October 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm #540616
thoughts?October 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm #540618
2. THE APARTMENT
3. GODFATHER PART IIOctober 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm #540619
I dont care for Going My Way, but the other films here are fabulous to varying degrees.
The Lord of the Rings baby. The Godfather, the Apartment, No Country, and Terms.October 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm #540620
Yeah I don’t get why Going My Way is on this list. IMO, it’s the worst Best Picture winnerOctober 26, 2012 at 5:32 am #540621
The ones I’ve seen were all great and it’s tough because they are so different. I need to see The Apartment (still on my list to see dang it!) and Going My Way (although two of y’all slammed it bad so I don’t know haha) but of the other 4:
1. The Godfather Part II
4. No Country
But they are all very close. I just think the way Godfather expanded on the first and integrated past and present and Italy and NYC and politics and family, and then there’s Fredo. Just too brilliant.October 26, 2012 at 10:49 am #540622
Going My Way is on this list because it won writing/directing/producing for Leo McCarey and while it is my least favorite of the film, I have my fair share of problems with The Godfather: Part 2. The film is oddly and quite poorly edited/paced, and the Academy acknowledged that by snubbing the film’s editors come Oscar time. Roger Ebert wrote, “The Godfather, Part 2 moves both forward and backward in time from the events in The Godfather, in an attempt to resolve our feelings about The Corleones. In doing so, it provides for itself a structural weakness from which the film never recovers, but it does something even more disappointing: it reveals a certain simplicity in Coppola’s notions of motivation and characterization that wasn’t there in the elegent masterpiece of his earlier film.” Overall, Coppola’s The Conversation was the better film of the 2 in 1974. It didn’t rely on its importance. However, I must say that I am a fan of Gazzo and Cazale’s performances in the film, which were overshadowed by the overwrought characterization of Vito as played by De Niro in the film. He had tough boots to fill, and somehow his work doesn’t seem as important, nor as great, as Brando’s quietly intimidating performance.
Going My Way was a film built on Bing Crosby’s star power. McCarey purposely gave the meatier material to Fitzgerald, the more seasoned actor of the two. The plan, as I can see it, was to push Crosby as lead and Fitzgerald as supporting, but something weird happened. While the 2 managed to get those nominations, Fitzgerald was somehow ALSO nominated in lead. He had won the GG for supporting (Crosby was not given the GG) and he won the NYFCC award as Lead (Crosby came in 2nd). The film, I feel, would have been better had the Crosby character never been introduced and had the story been about a story about how Fitzgerald’s character trying to keep his parish alive. I know it sounds ridiculous to say, but the film should have been a FILM and not an attempt to boost Crosby’s credibility in Hollywood.
The Apartment features some crisp dialogue, sizzling lead performances, subtle yet lush supporting performances and some extravagant/well-detailed sets. It’s the better of the 2 MacLaine/Lemmon/Wilder films….the other being Irma La Douce. It came out at just the right time and called out a certain business behavior that had been going on for a while but had not been acknowledged. It is, incidentally, the first Best Picture winner to reference a former Best Picture winner (1932’s Grand Hotel). Ebert says it best: “The screenplay, executed as a precise balance between farce and sadness, [has] been constructed by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond to demonstrate that while Baxter and Miss Kubelik may indeed like each other…they are both slaves to the company’s value system.” This is a romantic comedy with something new to say. It takes that most simple of story ideas (romantic comedy) and displays it through a more interesting lense. For me, it is in second place just after NCFOM.
Terms of Endearment is the earliest-made film that I know that so perfectly and effortlessly balances comedy and tragedy. Think of it this way: you can be at a funeral and everyone will be sad and crying about how much the deceased individual will be missed. But inevitably, there will be that one person who breaks that tension with a grin and a goofy story. This person, whoever it may be, is the one worth going to funerals for. It is alright to cry, but it is better to laugh and remember the good times. You will never lose those times even as you forget them. James L. Brooks had a long history working as a writer and showrunner in the world of television and with just one prior film script (1979’s Starting Over) to his credit, shows that he truly understands and respects his characters by letting play out like real life. Even though he was a first-time director, having worked as a showrunner, he understood how to make every piece of the puzzle fit. Not a missing piece to be found.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy has established two definite camps: those who absolutely love it (perhaps those who are not too invested in its source material, such as myself) and those who complain about what it left out of the novels. They must remember that the film doesn’t haven’t to be an exact replica of YOUR experience of the novels. Novels and cinema are not the same thing, and they shouldn’t be. They should provide different experiences in order to nurture your connection. I personally admire the franchise as a visually breathtaking whole rather than its individual installments. While the 1st installment was ambitious, and for the most part, successful, the 2nd installment was inconclusive and got lost amidst the sea of spectacle. The final installment, then, redeems the wandering, confirms Peter Jackson as one of the best visual storytellers working today, and establishes the franchise as one of the most important and successful at a time when filmmakers just aren’t willing to take too many chances (or at t a time when studios/executives won’t let them).
This brings me to my favorite (and the most recent) of the bunch: No Country for Old Men (2007). It contains the necessary ingredients of a good thriller, but the chase is essentially a character study. Ebert describes the film as “an examination of how its people meet and deal with a man so bad, cruel and unfeeling [a man with his own agenda] that there is simply no comprehending him.” This is Obama vs. Romney. A man who has to dispense money in order to not be caught. Ebert goes on to write, “this movie is a masterful evocation of time, place, character, moral choices, immoral certainties, human nature and fate. It is also, in the photography by Roger Deakins, the editing by the Coens (as Roderick Jaynes) and the music by Carter Burwell, startingly beautiful, stark and lonely…the movie…loves some of its characters, and pities them, and has an ear for dialogue not as it is spoken but as it is dreamed.”
1. No Country for Old Men (2007)
2. The Apartment (1960)
3. Terms of Endearment (1983)
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
5. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
6. Going My Way (1944)October 27, 2012 at 9:51 am #540623
I completely disagree that “The Godfather 2” has problems with the editing (if anything, it’s one of film’s strongest assets), but i do agree it’s reputation was/has been somewhat inflated because of how successful it is in pulling off the sequel. It’s a great, strong film, but I don’t consider it the juggernaut movie the first one was, and I personally agree “the Conversation” was much superior.
Of this list, I have to go with “No Country For Old Men”. But “The Apartment” is a very close second.
1. “No Country For Old Men”
2. “The Apartment”
3. “The Godfather: Part II”
4. “The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King”
5. “Going My Way”
6. “Terms Of Endearment”