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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Yes. Yes it was.

I never saw BELOVED- I read the book the summer I graduated high school  (1996) and LOVED IT- and then I went to college and was assigned BELOVED in SIX DIFFERENT COURSES.

by the time i was done hearing it discussed/parsed/analyzed six ****ing times,  I am sad to say that I kinda hated it- even though it's not BELOVED's fault.

[i went to a terrible college.]

Thus, I have never had any desire to revisit it or see the movie...I can still recall though how HIGH the expectations were- I remember OPRAH doing an interview where she held her hands up and told the interviewer not to even mention her getting a Best Actress nomination for BELOVED...in a way that read as "...because it's totally happening, b!tch..."

and then the film ATE IT RAW AT AT THE BOX OFFICE (BARELY made $20 million) and was GONE in a month. By OSCAR TIME, it was all about PRINCESS GWINNIEKINS, with not even a GOLDEN GLOBE nom for OPRAH....who must've really seethed in her MOUNTAINTOP LAIR about EMILY WATSON and FERNANDA MONTENEGRO making the cut but not HER.

(evil laughter)

 

ps- I give OPRAH  a hard time because someone needs to.

Its reminiscent of 2013 as well. Once again, Oprah was seemingly in prime contention for a nomination for The Butler, and then gets replaced on  Oscar nomination morning by Sally Hawkins, a British actress riding on the coattails of the lead in her movie (Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine)

But back to 1998... some notes

Beloved did bleed out at the box office, and although some box office flops do get Oscar nods, it was financed by Disney, and flops disappear more quickly there than at any other studio. Disney used to always be the worst studio at Oscar campaigning as well so Beloved actually scoring a minor nomination for costume design is a bit surprising, especially since their other three "prestige" adult releases (Wes Anderson's Rushmore, Spike Lee 's He Got Game, and Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer) could only muster a single song nomination.

For a very brief moment, Emily Watson was being modelled as the next big star, but then she turned down Amelie and Bridget Jones' Diary and then settled into a career as a character actress.

PRINCESS GWINNIEKINS's time at the top was short. Almost immediately after her film's shock win for Best Picture, which greatly reduced its standing with the general public who were on board with Saving Private Ryan, her films started flopping, even though she did some good acting in little-seen dramas like Possession, Proof, and Two Lovers. [ Shakespeare in Love did have a marvellous script. And I really liked the film. But the win, presumably caused by Harvey Weinstein's lust for an Oscar for himself, hurt the film a lot. And Harvey justly got his Oscar ripped away from him after the exposés hit in 2017] She rarely acts anymore, and it's been almost 15 years since she actually had a decent part.

1998 was very limp as a film year and a real harbinger of how bad things would get after 2000. 

Films I did like: The Prince of Egypt, Shakespeare in Love, Pleasantville, The Last Days of Disco, Rushmore, The Horse Whisperer, The General, Saving Private Ryan, One True Thing, The Parent Trap, Beloved, The Impostors, A Simple Plan, Twilight (the Paul Newman film), Primary Colors, The Opposite of Sex, Hillary and Jackie, Waking Ned Devine, Madeline, Central Station,Living Out Loud. But even most of these are with some reservations.

Ones with some good elements if mixed and muted overall: The Truman Show, Swept from the Sea, He Got Game, Hope Floats, Dangerous Beauty, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, The Big Lebowski, Down in the Delta, Zero Effect, Polish Wedding, Out of Sight, Cousin Bette, Stepmom, Sliding Doors

Films that left me frustrated or worse: Elizabeth, The Gingerbread Man, The Thin Red Line, Little Voice, Babe: Pig in the City, Run Lola Run, Mulan (though kudos for a great Jerry Goldsmith score), Bulworth, A Civil Action, Patch Adams, A Bug's Life, Dancing at Lughnasa

And then there is You've Got Mail, which is fine as a late 90s rom-com, but its very pale compared to The Shop Around the Corner.

I still stand with what I said in the other thread: everything began to fall apart for films after 1993 ended. 

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5 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

never saw BELOVED- I read the book the summer I graduated high school  (1996) and LOVED IT- and then I went to college and was assigned BELOVED in SIX DIFFERENT COURSES.

I had a version of your college experience.  I read it and liked it, but with some reservations.  I just didn't think it was perfect. 

Then I had to read it with two different book clubs that just loved it way, way too much.  I made the mistake of telling them that I had found an interesting article about how it had not even been short listed for the Pulitzer Prize, then word came down that it was time for more diversity and all of a sudden it was the winner.  My book club was not pleased with this information and began to look at me like I was the Imperial Wizard of the ****. 

The movie was okay, but Oprah is too much her larger than life self for me to ever lose her inside a role.

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21 minutes ago, AndreaDoria said:

The movie was okay, but Oprah is too much her larger than life self for me to ever lose her inside a role.

the ONLY PEOPLE who BENEFITTED GREATLY from the release of the film version of BELOVED were OPRAHS EVERYDAY HAIR AND MAKE-UP PEOPLE/PIT CREW, BECAUSE G**DAMN- BY GOING AU NATURAL, DID SHE EVER HIGHLIGHT WHAT A MAMMOTH EFFORT IT IS TRANSFORMING THAT MUG EVERY DAY.

Oprah minus make-up = FORREST WHITAKER.

I'll stop being mean to Oprah now...for today.

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

For a very brief moment, Emily Watson was being modelled as the next big star, but then she turned down Amelie and Bridget Jones' Diary and then settled into a career as a character actress.

PRINCESS GWINNIEKINS's time at the top was short. Almost immediately after her film's shock win for Best Picture, which greatly reduced its standing with the general public who were on board with Saving Private Ryan, her films started flopping, even though she did some good acting in little-seen dramas like Possession, Proof, and Two Lovers. [ Shakespeare in Love did have a marvellous script. And I really liked the film.

1. !!!! i DID NOT know that EMILY WATSON turned down BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY...wow, I dunno, I cannot imagine her in that film....I haven't seen her in much, but she seems like an awfully dour actress

2. you have to make it pink!!!!

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40 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

1. !!!! i DID NOT know that EMILY WATSON turned down BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY...wow, I dunno, I cannot imagine her in that film....I haven't seen her in much, but she seems like an awfully dour actress

2. you have to make it pink!!!!

Of course though,  Princess Gwinikins  and Harvey would not have been Oscar winners if Shakespeare in Love had gone as originally planned. It was originally given the go-ahead at Universal in 1991 on the condition that Julia Roberts would have the female lead. Edward Zwick of thirtysomething and Glory was set to direct. It all fell through when Julia's one and only choice for Shakespeare, Daniel Day-Lewis was unavailable, off filming The Last of the Mohicans. Universal then shelved the property, and to fulfill his contract Zwick directed the long forgotten Leaving Normal with Christine Lahti and Meg Tilly instead. Even when the film was done in 1998, Universal's logo still appeared on the film as they handled it overseas, and Zwick remained on as a producer, thus winning an Oscar.

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I might also reckon that if Shakespeare in Love had been released with Julia Roberts in 1992, she likely would have won the Oscar over Howards End's Emma Thompson given that Julia was still at a high at that point. Emma would have likely won supporting then in 1993 for In the Name of the Father. Shakespeare would probably have lost to Unforgiven for Best Picture though.

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55 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

PRINCESS GWINNIEKINS'

 

2 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

PRINCESS GWINNIEKINS' time at the top was short. Almost immediately after her film's shock win for Best Picture, which greatly reduced its standing with the general public who were on board with Saving Private Ryan, her films started flopping,

Princess Gwinniekins is someone who has always annoyed me.  She always seems so full of herself, and she's such a blah presence in films like Iron Man, playing Tony Stark's girlfriend, Pepper Pots.  Why Tony Stark would even be into her is beyond me.  She seems like such a drip compared to him.  I remember when Princess Gwinniekins was dating Brad Pitt for 5 minutes back in the late 90s, and they were the hot couple de jour, before he got together with Jennifer Aniston.  In the 20+ years since then, Princess Gwinniekins has only made me dislike her even more, especially with her incredibly out of touch Goop line of products.  It reminds me of Jessica Walters in Arrested Development: "It's one banana, Michael. What could it cost? 10 dollars?" Except for Princess Gwinniekins' Goop banana would cost $10. 

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

I might also reckon that if Shakespeare in Love had been released with Julia Roberts in 1992, she likely would have won the Oscar over Howards End's Emma Thompson given that Julia was still at a high at that point. Emma would have likely won supporting then in 1993 for In the Name of the Father. Shakespeare would probably have lost to Unforgiven for Best Picture though.

But still would have faced an uphill battle, from Roberts likely being as insufferable in that movie as she was in "Marvel's The Eternals".

And ANYTHING would have lost to Unforgiven in '92.  If Saving Private Ryan could lose to Shakespeare, it wouldn't have stood a chance with Clint.

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The thing about Saving Private Ryan is that it's really two movies: the gory opening half hour or so, which I have never seen, and the fairly bland by-the-numbers 1940s movie that follows, which I have seen. And just because it had been conceded the Oscar early on, people looked around for another possibility, and settled on Shakespeare in Love. Some Oscar-winning movies get the swell of the big wave at exactly the right time. Argo is a good example, so is this year's CODA.

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21 hours ago, Swithin said:

and there are all these gimmicks, like, why does everyone get a cold?

It's not a cold; someone's trying to kill everyone with an early coronavirus variant.

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On 5/15/2022 at 5:35 PM, Fading Fast said:

The Hospital from 1970 with George C. Scott, Diana Rigg and Barnard Hughes

Interesting that you would write a long review of The Hospital (a movie I love for its extremely dark comedy), and not mention Paddy Chayefsky, who won an Oscar for that screenplay.

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2 hours ago, EricJ said:

But still would have faced an uphill battle, from Roberts likely being as insufferable in that movie as she was in "Marvel's The Eternals".

From what I've read, the residents of the South Carolina town that was the filming location for the "Iowa" scenes of the movie didn't like her (and the feeling was mutual).

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Byron (2003): Moderately interesting film based on the life and loves of Lord Byron, played by Jonny Lee Miller.

The problem with this two-part BBC miniseries is too much sex, based on rumours (possibly accurate) of an incestuous relationship between Lord Byron and his half sister Augusta. There is also a hint of Byron's bisexuality, for which there is a great deal of historic evidence. (Byron, who had many boyfriends, was probably a gay man who had to make accommodations due to the times. There is probably more homoeroticism in his poetry than lust for women.)

There is a lot of passion in this film, both sexual and in anger. Perhaps too much smashing of glass objects and teacups. Byron's dark moods are depicted well, although apart from one minute or so at the end of his life, when he is remembering the cricket fields of England, there is little in the character as portrayed, to link Byron with his romantic poetry.

The acting is good throughout, apart from a ridiculous over-the-top performance by Camilla Power as the obsessed Caroline Lamb. Vanessa Redgrave is good as Lady Melbourne, Byron's confidante, although it is she who spreads the word of the incestuous relationship, via Caroline Lamb, to Byron's wife Annabella. A few of the other women who crop up are not well defined. It took me a while to realize that Mary Shelley was actually Mary Shelley, the wife of the poet.

Part II abruptly (and confusingly) advances by a few years, concluding with  Byron's death in Missolonghi,  in the war between Greece and Turkey. Perhaps the most touching moment in the whole film is the glance between Byron's servant and Byron's wife's servant, who are reunited after Byron's death, having been separated when Lord Byron and his wife separated, several years earlier.

MV5BMTQyNDU1NDQ3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODY0

 

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Tarzan and the Amazons (1945)

One of the series of later unpretentious Tarzan films that Johnny Weissmuller made at RKO. This was also the film which introduced Brenda Joyce as a new blonde Jane, following Maureen O'Sullivan's departure from the series when it was closed down at MGM.

The story is strictly standard hidden city in the jungle stuff, with a group of explorers, in a search for gold, employing Boy to lead them to the mysterious Palmyria, a city of Amazon women hidden in the mountains, after Tarzan refuses to do so. Of course, little do they know that if any outsiders are captured in the city the penalty is death. The expedition includes Henry Stephenson and Barton MacLane. With MacLane aboard you know that no good can come of it.

While the story is predictable in a jungle pulp fiction sort of way, the film utilizes some decent sets for Palmyria, as well as a statue of their all powerful Sun God whom the Amazons worship. All of the Amazon women run around in skimpy, but not too skimpy, leopard skin outfits (the Code Gods were watching over the production, after all). We're apparently not to question the fact that this is an all Caucasian female civilization in the middle of the African jungle. And just where did all these women come from as there don't appear to be any men around?

Maria Ouspenskaya brings her usual slow speaking dignity to the role of the Amazon ruler. Ouspenskaya was far from an Amazon herself and we can all remain eternally grateful that she did not have to wear a skimpy leopard skin outfit in this film. I'm not certain if even Tarzan could have survived that sight.

My Thoughts on: Tarzan and the Amazons (1945) | Film Music Central  My Thoughts on: Tarzan and the Amazons (1945) | Film Music Central

Weissmuller, no matter what his limitations as an actor, will always be Tarzan to many fans, myself included. He was 40 for this, his ninth screen appearance as the lord of the jungle, and his still impressive physique is on full display early in the film when, covered only by a loin cloth, he uses a long pole to propel a raft down a river. I was raised on Weissmuller Tarzan films that were in constant play on television years ago and, therefore, it's impossible for me to not like Johnny in his role.

Johnny Sheffield is also likable in his continuing role as Boy, the son informally adopted by Tarzan and Jane years before in Tarzan Finds A Son (since they weren't married the Code stipulated that he had to be adopted). Brenda Joyce, aside from being exceedingly pretty, exudes a warmth as Jane that I never really saw in Maureen O'Sullivan. All of the overt sexuality on full display in the first two MGM Tarzans from the pre Code days, however, is no where to be seen in this later effort, of course.

And, no, neither Jane nor any of the Amazons wore any outfit as body tight or revealing as the one pictured in the poster below.

Tarzan and the Amazons (1945) - IMDb

2 out of 4

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19 hours ago, EricJ said:

But still would have faced an uphill battle, from Roberts likely being as insufferable in that movie as she was in "Marvel's The Eternals".

I'm still curious about this comment. Is this a joke that I'm missing, or are you saying that Julia Roberts was in Eternals?

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On 5/16/2022 at 9:21 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

never saw BELOVED- I read the book the summer I graduated high school  (1996) and LOVED IT- and then I went to college and was assigned BELOVED in SIX DIFFERENT COURSES.

by the time i was done hearing it discussed/parsed/analyzed six ****ing times,  I am sad to say that I kinda hated it- even though it's not BELOVED's fault.

[i went to a terrible college.]

Thus, I have never had any desire to revisit it or see the movie...I can still recall though how HIGH the expectations were- I remember OPRAH doing an interview where she held her hands up and told the interviewer not to even mention her getting a Best Actress nomination for BELOVED...in a way that read as "...because it's totally happening, b!tch..."

and then the film ATE IT RAW AT AT THE BOX OFFICE (BARELY made $20 million) and was GONE in a month.

Yep:  Everyone WANTED Beloved to be more important than it was.  

To this day, Oscar pundits still talk about a "Beloved nominee", the buzz-bait favorite that everyone assumes will be groomed for a Best Picture sweep on pedigree months before it opens, and then.......it opens.

(If it gets nominated anyway, on the Gullible Globes falling for the hype, that's a "Green Mile nominee".)

I'm still curious about this comment. Is this a joke that I'm missing, or are you saying that Julia Roberts was in Eternals?

(checks IMDb)

...Darn! 🤦‍♂️  I knew it was some A-list carpetbagger who wanted to play MCU Pretend, but I thought I was FINALLY able to tell Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts apart...I couldn't remember which one had the Eric Roberts lips!

(Their egos make it too difficult to distinguish.)

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On 5/16/2022 at 4:02 PM, speedracer5 said:

 

Princess Gwinniekins is someone who has always annoyed me.  She always seems so full of herself, and she's such a blah presence in films like Iron Man, playing Tony Stark's girlfriend, Pepper Pots.  Why Tony Stark would even be into her is beyond me.  She seems like such a drip compared to him.  I remember when Princess Gwinniekins was dating Brad Pitt for 5 minutes back in the late 90s, and they were the hot couple de jour, before he got together with Jennifer Aniston.  In the 20+ years since then, Princess Gwinniekins has only made me dislike her even more, especially with her incredibly out of touch Goop line of products.  It reminds me of Jessica Walters in Arrested Development: "It's one banana, Michael. What could it cost? 10 dollars?" Except for Princess Gwinniekins' Goop banana would cost $10. 

I agree that Gwyneth seems sometimes to be inhabiting another planet (You mentioned out-of-touch Goop.) and in a way seems to be a precursor to today's many internet "influencers", so full of themselves that they just have to "share". I guess I'm predisposed to not like her as a person and I've missed many of her film performances, but the ones I've caught seemed anything but blah. Emily Watson was mentioned as having veered off into character parts and in a way that's what Gwyneth did too, in indies and other less sure-fire projects than many Oscar winners probably wouldn't consider. She played nuanced (and very oddball) characters in The Royal Tenenbaums and Running with Scissors as well as a cameo in Infamous, the "other" (and I think better) Capote movie, in which she played a chanteuse who had somewhat of a breakdown mid-song, totally checked out, then recovered and finished the song, a stunning, if minor, performance. Kerry Conran's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow was apparently a flop but she and Jude Law were a great team in an incredibly imaginative movie. And she's my favorite Emma, and I've seen them all. Anyway, Goop has made her an easy target for ridicule, but I just wanted to put in a good word for her skill as an actress in the few of her movies I've seen. 

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5 hours ago, EricJ said:

(If it gets nominated anyway, on the Gullible Globes falling for the hype, that's a "Green Mile nominee".

Ah yes, THE GREEN MILE. 

I daresay no other film of the 20th century inspired more out-loud utterances of the (purely rhetorical) question “seriously, what the **** was that about?” during the end credits.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Ah yes, THE GREEN MILE. 

I daresay no other film of the 20th century inspired more out-loud utterances of the (purely rhetorical) question “seriously, what the **** was that about?” during the end credits.

I'm probably stupid for not getting it, but I felt that way about Magnolia

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A bad news, good news situation. The bad news is that due to technical issues with the print I watched, Blow Out (1981) was likely the most infuriating viewing of my life. It was on the demand on the TV, but unfortunately there were big issues. It was on a Spanish language channel, but the diologue was still in English.....But the sound was out of sync with all the lines being delivered 10 to 15 seconds after their corresponding actions on screen. Plus, I had to deal with Spanish -language subtitles on the bottom of the screen. Very irritating.

The good news is though that the film was worth dealing with the irritation. Its a tragic thriller, with echoes of Blow-Up, Chinatown, All the President's Men, and the real life Chappaquidick incident. John Travolta rarely looked so committed to a role than he does here, and its certainly one of his two best performances. Nancy Allen gets a little time to get used to but she won me over soon afterwards. John Lithgow is chilling as an emotionless assassin. The music is very moving; the directing by Brian DePalma is assured, the cinematography is extremely well composed widescreen, which looks almost everyday, but then goes in for intriging flourishes. The finale is a true heartbreaker. Well worth a look...just not on the print I saw.

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Víctimas del pecado aka Victims of Sin (1951) Classic "Golden Age" Mexican Noir

poster%201.jpg

A Cabaretera - Zoot Suit Noir that manages a magical fusion of gritty big city Film Noir with Afro-Caribbean-Cuban-Mexican Musical and the Western.                                                            (Noirsville)

Directed masterfully by Emilio Fernández. 

Written by Emilio Fernández and Mauricio Magdaleno and based on Magdaleno's story. The phenomenal Cinematography was by the great Gabriel Figueroa, and the Music was by Antonio Díaz Conde. 

Just based on the amazing visuals that continually top those in the preceding frames this film has shot into my personal 10/10 list of Black & White International Noir. And get this, I first watched a streaming un-subtitled version that was cropped from an Academy ratio to a 1.78:1 (16:9). Its a simple story and since I'm part Italian and have lots of Hispanic friends, between the similarities of the two languages and the very animated acting, it is pretty easy to figure out what is going on. That says a lot, and I have since purchased the current DVD available (it has English subs), but I'd easily re purchase it again if a Blu comes out. The film plays like a Noir Music Video and and you can even enjoy it that way. If you are a Noir Visual junkie once you see it it will be unforgettable. 

Emilio "El Indio" Fernández creates a masterpiece in re-visiting Cabaretera Noir. His first was Salon Mexico (1949) This film checks all that boxes of what a great Noir made around the early 1950's should contain. 

Gabe Figueroa's cinematography is visually dark, graphic, and gritty. He is an equal to Alton, Guffey, Diskant, Ballard, and Musuraca.

The story hits on all cylinders, the music and dance routines are eye openly progressive compared to any films produced by Hollywood of the same vintage. 

The Music is for the most part diegetic and is provided by the Pérez Prado Orchestra, Rita Montaner, Jimmy Monterrey's "bongocero" rumba band, a un-credited Jalisco mariachi group playing Santiago's leitmotif "el tren," and even the famous Mexican crooner Pedro Vargas gets to do a number as a celebrity guest in the Changóo audience.

Visual highlights are the warren like back alleys, the neon lit clubs, the early morning railyard views from El puente de Nonoalco, the prostitute cribs. Acosta's Zoot Suit "jive" dance, all of Ninón Sevilla's numbers, Rita Montaner singing "Ay, José" wink wink, which never would have been permitted by the Legion of Decency or the Motion Picture Production Code here, the "**** riot," and a cool Western gunfight at the railyard.

All the performances are spot on, Sevilla, Junco, Acosta are excellent and especially of note is the acting by Ismael Pérez as Juanito with some very compelling sequences. Screencaps from Mirada DVD 10/10. 

Detroit Institute of Arts considers the film as "one of the most famous post-war Mexican films," and shares that it includes "knockout mambo numbers by Pérez Prado and Pedro Vargas".[ Detroit Film Theatre. Retrieved February 3, 2013.] The film was also released as Hell's Kitchen.

Full Review with screencaps in Film Noir / Gangster pages.

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8 hours ago, EricJ said:

Yep:  Everyone WANTED Beloved to be more important than it was.  

To this day, Oscar pundits still talk about a "Beloved nominee", the buzz-bait favorite that everyone assumes will be groomed for a Best Picture sweep on pedigree months before it opens, and then.......it opens.

(If it gets nominated anyway, on the Gullible Globes falling for the hype, that's a "Green Mile nominee".)

(checks IMDb)

...Darn! 🤦‍♂️  I knew it was some A-list carpetbagger who wanted to play MCU Pretend, but I thought I was FINALLY able to tell Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts apart...I couldn't remember which one had the Eric Roberts lips!

(Their egos make it too difficult to distinguish.)

 

2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Ah yes, THE GREEN MILE. 

I daresay no other film of the 20th century inspired more out-loud utterances of the (purely rhetorical) question “seriously, what the **** was that about?” during the end credits.

 

1 hour ago, txfilmfan said:

I'm probably stupid for not getting it, but I felt that way about Magnolia

 

1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I never saw Magnolia. TOM CRUISE makes me retch. 

Magnolia, it felt to me was akin to all those other LA-is-trouble films they had in the 90s and 00s. Its less savage than Short Cuts, the characters are not as nasty as the ones in Crash, but it is not as optimistic as Grand Canyon. Simply put, it is a film about a lot of emotionally damaged people and their first, halting steps at trying to heal or to atone for the misery they caused others, hard though it is. I found it to be gloomily touching, with Jason Robards, dying in real life, just like his character, the best performance in the cast. I am confused though as to why it ended with frogs falling out of the sky instead of rain. I guess to send a message to repent, just like the frogs were a sign for Egypt to repent in biblical times. Even so, its one of the few Oscar contenders of 1999 I actually liked (along with The Sixth Sense, Topsy-Turvy, The Straight Story, The End of the Affair, The Hurricane, and The Insider.) Too many of 1999's Oscar contenders (American Beauty, Cider House Rules, Girl Interrupted, Being John Malkovich, Election, the second and third acts of The Talented Mr Ripley) drove me up the wall.

The Green Mile is a curious case, a would be "uplifting" film which still has gory execution scenes and sends an innocent man to the electric chair. The late Michael Clarke Duncan really holds it together as you watch it; the role is probably a stereotype, but he brings so much heart and soul to it that he makes it work. I liked it, but only saw it once. It does seem like an odd contender for Best Picture in terms of genre and subject matter. The Golden Globes really didn't push that film much though. It got a nod for Duncan, but for nothing else.

Speaking of Julia Roberts, she was in a film, like Beloved, which was much buzzed for awards until it opened. It was 2003's Mona Lisa Smile, a feminist variant on Dead Poets Society with some Prime of Miss Jean Brodie thrown in. Then it opened and the reviews were harsh. Both Roberts and a few of the actresses playing her students did not gel with the film's 50s setting, and the film itself was so hyper-critical of the era, that it came across more as an incessant whine than as entertainment. Only Marcia Gay Harden stood above the fray and felt period appropriate as a spinster teacher drowning in clouds of alcohol and chintz. The film was not up for any Oscars, although Marcia Gay Harden was nominated that year for Mystic River.

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