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…

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Sting, 1973

Rated PG

I had never seen this playful little “dramedy” before. Robert Redford and Paul Newman play con-artists, or “grifters”, during the Depression and Prohibition era in Chicago and they are out for revenge. They spend a great deal of time and resources in devising just the right “sting” that will accomplish that. I’m a little surprised that it won Best Picture though… don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. But I definitely don’t think it would win in today’s time- it’s a little too silly. I don’t think it needed to be over two hours long, and I don’t agree with the PG rating. There are a few murders in addition to a woman shown dancing around in pasties.

Johnny Hooker, (who unfortunately, is called by his last name), is played by Redford who is absolutely darling in this film. His poor character though is being sought after by the FBI for counterfeiting and by a New York racketeer named Lonnegan for swindling him out of thirteen grand. If there was any other distraction from Redford’s cutie-patootie face, it was the piercing gaze from Paul Newman’s gorgeous blue eyes. Seriously. My favorite outfit of Hooker's in the film is the one pictured below. The tie, in my opinion, is the best accessory.  

The ‘bromance’ Redford and Newman had working on ‘the sting’ together was cute. Hollywood and audiences were already big fans of theirs from their earlier film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. My friend pointed out how much Redford looks like Brad Pitt in this film!!

There are several twists in their operation that have the audience second-guessing what’s real and what’s planned. Being the gullible movie-watcher I am, I gasped out loud at some moments not knowing what was faked or authentic.

Aside from winning Best Picture, this film won six other awards including Best Music Score Adaptation. Marvin Hamlisch adapted Scott Joplin’s piano ragtime ditties for this film. Throughout the movie, you can hear “The Entertainer” among other of his tunes, and it is quite ‘entertaining’. It works well with the Norman Rockwell-esque title cards that flash on screen to indicate certain scene changes/chapters (similar to the movie poster).
This film was up against “American Graffiti”, “Cried and Whispers”, “The Exorcist”, and “A Touch of Class”. It’s interesting to learn which movies won this award versus which ones have become more popular through the years. Obviously, “The Exorcist” is now a very well-known movie from this year. (I haven’t seen that one in order to fairly compare, but I will never see it.) "The Sting" won seven of its ten nominations. Redford was unsuccessful in nabbing the Best Actor award. He was also in “The Way We Were” with my girl Babs this same year which failed to receive a nomination for Best Picture.


When an FBI agent catches up with Hooker, he demands this loose cannon’s attention: “Sit down and shut up, will ya? Try not to live up to all my expectations.”


Obviously, my favorite scene had to be ‘the sting’ at the end because it kept me in suspense. The men are trying to pull off their fake horse betting in order to cheat Lonnegan out of a half a million dollars. Will it work!?


If you’re going to play with a cheater, you may as well cheat also. I hate when people cheat, especially at board games, but if it’s inevitable, you may as well try to even the playing field.

When devising a plan (for anything, really), it’s best to think out all possible outcomes. Be prepared with plans A, B, and C.