At long last the Best Picture Project returns! It's going to be a long fall and winter until the good movies start back up, so expect more from the BBP. For next week we will be watching Crash, the 2005 Best Picture winner.
The Wife: "Play it, Sam." "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Wow. I am willing to bet the majority of you have heard these phrases at some point in your life, and many of you, like myself, did not realize that they came from the Academy Award Best Picture film, Casablanca. Knowing famous quotes before actually seeing a movie is a mark of how well a particular film has become stamped into pop culture. For example, before I succumbed to nerdom and watched Star Wars, I already knew the famous "Luke, I am your father," line.
Well, what can I really say about Casablanca? Having actually been to the city of Casablanca during my trip to Morocco in college, I was semi-excited to see this film. I had also heard many positive reviews from the older generation. The movie ended up being much shorter than I expected, which is rare for older films. As for content, ehhhh...it was ok. Not the best thing I've ever seen, but certainly not the worst. I will say that I think this is one of those "classics" that everyone says is good because well, everyone says it's good...if that makes sense. I really didn't FEEL for any of the characters, which is something that I look for when watching movies or reading books. Due to the lack of emotional connection, I found myself not particularly concerned for the characters' fates. For quite awhile I did not like the lead female. I finally warmed up to her at the very end. Maybe you aren't supposed to like her? If so, that was achieved.
Acting wise this film was very well done, even though I often found myself rolling my eyes at overly brooding characters, like Humphrey Bogart's. I now see where Gossip Girl gets their inspiration for the Chuck Bass character. It is amazing how many pop culture references, as I mentioned previously, have come through this movie. So, it may seem that my review is a bit negative. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy Casablanca, it just means that I don't think it is as good as everyone makes it out to be. However, I will say it deserved its Best Picture win. For one, I don't know the other movies that were nominated, and two, the movie's aforementioned pop culture influence, make it deserving of its win.
Hobo Dan: I really did not expect to like this movie. I sometimes have a pretty hard time liking movies the older they are. Casablanca gives me hope that the older movies won’t be torture. The first thing that really struck me was the acting. I’ve seen so many older movies with terrible acting, a judgmental part of me figured they were all like that. Not so. Humphrey Bogart in particular was excellent. This is my first Bogart film and I’ll be happy to see him again if given the chance. He did so much with his eyes, it is astounding. Ingrid Bergman was also pretty good, if not a little over shadowed by ole Hump.
I also really enjoyed how this was a World War II film that was actually filmed during WWII. The history major in me loves to see how truly nervous people were with what the Nazis were up to. We sometimes forget there was a long period of time when people thought Germany had the war all but won. The nervous feeling in French controlled Morocco was really evident throughout the film. I really enjoyed this movie. There was never a moment when I thought about how old the film was or got bored. It really had me all the way through. A great best picture.