Sunday, May 6, 2012

Revenge in Maine

That actually sounds pretty cool as a movie title, but viewers had to settle with In The Bedroom.  That and two others helped me reach the 394 mark meaning I only have 100 films left to see.  Of course until next year when more movies are nominated, but unless I take a decade or two off, I'll always be in double digits or less (hopefully) of films to see.

In The Bedroom (2001) - What if you take a very slow moving script and mix up so-so actors with a few incredible acting performances?  You get a film that is good, at times great and others like watching paint dry.  The movie is about a young man in love with a divorced or soon to be divorced mother who's ex-husband, or soon to be ex-husband, ends up killing him.  The parents are distraught, the guy is going to get a slap on the wrist and the parents can't live with that.

Why didn't this film win best picture?  It's because if you take away Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei this film would be horrible.  The three of them were outstanding, the rest were no where in their league and it showed.  The story creeps along at times and falls into the age old trap of making the "villain" inhuman at times to help justify the actions of the "heroes" of the film.  A Beautiful Mind was clearly better done but the acting is very close.

The Human Comedy (1943) - Young Mickey Rooney and even younger Van Johnson and Donna Reed in a typical WWII film about life at home.  Very similar to movies of this era during the war, at times more propaganda and education than entertainment.  And while it is classified as a comedy, it is more dramatic and slightly depressing at times.  The story is about a young man getting a job while his older brother is at war and his father has already passed on.  Again as I've posted before, movies during WWII had no knowledge when the war would end, so the films are filled with hope and inspiration for the movie goers not to be depressed when they left the theater.  It differs from films made after the war ended, then you can give a happy or sad ending, but people already know what the final result was.

This film is great more for the mood and the slice of time it portrays.  It's a great example of using art to reflect a specific time and place in history.  And the acting was great and the movie really does pull you in, it's a good story that is entertaining to watch.  Yet it was matched up against Casablanca and ended up losing.  It's only the seventh film I've seen that year, three more to go, but I would put it in the top three right up there with The Ox-Bow Incident.

Life is Beautiful (1998) - One of the few foreign language films to be nominated and win three Oscars.  Roberto Benigni ends up in a concentration camp during WWII and tries to hid it from his child.  Not as awkward as The Day The Clown Cried, but rather unrealistic.  I wouldn't go as far to say it was disrespectful, but it is hard to make a comedy about such a depressing subject.  While I admire the attempt it wasn't that good.  I should also note that I didn't see the original version, the one I saw was dubbed.  And while dubbed films have gotten a bit better over time, they still are not as good as a movie in the language it was filmed in.

I would like to compare it to the best picture of the year but this is one of the three years that I haven't seen the best film yet.  And like 1985 I have now seen all the other films that were nominated and didn't win.  So for now I can say that this wasn't the best film, Saving Private Ryan is still holding the top spot.

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