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The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

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The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Old 02-09-14, 09:24 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

With the Olympics taking most of my viewing time the past couple of days, since I still wanted to keep my list active, I've mainly been watching shorts. There's quite a few of the early Oscar nominated and winning shorts on Youtube I have found.
Old 02-09-14, 11:31 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

After ~12 years, I revisited Lilo & Stitch. From my Letterboxd diary:
Spoiler:
I saw this during its theatrical run and absolutely loved it, but hadn't seen it since. A pal of mine recently upgraded to the Blu-ray Disc that pairs it with its sequel, and kindly gave me her DVD. My niece spent the night last night and when it came time to wind down with a movie (as is our custom), I checked and she said she hadn't seen it. We rectified that.

Everything about Lilo & Stitch is just about perfect, from the action and humor to the characters and message about the nature of family. I couldn't help but to relate to the invocation of "Ohana means family", watching the movie as I was with my niece (by marriage, not blood, and with that marriage dissolving, no less) and the cats, all of whom were strays. It was especially poignant for me given that last Saturday, I unexpectedly had to say goodbye to one of the cats, Harriet. Ohana means she won't be forgotten.

The question asked in 2002 that merits consideration today is, "Would Lilo & Stitch have benefited from being CGI instead of hand drawn animation?" The space scenes may have been more engaging in CGI, but computer animators were still struggling with water at that time. Any boost to space would have come at the expense of the water-centric scenes later, and that's where we see the heart of the story and its characters. That trade would not have been worth making. Plus, I'm glad give that Disney only released a few other hand drawn animated movies after this one that it was done the way it was.

One last observation I had was that there really aren't any white characters in this movie except for the overweight tourists Lilo finds so amusing, and references to Elvis Presley. What's fascinating about Elvis is that he's held up as a "model citizen", yet he's one of the most famous white people known for appropriating from other cultures. That seems a curious theme to explore at another time.

Lilo & Stitch was a nominee in the 75th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Spirited Away. Given that I've not seen that, I have no comment on their respective merits. Of the other nominees, I've only seen one: Ice Age. There's no contest for me there; Lilo & Stitch trumps Ice Age in every aspect.

Lilo & Stitch was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #75/1610

2002 Academy Awards (75th)
(N) ANIMATED FEATURE FILM -- Chris Sanders
Old 02-09-14, 11:52 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
After ~12 years, I revisited Lilo & Stitch. From my Letterboxd diary:
Spoiler:
I saw this during its theatrical run and absolutely loved it, but hadn't seen it since. A pal of mine recently upgraded to the Blu-ray Disc that pairs it with its sequel, and kindly gave me her DVD. My niece spent the night last night and when it came time to wind down with a movie (as is our custom), I checked and she said she hadn't seen it. We rectified that.

Everything about Lilo & Stitch is just about perfect, from the action and humor to the characters and message about the nature of family. I couldn't help but to relate to the invocation of "Ohana means family", watching the movie as I was with my niece (by marriage, not blood, and with that marriage dissolving, no less) and the cats, all of whom were strays. It was especially poignant for me given that last Saturday, I unexpectedly had to say goodbye to one of the cats, Harriet. Ohana means she won't be forgotten.

The question asked in 2002 that merits consideration today is, "Would Lilo & Stitch have benefited from being CGI instead of hand drawn animation?" The space scenes may have been more engaging in CGI, but computer animators were still struggling with water at that time. Any boost to space would have come at the expense of the water-centric scenes later, and that's where we see the heart of the story and its characters. That trade would not have been worth making. Plus, I'm glad give that Disney only released a few other hand drawn animated movies after this one that it was done the way it was.

One last observation I had was that there really aren't any white characters in this movie except for the overweight tourists Lilo finds so amusing, and references to Elvis Presley. What's fascinating about Elvis is that he's held up as a "model citizen", yet he's one of the most famous white people known for appropriating from other cultures. That seems a curious theme to explore at another time.

Lilo & Stitch was a nominee in the 75th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Spirited Away. Given that I've not seen that, I have no comment on their respective merits. Of the other nominees, I've only seen one: Ice Age. There's no contest for me there; Lilo & Stitch trumps Ice Age in every aspect.

Lilo & Stitch was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #75/1610

2002 Academy Awards (75th)
(N) ANIMATED FEATURE FILM -- Chris Sanders
Pal? I'm always a pal, it seems! Glad you enjoyed it. I totally agree. In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated Disney films out there. It has great music (I'm not even that big of a Elvis fan! but the Hawaiian music is fun, too!), a great story line and some fun voice actors that fit perfectly with their characters.

Having watched "Spirited Away," this one tops it. I am a Miyazaki fan, but still, "Lilo" is a lot funner-perhaps because "Spirited" is just a lot darker in tone than "Lilo" is?

I've been watching a lot of Olympics today, so haven't gotten in another watch. I do have "Godfather II" (and III) for awhile, so I'll eventually get to those, but first "Oliver!" (another musical!) and "The Great Ziegfeld." Neither of which I've watched, so it'll be interesting to see if I enjoy them. All this talk of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is making me want to watch that as well. Picked it up in a box set not too long ago and haven't watched it yet.

Actually, that set might interest some people here. It's "Best Of Warner Bros. - 5 Film Collection: Musicals: The Wizard Of Oz / Singin' In The Rain / Seven Brides For Seven Brothers / Yankee Doodle Dandy / Viva Las Vegas"

Of them all, only "Viva Las Vegas" wasn't nominated for an Academy Award. I found it for $10 at Wal-Mart.
Old 02-10-14, 12:00 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

The second part of last night's double-feature: Pinocchio. From my Letterboxd diary:
Spoiler:
I re-watched Pinocchio on DVD as recently as 30 August 2012 and said then pretty much all I have to say now about the movie. This viewing was of Disney's Blu-ray Disc release, which I was thrilled to find used (and cheap!) last February.

My niece hadn't seen it, and I was excited to show it to her. Unfortunately, she fell asleep early into it so I have no idea what she thought of it. The upshot is, that means I have a built-in reason to re-watch it again at some point. I feel at times that I could study each individual frame for months without seeing all the intricate details. It's a good thing that we watched Lilo & Stitch first, because Pinocchio would have raised the bar for animation too high to be met. They don't make 'em like this anymore, and it's an utter shame.

Given that this viewing was also in the context of this month's Academy Awards Challenge on DVD Talk, I suppose I ought to at least remark about the music; Pinocchio won for both Best Music categories (Original Score and Original Song). "When You Wish upon a Star" may be the definitive song in the Disney canon. At my most cynical points, I've resented the willful naivete of the song, but I confess that when I'm feeling okay, it speaks to my hopefulness. So, depending on my emotional state, I may love or disdain it.

The score is something else, though; it's nothing short of perfect. It complements the narrative wonderfully, and at no point did I find it intrusive or out of sorts. It's the kind of score that bespeaks of the old school approach, tapping into symphonies and operas and such rather than constructing scene-specific cues. I've never owned the soundtrack album, but having paid conscious attention to the music this time, I've added it to my To-Get list.

One other remark that I don't believe I made in my last review of the film is that I was especially impressed by the cinematography. That's something rarely said of animated features, but there are an awful lot of sweeping pans that bring us right into the action here. The most obvious shot is when Jiminy Cricket approaches the home of Gepetto. We see the front of the house, but rather than see Jiminy Cricket himself, the camera "bounces" up and down, zooming in closer with each downward movement. It's a brilliant approach that's both kinetic and resourceful (sparing the animators the work of creating the character from behind).

It's truly a shame we will probably never again see the likes of Pinocchio.

Pinocchio was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #28/1610

1940 Academy Awards (13th)
(W) MUSIC (Original Score) -- Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith, Ned Washington
(W) MUSIC (Song) -- "When You Wish Upon A Star," Music by Leigh Harline; Lyrics by Ned Washington
Old 02-10-14, 12:12 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by LJG765
Pal? I'm always a pal, it seems!
Ha! I'll try to use a different designation next time.

Glad you enjoyed it. I totally agree. In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated Disney films out there. It has great music (I'm not even that big of a Elvis fan! but the Hawaiian music is fun, too!), a great story line and some fun voice actors that fit perfectly with their characters.
I didn't go into it in the review, in part because I wanted to get onto reviewing Pinocchio while I still had energy, but watching it this time I did start to think that maybe one reason why it's been treated as a lesser Disney movie is because of its dearth of white characters. Yes, there was a spin-off TV show (making the movie eligible for the TV on DVD* Challenge, in case you're wondering), but the perception exists that Disney doesn't seem to have taken the same kind of pride in this one that they have in some others. It's not as forgotten as, say, Chicken Little, but it's also clearly not as embraced by them as Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph.
Old 02-10-14, 08:22 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Ha! I'll try to use a different designation next time.

I didn't go into it in the review, in part because I wanted to get onto reviewing Pinocchio while I still had energy, but watching it this time I did start to think that maybe one reason why it's been treated as a lesser Disney movie is because of its dearth of white characters. Yes, there was a spin-off TV show (making the movie eligible for the TV on DVD* Challenge, in case you're wondering), but the perception exists that Disney doesn't seem to have taken the same kind of pride in this one that they have in some others. It's not as forgotten as, say, Chicken Little, but it's also clearly not as embraced by them as Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph.
Friend works.

Hmm, quite possibly. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the reason. I do have give Disney some credit though, they do have at least one ride at WDW based on Stitch. (It's a little anticlimactic, but there!)
Old 02-11-14, 03:46 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

I just finished The Prestige. From my Letterboxd diary:

Spoiler:
The most prominent blurb taken from reviews used in the ad campaign and on the DVD release for The Prestige was taken from Peter Travers: "You want to see it again the second it's over." I had that reaction when I went to see it during its theatrical run in 2006. I'd been captivated from start to finish, knowing I was being teased but not knowing in what way until later in the film than I care to admit. It was sharp and taut, and I appreciated that it engaged a part of my brain that most mainstream movies tended to ignore.

I did not, as it turned out, go back to see it again as soon as it finished - despite going to a 1:15 matinee, after which I certainly had opportunity to do so. Nor did I even watch it as soon as I bought the DVD. In point of fact, this just now was only my second. My recollection of events was little tarnished by the elapsed seven-plus years between viewings. Films that rely on being clever are often thrilling the first time through, but fail to hold up in repeat viewings. I was concerned that this would be the case.

For the most part, I was still invested throughout the story this time around. There is one glaring deficiency in Christopher Nolan's storytelling, though, that I felt more clearly this time than I did in 2006 and that's that he is almost certainly a psychopath. I can't prove it, but in every film of his that I've seen, I have the clear sense that I'm seeing a storyteller trying to mimic emotion because he has no idea what it actually feels like. (The actors he's cast in these movies have all been too good elsewhere for me to believe that the fault lies with them.)

Nolan handled the mystery and intrigue with aplomb, but once you know those secrets, you're left with the characters. Unfortunately, there's not much there. The perfect microcosm is the scene in which Hugh Jackman instructs ScarJo to become a double agent and go infiltrate Christian Bale's operation. She challenges that he's become obsessed and that learning Bale's trick won't bring back his wife.

"I don't care about my wife. I care about his trick," Jackman replies flatly.

And just like that, we move on. Nolan is satisfied that's all we need to hear or see in order to process these complex emotional dynamics. I could credit him for not having Jackman play it with manic energy, I suppose, but the brief flashes of facial expressions between the two actors looks more as though they're silently checking off that they've gotten that out of the way than that their characters are reacting to his startling admission.

This coldness is Nolan's Achilles heel, restricting his characters from ever developing into fully realized people. Aside from the admittedly interesting perspective of dissecting who knew or did what and when they knew or did it, there's no reason to actually care about these characters. It's a shame, because if there was any emotional aspect to the film at all, it'd be a five-star picture for me for sure.

The easiest contrast I can think to offer is The Sting, which also relies on plot twists to achieve its brilliance, but holds up to repeat viewings in large part because it's so easy to like and care about the people in the story. The Prestige falls short of that bar.

Given that I re-watched it as part of my Oscar Challenge for DVD Talk, I ought to remark on its two nominations: Art Direction (Art Direction: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Julie Ochipinti) and Cinematography (Wally Pfister). Victorian London is an awfully familiar setting in film, but I credit Crowley and Ochipinti with giving us the theaters of that world - and, of course, Tesla's magnificent laboratory. Pfister deftly manages to keep us up close with the characters and action while keeping us at arm's length from the secrets. That's not easy to do.

The Director's Notebook (19:30) ***
Disappointingly, we don't get even a full twenty minutes of bonus content. What's here is a serviceable survey of the pertinent topics, but the superficiality means we learn nothing of any real substance.

The Art of The Prestige *
I hate photo galleries as a bonus feature.

The Prestige was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #177/1610

2006 Academy Awards (79th)
(N) ART DIRECTION -- Art Direction: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Julie Ochipinti
(N) CINEMATOGRAPHY -- Wally Pfister
Old 02-11-14, 11:48 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Sunday, I rewatched Funny Girl which I hadn't seen for a number of years. Barbra Streisand is at her most charismatic as Fanny Brice. This film was on the rotation of musicals that I watched time and time again (often fast forwarding to the musical numbers) along with My Fair Lady and Oklahoma (had a thing for Rex Harrison). It's a film that I've used a couple times to introduce people to musicals, referring to it as "musical-light". There aren't that many musical numbers (though one of the numbers plays over a montage featuring events that could stand more non-singing elaboration). For me, the film is still magnificent and made me want to rewatch The Great Ziegfeld.
Old 02-11-14, 12:15 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by mrcellophane
Sunday, I rewatched Funny Girl which I hadn't seen for a number of years. Barbra Streisand is at her most charismatic as Fanny Brice. This film was on the rotation of musicals that I watched time and time again (often fast forwarding to the musical numbers) along with My Fair Lady and Oklahoma (had a thing for Rex Harrison). It's a film that I've used a couple times to introduce people to musicals, referring to it as "musical-light". There aren't that many musical numbers (though one of the numbers plays over a montage featuring events that could stand more non-singing elaboration). For me, the film is still magnificent and made me want to rewatch The Great Ziegfeld.
Rex Harrison was in OKLAHOMA?!
"I've Grown Accustomed to Your Surrey with the Fringe on Top"
"Why cahn't the Oklahomans Learn to Speak?"


I watched THE GREAT ZIEGFELD for the first time a few years ago and I was dreading the prospect, but it turned out to be very good. There were a number of real surprises in it, not least Luise Rainer's Oscar-winning performance. She brings a European-style level of psychological realism to her portrayal that is quite astonishing to discover in a glossy MGM star vehicle of the 1930s. Everyone who's ever written about the movie says she won the Oscar for her telephone scene, but she has many more scenes than that and she's great in all of them. Also, it might have been the very first non-epic Hollywood film to be three hours long. And possibly the longest Hollywood sound movie up to that time.

I've never been able to sit through FUNNY GIRL. And I'm not even sure why. Sorry.
Old 02-11-14, 12:35 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

I'm not sure why, but I just couldn't get into Fellowship of the Ring and ended up turning it off when I tried watching it earlier today. Maybe I just didn't have the energy for such a long movie, I don't know, but it is one of my favorite movies, or at least used to be.
Old 02-11-14, 02:26 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
Rex Harrison was in OKLAHOMA?!
"I've Grown Accustomed to Your Surrey with the Fringe on Top"
"Why cahn't the Oklahomans Learn to Speak?"


I watched THE GREAT ZIEGFELD for the first time a few years ago and I was dreading the prospect, but it turned out to be very good. There were a number of real surprises in it, not least Luise Rainer's Oscar-winning performance. She brings a European-style level of psychological realism to her portrayal that is quite astonishing to discover in a glossy MGM star vehicle of the 1930s. Everyone who's ever written about the movie says she won the Oscar for her telephone scene, but she has many more scenes than that and she's great in all of them. Also, it might have been the very first non-epic Hollywood film to be three hours long. And possibly the longest Hollywood sound movie up to that time.

I've never been able to sit through FUNNY GIRL. And I'm not even sure why. Sorry.
I would be embarrassed at my misplaced parenthetical aside, but since it lead to the great visual of Rex Harrison speak-singing through the prairie, I'm just amused!

I also dreaded watching The Great Ziegfeld because of the running time. As I mentioned before, for the last few years, I've been slowly working my way through the Best Picture winners, and I felt obligated. However, I really enjoyed it. I'm a big fan of William Powell and Myrna Loy (taped The Thin Man off PBS when I was a kid), but I felt they were overshadowed by Luise Rainer. She was fantastic. I haven't seen The Good Earth for which she won her second Oscar. I'll have to put that on my "To Watch" list.

Funny Girl is definitely not for everyone. It's very stagey in a 50s/60s Hollywood musical way, and of course, Streisand is very Streisand which could be off-putting. Every Monday, I get together with three friends for a weekly movie night. Last week, I found out that two of my friends cannot stand Streisand (or Liza Minnelli, or Judy Garland, or Madonna). I was a bit shocked at just how much they hate her, so I will not be showing Funny Girl for movie night. (Though I've already told them that next week I'm showing Cabaret and they are to suck it up and like Liza.)
Old 02-11-14, 04:27 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

After being home sick for several days and gorging on movies I took a break Sunday for some much needed database updating and used Ax Men as filler/background noise. That's a *very* weird series... So I was still home yesterday and worked in a few more movies.

I finally watched Midnight Cowboy. This film was notorious at the time of release. I remember all the ballyhoo over the "X" rating and how many theaters would not show it. So... all I've really known all these years is it stars Dustin Hoffman and had a couple of songs hit the charts. Last summer BL got a few copies of the 2 disk version for $3 each so I sprung for one. After the viewing I have to wonder just *what* the whole deal was? Yes, there is lots of nudity and thematically it's somewhat questionable but IMHO Easy Rider (released the same year) is a far more disturbing film and it had almost as much nudity! It *should* have received at best a "R" rating on original release. OK... that aside it has some very good acting but seems somewhat overblown. Overall I have to agree with Ebert and his assessment:
"Midnight Cowboy" is a good movie with a masterpiece inside, struggling to break free.
There are *several* scenes that just don't work (the party, and religious fanatic with his electric Christ) and one which I felt would not have happened (Joe and his violent reaction to the homosexual encounter) - it felt out of character for Joe to react in that manner. I was also a bit surprised by the ending. Yes, I've managed to stay spoiler free on this film since 1969!

I was a bit surprised by Hoffman's "We're WALKING here!" line as it sounded like he came out of character for a minute. Rizzo's voice was somewhat nasal until then and it was a full Hoffman tirade for a few seconds after which it was back to nasal like nothing happened. I later read that scene was *not* written into the film but just happened due to the nature of how hey were filming on the streets of NY, they liked it, and left it in.

I don't know how often I will revisit this one but I'm glad I have a copy in my collection.

Last edited by BobO'Link; 02-11-14 at 07:56 PM.
Old 02-11-14, 11:32 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

DVR fail earlier this evening. Dish has a free month long preview of the Sony Movie Channel. I found a few things to record, including The Caine Mutiny. Well the preview guide wasn't correct. I ended up recording The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, which appears to be a solid film, but not something that qualifies for the challenge.

On another subject, I just finished Disney's The Absent Minded Professor. It was an entertaining first time watch, though I had seen Flubber many times when my kids nearly wore out a VHS copy that someone had given them years ago. What I found interesting was the villain in the movie was a man named Alonzo Hawk, played by Keenan Wynn. I recognized this character immediately. Wynn played Hawk many years later in Disney's Herbie Rides Again. I suppose this isn't the only time something like this has occurred, but it seems odd to have an actor/character appear in different unrelated films so many years apart.
Old 02-12-14, 07:03 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
After being home sick for several days and gorging on movies I took a break Sunday for some much needed database updating and used Ax Men as filler/background noise. That's a *very* weird series... So I was still home yesterday and worked in a few more movies.

I finally watched Midnight Cowboy. This film was notorious at the time of release. I remember all the ballyhoo over the "X" rating and how many theaters would not show it. So... all I've really known all these years is it stars Dustin Hoffman and had a couple of songs hit the charts. Last summer BL got a few copies of the 2 disk version for $3 each so I sprung for one. After the viewing I have to wonder just *what* the whole deal was? Yes, there is lots of nudity and thematically it's somewhat questionable but IMHO Easy Rider (released the same year) is a far more disturbing film and it had almost as much nudity! It *should* have received at best a "R" rating on original release. OK... that aside it has some very good acting but seems somewhat overblown. Overall I have to agree with Ebert and his assessment:

There are *several* scenes that just don't work (the party, and religious fanatic with his electric Christ) and one which I felt would not have happened (Joe and his violent reaction to the homosexual encounter) - it felt out of character for Joe to react in that manner. I was also a bit surprised by the ending. Yes, I've managed to stay spoiler free on this film since 1969!

I was a bit surprised by Hoffman's "We're WALKING here!" line as it sounded like he came out of character for a minute. Rizzo's voice was somewhat nasal until then and it was a full Hoffman tirade for a few seconds after which it was back to nasal like nothing happened. I later read that scene was *not* written into the film but just happened due to the nature of how hey were filming on the streets of NY, they liked it, and left it in.

I don't know how often I will revisit this one but I'm glad I have a copy in my collection.
Somewhere--and I'm guessing it was on his audio commentary on the DVD--producer Jerome Hellman repudiated Hoffman's assertion that the whole "I'm walkin' here" bit was improvised on the spot. It was apparently in the script and the cab driver whose car hood he bangs on was an actor hired to do just that for the movie.

MIDNIGHT COWBOY was eventually resubmitted to the MPAA and given an "R" rating. I don't recall how many years after its initial release that was. I can't imagine it went too long like that. There really wasn't anything "X-rated" in it; I'm guessing the MPAA objected to the subject matter--a male hustler soliciting sex for money--and overall tone as opposed to any individual scenes.

In re-watching it last year, I found it funny that John Wayne is referenced in that scene where Ratso Rizzo (Hoffman) derides Buck's (Jon Voight) cowboy trappings as gay (using a much stronger word which reads as *** when I type it here) and Buck demands to know if Ratso thinks Wayne is gay (again, using a much stronger word). Wayne got back at them by beating out both Hoffman and Voight for Best Actor that year.

The movie came out when I was 16 (and looked much younger) and when I went to see it the ticket seller didn't ask my age or anything. My mother later found out I saw it and got mad. "What did you think they were doing?" she asked, referring to the scene where Voight and Brenda Vaccaro roll around on a bed when he's impotent. To be honest, I probably wasn't sure. For a streetsmart kid from the Bronx, I was pretty na´ve about sex. My mother hadn't seen the film (nor would she) but she got the description from my older sister. (I could never figure out why my sister would have told her about it.) That same season, my father got mad at me for seeing THE WILD BUNCH. I later went to another X-rated film with a younger sister, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. And my mother got mad at us for that, too. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was eventually re-rated to "R" also.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 02-12-14 at 07:11 AM.
Old 02-12-14, 09:25 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Is it just my hitting on TCM now and then, or are they airing their movies in general era order? After days of seeing nothing but movies from the 30s, I saw Giant this morning. While I enjoy the older movies, it was nice rewatching a movie I was familiar with.
Old 02-12-14, 11:42 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Fortunately, the first week of February was the Great Digital Film Festival 2014. Of the 20 movies I got to see on the big screen that week, 8 were Oscar contenders...

TRON
The Planet of the Apes (1968)
Brazil
The Fisher King
Batman (1989)
The Dark Knight
Logan's Run
Thunderball
Old 02-12-14, 02:07 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Kinda hit a disappointing slump all of a sudden with my first-time viewings.

Monsieur Vincent-Excellent start, but it came to a screeching halt halfway through.
Separate Tables-ZZZzzzz
Lover Come Back-Waaaay longer than it should have been.

I've got Last Tycoon and Kinsey lined up today. Hopefully I can rebound with that pair.

If not, then it sounds like my re-visits couldn't have come at a better time (DVR's set to record Mask,Peggy Sue Got Married & Cocoon starting tomorrow)

I'm also eager to pop in my discs for Midnight Express and Cabin in the Sky<-----It's gonna be VERY refreshing to see black folks not playing butlers & maids for once in a B&W movie!
Old 02-12-14, 02:22 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by pacaway
Fortunately, the first week of February was the Great Digital Film Festival 2014. Of the 20 movies I got to see on the big screen that week, 8 were Oscar contenders...

TRON
The Planet of the Apes (1968)
Brazil
The Fisher King
Batman (1989)
The Dark Knight
Logan's Run
Thunderball
That sounds fantastic! I've never been able to go to a film festival. (Stuck with meager funds in central Oklahoma is not the greatest position to be in as a cinephile.) I would love to see Brazil on the big screen; its one of my favorites. What other films did you get to see?
Old 02-12-14, 02:34 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

We're really emassing losses this year... last week PSH, yesterday Shirley Temple, and now Sid Caesar.
Old 02-12-14, 04:10 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by mrcellophane
That sounds fantastic! I've never been able to go to a film festival. (Stuck with meager funds in central Oklahoma is not the greatest position to be in as a cinephile.) I would love to see Brazil on the big screen; its one of my favorites. What other films did you get to see?
It WAS great! I took the week off of work and went to 20 films (term used loosely, as they were digitally projected of course). A few I saw a couple of times (Brazil being one of them), so I really saw 16 different movies. The tickets were between $5 and $6 depending on how many you bought at once. Had I not been sick one day, I would have hit 24. This is what I saw...

Day 1:
Akira
Ghost in the Shell
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Planet of the Apes
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(at midnight)

Day 2:
I was sick with the flu, so missed this day

Day 3:
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
TRON
Planet of the Apes
(again)
Flash Gordon
Logan's Run


Day 4:
Brazil
The Fisher King
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
(again)

Day 5:
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Thunderball


Day 6:
Batman (1989)
The Dark Knight
The Fisher King
(again)
Brazil (again)

Day 7:
Snatch.
Old 02-13-14, 02:52 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Well ain't that a b!tch. I tried watching Cousine, Cousine earlier tonight on TCM, but the subtitles were cut off the bottom of my TV. I tried the format button, but to no avail. After all these years of watching subtitled movies on TCM, this is the first time that's ever happened.

On a good note, my first-time-viewing slump ended thanks to Kinsey. I gladly welcomed that one.
Old 02-13-14, 04:19 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

One of the few musicals I not only like, but actually love: Moulin Rouge!. From my Letterboxd diary:

Spoiler:
Moulin Rouge! didn't seem like my kind of thing, but my friends were so adamant about going to see it in 2001 that I went along - twice, as I recall. I wasn't as immediately taken with it as they were, but I did respond much more strongly than I had anticipated. Over the years, it's germinated and some time in the last couple of years, it all fell into place for me for reasons I don't quite fathom.

I never owned it on DVD, but last year I snagged a double feature Blu-ray Disc release pairing it with William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet during one of Best Buy's Upgrade & Save promos. This was my first viewing of it since its theatrical run nearly 13 years ago.

Wow.

I'm amazed how vividly I had recalled the film, especially to have been as frenetic as it is. The only thing I caught this time that I don't recall having previously noted was the minor visual allegory of Satine and the caged sparrow. I could recall whole lines of dialog just before they were delivered, even anticipating the staging and blocking of various shots. There's no shortage of people who decry Baz Luhrmann's outrageous aesthetics, but the staying power that Moulin Rouge! has had with me speaks for itself.

It isn't just a sensory roller coaster, though it certainly is that. It's an emotional maelstrom, sweeping from Ewan McGregor's earnest naivete and idealism to the pangs of jealousy, from camaraderie to dissent, and from whimsy to intensity, sometimes all at once and within a single sequence. It all works because everyone who worked on the film must surely have bought into it completely. Nicole Kidman was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance. I recall plenty of folks scoffing at that at the time, but I believe it was well deserved. She completely goes for it, unafraid of embarrassing herself for laughs, but then bam! she controls an entire scene with the quivering of her lip and a longing in her eye.

Jim Broadbent was already nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Iris, for which he won, but his performance here as Zigler so completely dominates every scene he's in that it's impossible to imagine the film without him as its ringmaster. He should have gotten at the very least a special award of some kind for that astounding performance of "Like a Virgin".

Of the other nominations for the film were Best Cinematography (Donald M. McAlpine), Best Film Editing (Jill Bilcock), Best Makeup (Maurizio Silvi, Aldo Signoretti), and Best Sound (Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Roger Savage, Guntis Sics). I haven't seen Black Hawk Down, but I'll be extra attentive when I get around to it to see how I feel about it winning Editing and Sound, two categories where I think perhaps the Academy may have recognized the artistry enough to offer nominations, but didn't understand well enough to award. Note that Luhrmann himself was snubbed for Best Directing.

The two areas where the film did pick up trophies were for Best Art Direction (Art Direction: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Brigitte Broch) and Best Costume Design (Catherine Martin, Angus Strathie). The adage is, "Put the money on the screen" and Catherine Martin did just that. Every single, extravagant frame of Moulin Rouge! seems to have cost a fortune. It's a world unto itself, vaguely recognizable as some surrealistic hybrid of showbiz past and present, but something far removed from any place where real people ever existed. One can get lost in any number of sets and numbers, captivated by everything from the intricate lacing of Satine's lingerie to the outlandish sets of the Moulin Rouge itself.

Moulin Rouge! was also nominated for Best Picture (Martin Brown, Baz Luhrmann and Fred Baron, Producers), losing to A Beautiful Mind. I've seen A Beautiful Mind. The Academy voters dropped the ball, though the Flickchart global community concurs; A Beautiful Mind stands presently at #567, whereas Moulin Rouge! is all the way down at #1320. Whatever, people.

Moulin Rouge! was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #41/1611

2001 Academy Awards (74th)
(N) ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE -- Nicole Kidman {"Satine"}
(W) ART DIRECTION -- Art Direction: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Brigitte Broch
(N) CINEMATOGRAPHY -- Donald M. McAlpine
(W) COSTUME DESIGN -- Catherine Martin, Angus Strathie
(N) FILM EDITING -- Jill Bilcock
(N) MAKEUP -- Maurizio Silvi, Aldo Signoretti
(N) BEST PICTURE -- Martin Brown, Baz Luhrmann and Fred Baron, Producers
(N) SOUND -- Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Roger Savage, Guntis Sics
Old 02-13-14, 09:43 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Just a note if anyone is interested in watching The Battle of Midway on Youtube. There are two videos by that name. One is a 10 minute video that looks to be someone's school report, but the authentic one is also there titled, The Battle of Midway (1942). Just thought I'd let folks know in case they wanted to watch it. I hope to find more documentaries on Youtube.
Old 02-13-14, 11:29 AM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
...The Academy voters dropped the ball...
I have that opinion about *many* Oscar winning (especially Best Picture) films. So much so that I went through a period of decades where I'd refuse to watch *any* film that won "Best Picture." I still mostly ignore "Best Picture" winners and nominees if they were made anytime during the past 10 years or so.
Old 02-13-14, 01:10 PM
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Re: The 8th Annual Academy Award Movie Challenge (1 Feb - 2 March)

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
One of the few musicals I not only like, but actually love: Moulin Rouge!.
I'm also a big fan of Moulin Rouge!, a film that excited me with its audaciousness. For a genre built around movement and raw emotion, musicals almost never get frantic or manic, and Moulin Rouge! finds a good balance between bombastic mania and nuanced emotion. After watching it, I felt like I had seen something very new. At the time, I was not allowed to go to the movie theater for religious reasons so i watched it on DVD with a friend and had to borrow her copy to watch again the next day.

Like you, I love Jim Broadbent and will also point to the awesomeness of Richard Roxburgh as the villainous Duke. Roxburgh's character is a bundle of neuroses and insecurities paired with self-righteousness and privilege - a dangerous combination. Also, John Leguizamo is a good Toulouse-Lautrec (one of my favorite artists) and plays the unwitting moral center.

Warning: Rant about something that happened over a decade ago:
Spoiler:
So, A Beautiful Mind inexplicably won Best Picture for 2001... I still don't understand that. While I haven't seen In the Bedroom, the other three nominees were much more desiring of the Oscar. I haven't seen Beautiful since 2001 so my opinion may change, but I hated it when I watched it. If I remember correctly, the film is very cavalier when it classifies and presents mental problems. As someone who struggles with such problems (admittedly not remotely on the same level as the main character), the film rang very false and sensational. Yet somehow, it triumphed over these over films that all had a lot more vision and fit a lot more into the narrative of film history.


Originally Posted by BobO'Link
I have that opinion about *many* Oscar winning (especially Best Picture) films. So much so that I went through a period of decades where I'd refuse to watch *any* film that won "Best Picture." I still mostly ignore "Best Picture" winners and nominees if they were made anytime during the past 10 years or so.
I know several people with the same opinion, but since the awards opened up the category to more nominees in 2009, I've been impressed with some of the absolute gems that make the list. I always enjoy watching the nominees and usually enjoy a majority of them. However, in the last ten years, I've only agreed with one Best Picture winner: The Artist (2011). (Okay, maybe two, 'cause in public I like Slumdog Millionaire more than the maligned The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.)

(Aside: Not to beat a dead horse, but what the hell happened last year? Argo? Did the voters see Beasts of the Southern Wild or Life of Pi or the other films? I mean you've got Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained, and you go with Argo?)

Watching the nominees for the upcoming ceremony, I've already seen three best picture nominees that I really enjoyed: Gravity, Her, and Nebraska.

Last edited by mrcellophane; 02-13-14 at 09:17 PM.

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