Archive | September, 2010

Amadeus (Winner, 1984/57th Annual Academy Awards)

30 Sep

OK 80’s, I love you and everything, but we are NOT off to a good start with the Oscar winners here. Such begins my experience watching 1984’s best picture winner, Amadeus.

To be honest, I had never heard of this movie before I started Oscartini. And upon looking for it on Netflix, I thought it sounded promising based on the short synopsis:

F. Murray Abraham earned a Best Actor Oscar for his imperious performance as Antonio Salieri, a mediocre composer whose churlish young rival, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce), wins immortality with his musical genius. Not happy to see his talent eclipsed, Salieri dons a disguise and deviously plots revenge, obsessed with muffling Mozart’s maddening laughter.”


Right?  Who doesn’t love devious plots for revenge and churlish young rivals?  I know this girl does!  But wait…what about that quip about the laugh?  How maddening is it?  Well, a quick YouTube search for “Mozart Laugh” turns up the perfect example:

And that’s pretty much what’s up with Amadeus.  This dude’s laugh will make you want to punch a kitten.  The end.

No, but seriously, there are a few positives from Amadeus.  For example, the Falco song “Rock Me Amadeus” was inspired by the movie.  Also, a young Cynthia Nixon has a minor role as a maid. AND, Ed Rooney is an Austrian Emperor.  Yeah…this is a tough one.  The movie is three hours of one guy (Saleri, played by the eventual Best Actor winner, F. Abraham Murray) trying to sabotage Mozart’s life and career in Vienna circa 1790. Three hours is long for any movie, but I found Amadeus to be unnecessarily long and convoluted.  The acting was above average (with both male leads having been nominated for Best Actor), but the story (which is told in flashbacks) meanders along at a painfully s-l-o-w pace. Just when you think the action is picking up, it’s interrupted by a host of unimportant details.

The music is, unsurprisingly, awesome, with several familiar Mozart pieces incorporated throughout, with The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni as standouts. The movie itself is an elaborate spectacle, as most historical films tend to be.  I could appreciate the costumes and sets, even if I wasn’t crazy about the story.

Clearly, I’m not seeing something that the Academy saw.  Not only did Amadeus win 8 Oscars, but it won a number of other prestigious awards around the world.  Anyone care to shed some light on the appeal of this movie?  Or have I (and that terrible clip) turned you off from ever seeing Amadeus?  If you are inclined to watch, it’s available for instant streaming on Netflix—good luck!

Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • One of only 4 productions to win both the Best Play Tony (1981) and the Best Picture Oscar (1984). The other 3 are My Fair lady (1957/1964), The Sound of Music (1960/1965) and A Man For All Seasons (1962/1966)
  • Amadeus, The English Patient and The Hurt Locker are the only Best Picture winners to never enter the weekend box office top 5 after rankings began being recorded in 1982.
  • Amadeus won four of the Oscars’ Big 5, with wins for best picture, actor, director and adapted screenplay. There was no best actress nominee from Amadeus.
  • Budget: $18 Million, gross revenue: $51,973,029

Love me some Harry Potter!

23 Sep

So, I might go ahead and change Oscartini to…Harry Potter tini.  Naw, it just doesn’t have the same ring to it, now does it!  Whatever, bear with me while I continue to celebrate the release of the final 2 Harry Potter movies.

Anyways, the newest Harry Potter trailer was just released last night, it’s awesome, so check it out!

Watch Local: The Town and the BPL’s Made in MA Series

20 Sep

With Ben Affleck’s The Town taking this weekend’s box office with $23+ million grossed since Friday, I wanted to share another Boston movie connection—The Boston Public Library’s Made in Massachusetts Film Series.  As pretty much everyone living in Massachusetts knows, The Town takes place in Charlestown and was shot in and around the area, including Fenway Park and Harvard Square.  Honoring other MA-based films, the BPL has been hosting the Made in MA. Series this year, with each month since January having a different theme and featuring a different movie every week with a Boston connection.

From the BPL website:  Organized into monthly themes, the series highlights the local people and places that have lured Hollywood and independent filmmakers to Massachusetts over the years. Cool, right?  I love watching movies with local angles, as they give me the chance to go “OH, oh, I know where that is!” and it makes me feel cool and important at the same time, regardless of if either feeling is accurate.

Though it’s almost October (!), there ares till plenty of good movies left worth seeing, especially the “Slightly Scary” movies featured in October! Some Boston flavored movies I’m down to see include:

Image courtesy of the BPL

9/27/10: Mona Lisa Smile—scenes filmed at Wellesley College

9/28/10: Good Will Hunting—scenes were filmed at MIT and in Harvard Square in Cambridge, at Bunker Hill Community College, the Boston Public Garden, and in South Boston and Dorchester

10/4/10: The Witches of Eastwick—scenes were filmed in Marblehead, Milton and Cohasset

10/18/10: Hocus Pocus—scenes were filmed in Salem and Marblehead

I love that the BPL is hosting this series; it’s such a great local resource, it’s in a beautiful, old building and anything that incorporates (free!) movies is obvi my idea of a good time!  Plus, Hocus Pocus is by far my favorite Halloween movie, so I’ll definitely be checking that one out!

What’s your favorite movie that has a strong tie to where it was filmed?  Sleepless in Seattle or maybe Muppets Take Manhattan, perhaps?  Did The Town make anyone’s agenda for this past weekend?  I’m hearing good things so far, might try to see it this week! Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Back to school, back to school, to prove to dad that I’m not a fool…

8 Sep

It’s that time of year again: back to school!  A time of year that brings joy to parents and sadness/longing/jealousy for us post grads (yes, I am talking about myself).  To celebrate this magical time of year, polled its readers to see what they thought the best college movies are.  With 20 on the list, I had a few that are on my fav movie list, too.

#19 Drumline—this 2002 gem is the first Nick Cannon movie I ever saw. For someone who hates almost every dance movie that exists, I love Drumline. Nick Cannon is a badass punk, but he rocks the drum like no one’s business.

#7 A Beautiful Mind—this 2001 Best Picture winner is set at and around Princeton University.  One of Russel Crowes’ best roles to date: playing a schizophrenic before he showed the world he actually somewhat of a pscyho in real life. Way to go, Russ.

#6 Legally Blonde—who doesn’t love Legally Blonde?  I saw the Broadway muscial a few years ago, and it made me wish the movie included the music. That good.

# 2 Old School—You’re my boy Blue!

And the favorite college movie of readers is…National Lampoon’s Animal House. Not surprising!

See the full list here; are there any college movies that readers missed?  What about High School movies?  I’d have to start a list of my favorite movies portraying high school with Mean Girls.  Any other school movies you love?

80 Days and Counting

1 Sep