Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Best Picture Project – All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

Directed by Lewis Milestone Jr. Based upon the novel by Erich Maria Remarque

Starring Lew Ayres

If there’s one thing to be learned from every war movie ever made – or every movie made that touches upon war, except maybe for John Wayne movies – it’s that war is hell. A secondary lesson is that, in spite of everyone’s optimistic prediction that the war will be short-lived, always over in a matter of weeks, it never is. Because of the dramatic interplay of the two lessons they almost always appear on film together and even though they weren’t knew concepts when All Quiet on the Western Front was made, it’s likely to be the first sound movie they made an appearance in en masse.

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Defending Junk: Children of the Corn/Maximum Overdrive

Maximum Overdrive

Children of the Corn (Divimax Edition)

There was a time when a Stephen King movie wasn’t instantly thought of as junk. In fact, the first three adaptations of his first three novels, Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot and The Shining, were mostly stellar. Since then, though, it’s been a real hit or miss affair. The highs have been incredibly high: Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption and The ave Mile all achieved a measure of mainstream and critical success, but the lows…well, did they really make a move of Graveyard Shift? Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Platoon (1986)

 Directed and Written by Oliver Stone

Starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe

Platoon (Special Edition)

There was a time when Charlie Sheen wasn’t a tabloid headline, when he actually seemed interested in being a dramatic actor. In fact, of his first half-dozen or so film roles, only one was comic, that being his brief appearance as the boy in the police station that Jeanie Bueller makes out with in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Similarly, there was also a time when Oliver Stone wasn’t a left-wing, crackpot, wind-bag – a thing that pains me to say, as I am a liberal –but was known as a top Hollywood screenwriter with an Oscar to his credit, for Midnight Express, and director on the come.

That time, for both, was 1986, and the movie was Platoon. Continue reading

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Defending Junk II: Matthew McConaughey

Lately it’s become a popular pastime to knock Matthew McConaughey. At least one website exists for McConaughey jokes (although in fairness, there are only nine and some aren’t very funny) and Family Guy can’t go very long with slipping some dig in and why not? When your resume is littered with as much crap as his is, you’re ripe for the pickings. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Ordinary People (1980)

Directed by Robert Redford

Screenplay by Alvin Sargent, from the novel by Judith Guest

Starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton

Robert Redford isn’t the first actor to step behind the camera. As far back as the silent films, with Fatty Arbuckle, Chaplin and Keaton, actors have really only wanted to do one thing: direct. And Redford isn’t even the first to get some sort of Academy recognition for it either. Laurence Olivier directed Hamlet to the Best Picture, though he lost out director to John Huston, and Warren Beatty was nominated twice for Best Director in the 70s, before finally winning his Oscar the year after Robert Redford won his. And this win by Redford wasn’t just something the Academy did to throw an actor a bone, but was part of a real Ordinary People admiration society, a film that got six nominations, and four wins. Continue reading

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