All of these movies somehow managed to win Best Picture. In my opinion, they sucked. But if you feel different, feel free to let me know.

71. Oliver!, 1968 It’s not really a bad movie as much as the music really bugs me. I do like the “Who Will Buy” segment a lot and “Consider Yourself” and “I’d Do Anything” are okay. The acting is fine, but I always feel so removed from the characters. I’ll blame Carol Reed for that as well. The original book pulls you into the pitiful world that is Oliver’s and the dire straits of the gutter world. This place doesn’t seem that bad. Nancy is a character I usually love, like Joni in “Deadwood”; a depressed whore always makes me cry, but when Shani Wallis starts singing, I just want to stick something in her mouth and give the scene some desperately needed action. And she suffers from 60’s helmet hair in a period piece. In the end, “Oliver” should not have beat out “Romeo and Juliet” or one of the best films ever “The Lion in WinterDrinking Game: Extraneous arm movements 2) Extraneous leg kicks 3) Extraneous hair

Oliver ’68 Trailer

72. Gentleman’s Agreement, 1947 Having won over “Miracle on 34th Street”,The Bishop’s Wife” and “Great Expectations” is just dumb. Any of those would have been better picks; “Miracle” would be mine, ‘cause I love Maureen O’Hara and believing in Santa. (“Crossfire” was nominated too, but I haven’t seen that). It won, not because it was a great film but because it was touching on important social issues, racism and bigotry. Audiences of the day must have felt this was groundbreaking; it was shocking how Jews couldn’t get into country clubs. Thank god we’ve come so far. It really is amazing how, in 20 years, it went from dribble like this to “Raisin in the Sun” and “In the Heat of the Night”. We are just two years after WWII, so perhaps the horror of the Holocaust made Jewish culture the Africa of today in some weird way. And you feel that they really are trying, though with the heaviest hammer they could find. But in the background is constant repression of women and blacks; it’s hard to focus on what’s in the foreground. There are some real nice moments, basically all the scenes between Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire, two kick-ass actors, but the script is so expected and contrived today. You feel the attempt, but it would never actually move anyone in the right direction today. Drinking Game: 1) A Gentile stands up for Jews, cause they’re people too 2) You see a black servant in the background 3) A woman acknowledges that her place is to abide by her man  Gentleman’s Agreement ’47 Trailer

73. Cimarron, 1931 I like Westerns, so for that, it got a few points. The premise of watching the first 50 years of Oklahoma being settled by the white man is fun (for the white man). And Irene Dunne is fun to watch; so young before she really figured out her style. The opening section of the land race is cool, but I like it better when Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are doing it. But you can’t help but watch Richard Dix. It’s like they plucked him and his over-the-top style of acting right out of the silent era and dropped it into a talky, eye-liner and all. He’s pretty bad. And the film is one-sided and racist. The ending moral of the story?? It’s honorable to treat everyone you love like shit if you’re off killing natives for your state. Drinking Game: 1) Racism 2) Sexism 3) The main white dude being praised for being a white dude Cimarron ’31 Trailer

74. An American in Paris, 1951 Sappy, sappy, sappy. And I’m sorry, but Leslie Caron is just weird looking. She’s supposed to be the prettiest woman in France, but I keep wondering if she has some chromosomes messed up somewhere, not that that would keep me from loving someone not “beautiful” (watch for how high Frances McDormand ranks in the forthcoming “Best Actress” list). Oscar Levant might have been a good pianist, but his acting sucked. To think, this film was picked over “A Streetcar Named Desire!” Seriously!! The film is boring, plot less, and not great music ‘til you get to the last 20 minutes. The film is all about that last musical number, which is beautiful. So just watch that and skip the rest.  Drinking Game: 1) Gene Kelly is “painting” without paint on his brush 2) Levant pouts 3) Caron’s teeth are about to pop out of her mouth  An American in Paris ’51 Trailer

75. Rocky, 1976 It’s not a good movie. It really isn’t. “Taxi Driver” and “Network”, those are good movies (both of which it beat out for the Oscar). I know, you remember it from years ago, maybe as a kid, as giving you the feeling that you, too can conquer the world, but much like the after-school specials about not taking LSD or you’ll jump out of a school window like 15 year old Helen Hunt, this movie is a decent 1976 made-for-TV film at best. It’s got a great soundtrack, I give you that. But come on, can’t we all just laugh at Stallone by this point? Drinking Game: 1)Rocky starts shadow boxing 2) Stallone tries being romantic 3) Someone says “Italian Stallion” Rocky ’76 Trailer 

76. The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946 This one is rough for me to pin-point what I didn’t like. And it’s an unpopular opinion. It is still considered one of the top 100 films of all time, but I just don’t think it holds up. And the fact that it won over “It’s a Wonderful Life”, one of the absolute greatest films of all time, is just a bitter pill for me to take. I get why it would have been popular in 1946. We are coming off of a tremendous ‘win’ and patriotic history for America, but families were dealing with the harsh realities of the difficulties of men coming home. It was one of the first to really examine the issue. It works well in that we’ve got three men’s stories, so we get a nice ensemble and a variety of issues: disability, lack of work, family roles, not connecting with the same people anymore, depression… And the actors are good, especially Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, and Cathy O’Donnell. But for dealing with such heavy issues, by today’s standards, they seem to barely skim the surface. Everyone seems to be acting rather than expressing any kind of emotional vulnerability. And their characters are defined mostly by their situation rather than being fleshed-out, real people. Drinking Game: Whenever someone’s smile turns to a frown when no one is looking.  The Best Years of Our Lives ’46 Trailer

77. Around the World in 80 Days, 1956 Thank god Mike Todd died before he was allowed to make another flick (Although maybe Debbie Reynolds might have been happier a bit longer.) I’m not sure what audiences of the day saw in this movie, except for the cameos. I believe Todd invented the term “cameo” for this film. Every scene, in all 36 hours of it, has a handful of stars in bit parts, which is really fun. I’d love to see a movie do that today. But the actual film is just dumb. There is nothing at stake!! Ever! Shirley MacLaine is an Eastern Indian princess? Seriously? David Niven is fine, but nothing special. Standout performance is Mario Marino “Cantiflas”, changing the part from a French butler, as it is in the book, to Spanish so he could play the role; he’s well picked. His physical humor and subtle timing are great. “The King and I” totally should have won instead, or any of the others that year- “The Ten Commandments”, “Friendly Persuasion” or “Giant”. This movie sucks. Drinking Game: When a Caucasian plays another ethnicity  Around the World in 80 Days ’56 Trailer

78. The Broadway Melody, 1928-29 “Broadway Melody” of ’29: They Talk! And sing a lot, and dance some, and… did I mention, they talk! It’s a silly little plot of two girls rising to stardom, but as a time capsule of the period; the clothes, the music- pretty cool. It’s a lot of great songs by George M. Cohan, especially the title song (watch the girls jamming behind- awesome) It’s just not much of a film today. It was one of the first sound musicals, which was probably cool then. And 1929 is considered one of the weakest years in film due to the chaos of studios trying to convert to sound and figure out what to do with it. Well, here’s one of the first attempts. Drinking Game: When a roaring-20’s female gets sassy. The Broadway Melody ’29 Trailer

79. Tom Jones, 1963 I feel bad I didn’t like this flick more. It’s fun, quirky, so different. It’s like an expensive episode of Benny Hill. I appreciate the bawdiness. It felt like we were laughing at it the same way an audience would have reacted to the book or a stage adaptation of it a couple hundred years ago. Acting is fun- Albert Finney (who was probably drunk during shooting) is fun, Susannah York is always solid, and Albert Finney is sufficiently hot. But I just didn’t find it funny. I felt like I needed to be watching it on the big screen, with a bunch of people, drunk, at midnight, dressed in scandalous costumes. It needs a cult following like “Rocky Horror”. But lots of fun cleavage. It’s the dude-comedy of ’63. Drinking Game: As I said, you need to be really, really drunk to get into it, so every time you see cleavage or hear a sexual innuendo, drink and you should be just fine  Tom Jones ’63 Trailer

80. Wings, 1927-28 When I was in high school, I worked at Paramount’s King’s Island outside of Cincinnati at a BBQ Ribs restaurant themed around the movie “Wings” (I still don’t have a clue what they had in common. If we’d have served buffalo wings, I’d get it, but we didn’t.) I watched a half hour of the flight footage on loop all summer long and wondered what the rest of the flick was. Well, I’d been watching the best part. The flight footage really is amazing by today’s standards. The planes are so cool and I have no idea how they filmed it so well. And all the actors did some of their own flying. Really cool. But the plot and silent-film style of acting don’t hold up today (as some do- Buster Keaton flicks rock, and of course Chaplin, and wait ‘til I get to praising Janet Gaynor when you read my “Best Actress” list forthcoming). It’s a basic story of 2 dudes and there are a couple girls, but they all like the wrong ones. Dudes go to war. Dudes have sex, maybe, and drink way too much, as dudes do. One dude is shot down, survives, steals an enemy plane and gets shot down by his dude buddy. Real melodramatic, past enjoyment, but cool planes. Drinking Game: 1) Nudity!! (boobs and butts, but got to watch close, like I did) 2) 2 dudes kissing!! Really! (80 years before Brokeback) 3) Every time you have to read something Wings, ’28 Trailer 

81. Grand Hotel, 1932 Oh, the grandeur. Oh, the shiny dresses. Oh, but I just don’t get the point? What happened? There’s a ballerina (Garbo) who can’t go on; wants to, but just can’t do it tonight. “I want to be left alone.” A secretary (Crawford) who wants to be an actress, but more than that, she wants to be a whore. You got a real rich guy (a Barrymore) and a poor guy (another Barrymore) who say to hell with the world, let’s spend money like we’re going to die tomorrow. And they’re all staying in a really beautiful hotel evidently made of gold. And then I just kind of got mesmerized in the pretty sets and watching rich people be rich and stopped caring that there wasn’t much plot. Garbo is really fun to watch. And it feels so grand and fancy (which had to have been even more amazing in the middle of the Depression- and I would think kind of shitty too) There are a couple single-camera shots that are really beautiful. Drinking Game: Every time you don’t have a clue what Greta Garbo just said.  Grand Hotel ’32 Trailer

82. Cavalcade, 1933 In these early movies, they really enjoyed spanning a spectrum of a generation, from just married to almost dead. In that time, we got to see how this rich family endured petty white people problems. I mean, I know there was war and stuff, but the matriarch, Jane Marryot, (played by Diana Wynyard) is just sitting there having pity party after pity party for herself. God, she sucked. But I can’t tell who sucked more, Jane the character or Diana the actress- it’s a toss-up. They really covered a lot of time, Titanic, stock market crash… that was kind of fun. And you got to watch their servants a little and how their class changed over the same time. They should have spent more time on that.  Drinking Game: 1) Whenever Jane gives a monologue to some imaginary friend in the room 2) When one of the upper-class drinks and it’s respected or a lower-class drinks and they are depicted as scum 3) When blind guys make baskets Cavalcade ’33 Trailer

83. Gigi, 1958 What is the point of this crap? It’s pretty. And the acting and singing was good, I guess. But there is almost no plot- certainly nothing of any depth at least. If it were a comedy, it would be ok, but it’s not funny either. It’s just dribble. And the songs!! “The Night They Invented Champaign” is far from a classic. And Maurice Chevalier is cool as he is, but having a 70 year old dude sing “Thank god for Pretty Girls” to 12 year old girls in a park is creepy! And it beat “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof!” Tragedy!  Drinking Game: 1) Someone says the name “Gigi!” 2) A horse rides through a bar 3) Someone is wearing a feather in a color birds don’t come in.  Gigi ’58 Trailer (If you watch this trailer, drink every time they call it “gay”- cause they ain’t lying)

2 Responses to “1 Star Flicks (#71-83)”

  1. babette Says:

    I think you and I are some of the few people who do not like GiGi or Rocky!


  2. I guess it says a lot that I have only seen a handful of these, having predicted I would be bored out of my gourd if I sat through any of them.

    ROCKY – ‘Network’ was ahead of its time. That was always the true winner in my opinion. That’s solid filmmaking. I have found that a lot of people have never actually seen ‘Taxi Driver’, but say they have because they saw a couple bits replayed here and there. They are probably too embarrassed to claim they never saw it. I have never heard of someone who would say this of ‘Rocky’. Say what you will, but I think the (essentially) remake ‘Karate Kid’ is superior in a lot of ways.

    The others I have seen from this list, I barely recall. I like Gershwin tunes a whole lot, but you’re probably right about AMERICAN in PARIS.

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