Best Picture Hall of Fame Part 2

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Unforgiven (1992), is a revisionist Western, telling the story of two men the heroic Little Bill Daggart and the villainous Will Munny. Eastwood's film is very much a deconstruction of the genre the movie starts with a prostitute getting mutilated by a cowboy only for the cowboy to get off by paying a debt to the pimp. The prostitutes then get together and put out a bounty of 1,000 dollars to any hired gun to come in and kill the cowboy.



What I love about this film, and what I like about westerns is that they are morality plays. Bill does what he believes is the right thing to do, he doesn't deserve to die for his actions. Will is the monster who drunkenly killed women and children and was basically a terrorist before he took a young beautiful wife and retired in the wilderness. The film constantly undercuts your sense of drama, you don't have these huge action set pieces it's all very claustrophobic and that plays into the finale.



This is Eastwood's best work as an actor, he's pathetic for the majority of the story until he gets back to what he needs to be successful...alcohol. Hackman plays Little Bill like John Wayne and you come to the realization that John Wayne was a pretty big jerk and he would have likely beat people to death to get information, and he would enjoy emasculating other men (the great scene with English Bob). And those English Bob scenes are fantastic as we are introduced to this colorful character who should be the lead and he's disposed off in a way that is first hilarious and then sad.


Should Unforgiven have won the Oscar...absolutely Westerns have typically come up short with the Academy and it's good that they got their due. It was certainly the best of the nominated films...but in hindsight the Academy did miss on two films I would have given the Oscar over Unforgiven, Spike Lee's Malcolm X, and Paul Verhoven's Basic Instinct. Two films that likely had a larger impact on cinema but would have been a bit more difficult to recognize at this time.



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



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Braveheart

Stephen: [starts laughing] Him? That can't be William Wallace. I'm prettier than this man!
Stephen: [to the sky] Alright, Father, I'll ask him. [to William] If I risk my neck for you, will I get a chance to kill Englishmen?
Hamish: Is your father a ghost, or do you converse with the Almighty?
Stephen: In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God.
Stephen: [to the sky] Yes, Father! [to Hamish] The Almight says, "Don't change the subject, just answer the f@ckin' question."

Is this a Historical Biopic?
F@ck no.
Not in the least. If anything it's more of a -- to use a more modern term: a fan fiction. It's in the same light as a Shakespearean play where Good ole Willy depicted such English Royalty as Richard III with a hunchback and painted him an utter scoundrel. (He was neither). Or the "Tall Tales" of our Westerns and the folklore of gunslingers, cowboys, lawmen, bounty hunters and so forth.
Historic figures and events staged in epic pageantry; it's mythical proportions ripe with romantic grandeur in both the characters and the events that take place.
In short, a Hollywood film to entertain the masses.

It is in that light, that perception, that I have always enjoyed and thoroughly adore this film.
From the countless times at the theater; enthralled and captivated in the darkness of the movie theater to the countless times I have watched this at home since then. I would cheer, laugh and, at a number of instances, cry.
Like any great cinematic adventure should be.
This, truly is.

And it is all done beautifully and exquisitely.
The cinematography is spot on, throughout the film. Capturing both, the action sequences and those special "moments" between characters. And the film is full of them, to the point, FAR too many to breakdown without making this an Epic of a review.
The same can be said about the cast. From top to bottom there is an incredible list of actors/actresses that do, truly splendid jobs. I love them all.
The same goes for the pacing, the dialogue, all of it. Making for such a terrific film experience.
No, not terrific. . . what word am I looking for?
Oh, yeah!



Now, in '95 Braveheart went up against some pretty d@mn enjoyable film experiences: Apollo 13, Babe, The Postman (Il Postino), and Sense and Sensibility. The only I haven't seen is Il Postino and have enjoyed the others, but in the end, I am thoroughly bias. Due to the adoration for the enjoyment I experience each and every time on the countless times I've seen this film.
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Is this an all-time great snub....look at that Longshanks...what a longshank. Braveheart is a movie told in six perfect episodes, Gibson has his structure down pat this is a movie that is 8 minutes shorter than Gandhi and yet time flies by.


Act 1 - We get the family history of William Wallace and a great performance from Bryan Cox.

Act 2 - The return of Wallace we get a romance and a reason for the buildup for the war. And Gibson deserves major credit for scouting and casting Catherine McCormack as she steals her scenes and gives us a death worth fighting for.
Act 3 - Wallace goes to war with the lords, all these pompous sex perverts get murdered in glorious fashion and we get to see some great old castles.
Act 4 - Wallace in England, the sacking of York which I don't believe actually happened is perhaps the only slow part of the film.
Act 5 - The betrayl and revenge, I think for many this is the best part the second battle is brutal and Wallace revenge could have been a film on it's own
Act 6 - Wallace's capture and death Sophie Marcaeu portion of the film is handled well...and yeah I wish the torture scene was a little shorter and the final battle a little longer but still....great film.


Patrick McGoohan is such a wonderful bastard in this, he just manages to walk that line between being a dick and genius. I think in many ways his choices were right, he did everything he was supposed to do as king of England but in the end he wins and becomes a villain for his legacy.


Did this film deserve to win...absolutely I think it's Hollywood's greatest epic in both scope and pacing. All the performances were great and it just had a feel that other films of this or any other era didn't have.



Braveheart



A true Oscar classic that definitely was it's best of it's year in my opinion. I love films where you can feel that the director put their heart and soul into making it, and it was definitely a big passion project for Mel Gibson. Each scene was so well crafted by him, this had to have taken lots of time and effort!

The acting is really good too and I've often thought directing and acting in the same film to be quite difficult but he certainly pulled it off! The technical aspects of the film are astounding. It's one of the better film scores of all time and the cinematography and on screen locations that were used are just beautiful.

Again, I don't care if the film is historically inaccurate or not especially since I never really knew much about this sort of history in the first place. It was a well done story for the screen and that's what really matters to me. Perhaps the true historians may not like it but I am not one of them.

So yeah, a big props to Gibson on this. While he has soured with the academy he will always have this one, which is another great one in a very packed group of great winners from the 1990s!

+



Legend in my own mind


Gandhi (1982)
To my shame I didn't/don't know much about Gandhi. I knew a few bits, enough to answer a couple of exam questions at school but not so much about the history or context of his cause, aside from the fact that he was instrumental in an independent India.

The film started with Gandhi already as an adult, which is unusual for a biopic.
This was preceded in the opening scene with a quote that explained the point that not everything could be included.

The film was beautifully shot and Kingsley was outstanding, but as impressed as I was with the film, I was more so with it's subject. The more I watched the film, the more inspired I was with the man and the more I wanted to learn about him. Alongside side that cam yet another reminder just how oppressive the Birtish Empire was in many cases. Obviously there is always dispute and disagreement on the accuracy of the account, especially as many people in the west only had a cursory knowledge of Gandhi. Also the portrayal of Jinnah has come in for a lot of criticism. With all of this going on, it is easy to see why it took Attenborough 20 years to make it. It is largely agreed though that the significant events are depicted accurately by those that were there.

I was impressed with the film, the story and the man, and am a little bit ashamed at how ignorant I was/am about what was happening in India at the time, and also a to a lesser degree about not previously having seen this film.

A superb nomination that I found inspiring and compelling in every aspect.

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"I don't want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me" (Frank Costello)



The King's Speech



I admittedly had never gotten to this because I wasn't in a rush to. After seeing it, it was ok. It's strength is on it's performances. I thought Colin Firth did a real fine job in the lead role and I also liked Geoffrey Rush. Helena Bonham Carter didn't have a lot to go off of and I was quite surprised to see she got an acting Oscar nomination but she was ok.

The problem I saw with the film was that in reality not a lot happened. The eventual King's brother decide to set down from the throne and the king is helped with his speech impediment by someone else. End of story. Wish it wasn't so simple, as I really think there could have been a little more spark to this story.

The score by Desplat was on point like it always is and the film looked decent enough. Overall with everything considered it was a decent one time watch but I would by lying if I said that I will rush to see it again. I probably will, but it will be quite sometime.

+



Gandhi

This isn't the longest movie I've ever watched but it certainly felt like it. I mean it was a slog, the last hour was a legitimate struggle to get through. But a lot of parts of this are inspiring and amazing, which is why I'm conflicted in my rating.

Ben Kingsley's performance is one for the ages, it's massive, completely accurate, and stellar. One star just for that. Cinematography, lighting, costuming, makeup, etc is also amazing, add another star. The themes/messages/powerful scope of this movie is also deserving of a star.

And not much else. This movie was fine. The King of Comedy easily should have won Best Picture this year, that movie is a masterpiece, and this is just total oscar bait.

I do think Gandhi is one of the most pivotal figures of the 20th century, and a lot of this as I said was totally amazing. I just think it was WAY too long, and never really clicked due to the lack of depth to Gandhi's - or anyone's - character. It just very cold and calculated, and not in the introspective way of a character study like Barry Lyndon or Raging Bull.

Worth a watch if you're into the topic or biopics. As for me, I really hope I never have to sit through it again.

-



As far as feeling the length of a film, I'd say War and Peace and Dr. Zhivago are the two I felt to be longest off memory. Hope I don't feel that with Gandhi.




Braveheart (1995)

Speaking of long run times, Braveheart clocks in at 3 hours and I felt those 3 hours too. There's been long movies that held my attention fast like Dances With Wolves or Titanic and even while watching Gandhi I never got fidgety. But I had to watch Braveheart on two consecutive nights. IMO there's not enough story presented in the film to warrant it's 3 hour length. It took a total of 40 minutes until the action started with the capture of Wallace's wife. I see the need for a backstory but a good 25 minutes could've been cut at that start of the film.

The first time I watch it I thought it was great, but this was my fourth watch and I found myself checking the time remaining more than once. I'm not big on action films sword films and as I already knew the ending I wasn't that involved with the movie.

I do have to say it's filmed remarkably well and both the shooting locations and the way they filmed the movie was impressive. I think I would have enjoyed it more had this been about 2 hours 15 minutes long.

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One thing that didn't make sense was:
WARNING: "Capture" spoilers below
Wallace was said to be able to smell a trap layed for him and he was suppose to be educated in the ways of war and the way of things. Indeed we see traps being layed for him that he recognizes and then turns to his own advantage. But after Robert the Bruce has betrayed him on the battlefield and tries to kill Wallace, Wallace then kills two of the nobles and the nobles are afraid for their lives. So I don't believe Wallace after waging a personal vendetta against the nobles would've have walked into a trap by meeting with Robert the Bruce. I mean Wallace walks into the camp of Bruce all alone and unarmed, surely he'd known that the nobles would've wanted him dead. I think that scene was poorly done as it went against everything we'd learned about Wallace in the previous scenes.



I can see how you feel that way. But meh it didn't affect my enjoyment.

And yeah it's not a perfectly told movie, it's just there's so many intangibles that work well for me that I can look past all of those issues.



I can see how you feel that way. But meh it didn't affect my enjoyment.

And yeah it's not a perfectly told movie, it's just there's so many intangibles that work well for me that I can look past all of those issues.
I didn't hate it and did like big parts of it. Mostly had it been a 1st or 2nd watch I would've liked it a bit better.



Guess I've only seen 3 Best Picture winners in the theater
I was born in 1970. I became a movie buff pretty early on, encouraged by my father. Since 1981's Chariots of Fire I have seen every Best Picture winner theatrically. With Parasite that makes thirty-nine. Plus I go to a lot of revival screenings so over the years I have also seen Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives, All About Eve, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, In the Heat of the Night, Midnight Cowboy, Patton, The French Connection, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Sting, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on the big screen bringing my total to fifty-six.

The ones I have seen the most are definitely Lawrence of Arabia and Casablanca. I've seen each at least ten times theatrically. Cannot pass up opportunities to see them, especially if Lawrence is being presented in 70mm. Unforgiven would have to be next, I've seen that around six or seven I would say. The one I saw the most during its initial release is The Artist. I can't remember now if I saw that four or five times, but it was a lot. La La Land would have had that beat as I know I saw that one six times. And of course there are those that I never have to see again, big screen or small.


I'm not obsessed, you're obsessed.
__________________
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra



Guess I've only seen 3 Best Picture winners in the theater
I was born in 1970. I became a movie buff pretty early on, encouraged by my father. Since 1981's Chariots of Fire I have seen every Best Picture winner theatrically. With Parasite that makes thirty-nine. Plus I go to a lot of revival screenings so over the years I have also seen Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives, All About Eve, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, In the Heat of the Night, Midnight Cowboy, Patton, The French Connection, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Sting, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on the big screen bringing my total to fifty-six.

The ones I have seen the most are definitely Lawrence of Arabia and Casablanca. I've seen each at least ten times theatrically. Cannot pass up opportunities to see them, especially if Lawrence is being presented in 70mm. Unforgiven would have to be next, I've seen that around six or seven I would say. The one I saw the most during its initial release is The Artist. I can't remember now if I saw that four or five times, but it was a lot. La La Land would have had that beat as I know I saw that one six times. And of course there are those that I never have to see again, big screen or small.


I'm not obsessed, you're obsessed.
Damnnnnn.... *I’ve seen one BP winner in theaters, Parasite*

Also that means you were 12 when you saw Gandhi? I would not have been able to sit through it at your age, so hats off lol.



Guess I've only seen 3 Best Picture winners in the theater
I was born in 1970. I became a movie buff pretty early on, encouraged by my father. Since 1981's Chariots of Fire I have seen every Best Picture winner theatrically. With Parasite that makes thirty-nine. Plus I go to a lot of revival screenings so over the years I have also seen Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives, All About Eve, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, In the Heat of the Night, Midnight Cowboy, Patton, The French Connection, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Sting, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on the big screen bringing my total to fifty-six.

The ones I have seen the most are definitely Lawrence of Arabia and Casablanca. I've seen each at least ten times theatrically. Cannot pass up opportunities to see them, especially if Lawrence is being presented in 70mm. Unforgiven would have to be next, I've seen that around six or seven I would say. The one I saw the most during its initial release is The Artist. I can't remember now if I saw that four or five times, but it was a lot. La La Land would have had that beat as I know I saw that one six times. And of course there are those that I never have to see again, big screen or small.


I'm not obsessed, you're obsessed.
This is just impressive. Like you, I use to go to revivals and see many re releases over the years, but that’s died down due to work.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
One thing that didn't make sense was:
WARNING: "Capture" spoilers below
Wallace was said to be able to smell a trap layed for him and he was suppose to be educated in the ways of war and the way of things. Indeed we see traps being layed for him that he recognizes and then turns to his own advantage. But after Robert the Bruce has betrayed him on the battlefield and tries to kill Wallace, Wallace then kills two of the nobles and the nobles are afraid for their lives. So I don't believe Wallace after waging a personal vendetta against the nobles would've have walked into a trap by meeting with Robert the Bruce. I mean Wallace walks into the camp of Bruce all alone and unarmed, surely he'd known that the nobles would've wanted him dead. I think that scene was poorly done as it went against everything we'd learned about Wallace in the previous scenes.
All three (Wallace, Steven and Hamish) talk about how likely it IS a trap in the scene before but Wallace remarks that they can't go on as they are if he doesn't take the chance and go to the meeting/trap.



All three (Wallace, Steven and Hamish) talk about how likely it IS a trap in the scene before but Wallace remarks that they can't go on as they are if he doesn't take the chance and go to the meeting/trap.
WARNING: "He should" spoilers below
He should've demanded a meeting out in an open field. Come to think of it when the King and his couple dozen personal guards leave the battlefield and Wallace goes after him and indeed catches him...if Wallace only would've took 50 riders or so with him, then he could've captured the king.