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My Take On the Best of the Best Movies Ever, Part Two

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 03/20/13 at 11:21 AM CT

Last week I started my project in breaking down what I think of the past 85 years of Academy Award winning best picture films. While I admit to not having seen every film on the list, I have no problem with espousing my view on those films that I have had the privilege to watch. Starting from the bottom and working my way to the top - this week I'm counting down from #40 to #31 - still a ways away from the top of the list, but I'm not going to pull any punches on anything either.


 photo DrivingMissDaisy_zps5640bf86.png

Last year some fun-loving people created fake posters for the 2012 Oscar-nominated films that told the truth and their poster for The Help was "White People Solve Racism". Well, Driving Miss Daisy could pretty much read the exact same thing - only it has the benefit of Morgan "Voice of God" Freeman on its side. Now, I'm not saying that the characters aren't well-cast and well-acted, it's just that the film is too cloyingly nice and charming to be rated any higher on this list.


 photo ForrestGump_zps0ef9f4f8.jpg

"Life is like a box of chocolates" - "RUN FORREST RUN" "Stupid is as Stupid does" "That's all I have to say about that." - you know, this entire movie can be broken down in a series of quotes and camera trickery that adds people like John F. Kennedy and John Lennon digitally. Sure, the movie is historically accurate (to a point) but my views on this are the same as Driving Miss Daisy - too sweet for its own good. Pulp Fiction was the better choice this year (or, if you're going for the popular vote, Shawshank Redemption).


 photo Chicago_zps505308f4.jpg

Before Les Miserables hit last year, I would say Chicago is one of the best musicals to hit the big screen in quite some time. But is it worthy of Oscar gold? I like the actors and even the music but when it comes down to it when I compare this to the "classic" musicals of old - it just doesn't hold that same spark for me. For sheer power, my vote would have gone to The Pianist.


 photo Crash_zps38cf8d5d.jpg

A lot of people think this is the biggest travesty to hit the Oscars in, well, ever. Does Crash hit you over the head with a sledgehammer with its "message"? Well, yes - it's quite blunt and obvious - and a lot of people say Brokeback Mountain should have won - but I don't have that big of issue with Crash compared to other people. That being said - it's in no way one of the better best picture winners - but I also don't think it's the worst.


 photo HurtLocker_zpsc11b497e.jpg

2009 was the first year the Academy went back to opening the field for many more best picture nominees. Kathryn Bigelow's Hurt Locker came out on top against a diverse field including Inglourious Basterds, Avatar, Up and District 9. I don't think it's better than all the films on the list, but certainly is a good film. I think it benefited from being topical and hard-hitting but looking back on it, I just don't think it's that memorable.


 photo RainMan_zps430703aa.jpg

Much like Forrest Gump, Rain Man is a bit too sentimental for its own good. I will still pick Dustin Hoffman over Hanks, and it did open a lot of eyes to Autism (even if it was in the most radical case possible) but I just can't shake the feeling it was played too lightly for its own good. It was still the best choice for the year, it just doesn't grab me personally.


 photo Braveheart_zps2163d085.jpg

Now this is probably the bloodiest film to win a Best Picture award. This movie has plenty of action and memorable characters but this is one of the films (along with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) that my history teacher loved to pick apart and make fun of whenever possible. If you know the true story of William Wallace it kind of diminished your enjoyment of the film. That's not to say I can't enjoy this on level of "just another movie" but when it tries to come off as some historic lesson - it utterly fails and I just can't overlook that.


 photo DanceswithWolves_zps4805428b.jpg

I bet plenty of people will disagree with me on this - but I never really got into this film. While many will say this is an epic - maybe one of the last great epics and the epitome of 90s cinema - I found it lacking... something It just doesn't hold an interest for me - this is more a personal choice than anything else and I can see why so many others appreciate and enjoy this - it's just not my style.


 photo FromHeretoEternity_zps78d61378.jpg

Although this movie has been on my "to buy" list for awhile - there's a reason I haven't gotten around to actually buying it yet. While I appreciate the story - and the acting it top-notch - mixing romance and war is daunting task and more often than not (Pearl Harbor anyone?) it turns out badly. Here, it turns our remarkable - but it moves a bit slow and if you're not completely involved, it quickly turns into a much harder movie to watch. Others will agree - some "classic" films are more a chore to watch than an enjoyable experience.


 photo Rocky_zps274bdda2.jpg

YO ADRIAN! I don't think Rocky is the best boxing movie ever (Raging Bull gets my vote, hands down - even The Fighter is better to me), let alone the greatest sports movie ever. It's uplifting, for sure - but out of all the films nominated, I actually think this is one of the weakest this year. Network? Taxi Driver? Even All the President's Men - would have got my vote over Rocky. But it put Sylvester Stallone on the map (for better or worse) and it is a good film to watch... it's just hard to value it's Oscar win (at least in 1976).

There will be more to come as I count down to my favorite Oscar winners. I hope you'll stay tuned and, as always, any opinions are welcome.


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View Daniel Corleone's Profile

Daniel Corleone

Wrote on 04/02/13 at 12:47 PM CT

From this list, I definitely love and enjoyed #'s 31, 34 and 39. Network, Taxi Driver and All the President's Men were all great, but none had the staying power and ability to have a decent franchise. Though I also feel Taxi Driver had every right to win. Cool list.

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