Monday, February 25, 2013

Blast from the Past: Oscar's Best Pictures of My Lifetime

This past weekend was an odd one for me. I had more part-time graphics work than usual. We had a friend in from out of town. I got started watching Downton Abbey (after an attempt at finding Homeland on demand failed), from episode 1, season 1. I quite liked it, but even without commercials or interruptions, that takes time. Also, I managed some couch-time for reading, though my couch is more interested in making me fall asleep.

In short, I ran out of time for blogging, and actually spent quite a lot less time using my desktop computer this weekend than I have in years. So, please excuse this rerun, but at least it is apropos to the Academy Awards (which I also watched, thus whittling my time down even further!).


Nearly every year, I watch the Academy Awards, and seemingly as often, I haven't seen any of the films up for Best Picture.  Almost certainly, I haven't seen the winning movie. I'll be 46 47 this April, meaning that there have been 45 46 Oscar telecasts since I was born (the 46 47th begins in moments, as I type this). And I've seen enough Best Pictures to fill this column, nothing more. Here they are:

1. Midnight Cowboy (1969) - For some reason X-rated. It's a very good film, but uncomfortable to watch.
2. The French Connection (1971) - I caught this one on "Telecinema" the precursor to HBO, when I was no more than 10 or 11. But Gene Hackman is good in everything.

3. The Sting (1973) - Another caught as a youth. Other than the stars and the theme, The Entertainer, I remember very little of it.

4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - Wow, I guess I caught a lot of these on Telecinema. More memorable (to me) for the Mad Magazine parody with "Nurse Wretched" than the movie itself.

5. Driving Miss Daisy (1989) - Yes, the stretch is this long. So, not only did I miss both Godfather movies, I also have never seen Rocky, The Deer Hunter, Rain Man, Out of Africa, Terms of Endearment, Ordinary People, Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Kramer vs. Kramer, Annie Hall or Amadeus!

6. Dances With Wolves (1990) - Apparently, in this stretch, I was going to the movies a bit. This particular one was of course, epic. But I never understood why "Stands with a Fist" had such perfect, blow-dried hair.

7. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - By far my favorite from this list. Jodie Foster is amazing, and Anthony Hopkins kills! With fava beans and a nice Chianti.

8. Schindler's List (1993) - It took me a good many years to get around to it, but I finally watched this one. And I'm very glad I did.

9. Forrest Gump (1994) - Again, I didn't watch this one right away, but got around to it on video. It was good, but the hype was a bit overblown. Tom Hanks is brilliant in the movie, but the story was ludicrous in parts.

10. Titanic (1997) - I saw this movie on two different dates with two different men! The second time was with my current husband in 1998, so you could say the movie got things rolling. Fortunately we have only hit minor icebergs along the way. I do remember we both had to pee very, very badly by the end of this very long movie!

11. Shakespeare in Love (1998) - Another seen in the early days with my hubby. Another big favorite for both of us.

12. Gladiator (2000) - Big, epic. . .overblown. I like Russell Crowe, but, meh.

13. Chicago (2003) With rare exceptions--Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, with Feeling!--I'm not a fan of musicals. But this one? I thought they did a pretty good job!

14. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004) - The Other Half loves this movie and its sequels. Never having read the Tolkien books? This is a big interminable first part of a big interminable movie series. Torturous.

And that's it! 14 out of 45 46! I'm sure I've seen a few that came before my birth, but that is a longer list. And the holes in my list here really should be filled if I'm going to continue thinking of myself as a pop culture genius. I can only guarantee one thing: I haven't seen the film that will win tonight (last night, to you Monday readers)!

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