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The Big Board
for Max Braden


Big Board Year:
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2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
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2012
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1999
1988
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Choose the size of the Big Board:
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You Should See This
1. Iron Man
    RDJ is perfectly cast for this role and Paltrow is at her best in years. I think I'd rate this equal to or higher than Batman Begins.
2. The Dark Knight
    Ledger is excellent and I loved the catch-22 theme. Some scenes lacked some needed music.
3. Get Smart
    The pacing is really well done. This is fun all the way through. Fans of PG comedy and action should enjoy it.
4. Kung Fu Panda
    I can understand how non-Jack Black fans would skip this, but the editing is sharp and really supplements the comedy.
5. Tropic Thunder
    Robert Downey Jr. is phenomenal again, but Tom Cruise is mesmerizing in his key scene. There's some great cinematography here.
6. Slumdog Millionaire
    I was initially put off by the cinematography, but the story really won out by the end. I'd be okay with this winning best picture.
7. In Bruges
    A European kin to Pulp Fiction, this starts off slow but ends with a bang with some good laughs in between. But also some uneasy politically incorrect ones too.
8. The Pineapple Express
    Franco is great, maybe my second favorite performance this year after Ledger. Fans of Hot Fuzz will probably like this movie.
9. Ghost Town
    This is a genre film with no real surprises, but Gervais is very funny.
10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
    Not as funny as the trailer suggests and Segel and Kunis have very little chemistry, but it has its moments. I'd compare it to The Break Up.
11. American Teen
    I was fascinated by this documentary. I don't think challenges to its authenticity lessen it one bit. Highly recommended.
12. Towelhead
    This movie hits the ground running, juxtaposing humor with strongly discomforting scenes. Peter Macdissi is great.
13. The Bank Job
    This is a solid caper, notable for the amateurism of the heist.
14. Doubt
    The movie had me wondering throughout. Adams' Bo Peep is a little much but Hoffman's character is great and Streeps nun is one of film history's all-time villains.
15. Milk
    Penn is excellent but Brolin also does a great job of showing himself being backed into an emotional corner.
16. Frost/Nixon
    Langella was good, but I found Sheen more interesting and I think he had the harder role. The second and third acts are like the Ali/Foreman bought.
17. Priceless
    The French smartly keep producing Charlie Chaplin-esque mistaken identity comedies. This one actually makes golddiggers respectible.
18. Quantum of Solace
    I'd lowered my expectations to the point this pleasantly surprised me. I love the Bond canon throwbacks, but this alleged Vesper romance is nothing compared to OHMSS. Fields ranks high among Bond g
19. I.O.U.S.A.
    Everyone should watch this documentary on the looming economic crisis surrounding deficits and debt.
20. The Wrestler
    Rourke is excellent, Tomei is good but I wouldn't have nominated her. The ending is perfect. This would be a good double header with Rocky Balboa.

Worth a Look
21. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    I'd describe this as Legends of the Fall meets Forrest Gump meets Nicholas Sparks. Awkward in the beginning but moving by the end.
22. Cloverfield
    Sit as far back as you can: it's almost as if the feature-length onslaught of shaky-cam amateur video is an indictment of the YouTube generation. (The Host and 28 Weeks Later were better.)
23. The Forbidden Kingdom
    Better than I expected, not as good as my favorite Legend of Drunken Master, but there are a lot of good fights in this one.
24. Body of Lies
    This is a decent mixture of the manhunt from The Kingdom and the murky politics of Syriana.
25. Role Models
    There's a lot or really funny stuff in the normal oddball people behavior. Banks' deleted coffee shop riff is hilarious.
26. The Visitor
    If you liked Lars and the Real Girl you'll like this one too.
27. Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
    This has a great opening that brought up a lot of memories. The whole family reveal on camera is really fascinating.
28. Traitor
    Cheadle looks a little bored, but Saïd Taghmaoui is great, as he was in a similar role in Three Kings.
29. WALL•E
    Despite amazing visuals, I wasn't blown away as much as many others are because I prefer more action/adventure from Pixar. This was like something you'd see at Epcot Center.
30. OSS 117
    Plenty of silly fun here, just not as obvious as something like Top Secret!
31. The Other Boleyn Girl
    Performances by Portman and Ana Torrent as Katherine of Aragon are the reason to see this. The score doesn't serve the tone very well.
32. Good Dick
    The beginning is uneasy and weirdly stalkerish, but the middle is dysfunctionally hilarious. Great job by Marianna Palka.
33. Hancock
    I really liked it up until the first twist, and then it just turned on itself. (Holy mascara, batman!)
34. Appaloosa
    A lot of this story bears a close resemblance to Tombstone. My major problem with it is the villain's inexplicable abandonment of his character midway through.
35. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
    I wanted to like this more than I did. The direction or editing felt inexperienced, resulting in a forced rhythm that took you out of the natural charm of the characters.
36. Rachel Getting Married
    The story is brutal and Hathaway is excllent.
37. Fool's Gold
    This isn't an unenjoyable way to spend an evening: beautiful environs, hot bods, and treasure.
38. Hamlet 2
    Steve Coogan officially won me over with his performance.
39. Redbelt
    Mamet's annoying dialogue aside, his plotting is cleverly tied in.
40. Four Christmases
    I liked their relationship at the beginning, but the rest falls into generic hijinks territory.
41. Penelope
    Too short, and I'm not a big fan of Catherine O'Hara, but this is my favorite performance by Witherspoon to date.
42. Bolt
    Like Madagascar 2, this is a good movie because of the story but with few funny outbursts. Good action sequences and excellent visuals.
43. Changeling
    Eastwood's music drags an interesting story. Geoff Pierson is fantastic as the roaring lawyer who sues the city.
44. Harvard Beats Yale 29-29
    This is an interesting and pretty riveting documentary. Most surprising is that all the football players are more interesting than Tommy Lee Jones.
45. Boy A
    Good but not great. I was distracted by the time cuts.
46. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    Rebecca Hall is completely overlooked in discussion of this movie. It would have been great save Woody Allen's overly deliberate dialogue.
47. Babysitters
    The cast for a movie like this was unexpected but really well chosen.
48. The Wackness
    I could have done without the title cards and animation, but this was a decent drama/romance.
49. RocknRolla
    Slower paced than Lock Stock and Snatch, but in the same vein. I'd love to see a sequel.
50. Rambo
    The is the meatlover's pizza of war movies.
51. Son of Rambow
    Will Poulter is great. The movie itself didn't charm me as much as I'd expected.
52. The Duchess
    Feinnes actually does a good job of representing a man of the time rather than playing a carictature of one. But this isn't about fashion like the trailer implies.
53. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
    Better characters than I expected, not as funny as I'd hoped. Justin Long scenes are great. I found it interesting that Kevin Smith made no mention of condoms.
54. Run Fatboy Run
    Typical light romantic comedy.
55. Last Chance Harvey
    A decent, straightforward romance, but the pairing is odd.
56. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
    I liked the first movie, and I like that del Toro uses makeup monsters instead of cgi, but the sequel lacked some heart.
57. Meet Dave
    Eddie Murphy's physicality is amazing, and there's some funny stuff here. Banks looks good as a redhead. Good is fun.
58. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
    This is a decent followup but I wanted more penguins.
59. Valkyrie
    Even though you already know the broad outcome, this is a pretty good thriller, and more impressive than Defiance.
60. Frozen River
    Great job by both Leo and Misty Upham.
61. Revolutionary Road
    It starts off poorly but builds well. Michael Shannon is excellent. I was first put off by Winslet in blonde, but then she put it in that pony tail...
62. The Ruins
    It's Survivor: Pyramid!

If You've Got Time To Kill
63. The House Bunny
    I'll put this just ahead of Baby Mama, which was a better movie but didn't have as many laughs.
64. W
    Yikes, it's like Oliver Stone told everyone to overact. Thandie Newton has never been this bad in anything.
65. The Express
    The movie is typical underdog sports drama, but I always like seeing coaching putting together plays.
66. Baby Mama
    Amy Poehler completely makes the movie. It's a solid movie but feels like it could have been edgier.
67. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    I blame John Williams' aimless score as much for this lackluster installment as any other factor.
68. The Day the Earth Stood Still
    Contemporary audiences may see this as a mix of Contact and War of the Worlds, but not as impressive as either.
69. Happy Go Lucky
    Sally Hawkins did well with a very difficult role, but her character's rapid fire dialogue is so annoying I had to watch half the movie on mute.
70. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
    Dinklage is great. I think I liked this one more than the first.
71. Death Race
    Some decent stunts but it's mostly just noise.
72. Transsiberian
    Decent emotional thriller but Kingsley's accent bothered me.
73. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
    I loved that they went up to the appropriate line and thrust over it.
74. Timecrimes
    The plot is unbelievable, the dialogue and acting poor, but the creepy and mindbending factor makes it worth seeing.
75. Never Back Down
    Cam Gigandet plays up the villain really well. Sean Faris looks a lot like Tom Cruise.
76. Australia
    It's beautifully shot, but the music and direction make this feel like a straight to Disney Channel project. Romancing the Stone and othes are better.
77. When Did You Last See Your Father?
    I don't normally like dreary 50s/60s flashbacks but the sadness of this love-hate drama becomes effective by the end.
78. You Don't Mess With the Zohan
    There are a few giggles but for the most part it's dumb comedy. There's a decent undertone of
79. Swing Vote
    Most of this is average stuff, but I found the climactic speech pretty moving. The camera loves Paula Patton
80. Snow Angels
    The writing and acting is good, but what a downer.
81. Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show
    See this more as a behind the scenes doc than a 'best of' compilation.
82. The Tale of Despereaux
    Nice to look at but the story didn't seem focussed enough, or maybe just too meandering a pace.
83. Synecdoche, New York
    The movie actually makes more sense when seen than in just written description. Those that love this might like It's All About Love (I didn't.)
84. Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins
    I thought I'd seen bad reviews of this one. It wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't tedious like some of his other projects.
85. The Lucky Ones
    Rachel McAdams was decently natural in this, not trying to steal the show.
86. Yes Man
    Zooey is adorable, and the movie got a couple laughs out of me, but mostly it's a predictable and passable rehash of Liar, Liar.
87. Definitely, Maybe
    Breslin isn't featured as much as viewers might want. Isla is adorable, but Weisz comes across as the most real.
88. Babylon A.D.
    Nice cinematography from Arbogast as usual.
89. What Happens in Vegas
    I laughed a few times, mostly at Kutcher.
90. Man on Wire
    This felt like one of those 'time I threw that touchdown in highschool' stories rather than a great piece of history.
91. Burn After Reading
    I was really surprised at how boring this was. Maybe it needed a good score.
92. Seven Pounds
    I only rented this to see what the plot 'twist' was all about, and upon getting that much, subsequently fell asleep.
93. Bedtime Stories
    Parodies of Adam Sandler's vocal largesse just make them more apparent when watching his movies. This one's for kids more than adults.
94. Elegy
    This reminded me of Sweet November and August in New York.
95. Brideshead Revisited
    Really really not enthralling.
96. Religulous
    Seeing it for comparitive religion is interesting, but Maher didn't have to be such a dick about it.
97. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
    Kind of charming first half, forgettable second half. Amy Adams is like a younger, spunkier Nicole Kidman.
98. Drillbit Taylor
    For a dose of this theme from the 80s, I suggest renting 3 O'Clock High, and My Bodyguard.
99. Sex Drive
    I want that car. It's pretty impressive how James Marsden is so different here from 27 Dresses.
100. My Blueberry Nights
    Sad, sad, sad. Who wants to watch that?
101. 27 Dresses
    It seems like they just followed the You've Got Mail playbook here. I did actually like the 'learning to say no' scene.
102. Horton Hears a Who
    There was a weird pshychadelic vibe to this I can't really describe but made me uncomfortable.
103. Lakeview Terrace
    Paint by numbers thriller.
104. Marley & Me
    Cute, but this was about his dog, not mine, so I wasn't drawn in too much.
105. Gran Torino
    Clearly written by a rookie, the dialogue and message is way too obvious, with most of the acting not much better.
106. Defiance
    Great cinematography, but for the most part an average survival film. Go watch Red Dawn and Schindler's List.
107. Married Life
    Plenty of period charm but the conclusion mostly falls into place too conveniently.
108. Yonkers Joe
    Basically a poor man's Rain Man, but I think I like the ending here more than in Rain Man.
109. The Battle in Seattle
    The emphasis here is more on the personal drama than the issues of the WTO.
110. Midnight Meat Train
    I like historical underground subway stops, but this just gets silly unrealistic at the end.
111. I've Loved You So Long
    I got more out of the concept than the execution. I could recommend this but don't expect anything riveting.
112. Transporter 3
    Statham looks good but quick cuts keep you from appreciating the moves.
113. Let the Right One In (Sweden)
    The praise over this movie didn't click with me, but I liked the underwater shots late in the movie.
114. The Promotion
    I can see why the marketing team had such a devil of a time trying to figure out how to sell this movie. Comedy? Drama? It's odd.
115. Flash of Genius
    A Beautiful Mind treats the epic frustration better. I wonder if this would have more interesting if it had dealt more with the court case.
116. Shine a Light
    I was hoping for more Scorese fretting behind the scenes. As it is, this is a well-shot concert, but not much more.
117. The Reader
    Boring. I fell asleep two thirds in.
118. Stop-Loss
    Viewers who liked this treatment of the stress over military service might also check out the draft drama Day Zero.
119. Henry Poole Is Here
    I wasn't impressed by the movie wbut the cinematography and soundtrack were good.
120. Pride & Glory
    This cops on the take drama has been done so many times before, and better. Rent Cop Land instead.
121. Charlie Bartlett
    Yelchin gives it his all, but the movie is just so-so. I liked how subdued Robert Downey, Jr. was.

Not Worth Your Time
122. Soul Men
    The green screen road trip shots are embarrassing, but this is a nice tribute to Bernie Mac.
123. JCVD
    It took me a half hour to get into this movie. The bank robbers trying to copy JC's high kick is great.
124. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    The dense plot is a downer but not incomprehensible. Some good action sequences, but it's nothing on the level of the live action movies.
125. Cadillac Records
    Everything about this biopic seems more subdued and laid back than in Ray and Walk the Line.
126. Mamma Mia!
    This has to be the most tone deaf musical in years, saved only by ABBA's infectious music. Amanda Seyfried is pretty adorable..
127. Righteous Kill
    Pretty predictable, but better than Street Kings and 88 Minutes.
128. Be Kind Rewind
    I didn't really get into it, but Kevin Smith fans might like it. A lot of the dialogue seemed improved. Mos isn't great, Melonie Diaz is.
129. The Women
    Really lousy dialogue and comedic timing was barely saved by a positive
130. Blindness
    Fernando Meirelles took a really intriguing premise and made it really unnecessarily annoying.
131. Passengers
    I won't give the twist away but it's something you've seen before and isn't worth the time here.
132. Wendy and Lucy
    This is like a documentary about the homeless but without voiceover narration. Depressing.
133. Wanted
    The lousy mystic combination of The Matrix plus Star Wars makes the midichlorians sound like decent exposition. I can't wait for the dvd so I can zoom in on Jolie's backside!
134. 21
    This more interesting than Lucky You.
135. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
    Skip this one and rewatch The Secret of My Success.
136. Sex and the City
    Boring and too long. And I just couldn't find much compassion for the minor problems of the rich.
137. My Best Friend's Girl
    I can see what they were going for but it just didn't click.
138. Nobel Son
    This reminded me of Suicide Kings. The choice of Oakenfold music was odd.
139. Eagle Eye
    No damage to LeBeouf's career here, but the plot is just lousy. Chiklis is miscast.
140. Leatherheads
    Too slow, and doesn't really create the atmosphere of the time that The Natural and A League of Their Own did.
141. Chapter 27
    Lohan is probably the most normal here of any recent project or press coverage.
142. Semi-Pro
    Derivative of Ferrell's previous comedies, but the bear wrestling got me laughing.
143. Hounddog
    Fanning has scary talent. She reminded me of Susan Sarandon in this.
144. Then She Found Me
    Decent, if dreary.
145. The Incredible Hulk
    I liked Norton on the run, and Tyler has a great outburst scene, but the action is all noise and not much substance.
146. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
    I never thought I'd say this, but Maria Bello is a poor substitute for Rachel Weisz.
147. What We Do Is Secret
    Skip this dramatization and watch the real documentary American Hardcore.
148. Twilight
    Boring, ridiculous and silly. If this hadn't been based on a popular novel, it would have been completely rejected at the box office. The interesting Native American lore was underused.
149. Journey to the Center of the Earth
    Paint by numbers filmmaking.
150. Day Zero
    Similar to but not as good as The 25th Hour. Jon Bernthal gives the best performance of the three.
151. Choke
    A letdown, mostly because of Kelly Macdonald's cue-card delivery.
152. Speed Racer
    Like a Pollock painting, this is all color and no sense.
153. Nights in Rodanthe
    I liked The Notebook because of the chemistry and the epic nature of the story. This romance feels nothing but scripted.
154. Smart People
    In the hands of Diablo Cody, Ellen Page is sassy. Here she's mostly depressing and annoying. But the story improves by the end.
155. The X-Files: I Want to Believe
    Drags just like the series did, and Gillian has more angst than a coven of high school vampire groupies.
156. Step Brothers
    Absurd, surreal comedy. It feels like they fired some buckshot at a long distance target to see what they could hit. Kathryn Hahn has the best moments.
157. August
    Hartnett is pretty good as the cocky salesman, and the movie gives a sense of the tech bubble era, but the movie fizzles more than pops.
158. Bill
    I can see what they were going for but it just starts off weakly and doesn't get better.
159. Made of Honor
    I'd watch 27 Dresses again over this any day but it doesn't break my crush on Michelle Monaghan.
160. What Just Happened?
    Skip this one and watch the funnier The Deal starring William H. Macy.
161. Sukiyaki Western Django
    Pointless action. At least Shoot Em Up was guilty fun. If they're going to use paintball splatter effects, I'd rather see a spoof about paintball.
162. Dark Matter
    Starts out as an interesting story about academic politics and surprisingly goes off the rails at the end.
163. Punisher: War Zone
    More comic-booky than Jane's version, but it's nice to see real body armor on the hero for a change.
164. Street Kings
    It's a watchable cop drama but it never feels grounded in reality.
165. Deception
    The twists are telegraphed a mile away, and the titilation is weak.
166. The Spirit
    I had trouble telling if this was an intentional spoof of Dick Tracy. I made it about 20 mintues in before hitting the mute button.
167. Max Payne
    Some interesting cinematography, but I wish they had chosen between full supernatural or action movie. The ending reminded me of Alien Nation.
168. Stuck
    I like Stephen Rea but this is pretty much made-for-Lifetime quality.
169. Flawless
    This is a really sleepy heist. Caine needs to get out of these very isolated roles and into ensembles.
170. Teeth
    There are more screams than gore, and it isn't funny enough to be a date movie. The tone is almost right, but too subdued.
171. Vantage Point
    Totally lacking in believability, but the pace and wild car chase help keep your attention.
172. Mad Money
    I swear, projects with either one of Mr. or Mrs. Tom Cruise are worth it if just for anthropological study.
173. Savage Grace
    The original crime may have been a page turner in the newspapers at the time, but I didn't find anything interesting in the movie. Pretty much every aspect of it was wholly unlikable.
174. Bangkok Dangerous
    Between this and Next it's a wonder Cage isn't going direct to video.
175. 88 Minutes
    This movie doesn't inspire much confidence in the mental health service industry. Maybe it was produced by Scientologists.
176. Doomsday
    Escape From New York meets Mad Max meets zombies with a lot of splatter and not much going for it. I'd like to see Liebenberg in more action movies.

What the Crap?
177. Bonneville
    I will rent movies based on cast member award history. Movies like Bonneville demonstrate that
178. Untraceable
    Thrillers just aren't thrilling when you know right where they're going.
179. Jumper
    It just...ends. There should have been a half hour left.
180. Over Her Dead Body
    Lake Bell and Paul Rudd come out not too badly, but this is proof that Eva Longoria (and Jason Biggs) should stick to tv.
181. Chaos (I)
    This is a step up from Snipes' usual direct to video movies, but he has few scenes. Statham is good without overdoing it.
182. Disaster Movie
    Foul, pointless humor. I keep hoping to find something funny in these spoofs.
183. War, Inc.
    This heavy handed cookie cutter followup to Grosse Pointe is schtick without the charm.Tomei is nice but I'd have preferred Minnie Driver back. Duff was actually good.
184. How to Rob a Bank
    Lots of chatter but not much dialogue.
185. Spiral
    The star of
186. An American Carol
    I don't know if the word I'm looking for is Irony, or Hypocrisy, or just Junk.
187. Mirrors
    I watched but can't really recall anything significant.
188. Hell Ride
    A bunch of big talking old losers in the desert killing each other. Why should I care? At least give me a character I'll think is cool or something. Okay, thanks for the boobs at least.
189. 10,000 B.C.
    Laughably anachronistic, but it's interesting how similar to Apocalypto it is.
190. The Happening
    I like Wahlberg, he's not the best actor ever, but M. Night's writing just led everyone to deliver their worst performance. So bad it's laughable.
191. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Movie
    Oh, Uwe Boll. I may not remember the video game well but this movie seems to have no relevance to it, nor much to offer sword & sworcery fans.
192. Funny Games
    I can watch the news to know that killers get away with it. If you want to sell that you'd better damn well give me a great villain.
193. Postal
    You have to have a weird sense of humor to find this funny, and I didn't. Oh, what a coincidence, it's Uwe Boll.
194. Extreme Movie
    Poor, poor Michael Cera.
195. The Tracey Fragments
    I couldn't stand more than 10 minutes of the schizophrenic cinematography and dialogue. It's not worth it even for the Juno curious..
196. Meet the Spartans
    Lamer than Epic Movie.

RELEASED BUT HAVEN'T SEEN
197. Anamorph
198. The Air I Breathe
199. Amusement
200. Cassandra's Dream
201. The Band's Visit
202. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
203. Borderland
204. Brick Lane
205. Bottle Shock
206. Beverly Hills Chihuahua
207. Che
208. College
209. City of Ember
210. College Road Trip
211. The Chicago 10
212. City of Men
213. Delgo
214. Dark Streets
215. The Eye
216. Fly Me to the Moon
217. The Fall
218. First Sunday
219. Goal II Living the Dream
220. The Haunting of Molly Hartley
221. Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
222. High School Musical 3: Senior Year
223. The Hottie & the Nottie
224. Igor
225. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
226. The Love Guru
227. The Longshots
228. Miracle at St. Anna
229. Nothing Like the Holidays
230. Nim's Island
231. Prom Night
232. One Missed Call
233. Pathology
234. Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns
235. Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys
236. The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie
237. Quarantine
238. Red
239. Repo! The Genetic Opera
240. The Spiderwick Chronicles
241. Splinter
242. The Secret Life of Bees
243. Sixty Six
244. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
245. Superhero Movie
246. Strange Wilderness
247. Step Up 2 the Streets
248. Shutter
249. The Signal
250. Space Chimps
251. Saw V
252. The Take
253. Under the Same Moon
254. Wild Child
255. The Strangers
256. Where God Left His Shoes
257. Waltz With Bashir
258. Witless Protection



     


 
 

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Thursday, December 12, 2019
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