The Oscar Project
Here we are at the beginning of March, and if you’ve been following along, you should be almost 20% through your 52 films for the year. I recently posted the full list of films I’ve chosen for the year on Letterboxd. If you’re on Letterboxd, please give that list a like or comment to show your appreciation. If you’re not on Letterboxd, I highly recommend signing up for a free (or paid) account on that site as it’s great for keeping track of the movies you watch, and even better for finding new movies to add to your watchlist.
Given the movies that I’ve watched this year so far, I wanted to take a little pause and just recap my feelings overall through the first two months of the year. To review the movies I’ve watched so far, the current list is:
Let’s start with the highlights. By far the best movie I’ve watched so far in this challenge is Parasite, which I just watched this week and wrote about yesterday. This film deserves all the accolades it received from multiple groups for the 2019 awards season, culminating in in the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars in February 2020. However, a few other films I’ve selected have really popped for me and I’m so glad this challenge has given me a reason to watch them.
My third and fourth films for the challenge (Little Miss Sunshine and Life of Pi) both rate among the best films I’ve seen over the last year and when I have a little time, both will be re-watches for me at some point. Little Miss Sunshine was a huge breath of fresh air. It made me laugh out loud at parts, and also allowed for moments of quiet thoughtfulness as it tackled issues like suicide and depression. And while that film was a wonderful ensemble cast, I was stunned at how strong Life of Pi was with essentially one actor (Suraj Sharma) carrying the bulk of the film. Not only that, he did it when he was only 20 years old and having to act against many scenes where everything around him would be added digitally in post-production.
Two of the films I’ve watched so far have been disappointing, but for completely different reasons. Tom Hanks’s early film Bachelor Party was one I didn’t expect much of, and it delivered on those expectations. It’s a low brow comedy meant to titillate and that’s exactly what it did. I was a bit bummed that it wasn’t a better movie, but even an actor as great as Hanks is going to have some clunkers in his career.
The other film that truly disappointed me was Mad God, Phil Tippett’s stop motion passion project. I wrote in my recap of the film that Tippett has long been someone I admire, even before I knew his name. He has given life to so many creatures in classic films from Star Wars to Jurassic Park and beyond, but this film was a huge let down. The stop motion was great in parts, but wildly inconsistent, which made the whole viewing experience less than ideal. Even now, if you asked me to tell you what it’s about, I would be hard pressed to come up with someone coherent. Maybe that’s the point, but it just wasn’t for me.
The other four films I’ve watched this year (for the challenge at least) could all fall under the heading of film classics. Midnight Cowboy, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 8 ½, and The Dirty Dozen are all from the 1960s and tell such different stories from around the world. Midnight Cowboy and Breakfast at Tiffany’s made an incredible double bill at the beginning of the year, both being set in New York City, but dealing with entirely different segments of society. 8 ½ also was an interesting juxtaposition against Mad God the following week since both felt like directors who didn’t know where the film was going when they started making them. However, 8 ½ was created by a master filmmaker (Federico Fellini) who understood his craft as a director while Mad God was clearly created by someone more comfortable in the creature shop and not creating stories.
And last but not least is The Dirty Dozen. Out of all the films I’ve seen in this challenge this year, I’ve probably seen the most of this one previously, catching it on TCM or other cable channels over the years. But like all the rest, I had never sat down and watched the entire film beginning to end. It is excellent from the casting to the way the characters come together, to the surprises thrown in at the end.
In summary, I’m so far very pleased with the movies I’ve picked for this year’s challenge. I hope I will be able to continue on through the rest of the year at this pace and that you will continue to join me each week and expand your own film horizons.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?