Deadbeat: The Movie

This is a short film I wrote and directed back in September 2003 It’s based on the first chapter of my novel Deadbeat. If you want to know what happens next and before, the novel is available for purchase by clicking here.

Thank you to everyone in the below cast and crew who volunteered their time and effort.

In the years between shooting this and putting it on-line I learned that the editor, Matt Villines had passed away. I’m not sure if he would have wanted me to, but since no one had to watch this as much as he did in the editing suite of the L.A. Film School, I’m dedicating it in his honor. R.I.P. Matt.

Cast:
Frank Bengling: Mark Craig
Maria Novella: Mirelly Taylor
Roger Bengling: Kidd Stablein

Crew:
Writer/Director: David Rolland
Producer: Jacintha Timothy
Editor: Matt Villines
Sound Design and Mixing: Peter Stier Jr.

Deja Vu – Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Creed

spaceballs06In the 1990’s the original Star Wars trilogy was the Bible to pop culture nerds. When Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out in 1999 the anticipation was what it must have been like 2000 years earlier when the New Testament came out.

Except instead of Jesus Christ we got Jar Jar Binks.

I fell asleep both times I tried to watch The Phantom Menace and the next two Star Wars movies weren’t that much better. So I didn’t have much hope when it was announced Disney was going to crank out a new Star Wars movie every year for the foreseeable future. In fact I dreaded the new movies as a cynical cash grab that would destroy the childhood innocence Star Wars and all its action figures, Underoos, and Pizza Hut limited edition cups represented.

So what a pleasant surprise Star Wars: The Force Awakens was. Someone who wasn’t a fan of the original Star Wars movies could point out plenty of plot holes, some wooden acting, and the fact the whole two and a half hour feature was basically a commercial for the next chapter, but they could say the same about the originals.  It would be more accurate to describe The Force Awakens as a two and a half hour love letter to those original three Star Wars movies.

This is a children’s movie not made for kids, but for 40 year olds who grew up on R2D2’s beeps and Chewbacca’s roars. Our heroes Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker are even older and grayer than us, but it gives you goosebumps to see them back on the screen again. The final shot left my jaw agape. All of a sudden the next Star Wars movie can’t come soon enough.

Critics have pointed out that many of the plot points for The Force Awakens were nearly identical to that of the original Star Wars movie, which I think was a brilliant move. That is also the strategy the new movie Creed took. Creed followed the same template of its 40 year old forefather, Rocky. In Creed, Rocky is now the wise old Jedi, teaching kind of young boxer Adonis Creed how to use the Force to come out of nowhere and get a chance at a title fight.

I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed Creed and The Force Awakens if I hadn’t grown up on Rocky and Star Wars movies, but I did and so I’m grateful they provided that welcoming nostalgia I’m always chasing when I go to the movies.

 

A Movie Only Donald Trump Could Love – Sicario

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares "You're fired!" at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX1GZCO

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

This is a statement by Donald Trump, it is also the ethos behind the hateful new movie, Sicario.

I’m all for xenophobia in brainless action flicks, but when a movie paints itself as a serious, pretentious work of art as Sicario does with its long silent shots of landscapes of the US/Mexican border, to portray an entire nation as villainous is more than reckless, it is immoral.

Sicario tells the tale of a female FBI agent who goes to Mexico with a couple fascist CIA agents to fight Mexican cartels. The Mexico in this movie is a land where dead corpses are hung naked in the middle of a busy city. It is a country where tattooed thugs drive around ready to kill you in a moments notice. It is a land filled with such vile creatures, that we should build a wall higher than the one seen in Game of Thrones.

In movies like the original Red Dawn when Russians were painted as the enemy and in Olympus Has Fallen when the North Koreans were depicted as heartless, it didn’t seem so wrong because the movies didn’t take themselves so seriously. Sicario however tries to position itself as high minded, as a true to life portrayal of the dangers Mexicans brings to America, and thus it feels much dirtier.

It’s kind of like how it was easier to laugh at Donald Trump before you realized a large percentage of the population were going to vote for him.

Somewhere in the middle of this anti-Mexican, pro-waterboarding screed could have been a good B action movie. The battle scenes are often intense, and an out of shape Benicio Del Toro as a supersolider is such a ridiculous killing machine that if they bothered to write him a few witty one-liners this could have been a bizarro version of Machete.

The director of this movie Denis Villeneuve hails from Canada. After seeing the venom that spews from his mind onto the screen, not only in Sicario, but also in one of his previous movies Incendies,  I feel if we have to build a wall on the border of this country, we should maybe look North.

Sizing Them Up – Ant-Man and Jurassic World

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Either my standards have gotten lower or the big budget movies this summer have gotten better.

It’s a distinct possibility that after watching all the terrible flicks the past few summers that I might have suffered brain damage and viewing a blank screen might elicit some laughs and startles out of me, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy Ant-Man and Jurassic World.

Ant-Man is probably the least known comic book character to get his own movie since Tank Girl. He shrinks to a centimeter tall and has the ability to order around ants. Stan Lee found his creation so lame that after a few appearances in the 1960’s he decided to reverse course and changed the character’s codename to Giant Man.

But still the character has over 50 years of history and the new movie picks and chooses wisely which aspects to utilize from it. It has some inventive special effects showcasing what it would be like to have to dodge rats, toy train sets, and dancing feet when you’re the size of an ant, but I think what I liked best about this movie is it didn’t make the stakes too high. Too often in these comic book movies, the fate of the world or the universe is at the hero’s hands. It was refreshing to watch one of these Marvel Comics movies where even if Ant-Man failed his mission to stop an evil industrialist from selling the shrinking technology not that many people would have lost sleep over it.

Jurassic World also benefited from shrinking it’s worldview. I liked the original Michael Crichton book the franchise was based on, Jurassic Park, but the previous movies always let me down. 3-D technology has advanced enough now that the plot or lack of characterization in it’s human characters won’t matter. There’s a tiny bit of exposition showing the human characters who we’re supposed to be rooting for, but Jurassic World wisely does not waste too much time on them. Instead it wows us with dinosaurs. The main villain is a genetically modified superdinosaur that raises all kind of hell. It seems at times he can’t be killed, but since all the action takes place on a dinosaur theme park set in the middle of the ocean, even if it kills every tourist in its sights, we don’t have to worry about it conquering the world and making slaves of us all. Narrowing its focus makes for a better experience and immerses you in the movie like the flicks of summers past had forgotten to do.

One great thing about Ant-Man and Jurassic World was neither movie tested your endurance. Both lasted for about two hours. For the longest time summer movies have treated audiences like they don’t have an attention span. We don’t, so it should now be a rule that no movie based on a comic book, theme park ride, or toy should have a running time of over 120 minutes.

Marvelous? – Avengers: Age of Ultron and Daredevil

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My expectations couldn’t have been lower going into Avengers:Age of Ultron. The last few Marvel comics based movies have been terrible. Guardians of the Galaxy confused pop culture references for having a sense of humor. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was nothing more than a loud two and a half hour commercial for the next Marvel movies.

So I went into the theater dreading that Avengers:Age of Ultron would be another cynical spit in the eye of the stories and characters I’ve invested so much time and money into.  What a surprise then to find myself enjoying the hell out of the sequel. Not that it’s perfect, there’s a time wasting romance and a couple gratuitous sexual double entendres that seemed ridiculous for a movie made for kids. Worst off they’ve destroyed my favorite character, the wise cracking womanizing, archer Hawkeye so completely I almost think they only added the character to the roster because they hated him and wanted to publicly humiliate him.

But I am willing to forgive these sins because they got so much right. My biggest complaint with comic book movies has been their makers unwillingness to see the forest for the trees. They’ve been so busy trying to make epic franchises, that the individual movies have felt like nothing but a set-up for the next sequel. Avengers:Age of Ultron has plenty of hints of what is to come, fortunately though it is its own creature with a beginning, middle, and end. It introduces new characters while giving each established character something to do (except for poor Hawkeye who was once a street smart purple masked wearing ex-carnie and now is… ok maybe I’m not willing to forgive them for the way they portrayed him). Instead of feeling like a way station for bigger things like the first Avengers movie did, this felt like a main event. They offer longtime fans so many faithful touches from the comic books that I wondered at times whether people unfamiliar with the source material would be able to follow what was going on.

I enjoyed it so much I have to wonder if I have gotten soft. Had taking nine months off from superhero movies (not counting Birdman) made me less critical? But then I remembered I recently spent thirteen hours watching the great Daredevil TV show on Netflix.

After watching Daredevil I was convinced episodic television was the right way to adapt comic books, rather than movies. It’s a format that is more conducive to the cliffhanger ending that is so central to superhero comic books. With television instead of having to wait months or years, you only have to wait until the next week (or in Daredevil’s case seconds) to see how the hero gets out of whatever bind he found himself in at the end of an episode. Daredevil is lucky to have had some of the best stories in comic history, but when they made a movie with Ben Affleck as the character they got it all wrong. The TV show was wise enough to stay true to those comics’ spirit. This first season is mostly based on Frank Miller’s creations making it even grittier and more violent than what came out of his sick mind decades earlier. There are epic fight scenes and great explorations of what can make a man a hero and alternately what can make a man a villain.

Daredevil and Avengers:Age of Ultron were so good I’m almost allowing myself to get excited to see Ant-man.

What Movie Should Have Won the Oscar – 2000-2013

No longer do we have the long lens of history to help us make judgments. As I end this exercise I have come to the conclusion that I am following the NFL’s instant replay rule, that the Academy must clearly be wrong in order for me to overrule their initial judgments. Fortunately, they were clearly wrong plenty of times this century.

In 2009 the Academy made a major change of having up to 10 best picture nominees. For consistency’s  sake I’m going to keep it to 5 nominees for each year.

Click here to read the 1970’s.

Click here to read the 1980’s.

Click here to read the 1990’s.

2000

Winner- “Gladiator”

Losers- “Chocolat”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Erin Brockovich”, “Traffic”

Should have been nominated- “Almost Famous”, “Erin Brockovich”, “Gladiator”, “O Brother Where Art Thou”, “You Can Count on Me”

Should have won- “O Brother Where Art Thou”

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The century got off to a rough start.  “Gladiator” followed the “Braveheart” formula to an Oscar win, but the timeless charm, comedy, and music of “O Brother Where Art Thou” surpassed Russell Crowe’s scowl.

2001

Winner- “A Beautiful Mind”

Losers- “Gosford Park”, “In the Bedroom”, “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”, “Moulin Rouge”

Should have been nominated- “A.I.”, “Memento”, “Moulin Rouge”, “Mulholland Drive”, “The Royal Tenenbaums”

Should have won- “The Royal Tenenbaums”

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Apparently, the Academy did start the 2000’s blinded by Russell Crowe’s scowl. Looking at the nominations the century began cinematically horrible, but dig deeper and you can see the Academy just didn’t do a good job of weeding through the trash and finding some hidden gems.

2002

Winner- “Chicago”

Losers- “Gangs of New York”, “The Hours”, “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”, “The Pianist”

Should have been nominated- “8 Mile”, “About Schmidt”, “Adaptation”, “Gangs of New York”, “Talk to Her”

Should have won- “Gangs of New York”

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I feel dirty about this choice. “Gangs of New York” is the worst of the five movies on the list I feel should be nominated, but one of my choices is foreign and two are quirky and the other stars Eminem. “Gangs of New York” is the only one I feel could win over a wide swath of the population. Again the Academy of 2002 should be ashamed for what they selected as the 5 best movies of this year. Especially considering the movies I selected were all nominated in other categories.

2003

Winner- “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

Losers- “Lost in Translation”, “Master and Commander”, “Mystic River”, “Seabiscuit”

Should have been nominated- “Big Fish”, “City of God”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Raising Victor Vargas”, “Whale Rider”

Should have won- “Big Fish”

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Again shame and ignominy on the Academy for 2003. We are lucky they stopped making Lord of the Rings and Russell Crowe movies or they would continue to have a stranglehold on the nominations. If they felt a need to give the award to a big popcorn movie they should have given it to “Pirates of the Caribbean” that at least had a great  Johnny Depp performance. Big Fish though is the imaginative tearjerker to end all tearjerkers. Perhaps the most criminally overlooked movie of all time.

2004

Winner- “Million Dollar Baby”

Losers- “The Aviator”, “Finding Neverland”, “Ray”, “Sideways”

Should have been nominated- “Hotel Rwanda”, “Million Dollar Baby”, “The Passion of the Christ”, “Sideways”, “Spider-Man 2”

Should have won- “Million Dollar Baby”

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Finally the Academy pulled its collective head out of its tuchus. I prefer the quiet desperation of “Sideways” and the heroism of “Spider-Man 2, but “Million Dollar Baby” is a worthy choice that will make you cheer and sob.

2005

Winner-“Crash”

Losers- “Brokeback Mountain”, “Capote”, “Good Night and Good Luck”, “Munich”

Should have been nominated- “A History of Violence”, “Batman Begins”, “Capote”, “The Squid and the Whale”, “Walk the Line”

Should have won- “Walk the Line”

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And just like that the Academy returns their head to where the sun don’t shine. I struggled to endorse any of their nominations, but finally gave the nod to “Capote” over “Hustle & Flow”. After much deliberation and many tiebreakers I settled on “Walk the Line” as what would be most universally beloved over the ultraviolent “A History of Violence” or “Batman Begins”.

2006

Winner- “The Departed”

Losers- “Babel”, “Letters from Iwo Jima”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, “The Queen”

Should have been nominated- “Borat”, “Children of Men”, “The Queen”, “The Pursuit of Happyness”, “The Lives of Others”

Should have won- “The Queen”

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The greatest travesty in Oscar history is for all the great movies Martin Scorcese directed, “The Departed” is what he wins for? They say comedy is the hardest thing and in that case Borat should win, but I think it was a harder trick to pull off getting audiences to care about the modern day royal family.

2007

Winner- “No Country for Old Men”

Losers- “Atonement”, “Juno”, “Michael Clayton”, “There Will Be Blood”

Should be nominated- “Michael Clayton”, “No Country for Old Men”, “There Will Be Blood”, “Eastern Promises”, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”

Should have won: “No Country for Old Men”

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A great year for movies and where the Academy finally gets back on track. “No Country for Old Men” is one of my least favorite Coen Brothers movies and I wouldn’t blink if they gave it to “Michael Clayton”, “Eastern Promises” or “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, but I don’t have irrefutable evidence those three movies are better than “No Country for Old Men”.

2008

Winner- “Slumdog Millionaire”

Losers- “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Frost/Nixon”, “Milk”, “The Reader”

Should have been nominated- “Doubt”, “Frost/Nixon”, “Milk”, “Wall-E”, “The Wrestler”

Should have won- “The Wrestler”

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Every generation deserves its “Rocky”. We get “The Wrestler”.

2009

Winner- “The Hurt Locker”

Losers- “Avatar”, “The Blind Side”, “District 9”, “An Education”, “Inglorious Bastards”, “Precious”, “A Serious Man”, “Up”, “Up in the Air”

Should have been nominated- “The Hangover”, “The Hurt Locker”, “Precious”, “A Serious Man”, “Up”

Should have won- “The Hurt Locker”

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This is the year the Academy started nominating better movies by doubling the number of nominees. Choosing a cartoon, two movies dependent on racial/ethnic stereotypes, and an R-rated sex and drug comedy, means “The Hurt Locker” gets to keep its prize. 2009 also marks the beginning of the Pablo Chiste era, so by clicking on the bold lettering you can see what I thought of that respective movie way back when.

2010

Winner- “The King’s Speech”

Losers- “127 Hours”, “Black Swan”, “The Fighter”, “Inception”, “The Kids Are All Right”, “The Social Network”, “Toy Story 3”, “True Grit”, “Winter’s Bone”

Should have been nominated- “127 Hours”, “Black Swan”, “The Fighter”, “The Social Network”, “Toy Story 3”

Should have won- “The Social Network”

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One of the great blunders in Oscar history. I could make an argument “The King’s Speech” is the worst of the ten nominated movies. I was torn between “Toy Story 3” and “The Social Network”, with live action winning over in the end.

2011

Winner- “The Artist”

Losers- “The Descendants”, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, “The Help”, “Hugo”, “Midnight in Paris”, “Moneyball”, “The Tree of Life”, “War Horse”

Should have been nominated- “The Artist”, “The Descendants”, “The Skin I Live In”, “Super 8”, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Should have won- “The Artist”

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I didn’t know foreign movies could win the best picture Oscar, much less foreign, silent, black and white movies. It will never happen again, so you might as well celebrate the best movie in a weak year.

2012

Winner- “Argo”

Losers- “Amour”, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, “Django Unchained”, “Les Miserables”, “Life of Pi”, “Lincoln”, “Silver Linings Playbook”, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Should have been nominated- “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Django Unchained”, “The Intouchables”, “Moonrise Kingdom”, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Should have won- “Django Unchained”

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You wouldn’t realize there were some actually terrific movies that came out in 2012 by what the Academy nominated. I was tempted to give it to a superhero movie as “The Dark Knight Rises” explained what it means to be a hero better than any other film of that genre, but “Django Unchained” will age better as Ben Affleck will soon tarnish all things Batman for future eyes.

2013

Winner- “12 Years a Slave”

Losers- “American Hustle”, “Captain Phillips”, “Dallas Buyers Club”, “Gravity”, “Her”, “Nebraska”, “Philomena”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Should have been nominated- “12 Years a Slave”, “Gravity”, “Inside Llewyn Davis”, “Philomena”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Should have won- “12 Years a Slave”

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“Gravity” had awe inspiring special effects, “Philomena” will bring the toughest amongst us to tears, “Inside Llewyn Davis” requires multiple viewings and “Wolf of Wall Street” despite being too long has you laughing in stitches, but “12 Years a Slave” was as good as any of them and should have the longevity to impress audiences of 2045.

What Movie Should Have Won the Oscar – 1990-1999

Just when I start to feel I’m getting the hang of what I’m trying to do here going back in time and deciding which movies should have been nominated and won the Oscar each year, we get closer to the present and my own personal prejudices start making themselves known. I was already a critical teenager for much of the ’90’s, but I’ll try to stay close to the spirit of this exercise and pick movies that a random modern day person could look at and agree are great movies.

Click here to read the 1970’s.

Click here to read the 1980’s.

1990

Winner- “Dances With Wolves”

Losers-  “Awakenings”, “Ghost”, “The Godfather Part III”, “Goodfellas”

Should have been nominated- “Edward Scissorhands”, “Ghost”, “Goodfellas”, “Misery”, “Wild at Heart”

Should have won- “Goodfellas”

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The 1990’s start off with one of the bigger goofs in Oscar history. “Goodfellas” was one of the more influential movies of the decade and if Scorcese won for this year, they wouldn’t have felt the need to give it to him for the mediocre “The Departed”.

1991

Winner- “The Silence of the Lambs”

Losers- “Beauty and the Beast”, “Bugsy”, “JFK”, “The Prince of Tides”

Should have been nominated- “The Silence of the Lambs”, “JFK”, “Thelma & Louise”, “The Fisher King”, “Barton Fink”

Should have won- “The Silence of the Lambs”

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Though as a writer I can relate most to the Coen Brothers classic “Barton Fink”, as a serial killer I have to admit “Silence of the Lambs” was more influential. The Academy got it right in spite of the movie inspiring way too many terrible sequels.

1992

Winner- “Unforgiven”

Losers- “The Crying Game”, “A Few Good Men”, “Howard’s End” “Scent of a Woman”

Should have been nominated- “Unforgiven”, “A Few Good Men”, “Malcolm X”, “Reservoir Dogs”, “Glenngary Glen Ross”

Should have won- “Unforgiven”

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“Reservoir Dogs” was more influential  and easier to watch over and over, but “The Unforgiven” also was a classic, and while “Reservoir Dogs” had more unforgettable lines of dialogue and the most violent moment in cinematic history that happens solely in your imagination… I’m quickly talking myself out of this, but we’ll stick with “The Unforgiven” just because it has a lot of horses and pretty scenery.

1993

Winner- “Schindler’s List”

Losers- “The Fugitive”, “In the Name of the Father”, “The Piano”, “The Remains of the Day”

Should have been nominated- “Schindler’s List”, “The Fugitive”, “In the Name of the Father”, “The Piano”, “Groundhog Day”

Should have won- “Schindler’s List”

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Though the final scene where Liam Neeson gives his big heart wrenching speech about how he should have saved one more life was melodrama at its worst, the rest of Schindler’s List is photographed beautifully enough in black and white that it triumphs over an otherwise forgettable year at the movies.

1994

Winner- “Forrest Gump”

Losers- “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Quiz Show”, “The Shawshank Redemption”

Should have been nominated- “Forrest Gump”, “Pulp Fiction”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Ed Wood”, “Heavenly Creatures”

Should have won- “Forrest Gump”

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“Pulp Fiction” was more influential, “The Shawshank Redemption” had more heart, but “Forrest Gump” outruns them both.

1995

Winner- “Braveheart”

Losers- “Apollo 13”, “Babe”, “Il Postino”, “Sense & Sensibility”

Should have been nominated- “Babe”, “Braveheart”, “Il Postino”, “Twelve Monkeys”, “The Usual Suspects”

Should have won- “Braveheart”

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Somehow the Academy in the 1990’s knew which movies would hold the test of time. Five years in a row the movie they picked seemed the most best picture like in the faraway futuristic year of 2015.

1996

Winner- “The English Patient”

Losers- “Fargo”, “Jerry Maguire”, “Secrets & Lies”, “Shine”

Should have been nominated- “Fargo”, “Jerry Maguire”, “The People vs. Larry Flynt”, “Sling Blade”, “Trainspotting”

Should have won- “Jerry Maguire”

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Again I fight against personal preference. “Trainspotting” is such a great movie, but as most people can’t understand the character’s Scottish accents, I’ll admit “Jerry Maguire” the romantic comedy for people who don’t want to admit they like romantic comedies is a more universal selection.

1997

Winner- “Titanic”

Losers- “As Good as It Gets”, “The Full Monty”, “Good Will Hunting”, “L.A. Confidential”

Should have been nominated- “Boogie Nights”, “The Full Monty”, “L.A. Confidential”, “Starship Troopers”, “Titanic”

Should have won- “Boogie Nights”

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What a rotten year for movies. I thought I was just being a whiny 19 year old when I remembered hating every movie I saw back in college, but looking at what was released back then I realized I was just keeping it real. I find “Titanic” to be a terrible movie, but it was such a cultural force I had to keep it on here. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to give it a best picture award when there was one truly great movie to come out that year in “Boogie Nights”.

1998

Winner- “Shakespeare in Love”

Losers- “Elizabeth”, “Life is Beautiful”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Thin Red Line”

Should have been nominated- “Elizabeth”, “Life is Beautiful”, “The Big Lebowski”, “Out of Sight”, “Saving Private Ryan”

Should have won- “The Big Lebowski”

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The Academy truly hates comedy. 1998 had many award worthy funny stuff, but only honored a comedy set in the holocaust in “Life Is Beautiful”. “There’s Something About Mary”, “The Truman Show”, “Mr. Jealousy”, all deserved  respect above most of the nominees. The biggest honor though shall go to one of the greatest comedies of all time, “The Big Lebowski”. I’m not a fan of  “Saving Private Ryan” but the D-day battle scene deserves respect.

1999

Winner- “American Beauty”

Losers- “The Cider House Rules”, “The Green Mile”, “The Insider”, “The Sixth Sense”

Should have been nominated- “Eyes Wide Shut”, “Fight Club”, “The Sixth Sense”, “The Straight Story”, “The Talented Mr. Ripley”

Should have won- “Fight Club”

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The Academy ended the century and the millennium in complete and utter shame. In a year of innovation, they instead looked backwards and celebrated a forgettable piece of pretension in “American Beauty”. I was tempted to give this as a lifetime achievement award to Stanley Kubrick who is probably the greatest director in the history of film and is definitely the greatest director to never win an Oscar, but he was already dead by the time “Eyes Wide Shut” was released and thus it would be a deathtime achievement award. Instead  give it to Fight Club, a movie that when I first saw it made me say, “That might be the greatest movie I’ve ever seen.”

Click here to read the 2000’s