise is the best?  I love ’em all.

#1 vs Shack (Emperor of the North): Lee Marvin vs Ernest Borgnine.  This fight didn’t make Gestalt’s list but should have.

Indiana Jones vs German Soldier (Raiders of the Lost Ark): Tell me a more memorable fight scene.  I’ll wait.  ; )

The All-Time Best Noir Films Ranked!

Fiona Underhill at /Film came up with her list of The 14 Best Noir Movies Ranked.  Underhill’s choices are excellent examples of the genre.

We both placed Double Indemnity in our top two (#1 for Underhill and #2 for me).  Coming in first for me was The Postman Always Rings Twice (#7 for Underhill).  My third spot went to The Big Sleep which surprisingly Underhill listed at 14th on her list.

One movie that didn’t make Underhill’s list and would have easily made mine was The Big Heat. (And now that I think about it, I would have also found a spot for Body Heat.)

The All-Time Best Action Stars!

Liam Gaughan, at /Film, came up with his list of The 18 Best Action Movie Actors Ranked.  His list is a pretty good one, but I do question his rankings.  Harrison Ford at #1?  Arnold in the 8th spot and Sly in the 10th?  No Dwayne Johnson?  No Vin Diesel?

Well, lists are there to get us thinking and talking.  Liam has his reasons for his choices. Only 1 of my top 3 made his top three.  So before you click over, here are my top three…

  1. Sylvester Stallone
  2. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  3. Tom Cruise

Is your list closer to Gaughan’s, mine or totally different?

Ranking All 9 “Rocky” Movies

Scott Mendleson, at Forbes, posted Every ‘Rocky’ Movie Ranked From Worst To Best.  Before you click over, I decided to revisit my rankings and compare Mendelson’s with mine.  So without further adieu, here we go…



9. Rocky V (1990) 9. Rocky V (1990)
8. Rocky IV: Rocky Vs. Drago (2021) 8. Rocky IV (1985)
7. Rocky IV (1985) 7. Creed II (2018)
6. Rocky III (1982) 6. Rocky II (1978)
5. Creed II (2018) 5. Creed (2015)
4. Rocky II (1978) 4. Rocky IV: Rocky Vs. Drago (2021)
3. Rocky Balboa (2006) 3. Rocky Balboa (2006)
2. Creed (2015) 2. Rocky III (1982)
1. Rocky (1976) 1. Rocky (1976)

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” – Surprising Trivia You May Not Know!

Matthew Jackson, at Mental Floss, presents 20 Surprising Facts About Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites…

JOHNNY DEPP AND CHRISTIAN SLATER WERE ALMOST JONATHAN HARKER.  (Although there are critics of Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, I’m not one.  I could see Johnny Depp in the role but I don’t think Christian Slater would have been right for it. – Craig)

VIRTUALLY EVERY VISUAL EFFECT WAS DONE IN-CAMERA. Coppola wanted Bram Stoker’s Dracula to be full of classical cinema trickery, and not lean so heavily on the modern digital visual effects of the 1990s.  (I think the film is better for this decision. – Craig)

THE FILM SAVED THE COPPOLA FAMILY’S HOME.  (You’d think that the creative force behind The Godfather and The Godfather II would be set for life, but Coppola has always taken creative risks and used his own money. – Craig)

Wes Craven’s “Scream” Trivia You May Not Know!

Rob Hunter at Film School Rejects shared 31 Things We Learned from Wes Craven’s ‘Scream’ Commentary.  Before you click over, here are three of my favorites and thoughts on each…

Sidney types her distress call out to the online 911 system, and she enters 34 Elm Street as her address — but it was cut for time. (That’s too bad it was cut.  Fans would have loved it! – Craig)

Joseph Whipp plays the sheriff here, and he plays a cop in A Nightmare on Elm Street too. “So the backstory there that I put in is that he was so upset by the events in Nightmare on Elm Street that he moved to a small town in Northern California.”  (That’s funny and probably goes unnoticed by 99% of the viewers. – Craig)

Craven is pleased by his addition to the end credits acknowledgements ending a list of thanks with “No thanks whatsoever to The Santa Rosa City School District Governing Board.”  (Read Hunter’s item #10 and you’ll know why! – Craig)

The All-Time Best Neo-Noir Films

Liam Gaughan, at /Film, came up with his list of The 12 Best Neo-Noir Films Ranked.  It is a solid list.  Before you click over, here are my top three in alphabetical order.  All are well written, well cast and well directed.  If I were to pick four films, I’d have included Se7en since it meets the same criteria.  ; )

  • LA Confidential
  • No Country for Old Men
  • The Usual Suspects