Thursday, March 31, 2011

Name of the Game

So I just want to explain myself and my purpose here a little more before we really get going into the realms of the Academy Awards;

  • I do not want to give a plot synopsis of the movies unless it's pertinent to something I'm discussing.  You can click on one of the tabs at the top of the blog, (under the blog title) and get a quick summary from IMDb or a different engine of your choice.
  • There most likely will be spoilers! So if you know you want to watch the movie, you probably shouldn't read the post.  Even though I won't be going into great detail on the actual plot, I will be describing my opinion of the movie overall and actors, which may involve specific scenes.
  • Comment away!  If you don't agree with me or had a completely different take on the movie I want to know!  I absolutely love discussing film and always want to hear different viewpoints.
  • I may not always stick to Best Picture Winners.  I also like watching films that have an award for Best Actor/Actress, Best Screenplay, etc.  so I may diverge from "The Challenge" if I see a movie that I really enjoy that may not have received much recognition from The Academy *coughthecolorpurplecough* 

That is all for now, until next time, happy viewing!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lawrence of Arabia - 83

1962, Peter O'Toole, 3 hour 47 minute EPIC feature.  Really gives meaning to the term "full length feature".  Starting off my list of 83 movies with "Lawrence of Arabia" is like forming a book club and making everyone start off with War and Peace.

To be quite honest I wanted to tackle this one first since I recently watched it and there is a LOT to remember, annnnnd I want to get it out of the way.

I'm not really sure what I was expecting before I watched it.  I mean, I had just finished "Amadeus" which was a 3 hour film and I was thinking to myself "well at least I got the longest one crossed off the list!"  Then I opened the NetFlix envelope to have Running Time: 3 hours 47 minutes staring me down.  So I made sure to save a Sunday morning for the first half, hunkered down and began my quest of climbing the Mr. Everest of films from the 60's.  

As epic movies go, this was definitely a 9 out of 10 on the "epicness" scale. What surprised me the most was there wasn't a single female lead in the entire movie.  Which also meant that there was no type of love story or love interest.  I'm not saying that for a movie to be epic or good there has to be a love story, but it sure helps... it's a lot of film to sit through without one.

Sand.  If I had to describe the movie in one word I would choose; Sand.  And a hell of a lot of it.

Peter O'Toole did a phenomenal job developing his character throughout the film, especially since the film starts with his death.  But he of course was up against Gregory Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird) and wasn't awarded Best Actor that year.  I mean, Peter O'Toole was the movie.  There were no other leading characters, and no other actors that really stood out.  Mr. O'Toole took a nonchalant British soldier who was content painting maps in the basement of a building to a leader of an Arabian tribe.  I mean, think about it.  Integrating yourself into a culture that you have no business being in and then getting the people trust you AND then fight with you.  People who don't trust your kind.  Mind you, this was set in the early 1900's and the same stigmata of not trusting the "white people who only want to take advatage of you" was very present.  So when Lawrence comes along and starts fighting for the RIGHTS and land of the Arabian tribes it's quite the shock for all parties.

At one point in the movie he has to kill a man for stealing from another man, as is custom to the Arabs.  The thief turns his face and Lawrence sees that it is the same man he had earlier risked his life for in the desert to save.  Traveling without food or water to go back and save this man from starvation.  He looks him in the eye and pulls the trigger.  The first shot doesn't kill him so he stands there and empties a round into his friend and you can feel the pain and the regret.  Later when meeting with a British Major Lawrence explains what he had to do and at the end he has a hard time describing how he felt; "It felt... I felt... it felt... good". That was the turning point of the film.  The viewers then knew that Thomas Edward Lawrence was a changed man.

Well, I probably could go on about this movie for another 5 paragraphs but I don't want to bore all of you to tears.  

Did I mention that this movie had an intermission?  A musical intermission.  The composer decided to play it with no film.  So it's a 10 minute intermission with a black screen and music.  And sand, lots of sand.

Until next time,  thank you Academy #83

Start at the Beginning

83 years of film have given us 83 films deemed "best picture", or as it was first called "Outstanding Picture".  So why not watch them all?  And then why not blog about it?!  That is exactly what I've decided to do here.  It's almost like my little own "Julie & Julia" but with film!

Who knows how many people will actually read this blog, but don't you ever get frustrated with IMDb from time to time?  Sure it has the actors names and a cute little plot synopsis, but I want a more in depth critique of the movies other experts have considered the best "Outstanting Motion Picture" of each year (I'm so happy we just stick with calling it Best Picture nowadays).  So I plan to tackle all 83 films and then write my reaction to each of them here.  Please forgive my grammar and spelling ahead of time, sometimes my brain can get ahead of my fingers on the keyboard.

To be honest I have seen a good majority of these movies already.  The only movie I have not seen from 1990 - present is Clint Eastwood in "The Unforgiven".  But I am debating going back and re-watching some of the winners so I don't try to give my reaction/opinion completely based on my memory.

Stay tuned for this battle of human vs. silver screen, it should be fun!

Without further ado, presenting The Challenge;