Monday, February 05, 2007

Cahiers du Cinema, Eat Your Heart Out

Here's the list of Best Picture nominees from 1970 to 2005. Boldface indicates the the ones I've seen. Italics the ones I'm interested in seeing sometime.

Until the mid-1970s, I saw very few movies in a theatre. Too far (35 miles), too expensive. So most of the early ones I saw years after they were made, usually on TV or in a revival house.

Patton. What can you say about a 60-year-old general who died?

Airport What an you say about Helen Hayes stowing away on an airplane that partly blows up? That it's a remarkably suspenseful popcorn movie. That the parody is even better. And don't call me Shirley.

Five Easy Pieces. I don't ever remember seeing the whole thing, though I have seen the toast scene, I shy away from Jack Nicholson movies because (A) he looks a lot like my father, and (B) he keeps playing my father (particularly in one Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the Shining)

Love Story When I was 11, I thought this was a great movie. I still like the color of Ryan O'Neal's blue shirt.

MASH Loved the TV show. The movie is superior in some ways -- Robert Duvall's Frank Burns, for example, is a far more complex and powerful figure than the silly Larry Linville ineffectual prick. However, the repeated sexual humiliations of Major Houlihan are genuinely nasty, nasty enough to make me lose sympathy for Hawkeye and Trapper John.

The French Connection The first time I was ever aware of a great chase scene was when I saw this one on TV.

A Clockwork Orange. Have not ever seen it. Having seen Brazil and Closetland, I don't know if I need to.

Fiddler on the Roof. I know all the songs, I've read the original stories, but never saw the movie.

The Last Picture Show. Waiting until after I read the book.

Nicholas and Alexandra. I've read the book -- in fact, a number of books, including Robert Massie's fascinating followup volume, which traces the DNA identification of the bodies. Have never seen the film, but I might put it on my Netflix queue.

The Godfather. I always refused to see this on grounds of violence. Sometime in t997 or 1998, I caught a glimpse of an early scene (Michael Corleone sitting at a desk) while flipping through cable channels. I did not move or breathe until the film was over. A work of genius.

Cabaret. Another work of genius, although I once saw a stage version that was even better at Villanova in the mid-1970s.

Deliverance. They always set these things in the south. But I wouldn't go canoeing with city boys through the Pennsylvania mountains where I grew up.

Sounder.Really lovely, and Cicely Tyson did a tremendous job.

The Emigrants. I never even heard of this one.

The Sting Fabulous: tightly plotted, brilliant ensemble acting, witty dialogue. I watched it again recently on DVD, and it holds up. I first saw it on TV in about 1980.

American Graffiti Nostalgia for a kind of life I never lived and never cared about. I found it unbearably dull. The MAD Magazine parody reveals that the mysterious blonde in the convertible is... Ringo Starr.

The Exorcist. Thanks, but no thanks. The book was just dreadful.

A Touch of Class. I do like Glenda Jackson, but I never saw this.

Cries and Whispers. Extraordinary, subtle, powerful. Watched this in my Bergman class, where we saw two Swedish films a week in the big college auditorium. By the end of the semester I could understand spoken Swedish fairly well, as long as the topic was blood, death, berries, or chess games.

The Godfather, Part II Naturally, I hunted this up as soon as I'd become entranced with the first one. Again, utterly brilliant. Do watch The Freshman when you're on a Godfather bender; Marlon Brando's performance was so good that the Godfather studio wanted to sue him for copyright infringement. It's sweet and funny and tender.

Chinatown Deeply disturbing, cynical, very fine film, I saw this in a late-night series of incredibly freaking depressing movies at a dollar theater when I was living in a rat-infested apartment in West Philly. (Between Mantua and Powelton Village, to be exact.)

The Conversation Gene Hackman could not be more different in this than he was in The French Connection. Exceedingly dark, paranoid film.

Lenny You know, every movie from this year is more depressing than the next. Nevertheless, Lenny is worth watching -- biting wit and the disintegration of a great performer. Dustin Hoffman is a genius.

The Towering Inferno Enjoyable tripe. Not too enjoyable when a real skyscraper went up in flames, and some newspapers showed pictures of people jumping to their deaths. After 9/11, I don't know if I could watch this.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Vicious, scary, anti-authoritarian, misogynistic, and not as good as the book. I freaked out completely when I saw it, and I doubt I will ever watch it again. Also, I do get tired of the Woman as Evil Enforcer stereotype. For a much more complex and interesting Kesey book, try Sometimes a Great Notion.

Barry Lyndon Just lovely. A slow, ravishingly pretty film that misses all the satiric humor of Thackeray's work.

Dog Day Afternoon. One of the few Pacino films I haven't seen.

Jaws. I saw this at Ocean City, NJ, when I was there for the annual YFC convention. (YFC is Youth for Christ; somewhere I have a trophy for being a champion Bible quizzer.) My companion took a water pistol and shot random people at the scariest moments. I'm surprised nobody died -- or killed him.

Nashville. Anoher great, complex Robert Altman movie. Lily Tomlin is particularly good.

Rocky. A classic boxing movie: sweet, blue-collar tough, a bit sentimental. I've been known to watch it just for the Philadelphia scenery. (Ditto Trading Places.)

All the President's Men One of the best political thrillers ever made, and it's all true. Again, a sterling ensemble cast, flawless detailing of the newsroom, and the good guys win. That's guilty, guilty, guilty! Going to see this in a movie theater was my high school graduation gift.

Bound for Glory Strong, sad, beautiful. Great double feature with Alice's Restaurant.

Network I recently saw this again on DVD, and my God, it's good. Great performances in one of the most intelligent scripts ever produced: terrifyingly prescient and a great series of rants. However, I suspect Paddy Chayefsky is writhing in Purgatory now, watching Fox use this movie as a fucking business plan.

Taxi Driver Another film I saw in the midnight dollar movie series. A great DeNiro performance. He seems to be channeling my psychotic father. I never want to see this again, thanks.

Annie Hall When I saw this with Walter, the summer it came out. I was under the impression that being into leather meant making purses and wallets. Still a favorite, and a film that speaks to me of a very specific time of my life. Don't miss Christopher Walken as Duane, Annie's brother. "I'm due back on Planet Earth."

The Goodbye Girl Moderately amusing.

Julia So we know now that this was plagiarized. Still a good movie.

Star Wars I went to see this to celebrate my 18th birthday. Fun at the time -- I loved Princess Leia, and I still cherish an affection for Carrie Fisher's acerbic tongue and spectacular breasts. Han Solo definitely did it for me, too. But the film, seen now, is too *directive*. Heavy-handed. But I cannot forget the freshness and delight of seeing it the first time.

The Turning Point Yeah, well, you can't have everything.

The Deer Hunter. Some movies I know are going to be too triggering.

Coming Home. Not bad, really.

Heaven Can Wait This is still a favorite. A sweet, funny movie with sparkling dialogue and a great cast, including James Mason as Mr. Jordan, Buck Henry as the bumbling escort who removes Warren Beatty from his body too early, and Julie Christie luminous despite a dreadful perm. Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin are perfect as the treacherous wife and secretary seeking to kill off her millionaire husband. I still quote lines from this one: "If he weren't going to be dead soon, he'd need years of psychiatric help."

Midnight Express Oh Christ. Certain scenes from this actually came up in therapy with me just yesterday. In 1978 I doubt that anyone used the word "triggering" to refer to the effects of PTSD. In fact, PTSD was still "shell shock." I was shell-shocked and thrown into very, very serious PTSD mode by this movie. Moreover, I hadn't seen enough movies at that point to know how devastating a violent film would be to me. (Many of the more violent films in this Oscar list I didn't see until later; even if I don't mention it, you can rest assured that movies like Taxi Driver had an overwhelming effect on me.)

An Unmarried Woman Asinine Michael Murphy dumps Jill Clayburgh, who promptly finds a great little apartment, a job at an art gallery, and love with Alan Bates. What's not fun about divorce?

Kramer vs. Kramer I love Dustin Hoffman. He's an unswerving craftsman, an actor's actor, and I also find him hot. But yeesh! I generally refer to this as Kramer versus Whiner.

Apocalypse Now. Yeah, well. Great movie, spectacular nervous breakdown.

All That Jazz Far, far better than Cabaret, IMO. Dark, wry, witty, unsparing. Someday I want to have a New Year's Eve Bob Fosse festival: Cabaret, All That Jazz, Chicago... now that's the way to start the New Year!

Breaking Away. A pleasant bildungsroman, or possibly bicycleroman.

Norma Rae Sally Field does a powerhouse job in his based-on-a-true-story union movie. Unfortunately, the scriptwriters had to make her fall in love (and bed) with the New York labor organizer who radicalizes her. Not everybody thinks with her crotch. Still a wonderful movie.

Ordinary People Brought the Pachelbel Canon back into favor. Based on the book from Doubleday -- the only book they published from the slushpile from 1945 until they said the hell with it and ceased accepting over-the-transom submissions. Oh, and there's a little family guilt and drama there.

Coal Miner's Daughter. I do want to see this one -- so far I've only seen fragments.

The Elephant Man I haven't even seen fragments of this.

Raging Bull So personally painful that I got up in the middle (during one of the arguments with his wife), went out, threw up, and then returned to watch the rest. Once was enough.

Tess Nastassia Kinski is compelling, although I'm not sure why Roman Polanski needed a 15-year-old to play the role. (Wanted? Well, that's different.) Gorgeous, mostly faithful to the book, including the terrifying scene toward the end.

Chariots of Fire Nice popcorn film. The religious young man who wouldn't run on Sunday became a missionary and died in an internment camp in China during WWII.

Atlantic City Louis Malle made gorgeous movies, and I am a sucker for a pretty picture. Atmospheric and astonishing.

On Golden Pond My feelings about it when I first saw it were dismissive, although the stars are always watchable. I'm 25 years older now, and I might see it differently.

Raiders of the Lost Ark Endlessly watchable. This is a great *movie movie* and a real favorite.

Reds This is another kind of great movie. I was annoyed that the witnesses weren't identified -- I wanted to know who they are! I bet this has been remedied on DVD.

Gandhi. Somehow I never managed to see this one.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial The beginning of the end for Steven Spielberg. Predictable, manipulative tripe.

Missing. I'd like to see it, although it would be difficult.

Tootsie One of the very best movies ever made. I can quote the whole thing.

The Verdict Good, tense, exciting newspaper movie.

Terms of Endearment. You know, i never saw this. I don't care how often Shirley Maclaine dies. She's just going to come back again.

The Big Chill Oh my. Very good movie, although most people think it's a comedy. I think it's a tragedy. Kevin Costner played the corpse.

The Dresser. Wow -- very powerful, tight little film about a stage actor and his dresser. Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay in a tense, loving, painful professional marriage.

The Right Stuff Fun and exciting, but nowhere near as good as the book.

Tender Mercies This is what they call a "little" picture. No car chases, no naked love scenes, no flash-cut tenth-of-a-second scenes. Just a small story about a man trying to redeem himself. Robert Duvall subtly conveys a huge emotional range. Because of the ending, I may never be able to watch this again. But I loved this movie.

Amadeus I saw this as a play on Broadway with Ian McKellen as Salieri and Simon Callow as Mozart. I would not have thought the film could equal it -- but it does different things, and Tom Hulce (AKA Pinto from Animal House) carries Mozart quite well. Someday I have to write a long review about this film. It is very dear to my heart.

The Killing Fields. By this time, I knew what not to watch, thanks.

A Passage to India Lovely and scenic. Nice costumes. Evokes a world where the mores are quite different, so the plot makes more sense to people who don't understand the cultural shifts between then and now. But I still prefer Forster's prose.

Places in the Heart Billy and I went to see this movie twice when we were engaged. If the material weren't handled so deftly, and by such fine actors, it would be over-the-top sentimental. But somehow it isn't -- or maybe I was seduced by the luminous cinematography or the story of the plucky widow desperate to save her farm. Look for John Malkovitch in a rare sympathetic and non-psychotic role. This may have been Danny Glover's first film role.

A Soldier's Story Race relations in the military -- strong, well-acted.

Out of Africa A very pretty picture. It's more about Karen Blixen, however, than a film of her book. Sigh. The book Out of Africa is tremendously important to me, and it hasn't been filmed.

The Color Purple. I refuse to see this. Dammit, they were dykes, and the manipulative gutless bastard Spielberg censored that. I refuse to go see him turning complex, meaningful stories into Disneyfied puppet shows.

Kiss of the Spider Woman I'd like to see this. During my marriage, I never saw prison movies, as they were triggering to my husband.

Prizzi's Honor Damn, Anjelica Huston is good. Kathleen Turner and Jack Nicholson are suitably professional as hitpeople for the Mob. Now this is romance.

Witness When I saw this movie, I was living in Connecticut. Peter Weir (whom I'd loved since I first saw Picnic at Hanging Rock) saw my state so closely, so tenderly, that I could almost smell it. Great score. Great cast. Great moral lesson. This is a very, very fine movie.

Platoon. Really, war stories are a problem for me.

Children of a Lesser God Not too bad, as I recall.

Hannah and Her Sisters A wonderful Woody Allen movie, one of my favorites of his.

The Mission Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons, adventurer and priest, in 18th-century South America. A richly textured tragedy dealing with slavery, religion, murder, and redemption. Powerful film with every word, every shot, every note of music in place.

A Room with a View More exquisitely respectful costume drama.

The Last Emperor Exquisitely respectful costume drama set in China, for a change. It is a good movie, though.

Broadcast News Funny, tough-minded, sometimes painful. Holly Hunter is a news producer, Albert Brooks the acerbic reporter, and William Hurt the handsome, nice, but slow-witted anchorman. Watch for Joan Cusack delivering a tape at the last minute. There's a scene here that actually happened to me.

Fatal Attraction. No thanks. Anyone who fucks up Michael Douglass's life of whiny entitlement and white male het privilege is OK by me.

Hope and Glory "Thank you, Adolf!" London during the Blitz, as seen by schoolboys,

Moonstruck Another huge favorite. At the time, I thought Broadcast News would stick more in my mind, but the joys and woes of the Castorini family are still very close to my heart after all these years. Spectacular cast, with the 46-year-old Cher playing opposite 23-year-old Nicholas Cage. So many wonderful moments I can't tell them all -- from the elderly grandfather urging his dogs to howl at the moon to the miracle of the fiance's mother rising from her deathbed. ("She began to cook for everyone in the house. She ate a meal that could choke a pig.")

Rain Man Not too bad. Dustin Hoffman doing his usual fully inhabited performance. Tom Cruise is an attractive placeholder.

The Accidental Tourist I should put this in my Netflix queue.

Dangerous Liaisons Costume drama, but not precisely respectful. John Malkovitch playing elegant evil. Ditto Glenn Close.

Mississippi Burning Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe as FBI agents investigating the deaths of civil rights workers. Alan Parker presents the usual buddy cop dynamic between hotheaded Hackman and by-the-book Dafoe. What makes this film great is the imagery of dusty, hopeless towns, churches flaring like torches, defeated women, venomous-eyed killers, and frightened, determined Black families.

Working Girl Melanie Griffith makes me itch. So does the setup here, in which upper-class stereotype Sigourney Weaver shafts her working-class assistant who is trying to climb out of her limited background to become a corporate arbitrageur. (Arbitrageuse?) However, this film passes the Bechdel test. It has Joan Cusack as Melanie's gutsy friend. It has Harrison Ford behaving tenderly and incidentally taking his shirt off. The opening credits present a stirring and beautiful theme song over a swoopy aerial trip from Staten Island to the Financial District (encompassing a heart-breaking view of the Statute of Liberty and the late World Trade Center). So yeah, despite everything I like this movie a lot.

Driving Miss Daisy Morgan Freeman as a magic Negro. The indomitable Jessica Tandy as an indomitable old lady trapped in Southern gentility. Dan Ackroyd as her son. Sentimental but powerful.

Born on the Fourth of July. No need to see it, thanks.

Dead Poets Society. My least favorite Peter Weir film until The Truman Show. I haven't watched it since I saw it in the theater. Gorgeously photographed in elegiac style.

Field of Dreams This is what Kevin Costner is good for. How can you not love this movie? It makes me cry. It has baseball. And last I heard, the cornfield where it was shot was still a shrine and tourist attraction.

My Left Foot I'd like to see this. Daniel Day-Lewis is quite an actor.

Dances With Wolves As they say at Wiscon, there's an entire genre of "what these people need is a honky." Beautifully photographed, at least.

Awakenings Why in the name of God did they have to add a romance to this film? Read the book. Then read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

Ghost Gotta love the 1980s, when corporate raiders were the good guys. Contains possibly the most ridiculous love scene ever shown, assuming you've ever worked with clay. Nevertheless, it has some moving and some memorable moments, and Whoopie Goldberg rocks, as always. For a funnier, more insightful, far more heartrending view of grief, take a look at Anthony Minghella's Truly Madly Deeply, a British movie made the same year. The difference between Patrick Swayze and Alan Rickman is not just cosmetic, folks.

The Godfather, Part III I need a Godfather marathon. That's a DVD set I'd love to own.

Goodfellas Good, violent, honest mob picture.

The Silence of the Lambs Reading the book was enough, although watching Anthony Hopkins do that voice on Inside the Actors Studio really makes me want to see it.

Beauty and the Beast A heroine who reads! A Disneyfication that enhances instead of destroys the story!

Bugsy Need to add this to my list of Las Vegas movies.

JFK My favorite line: "Do you mind if I smoke?" "Why would I mind?" Captures the 1960s in uncanny detail.

The Prince of Tides. Read the book.

Unforgiven Powerful, disturbing, very well made western.

The Crying Game Haven't seen it, but I do know the secret.

A Few Good Men I've seen the trailers--isn't that enough?

Howards End Probably my favorite Merchant-Ivory film. As usual, the book is better, but here the rich visuals and elegiac pace suit the story. Vanessa Redgrave is extraordinary -- but my God, all the Redgraves are.

Scent of a Woman The other Al Pacino film I haven't seen.

Schindler's List. I don't watch Spielberg movies even when they're about the Holocaust. Please note that this is a feel-good story about the Holocaust. The book is powerful and moving. I don't need to see the movie -- not even for Liam Neeson.

The Fugitive Great fun, with two appealing male leads and a suspenseful story.

In the Name of the Father. No prison movies during the marriage.

The Piano Strange, beautiful, painful, beautifully filmed.

The Remains of the Day I've read the book. I'd like to see two of my favorite actors in those claustrophobic roles.

Forrest Gump I freaking hate this movie. When I first saw it, the tone seemed weirdly jumbled and inconsistent, and not because of the clever photoshopping. The events were telling a different story than the dialogue, the acting, and the reviews. Nobody seemed to notice the horror and tragedy and rage and satire. Then I read the book, which was much more consistent, disturbing, satirical, and gloomy. Ah, once again we make a feel-good tragedy.

Four Weddings and a Funeral This may be another feel-good tragedy. It's also a member of two other idiosyncratic groups: movies I like despite detesting one or both of the romantic leads, and movies I like despite the presence of Andie McDowell.

Let's face it, romantic leads are often dull or annoying. When Harry Met Sally has charming moments -- the old people talking about their marriages, for example, and the infamous deli scene -- and a superbly funny and subversive pair of second leads played by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. But Meg Ryan is one of the most consistently irritating big-screen presences, and Billy Crystal is somehow not at his best. The leads come off as shallow and boring, whereas the second leads are great fun.

Four Weddings and a Funeral has Hugh Grant fumbling through the male lead and Andie McDowell wooden and ladylike as a supposed sex-bomb American journalist. But it also has Simon Callow going over the top, Kristin Scott Thomas chic yet lonely, a secret gay couple, and a Deaf character actually played by a Deaf actor. I can put up with a lot for the sake of some of these attributes. Even Andie McDowell's wind-up doll line readings.

Andie McDowell was good in two movies that showcased her essential chill and weren't damaged by her inability to make her lines sound like natural dialogue. As the uptight gardener in Green Card, her defensive rigidity relaxed only when she was surrounded by plants. (That's a fabulous movie--why wasn't it nominated for Best Picture?) Moreover, her prissiness played beautifully opposite the Gerard Depardieu's sensual, earthy composer. She's pretty without being attractive; he's attractive without being pretty. Great combination.

She also did well in sex, lies, and videotape, where her character's defining characteristic is sexual frigidity. She's also surrounded by much better actors, including James Spader, whose sheer beauty is probably against the law, but who can also act and speak and move with naturalness.

Pulp Fiction Took me years to get around to this one; then I found that the violence was less triggering than I expected, because it was both impersonal and set in an appropriate moral universe. A redemption story of rare power.

Quiz Show I enjoyed this at the time, but I've felt no urge to see it again.

The Shawshank Redemption. Prison.

Braveheart. Nice scenery.

Apollo 13. We watched the nonfiction series, and of course both of us vividly remembered the actual events.

Babe. Dunno why I haven't seen this -- I'd like to.

Il Postino. Ditto.

Sense and Sensibility. Ravishing. Almost (dare I say it?) better than the novel, because the youngest sister Margaret is a fully fleshed-out character. It's also nice to see Alan Rickman, for whom I've had a thing for years, in a sympathetic role.

The English Patient. Need to get this on DVD. A magnificent motion picture. The book seemed unfilmable, but the movie translated it to the screen. Beautiful, painful, triumphant.

Fargo. The Coen Brothers take the archetype of the swag-bellied Southern sheriff and turn it upside down. So we get Marge Gundersen, a Minnesota sheriff in an advanced state of pregnancy, investigating a botched kidnapping. Bloody and bleak, it's still a very fine movie.

Jerry Maguire. I didn't get to see this at the time because I knew the financial themes would be distressing to my then-husband. (Yeah, I could have gone alone, but I didn't.)

Secrets & Lies Dunno why we didn't see this.

Shine. I didn't get to see this at the time because I knew the musical themes would be distressing to my then-husband. (He was a pianist accepted to Juillard; his parents refused to let him attend.) I think he was not in great shape that year, and I was avoiding anything that might be distressing. I spent a great deal of time protecting him.

Titanic. In addition to a nifty computer reconstruction of the sinking, this movie has some spectacular imagery (the old couple lying in their cabin together, waiting for death as the water rises; the dead woman floating through the dining room; the custom dishes sliding off their shelves) and the single most trite, boring, obnoxious love story ever. It's also practically a cigarette ad. Kathy Bates is a lot more believable as Molly Brown than Debbie Reynolds was in The Unsinkable, etc. i was amused to see one image that also occurs in another film: when Kate Winslet is losing her virginity in a parked car below decks, all we see is her hand plastered against the rear window -- an image integral to the very different film Ghost Story.

As Good as It Gets. Jack Nicholson again. Also, he plays a crazy writer. Not giving the ex any fuel to use against me.

The Full Monty A lovely little movie. Subtitles help a lot, since I don't speak fluent Sheffield dialect.

Good Will Hunting. Way the hell oversimplified, but a good movie.

L.A. Confidential. Wow. Fast-paced, twisted, fascinating, and remarkably close to James Ellroy's dense noir book. Great movie.

Shakespeare in Love. This is a favorite. I love William Shakespeare, I love Tom Stoppard, I loved the lively hen-cackling Elizabethan vigor of it, and I loved the gorgeous people and gorgeous costumes. Also, it's finally given Judi Dench her due as a powerful actress. And Shakespeare's hands were always ink-stained! I got all the lit-major jokes (I was the only person in the theater who cracked up when the vicious little kid said his name was John Webster). I would like someone to make a movie about John Donne with Joseph Fiennes playing the poet. There's actually a bit of resemblance, and my God he's good at playing writers. Incidentally, send some pennies to the National Portrait Gallery; they're trying to buy this treasure of a painting.

Elizabeth. Almost as historically inaccurate as Shakespeare in Love. They're both Tudor fanfic, but good movies. Cate Blanchett is amazing.

Life Is Beautiful. Not just prison, Nazi death camp. I think not.

Saving Private Ryan. I refuse to see this. Since it's Spielberg, I was readily able to predict the ending, and I really don't need the kind of extreme triggering I would endure if I watched the battle scenes.

The Thin Red Line. A war movie I might actually want to see, since it's by Terrence Mallick, who directed my favorite movie ever. (Days of Heaven, if you haven't been reading this journal for long.)

American Beauty. I saw the trailers and dismissed this. It looked well-made (love Kevin Spacey) but shallow and silly. But the wise film connoisseur gave me a copy, and I found it ravishing. The surface shallowness gives way to a great deal of meaning, and the film is profoundly moving and beautiful.

The Sixth Sense. I walked out after 20 minutes, but not because the movie was bad. No, it was (A) incredibly powerful, and (B) very clear to me what the issue was. And I could not stand it. Way the hell triggering. I'd like to see it sometime on DVD, where I can control the viewing experience myself.

The Cider House Rules. Never got around to it.

The Green Mile. No, thanks.

The Insider. Never got around to this, either.

Gladiator. Or this.

Chocolat. Lovely, although I prefer Alfred Molina when he's a touch more sympathetic.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Not my kink. I don't do martial arts movies. Yes, I know I'm missing an enormous cultural experience, but there is only so much time in the world.

Erin Brockovich. First movie I went to see by myself after I left my husband. I'm not a big Julia Roberts fan, but I love Albert Finney, and I enjoyed this movie a lot.

Traffic. I understand it's good. But is it worth seeing?

A Beautiful Mind. Do you realize how much of my movie watching is affected by PTSD? There are some things it's just not wise for me to watch.

Gosford Park. Oh, lovely. Lovely. Even though I did work out whodunnit.

In the Bedroom. Somehow I missed this.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Magnificent. Heartbreaking. There are no words.

Moulin Rouge. An interesting experiment that didn't quite come off for me.

Chicago. Fabulous, fabulous movie, and a good musical, too.

Gangs of New York. Unbearably bloody. Well-made, but yeesh.

The Hours. I started to watch this but it seemed far too self-consciously Lit'ry. Maybe I'll try it again some day. And what is up with the fake nose? Virginia Woolf was a beautiful woman.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers I think Andy Serkis should have won Best Actor for Gollum in this.

The Pianist. I spent two years researching Poland during World War II. I don't think I need to torture myself with this.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. This epic -- not three movies but one nine- or ten- or twelve-hour extravaganza -- is unparalleled. Deserved everything it won, and more. I am totally pissed that Sean Astin wasn't nominated. He carried Frodo -- and the film.

Lost in Translation. Subtle and lovely and strange.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I think I want to read the book first.

Mystic River. Read the book -- Dennis Lehane can write. I don't think I could bear the movie.

Seabiscuit. I remember the old movie about this great-hearted horse.

Million Dollar Baby. You have to be kidding me.

The Aviator. Definitely want to see this one.

Finding Neverland. Oh my. Johnny Depp channels Michael Jackson in Edwardian costume. Good movie.

Ray. This was well-made, moving, an astounding performance by Jamie Foxx. But I am still sad and angry that Malcom X -- an even better movie -- wasn't even nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay. It's only OK to be a Black man if you're handicapped, guilt-ridden, and good at entertaining white people.

Sideways. Must see this.

Crash. Should I bother?

Brokeback Mountain I have this movie. I just need the strength to watch it. I read the story when it came out, and it broke my heart.

Capote. I have borrowed this movie and plan to see it this week.

Good Night, and Good Luck. Saw it at the Parkway; what a great film. David Strathairn (another longtime favorite) is finally getting his due.

Munich. Umm, no. I remember the kidnappings and the murders,

I have not seen a single movie that's nominated for *any* Oscar this year.

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