Tag Archives: Titanic

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 – American Beauty (1999)

Poster image of a woman's belly with her hand holding a rose against it.Directed by Sam Mendes

Written by Alan Ball

Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Mena Suvari, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher and Scott Bakula

I love American Beauty and couldn’t be more pleased it was chosen as Best Picture, especially since it represents the one time in the last fifteen years where the Academy was really tempted to hang it’s hat on another picture – one that was less abrasive, less divisive, had less murder, drugs, Lolita storylines, and infidelity – and chose instead to honor the more challenging film. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Gladiator (2000)

A man standing at the center of the image is wearing armor and is holding a sword in his right hand. In the background is the top of the Colosseum with a barely visible crowd standing in it. The poster includes the film's title, cast credits, and release date.Directed by Ridley Scott

Screenplay by David Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson

Starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris and Connie Nielsen

I am not a fan of Gladiator and never have been – there’s no point in burying the lead so there it is, right up front.  Ever since I first saw the movie in theaters, after it was already on its way to being a massive box office success, I’ve been nothing but disappointed in it and it shouldn’t surprise anybody I’ve only seen it three total times in my life.  The first was in the theater, where my opinion was formed.  The second, when it first came out on video, when I watched it again to see if maybe I’d gotten it wrong – I hadn’t.  The third was for this project. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Directed by Danny Boyle

Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, based on the novel by Vikas Swarup

Starring Dev Patel, Frieda Pinto and Anil Kapoor

Mid-way through watching Slumdog Millionaire, it struck me that any post I make about the film for the Best Picture Project was probably going to be disappointing.  If there’s one thing I’ve found to be true as I work my way through this project, it’s that the best posts tend to be those for the films that I feel are lacking in some way – or in every way.  Curiously, it’s easier to dog a movie than praise it, probably because when a movie is lousy you can never find enough things to criticize about it, whereas if you like it, you can only say you like it so many times before it gets redundant. Continue reading

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