Tag Archives: Jackie Gleason

The Also Rans — The Exorcist (Best Picture Also Ran 1973)

A man with a hat on his head, holding a suitcase, arrives in a house building in วthe night, with the film's slogan above him while the film's title, credits and billing underneath him.Directed by William Friedkin

Screenplay by William Peter Blatty, based upon his novel

Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Linda Blair, Max Von Sydow, Lee J. Cob and Jack MacGowran

Confession is an appropriate place to start this entry, given the heavily Catholic tone of The Exorcist, so here goes: I’ve seen The Exorcist before.

See, when I started this Project – The Also Ran’s – I had the idea I’d use it to see Best Picture nominees I’d not seen before as a way to force new viewing experiences on myself.  Given I’d already seen many of the Best Pictures, that made the Best Picture Project as much about revisiting films as it was about discovery.  By definition then, The Also Rans was explicitly meant to be about discovery because it excluded movies I’d already seen.  Moreover, it would also give me a unique look at the workings of prior generations, in that by looking at what lost, I might find something very instructive.

But while this is my aim, here I am throwing the rule away and using this project as an excuse to re-visit The Exorcist.  Why?  Because it’s my Project, so it’s my rules to break.  Also, because with The Exorcist, any viewing will be a discovery.

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Terse Movie Review – Smokey and the Bandit, dir. by Hal Needham

It might not be the greatest movie ever made, and it might not be one I’d watch over and over again, but has there ever been a purer, honest or more perfect film in the history of cinema – at least in terms of delivering on what it promised – than Smokey and the Bandit?  The only film that even approaches it in my mind is the original Gone in 60 Seconds.

(My favorite line?  When Jackie Gleason decides he’s had enough of his dimwit son and looks at him and says, “There is no way, no way, that you could come from my loins. Soon as I get home, the first thing I’m gonna do is punch your momma in the mouth.”)

(As an aside, what does it say about me that all my favorite lines from these movies are the women-hating ones?  I guess maybe it’s time to sit down for a little self-evaluation.)

(A more topical aside – the director of this film, Hal Needham, was at the Oscars over the weekend, celebrating his Honorary Oscar.  Who would’ve thought the director of this classic would ever have his own Oscar?)

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