Monday, August 20, 2012

Battle Of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1993

Spielberg is...Spielberg - a director that has made the blockbusters that we chart our lives by.

The stories are timeless, filled with action, adventure, fun, and are always those memorable flicks that you can't take your eyes off of, even to cram a handful of popcorn in your face.

Up until 1993 this was Spielberg's trademark, though the Best Picture Winner of 1993 would change those expectations and blow people's minds. The man behind the Truffle Shuffle, Indiana Jones, and a man eating shark took on the Holocaust and created a masterpiece.

Dawson Leery gets pounded on by any Cinephile worth their Ingmar Bergman for his room covered obsession with Speilberg (forgive me, I've just started The Creek); well Dawson, throw Schindler's List in all their faces.

I already know what you're thinking, yes, this movie can be a major bummer fest. Even though I fought to not have it take up my entire Sunday, in a day full of surprises, it did not ruin my last day of freedom for the week, but rather enriched it.

Having seen this movie twice before - once in High School and once in College - I only now on the third time around, three years later, was completely mystified by every minute.

Glowing with beauty from the first instant, with that last flash of color from a single flame burning in red and orange, that slowly fades to smoke, leading into the rest of the films black and white motif (though there are several instances of color throughout). Hope is diminishing in the world which now literally fades into the darkness of black and grays - truly, a brilliant usage of black and white for a film.

Cut to, Oscar Schindler (Liam Neeson), an enigmatic man with hopes of striking big in business, who is utilizing the war effort to get a boost in profit. Poland has fallen and Schindler finds inexpensive Jewish workers, who were already in the early stages of forced Ghetto life, to work at his new factory.

A Nazi party member from the beginning, Schindler at first is only in it for the money, and hires another Jewish man, Itzhak Stern (Ben Kinglsey) to run his company. Truly a selfish man, Schindler wants to just be the face of the company, so he can wine and dine clients, and hundreds of women.

(Schindler's Introduction with a beautiful song)

Schindler entrusts Stern to do all of the the hiring throughout the Ghetto's. Since length of life was mostly dependent on how skilled of a worker you were, Stern found a way to hire the elderly, women, and those with disabilities to work in Schindler's factory, heroically giving them more of a chance at life.

When the Ghetto's are evacuated, and everyone is sent to the camps outside of the city, Schindler is forced to cut deals with Nazi Officials, one such individual being the evil Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), to keep the workers at his factory, and the money rolling in.

Neeson and Kinglsey are a powerful team, and their partnership makes the film. At first the two are merely boss and worker, but as the years go by, and the pure horror of what is happening finally dawns on Schindler, their connection to each other can't be broken.

It is a film loaded with heartbreaking performances from the biggest stars down to the hundreds of extras. It is hard not to highlight Fiennes, who is always excellent, and often terrifying in movies, but playing a Nazi definitely takes the cake. Thankfully he recovered his creepy trademark to make movies with J. Lo.

In the past this was always just that super serious Holocaust movie, and how my opinion has changed.

Much of this is due to the fact that this is a movie that needs several viewings in order to fully soak up all the pure genius. One example being, the eery scene with the young girl roaming around the Ghetto, with the only pop of color to be seen, her red peacoat.  To my surprise she doesn't just show up once, but two times! The second time is critical to a part of the plot, and I can't believe I had never noticed it before.

Spielberg's artfully direction has passion for the story seeping out of every turn of the camera lens, making Schindler's List an incredible movie watching...scratch experience.

Next Up: Another epic but this time with a rockin' Americana soundtrack and lots of shrimp.  

You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it...

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