High Seas and Epic Tease
In this crazy Eighth episode of Best Pictures from the Outside In, Nathaniel and Goatdog and I pop some giant horse-pills of testosterone to confront two big Man Movies: Frank Lloyd's Mutiny on the Bounty, Oscar's champ from 1935, and Ridley Scott's Gladiator, the first post-Y2K winner. General consensus is that Mutiny is yare, while Gladiator's the one at sea. Read the full transcript, and share your thoughts.
Unfortunately, the week catches me totally unprepared to embellish much beyond what I wrote in the conversation. 1935 is an even sparser year in terms of my own viewing than 1934 was. In my very distant memory, I loved John Ford's The Informer, though almost everyone I know tells me it's overly stylized and unconvincingly acted, so I can't stand by it as my Best Picture vote without another look. I'm a huge fan of Alice Adams (see here for the proof) and of Top Hat, and Broadway Melody of 1936 is steady entertainment, thanks largely to the dynamic Eleanor Powell, if not a full-on knockout. Sadly, I have seven Best Picture nominees left to see and, from my own viewing experience, only Alfred Hitchcock's crackling 39 Steps to insist upon as an Oscar oversight. (Lots of folks would stump for The Bride of Frankenstein or The Devil Is a Woman, but I'm a dissenter on both counts: I think the former is too facetious and the latter is just too tacky and skimpy on feeling, even though Marlene memorably, gruffly asserted it as the best of her Sternberg vehicles in the indispensable documentary that Maximilan Schell made about her.)
Meanwhile, I also have some 2000 dilemmas to solve. I've been trumpeting Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (reviewed here) as my favorite BP nominee ever since they were announced... but at this point, isn't my heart with Erin Brockovich (reviewed here and here), an issue picture, biopic, and vanity vehicle that glides over all three of those huge generic hurdles and improves with every single viewing? I didn't get to re-watch Tiger to find out, but the race is tight. Adventures in high concept: Erin Brockovich goes wuxia on PG&E!
So, no firm verdicts on either year, just a bunch of ambivalence and fond memories. When I eventually go back and review my Top Ten of 2000, I'll also be eager to revisit Timecode, The Wind Will Carry Us, and Yi Yi (A One and a Two...), three films I may well have undervalued at the time; Up at the Villa, a delicious perversity that I may nonetheless have over-estimated; The Claim, Traffic, and The Yards, which I always liked but have largely forgotten in their particulars; and a bunch of critically idolized titles that I couldn't access at the time, including Lodge Kerrigan's Claire Dolan and Laurent Cantet's Human Resources. And those are just the U.S. commercial releases! 2000 also yielded festival sensations like Shinji Aoyama's Eureka, Ousmane Sembene's Faat Kiné, Jiang Wen's Devils on the Doorstep, Chantal Akerman's La Captive, Jia Zhangke's Platform, Bernard Rose's ivansxtc., and Béla Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies, all of them still hovering on my viewing horizon.
So, make like Commodus and cast your thumbs up and down in the Comments. Make like Captain Bligh and lead me in the right direction, however roughly. Make like Fletcher Christian and buck the prevailing authorities. I'm eager for your guidance.
This Week: Goatdog's transcript and Nathaniel's Gable/Crowe profile
Previously: ep.1: Wings & No Country; ep.2: Broadway Melody & Departed; ep.3: All Quiet & Crash; ep.4: Cimarron & Million Dollar Baby; ep.5: Grand Hotel & LOTR:ROTK; ep.6: Cavalcade & Chicago; ep.7: It Happened One Night & A Beautiful Mind