Thanks to one of my local libraries, I was able to check out a copy of “Wings.” I watched it today. I liked “Wings” better than some of the later Best Picture winners. It had many impressive aerial special sequences and special effects. My biggest complaint is that there were just too many of the aerial sequences/they went on too long.
Anywho . . . woo-woo! I’ve now seen every Best Picture Academy Award-Winning film.
Now that I’ve seen them all . . .
My personal favorites: All About Eve, The Best Years of Our Lives, Lawrence of Arabia, Ben-Hur, Marty, The Sound of Music, The Silence of the Lambs, Schindler’s List, Ordinary People (I know many think this one shouldn’t have won, but it is a personal film for me; Mary Tyler Moore’s character reminds me so much of my mom it’s spooky)
Least favorites: Tom Jones (my least favorite of all of them), Cavalcade, Chariots of Fire, Chicago (I think years from now, people working on this goal will watch “Chicago” and think “Now why the heck did that movie win?”), The Apartment, Around the World in 80 Days, A Man for All Seasons, Oliver!, Grand Hotel
I finally saw “Cavalcade,” so the only Best Picture Oscar-winning film I have left to go is “Wings.” A library across the city I live in has “Wings” on VHS. Seeing it is a matter of me having a day when I can get across town before they close and when the video is not already checked out.
I watched Chariots of Fire, Mrs. Miniver, and Driving Miss Daisy. I don’t really have much to say about them. They were all okay, but I didn’t love any of them.
I have two Best Picture winners left: Cavalcade and Wings. The last two might take a little while because neither are available for rent on DVD.
All Quiet on the Western Front. I thought it was good. Not poorly aged/dated like some other films from the same era.
Rebecca. This was the 15th Alfred Hitchock-directed film I’ve seen. It was a bit too melodramatic for me and not as tense as I expected from Hitch.
You Can’t Take it With You. This movie had a goofy, family-friendly old-fashioned humor that reminded me of another of Frank Capra’s adapted-from-a-play films, Arsenic and Old Lace. I’m not a particular fan of this type of humor.
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, Going My Way, Hamlet, The Life of Emile Zola
My favorite of these four was Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.
Going My Way was cute, but a bit old-fashioned sappy for me. I think I would’ve liked the movie as a kid. Bing Crosby’s singing was A+, of course.
Hamlet was alright, but . . . well, it was Hamlet. I read it several times in college Shakespeare classes, but I was never particularly fond of the play. So, the film had an uphill battle with me to begin with. I’ve enjoyed other movie versions of Shakespeare’s plays better than I enjoyed this.
Zola was a slow starter, but picked up when Dreyfus came into the story. On the whole, if I was an Academy member and voter the year The Life of Emile Zola was nominated, I would have voted for a different film. I haven’t seen all of Zola’s competitors, but of the ones I’ve seen, I would’ve cast my ballot for Lost Horizon.
Left to Watch: Wings, All Quiet on the Western Front, Cavalcade, You Can’t Take it With You, Rebecca, Mrs. Miniver, Chariots of Fire, Driving Miss Daisy
All the King’s Men, The Great Ziegfeld, and Gentleman’s Agreement. (They’re listed in order of how I liked them.)
I liked All the King’s Men. I don’t really have any comments to make about it.
I didn’t mind Ziegfeld’s 3 hour length; it had some great numbers (Ray Bolger aka “The Scarecrow” from The Wizard of Oz provided what was probably my favorite sequence). On the down side, the film felt like “Cliff Notes: The Life of Ziegfeld.” I.e., it was more of a series of highlights of his life and work and not really an examination of the man himself.
I was most surprised by Gentleman’s Agreement; surprised I didn’t like it. Not to say I hated it, I just didn’t particularly care for it. I have liked the other Elia Kazan films I’ve seen. The film was packed with actors I like. The intent was clearly noble (condemnation of anti-semitism) but the film lacked subtlety, subtext, nuance . . . basically, I felt like the message “Anti-semitism exists in a big way and it is wrong, wrong, WRONG!” was written on a bat and the film kept hitting me over the head with it.
I bumped up the Best Picture winners Netflix has in stock to the top of my queue. I’ve seen since my last post:
Kramer Vs. Kramer, Cimarron, Broadway Melody of 1929, Grand Hotel, Tom Jones
I liked Kramer Vs. Kramer. I found Cimarron to be better than I’d heard it was (maybe it helps that I’ve read and liked the book, so I was excited to see a film version of it). I thought Broadway Melody was okay (found the main guy’s voice really obnoxious though and of course he sang and sang and sang). I thought Grand Hotel was uneven; sometimes I was very interested in it, other times my mind wandered. As often happens with movies that have ensemble casts and multiple storylines, some of the stories were more engrossing than others.
I didn’t like Tom Jones. So far, it is my least favorite of all the Best Picture winners. I found it only occasionally funny. I know he’s supposed to be the “hero,” but I didn’t like Tom. I never saw why women just fell into bed with him or why Sophie still liked him after his persistent womanizing.
Out of curiosity, I looked up Tom Jones’ competition the year it won the Oscar. How the West Was Won, Cleopatra, Lillies of the Field, and America, America were the competition. Hmmm. Can I throw them all back and have some new choices, please? In fairness, I haven’t seen either Cleopatra or America, America, so I don’t know if they’re worthy of a Best Picture honor. That said, I’m mystified about how “How the West Was Won” and “Tom Jones” got nominated but “The Great Escape” did not. Bah! (I also think “Charade” would have been a more worthy nominee than either of the three I’ve seen.)
I watched Marty, Out of Africa, and Oliver!. I DVRed all of them off TV (probably all three off TCM/Turner Classic Movies—a great resource for catching classics).
Oliver! was okay. I think I would’ve liked it more when I was younger. The songs were catchy.
I’d heard negative things about Out of Africa, and despite being a best picture winner, it has a not-great 6.8 rating on IMDB. Well, I liked it.
I also liked Marty.
I’m 71% complete on this. All the best picture winners I’ve seen lately are: A Man for All Seasons, It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty, and The Apartment. Of the four, I liked Mutiny the best and The Apartment the least.
Left to see: Sunrise, Wings, Broadway Melody of 1929, All Quiet on the Western Front, Cimarron, Grand Hotel, Cavalcade, The Great Ziegfeld, The Life of Emile Zola, You Can’t Take it With You, Rebecca, Mrs. Miniver, Going My Way, Gentleman’s Agreement, Hamlet, All the King’s Men, Marty, Tom Jones, Oliver!, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Chariots of Fire, Out of Africa, Driving Miss Daisy
I just checked the boxes on Lists of Bests by the movies I’ve seen on the Best Picture list, and it tells me I’m 65% done with this goal.