Tag Archives: paul newman

The Best Picture Project — The Departed, dir. by Martin Scorsese (2006)

Departed234.jpgDirected by Martin Scorcese

Screenplay by William Monahan, based on the film Infernal Affairs

Starrring Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damno, Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg

Martin Scorsese should have an Oscar – Martin Scorsese should have a fistful of Oscars.  A fistful in both hands.  He is a legend of cinema, with talent enough that he can hop genres and eras with relative ease, making his style fit them all, no matter how disparate then may be.  Better, he’s been consistently good for more than four decades, without the flameout in quality you get from many other so-called legends.[1]  Add to that he’s a student of film and treats it legitimately, and reverently, as art, and you can see why he should have more Oscars than he know what to do with.

But he doesn’t have more Oscars than he knows what to do with – he only has the one.  Not for directing Raging Bull or Goodfellas, but as director of The Departed.

Let me ask you a question – which is worse: 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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Order in the Court: Worst On-Screen Lawyers

 Being a lawyer I’m a bit sensitive to the way lawyers are perceived.  If it is Republicans blaming us for the ills of the healthcare industry – I still don’t see the causal link – then it’s movies and TV making us all out as blood-sucking ambulance chasers – a la Ian Holm in The Sweet Hereafter.

Don’t get me wrong, though.  I have a sense of humor.  My favorite attorney ever is Barry Zuckerkorn from Arrested Development, who’s greatest and most effective act for his client is the ability to recognize that the incriminating photo found on his client’s cell phone is not a map of Iraq but actually is a picture of a man’s scrotum, therefore holding off the charges of treason until another day.

No, what I don’t have much of a sense of humor about, though, are those times when a lawyer in a film is actually lionized by the public, for his great grandstanding gestures, or even his nobility, when he should really be vilified for his utter incompetence.

What follows, then, are Nine of the Worst On-Screen Lawyers.  Some are a bit more obvious to understand, others might take a trained legal mind to spot the Worst-ness: Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Sting (1973)

The Sting (1973)

Directed by George Roy Hill

Screenplay by David S. Ward

Starring Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Robert Shaw and Charles Durning

Forty years ago George Roy Hill, Robert Redford, and Paul Newman teamed up to make a movie about theft and honor, with a little bit of irreverence and comedy thrown in to cover over the serious bits. Not surprisingly, because it starred one of the world’s biggest stars – and one who would soon in the same company – it became a massive hit and such was its draw that its soundtrack became a hit as well, was feted with a mess of Academy Award nominations, managing to win a good few of them, including Oscars for the music, the script, the director, and best picture.

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James Dean – What Might Have Been

Watching Cool Hand Luke recently on the DVR – thank you ’31 Days of Oscar’ on TCM – I noticed Dennis Hopper and Richard Davalos kicking around the background, with Jo Van Fleet having a turn in the foreground, and there was something in the convergence of the three that got me thinking about James Dean. After all, Davalos and Van Fleet were both in East of Eden with Dean, playing his mother and brother, and Dennis Hopper, in addition to playing a small part in Rebel Without a Cause and a less smaller part in Giant, had been a friend/devotee of Dean at the time of Dean’s death. Continue reading

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