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CRASH - Best Picture?! It was well-acted. A decent film to watch once. Problem here is that Crash was a recycled story presented in a good manner that Oscar voters deemed better than the shoo-in Best Picture nominee Brokeback Mountain which genuinely was a masterpiece. 


FORREST GUMPGump remains an iconic, amazing movie full of gimmicks and tricks to pull at our heartstrings. It’s not a movie I hate by any means, but Best Picture…really? In some years I’d say “you bet”! But in 1994 it was running against the far superior Shawshank Redemption (the #1 rated film on imdb.com). That isn’t the biggest oversight even. 1994 is the year that Pulp Fiction deserved the award. With all its edginess and originality, it was above & beyond better than Gump and changed the way movies were written and made from 1994-present day.


SANDRA BULLOCK - THE BLIND SIDE I’m not a Bullock-hater like some. I’ve quite liked her (if not her movie choices) since she sprung onto the scene. However…her well-played performance in Blind Side could have been played by any actress. For that reason alone she didn’t deserve an Oscar win. When you add into the equation that she was running against the likes of Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, & Gabourey Sidibe, THAT makes it much worse. She continues to develop as an actress (see her astounding turn in Gravity as proof). But not the best performance to give anybody an Oscar for in The Blind Side.


DANCES WITH WOLVES I have always struggled with what makes this film so artistically special or entertaining. And I HAVE tried to watch it several times to gain knowledge & value. It’s formulaic and drab. It needed a good 45 minute edit (yet still won the Oscar for Best Film Editing). Again, I look at the competition and I see films more worthy of winning the Best Picture Oscar. First—Ghost…many can pick it apart and make mincemeat from it. I only see a perfect love story with layers of comedy, mystery, and beauty. It was Demi Moore at her shining best, and at least Whoopi Goldberg won Supporting Actress. More so, feel that Goodfellas undoubtedly deserved the win. We remember & quote it today. Nobody argues that it’s one of the best crime/mob movies ever crafted.


BRAVEHEART Even the most gruesome an garish acclaimed films have things going for it which Braveheart lacked. Historical inaccuracies aside, it seemed to run in circles with no redemption in sight. Where some saw a lavish story featuring a trailblazing hero, I saw a well-crafted, uneven movie with a less than charismatic performance from Gibson. More blood than heart here.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS Nobody ever believes me, but I honestly DID see the “surprise” ending coming about 1/2 through the movie. The only really incredible thing for me in the film is Kevin Spacey’s artful, Oscar-winning performance. The rest was a messy, confused, lackluster overload that tried too hard to convince that it was clever.

MERCEDES RUEHL - THE FISHER KING Best Supporting Actress 1992. How did this happen? The performance was good enough (at best), and led Ruehl nowhere in her career. The movie itself is an example of using the right cast & right director (at the time) to get good results, regardless of its mediocrity (again, at best).

GANDHI A superb (if lengthy) movie acted with sheer finesse by Ben Kingsley. What’s the problem then? It may seem juvenile to say, but Gandhi was running against the penultimate perfect family film (in all of Steven Spielberg’s glory) ET - The Extra Terrestrial! I dare you to ask people which is better. ET has stood the test of time!

LINDA HUNT - THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY The only thing that distinguished Hunt’s performance as “great”, was the fact that she was a female actress playing the part of a male in the film. And not even convincingly so at times!  Odd that she would win an Oscar over such names as Glenn Close, Amy Irving, Alfre Woodard, and Cher. The year was 1984, and the Golden Globes got it right awarding Cher for her role in Silkwood

Filed under crash brokeback mountain academy awards golden globes forrest gump the shawshank redemption pulp fiction quentin tarantino sandra bullock the blind side gravity meryl streep helen mirren gabourey sidibe kevin costner dances with wolves ghost 1990 goodfellas demi moore whoopi goldberg braveheart mel gibson the usual suspects kevin spacey fisher king mercedes ruehl robin williams jeff bridges gandhi Et the extra terrestrial

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LINCOLN (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

   A spellbinding biopic which surprised me from start to finish. I learned things about Mr. Lincoln, his wife, and associates that I never knew. I wanted to know more after the movie was over. It mainly focuses on Lincoln’s struggle to end the war & abolish slavery. I expected to see a true “biopic”: from his beginnings to an untimely end. But it really does not show much (if anything) about that. As a matter of fact it (carefully) never even mentions the name John Wilkes Booth.

     In a film like Lincoln, one must begin with the cast. We all know double Oscar-winner Daniel Day Lewis can do just about anything, and he is choosy about the parts he takes. It makes me wonder if having Steven Spielberg as a director made it easier for him to say yes. All I can say, is we’re lucky he did because he embodies the role of the President, playing the part with grace and charm, even through all his struggles. But it’s also as if you can tell Day-Lewis really loves his character. It shines through. He is a guaranteed lock for a Best Actor Oscar win (trophy number three) coming up in March.

     The make-up is some of the most subtle & jaw-dropping I have seen since Martin Landau’s transformation to Bela Lugosi in “Ed Wood”. The facial make-up is key-on. But what I could not grasp is how they made Day-Lewis’ arms & legs longer. He is so tall and it is never unconvincing. I swear, even his fingers look massively long. It’s astounding.

     The rest of the cast is FULL of past Oscar winners & nominees including Sally Field, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones, Hal Holbrook, Jackie Earle Haley, & John Hawkes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Tommy Lee Jones or David Strathairn receive Oscar nominations. It also features James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tim Blake Nelson, & Lee Pace from TV’s wonderful Pushing Daisies.

     Along with Day-Lewis, Sally Field is 100% a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. Her Mrs. Lincoln is sad, scared, inappropriate when confronted, and sometimes very strong-willed. At times Field makes Mary Todd Lincoln the most interesting character in the film. That’s quite a feat considering how amazing Day-Lewis is. The movie would not work as well without her. She has done wonders in bringing such a shrouded, complex historical figure to life. Her scenes with Day-Lewis are intense, and they are nothing short of dynamic. These fascinating scenes the film’s best.

     The screenplay is brilliantly written, though my one complaint is that it could have used a 5-10 minute edit. There are a few scenes that seem repetitive & overdone. Surely the script will get an Oscar nomination, along with the costume design, art direction, directing, and the movie itself. A quick edit would have helped me to see it more concisely. That’s my only complaint and it’s a slight one.

     Due to the performances & direction/script, the latter part of the film brought me to tears, which is rare (especially in a sold out theater). The film is brilliant as a whole. I would tell anyone to go see it. I was mesmerized by Daniel Day-Lewis & Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, the costumes, the stern direction from Spielberg, and I learned things I had never known about Abraham Lincoln before. What more can you ask for in a movie?

(Review originally written December 27, 2012)

Filed under Lincoln Movie abraham lincoln daniel day lewis sally field david strathairn tommy lee jones lee pace joseph gordon-levitt james spader steven spielberg hal holbrook john hawkes tim blake nelson oscars

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brokeback49 asked: Do you mind if I ask your favorite movie ever.

So difficult to pick JUST one! Many movies come to mind which I deem “perfect”. To name a few: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, The Piano, Les Miserables (2012), Mary Poppins, West Side Story, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Schindler’s List, Ghost, Moonstruck, The Wizard of Oz. That’s off the top of my head.