Monday, May 23, 2011

Best Picture Project 8, Amadeus

So finally getting back on track with the Best Picture Project! Our apologies for the two week hiatus! Half marathons, Thor and life in general has kept us busy. When we had time, we didn't feel like thinking much. Can you blame us?!?!

Amadeus, 1984

Soooooo we resumed BPP reviews with Amadeus, the 1984 Best Picture Winner. Now, I had seen this movie prior to watching it with the husband. However, I saw it in 8th grade choir class and I believe I was only 13 or 14 at the time. I remembered some, but not enough to excuse me from sharing my thoughts on the film!

So Amadeus from my understanding is a very loosely based historical and mainly fictional tale of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I, a former piano student and closeted lover of classical music in general (in fact I am listening to Mozart's "Requiem" as I type this review!) love Mozart. I think his work is probably my favorite. Even if you claim to dislike classical music, I can almost guarantee you that you would recognize some of Mozart's songs. Soooo, my memories from this film were that it was 1. Weird and 2. Entertaining enough that I remember liking it. I was very excited to see how my 26 year-old self thoughts would compare with my 14 year-old memory thoughts of the movie.

While the film does focus on Mozart, it is told from the perspective of Antonio Salieri, an Italian composer. As a 14 year-old, an age where you often see the world in black or white, I remember thinking of Salieri as the evil villain. Upon my recent viewing of Amadeus, I was able to understand Salieri more. The dude is clearly mentally unstable as the film progresses, but his reasons for his hatred of Mozart, I can see. Salieri worked hard and always wanted to be a magnificent composer, so much so that he promised God he would only focus on that and not on relations with women, ect. He wanted it so bad and then in rolls Mozart, a laughing, non-serious clownish character who things seem to naturally come easy to. I can see why Salieri felt so threatened and jealous considering he felt as though he worked hard and would never be great like Mozart. While Salieri was jealous and didn't like Mozart's behavior, it is CLEAR throughout the film that he RESPECTED Mozart's music. So much so that he pretty much tells Mozart he is the best composer he has ever known.

Salieri was probably one of the few of Mozart's time who knew how amazing and talented Mozart actually was. As the film shows, which is historically accurate, when Mozart dies, he is buried like a commoner. His exact grave is still unknown to this day. Salieri got it though...he knew that Mozart's work would be lasting and that he would be appreciated beyond his time because of the brilliance of his music...which I think further fueled Salieri's disgust that he didn't possess the same musical abilities as Mozart. Now of course as the film progresses, Salieri develops a plan to mess with Mozart and God (as he believes God is laughing at him by making Mozart better)...which comes the "villain notion." When all is said and done though, I think Salieri regretted the things he did. He still may be jealous (and of course insane), but I think it is clear that he felt bad for his actions by the film's end.

Above all this film is really great and looks awesome for being made in 1984. I still find it weird and the Mozart character weird, but in a good way, not the creepy way that I did when I was younger. The acting, costumes and makeup for this movie are top notch! Now when you do watch this, it is LONG so be prepared for that. I don't find it boring though...I know some people might, but I do think it tells a great story even though much of it is said to be fiction. So watch Amadeus and enjoy a good movie with of course, fantastic music. Even though I haven't heard of the other movies that were against Amadeus for BP, I would still say this film is certainly deserving of its Oscar win!

-The Wife

Finally we get a little class up in here! What's classier than Oscar winning films about classical composers? I'm rocking some classical music right now for moar braaain powarzzz! I'm going to go off topic for just a moment to say that all musicians today are lazy. They all whine so much about how difficult it is to create their music. Try writing a symphony. Okay I can't even sing but who's counting?

Anyways, I'm totally out of the writing mood tonight, but this has to go in the morning, so here goes. I enjoyed Amadeus very much. For a film as old as I am, it holds up very well. This is due to the fantastic script and  non-reliance on special effects. The movie was filmed in Vienna. Everything looked so good and so correct. I used to love the computer graphics and the green screening; now I simply wish to watch something real, something truthful, not necessarily truthful in historical accuracy, but in humanity. Fact or not Salieri's motives are sound. He worked so hard to be great and this boy comes to town and is better than him without even trying. I can really relate to that. I don't know about the whole plot to murder him, but I can understand working so hard without reward.

So what can I say? The movie very much deserved it's Oscar. It was enjoyable from the first glances of full frontal male nudity after only five minutes to the final crazy blessing of the films main character as he traveled the asylum in his wheel chair. It's sad in a way that he felt so consumed by one facet of his life that he allowed it to destroy him.

-Hobo Dan

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