81 Days With Oscar And Me

Every Academy Award-Winning Movie, Back to Back, Starting With the First

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Entries from October 31st, 2009

Gladiator

October 31st, 2009 · No Comments · 2000, CGI, Color, Composer: Hans Zimmer, Derek Jacobi, Drama, Dreamworks Pictures, Gladiator, Oliver Reed, Original Screenplay, Richard Harris, Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe

Gladiator is over two and a half hours long. But I can sum up the moral of the story in 20 words: Next time an emperor tells you he wants you to be the ruler after he dies, get it in writing.
I don’t like how Gladiator was directed. The jerky, hand-held camera work during [...]

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American Beauty

October 30th, 2009 · No Comments · 1999, Allison Janney, American Beauty, Color, Drama, Dreamworks Pictures, Drug Use, Homosexuality, Kevin Spacey, Mid-Point, Original Screenplay, Plot Point I, Plot Point II, Screenplay Structure, Sex, Swearing

I love movies that start at the end.
Like Sunset Boulevard, and Memento (sort of – who can tell where that one starts?), and Gandhi, and The English Patient, and Citizen Kane, and, well, you get the idea.
When a movie starts at the end, the audience knows more than the characters in the movie do. [...]

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Shakespeare in Love

October 29th, 2009 · No Comments · 1998, Ben Affleck, Christopher Marlowe, Colin Firth, Comedy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Mid-Point, Miramax, Nudity, Original Screenplay, Plot Point I, Plot Point II, Romeo and Juliet, Screenplay Structure, Sex, Shakespeare in Love, Stuttering, Swearing, Tom Wilkinson

“Can a play show us the very truth and nature of love?” is a question posed by Queen Elizabeth to Viola De Lesseps.
I have a question of my own to pose: “Can a movie show us what perfect screenwriting looks like?”
Yes, it can – if that movie is Shakespeare in Love.
Shakespeare in Love is brilliant.
Brilliant.
Brilliant.
Once [...]

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Titanic

October 28th, 2009 · No Comments · 1997, Bernard Hill, Celine Dion, Color, Composer: James Horner, Drama, James Cameron, James Horner, Kate Winslet, Nudity, Original Screenplay, Sex, THX, Tearjerker, Titanic, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

Most of the movies in the 1990s have something in common: they’re tearjerkers.
Epic tearjerkers at that.
Dances With Wolves is emotional. Schindler’s List is emotional. Forrest Gump is emotional. Braveheart is emotional. The English Patient is boring, but emotional.
And then there’s Titanic…
Ah, Titanic. It jerks enough tears to fill the Atlantic Ocean, where the real [...]

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English Patient, The

October 27th, 2009 · No Comments · 1996, Adaptation, Color, Drama, English Patient, Kristin Scott Thomas, Michael Ondaatje, Miramax, Naveen Andrews, Nudity, Ralph Fiennes, Sex, War, Willem Dafoe

Once again, I must turn to Seinfeld to help set the tone for my blog entry. This time, it’s Season 8, Episode 17: “The English Patient.”
Mr. Peterman and Elaine are in a theater watching the movie The English Patient. Peterman stares, enraptured, at the screen. Elaine is totally frantic with boredom.
PETERMAN: Elaine, I hope [...]

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Braveheart

October 26th, 2009 · No Comments · 1995, Braveheart, Color, Composer: James Horner, Drama, F-Word, Freedom, James Horner, Mel Gibson, Original Screenplay, Paramount Pictures, Scotland, William Wallace

“The problem with Scotland is that it is full of Scots,” says Longshanks, King Edward I at the start of Braveheart.
And so the king sets out to break the spirit of the savages in Scotland by taxing them, beating them, and raping their women.
At first William Wallace (Mel Gibson) wants no part of standing [...]

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Forrest Gump

October 25th, 2009 · No Comments · 1994, Adaptation, Color, Drama, F-Word, Forrest Gump, Paramount Pictures, Robert Zemeckis, Robin Wright, Saddest Movie Of All Time, Tom Hanks

After Schindler’s List ended a minute or two before midnight last night, I waited until the new day official began and then popped Forrest Gump into the DVD player.
I didn’t want to attempt sleep with visions of Schindler’s List jack-booting through my dreams.
Not that Forrest Gump is all sweetness and light. There is a sadness, [...]

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Schindler’s List

October 24th, 2009 · No Comments · 1993, Adaptation, Black and White, Drama, F-Word, Nationalization, Nazi Socialist Germany, Oskar Schindler, Schindler's List, Seinfeld, Sex, Smoking, Steven Spielberg, Universal Pictures

In my mind, Schindler’s List will forever be associated with the two-part episode of Seinfeld (Season 5, episodes 18 and 19: “The Raincoats 1 and 2″) that aired in 1994.
Jerry’s parents are staying with him while they’re visiting from Florida. Consequently, he hasn’t any privacy. And he wants time alone with his girlfriend, Rachel. [...]

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Unforgiven

October 23rd, 2009 · No Comments · 1992, C-Word, Clint Eastwood, Color, F-Word, Gene Hackman, Mid-Point, Morgan Freeman, Original Screenplay, Plot Point I, Plot Point II, Screenplay Structure, Sex, Unforgiven, Warner Bros. Pictures, Western

With a cast that includes three of my favorite actors (Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Gene Hackman), there’s no way this movie could fail.
And it doesn’t. (WARNING: Spoilers ahead. Don’t read on unless you want to know how the movie ends.)
But how could it? All those actors, direction by Clint Eastwood, and it’s a [...]

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Silence Of the Lambs, The

October 22nd, 2009 · No Comments · 1991, Adaptation, Anthony Hopkins, C-Word, Color, Composer: Howard Shore, F-Word, Hannibal Lecter, Jodie Foster, Mid-Point, Orion Pictures Corporation, Plot Point I, Plot Point II, Screenplay Structure, Silence of the Lambs, Thriller

“Good evening, Clarice.”
The Silence Of the Lambs creeps me out. It did when I first saw it nearly 20 years ago.
And it still does.
There’s a grotesqueness to this movie that emits a kind of psychic stench that clings to me, like the cloying smell of maple-flavored bacon that lingers in the kitchen many hours after [...]

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