Opinion Post: Do Superhero Films Deserve to be Best Pic Nominated?

Superhero films are continually all the rage in Hollywood. With special effects for special characters, a top 40 sounding soundtrack, it makes for an awesome experience at the theater or at home. But almost all of them seem to be either mostly action and very little story, or too much of both. With Disney owning Marvel now, the majority of superohero flicks are produced by them, leaving DC in the cold. Marvel makes more money and has won more awards. Have hero films gotten bad, not necessesarily, but most are average at best and it seems like a joke to put it in the Best Picture catergory against great films like Green Book and A Star is Born. Sure, there is an audience that think it’s only fair to nominate superhero films for Best Pic too. But is there any merit from these movies? Do we learn anything? Are they important films like Schindler’s List? No. They may have great effects, costumes and soundtrack, but does that mean it should be in the running for Best Picture? There are always going to be more worthy films. To go from watching a Marvel or DC film to a biopic, it seems like a joke once again. Although the hero one may be more entertaining, that shouldn’t be more important than merit, story, meaning, education, or powerfullness. A realistic story in film has been Proven to have a lasting impact. People remember more from The Godfather than The Dark Knight. Overall, I believe that movies with meaning and depth should be nominated and films like Black Panther should stay out. But to each their own.

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Classic of the Week: Double Indemnity (1944)

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Double Indemnity is a 1944 film noir crime drama directed by Billy Wilder and co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson, Jean Heather and Tom Powers.

The film follows the story of insurance salesman Walter Neff (MacMurray), housewife Phyllis Dietrichson (Stanwyck), who wants her husband dead and Barton Keyes, a claims adjuster whose job is to find bogus claims.

You first believe everything that Phyllis says about her husband being abusive, then you learn she made it up and wants him dead, because she had fallen in love with Neff. She and Neff try to make a “double Indemnity” clause in her husband’s life insurance policy, from a plan to make the murder of him seem to be an accidental fall from a train. You then learn that Phyllis was never in love with Neff and that she was the abusive one to both her husband and daughter Lola.

This film is outstanding in its portrayal of slyness and criminality. The writing is excellent. Fred MacMurray is exceptional as Walter Neff, as is Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson. Edward G. Robinson does a fine job as Barton Keyes, and though their roles aren’t as big,  Jean Heather as Lola Dietrichson and Tom Powers as Mr. Dietrichson, did very good as well.

The character of Phyllus Dietrichson, is an iconic one. She is extremely smart, book, street and criminally. She can make a person believe just about anything. Mr. Dietrichson, you learn, wants to divorce Phyllis because of her treatment towards him and their daughter. Lola wants to run away with her boyfriend Nino Zachetti, (who is a little foul mouthed and rude), because of her mother. She wishes her parents would just get divorced.

This is one of the best, not just crime films, but greatest films of all time. It has stood the test of time. It isn’t exciting at all, but intense without being overly gory or scary. Judging by posters of this movie, you think it’s a romance, but it’s actually not, all that turns out to be fake. This is an extremely well written, well acted, masterpiece, that never fails to bore. A one of a kind film, no, one in a million work of art. True originality from beginning to end. 16+ 5/5

100 Greatest Films in The Criterion Collection

  1. 8 1/2 – 1963
  2. Notorious – 1946
  3. The Silence of the Lambs – 1991
  4. The Princess Bride – 1987
  5. Rebecca – 1940
  6. A Hard Day’s Night – 1964
  7. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – 1964
  8. All That Jazz – 1979
  9. Some Like it Hot – 1959
  10. Mulholland Drive – 2001
  11. Stagecoach – 1939
  12. Rashomon – 1950
  13. The Complete Monterey Pop Festival
  14. The Philadelphia Story – 1940
  15. The Breakfast Club – 1985
  16. On the Waterfront – 1950
  17. Paris, Texas – 1984
  18. Paths of Glory – 1967
  19. Midnight Cowboy – 1969
  20. Rosemary’s Baby – 1969
  21. The Graduate – 1967
  22. In a Lonely Place – 1950
  23. His Girl Friday – 1940
  24. Modern Times – 1936
  25. My Man Godfrey – 1936
  26. Being There – 1979
  27. Bicycle Thieves – 1948
  28. La Dolce Vita – 1960
  29. The Night of the Hunter – 1955
  30. Wings of Desire – 1987
  31. Ikiru – 1952
  32. M – 1931
  33. Sid & Nancy – 1986
  34. Shoah – 1985
  35. The Red Shoes – 1948
  36. City Lights – 1931
  37. The Passion of Joan of Arc – 1928
  38. The Manchurian Candidate – 1962
  39. My Darling Clementine – 1946
  40. Fantastic Mr. Fox – 2009
  41. Fanny and Alexander – 1982
  42. The Battle of Algiers – 1966
  43. La Strada – 1954
  44. They Live By Night – 1948
  45. Sweet Smell of Success – 1957
  46. Broadcast News – 1987
  47. The Kid – 1921
  48. Breathless – 1960
  49. Grey Gardens – 1976
  50. The Gold Rush – 1942
  51. Weekend – 1967
  52. Odd Man Out – 1947
  53. The Third Man – 1949
  54. Belle de Jour – 1967
  55. Persona – 1966
  56. Nashville – 1975
  57. The 400 Blows – 1959
  58. Boyhood – 2014
  59. Five Easy Pieces – 1970
  60. Eyes Without a Face – 1960
  61. Safety Last! – 1923
  62. Repulsion – 1965
  63. Tootsie – 1982
  64. Bowling for Columbine – 2002
  65. Anatomy of a Murder- 1959
  66. Autumn Sonata – 1978
  67. The Phantom Carriage – 1920
  68. Jules and Jim – 1962
  69. Ride the Pink Horse – 1947
  70. Vengeance is Mine – 1979
  71. Bitter Rice – 1949
  72. Spartacus – 1960
  73. Hoop Dreams – 1994
  74. The Golden Age of Television
  75. Ace in the Hole – 1951
  76. Grand Illusion – 1937
  77. The Thief of Bagdad – 1940
  78. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie – 1972
  79. Billy Liar – 1953
  80. The Times of Harvey Milk – 1984
  81. Do the Right Thing – 1989
  82. The Virgin Spring – 1960
  83. Harlan County, USA – 1976
  84. Knife in the Water – 1962
  85. Missing – 1982
  86. For All Mankind – 1989
  87. Viver Sa Vie (My Life to Live) – 1962
  88. Make Way for Tomorrow – 1937
  89. Pepe Le Moko – 1937
  90. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels – 1975
  91. Army of Shadows – 1969
  92. Seven Samurai – 1954
  93. Floating Weeds – 1959
  94. Viridiana – 1961
  95. A Woman Under the Influence – 1974
  96. I Know Where I’m Going! – 1945
  97. Through a Glass Darkly – 1961
  98. Diabolique – 1955
  99. The Thin Blue Line – 1988
  100. Night and Fog – 1956

Classic of the Week: Roman Holiday (1953)

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Roman Holiday is a 1953 English and Italian romantic comedy film directed by William Wyler and stars Gregory Peck as a reporter and Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess out to visit Rome on her own.

Prin ess Ann (Hepburn) on a state visit to Rome, becomes angry with her life crammed with schedules, she leaves her country’s embassy. Her sleeping medication kicks in and she falls asleep on a bench, where Joe Bradley (Peck), an American news reporter finds her without recognizing who she is. Thinking she is inebriated, he lets her spend the night in his apartment.

The next morning, Joe hurries off late to work and gives his editor, Mr. Hennessy wrong information about a press conference with the princess. When Hennessey tells him the job has been canceled and shows him a newspaper article about her sudden illness, he realizes who is really in his apartment. Joe says he wants to get an exclusive interview with the princess and Hennessey agrees.  Joe runs home and hides the fact that he is a reporter and suggests that he show his visitor who changes her name secretly to Anya, around Rome.

Although this story has much secrecy, it is still a fun film. It is also funny and sweet, but not over the top hilarious or lovey-dovey. It has the right amount of humor and romance. Peck and Hepburn are a wonderful pairing, that come together again wonderfully in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey’s character in Roman Holiday wasn’t your typical curvy Italian sexpot, she was very thin, with no butt, no breasts and no curves, but she was she was still beautiful and classy, the perfect princess. Gregory was equally perfect for his character.

You start out hating Joe Bradley, but as the film progresses, you end up really liking him. Princess Ann is a lovable character, who just wants to experience “normal” life, even if just for a little while. Both Joe and Ann do fall in love, but do they stay together, even after she returns to princess life? You must watch the film to find out.

This is a lovely movie in many ways. It warms your heart, as well as makes you angry and sad. This is a film you must see in your lifetime, that is how truly fantastic it is, one that can be watched over and over again without getting old. 11+ 5/5

Classic of the Week: Raising Arizona (1987)

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Raising Arizona is a 1987 American crime comedy film directed by Joel Coen and produced by Ethan Coen. It stars Nicolas Cage as H.I. “Hi” McDunnough, an ex-convict and Holly Hunter as Edwin “Ed” McDunnough, a former police officer and Hi’s wife.  The cast also includes Trey Wilson, William Forsythe, John Goodman, Frances McDormand, Sam McMurray and Randall Cobb. The story follows a childless couple that kidnaps another family’s quintuplets, as their lives become more and more troubled.

This is definitely one of the Coen Brothers’ less serious films, and although, it is about a crime, it is still filled with hilarious moments. It isn’t the brothers’ best work in my opinion, but it is still a classic that never ceases to make you laugh out loud at times. Never is this film boring, it is wildly entertaining from beginning to end. With an all-star cast, this is one that can be watched over and over again without getting old.

Nicolas Cage is outstanding as H.I. “Hi” McDunnough and Holly Hunter is equally fabulous  as Edwina “Ed,” his wife. The rest of the leading cast members are great. This film is laugh until you cry funny. This isn’t necessarily a fabulous movie, but it sure hits a home run in the entertainment category. Never a dull moment. Not the best story, but, that doesn’t make this one complete garbage, it is still a very good film. 

This is truly one of the funniest and best comedy films if you’re needing some laughter. The Coen Brothers are film geniuses, whether doing comedy, drama, crime, or all the above. They know how to tell great stories, even though this isn’t their best, they always put together the best cast that are always perfect for their characters, everything they do is outstanding.

This film is not fantastic, but good. It has memorable moments, a great cast and funny lines. 13+ 3.5/5

Ideal Home (2018)

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Ideal Home is a 2018 American comedy drama film directed by Andrew Fleming and starring Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd, Alison Pill, Jake McDorman and Jack Gore.

The story is about Erasmus (Coogan) and Paul (Rudd), a gay couple whose life is completely changes when a ten year old boy shows up at their door claming to be Erasmus’s grandson. The boy’s father, who is supposedly Erasmus’s son from a drunk one night stand, winds up in jail for drug usage and selling, alcoholism, drunk driving and child endangerment. The boy escapes when police come to arrest to his dad. Paul and Erasmus become parents to Angel (aka Bill).

This is not a film for super conservatives, because of the homosexual theme, but one for open minded non conservatives that don’t judge sexuality, marriage or family types. It shows that love and families come in different forms.

This film deals with tough issues like alcoholism, drug abuse and child negligence. Lots of inappropriate language is said and inappropriate things done around Bill, that make a good portion of this film really offensive. Bill does pick up on the language, which also adds bad parenting to the list of tough issues. But once you get passed all the hard stuff, the film gets worlds better. Paul and Erasmus learn how to become parents and at first are horrible at it, but then they get better as the film goes on.

This film starts out with the really hard stuff like what happens to Bill’s dad and the language and adult scenes are quite a bit over the top, but it progrosses into a heartwarming story, that teaches that families are all different and that love is love. Steve Coogan is absolutely perfect in his role as Erasmus Brumble, Bill’s grandfather and a TV chef and Paul Rudd is great in his role as Paul Morgan, Erasmus’s director and long-term partner. This film is filled humor, particularly from Coogan. This one is only somewhat warm and fuzzy, but it it’s not altogether terrible, given the great cast. It’s not a must see, but I’d still recommend it to anyone with an open mind. 18+ 3/5

Classic of the Week: Chinatown (1974)

af91c0b1-3382-4e00-9609-573313315f6f Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film directed by Roman Polanski and stars Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century. The film has elements of film noir, is part multi layered mystery and part psychological drama.

This film is only inspired by the California Water Wars, so much of it isn’t factually accurate, but that doesn’t make it bad at all. In fact, this is one of the greatest mystery films of all time. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are outstanding together. He brings the super sneaky and violent private investigator to life. She brings the very sly, extremely curious and cheating wife to life. Both Faye and Jack are equally perfect for their roles.

This film does have several slow scenes, but the action, violence and crime make up for it. Yes, this movie is very violent, but without all of it, it wouldn’t be the same. This a film where extreme brutality is one of the things that make it great. From the car chasing, to the beating, to the shooting, everything is done so realistically, it’s incredible. Despite the historical inaccuracies, this is still an excellent film.

Whether you like a lot of brutality or not, or are a Polanski fan or not, this movie is one you must see before you die. It is wonderful from beginning to end. 18+ 5/5

Love, Gilda (2018)

 

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Love, Gilda is a 2018 American-Canadian documentary film directed and co-produced by Lisa Dapolito. The film is about American comedian Gilda Radner. It uses diaries, audio tapes, home movies and interviewing of some of her closest friends at that time, as well as other famous people that have been greatly influenced by her.

Gilda Radner is most known for being on Saturday Nght Live with her two most famous characters Roseanne Roseannadanna and Baba Wawa, a parody of Barbara Walters. But before SNL, she did stand up in her hometown of Detroit and then joined National Lampoon. Her career soared on SNL and then Broadway where she had a one woman show. She did have some downs in her life as well, when her contract ran out with SNL, she suffered a miscarriage with husband actor Gene Wilder and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which she died from. Her legacy lives on though and she has become a huge inspiration and influence on comedians and actors and actresses today.

This film is wonderful because it starts out from when she was born, right up until the day she died. It is neat getting to hear from her friends and family and celebrity fans. Seeing clips of her performing is amazing and you can tell she loved it. She always loved to make people laugh. She was a one of a kind person. You learn all about her life from her miscarriage, to her eating disorder, to her cancer diagnosis. She was truly a wonderful person and always loved to make people laugh and smile.

This is one of the best documentaries I have seen in years. It is great in every way and worthy of an Emmy and Golden Globe award. This is the true story of one of the funniest people of all time. Two thumbs up! 18+ 5/5

Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

 

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Mary Queen of Scots is a 2018 biographical drama film directed by Josie Rourke and starring Soairse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden and Joe Alwyn. The film chronicles Mary Queen of Scots (Ronan) and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I (Robbie) and the 1569 between their two countries.

Though this film is not completely historically accurate, it is still well done. Soairse Ronan does an outstanding job as Mary and Margot Robbie is equally great as Elizabeth. The film focuses mostly on Mary and very little on Elizabeth. I feel it should have focused on both queens equally and the title should have either both their names or something to do with both of them. The acting in this movie is fantastic from all the main characters, but that doesn’t make the film any less drawn out or slow. There is is also far too much sex. If this film had been more exciting and there had been less sex, it would have been more enjoyable.

I found myself really bored at times, almost falling asleep. For being a big fan of biographical films and both Ronan and Robbie, I was expecting so much more. This film had me wanting it. The scenery was breathtaking, the costumes fabulous and music absolutely beautiful, but all of it combined didn’t make up for dullness this film had. If you’re looking for an incredible historical drama, I wouldn’t bother with this one. This film is good, not great, very boring at times and very slow at times too. I wouldn’t waste time and money seeing this on the big screen, it’s nothing special. Not Golden Globe or Oscar worthy at all. 18+ 3/5

Classic of the Week: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a 1961 American romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards, loosely based on the 1958 novella by Truman Capote of the same name. The film stars Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen and Mickey Rooney. The story is about Holly Golightly (Hepburn), a New York City socialite that falls in love with Paul Varjak (Peppard), a writer that moves into her apartment building, but her past gets in the way.

Holly was a call girl and Paul was a struggling writer. Holly through lavish parties in her apartment. Paul is an introvert that prefers nice dinners at home or at cozy restaurants. Both characters are complete opposites that eventually fall in love. Paul falls passionately in love with Holly, despite her lifestyle choices, she falls deeply for  him, despite his more simple life. They see that are meant to be together in spite of their differences. He sees her as a beautiful, but hard headed woman, that is also very sweet. She sees him as a handsome, very loving, truthful man.

This film is filled with humor, provocativeness, sadness and love. I started out not liking Holly, but towards the end, I ended up loving her. She starts out as not a very likable character and you wonder at first why Paul is smitten with her. But as the story goes on, you realize that they may be different, but they were supposed to be together.

This is a wonderful film. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard are are outstanding together. I can’t imagine Marilyn Monroe as Holly, which was Truman Capote’s choice, because the role was made for Audrey. Her character has become an icon around the world and this is her most famous role. The famous little black dress, pearls, gloves, kitten heels, tiara and sunglasses have been copied since the film’s theatrical release.

This is a truly spectacular film, with many famous scenes and lines. Hepburn and Peppard will still live on in hearts for generations to come. 16+ 5/5