Friday, January 30, 2009

Rick's Movie Review

Oscar's Golden Movies

I can't write about 2009's Best Picture nominees since I haven't seen them all (though I'm working on it). Instead, I'll write about which are the best Best Picture winners of the ones I've seen. Out of 79 winners (1928's Wings and 1933's Cavalcade are not available on DVD), I've seen 61. And out of those, my Top Ten are...

10.) The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Proof positive that what is terrifying isn't what you actually see but what you imagine.
09.) West Side Story (1961). Only 9 musicals have won, and out of all of them (from 1929's The Broadway Melody to 2002's Chicago), this one is the one I'd say is the best.
08.) All About Eve (1950). The cleverest, wittiest, smartest film written about what fools we mortals are.
07.) Ben-Hur (1959). Still the standard by which all epics are measured. It's worth watching for the famous chariot race alone.
06.) Lawrence of Arabia (1962). For all the battle scenes and great performances by Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif, this really is an epic film about one man's soul.
05.) Rocky (1976). The perfect movie for its time. After Vietnam, after Watergate, Americans were reminded of how we see ourselves: perhaps not the smartest or most cultured of people, but one with determination and a willingness to go the distance no matter what the odds.
04.) All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). The greatest case against war ever filmed. Try not to cry when the main character begs forgiveness from the man he's had to kill.
03.) The Godfather, Part II (1974). While the first one is brilliant, it is in watching how the rise of Vito Corleone brings about the moral fall of his son Michael that makes this a truly great experience.
02.) Schindler's List (1993). No film has come close to showing us the evil that men do, or the goodness that man can achieve. Neither should be forgotten.
01.) Casablanca (1943). This is as close to perfection as one can get. Quibble over plot points if you must, but in this film, everything just comes together to create an unforgettable masterpiece.

If Citizen Kane hadn't lost to How Green Was My Valley (which in any other year would have been a good choice) you bet that would be on my list. Just goes to show the Oscars are one way to judge a film. That's why you should see them yourself and make your own decision. All these titles are available from the El Paso Public Library.


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