I know the goal of this blog is to find the Best, Best Picture and while only 2 movies in I am far from finding the Best, I may have found the worst. 1929’s The Broadway Melody is the story of two sisters who move to New York with the dream of making it big on Broadway as a singing duo. They only have a few problems, one sister is beautiful but can’t sing and is dumb as a door nail, and the sister who can sing is a Redhead (which in 1929 apparently meant she was like the elephant man). There is an attempt at a love triangle involving Eddie Kearns, a “song and dance man” who is trying to help jump start the sisters careers only he can’t decide if he loves Hank, the ugly sister, or Queenie, the dumb blond. Even with Eddie’s advances Queenie starts “dating” “Stage Door” Johnny. I put “dating” in quotes because their relationship involves Johnny buying Queenie diamonds and attempting to kiss her and Queenie pulling away. Finally Queenie listens to Eddie and Hank and leaves Johnny and goes with Eddie. The movie ends with Hank finding a new dumb blond to fill out her act and moving out of New York.
If you are confused by my summary you should try watching the movie you will end up more confused. Now lets get to the rankings
1. Re-Watchability: 1
This movie is so un-re-watchable that I am mad I watched it a first time.
2. Historical relevance: 2
May have been the first movie musical but didn’t invent the musical wheel.
3. Quotability: 1
Can’t think of 1 line that was worth quoting. A few of the songs from the movie are recognizable such as, “You Were Meant for Me” but
4. Intangibles: 5
First talkie and first Musical
5. Personal Rating 2
Wings Total: 11 out of 30
It only took me a month but I finally finished Wings the first ever Best Picture Oscar Winner, or as the award was known in 1927 the Best Production. I overall was impressed with the film and enjoyed it. Wings is a silent movie, the first I have ever seen so that impacted my feelings both negatively and positively . It really is a beautiful movie with aerial scenes far ahead of its time, and while I would not recommenced it to everyone if you are a film junkie/nerd/enthusiast I would highly recommend it. Now lets get to the rankings
1. Re-Watchability: 2
It is a silent film and although very enjoyable not extremely re-watchable in Modern time.
2. Historical relevance: 4
Created the “War Movie” Genera. While not on the AFI top 100 nothing from 1927 is so that can’t be taken away.
3. Quotability: 4
Funny that even though it is a silent film it had some great lines (Dialogue is shown in sentences on the screen). For example, Mary is in love with Jack, but Jack never notices her over the other girls around. At one point she goes into the bathroom and is crying about Jack, to which another woman in the bathroom responds, “If you would catch the fly, do you set the vinegar? No, ma cherie! But the sugar, yes!” also the movie ends beautiful with the line, “You know what you can do when you see a shooting star?”
“You can kiss the girl you love.”
4. Intangibles: 5
First best picture ever. Only silent film ever to win.
5. Personal Rating 7
Thoroughly enjoyed the film, because it is a silent film though I did have trouble getting through it. I ended up watching it in about 4 sittings but unbelievable aerial fight scenes and epic war shots, even for modern times .
Wings Total: 22 out of 30
Thanks to NotonDVD on Youtube for posting the film, unfortunately Wings is not on DVD at all so with out Youtube my quest would have ended before it began.
Why’s it called an Oscar, anyway?
The statuette awarded for excellence in film acting, directing, etc., given annually since, 1928, first so called 1936. The name is said to have sprung from a 1931 remark by Margaret Herrick, secretary at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on seeing the statuette: “He reminds me of my Uncle Oscar.” Thus the award is named for Oscar Pierce, U.S. wheat farmer and fruit grower.
There have been many lists of the greatest movies of all time. The most respected list is definitely the American Film Institute’s “100 Years… 100 Movies. This list was originally compiled in 1997 and unveiled in 1998 with a 10-year anniversary list coming out in 2007. The funny thing is that in 1997 there had been 71 “Best Picture” Academy Award winners, and you would think that all 71 would have made that list. You would also be wrong in that assumption; sometimes what turns out to be the best in a particular year does not hold up over time. This got me thinking, what is the Best “Best Picture”? Over the next year I will watch every “Best Picture” Academy Award winners from the very first; 1927’s Wings, all the way up to 2009’s winner The Hurt Locker, as well as whatever the 2010 winner is (The Social Network is my guess as of now). I will watch them in chronological order starting with 1927’s Wings. Even if I have already seen the movie I will re-watch it in order.
I will rate each “Best Picture” on 5 criteria:
1. Re-watchability - The ability for the movie to hold up over time and re-watching. For example I can watch Hook over and over again and every time see something I didn’t see before.
2. Historical relevance - This is where and how the movie fits in the history of Film, something like introducing an actor to the world or creating a genera. This is also where the AFI 100 list will be factored in. Some Best Picture winners are not on the list at all, and some are on the list but below movies that were nominated for Best Picture in the same year. For example Rocky won the 1976 Best Picture Oscar, it is ranked 78 on AFI’s list however Taxi Driver was also nominated for Best Picture in 1976 and is ranked 47th 31spots higher Historically Rocky is not the Best Picture of 1976 that has to be factored in.
3. Quotability – A great movie has to leave a few lines with you for example “With great power comes great responsibility.” From Spiderman
4. Intangible – These are things like Midnight Cowboy being the first X-rated movie to Win Best Picture, or The Godfather Part II being the only sequel to win Best Picture.
5. Finally I will give the whole movie a personal rating from 1 (being the worst) to 10 being the best
I will rank the first 4 criteria from 1-5 and the final from 1-10. I will then compile the scores for each movie with the highest possible score being 30.
As with all lists one of the goals is to create conversation so anytime you disagree with my rankings, or my criteria please let me know but any disagreement to my rankings must be backed up so before you yell at me for saying The Great Ziegfeld is the Best, Best Picture you have to watch it for yourself. (I am just using The Great Ziegfeld as an example; I am not there in my list yet).
Thank you very much, and happy watching
1927-1928 - Wings
1928-1929 - The Broadway Melody
1929-1930 - All Quiet on the Western Front
1930-1931 - Cimarron
1931-1932 - Grand Hotel
1932-1933 - Cavalcade
1933-1934 - It Happened One Night
1935 - Mutiny on the Bounty
1936 - The Great Ziegfeld
1937 - The Life of Emile Zola
1938 - You Can’t Take it With you
1939 - Gone with the Wind
How Green was the Valley
Going my Way
The Lost Weekend
The Best Years of Our Lives
All the Kings Men
All about Eve
An American in Paris
The Greatest Show on Earth
From Here to Eternity
On the Waterfront
Around the World in 80 Days
The Bridge on the River Kwai
West Side Story
Lawrence of Arabia
My Fair Lady
Sound of Music
A Man of All Seasons
In the Heat of the Night
The French Connection
The Godfather part II
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The Deer Hunter
Kramer vs. Kramer
Chariots of Fire
Terms of Endearment
Out of Africa
The Last Emperor
Driving Miss Daisy
Dances with Wolves
Silence of the Lambs
Shakespeare in Love
A Beautiful Mind
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Million Dollar Baby
No Country for Old Men