I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tom Jones, 1963







Not Rated

Ridiculous. That’s my review of this movie. (I want to photoshop the phrase “except Amy” on the movie poster.) [Thank you Jen...]


First of all, have any of you even heard of it? I hadn’t. (I do know of a pop singer named Tom Jones who sang the song "Sex Bomb".... which is comically ironic considering the premise of this film.) "Tom Jones" is the second British film up to that date that won Best Picture that year over “America, America”, “Cleopatra” (with Elizabeth Taylor), “How the West Was Won”, and “Lilies of the Field” (with Sidney Poitier). Seriously, what happened this year Academy? Apparently, those epics didn’t stand a chance next to this bawdy comedy. Supposedly, it’s one of the most critically acclaimed and most popular movies of its time. Man, I did not get it then.

I’m trying to keep in mind how comedy has changed. What seemed daring and different back then, now seems boring and trite. But if you can understand that the audiences (both British and American) enjoyed this rough slapstick humor back then, it is pretty easy to see how future films like “Monty Python” were successes too.

So, I read it’s based on the “raucous” classic satire set in 18th century England. The movie is about Tom Jones who is an illegitimate servant-born country squire who fancies the ladies… A LOT. But even when his mischievousness (swordfights and sexcapades) finds him at the end of the film on a hangman’s platform, there still is a happy ending. I found the plot to be a little hard to follow, but that could be that I subconsciously “checked out” after 30 minutes. I adore comedies; I guess I just prefer mine with more depth.

“Tom Jones” also won Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Musical Score (another win over which I’m seriously confused). I guess critics raved about its inventive cinematography and editing, but in my opinion, it all just made me nauseas at times. This movie is the only film in Oscar history that had three Best Supporting Actress nominations (though none won… and I’m not sure I could even point out those three actresses in the film).

Albert Finney played the “hero” Tom Jones in the film. I love Finney (because of his role as Ed Masry in "Erin Brokovich", but even more so because of his role as Daddy Warbucks in “Annie”). But even his fine acting couldn’t save this film from being an utter mess. I also recognized David Tomlinson in probably the shortest and lamest role of his career. (He played Mr. Banks in “Mary Poppins”, and was in just about every other British and/or Disney film you can think of).

FAVORITE SCENE:

None exists. But I found a picture of young Albert Finney so you can at least see what the movie looks like.

LESSONS LEARNED:

The Academy and the audiences must’ve been smoking something this year.

To steal the last line of the movie from the Narrator, “Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have lived today.

5 comments:

  1. So dumb. And I like british humor. I just couldn't get into it.

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  2. I did get into it.... While at school in Dorset I was recruited as an extra and can be seen as one of the four drummer boys at the execution scene. The drum roll on the sound track was also provided by my three friends and I...

    Loved it

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  3. Thanks M Loosemore for your comment and I apologize that I lambasted a movie you starred in. I am jealous of you in that regard though; I think it would be loads of fun to be an extra. You (almost) make me want to rent it again to try to look for you. Do you think it was a movie defined to its generation or did I just not appreciate it (or get it)? Thanks again for your comment. Perhaps there's a different movie in which our reviews might be similar...

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  4. The film has definitely aged unfortunately. If you do get to watch it again, my appearance is brief but to me memorable. As the scene changes from the tumbril on a street to the first shot of the gallows you get a very brief sight of myself and friends leading Tom to the execution site. As Tom is hung there is a tracking shot across the drumheads. Mine are the third pair of hands performing a drumroll and the soundtrack features our actual 'performance' Oh and as for best films my all time favourite is Lawrence of Arabia :)

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  5. Oh no MLoosemore! That's another film I didn't like... We must just enjoy different genres. :) A male friend of mine said "Lawrence of Arabia" was a "man's movie" and he knew several guys who enjoyed it. I didn't see what the big deal was. But I did enjoy Omar Sharif in "Funny Girl"! :)

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