Sunday, January 31, 2010

Top Films of the Decade

This was one of the harder lists I've ever had to make.  Besides the late 90's, this constituted the majority of my 'mature' film-watching.  And I consumed a LOT of movies.

I am not the type of person who derides studio movies.  In fact, for the most part, I like studio movies.  But I found it really interesting how there were a lot of foreign films in my list.  My top three films of the decade are actually imports and Ping Pong came in at #9.

There are so many that could slip in and out of the top ten, or jump ten spots up or down, depending on what mood I'm in. Films like Cache, Old Boy and Zodiac still sit with me, and I think over time I might look back and slide them into the top ten or closer to it.  Bourne Supremacy, in my opinion, blew away the first one in every aspect and reinvigorated serious action movies, and might be my favorite action movie of the 2000's and yet I still put it behind Gladiator... a film I feel is slightly flawed... mostly because I have sat and watched Gladiator a hundred times and every time it is on I find myself watching it.  In compiling this list, I went through my top tens of each year... and was amazed how some films either didn't hold up or were much better over time.  I had Gran Turino as my top film of 2008 and it didn't even crack this list of my top forty films of the 2000's.

I did not write a little bit about each one, as I save this for my year end lists.  If you want to know why I liked one of these, or had one higher than another... I'm more than willing to share.

1.            Infernal Affairs
2.            City of God
3.            Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
4.            Friday Night Lights
5.            Anchorman
6.            There Will Be Blood
7.            Zoolander
8.            Memento
9.            Ping Pong
10.          Requiem for a Dream

11.            Avatar (3D)
12.            Gladiator
13.            Ocean’s Eleven
14.            Bourne Supremacy
15.            Casino Royale
16.            Across the Universe
17.            Million Dollar Baby
18.            8 Mile
19.            The New World
20.            Battle Royale

21.            Black Hawk Down 
22.            Old School
23.            Batman Begins
24.            Old Boy
25.            X2: X-Men United
26.            Incredible Hulk
27.            Wedding Crashers
28.            Kill Bill (combined volumes)
29.            Cache
30.            Lord of the Rings (combined)

31.            Tell No One
32.            Napolean Dynamite
33.            Zodiac
34.            District 13
35.            Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (3D)
36.            Once
37.            Pan's Labyrinth
38.            Evil
39.            Borat
40.            Battle for Terra - you didn't think I'd leave this off,
                 did you?

Special Mention:

The Room – the single worst movie, but greatest movie going experience of my life. Hands down.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Movie Review: Antibodies

This is a German film from 2005, so I'm a little late to the party. I usually don't post reviews of films even over a year old, but this film got my attention.

It starts off with such a tense in-your-face bang, it was hard for it not to keep my attention throughout. It is a gripping journey into the mind of a serial killer and the obsession of those looking for answers to why he did what he did. Andre Hennicke puts in what is definitely the creepiest performances since Anthony Hopkins. He even has a line, 'What'd you expect, Hannibal Lecter?' And then he sniffs the air like Lecter. It was well-timed, well-delivered and a nod to what is probably the most classic serial killer movie of all-time. The rest of the cast was extremely strong and the photography was excellent, setting a pitch perfect tone. It was one of those foreign films that I will probably never forget. Was it perfect? No. But it kept you guessing throughout with the way the story unfolds. And it reminded me of something I would aspire to in a film like this.

Alas, it is already set-up with another producer/studio so I'm sure you'll see the watered down Hollywood version soon enough. With someone doing their best Hopkins impersonation, rather than putting a fresh spin on it like Hennicke.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Movie Review: Big Fan

I had gone into this little indie hearing good things, but it still didn't gain much of a foothold.  Written and directed by the writer of The Wrestler, a Long Island native... made it more of a must-see for me. 

Not the highest production value, but that was to be expected with an indie of this nature.  In fact, it made it all the more enjoyable.  Like we were living in this world.  The world of a football obsessed fan from Staten Island.  Someone who calls into a radio show almost every night with monologues he spends all day writing.  Someone who lives with his over-bearing mother.  Someone who cares more about the Giants than he does about women or a 'normal' life.  And this someone is oddly fascinating.  Mesmerizing even.  We come to know this guy and it makes his choices that much easier to reconcile.  Choices that a 'normal' person would blanche at.

It culminates in what was one of the better endings I have seen in a long time.  At first you have this cringe-worthy - this just jumped the shark and went into crappy movie territory - moment.  Then, Siegal does an about face and really surprises you. 

If you can track it down, I definitely recommend it.  It moves at a brisk pace and is short enough that you won't mind be tormented by the deranged fandom of what would, on the outside, appear to be a loser.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writing a Novel

Some of you may know that I am turning two of my scripts, Harbor Moon and R.E.M., into graphic novels. I plan on turning another 3 scripts that are written into graphic novels as well - but that takes money.  I'm actively attempting to raise that capital, but cannot do anything until I have it.

So I have decided to take another whack at a novel. I actually wrote one two years ago, based on my script for Monsters of the Midway (which is now called Bulderlyns).  I wrote it after the first draft of the script, and have since done a massive rewrite.  However, the thought of sitting down and rewriting the book is not very appealing.  Especially since I consider it a slamdunk as a graphic novel. 

What to write then? 

I had been kicking around the idea of turning my very first script (way back when I thought teen drinking was profound).  It would be a male version of The Late Great Me, a book I read in high school that left an impression. Something loosely based on my own experiences. A coming-of-age if you will. But it seemed trite and I have grown way too much as a human being since then.

Then I realized something I should have a long time ago - The Beast would make a good book. It's a football script, but has more in common with Lord of the Flies than anything. It's dark, almost horrorific... and based on actual events. It would never translate to the comic form... so why not a novel?  And I've already figured out how I will do it.  It'll be a first person narrative, but from the perspective of multiple characters. 

Now I just need to buckle down and do it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rumblings from the lab

Podcasts.  I've never been sure of them... until I started subscribing to some (such as KCRW's The Business).

I have wanted to do a weekly entertainment show for a while now.  A local access type of thing, in the hope that the TV gods found me - goodlooking, charming, clever and insightful  - and put me in front of millions.  Clearly where I belong.

It would be a half hour 3-camera show, ticking off 24 topics in the film/tv world and my commentary on each.  One minute per topic.  Topics such as script sales, writer hires, casting moves, release dates, upcoming box office and executive moves.  (24 because there are 24 frames per second.  See - clever.)

And then when I was listening to a few podcasts this weekend, it dawned on me.  Why not just do my show as a podcast?  Brilliant.

Well, some initial hurdles need to be overcome. I always envisioned it as a 2 person deal.  It's always better and more interesting to be playing off someone else.  But I guess I could do it Joel McHale The Soup-style. But I don't have a camera, or cameraman.  So it would probably start off as a radio broadcast.  Another reason to have a second personality (and lets face it - I have a face for tv, not radio).

And then there is the technical difficulties of doing it as such.  I can edit a show/video.  I can't edit sound.  And if this is a straight radio broadcast - I don't even know how to record good sound.  I rely on others for this.

But now it is in my head, and I will try and figure this out...  Cause the world needs me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Greatest Movie Soundtrack of All Time

Belongs to my favorite film of all time.  Rad.  

1.   ‘Break the Ice’ – John Farnham
2.   ‘Riverside’ – The Beat Farmers
3.   ‘Wind Me Up’ – 3 Speed
4.   ‘Get Strange’ – Hubert Kah
5.   ‘Send Me an Angel’ – Real Life
6.   ‘Music That You Can Dance To’ – Sparks
7.   ‘Baby Come Back’ – Jimmy Haddox
8.   ‘Thunder In Your Heart’ – John Farnham
9.   ‘With You’ – John Farnham

Movie Review: Book of Eli

A pretty standard genre movie, elevated to something a bit more by Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.  To be honest, I'm a little unsure why Denzel would do this movie as it is straight genre fare - but it is to the benefit of fans like myself.

It's a sort of post-apocalyptic Clint Eastwood western.  Stranger of a few words rolls into a strange town... and mayhem ensues.  And just like Eastwood, this Stranger has a singular focus that nothing can disrupt.

To be fair, I am a gigantic fan of Clint Eastwood, especially his westerns Pale Rider and High Plains Drifter.  And of films like Bad Day at Black Rock... the three of which form the spine of my graphic novel Harbor Moon.

The action is good, the acting is good and the story moves along at a really brisk pace.  The ending has a nice little twist on it too.  There's not much to dislike about this movie.  And the more beat up Mila Kunis gets, the hotter she gets.  It also goes to show you how acting can be overcome by a good director - cause she was awful in Max Payne and is pretty good here.  Glad to see the Hughes Brothers back in the saddle.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Top Films of 2009

Without further ado, and exactly three weeks after the end of 2009... I bring you the list of my top ten films of 2009.  It's amazing that I wound up seeing more movies being back in New York than when I was in Los Angeles.  You get so wrapped up in what you're doing out there, it is easy to forget why you're there in the first place.

A special mention cause I just can’t vote for my own movie.  But seriously, best film of the year.  Maybe.

1.   Avatar

            A feat in filmmaking. 

Tense, gripping and superbly done.  Anyone that hasn’t seen this ‘little’ war film needs to.  Asap.  Done by Kathryn Bigelow, who somehow makes more guys guy movies than just about anyone.

The most fun at the movies in 2009.  I had a smile on my face the entire time.  And seeing it in 3D made it that much better.

Mann being Mann.  Depp being Depp… and a supporting cast that surrounds them that blows any other film this year away. 

Funniest movie of the year.  Refreshing to see a comedy that wasn’t secretly about some sappy love story.

6.   District 9

The biggest little sci-fi film in a long time.  Blomkamp’s short film is one of my favorite of all time, and I was really looking forward to this – and it delivered.  Although there were some things that I couldn’t buy, it was fun and sucked me in.

Tarantino’s return to form.  I actually didn’t want to see this after suffering through Grind House.  But I’m glad I did.  I think they actually did a bad job of selling this film, as it was much better than the trailer let on.  Pitt wasn’t so absurdly over the top (Burn After Reading) and it wasn’t goofy.  It all seemed to fit, which is a huge achievement by QT.

Dark, terrifying and sad… but oddly fun.  I know, it makes no sense, but either does this film.  And it was great.  Made me feel like a care-free kid again.

9.    Gomorrah

The best foreign film of the year was an engrossing look at modern 'mafia' in Italy. Which is more Boyz n the Hood or New Jack City than Godfather.

I tend to despise these chic, too smart for their own good geek romance movies.  While this movie still had some of the trappings (the annoyingly precocious younger sister), it still came out on top.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the real reason this was able to shine.  The script was clever in a good way, and the direction really paid it off.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Harbor Moon website is live!

Just in case you missed the announcement, the website for the graphic novel Harbor Moon is now live.

Click. Browse. Enjoy. Marvel at the awesomeness.

We're still working on adding some features to the site (like fan interaction).  And we're waiting on a release date from Arcana.  I will let everyone know as soon as I do.

Submitting a Script

Ted Hope recently posted an entry on his Truly Free Film blog regarding Ten Things to Do Before You Submit a Script.

It is a really good read (as are most of his blog posts)... but I think it was a more 'artsy' list. It contains things about character and story.... etc... Things that, at this point, if a writer feels the script is ready to submit then they probably aren't going to shore up those leaks by keeping them in mind. 

I wholeheartedly agree with the entire list.  But I think these are things you need to consider when you finish a first draft, or last draft.  Some are even things to consider before sitting down to start writing.  They are, for the most part, more about you - the writer. 

My list would be more about me - the reader.  And I'm going to steal some of his thoughts...
  1. Cut at least another 10% out of the script.  Even when you think you are finished, you can always another 10% that can come out. Don't use Ted's advice as an arbitrary thing. Think it through - if your script is 100 pages, 10% is 10 pages. Try and cut out ten pages. You may fall in love with your prose, but you need to distance yourself from it to an extent. Kill your babies!
  2. Format. If you're serious about screenwriting, and if you're sending me or anyone else your script you damn well better be - it should be in industry standard format. You can find older versions of Final Draft out there for cheap. Besides being extremely easy to use (bonus for the writer), it makes your script look like you at least know what you're doing.  So it won't go to the bottom of the reading pile, or worse - right in the recycling bin. If you have one foot in the poor house, at the very least you need to set your font to Courier.
  3. Spelling/Grammar. This would probably be #1, but if you do not have the correct format you probably won't get far enough for people to know you had poor spelling/grammar. RUN SPELL CHECK! Twice. Three times. The spell check on Final Draft isn't very good, so copy and paste your script into Word, which has an excellent error correction program. You'll be able to see all the errors that Final Draft did not pick up. Don't copy and paste back, but just revise your Final Draft document based on this. Then, give your script to someone you trust to proofread it. Not for notes. For spelling/grammar mistakes.
  4. Make the world your characters inhabit truly authentic. I'm stealing this from Ted Hope, but I will be more specific. Use adjectives or specifics when dealing with places and people. Your characters shouldn't live in a 'Home' in the sluglines, they should live in a 'Dutch Colonial'.  If you're on a street - what kind of street?  Deserted street?  Main street?  Highway? Boulevard?  If you're in a specific location, do your homework.  What is the Main Street called?  What is the exact name of the Highway you're on?  What is the cross streets your cops are going to bust the drug dealers?  Give your smaller characters life. The waitress serving your hero eggs shouldn't be 'Waitress #1', she should be 'Frumpy Waitress'. These small details will make your script infinitely more interesting to read, and will most likely spill over into the rest of the script.
  5. Spacing. This applies more to the density of your prose than line spacing between sluglines (between one or two is up to you). A general rule that I like is - action/prose should be no longer than 4 lines long.  If it is, challenge yourself to cut it. Or separate the action. Break it up. Maybe this way the reader will be able to follow it better.
  6. Your Cover - less is more. You want to be a professional, act like a professional.  You do not need the copyright #, the WGA registration # and all of the info that you can possibly stuff on the cover.  Keep it simple. The title, written by, the draft date and your contact info (phone and email). If it is copyrighted and registered with the WGA, great. What is putting it on your script going to do? Besides make you look like an amateur. Even if it is subconscious, it will get moved to the bottom of the stack.
  7. Convert to a PDF. Any computer should be able to do this. If not, there are a ton of free websites that can do it. And Final Draft makes this very easy. Do not send .fdr, .doc, .txt, .rtf - they are system/program specific, they look like crap and they can be manipulated by someone other than yourself. Only send a PDF. After you save the PDF, be sure to open it up and read through it.  Make sure it is perfect (margins are all good, there isn't a blank page at the back, etc...)  
  8. Spend time on your logline. It should be short and sweet. Just like the script, less is more. If you just cannot crack it, go online for help. There are a ton of professional readers who also do freelance reading. Put an ad up in the 'writing gigs' section on craigslist. For a small price (I'd suggest $35) you can get them to do a logline and synopsis. For more they can even give you notes (some extra eyes on your script would be nice, but at the end of the day - just use them for the logline/synopsis). Then, do not be satisfied with the logline they send. Rework it until it is your own.
  9. Cut the script down!  Yes, it is that important to list it twice. You are not an Oscar winner, yet. The person who is reading your script probably has to read at least 1 script a day. At least. It is more like 2 a day. Do the math.
  10. Do not be scared about people reading your script. This last one is less about the script, and more about you. The more people reading your script, the better your chances are. And if you are afraid of it being stolen, you are just looking like a paranoid amateur. I do not mean to be harsh or overly-critical, but I have had people email me their logline, it sounds interesting so I say I'll read the script and then they want me to sign a release form and want to know more about me. First off, do your own homework. If you are contacting someone you know little about, look them up. If you can't find anything and you are still leery - then do not send the script. I'm sure other producers/writers may have a differing opinion on this, but I think being realistic is always the best course of action. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying to not be leery about plagarism. But why on earth is an established producer going to steal your idea? Or a studio? It can pay you nothing (relatively speaking) and own it, why bother stealing it?

Monday, January 18, 2010


The Jets are a team of destiny.  Rex Ryan, although he is still learning how to manage a game, is the best thing to happen to them since Vinny Testaverde.  Mark Sanchez is proving he can win big games, right now by not doing too much.  Give him time and he'll be slinging the ball downfield with the best of them. 

And this defense.  They give up the short ball, but you can't run on them and Darelle Revis is a nightmare.  Why on earth would you throw anywhere near him?  One throw by Rivers to him and he makes one of the most ridiculous interceptions I've ever seen.  How this guy didn't win Player of the Year over Woodson is beyond me (I am a huge Woodson fan, but the lack of numbers put up against Revis by the best players in the game is more staggering than the stats put up by anyone else).

Bring on the Colts!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rev Theory. Get on the bandwagon now.

If you have not yet heard of the band Rev Theory, you soon will.  Their music has been a part of the WWE promotion for a while now... and they have been tearing it up on the road promoting their latest album 'Light It Up' for over a year now.  Opening for bands such as Motley Crue, Sevendust, Papa Roach and Buckcherry.  As anyone who has seen them can attest to - they are amazing live, putting on such a show that they make immediate fans out of most of the audience.

The third single off their album was just released today - 'Broken Bones'.  It's their version of a ballad and the song is sick. 

And if you watch Spike (I am a UFC junkie) there's no way you could have missed promo's for their new college football show 'Blue Mountain State'.  It just so happens that Rev's single 'Hell Yeah' (which is a throw back to 80's arena rock) is the theme song.  The show sort of throws everything into a stew - sex, football, goofy comedy and hopes for the best.... either way, it's a big step for them and it is well deserved.

If you have yet to see the show, you can check out two episodes here for free.  Or at least sit through the credit sequence (which is about a minute in).

And if you have yet to hear anything by Rev Theory - go to iTunes and sample some songs.  Or check out their Myspace Page.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Movie Review: Avatar

Before I saw this, I was pointed to a lot of sites with reviews that compared this film to Battle for Terra.  While I certainly see the similarities in the stories, to compare these two films is to compare the Williamsport champions to the Yankees.  They both play baseball.  They are both champs.  But come on.  Add in the fact that Terra was a blatant Pochahantas in space rip-off... and you have a lot of friendly reviewers out there (seriously, thanks to those who said Terra was actually better).


This film, in all aspects, is a wonder to behold.  Terra was a small, clunky script.  This story is well-developed and you really care for the characters (except Norm, who I hated and cheered for when he ate it).  Everything that is set-up is paid off and Cameron pulls no punches.  People we grow to like die.  Plenty of them.  And unlike George Lucas, Cameron can write dialogue.  Even the requisite 'round up the troops' speech Jake Sully (Worthington) gives is pretty rousing. 

I honestly don't know where to begin with talking about this.  Visually, it may be the most striking film ever created to date.  He's a master craftsman and his shot choices in this are equally top notch.  Besides the technical aspects, Cameron's Pandora is a world I did not want to leave.  It was so dense and so rich with detail I felt as if I had actually been there. 

The acting is all pretty good.  I've liked Worthington in everything I've seen him in, and Saldana is good as well - but they shine here.  It's saying a lot when the worst actor in the picture is Sigourney Weaver.  She felt wooden - like the actors in the latest Star Wars.  Is this an age thing?  Are these actors so used to traditional acting that they can't do it in front of a green screen?  Are younger actors better prepared for this transition?

The Colonel was a little one-dimensional, but even still - it wasn't so much that it ruined the picture.  A little motivation for his single minded hatred and desire for action or the destruction of the Naa'vi would have been nice.  Cameron does save his ass with a line when they first unboard on Pandora - about how the marines here aren't soldiers with a purpose.  They are now mercenaries... fighting wherever the money is the greatest.  And right now it is on Pandora, mining for a special rock under the surface.

In somewhat short - go see this movie.  But do not see it in 2D.  Drive to a 3D theater and see it in all its glory.  How anyone could watch this in 2D knowing it is out there in a mind-blowing 3D experience is amazing.  It's well worth the extra 3 bucks and time in the car. 

Hands down, my favorite film of the year.  And now I make my end of the year (and end of the decade lists)...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Textbook Cartel

I have long been critical of the textbook market in the US.  The model itself is so antiquated it is sickening that it exists in what is supposed to be our most progressive arena - colleges and universities.

Here is an excellent, yet simple, piece on it.

Boing Boing - Prescription for consumers challenging academic textbook cartels

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Worst Film of the Decade

As I sort through my best of 2009 list, I looked back through my previous lists to see what I thought the best of the decade was. While I have not decided yet (post to follow), I do have a very definitive and clear cut worst film of the decade:


No other film was more pretentious, contrived and flat out ridiculous than this piece of shit. Crash was a Herculean effort to be pseudo-intellectual which failed because it was in fact intellectually barren. White Chicks and Land of the Lost may be unwatchable, but they aren't trying to be important. Crash, for me, was an unintentional parody. Spoonfeeding the hacks who glorified it their own preachy rhetoric back to them. This is not real life. This isn't even make believe. This is some white liberal's view of dystopia. It's the most blatant slap in the face to every free thinking human being with any common sense ever put to screen. Even more than Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11.

Sara Libby wrote a short piece at True/Slant called "Worst Movie of the Decade: 'Crash'." She said:
It's been called a "feel-good" racism movie -- one that leads people to believe they're on the right side of racism, when in fact they're just having their buttons pushed and their preconceived notions re-affirmed. [...]
Bad movies get made all the time. But what infuriated me about "Crash" was that so many people mistook it for something profound when it was truly the opposite. It shouts at the top of its lungs: "I'M SUBTLE! I'M NUANCED!" and so many people somehow agreed.

Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic wrote:
I don't think there's a single human being in Crash. Instead you have arguments and propaganda violently bumping into each other, impressed with their own quirkiness. ("Hey look, I'm a black carjacker who resents being stereotyped.") But more than a bad film, Crash, which won an Oscar (!), is the apotheosis of a kind of unthinking, incurious, nihilistic, multiculturalism. To be blunt, nothing tempers my extremism more than watching a fellow liberal exhort the virtues of Crash.

Scott Foundas wrote a review with the line,
Welcome to the best movie of the year for people who like to say, 'A lot of my best friends are black.'

Special Mention to Lady in the Water and Capote. And anything with a Wayans brother, including GI Joe - which broke my heart with how awful it was.

Tim Tebow - Crapped out by God himself

There are a few lucky individuals that God himself has personally shit out.  In our modern era a few names come to mind, Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, David Beckham and Brad Pitt. They defy any law known to man.  They walk through life unscathed.  Everything they touch seems to turn to gold.  They don't seem to age and their good looks continue on for all eternity.  No dirty secrets rise to the surface.  No scandals follow them.  All they do is win.  And often.

They have apparently been kind enough to allow Tim Tebow to join their ranks.  He is, in my opinion, the greatest college football player I've ever seen play.  I was born in 1978, so I have a relatively small pool of which to choose... and there are players that have had amazing years, or dazzled at times (Vince Young and Michael Vick come to mind, as does Barry Sanders and Bo Jackson)... but no other player has put an entire program on its back and willed it to victory over the course of a four year career like this kid.  And sometimes we forget, but he is still just that - a kid.

It would seem that he was much more than that though.  And he is.  He is, as of now, the ideal human being. He's a deeply religious guy with what seems like a tremendous heart.  He spends his summers abroad helping 3rd world countries.  He spends his fall crushing opponents.  With his arm.  With his legs.  He is well-spoken, and that is an understatement.  His post-game speech after a rare Florida loss (to Ole Miss) was probably one of the most sincere and honest - and motivating - things I've ever heard.  And he did exactly what he said he was going to do.

I would let him sleep with my girlfriend.  And she'd probably want to, cause he's Tim Tebow.

There seem to be a lot of Tebow fans out there, but there also seem to be a lot of Tebow haters. Which I just don't understand. How can you dislike this kid?  He's genuine and always plays with the highest character.  His opponents even like him.  The only reason to dislike him would be because you feel the need to go against the grain.  You're the kid in high school who didn't like the popular kids because you were jealous.  Get over it.

I couldn't have been happier when he went out with a win over Cincinatti in his final bowl game.  Not only did he go out with a win over an unbeaten team, but they trounced the Bearcats.  Not only did they trounce the Bearcats, but Tebow had one of his best passing games ever.  For someone with his four year history, that is not an easy task.  And he did it doing all the things pro scouts say he can't do.  He was accurate; on short and long passes.  He sat in the pocket.  He ran when he had to.  He spread the ball out.  He was, simply put, magnificent.