We come again to Monday and in turn the Best Picture Project! This week we are covering two films because I've seen Chariots of Fire and The Wife has seen the Sound of Music. Next week we will be viewing the most recent winner, The King's Speech. Here is that sexy link to see all our past Best picture posts in one place. Enjoy.
The Sound of Music, 1965
I tried to come up with some funny play on the hills are alive, but that has been done and I gave myself a headache. I did not get bored however, during this film. Now let’s be clear, I’m still not wild about musicals. Maybe I’m an elite snob who only likes Oscar winning musicals? We will hold off on that verdict until after West Side Story. I’m not saying the Sound of Music is my new favorite movie. I’m not even saying I’d jump at the chance to watch it a second time. What I am saying is it is clearly worthy of its Oscar for best picture. I’m starting to see that a good movie with strong story and characters is a good movie no matter when it was made.
My first problem going in was the musical status of the film. Once more I was being a judgmental douche. What I hate about so many musicals is when the music is just there to be there. This films music is very much a part of the story. It never seems out of place or awkward. I’ll even go as far as to say I enjoyed it at times. The music worked here because it was inherent in the story. People were not just breaking out into song for no good reason. The music was a part of the culture of the people in the film. Singing was a way to stick it to the Nazi interlopers. I’m always in favor of things that annoy Nazis.
The acting in the film is good, although a few of the children had their terrible child actor moments. Over all I just don't fine much bad here. The setting of the movie (Austria) is beautiful. There is nothing particularly stunning about the camera work, but there is nothing particularly wrong with it either. Some times normal old shots are just what the doctor ordered. Not every movie has to be ground breaking to be good. Great even!
Chariots of Fire, 1981
Ahhh… dadadada daaaa duhhhhhhhh. Ok my attempt at type-humming the famous Chariot’s of Fire Score probably isn’t great. Going in to this particular Best Picture winner, I knew two things about this film: The famous aforementioned song that coincides with the beach running scene and the fact that the film revolved around running and the Olympics.
Now back in our college guys, Daniel had a copy of this film and I once asked him if we could watch it. He said no because it was sooo super long and could be boring. Starting this project, I reminded Daniel of what he had told me several times, but he said that maybe now that he is older it wouldn’t feel as long/boring. I did not find the film boring, but it did seem long/drawn out at times.
The small amount of negativity I felt about the movie aside, the film had many strong points. The intensity of all the track scenes spiked up my adrenaline and gave me the infamous “track butterflies.” I get nervous every time I attend a track meet, see one on TV and in this case, on film. I guess that’s what you get after running 14 seasons of competitive track! I especially enjoyed the Olympic races. Daniel said most people care more about the 100 race with the Jewish guy on the United Kingdom team, but I cared more about the 400 race with the Scottish guy, who ended up not running on Sunday because of his promise to God. It brought tears to my eyes during these running seasons. I still run as a means of staying in shape, but occasionally I miss the feeling of a competitive track or cross country race. I’ll never forget my last track race… I ran the 10K (an event I never thought I could/would do, and oddly enough it was my first time doing it). I remember rounding the 200 meter turn, which is when you “kick it in” in runner speak, and I knew that would be the last time I would feel that rush ever again.
I think because of my personal connection to running, I really enjoyed this film. I know there were deeper issues at stake in the movie, but the running was my favorite part. So was this film worthy of its Oscar? Well I only saw one movie it was up against (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and I have to say Chariots of Fire is the more “Oscar worthy” film of the two. The movie had some deep meanings, was emotional and well acted, so yes, it deserved its Best Picture accolade.