I love watching movie classics! There’s something so joyous about sitting down and turning on a really good black-and-white film. Maybe it’s because these classics felt so much more creative in their storytelling than the generic hodgepodge of movies these days but yeah, I love watching classic cinema. This past week I decided to watch two films that caught my eye; High Noon and It’s a Wonderful Life.
I decided to watch High Noon because I love a good Western and this Western earned the film’s star, Gary Cooper, an Oscar for Best Actor. That’s like an actor getting an Oscar for playing a superhero these days.
So I turned on the film and at first I was kind of bored with the story but after a while my anxiety built and built until by the end I could barely contain my muffled screams of anguish.
High Noon tells the story of a newly-retired sheriff who has a date with four revenge-stricken gunslingers who are out to kill him. But here’s the catch, the gunslingers’ leader is coming on the noon train, meaning the sheriff has to try and recruit deputies and wait for the noon train to come before the showdown.
What transpires is a brilliantly written, highly suspenseful conclusion that left me beaming when it finished. I’ve seen plenty of great Westerns in my time but High Noon is totally up there with the greats like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,Unforgiven, and 3:10 to Yuma.
My mother has been talking about Lost in Translation for a while now and how good a movie it is. I finally saw it the other day and yeah, it is a great film.
Sofia Coppola, who wrote and directed the film, won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and deservedly so. This movie is a beautiful story of two people who find themselves rethinking their lives in Tokyo, Japan who just so happen to run into each other and form a beautiful friendship. These two characters being Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte and Bill Murray’s Bob Harris.
Charlotte is a young woman who is questioning her two-year-old marriage with a young photographer whose investment in her seems like a second thought. And Bob Harris is a faded actor who’s in Japan trying to sell advertising for a whiskey company. His twenty-five-year long marriage is getting a bit stale, he’s slightly annoyed with his wife who seems to barely have time to talk with him across seas.
Charlotte and Bob’s relationship in this movie is a beautiful twist on the idea of two people having an affair. Even though they’re married and even though their feelings for one another can be seen as slightly sexual, Coppola writes them in a way where they feel cemented as good friends, not sexual partners. And I appreciated that!
You see the title of this post? It’s not an exaggeration. Life of Pi, a film that was nominated for eleven Oscars, including Best Picture, and won four of them back in 2013, is undoubtedly the most beautiful and one of the most stirring films I have ever seen.
Before roughly about a week or two ago I had never heard of this film. I’ve never seen it on any lists for classics or movie buff essentials. I’ve never seen a single commercial for it or heard any chatter about it. And then one day I’m browsing through HBO Max and I stumble upon it. My sister and I saw the featured image for the film,
this, and immediately I said to myself, “I don’t want to watch that.” So we put it off, instead choosing to watch other great classics like Kramer vs. Kramer and The Green Mile. (By the way, The Green Mile freaked me out and made me utterly bawl my eyes out. Ugh, it hurt. Great movie. A+)
And then yesterday, instead of watching Citizen Kane which is another movie I know I’ve got to watch one day but I keep not getting the urge to, we decided to tackle Life of Pi because why not.
What transpired thereafter was two hours and seven minutes of me and my sister being utterly transfixed. From the opening minutes to the last, Oscar-winning director Ang Lee brings to life a story that feels like it’s right out of the pages of maybe one of the most transfixing children’s books ever written.
Roughly half a year ago I watched Marriage Story and I absolutely loved it. It was funnier than expected and it was riveting. Plus, it felt like a really smart and well-written film. My mother said that if I liked it that I should watch Kramer vs. Kramer, the movie that essentially became the blueprint for these type of divorce dramas, so I finally got around to watching it today and boy was I engrossed.
Kramer vs. Kramer is definitely a late 1970s’ take on the story as it completely frames the wife as the villain of the story while the father is branded as the hero in little Billy (that’s their son’s) life. In a way, the same thing kind of happens in Marriage Story with Scarlett Johansson’s character becoming a bit of the villain in the story even though Adam Driver’s character is ultimately the one that destroys the marriage when he decides to cheat with a fellow co-worker.
But despite Marriage Story‘s modern spin on the classic divorce drama it doesn’t come close to the enjoyment that I felt watching Kramer vs. Kramer.
Wow, wow, wow. I’ve watched three David Lean movies: Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and now The Bridge on the River Kwai. Each film has been utterly stunning, both visually and narratively. Doctor Zhivago was a bit slower but a crack at the more romantic side of things. Lawrence of Arabia swept me away for three hours and fifty-eight minutes with its mesmerizing performance by Peter O’ Toole and David Lean’s incredible directing which brought the beauty of the desert in ways I didn’t conceive imaginable on the big screen. And once again David Lean does not stray from highlighting the beauty of his movie’s regional settings with The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Set in the sweltering jungles of Burma and filmed in Sri Lanka, the movie immerses you in its seemingly unlivable conditions. The white soldiers with their tanned brown skins and bare-chested bodies gleaming in a thin slick of sweat and their hair matted against their heads make you feel their incredible discomfort. The giant bats swarming overhead is something that I actually hope I can see with my own eyes one day but in the context of the film is utterly terrifying.
I love watching Best Pictures. I’m trying to see all of them, in fact. Yesterday while filing through television channels with my family we happened to stop on Showtime and playing was The Deer Hunter.
I think about forty minutes of the film had already started but it didn’t matter because the movie stopped us in our tracks. We could tell instantly that it was going to be a film worth watching but we didn’t know how great our intuition was going to be but we found out very soon.
The Deer Hunter is no walk in the park. It is a deeply emotional film that deals with the Vietnam War and its devastating impact on some of our finest Americans. In it stars Robert de Niro, Christopher Walken (Walken would win his only Oscar for ), and Meryl Streep who were all nominated for Oscars for this movie.
The Deer Hunter is a film that’s going to stick with you and yeah, it made me cry quite a bit actually. Watching this, I suddenly realized how much weaker a film like Da 5 Bloods actually is, which also is set in the Vietnam War. Yeah, Da 5 Bloods is a well-written movie but The Deer Hunter far exceeds it emotionally.
There aren’t a lot of Best Pictures that I have seen that deserve Best Picture but this one did. It’s a phenomenal movie.
I’ll give it 100 out of 100 and 5 out of 5 stars.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.