February 25, 2009


Best Pics, part one

I'm a little late on both Oscar fever and Eden's wiping away of the cobwebs over at Film Freaks. Also this is taking longer than I thought, so I'm dividing it into two parts.

With "I've seens" in bold, here is back to 1960:

2008 - "Slumdog Millionaire" Despite the darling status, seems like it's worth a watch.

2007 - “No Country for Old Men” Moving up the Netflix queue, prolly do a weekend (when Jen is gone, I'm thinking...) with this and "There Will Be Blood."

2006 - “The Departed” Definitely a great Scorcese film, but I'm still astounded that he didn't win for "Raging Bull" or "Goodfellas" (hell, "After Hours" coulda' been a contendah).

2005 - “Crash” Very well-written and directed. One of the early 21st century's great social polemics on film.

2004 - “Million Dollar Baby” What does having seen and greatly liked the four competing films (The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways) say about this film? It must be pretty damn good. Plus Eastwood, Swank and Freeman - what's not to like even if the ending has been long spoiled?

2003 - “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” It's almost as if Tolkien split up the story into three perfect epic movie parts. They're all "best" for me, despite the unavoidable condensing of the story.

2002 - “Chicago” A great story-driven musical with some classic performances, esp. Gere and J.C. Riley

2001 - “A Beautiful Mind” Ron Howard is the king of "based on" adaptations, and Crowe outperforms his best actor "Gladiator" role by a mile.

2000 - “Gladiator” Still, he was pretty good in this, though Phoenix and Reed (what a great role to go out on for an under-appreciated/utilized actor) were better.

1999 - “American Beauty” A modern classic, worthy of its win along with Spacey's best actor

1998 - “Shakespeare in Love” One of my all-time favorites, if more for its comedy than its romance (both of which did Will proud). One bone - I would have traded Judi Dench's BSActress to have Geoffrey Rush get BSActor

1997 - “Titanic” This modern epic was bloated but entertaining, and paled in comparison to its competition for this year (L.A. Confidential, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, As Good As It Gets).

1996 - “The English Patient” This good but unmemorable film beat out "Fargo"? Pffft!

1995 - “Braveheart” An excellent film which garnered no acting nominations, and thanks its lucky stars that the Academy snubbed "Leaving Las Vegas" in this BPic category.

1994 - “Forrest Gump” People rag on this flick but it's one of my favorites, no doubt due to Hanks' Oscar-worthy performance. In other Oscar news, it's a tough toss-up for me that this was up against "Shawshank Redemption," and that Sinise was up against Martin Landau's Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood" for BSActor was just tough luck.

1993 - “Shindler's List” What more needs to be said about this film?

1992 - “Unforgiven” I didn't like this film upon first viewing, but I must have had an off night because it is one of my favorite westerns - a great turn for Clint for his character and as director, and one of my favorite Gene Hackman performances.

1991 - “The Silence of the Lambs” I've only seen this once, but I feel like its overrated. Probably worth another look.

1990 - “Dances with Wolves” Damn this is long. Damn this is good. Damn "Goodfellas" should have beat this to a pulp.

1989 - “Driving Miss Daisy” Loverly film, top-notch Oscar competition (Born on The Fourth Of July, My Left Foot, Field Of Dreams, Dead Poet's Society).

1988 - “Rain Man” A classic

1987 - “The Last Emperor” Paging Netflix queue...

1986 - “Platoon” A pretty good Vietnam war flick, a pretty good war flick, a pretty good flick (in that particular order).

1985 - “Out of Africa I'm not sure why, but I have never had much of a desire to see this film.

1984 - “Amadeus” Wonderful. Did Mozart really laugh like that?

1983 - “Terms of Endearment” A guy can really get in touch with his feminine side with this tearjerker. The acting trifecta of MacLaine, Nicholson and Winger help keep this film from becoming too dated.

1982 - “Gandhi” One of the best biopics ever, and Ben Kingsley makes it so.

1981 - “Chariots of Fire” Great period piece and not a bad morality play either.

1980 - “Ordinary People” This film does its job well, leaving you frazzled at the end like its characters

1979 - “Kramer vs. Kramer” No really, it's not a Meryl Streep thing. But it’s tough to see this beating out "Breaking Away."

1978 - “The Deer Hunter” I've only seen this once, and I had a difficult time relating to it.

1977 - “Annie Hall” In the O' Tim Top Ten, and higher up than it’s competition, Star Wars.

1976 - “Rocky” The underdog for sure (All The President's Men, Bound for Glory, Network and Taxi Driver). A good flick that had no business squirting out all those sequels.

1975 - “One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest” Nicholson's (and Kesey's) best work.

1974 - “The Godfather Part II” Man, I was bummed when they killed Fredo.

1973 - “The Sting” Absolutely beautiful movie, flawless.

1972 - “The Godfather” The creme de la creme

1971 - “The French Connection” I liked this okay, but Gene Hackman was better in "The Conversation"

1970 - “Patton” Another of the all-time great biopics, and a solid period piece, too.

1969 - “Midnight Cowboy” One of my favorite dark comedies, but still hard to see how it beat "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"

1968 - “Oliver!” Will you kill me if I say it's "delightful?" Interesting how another musical wouldn't win Best Pic for more than 30 years.

1967 - “In the Heat of the Night” You just love to hate Rod Steiger in this film.

1966 - “A Man for All Seasons” I have completely missed this one.

1965 - “The Sound of Music” Is it wrong to think Julie Andrews is hot in this film?

1964 - “My Fair Lady” Palatable, as musicals go (for me anyway), perhaps because of its roots in literature. Is it wrong to think Audrey Hepburn is hot in this film?

1963 - “Tom Jones” Nope

1962 - “Lawrence of Arabia” I've never seen this all the way through

1961 - “West Side Story” I’ve seen this one and a half times, and Shakespearean roots notwithstanding, I found it kinda boring. Worth another look?

1960 - “The Apartment” One of my favorite Billy Wilders, and it is definitely okay to think that Shirley MacLaine is hot in this film.

Next, 1959 back to the first Oscar in 1928

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This list makes it clear that I haven't been watching the Oscar winners too much of late..... unless they're on TCM! That said...

2004 - “Million Dollar Baby”- I really enjoyed this, and it's a movie about BOXING, which I care less than the square root of nothing about.

2000 - “Gladiator”- in retrospect, a bad year for movies, I guess. Not that it was BAD, but there was certainly nothing special about it that I remember.

1997 - “Titanic” - Not gonna see it. Nope. Just don't care.

1990 - “Dances with Wolves” - Indeed, Goodfellas should have won. I found this flick to be overrated, IMO.

1985 - “Out of Africa" - This movie is why I stopped listening to Siskel and Ebert.

1979 - “Kramer vs. Kramer” - Kramer was good, Breaking Away was better. What ever happened to Dennis Christopher?

1978 - “The Deer Hunter” - Once was enough.

1965 - “The Sound of Music” - No, it's wrong to think that Angela Cartwright was hot in this film.

1964 - “My Fair Lady” - No, it's wrong to think that Wilfrid Hyde-White was hot in this film.

1961 - “West Side Story” - I'd say so. It's one of my favorites. Stay cool. And if you liked Audrey's singing in My Fair Lady, you'll love Natalie Wood's singing in this.

1960 - “The Apartment” - Yeah, that's all kinds of okay.
See Slumdogy. Love to get your take. I was thrilled that it won Best Picture.

No Country was raw as hell. Great performances all around, and a gripping storyline. Fargo is still my favorite Coen Bros. movie, but this one ranks up pretty high (unlike Burn After Reading, which disappointed the living shit out of me).

See There Will Be Blood for DDL. Holy crap, that dude is an unbelievable actor. The movie itself, I have to say, I didn't love. But I have a serious man-crush on Mr. Lewis.

1997 was utter crap. I completely agree with your assessment. Look at those other four nominees! All of them, every one, I've seen more than once. And LA Confidential I think I've seen five or six times. Titanic was entertaining, and I didn't hate it like a lot of guys I know, but best picture? No way. Cameron was at his peak with Aliens and T2.

I thought Fredo was great in Deer Hunter.
Didn't 'Forrest Gump' beat 'Pulp Fiction' as well as 'Shawshank Redemption'??? Recount!

And for my money, 'A Man for All Seasons' is one of the best movies here. Paul Schofield was da man.
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