Best Picture Hall of Fame Part 2

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Gandhi(1982) clocks in at 3 hours and 10 minutes so you'd think we'd get an epic story. I mean the movie is shot like an epic, Richard Attenborough clearly inspired by Lawrence of Arabia set out to make an epic but when it was all said and done I was left with a feeling of coldness.


The film is unique in the sense that it's not really a historical drama because we often fail to get the context of each historical instance. Time moves at a very strange pace as the story really focuses on the three acts of Gandhi's life, his role in South Africa, his commune in India, and the fall of the empire. Any one of those parts of his life would have been enough to tell his story, Attenborough chooses to be greedy and crams all three films into this one story. He also doesn't establish Gandhi's early years and relationship to his wife. This is once again a three hour film and all the supporting characters just feel like one dimensional place holders.


But this is not to say the film is bad, it's a gorgeous film and Ben Kingsley is given the job of carrying 40 years of Gandhi'slife for this film and he does an incredible job.


Did the film deserve the Oscar for Best Picture:


Nope...1982 was one of the best years ever for a number of filmmakers. It was in my eyes not worth a BP nomination, Fanny and Alexander, Missing, ET, My Favorite Year, Verdict, The Draughtsman's Contract, Blade Runner, Tootsie and The Thing



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



The Departed

Billy Costigan: [in Costello's bar] You're seventy f@cking years old. One of these guys is going to pop you. As for running drugs, what the f@ck. You don't need the pain in the ass, and they're going to catch you. And you don't need the money.
Frank Costello: I haven't "needed the money" since I took Archie's milk money in the third grade. Tell you the truth, I don't need pussy any more either... but I like it.

A sweet, gentle, life-affirming, heart-warming film about brotherly love, kindness, forgiveness and how humility is the only way to truly aspire in this world.

Oh, wait, this is the f@ckin Departed -- f@ck all that sh#t.

Set in Boston with Jack Nicholson's character inspired by the famous Irish gangster, Whitey Bulger and a remake of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs (which is the better film for my money) we get a cop/gangster/action/drama that hits all the check boxes pretty d@mn well.

Firstly, the location is ideal for this. It could have been any city. New York, Chicago, hell it could have been New Orleans but they made a great choice with old school style of Boston and its testosterone-fueled, street-mentality on both sides of the law. I'm sure a lot of the dialogue pretty much wrote itself. And the only emotional searching involves a police psychologist and even that steps out of the usual "let's talk about how you feel" that saturates most cop shows and movies nowadays.
Next, we double down on the "mole' scenario on both sides to the point where you begin to wonder who's really playing for who. Adding an extra bit of edge and tension to the cat and mouse brawl that occurs between cops and gangsters.
And both sides have an excellent list of actors portraying both sides beautifully. In fact, it's too long to even list, though there are a great list of secondary roles that really beef up the sequences in this film.
I also like that they followed the original when it came to the basics of the ending and thereby keeping it, not entirely, a Hollywood ending.


In 2006, The Departed actually beat some serious Oscar-bait; Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Queen. Now, I haven't seen any of those films so I can't give an honest opinion on if it deserved the win, but I can easily imagine that The Departed was the dark horse of the pack and a surprise win.
__________________
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran




In 2006, The Departed actually beat some serious Oscar-bait; Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Queen. Now, I haven't seen any of those films so I can't give an honest opinion on if it deserved the win, but I can easily imagine that The Departed was the dark horse of the pack and a surprise win.
I've seen: Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Queen but not The Departed yet. I liked them all, except Babel. I think you'd like Little Miss Sunshine, that would be my favorite from those films.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Platoon

[first lines]
Pvt. Gardner: [seeing body bags] Oh, man. Is that what I think it is?
Sergeant: All right, you cheese-dicks, welcome to the Nam. Follow me!

It's not often you see a war film that is sans glorification of the ones involved in it. And this, my friends, is high on that list.
An extremely intense, nerve racking ordeal that shows the reality of war for us lucky ones who never had to go and a reminder to those poor b@stards who did of the demons that still plague both their waking hours as much as their sleeping ones.

Oliver Stone wrote and would direct a lot of the sh#t that he experienced while in Nam and put the actors through utter hell of not only basic training, but kept them sleep-deprived and ran them ragged to get the most realistic feel of those out in the field.
It is also extremely well done technically when it comes to tactical and day to day affairs of war.

I remember just how much this film effected not only veterans but the every day film goer when it was at the theaters. The night attacks in the jungles put you right there and I remember how I was just as paralyzed as Charlie Sheen's character, Chris Taylor as the enemy appeared among the trees.
The only thing more haunting than some of the events of the film is the soundtrack. Specifically Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" that plays over some of the more emotional scenes and it is SUCH a heart rendering bit of music as if your very soul is weeping. A beautiful bit of music that still effects me to this day.

At the very heart of this war film is the two "fathers" that seem to be split from the same soul played with such aggressive brilliance by both Tom Berenger and Willem Defoe. Together they signified the two sides of the war torn coin.

In '86 it was up against Hannah and her Sisters, The Mission, A Room With a View, and Children of a Lesser God. Again, didn't really see any of the other nominees but I do know how much of an intense effect this film has over me and I remember how much "talk" this film created when it came out so I would blindly state: yeah, it f@ckin deserved to win.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I've seen: Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Queen but not The Departed yet. I liked them all, except Babel. I think you'd like Little Miss Sunshine, that would be my favorite from those films.
I have often wanted to check out Letters From Iwo Jima and, at times, considered Little Miss Sunshine as possibly one of those off-beat quirky films that I just might enjoy. And even more so now with your recommendation. Thank you.



Legend in my own mind
Sorry for the lag, been away with work this week, so haven't had chance to get any watched, but have Gandhi and Braveheart lined up for the weekend and should get the others done in the week.
__________________
"I don't want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me" (Frank Costello)



Legend in my own mind



The Departed

Billy Costigan: [in Costello's bar] You're seventy f@cking years old. One of these guys is going to pop you. As for running drugs, what the f@ck. You don't need the pain in the ass, and they're going to catch you. And you don't need the money.
Frank Costello: I haven't "needed the money" since I took Archie's milk money in the third grade. Tell you the truth, I don't need pussy any more either... but I like it.

A sweet, gentle, life-affirming, heart-warming film about brotherly love, kindness, forgiveness and how humility is the only way to truly aspire in this world.

Oh, wait, this is the f@ckin Departed -- f@ck all that sh#t.

Set in Boston with Jack Nicholson's character inspired by the famous Irish gangster, Whitey Bulger and a remake of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs (which is the better film for my money) we get a cop/gangster/action/drama that hits all the check boxes pretty d@mn well.

Firstly, the location is ideal for this. It could have been any city. New York, Chicago, hell it could have been New Orleans but they made a great choice with old school style of Boston and its testosterone-fueled, street-mentality on both sides of the law. I'm sure a lot of the dialogue pretty much wrote itself. And the only emotional searching involves a police psychologist and even that steps out of the usual "let's talk about how you feel" that saturates most cop shows and movies nowadays.
Next, we double down on the "mole' scenario on both sides to the point where you begin to wonder who's really playing for who. Adding an extra bit of edge and tension to the cat and mouse brawl that occurs between cops and gangsters.
And both sides have an excellent list of actors portraying both sides beautifully. In fact, it's too long to even list, though there are a great list of secondary roles that really beef up the sequences in this film.
I also like that they followed the original when it came to the basics of the ending and thereby keeping it, not entirely, a Hollywood ending.


In 2006, The Departed actually beat some serious Oscar-bait; Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Queen. Now, I haven't seen any of those films so I can't give an honest opinion on if it deserved the win, but I can easily imagine that The Departed was the dark horse of the pack and a surprise win.
I like that review and agree with most of it, except that I didn't really like 'Internal affairs' which is surprising given how much I love 'The Departed'.



Considering what The Departed was up against, it was definitely a deserved win. Seemed to have been a weak year with the nominees as I remember. Having seen them all, they were all good.
With Platoon, I havenít seen The Mission nor A Room with a View, but I find it hard to believe that either of them would have been half as good as Platoon.
I enjoyed Hannah and Her Sisters and Children of a Lesser God, but neither of those films evoke the same lasting images as Platoon has.





Sometimes I wonder about the Oscar "race" in 2010 the competition was between The Social Network and The Kings Speech two films that share a degree of apathy to me. It's also strange that a decade later the films that have had a lasting impact or were historically high points of certain auteurs ended up losing and really not even being in contention for the major prize. The truth of the matter is the film just left me with a great deal of apathy and after three seasons of the Crown the film feels like an imitator, which is sad.


The film does a generally good job with a stellar cast, I had completely forgotten how good Michael Gambon was in this. He has but three scenes and each one manages to land a tremendous amount of gravitas to the story. The cameo's did become a bit much with tiny Elisabeth and a less impressive Churchill. I was also slightly disappointed with the lack of nuance between Edward VIII and George VI, Edward is the bad guy George is the good guy I don't think that simplistic storytelling flies ten years later.


Colin Firth is good, I rarely see him not be, Helen Bonham Carter has flashes of brilliance though the character is somewhat jettisoned for the third act. I enjoyed the way the film was shot though I would have liked a bit more wide angles an artistry this film loves closeups and I think they could have done more with some creative filmmaking.


End of the day it's a fine film and nothing special about it. Inception should have won this year, The Fighter and Black Swan would have also been adequate winners






Platoon

[first lines]
Pvt. Gardner: [seeing body bags] Oh, man. Is that what I think it is?
Sergeant: All right, you cheese-dicks, welcome to the Nam. Follow me!

It's not often you see a war film that is sans glorification of the ones involved in it. And this, my friends, is high on that list.
An extremely intense, nerve racking ordeal that shows the reality of war for us lucky ones who never had to go and a reminder to those poor b@stards who did of the demons that still plague both their waking hours as much as their sleeping ones.

Oliver Stone wrote and would direct a lot of the sh#t that he experienced while in Nam and put the actors through utter hell of not only basic training, but kept them sleep-deprived and ran them ragged to get the most realistic feel of those out in the field.
It is also extremely well done technically when it comes to tactical and day to day affairs of war.

I remember just how much this film effected not only veterans but the every day film goer when it was at the theaters. The night attacks in the jungles put you right there and I remember how I was just as paralyzed as Charlie Sheen's character, Chris Taylor as the enemy appeared among the trees.
The only thing more haunting than some of the events of the film is the soundtrack. Specifically Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" that plays over some of the more emotional scenes and it is SUCH a heart rendering bit of music as if your very soul is weeping. A beautiful bit of music that still effects me to this day.

At the very heart of this war film is the two "fathers" that seem to be split from the same soul played with such aggressive brilliance by both Tom Berenger and Willem Defoe. Together they signified the two sides of the war torn coin.

In '86 it was up against Hannah and her Sisters, The Mission, A Room With a View, and Children of a Lesser God. Again, didn't really see any of the other nominees but I do know how much of an intense effect this film has over me and I remember how much "talk" this film created when it came out so I would blindly state: yeah, it f@ckin deserved to win.
Good review! I would have taken Aliens that year for BP, but obviously it didnít get nominated since the Academy hates sci-fi . However, Platoon is an extremely worthy winner and a masterpiece.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I like that review and agree with most of it, except that I didn't really like 'Internal affairs' which is surprising given how much I love 'The Departed'.
The few people I have spoken to regarding the two films does depend on which one someone sees first, more times than not.

Did you see Departed first or just enjoy it more regardless?



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Considering what The Departed was up against, it was definitely a deserved win. Seemed to have been a weak year with the nominees as I remember. Having seen them all, they were all good.
With Platoon, I havenít seen The Mission nor A Room with a View, but I find it hard to believe that either of them would have been half as good as Platoon.
I enjoyed Hannah and Her Sisters and Children of a Lesser God, but neither of those films evoke the same lasting images as Platoon has.
Without seeing them I kinda imagine the same thing.




The King's Speech (2010)

I enjoyed every single minute of this film! And I rarely feel that way about any movie. I'd seen this only once before, back when it first came out on DVD. I remember loving it then. So much so that I told a couple people about it, who then watched it and also loved it.

The King's Speech is right up my alley for movie subjects. It's historical, it's biographical and it's about the British royal family. I've seen a lot of movies about the British monarchy and this tale of King George VI struggles with stuttering, was both illuminating from a historical viewpoint and quite entertaining too. I actually laughed a number of times, no not at the stuttering, but at the clever witticisms that Lionel (Geoffrey Rush) blurted out to Colin Firth.

Geoffrey Rush was spot on with his role as the unconventional Australian speech therapist. And Colin Firth made a good Prince Albert/King George VI.

I loved the look of the film, especially the funky room they spent a lot of time in...shown in the screen shot above. Glad to have rewatched this gem of a film.

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Legend in my own mind
The few people I have spoken to regarding the two films does depend on which one someone sees first, more times than not.

Did you see Departed first or just enjoy it more regardless?
I think I did see 'The Departed' first and it became an instant favourite. When I watched 'Internal affairs' it felt like a tribute act, quite similar, just not the same quality.

Each to their own though right?







The Departed, its fascinating to watch this one after Black Mass and to see Scorsese's interpretation of Bulger vs the biopic. My impression of watching this film was surprise that Damon didn't make the cut for best actor, this is arguably his best work. Damon plays such a wormy little rat in this film he almost overshadows everyone else. It's also crazy to see Dicaprio play subtle...though he does get his yelling scenes in which for me takes away a little bit from the film. It's strange when you see the character dichotomy between Nicholson and Sheen how he knows to have fear with Nicholson but it's Sheen that factors into his actual life.



So much of what makes The Departed so good is the collection of scenes. William Monahan does a great job mixing genre and tone from humor, to hitchockian suspense, to Tarantino level violence and yet the entire film is still cohesive.


Did the film deserve to win, having seen the four other films nominated that year The Departed was the best of that group. Not to say 2006 wasn't also a strong year, Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, would have both been worthy winners though neither were nominated.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I think I did see 'The Departed' first and it became an instant favourite. When I watched 'Internal affairs' it felt like a tribute act, quite similar, just not the same quality.

Each to their own though right?
exactly.
I'm sure if I had seen Departed first, that would have been the favorite and Infernal feel like a replica. Like I said, it all depends on which one you saw first, it seems



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?


Did the film deserve to win, having seen the four other films nominated that year The Departed was the best of that group. Not to say 2006 wasn't also a strong year, Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, would have both been worthy winners though neither were nominated.
Both Prestige and Pan's Labyrinth REALLY deserved to have been in the running that year.





American Beauty is sadly a maligned film, which I disagree with. Alan Ball's writing, Thomas Newman's soundtrack and especially Conrad Hall's cinematography elevate this film into classic status. It looks great, it sounds great and it's funny. The criticism of the film is that an older man falling infatuation with a teenager shouldn't be romanticized and you should be happy with a meandering middle class existence enjoy the ennui.



But the dogma of the film isn't necessarily the point, the film is a deconstruction of a murder mystery where the build is to the murder and we see all the suspects and reasoning for killing Lester. The film is also a homage to the melodramas of the 50's it gets that nice rich technicolor look while using minimal CGI.


So did it deserve it's win...well 1999 is often considered one of the great years of all-time. Perhaps if the Academy were more forward thinking they would have gone with The Matrix, they might have ended up making a huge error and give to M Nigh Shyamalan's Sixth Sense. But at the end of the day American Beauty was the best pick...even though my vote would have been for Magnolia.







Platoon(1986) is a great film, telling the story of 30 platoon members in the waning days of Vietnam we follow Chris Taylor as he watches his group of soldiers dwindle down during the course of the film. One of the things I love about this film is how it feels like time is passing, each event increases the madness and terror for the troops in the war. The first big scene is suspenseful and terrifying, then you get a middle scene in a village that is pure horror but the last scene is just manic energy as the platoon loses it's final battle to a surging Viet Kong.


Berenger and Defoe received matching supporting actor noms and that was the right call. Sheen isn't really that great of a lead in a number of ways he's just a passenger and the story is about Defoe and Berenger's opposing views of the war. Stone does a great job with the camera work the film has the proper scope without the gloss that many war films have. It doesn't have a pretty feel to it but it also looks good. Everything is weathered and dirty and you get a lived in quality to the story and that goes a long way.


Did the film deserve to win...no doubt this one was far ahead of it's contemoparies quality but flawed films, Hannah and her Sisters, The Misson, Children of a Lesser God, and A Room with a View. I don't think any of those films have held up as well as Platoon has. The only real rival the film had was David Lynch's Blue Velvet but the Academy was never going to go that far out there.