Academy Award History, Part Seven: 1938-1939

Academy Award History, Part Seven: 1938-1939

Can't Take it with the WindFollowing the back to back awards for biopics, the Academy moved to the world of adaptation. Hollywood, and the film industry in general, was no stranger to adaptation, but prior to 1937, the only adapted films to win Outstanding Production were based on little-known short stories or forgettable novels (e.g. It Happened One Night, Cavalcade). But with the next two winners, the Academy went with two Pulitzer Prize-winning works, one a long-running Broadway hit, the other a best-selling novel. Both films were popular with audiences and critics, both boasted star-studded casts and talented directors, but time has been far kinder to one of them than it has the other. Read more

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Why I Watch the Academy Awards

Why I Watch the Academy Awards

With the Academy Awards/Oscars just one week away, I am beginning my yearly ritual of asking myself why I actually watch them year after year. This is the time of year when many critics and bloggers dedicate a post to why they don’t watch and go into detail about why. The reason most often given is that the films that have been nominated are not actually the “best” films and performances of the year. When this criticism is launched, the critic generally discusses the various films, usually foreign and/or low-budget and/or independent and/or arty, that should have been nominated instead. The problem with these posts is that very few, if any, of these supposed better films have been seen by a wide enough audience. They show at festivals that not everyone can attend or only in “select cities.” Another problem is that the critics that compile these alternate lists rarely agree. Read more

My Year at the Movies (2014 edition), Part 2

My Year at the Movies (2014 edition), Part 2

After my last post, several people asked where the list of movies was, so here it is. They are listed in the order I watched them, except in the case of repeats, which are listed for the first viewing only. Repeat films tend to be films I taught in class, but there were a few that were repeated for other reasons. For example, I caught One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest one night on Netflix, but then it showed up as part of the classic series at my local movie theater. I couldn’t pass up the chance to see it on the big screen. For the more visually-minded, I’ve included a highlight reel. So for what’s it’s worth, the list is below (read left to right, not up and down). Enjoy. Read more

My Year at the Movies 2014

My Year at the Movies 2014

My Year at the MoviesIt’s been a while. In fact, it’s been over a year since I posted anything new. During that time I changed jobs…twice, my wife enrolled in graduate school…in another state, and we’ve experienced several changes in our family…some good, some bad. In short, life happened. But, even though I wasn’t posting, I was still watching movies. In fact, I made it a resolution to watch a movie every day in 2014. It really didn’t seem like it would be that difficult to pull off. When I told people my plan, cinephiles were unimpressed, commenting that they pretty much did that anyway. However, casual moviegoers thought the task daunting, if not impossible, though many of them watch well over two hours of television a day. Whatever the reaction, I was committed.  Read more

Weekend with Franco-stein

Weekend with Franco-stein

FrancosteinA couple of weekends ago, I caught not one, but two films starring James Franco: Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. It would be an understatement to say that it was a pretty bizarre experience. Seeing Franco’s smiling mug in black-and-white, 3-D and super-saturated Technicolor all in 48 hours was probably as close to an acid trip as one can have (without actually being on acid). Both films left an impression, but I still haven’t decided if what kind of trip I had: good or bad. Read more