The Also-Ran’s Project – Tess (Best Picture Also-Ran 1980)

TessPoster.jpgDirected by Roman Polanski

Written by Gerard Brach, John Blowjohn and Roman Polanski, based upon the novel of the same name by Thomas Hardy

Starring Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth and Leigh Lawson

There’s one thing I want to make absolutely clear right from the start: Though Tess was directed by Roman Polanski, I will not be discussing Roman Polanski’s guilty plea in 1977 to the charge of unlawful sexual intercourse, in the course of this post.  I will not take sides on that issue, nor will I make moral judgments about it. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – Atlantic City (Best Picture Also-Ran 1981)

Atlantic City (1980 film).jpgDirected by Louis Malle

Written by John Guare

Starring Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon and Michel Piccoli

Dateline – Atlantic City.  An aging mob-adjacent man (Lancaster) finds himself embroiled with a thief trying to make a drug sale, and the thief’s estranged wife (Sarandon).  When the wife’s life is threatened, the complacent man must take action.

In one sense, the movie is just a simple story about people from the lower classes trying to make good, in any way they can.  In another, it’s about the transition between the old Atlantic City and the new, the metaphorical changing of the guard, and the expected growing pains everybody feels. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project — Harry And Tonto (Best Screenplay Also-Ran 1974)

Related imageDirected by Paul Mazursky

Written by Paul Mazursky and Josh Greenfeld

Starring Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Melanie Mayron, Josh Mostel, Larry Hagman and Chief Dan George

Art Carney was basically a television actor – that was his career and he made a good one out of it.  He did something like 76 episodes of The Morey Amsterdam Show in the late 1940s, 39 episodes of The Honeymooners, 180ish episodes of The Jackie Gleason Show spread across it’s two incarnations in the late-50s and the late-60s, not to mention a ton of TV movies.  He was so clearly a TV actor that when he starred in Harry and Tonto he was making just his third movie, after a cameo in A Guide For The Married Man (1967) and a small part The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964).  Imagine that – a well-traveled actor of 55 being a movie novice.

I used to think it was a big deal that a television actor won an Oscar because in the past, those two mediums just did not mix – you could be a success in one, or the other, but there was little crossover between them.  And where there was, it didn’t seem to matter in terms of the box office, or ratings, because one did not reflect the other.  After all, a big star like Jimmy Stewart could transition to TV, only to see his projects fail for low ratings, while TV stars like Jackie Gleason could hardly gain traction on the big-screen. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project — Amarcord (Best Director Also-Ran 1975)

Amarcord.jpgDirected by Federico Fellini

Written by Federico Fellini and Tonino Guerra

Starring Bruno Zanin, Magali Noel, Pupella Maggio and Armando Brancia

I don’t ‘get’ Fellini.  As others might struggle to ‘get’ Kubrick, or Bergman, or some other director who you’ve been told is important, I don’t ‘get’ Fellini.  I don’t relate to him at all and his films fail to connect with me on any level: emotional, visceral, or as pure filmmaking.  Others might see him as god-like, while I see him as a head-scratcher.

To be fair, I’ve only see one other Fellini film in it’s entirety – that being La Dolce Vita – so it’s not like I’ve done a deep dive on his oeuvre and decided he’s not the  filmmaker for me.  That said, I only made it to the end of La Dolce Vita because I felt like I had to.  That because it was a ‘historical’ and ‘important’ film I was required to finish what I started and, if I didn’t like it, or get it, that was on me for being a philistine. Continue reading

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2017 Year End Awards Extravaganza!

The time of year is nigh when critics dump their 10 Best Lists on the world, and the various organizations and guild awards are awarded.  And, being a person who never finds a trend he won’t at least dabble in, I’m joining the fray.  But, rather than do a 10 Best List, like most individual critics do, I’m going to do mine as an actual award, similar to a critics group.  Why do it this way?  Because it’s my blog and I do things my way over here.[1]

Better, because I’m not a professional critic, and do everything here at my own expense, you should give what I have to say extra gravity.  After all, I did not see any of these films via critics screeners or free screenings, and I did not get anything labeled “For Your Consideration”.  Rather, I actually paid my own money to see all these films in  a theater – for the most part – and since I have skin in the game, that makes my opinions more valid than the rest.

So, without further ado – it’s The Last Blog Name On Earth 2017 Awards![2]

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Nobody’s Perfect — The Best Picture Project

front-cover-01So, a little more than a year ago the complete, collected, and re-edited Best Picture Project appeared in book form.  It sold like gangbusters, which is to say, it barely sold at all.  But, I don’t necessarily write to be paid, I write to give me joy, and so if anybody bought it and enjoyed it, great!

And then…

And then I was notified of a comment on a post on this site — to the post regarding The Sound of Music, a Best Picture Project entry.  The comment?  Apparantly I forgot to include The Sound of Music in the book.  It took about two minutes for me to confirm that, yes, I did forget it.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that everything should be fixed now.  I revised the Kindle version of the book right quick and you should be able to get that one now.  The paperback version has also been corrected but that might take a couple days for all the kinks to work out between the old version and the new.

Nevertheless, feel free to purchase now and, as before — if you find an error in it, let me know, because I fix that shit.

Thanks!

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The Also-Rans Project – La Cage Aux Folles (Best Director Also-Ran 1979)

La Cage aux Folles (film).jpgDirected by Edouard Molinaro

Screenplay by Francis Veber, Édouard Molinaro, Marcello Danon, and Jean Poiret, based on the play by Jean Poiret

Starring Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault

The further back into Academy Awards I delve, the easier it is to find films to include in this project – that is, it’s easier it is to find a Best Picture loser I haven’t seen before.  Which is to be expected, given people tend to be more interested in things contemporary to their own lives, and not so much on things before.  So, my knowledge of films since the mid-70s is much deeper than my knowledge of those films from before then. Continue reading

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The Also-Rans Project – Funny Girl (Best Picture Also-Ran 1968)

FunnyGirlPoster.jpgDirected by William Wyler

Written by Isobel Lennart, based on the stage-musical by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill

Starring Barbara Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford and Walter Pidgeon

Twice there has been a tie at the Oscars in the acting categories.  That’s just two ties in nearly 90 years of awards, during which time there were four acting Oscars for all but 8 of those years.[1]  Or, less than 1% of the awards resulted in a tie.  And really, one of those ties wasn’t even a tie, but was close enough that under the rules at the time, it was considered a tie. Continue reading

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Happy Holidays! Buy Something!

Image result for christmas baubleAh, here we are at the time of year when the good people of the world start throwing around shitloads of money on gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Or, because we grew up in a culture that values yearly gift giving.  So if you are one of those people, but don’t quite know what to get for that special someone, maybe tried spending your hard-earned cash on something I wrote.

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The Also-Rans Project – The King and I (Best Picture Also-Ran 1956)

Original movie poster for the film The King and I.jpgDirected by Walter Lang

Screenplay by Ernest Lehman, based upon the musical of the same name by Rodgers and Hammerstein, which was based upon the novel, ‘Anna and the King of Siam’ by Margaret Landon

Starring Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr and Rita Moreno

I watch three movies at least once per year: The Shining, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Gone With The Wind.  And with Gone With The Wind, I’ve read the book multiple times, too – more times than I’ve read The Shining.  Which is actually a pretty big commitment to make when you remember Gone With The Wind the book is somewhere between 800 and 1000 pages, depending upon your copy. Continue reading

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