Shakespeare in Love (1998) seemed a movie out of place in this sea of Best Pictures. It’s a comedy, unusual in itself, and it’s not such a Huge Production. Gwyneth Paltrow is quite charming and Joseph Fiennes absolutely HOT (where did he go?), the dialogue is smart and quick, the sets and costumes impress…but it’s really just an Okay movie. I think there was a backlash that year against the large-budget, intensely intense movies, so “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Thin Red Line” were beat out by this sweet little farce. I enjoyed watching it.
I didn’t know what to expect with American Beauty (1999) because someone had told me I’d like it. I always wonder what kind of movie people think I would like, especially if they know me only as my vocational persona. I can’t say I didn’t like it, but if you’ve ever seen it, you know that the end was more than a little jarring… The Kevin Spacey character, Lester Birnum, is having a mid-life crisis, fantasizing about his daughter’s friend; his wife, played by Annette Bening, has an affair; their daughter, Jane, falls in love with the new neighbor. All that seems fairly normal, until the new neighbor’s father takes it to a whole other level of weird. I’m not sure I believed that the teen-ager actually was in bed with Lester, but then, the ending just blew me away…not in a good way… Still, it was okay.
Our review of Gladiator (2000) is contributed by M.R.Casey: It was pretty good. This guy fights…they finally kill him at the end. You* wouldn’t like it. (*you is me)
I’ll tell you what I do like: A Beautiful Mind (2001) is one of the best movies I’ve ever watched. I can’t use enough superlatives…or maybe I would use too many. Russell Crowe is just wonderful as John Nash, a brilliant schizophrenic; his wife is played superbly by Jennifer Connelly. The film is directed by Ron Howard and I’m straining for the over-the-top adjectives for him. I was absolutely taken in, and if you haven’t seen this, you should. Evidently, Crowe had won the Best Acting award the year before, for Gladiator; though he was nominated this year, he lost out to Denzel Washington. Connelly won Best Actress, Howard Best Director, and the writers won best screenplay. It is a truly Great Movie.
We are way ahead of schedule, so I’ve had time to do a little seed-starting, as well as watch the Grammy Awards. Back at it tomorrow…