Monday, March 31, 2014

All 206 Episodes of How I Met Your Mother (before the finale), Ranked

A bit more than a year ago, perhaps when 30 Rock was wrapping up, I said on Twitter that when How I Met Your Mother ended, I would make 100 top 10 lists about the show. A bit later, I also said I would rank all the episodes. Then I said I'd do the 100 lists, all the episodes, and also the top 100 characters, like I did for 30 Rock.

Today is the final episode of HIMYM, and all I've got for you are the episodes.

Now granted, that's 206 episodes, which is a lot. But this show isn't 30 Rock and ranking characters isn't that easy. And it ended a lot earlier in the year than I expected. So forget the character list, but the 100 top 10 lists are still coming, probably in May or June.

But for now, here's the first 206 episodes of How I Met Your Mother, ranked. Keep in mind, this list is 1. incredibly subjective, and 2. somewhat random. When you get to comparing something in the 120s vs. the 160s, it may just be a more recognizable episode title or a single joke. When you get the 180s, it may just be alphabetical (it is not alphabetical).

1Slap Bet
2Drumroll, Please
3Ducky Tie
4How I Met Everyone Else
5Girls Versus Suits
6Sandcastles in the Sand
7Arrivederci, Fiero
9How Your Mother Met Me
10Game Night
11The Bracket
12World's Greatest Couple
13The Pineapple Incident
14Last Words
15Something New
16Ten Sessions
17Three Days of Snow
18Something Borrowed
20Mosbius Designs
21Lucky Penny
23P.S. I Love You
25Moving Day
26The Wedding Bride
27Slutty Pumpkin
29I Heart NJ
30Little Minnesota
31Robots Versus Wrestlers
32No Pressure
33Coming Back
37The Playbook
38Trilogy Time
39Sweet Taste of Liberty
40The Naked Man
41Perfect Week
42Spoiler Alert
43Bachelor Party
45Bad News
46Zip, Zip, Zip
48Shelter Island
49The Stinsons
50The Magician's Code, Part 2
51The Best Burger in New York
52Something Blue
53Come On
54Gary Blauman
56Natural History
57Purple Giraffe
59The Window
61Monday Night Football
62The Chain of Screaming
63The Naked Truth
64Robin 101
65Subway Wars
66Ted Mosby: Architect
70Right Place, Right Time
71Symphony of Illumination
72Third Wheel
73Old King Clancy
75The Platinum Rule
76Atlantic City
78False Positive
79Home Wreckers
80Where Were We?
81Oh Honey
82The Limo
83The Final Page, Part 2
84Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M.
85The Leap
86Say Cheese
87Life Among the Gorillas
88Double Date
90The Time Travelers
91Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap
92Okay Awesome
93Cleaning House
94The Bro Mitzvah
95First Time in New York
96Best Prom Ever
97Big Days
98The Rehearsal Dinner
99Mary the Paralegal
100Duel Citizenship
101The Yips
103Return of the Shirt
104The Scorpion and the Toad
106The Slutty Pumpkin Returns
108No Tomorrow
109I'm Not That Guy
110Bedtime Stories
111The Magician's Code, Part 1
113We're Not From Here
114Of Course
115Band or DJ?
116The Possimpible
117Aldrin Justice
119The Wedding
120The Locket
121The Front Porch
122The Duel
123No Questions Asked
124Tick Tick Tick…
125Challenge Accepted
127Wait for It
128Little Boys
129Single Stamina
131Do I Know You?
132The Three Days Rule
133The Final Page, Part 1
134The Poker Game
135The Lighthouse
136The Goat
138Belly Full of Turkey
139Bad Crazy
140The Rough Patch
141Everything Must Go
142Last Cigarette Ever
144The Perfect Cocktail
145The End of the Aisle
146Rebound Bro
148The Rebound Girl
149How Lily Stole Christmas
150Something Old
153A Change of Heart
154Disaster Averted
155Now We're Even
157The Autumn of Break-Ups
158Happily Ever After
159The Best Man
162Twin Beds
164Last Time in New York
165The Drunk Train
166Architect of Destruction
167Sorry, Bro
168Mystery vs. History
169The Fight
170Desperation Day
172The Broken Code
173Good Crazy
174Garbage Island
175The Stamp Tramp
176Ring Up!
177Mom and Dad
178The Sexless Innkeeper
179As Fast as She Can
180Field Trip
181Romeward Bound
182The Pre-Nup
183The Stinson Missile Crisis
184Baby Talk
185Knight Vision
187Twelve Horny Women
18846 Minutes
189The Broath
190The Over-Correction
191The Ashtray
192The Fortress
194The Exploding Meatball Sub
196Weekend at Barney's
197Rabbit or Duck
198Who Wants to Be a Godparent?
199Bass Player Wanted
200Lobster Crawl
201Not a Father's Day
202The Burning Beekeeper
203The Mermaid Theory
204Canning Randy
205Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra
206Zoo or False

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 Oscars Picks

For the third straight year, I watched all of the 9 best picture nominees, as well as a couple other nominees (this year only cinematography/sound mixing nom Inside Llewyn Davis and original score nom Saving Mr. Banks). Still, that means I saw all but three of the nominees for the big 8 awards (August Osage County with nominees Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, Blue Jasmine with an original screenplay nomination to go with Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins, and adapted screenplay nominee Before Midnight). So to start with, here are my personal choices on the big eight awards, with those I did not see unranked.

Philomena (and from what I've heard, Before Midnight) are the more talk-y script-heavy movies, but 12 Years a Slave is the best written of the four I saw, fairly easily.

Her is the most original screenplay, and while that is not exactly what the award is for, it's clever and fun and I would like to see it get honored.

Hill and especially Cooper are not in the same class as the top three, and Leto is a bit overrated. Abdi is a revelation in his first film, but Fassbender is also excellent in 12 Years.

This is not really close. To me, Nyong'o is the emotional force in 12 Years, far beyond what Ejiofor does. Squibb is fun, but Margot Robbie does a better job in Wolf of Wall Street doing what Lawrence does in American Hustle.

Christian Bale being here is a joke. Bruce Dern should be in the supporting actor category; he was very good but Will Forte was the leading actor in Nebraska (and excellent in it). Ejiofor is solid, but it feels like there are many actors who could have been just as strong in that role. These are the defining roles of both McConaughey's and DiCaprio's career, and I just preferred McConaughey's performance.

The fact that the single biggest non-Blanchett reason that Sandra Bullock will not win an Oscar for Gravity is that she won for The Blind Side is incredibly silly. The performance Bullock gives, mostly alone, through Gravity is outstanding.

I do not know if it was a directorial or editorial problem, but both Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle seemed to drag on forever for me. Payne does a good job with Nebraska, but it does not hold a candle to the top two. As well made as 12 Years a Slave is, McQueen is stuck in the wrong year. Gravity is such an incredible directorial achievement that Cuaron is a lock here even for many who have 12 Years as the best picture.

I, however, do not have 12 Years as my best picture. I did not hate any of these movies, but I truly enjoyed the top seven here. Hustle is fun but meaningless, and Wolf of Wall Street could have been an hour shorter and still too long. Dallas Buyers Club has a tremendous performance but sort of a generic-Oscar bait story, and generic-Oscar bait is certainly a phrase that can be used for the sweet, and surprisingly funny Philomena. Movies 2 through 5 could be mixed in almost any order for me, but Captain Phillips stuck with me the most, while Her and Nebraska seemed like far more unique films than 12 Years. Gravity, however, is in a class of its own, a stunning technical, directorial, and acting experience. It was my clear number one.

That's who I like, but here is who I think will win in each category. Most of these I have no expertise, and I am following some combination of my preference, expert picks, and what seems the most Oscars-y. My best picture pick is so close, I flipped it several times before writing this, and I could switch several more times between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity before the ceremony tonight.