81 Days With Oscar And Me

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

81 Days With Oscar And Me header image 2

Dances With Wolves

October 21st, 2009 · No Comments · 1990, Adaptation, Color, Composer: John Barry, Dances With Wolves, Drama, John Barry, Kevin Costner, Orion Pictures Corporation, Panavision (Widescreen), THX

Dances With Wolves Whatever happened to THX?

This DVD starts with that enormous, room-filling THX sound and the rectangular “The Audience Is Listening” box on the screen. I used to love going to the theater just to see/hear/experience that. Sometimes, the THX intro was so awesome that the audience would gasp, then chuckle. And, believe it or not, there were times when the THX brand was more entertaining than the movie that followed it.

I don’t know if that’ll be true tonight or not. But I’ll soon find out.

Confession time again: I like Kevin Costner.

His 1989 movie Field of Dreams remains one of my all-time favorites. Very little is as powerful as the ending of Field.

I don’t think Costner is one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. But he has charm and can play a cute aw-shucks character like nobody else. Most of all, though, I think the man has cojones of brass. Over the years he’s made some of Hollywood’s best – and worst – movies. You have to give the man credit for trying. Especially since Costner-bashing is always in vogue. He must have gotten discouraged from all the constant criticism.

Dances With Wolves reminds me of Centennial, the 1978 TV mini-series about the settling of the Old West and all the changes wrought by that action. In a way, Dances With Wolves is also like The Last Emperor, which is another movie about the passing of an era.

So you know Dances With Wolves isn’t going to end well.

I’m watching the movie now. Some of it is grand and glorious. Some is pure Hollywood-hokum.

But it’s all entertaining.

By the way, here’s the official web site of Michael Blake, author of the book upon which this movie is based, as well as the movie’s screenwriter. If you liked watching Dances With Wolves you may like other books written by Mr. Blake.

The Cast
Kevin Costner (1955- )……………………………..Lieutenant Dunbar
Mary McDonnell (1952- )…………………………..Stands With A Fist
Graham Greene (1952- )……………………………Kicking Bird
Rodney A. Grant (1959- )…………………………..Wind In His Hair
Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman (1936-2007)…….Ten Bears
Tantoo Cardinal (1950- )……………………………Black Shawl
Robert Pastorelli (1954-2004)…………………….Timmons
Charles Rocket (1949-2005)……………………….Lieutenant Elgin
Maury Chaykin (1949- )……………………………..Major Fambrough

Directed By
Kevin Costner (1955- )

Written By
Michael Blake (1945- )

Dances With Wolves was nominated for 12 Academy Awards (if memory serves this is the most nominations to date for one movie), and won seven: Best Cinematography, Best Director (Kevin Costner), Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Score (John Barry), Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Michael Blake).

Nominated but not winning were Kevin Costner (Best Actor in a Leading Role), Graham Greene (Best Actor in a Supporting Role), and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Mary McDonnell).

The score was composed by the great John Barry, who is one of my favorite composers for film.

I was right about the movie not ending well.

But I was also right about the Hollywood hokum. White people are depicted as more bloodthirsty and savage than the Indians. They speak like rednecks, act like morons, and are crude, insensitive, and just plain violent.

Now, I’m no Einstein. But I’m willing to bet things weren’t that black and white. Not all white people were ignorant bastards. Just as not all Indians were scalp-hunting savages. So I always hate it when Hollywood makes movies – like Oliver Stone’s horrendous Platoon – that exists for one purpose only: propaganda, the ramming of an agenda down the audience’s throat.

I’m not sure what to think about Dances With Wolves. It broke no new ground. It told no story that hasn’t been told before (especially by the superior TV mini-series Centennial). It wasn’t even very balanced in the telling. It was a simple white people = bad, Indians = good message. No gray area.

Ugh.

Tags:

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment

Powered by WP Hashcash