Monthly Archives: February 2018

People Love Reviews…

front-cover-01If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you are aware of my years-long series, The Best Picture Project.  You’re also probably aware that in late-2016 I compiled that series together, edited the entries, and put it out in both paperback and ebook formats.  It was called The Best Picture Project.  Like this blog, I didn’t put the book out with any hope it would sell or make me money — and it hasn’t.  I put it out because I like to write, and like it when people read my stuff. Continue reading

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The Also-Ran’s Project – The Hustler (Best Picture Also-Ran 1961)

Hustler 1961 original release movie poster.jpgDirected by Robert Rossen

Screenplay by Robert Rossen and Sidney Carroll, based upon the novel of the same name by Walter Tevis

Starring Paul Newman, George C. Scott, Piper Laurie and Jackie Gleason

There’s a pretty phenomenal performance in The Hustler and it’s probably not the one you’re thinking of.  In the grand story of movie history – or at least the history of film I created in my own head – it’s assumed the Academy shafted Paul Newman out of his rightful Oscar in 1961 by giving it to Maximillian Schell for what is essentially a supporting performance in Judgment at Nuremberg.  This is not to say Schell was not Oscar-worthy, because I recall him being very good in an otherwise painfully-earnest film, it’s just he was not the Leading Actor in that film.  That was actually Spencer Tracy, followed by Burt Lancaster and Richard Widmark. Continue reading

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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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