Sunday, June 27, 2010

Battle Of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1937

Just like an excitable puppy or a QVC shopoholic, I wait around my house most afternoons for the daily delivery from the mailman. On average the two movies I order from Netflix weekly are greedily ripped from their package and thrown directly into the DVD player.

It doesn't happen very often, but on occasion a movie comes through the door and sits on my table, not torn open, not even touched for a whole week, maybe (gasp!) even two. This is of course not something I like to admit. I'm going to be honest, lately it has been one of those weeks that I actually dreaded having to sit through a movie; the best picture winner of 1937.

Granted, I have taken this challenge on myself, so I have no one to blame except little old me. As the challenge progresses it has become increasingly harder to be excited about watching past Oscar winners and has been only pushed forward with extreme force. I'm not even out of the 1930's yet! It's gut check time.

Now with a lead in like that who wouldn't want to spend a Sunday afternoon watching The Life Of Emile Zola?

The first biographical movie to win best picture, the film follows the life and subsequent death of french writer and revolutionist Emile Zola beginning in the late 1800's. In his earlier years he lived penniless in France with fellow artist Paul Cezanne. As the years pass, and the story progresses, we see as Zola become an accomplished writer and dedicating his life for social justice all the while entirely digging himself out of his humble beginnings.

Sure, an inspiring story, but ultimately I am looking at these movies to evaluate if others would still enjoy them today. Most still see this as a classic shown in how it even ranks a respectable 7.4/10 stars according to IMDB users. To me the movie just screamed melodrama from the start and my instinct to hold off on watching this was actually right. Putting it in even simpler terms: watching a half hour of this movie really felt like two hours.

From a historical context, it is interesting to learn about influential people from the past and specifically here a little more about French literature. Though, I am unsure how historically accurate this film is entirely. Dialogue is also used through very talky and intense speeches, so it definitely makes since that it had also won Best Screenplay this year.

Although, for a movie as a whole it just wasn't interesting enough to keep me wondering about the characters or even caring, which is the most important detail for any story.

Next up: Another film that I, at first, thought would like to avoid, but can't be this time! The winner of 1938, You Can't Take It With You.

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