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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
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Brian.

Project Oscar

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I'm struggling with my reading a bit at the moment and when this happens I tend to end up watching more movies. Over years listening to Wittertainment I have become increasingly aware that there are loads of movies that are considered to be classics that I just haven't seen. Although the Oscars are renowned for 'making mistakes' with their winners I decided that Best Picture winners would be a good place to start a movie watching project. My intention is to watch all the Best Picture winners from the Oscars, including re-watching those that I have previously seen. I will be watching in random order as my mood and availability of the movie online dictates. I thought it would be a good idea to keep track of my progress here with my thoughts. When this project is complete maybe I'll come up with another one to work through. Feel free to join in and post.

 

The list of movies is as follows in date order with release date. (Red = Completed)

 

  • Sunrise (1927)
  • Wings (1927)
  • The Broadway Melody (1929)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  • Cimarron (1931)
  • Grand Hotel (1932)
  • Cavalcade (1933)
  • It Happened One Night (1934)
  • Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  • The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
  • The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
  • You Can't Take It with You (1938)
  • Gone With the Wind (1939)
  • Rebecca (1940)
  • How Green Was My Valley (1941)
  • Mrs Miniver (1942)
  • Casablanca (1942)
  • Going My Way (1944)
  • The Lost Weekend (1945)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  • Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
  • Hamlet (1948)
  • All the King's Men (1949)
  • All About Eve (1950)
  • An American in Paris (1951)
  • The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
  • From Here to Eternity (1953)
  • On the Waterfront (1954)
  • Marty (1955)
  • Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • Gigi (1958)
  • Ben-Hur (1959)
  • The Apartment (1960)
  • West Side Story (1961)
  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Tom Jones (1963)
  • My Fair Lady (1964)
  • The Sound of Music (1965)
  • A Man for All Seasons (1966)
  • In the Heat of the Night (1967)
  • Oliver! (1968)
  • Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  • Patton (1970)
  • The French Connection (1971)
  • The Godfather (1972)
  • The Sting (1973)
  • The Godfather: Part II (1974)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
  • Rocky (1976)
  • Annie Hall (1977)
  • The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
  • Ordinary People (1980)
  • Chariots of Fire (1981)
  • Gandhi (1982)
  • Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Amadeus (1984)
  • Out of Africa (1985)
  • Platoon (1986)
  • The Last Emperor (1987)
  • Rain Man (1988)
  • Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
  • Dances with Wolves (1990)
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • Unforgiven (1992)
  • Schindler's List (1993)
  • Forrest Gump (1994)
  • Braveheart (1995)
  • The English Patient (1996)
  • Titanic (1997)
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  • American Beauty (1999)
  • Gladiator (2000)
  • A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  • Chicago (2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  • Million Dollar Baby (2004
  • Crash (2004)
  • The Departed (2006)
  • No Country for Old Men (2007)
  • Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  • The Hurt Locker (2008)
  • The Kings Speech (2010)
  • The Artist (2011)
  • Argo (2012)
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  • Birdman (2014)
  • Spotlight (2015)
  • Moonlight (2016)
  • The Shape of Water (2017)
  • Green Book (2018)

 

Edited by Brian.

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I'll start with a movie I watched last night.

 

Title: Midnight Cowboy

Release Date: 1969

Director: John Schlesinger

Format: Streaming, NowTV

Staring: Dustin Hoffman, John Voight

Synopsis: Native Texan Joe Buck (Voight) opts to leave his former life and make his way to New York. He thinks he is a real stud and a hustler who can make his way in the big city. He soon finds his hustling skills are naive compared to the locals and ends up getting hustled himself. Down on his luck and short of money he becomes friends with Ratso Rizzo (Hoffman) in an attempt to get one over the people who look down on them. What starts off as a meeting of mutual convenience soon becomes a proper friendship.

 

This was a first time viewing for me. I knew the title and have heard of the director John Schlesinger but I had no idea what the movie was about going into it. My initial thoughts from the opening scenes were 'this movie is odd', it's definitely not a by the numbers movie and one that I think people will either love or hate. Buck decides he has had enough of his life as a dish-washer and he can make his fortune as a male prostitute/con man in New York. In his own mind people will be sad to see him leave and he aims to show them he is a big shot capable of capturing his dreams (as unconventional as they are). I've never been a big Voight fan, for some reason he always manages to distract me from his performances with his mannerisms. In this movie he is so young it's easy to forget who he is though and I didn't experience my previous issues with him.

 

His naivety becomes obvious very quickly and an attempted hustle of an older woman ends up with him giving her money. At this point it is clear that he is living in a total fantasy land and that unless he finds help New York will chew him up and spit him out. Lucky for him he meets another hustler called Ratso Rizzo who lives in an abandoned building, living on his wits. Hoffman is superb in this movie and he is the stand out character for me. Hoffman is completely believable as a street hustler complete with his limp caused by a lame leg.

 

I will stop here as I don't want to include any proper spoilers. I found this movie pretty surprising in many ways, it contains a large chunk of homosexuality which I assume at the time was rare on the cinema screens. It's not edited or presented in a linear fashion and there are a lot of flashback and dream scenes which always feel one step removed from reality. The BBFC gives it an 18 rating and I think I am right in saying that it is the only X rated movie in America to win an Oscar.

 

On the whole I enjoyed the movie and gave it 7/10.

 

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What a great thread idea! :smile2:  I like it that you will also be re-watching the ones you've already seen. Have you counted how many you've watched in the past? I'm rather terrible at watching movies these days, I hope you will inspire me to watch more of them! Good luck with your challenge, I'll be looking forward to watching your progress. 

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I've watched 27 of the list in the past, mostly the winners from the 90's & 00's.

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I think I've watched 22 on the list (mostly from the 90s).

 

I don't find the Oscars very relevant these days; they feel like they are more about what the current fad is/what is popular at the time rather than what is actually the best film of the year. 

 

For example, I understand the cultural importance of Black Panther, and it is a film I enjoyed a lot, but a nomination for best picture?  No.  It wasn't even the best Marvel film in the last year...

 

Good luck with your viewing, however, there are some jolly good films on that list!

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12 hours ago, Raven said:

I think I've watched 22 on the list (mostly from the 90s).

 

I don't find the Oscars very relevant these days; they feel like they are more about what the current fad is/what is popular at the time rather than what is actually the best film of the year. 

 

For example, I understand the cultural importance of Black Panther, and it is a film I enjoyed a lot, but a nomination for best picture?  No.  It wasn't even the best Marvel film in the last year...

 

Good luck with your viewing, however, there are some jolly good films on that list!

 

I definitely agree about the Oscars not being particularly relevant these days. As an example I enjoyed Argo and thought it was a good movie but certainly not the best of the year,

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Title: Casablanca

Release Date: 1942

Director: Michael Curtiz

Format: Streaming, NowTV

Staring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman

 

Synopsis: World War 2 is ravaging Europe and as a result people are making their way to Lisbon in an attempt to escape from the war. Crossing France is a non starter and so people with enough money are making their way to Casablanca in the hope of catching a flight out of Europe. Our story follows a cynical American expat called Rick Blaine who runs a local club which is the focal point of all kinds of clandestine activity. Blaine won't get involved and chooses to sit in the middle while both sides try to pressure him into helping them. Things change all of a sudden when someone from his former life turns up, the beautiful Ilsa Lund played by Ingrid Bergman.

 

This is one of those movies that I am slightly embarrassed to say I had never watched and one of the movies that lead me to undertake this project. I knew this is widely considered one of the best movies of all times and I think pretty much everyone in the English speaking world knows the quotes associated with this film. Despite this I knew almost nothing about it, I didn't know the synopsis or when it was set, all I knew is that it's filmed in black and white, stars Bogart and Bergman, and is meant to be a love story.

I guess this is part of what is considered to be the golden era of Hollywood and the movie is presented in the way I would expect a movie from this era to be presented. The way of speaking is fairly old fashioned, doesn't contain over the top drama, and feels quite minimalist. Despite this I was hooked from the opening scenes and found myself quickly invested in the story of Rick and Ilsa. Even though the movie focuses on these 2 characters I also thought that Claude Rains as Captain Renault was superb. He adds a slightly comic element to the movie but done in a subtle way avoiding making light of the situation people find themselves in.

I'm generally not someone who goes looking for hidden messages in movies but I caught on fairly quickly that Rick's inner turmoil is reflective on the debate at the time as to whether America should get involved in the war or not. Each of the main characters is a little reflection of different factions involved in the war. The Nazi's hold some sway in Casablanca and while certain groups are trying to push back against their power they can only get so far without the help from others. This help requires a leap of bravery and willingness to accept that you may have to sacrifice something so that others can survive. Of course there are also those out to just make money out of the situation, which camp will Rick end up in is the big question.

 

I really really loved this movie despite being sure that it wouldn't be my thing. Of all the movies I've watched and logged on IMDB I have only given a 10/10 rating for 9 movies, Casablanca is one of them. I will definitely watch this again as I think it deserves repeated viewings.

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