Tag Archives: Platoon

The Best Picture Project — Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Midnight Cowboy.jpgMidnight Cowboy (1969)

Directed by John Schlesinger

Written by Waldo Salt, based upon the novel by James Leo Herlihy

Starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman

Midnight Cowboy seems an unusual choice to win the Oscar – after all, until it’s win in 1969, no movie with any real, honest-to-goodness grit to it, save for maybe Marty, managed to snag the top prize.  And those that did have a tinge of grit to it – or darkness, if you prefer another word – were about big, important things, e.g. The Best Years of Our Lives.  In other words, if a dark movie, rooted in real life, wanted to win Best Picture, it had to go big and make epic statements about important topics (anti-Semitism, WWII), because, aside from that sweet little film about the lonely butcher – Marty – you couldn’t win.

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The Best Picture Project – The Last Emperor (1987)

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci

Written by Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci

Starring John Lone, Peter O’Toole and Joan Chen

After my last entry, for Wings, went super-long, I purposefully set out to rein this one in a bit, but it probably won’t be that difficult a task, because there really isn’t much of anything special I can say about The Last Emperor, other than it’s not really special – yet another default Best Picture winner in an otherwise dull year. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Directed by Jonathon Demme

Screenplay by Ted Tally, based on the novel by Thomas Harris

Starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins

It’s somewhat funny that, as I work myself through this project, I’ve described various Best Picture winners as ‘perhaps the darkest Best Picture winner ever,’ or some sentiment along those lines.  I’ve said this about Oliver!, I’m sure I said it about The Lost Weekend, and if I didn’t say it about Platoon, I don’t know why.  The reason this is funny is that, there can truly only be one film to hold the title of ‘darkest Best Picture’, and with all due respect to those other films that I might have tried to include in the race, the reality is that The Silence of the Lambs is easily the darkest of the Best Picture winners ever, hands down. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Amadeus (1984)

Directed by Milos Foreman

Written by Peter Schaffer, adapted from his play

Starring F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce

Amadeus is one of those films honored by the Academy that, because of the perfect storm of subject, lack of recognizable stars, and what-have-you, is for the most part, generally unknown by the modern public – at least that’s the way it seems to me. After all, whenever I discuss any movies, especially Best Picture winners, nobody mentions Amadeus. The action-nerds talk about Platoon, the sci-fi guys talk about 2001 and Star Wars getting shafted, the costume drama buffs talk about Gone With the Wind, and the musical buffs have a million to choose from. Even thriller guy gets to talk about Silence of the Lambs. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – The Deer Hunter (1978)

The theatrical poster features Robert De Niro pointing a gun to his head. It is a black and white image with red highlighting his bandana.Directed by Michael Cimino

Screenplay by Deric Washburn, Story by Deric Washburn, Quinn K. Redeker, Michael Cimino and Louis Garfinkle

Starring Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, John Savage, Christopher Walken and John Cazale

The Deer Hunter might be the darkest film to ever win Best Picture, and if not the darkest, then at least the bleakest.  Certainly, over the years the Academy has recognized pictures that were not of the sunniest disposition – after all, Hamlet is several hours of brooding, followed by Hamlet’s death – but on the whole, the Academy has shown a decided tendency towards films that could either be called heartwarming, uplifting, or hopeful.  Think about Gigi, Around the World in 80 Days, Rocky, et al.  And even some of the darkest to win Best Picture haven’t been all that dark. Continue reading

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