Tag Archives: Gone With The Wind

The Also Rans – Stagecoach (Best Picture Nominee 1939)

Stagecoach movieposter.jpgDir. John Ford

Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, based on the short story “The Stage at Lordsburg” by Ernest Haycox

Starring John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, John Carradine, Andy Devine and Claire Trevor

I resist John Wayne.  I always have and make no bones about why — he’s a rat bastard red-baiting jingoist war-monger and to this common-sense liberal, he’s repulsive.  And such is my repulsion that I can barely separate John Wayne the man from the characters John Wayne plays to such a degree I suspect he could play Ralph Nader and the only thing I’d think is, “My, it’s strange how conservative Ralph Nader is.”  To me, John Wayne’s a racist old grandpa we should be embarrassed about, not building films around.

Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise I’ve only seen three John Wayne films and have varying attitudes to them all:

  • True Grit
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Searchers

The Searchers, thought to be a classic, hardly registers with me beyond being racist in story and casting.  (Ironically, Gone With The Wind plays a similar game with it’s racial elements and yet, I don’t brush it off the same as I do The Searchers.  Rather, I’m apologetic of those elements to the point I’ve had to come to grips with being a massive hypocrite.) Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project — Terms of Endearment (1983)

Terms of Endearment, 1983 film.jpgDirected by James L. Brooks

Screenplay by James L. Brooks from the book by Larry McMurtry

Starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jeff Daniels and Jack Nicholson

In a way, James L Brooks is the most unappreciated man in movies, which is a funny thing to say about a guy that has three Oscars.  But when you think about it, every movie he’s made of consequence since his first — and for films of consequence since his first, there’s only two — has been singled out for attention by the Academy for everybody else associated with it, particularly those who are in it.  But Jim Brooks?  Not so much.


Broadcast News?  Three acting nominations, a Picture and Screenplay nom for Brooks, but zero wins all around.  And when you think of the movie, you don’t think of it as a Brooks film — you think of it as a Holly Hunter vehicle.  Or the last of the truly great William Hurt performances. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project — 12 Years A Slave (2013)

Directed by Steve McQueen

Written by John Ridley, based upon the memoir by Solomon Northup

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofer, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt

When Argo won Best Picture of 2012, I had the distinct thought that AMPAS finally got it right.  That after all the years of giving the Oscar to the wrong film – anybody want to talk about Crash? – and despite the slight backlash against Argo for its changes to the story to make it more cinematic, AMPAS stood strong and did the right thing.

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The Best Picture Project – The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)

Greatest.gifDirected by Cecil B. DeMille

Screenplay by Fredric M. Frank &  Barré Lyndon   &  Theodore St. John, story by Fredric M. Frank   &  Theodore St. John   & Frank Cavett

Starring Charlton Heston,

It’s a fact: sit around and talk to anybody about the Oscars long enough and eventually you’ll get around to arguing over which was the worst Best Picture Winner – that I s, which was the worst film to win in a given year.  Inevitably, people in my generation, or at least those with no sense of history, will make strong arguments for Crash, Shakespeare in Love or maybe Titanic being the worst choices in recent memory.  Those with any real sense of history will instead bandy about two other choices:

  1. Citizen Kane, one of which is arguably the greatest film of all time,  being bested by How Green Was My Valley, a film that isn’t even one of the five best films by its own director – for John Ford, his best films obviously include The Grapes of Wrath, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, and one of about ten other films not named How Green Was My Valley.
  2. The Greatest Show On Earth winning Best Picture over Ford’s own The Quiet Man and a little Gary Cooper movie called High Noon.

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The Best Picture Project – Wings (1927/1928)

Directed by William Wellman

Written by Hope Loring and Louis Lighton, from a story by John Monk Saunders

Starring Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Richard Arlen, Clara Bow and Gary Cooper

Some movies deserve the scorn heaped upon them.  After all, they’ve been given every chance to succeed, been given all the money to succeed, and failed and deserve to whither on the vine and die.  These would the pretentious, the superficially-important, and the later-career Michael Bay movies — in other words, films that could have — should have — been better, but just weren’t. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Braveheart (1995)

Directed by Mel Gibson

Screenplay by Randall Wallace

Starring Mel Gibson, Brendan Gleeson, Patrick McGoohan and Sophie Marceau

Most of you know by now – at least my few, regular, cherished readers do – that I’ve been doing the Best Picture Project on and off for an ungodly number of years.  To fill the space between those posts I’ve put in lists, product placements, and anything else I could think of.  If I didn’t, months might pass between some of the posts in that series.  Well, to be more regular with the posting, I started up a series called Terse Book Reviews.  Obviously, these are what they are called – Terse Book Reviews. Continue reading

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Random Thoughts on Book Reviews and High School English

For a little more than a year I’ve been writing book reviews for another website, not  my own.  It’s been sporadic, and mostly done in my spare time and only when I feel like it, which partly explains why nearly a year passed between my most recent two reviews.  The other part is explained by the latest book I reviewed, a dreadful little thing called Poisonous that I think you should avoid like the plague, because it’s terrible.  Because it’s beyond terrible.  That’s why I won’t say who it’s by or where you can buy it, or show you the picture of the cover or link to the review or anything.  In other words I don’t want it to be easier for you to buy it, because I don’t think you should waste your time and money.  If you read it, the best you’ll feel is indifferent and since nobody likes reading things that leave them indifferent, it’s better to just avoid it. Continue reading

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Ten Drive-In Scenes To Remember

Recently, my wife and I took our kids to a drive-in theater about an hour from my house.  As I kid I remember going to the drive-in several times, seeing such classics as Jaws 3:D and Kenny Rogers/Diane Lane/Erin Gray vehicle Six Pack, but my kids had never had the experience.  We saw Brave, which was substandard Pixar, and The Avengers, which was slightly better than all right.  Anyway, in honor of the event it seemed like a fun idea to look back at the ten most memorable Drive-In scenes in the movies – at least memorable to me. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Lost Weekend (1945)

The Lost Weekend (1945)

Directed by Billy Wilder

Screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, based on the novel by Charles R. Jackson

Starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman

I must apologize for the delay in making this post, because it has been a few weeks since the last, to say the least.  When I started this project, and this blog, I always imagined I’d do weekly updates, maybe bi-weekly at worst, and yet here it is that I’ve been several weeks between.  In most cases I could blame work and other commitments and to a certain extent that’s true here as well.  Unfortunately, it’s not the only culprit. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – All The King’s Men (1949)

Directed by Robert Rossen

Starring Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge and John Ireland

Screenplay by Robert Rossen, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren

Down the years there have been a number of Best Picture winners that look like they were mistakes.  In another post, somewhere else on this blog – but not necessarily as part of The Best Picture Project – I outlined “The Little Best Pictures”, or, those films to win Best Picture while still winning three or less Oscars.  In every case the film that won Best Picture was not the winner of the most awards that year and won in so few of the important categories that their victories as Best Picture seems to be something of a mistake.  All The King’s Men was one of those films. Continue reading

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