Fittingly, I can present in my 100th post something that I think will be a shocking development; the best picture winner of 1959 is not boring! For years, because of suffering through Ben Hur in 7th grade, I have been set up with an urge to avoid spending nearly four hours, yes 222 minutes, with Charlton Heston and chariot races. Slap me, because I couldn't be more wrong.
Credit to my Dad who, after spending the day at a good ole' family Christmas celebration, suggested I bite the bullet and just watch it. What unfolded was an evening of me being honestly riveted to a screen. Also, ignoring my Christmastime stomach ache, caused by the poor decision to listen to relatives urging me to try each of the dozen different confections, and then cramming popcorn in my face; sickness increased.
First of all, I'm almost positive now that, after all these years, I had Spartacus confused with Ben Hur. Strike one to me. Second of all, since I had no idea this movie dealt with the story of the origin of Christianity, this movie is actually quite fitting for a Christmastime evening. Especially as the film opens capturing a beautiful recreation of the the birth of Jesus. Seriously, did everyone know this except me? I'm still shocked that Ben Hur involved anything other than chariot races.
(A divine clip...literally)
When past epic movies that won the Best Picture have not held up (another Heston flick, The Greatest Show On Earth, for example), Ben Hur is definitely the epic done right. Incredible sets, with notable recreations of the Circus Maximus for the chariot scenes I was expecting and the chilling depiction of Jesus' crucifixion. Also, a well spun, enticing story, that at the same time presents a tale of revenge between old friends and creatively connecting Ben Hur's (played by Heston) life to that of Jesus .
Well done Ben Hur, you definitely deserved those 11 Oscars. I'm not kidding when I say, if you have the time, this is an exceptional movie watching experience.