Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Battle of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1960
After just finishing The Apartment for the first time I had, as Oprah likes to say, an "Aha moment"; oh, so this is where the ideas for the last thirty years of film came from!
People do say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but I think even Billy Wilder might still be a little miffed. In five minutes I sat and thought of nearly twenty movies that could be said to be directly influenced by The Apartment. Any time a cute, nice, funny guy doesn't get the girl because of some successful, powerful man being in the way, it's The Apartment! Nerdy detections of this sort make watching a zillion Best Picture winners worth it, and we are learning!
It's sad to report that 23 years of life have sailed by without much appreciation for Wilder. Before the race to consume Oscar winners, Some Like It Hot was all I could credit Wilder's name to if there were a quick fire trivia round (basically, this happens everyday of my life) or I ended up in the Cash Cab (alas, Ben Bailey does not drive me around everyday).
This old noggin is full of tons of information now, including, but not limited to; Wilder has two Best Picture winners under his belt (also The Long Weekend) owed completely to his writing and directing. His movies stand the test of time simply because of the way he is able to hilariously write about life; specifically how life can be zany one minute and then, in the next instant, life can be heartbreaking.
The Apartment continues to be a classic also, because of my dream grandparents. Who wouldn't want to be in a family with hilarious people like Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon? Although, I'm cheating on Anne Bancroft when I say this, because I often debate choosing between her and MacLaine whenever this question comes up (this has in fact been a crucial discussion). Love those classy broads.
Anyway, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine are the perfect onscreen couple. The comedy comes from just being their innately funny selves, and when things take a serious turn the audience goes along with it because we honestly care.
Playing a card game with these two, like in the final scene, with hopefully tons of sassy jokes included, would be priceless.