As they say, there is nothing harder than buying a gift for a king, especially if you are French. But if you've seen Henry V as I have, you'll know how it ends up. And add another British film and one set in England to help me close out three more years as I start to move toward five hundred films seen.
Henry V (1946) - The Laurence Olivier classic made during WWII to inspire and motivate England to win the war. The acting was amazing, the battle scenes amazing as well, everything was done so well, and the famous speech given before they go to war has always been my favorite. I saw the remake when I was younger and that night when I was talking to my father mentioned how powerful that speech was and he began to recite it from memory. My father is a very intelligent man,, very well read, but it just threw me how he just had that stored. See either one but if you have a choice pick this one, it is so much better.
And this too finishes 1946, and it wasn't easy but The Best Years of Our Lives was the best film. You have to remember that this movie came out a year after WWII ended. And it was a really good drama. That combination made it the best film and I have to agree. Second is the Frank Capra classic It's A Wonderful Life with my all time favorite actor Lionel Barrymore and Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and so on. Third will be Henry V a classic in it's own right. The last two do not match the top three but I would rank The Razor's Edge just ahead of The Yearling. Both are good films but not best picture films.
Separate Tables (1958) - A rather boring adaption of the Terence Rattigan plays about people who are at an English seaside hotel, most are permanent residents with Rita Haywood dropping in as a guest. Think of it as Fawlty Towers but not funny or interesting in any way. David Niven was good, he did win the Oscar for best actor, but it wasn't much of a role.
And now 1958 is done as well. It was not a very strong year for movies and I don't agree with the Academy. The best film of the year should have been Auntie Mame, only as compared to the other nominees. Rosalind Russell is great, the film is enjoyable, better than the other four. Second would be Cat on a Hot Tin Roof since it does have Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman who make it watchable. Third would go to The Defiant Ones, a well acted drama, but not that well. Separate Tables is fourth and last is the creepy Gigi.
An Education (2009) - A film based on the teenage years of Lynn Barber in early 1960's London. She falls for an older man, drops out of school, finds out that he's not who he claims to be and then tries to get her life back in order. Not that great but not a bad film, some good acting from Olivia Williams and a few others.
This will now start becoming a common occurrence, but this too finishes another year. This was the first year since 1943 when more than five films were nominated, and out of the ten films that received best picture nominations, the best film was A Serious Man. While it's not the best Coen Brother's film they have made, it is still good and better than the rest. Second is Precious, a really good film that could be argued as the best film, but I love the Coen's movies so much it would be too difficult. Third is The Blind Side, good acting from Sandra Bullock, something that is rather rare in many of her films. Fourth is District 9, it is so rare to see a Sci-Fi film nominated, and they never win. In fifth place is the Oscar winner The Hurt Locker because it's not that good of a movie, it's not a best picture. Sixth is Up, a good Pixar movie, only the second animated film to be nominated. Seventh is An Education, which would not be nominated in the past when you only had five movies. I put Up In The Air eight only because I watched it right after I was laid off and it put a bitter taste in my mouth. It is a better film that eight, but it will always be a hard film for me to watch. Ninth is Avatar which had great special effects, but they ran out of money when it came to hire someone to write a script. And tenth is Inglourious Bastards because it had good acting, but was too campy to be a serious contender for best picture.