Friday, February 13, 2009

My Top 10 "Least Favorite" Best Pictures

As a diligent Oscarnazi, I've made it a point to watch all the Best Pictures from the Academy's history. Some have been more painful than others. Some are bad, but ultimately entertaining in their badness (see: "The Greatest Show on Earth," " Titanic.") But I figured it might be fun to call out the top 10 pretenders to the throne... in my humble opinion. And to add a little excitement, I'll omit the Eastwood cannon ("Million Dollar Baby," "Unforgiven") not because they don't deserve to be on this list (Oh, how they do) but because my distaste for Old Man Eastwood is already well-documented.

10. How Green Was My Valley (1941) - "How Green Was My Valley" chronicles 50 years in the lives of a close-knit clan of Welsh coal miners.
And BOY, does it feel like it.
It took me 3 tries before I could make it through this movie. To make matters worse, it beat out "Citizen Kane."

9. Out of Africa (1985) - Very long, very beautiful, very zzzzzzzzzzz.....

Meryl Streep plays a woman in a marriage of convenience who is uprooted to Africa with her new husband, only to fall in love with a roguish Robert Redford. If you're ever out of sleeping pills, this movie will probably make a suitable substitute.

8. Oliver!(1968) - Wow. This is one of those movies where you really can't believe it was even nominated. Based on Dickens' equally painful novel, 'Oliver Twist" it's a big, ugly mess with catchy songs. But they aren't that catchy. Come to think of it, it's really not a very good musical - forget film. The whole thing's just painful from start to finish.

7. Tom Jones (1963) - This is mostly a victim of its era. Albert Finney plays the titular handsome womanizer who only truly loves one woman. It seems as though this could be a charming movie, but I can't get past the ultra-sixties style of shooting and editing. It just seems like high-brow Benny Hill to me.

6. Gigi (1958)- Leslie Caron stars as an avant-garde French waif being groomed as a courtesan for the affluent and handsome Gaston. Another long boring musical. It was actually one of my favorite films as a little girl. However, it doesn't age well and, watching it as an adult, I have no feeling for these people and I just wanted to get to the end.

5. Chariots of Fire (1981)- Parts of this movie were interesting, but unfortunately they come between all the other parts. Supposedly this movie is primarily about two runners training for the Olympics in Britain, one christian and one Jewish, but the story gets muddled down with way too many characters that come and go and it's impossible to keep all their stories straight. For a pretty boring movie, it's almost frenetic in its story structuring. To make matters worse, it beat out "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

4. Gladiator (2000) -
CGI tigers.
Joaquin Phoenix.
Spartacus rip-offs left and right.
"Am I not merciful?"
How did this piece of crap ever win? Watch "I, Claudius" instead. To make matters worse, it beat out ... well take your pick: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Erin Brokovich," "Chocolat," and "Traffic."

3. Crash (2005) - This is the kind of movie Hollywood loves to make to pat themselves on the back. It explores racism "light." You see anyone can be racist. But racism is bad. Racism pushed Sandra Bullock down the stairs. "Do the Right Thing" was far more bold and challenging all of 20 years prior and it only got a writing nomination. Proof positive that the academy doesn't like a movie that really tackles the issue and presents no clear cut solutions. To make matters worse, "Crash" beat out... again, take your pick: "Good Night and Good Luck," "Capote," "Munich" and "Brokeback Mountain."

2. Ben Hur (1959)- I think I'd rather be chained in the bowls of a ship, rowing my life away than ever to have to sit through this epic piece of crap again. Quite frankly, I wasn't even that impressed with the damn chariot race.


1. An American In Paris (1951)- Oh. My. God. "Singing in the Rain" is one of my all time favorite films, but this numbingly boring Gene Kelly vehicle is all "dream ballet" and no charm. I've watched it twice because it seems like I must have missed something the first time.

This is one long, painful, boring, waste of time. To make matters worse, it beat out "a Streetcar named Desire."


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