Random Five: When Oscar is Wrong March 4, 2010Posted by Matt in movies, Random Five.
Tags: Academy Awards, Best Picture, Brokeback Mountain, fargo, Goodfellas, L.A. Confidential, Pulp Fiction, wrong choices
I have had an interest in the Academy Awards, especially the Best Picture winners, for probably about 20 years – ever since I was a young teenager whose cinematic tastes were starting to mature. Over that time, I think I’ve seen all of the Best Picture winners and most of the nominees, and there is one thing that has often been apparent to me – sometimes, the Academy gets it wrong. Yes, even with all of their wisdom and power and prestige, there are occasions when the Academy voters mess up and give the award to a film that is undeserving (at least in my eyes) when compared to its competitors. Today’s list is dedicated to those films from the past 20 years that were nominated, but lost to a lesser film. As always, let me know what you think.
5. Goodfellas (1990)
One of three times that a deserving Martin Scorsese was wrongly defeated, Goodfellas was the best gangster movie since the first Godfathers, both of which did win Best Picture. Winner Dances with Wolves is not a bad movie by any means, but it certainly is not on the same level.
4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Tarantino’s magnum opus was not just the best film of 1994, it was quite possibly the best of the entire decade. It is a cultural milestone, albeit one that is full of dark humor, graphic violence and string after string of obscenity-laced dialogue. And what beat it? Forrest Gump. Ugh.
3. Fargo (1996)
It took twelve years after the release of this, possibly their best film, for the Cohen brothers to finally bring home the Best Picture Prize and that’s a real travesty. Sure, I don’t remember The English Patient that well, but come on, it’s Fargo!
2. L.A. Confidential (1997)
L.A. Confidential is a great film that deserves tons of praise, but in all honesty, this pick is driven more by my dislike for James Cameron’s last 3 hour epic, the incredibly overrated Titanic. That being said, L.A. wins by default.
1. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Say what you will, but Brokeback Mountain is one of the most important and best films of the past decade. Sure, it carried some controversy with it, but great works usually do and the Academy utterly failed when they went with the safe choice, Crash (which isn’t a bad movie, just forgettable), over the right one.
And one more thought – if Avatar wins this year, you can add it to the list as well.
What do you think? When do you think the Academy got it wrong?
An Exercise in Blogging Narcissism #2 February 22, 2009Posted by Matt in An Exercise in Blogging Narcissism.
Tags: Best Picture, Bible Code, birthday, blog posts, Day care, gender, haircut, K-Love, Lads to Leaders, Obama, top ten, toy stores
add a comment
Top Words of Wisdom Posts from the Past Seven Days
10. Day Care – Day 1
9. Hillary Clinton and the Bible Code
8. A Downside to the Obama Presidency?
7. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
6. Birthday Wishes
5. My Best Pictures of 2008
4. Where Have All the Toy Stores Gone?
3. Hell On Earth
2. The Case Against Lads to Leaders
1. A Gender-Neutral Faith
My Best Pictures of 2008 February 18, 2009Posted by Matt in movies.
Tags: Academy Awards, Best Picture, Burn After Reading, In Bruges, Oscars, The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, Wall-E
With the awards season officially upon us, I thought that this would probably be a good time to do an obligatory Oscar post. I have not seen any of the movies that have been nominated for Best Picture, so there is really very little I can say about any of them. Trips to the theater have become few and far between for us and DVD watching can only usually occur once the kids are in bed, so I do not partake in much cinema.
But, of the movies released in 2008 that I have had the opportunity to watch, there were a few that stood taller than the rest, so today I will give you my top five Best Pictures of 2008 that I have actually seen.
5. Burn After Reading – The Cohen Brothers have developed a strange pattern in their contributions to the cinematic canon, following up their darker material with strange, off-the-wall comedies (See Fargo and The Big Lebowski). After scoring their first Best Picture Oscar in 2007 with No Country For Old Men, to some it might make sense to again shoot for the stars and try to add another statue to their collection., but the Cohens are a different breed. Instead, they release this strange little comedy with the likes of Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand, that is just brilliant and very funny.
4. In Bruges – The under-the-radar gem was released during the cinematic dead zone of January, but it proved to be one of the best films of the year. Starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell (in perhaps the only role for which I have ever acknowledged his acting ability), this movie tells the story of two hitmen hiding out in Bruges, Belgium, after a job gone wrong. It is really an incredibly good movie and one that I would seriously consider as my favorite of the year.
3. The Dark Knight – What else is there left to say about the biggest blockbuster of the year (and the second biggest of all time)? Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, and Heath Ledger have put together this year’s greatest thrill ride, one that may be impossible to top.
2. Wall-E – While there are certainly plenty of excellent ones out there, I am not generally a big fan of animated films. Wall-E, though, has proven itself to be one of the few exceptions to this personal rule. Though marketed to children, this is not solely a child’s movie. There are no Barbie-esque princesses randomly breaking into song, nor are there talking animals or magic or fairies. Instead this inventive picture centers on a robot living alone in a trash-strewn dystopia. Despite the lack of dialogue, the film sparkles with an intelligence that is generally absent in a kids’ movie. Oh, and the message about being a good ecological steward doesn’t hurt either.
1. Tropic Thunder – Comedies come and go and, while some may be mildly amusing, there are few that I find to be both intelligent and laugh-out-loud funny. Judd Apatow’s Superbad did it in 2007, but Tropic Thunder may even be better than that vulgar tribute to adolescence. With Ben Stiller (who directed, produced, wrote, and starred in it), Jack Black, an almost unrecognizable Tom Cruise, and an insanely funny Robert Downey Jr. (who, if it weren’t for Heath Ledger, should win Best Supporting Actor), this picture about a film crew inadvertently caught up in a drug war takes my top prize of the year. Seriously, whoever thought up the idea of having Downey Jr. play a white actor playing a totally stereotypical black actor is a genius. This is your movie of the year…at least so far.
What about you? What were your favorite movies of 2008?