It’s easy to see why and how Peter Weir’s 1989 drama, Dead Poets Society, has become so beloved and received multiple Oscar nominations (and won one, for its screenplay). The acting and the script are so solid and believable that none of the events that transpire seem inauthentic or unrealistic.
People may complain about the historical inaccuracies of the events that transpire in the film, but what they may not realize is that it is based on the play written by Peter Shaffer (who also wrote the screenplay). The play itself isn’t based on fact; rather, it is a dramatization of events that probably didn’t happen, and a sort of fantasy about the rivalry between two talented composers, Mozart and Salieri, one of whom (Mozart) is obviously more talented (a genius, really).
Believe it or not, Total Recall — the 1990 original, not the pointless remake with Colin Farrell — was one classic sci-fi film that I hadn’t yet seen. It was definitely on my list, as it was nominated for two Oscars (in the sound categories), and has been deemed by many to be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best performance.
Ocean’s Eleven is one of those movies that is probably nearly impossible to dislike, even if you find nit-picky elements that you dislike or find off-putting; I find it to be a near-perfect film that I’ve seen more times than I can count (most recently, just a couple weeks ago).
My Oscar-winning films catch-up continues with 1986’s Platoon, often deemed the best anti-war film ever made. Writer/director Oliver Stone based the film on his own experiences in the Vietnam War, which makes the script and characters so viscerally real, and the events that transpire as authentic as they can possibly be.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment is that I was disappointed with the film, after having heard so much (even re: what happens at the end, thanks to an IMDb summary that gives everything away) about it, and how people laughed and cried throughout. Sure, I smiled and chuckled a bit here and there, but I did not shed one tear or feel any real emotional connection to the characters — so that, when bad things happened to them, I felt no sympathy or catharsis.
Like the first film in the franchise, the final Indiana Jones film, The Last Crusade, is funny, entertaining, and smart. And, despite the fact that Raiders of the Lost Ark is a terrific film, this one may be even better. That’s primarily thanks to the addition of Sean Connery as Indy’s father, Henry Jones, Sr.
Harrison Ford was already a star thanks to Star Wars, but the Indiana Jones franchise (also co-created by George Lucas) made him a certifiable leading man.
The Untouchables was already on my seemingly never-ending movie queue, as it was an Oscar winner and multiple nominee, but I recently decided to watch it in honor of Sean Connery, who won for Best Supporting Actor and recently passed away. His performance is not only Oscar-worthy but perhaps among the best Oscar-winning supporting actor performances of all time.
How do you review a film that has already been dissected and discussed and raved about ever since its release 46 years ago? All you can do is repeat what has been already said. And, while I may not call it the best film ever made, it’s certainly a perfectly-made film, with pitch-perfect performances — especially from winner Robert De Niro and nominee Al Pacino — and compelling, complex characters who are flawed in the best possible ways.