Posts Tagged ‘Tom Hanks’

English: Studio publicity portrait of the Amer...

English: Studio publicity portrait of the American actress Elizabeth Taylor. Français : Portrait publicitaire pris en studio de l’actrice américaine Elizabeth Taylor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As always I have an opinion I’m more than happy to share with you all about movies, the good ones and the bad ones.  I agree with the comments my nephew, Justin, left for me on Facebook. He was upset about the obvious politics that must go into the choices for Best Picture!  So here are 10 more what I call questionable Best Picture Award winning films.

  1. 1966 – A Man For All Seasons  – This was a very good choice and Hollywood loves a good period piece, BUT complex emotional roller coaster of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?and the commanding and outstanding performances of both Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton should not have been overlooked!
  2. 1960 – The Apartment – I love this movie and who doesn’t love Shirley MacLain and Jack Lemon?  I’ve watched it many times which attests to its ability to transcend decades…but once again a powerful drama enriched with the likes of Burt Lancaster portraying the lead character, Elmer Gantry* should have propelled this movie to the head of the class!
  3. 1956 – Around the World In 80 Days – This is a repeat from yesterday because shame on me, I forgot to mention Giant,* one of the very few movies, the amazing James Dean starred in and he alone, not to mention Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson should have brought this picture to win the BP award.
  4. 1951 – American in Paris  Oh yes Gene Kelly is fabulous in this movie but when Hollywood makes a movie around the star’s talent which is other than acting as it was in this particular film, the movie becomes a vehicle for the dancing. So while others were watching the animation dancing with Gene and believe me I truly admire his choreography and performance, I was watching A Streetcar Named Desire*  with Marlon Brando and Vivian Leigh give the world a stellar performances in a movie that over the years continues to rank among the Top Ten Best Movies ever.
  5. 1961 – West Side Story – A charming, lively, fast-paced adaptation of a very successful Broadway show.  The music lives on and although it dealt with race issues early on, it was no Judgement at Nuremberg!*
  6. 1958 – Gigi – Not my favorite movie just my favorite word as many of my regular readers know this is what my adorable grandchildren call me.  How could Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman and Burl Ives NOT have taken Cat On A Hot Tin Roof* to the winner’s circle?
  7. 1997 – Titanic – Don’t even go there…really?? L.A. Confidential* was a great story with several surprise twists and turns with excellent actors.
  8. 1964 – My Fair Lady – Again a wonderful movie with fine acting and singing yet again an adaptation of a Broadway play and it beat Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb* – Peter Sellers and George C. Scott hit a home run with this iconic film.
  9. 1980 – Ordinary People – This was a very good movie and deeply moving as it explored the dysfunction brought on in a family torn apart by the death of a child.  However, the plot is not original and it forced the likes of Raging Bull *and The Elephant Man *into the loser’s corner. What a shame!
  10. 1994 – Forrest Gump –  Entertaining to some degree, too long and I swear if Tom Hanks had not starred in it, it would never have gotten this far.  Pulp Fiction* was the stroke of genius by Quentin Tarantino with John Travolta and Uma Thurman.

Well that’s it folks, my 10 more worst Best Picture picks.  What do you think? Please do leave us your picks!  Oooh that reminds me I promised one of my readers to include his erudite comment and observation:  ” …1981, where Chariots of Fire beat out Reds, On Golden Pond, Atlantic City and Raiders of the Lost Ark, possibly belongs in that category as well.”

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English: Puppetmaster hand from The Godfather ...

Puppetmaster hand from The Godfather movie poster isolated and slighlty edited. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re in that time of the year – TCM is showing winners from previous years, there are “commercials” on TV promoting the various Best Picture nominees.  I thought this would be a good time to resurrect some of the most famous and notable movie quotes.  However, to keep my blog entertaining to my younger readers I’ve decided to include 5 from more recent movies and 5 from the old classics (from which I could easily pull 20)! 

  1. “Lawzy, we got to get a doctor, I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthing no babies Miss Scarlett  – Gone With The Wind
  2. “A martini, shaken, not stirred” – Goldfinger
  3. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here!  This is the War Room” – Dr. Strangelove
  4. “Why don’t you come up sometime  and see me”? – She Done Him Wrong
  5. “I am big!  It’s the pictures that got small” – Sunset Boulevard
  6. You’re gonna need a bigger boat” – Jaws
  7. “Show me the money” – Jerry McGuire
  8. “May the Force be with you” – Star Wars
  9. I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” – The Godfather
  10. Houston, we have a problem” – Apollo 13

I just love movies and as I was researching for these quotes, I read so many that brought me back to those great movies.  So many that I may just do this again next Thursday, stay tuned


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The big night is rapidly approaching and the educated guessing is full out by now. It’s not  a science, it’s not a horse race and it’s hard to use statistics all because you can never really second-guess humans.  They can always change their mind at the last minute.   Apparently they did because here’s a few more memorable upsets.

1.1981 – Reds was nominated for 12 categories and yet it was outrun in the race for Best Picture by Chariots of Fire!  Sometimes a race is won in the final sprint to the finish line. Must be the case here.

2. 1998-Titanic, a pathetic remake riddled with special effects drowned out L.A. Confidential  and Good Will Hunting Sad but true.

3.1988 – The Academy was Moonstruck by Cher’s outstanding performance and she went home with Oscar and Glen Close and Meryl Streep went home with their husbands.

4. 1999 – He scampered over chairs, he jumped around on stage – Roberto Benigni won Best Actor and none were more surprised than Tom Hanks.  Hanks was the favorite for his role in Saving Private Ryan.

5. 1994 – There really is a pattern here. The Academy seems to vote more often for feel-good, loveable or the down and out rise to good fortune through their courage, fortitude and a measure of luck.  And that’s how it went the night in 1994 when Quentin Tarantino was “Gumped” by Robert Zemekis.   Pulp Fiction must have been just too avante-garde for the Academy voters.

6. 1980 – Martin Scorcese made his first feature length film in 1967 and didn’t win an Oscar for his directorial achievements.  In 1980 he lost Best Director to Robert Redford who won it for Ordinary People and he lost it for Raging Bull.

7. 2008 – More than an upset, the fact that The Dark Knight wash’t even nominated! Slumdog Millionaire took home Best Picture and it was an entertaining movie which took audiences to a part of the world they rarely see.  No dispute here, BUT shouldn’t The Dark Knight have been on the table with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, The Reader and Frost/Nixon?

8. 1969 – Oh how I remember this one!  John Wayne wins Best Actor for his role of a cowboy (wow that’s a switch) in True Grit and Dustin Hoffman and John Voight who were spectacular in Midnight Cowboy.

9. 1985 – Another surprise ! The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won NONE!

10. 1968-Oliver,  won Best Director and Best Picture.  It was a buoyant musical retelling of the story of Oliver Twist and sent Stanley Kubrick’s startling and innovative science fiction epic  2001: Space Odyssey  home hungry.

Best Actress Academy Awards

Best Actress Academy Awards (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

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Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics


Well, I’ll tell ya – you can’t!  Especially if you are watching this year’s under-rated film, Moneyball.  On the other hand, given Brad Pitt‘s star quality, it’s hard to say the movie was under-rated, but I do think it hasn’t generated any “buzz” the way say, The Iron Lady, The Descendents and Incredibly Close and Extremely Loud has.  However, let’s clarify that even further; Those three films and most especially the Tom Hanks movie which must be advertised on TV at least 15 times a day have gotten a lot of press, a lot of billboard space and a lot of attention by reviewers.   My God, you would think Incredibly Close and Extremely Loud was the epic sequel to Ben Hur or Forrest Gump!

But back to Moneyball; I had the delightful opportunity to view this movie in my own home, sitting cosily on my couch, drinking hot chocolate while it snowed outside on a Saturday afternoon.  It was surprisingly wonderful and engaging. You don’t even have to be a sports fan to love it!  Brad Pitt gives Billy Beane the look of a former athlete still very much in shape, and his performance is superb.

First of all who doesn’t love baseball?  After all it is our national pastime or pass time.  The storyline isn’t exactly new since we’ve all seen the the evolution of a rag tag team reaching ultimate victory – ie  Miracle– True story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team or A League of Their Own.   However, the treatment of this story line takes the viewer to the ball park and back, into the locker room and best of all into the psyche of  the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics.

Billy Beane is a conflicted and somewhat lonely man, recovering from a failed marriage and a losing season.  He lives, works, eats and sometimes sleeps baseball – except when he is with his daughter who he apparently dotes on. Casey is charmingly played by Kerris Dorsey,  a sweet pre-teen who lives with her mom and stepdad and regularly visits her father.

Billy is driven to succeed which in his mind translates into winning the last game.  He truly believes it doesn’t matter how many games you win because  if you don’t win the last one (World Series) then your achievements as well as yourself are just erased.*  The problem he faces is that his player salary is so low, he feels he can’t compete with the deep pocket of teams like the New York Yankess who regularly raid his best players, luring them with astronomical salaries.  What is General Manager supposed to do?  So for him in one respect it was all about winning, yet on the other hand, he aspired to change the game in a way that would level the economic playing field (no pun intended) between the so-called rich teams and poor teams, the Oakland A’s being of the latter.  He is quoted as saying to his genius Assistant General Manager, (Joshua Hill) that he believed in their new and highly technical process of forming a winning team, not for the  money or the ring, but because he wanted to change the game.  Out with the old (literally) men/scouts and their ideas of what makes a great ballplayer and in with the new analytical technology. Adapt or die.

By season’s  end the team is winning and Beane is called to Boston, where he is offered the position of GM for the Boston Red Sox by the owner of the team who extolls the genius of his new selection process and who clearly states it is the wave of the future!  Hence, Billy has in fact changed the game.  So why is he so disenchanted?  I’m not positive but he was consistent in his quest to win the big one here in his home town.  There are many camera shots of Billy as a young Little League player wearing the green tee shirt of the Oakland A’s.  He failed dismally as the baseball great, so many scouts thought he was to be so perhaps he had something to prove to himself and Oakland.   And then factor in the daughter who does not want him to leave California and move far away from her.  It’s hard to leave home and in the end he doesn’t.  

The acting was terrific in this movie;  Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the bullet-headed, big gut manager was convincing. The character actors who played the various scouts and coaches sitting around the table were remarkably true to life and hardly seemed like actors, they were so natural. 

One last word about Pitt.  Sometimes when a star is a star and on screen, all you can really see is the star.  Very few transcend their celebrity and embody a character so well that you stop  seeing the actor and see only the character.  Meryl Streep is an excellent example and Brad Pitt as Billy Beane is another.

* Props to the Director who worked with the technical department – at the end of the movie, the players slowly disappear or rather are erased.

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A red rose with dewdrops

Red Roses For My Lady

As promised, here are ten more romantic movies in celebration of February, American Heart month and Valentine’s Day.  What did you get for Valentine’s Day?  I got a single long-stemmed red rose!  It’s beautiful.

  1. Dirty Dancing (1987)Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, (omg he was beautiful), had the best time of their lives in this low-budget sleeper film which went on to gross more than $200M worldwide.
  2. The Princess Bride (1987) – Adapted from William Goldman’s book, it’s a tale of “boy meets girl”, boy is lost at sea, girl reluctantly agrees to marry evil prince but she gets kidnapped;  The whole thing is complicated however since it‘s a fairy tale…”and they all lived happily ever after”.
  3. Say Anything (1989) – John Cusack, the under-achieving student serenades the class valedictorian with a boom box.  Entertainment Weekly called this the greatest modern movie romance.
  4. When Harry Met Sally (1989) – Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have an on-again, off-again romance over a 12-year period.  Harry is based on Rob Reiner and Sally on writer, Nora Ephron and well…”I’ll have what she’s having”.
  5. Ghost (1990) – A romantic fantasy where romance transcends death.  Patrick Swayze (he’s dead) and Demi Moore (still living) re-connect through a phony medium, Whoopi Goldberg, who won an Oscar for her performance.
  6. Sleepless in Seattle (1993) – A romance where the lovers never meet until the end and based on An Affair to Remember.  Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally meet at the top of the Empire State building, oooh so romantic.
  7. True Romance (1993) – Romance Quentin Tarantino style!  A call-girl and a comic book nerd who kills her pimp and takes off with a suitcase full of cocaine. Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater play the not-so-heroic lovers.
  8. Titanic (1997) – Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Wynslet are the young lovers who picked the wrong boat.  This was the highest grossing film and held the title for 12 years until Avatar surpassed it.  Personally (and it is MY blog) I think it was a dumbed down version with bad casting and an unnecessary re-make.
  9. You’ve Got Mail (1998) – Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in YET another re-make; original ideas anyone??? The movie title is a take-off from Yahoo’s email arrival announcement and the original movie was titled The Shop Around the Corner and starred Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan.
  10. The Wedding Singer (1998) – Poor Adam Sandler, left at the altar by his fiance and a wannabe rock singer ends up singing at weddings, serenading other couples.  BUT Drew Barrymore comes into his life and all is good.  A super 80’s soundtrack, the movie grossed $123M.

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