Ah, 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.
Category Archives: The Best Picture Project
The Also-Ran’s Project — The Madness of King George – Dir. By Nicholas Hytner (Best Actor, et al, Also-Ran 1994)
Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Screenplay by Alan Bennett, based upon his play
Starring Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, Amanda Donohoe, and Rupert Everett
The year 1994 belonged to box office juggernaut, and improbable awards darling, Forrest Gump. It’s domestic gross, thanks to Box Office Mojo, was $329 million, on top of its seven Oscar wins from 13 nominations, which included taking the trophies for Picture, Director, Actor and Adapted Screenplay. And somewhat rare among Best Picture winners, it’s actually fairly enjoyable. It’s not great – certainly not Best Picture worthy – but it’s not bad, either. And that’s how we would remember the film today if not for it having one Best Picture over a true classic, Pulp Fiction.
Just as Crash would be forever tainted by beating Brokeback Mountain and could never be a movie judged on its own merits again, Forrest Gump is derided for having bested Pulp Fiction. The win doesn’t change the quality of either movie, only the perception of them, and opens them up to harsher criticism than they might otherwise face. As Pulp Fiction’s faults are overlooked because it didn’t win Best Picture, Forrest Gump’s are magnified because it won. Continue reading
The original idea for this blog was there was no idea – I had no grand unified vision, only wanted some place to dump out the various non-fiction thoughts rolling around in my head. Primarily those thoughts would be about movies, but they might very well be about anything. I did not envision having columns, or features, or even having readers. I just wrote what I felt like, when I felt like writing it, and chose this place to deposit it whether or not somebody was there to get it.
In a way, this blog was meant as a peek into my id. Continue reading
Directed By Barry Jenkins 2016)
Screenplay by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, based upon the unproduced play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.”
Starring Trevante Rhodes, Andre Holland, Janelle Monae, Ashton Sanders, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali.
In 1993 Marissa Tomei was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her broad, yet smart, take on a goomba’s-girlfriend in My Cousin Vinny. It was a bit of a left-field nom, to be sure, given the film was basically comedy built on cliché, a type of film the Academy rarely has time for, and she didn’t even manage a Golden Globe nom for the role. Plus, her opposition was the type of nominees, in the types of films, that normally got academy affection – Judy Davis in Husbands and Wives, Joan Plowright in Enchanted April, Vanessa Redgrave in Howard’s End and Miranda Richardson in Damage. No surprise that the race shaped up with Davis and Redgrave as front-runners. Come Oscar night, though, when Jack Palance opened the envelope and read Tomei’s name as the winner, it was a literal twist-ending. Continue reading
Hello, cherished readers. As followers of this blog, you are no doubt aware of the long-running The Best Picture Project, a semi-regular series exploring every Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards from the beginning, through today. Well, if you were wondering if there was a way you could have The Best Picture Project in book form — well, you can! Set for release on November 17, 2017, will be The Best Picture Project. Featuring complete re-edited content, and together for the first time ever in one place, you can pre-order the book now for the Kindle, for the low-low price of $3.99. What a steal! And if you’re a member of Amazon Prime or Unlimited, you won’t even have to pay that!
And wait — if you’re one who prefers their media to take physical form, there will be a paperback version available as well. Unfortunately, that version cannot be pre-ordered, for reasons completely unknown to me. But never fear, come November 17, 2016, you will be able to order your own copy.
So, as you know, I’m doing the Best Picture Project, where I watch all 88 Oscar winners for best picture and honestly, life just isn’t fun without rankings, so follows are my rankings of the Best Picture winners, from 1 to 76, complete with links to all previous posts, with 10 being shuttled over into their own special circle of hell, The Bottom Ten. Two others were unranked, for reasons apparent in their initial reviews.
Best Picture Rankings Continue reading
Directed by Wesley Ruggles
Screenplay by Howard Estabrook, based upon the novel by Edna Ferber
Starring Richard Dix and Irene Dunne
Here we are friends – after these many, long years together, with you diligently consuming every entry of The Best Picture Project, and me, less-diligently, producing them, we’ve reached the end of the road, where it all comes to an end. And coming here almost feels bittersweet, like somebody should cue Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, or Boyz II Men’s End of the Road, to play us out. And don’t worry about neither being appropriate for this occasion, because they’re hardly appropriate for the other occasion for which they are most associated – high school graduations. If they work there, why not here?
But I digress. Continue reading
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Screenplay by Paul Haggis, based on the stories of F.X. Toole
Starring Hillary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena and Margo Martindale
Well, here we are – the penultimate entry of the Best Picture Project. After six years of toil and misery, there is but one After Cimarron? There will be no more, forever. But that, is for another day. On this day I bring you the entry I’d been putting off longer than the rest – Million Dollar Baby. Consciously putting off longer than the rest. And the delay? Imposed not because I was saving it for myself, like a delicious dessert. No, it was put off because I did not want to see it again. Not now, not ever, and, as I put it off, I sort-of hoped I might die before I had to get to it and, in death, I’d be spared the discomfort of it. But, given I’m only 40 and in very good health, death did not save me. And that, dear reader, is a lesson – death is its most-cruel when we want it, but are denied.
Directed by Peter Jackson
Screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens, from the novel by J.R.R. Tolkein
Starring Viggo Mortenson, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Dominic Monahan, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Bernard Hill, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto and Andy Serkis
In the six years I’ve been running this Project, I’ve never began with any sort of disclaimer, mostly because I’ve had nothing to disclaim. Today, that ends:
Given The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (TLOTR:TROTK) is the third in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, it kind of makes sense that, rather than watching TLOTR:TROTK on its own, it should be seen only as part of the whole. In other words, watching the final 1/3 of the trilogy, without taking on the first 2/3, renders any assessment of the film a bit suspect. But, while that might make sense I have three points to make that also make perfect sense: Continue reading