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…


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Braveheart, 1995










Rated R

It’s really too bad that Mel Gibson has gone off the deep end, because I do like his body of work. I love the movie “What Women Want” (lead actor) and I also appreciate “The Passion of the Christ” (producer). So I’m honestly sad to see/hear about his poor life choices. In this impressive Best Picture winner however, he was the multi-talented lead actor/director/producer for a film about Sir William Wallace’s fight for freedom in 13th century Scotland. Mel’s piercing blue eyes (which might even be bluer than Ellen DeGeneres’) and his rich accent make him one sexy Scot on a mission.


If you haven’t seen this film, you should. William Wallace (Gibson), a patriot but a nobody, is out for revenge and freedom. After tragically losing his new wife at the hands of the English, he leads his men in battle after bloody battle to unify his nation and break out from under King Edward I’s oppressive rule.

Unfortunately, most critics had a field-day with this film. A Scottish historian once said the film “totally sacrificed historical accuracy for epic adventure”. In 2009, the film was ranked second of “the most historically inaccurate movies”. Another historian got into a tizzy about the kilts (which apparently weren’t worn back then) and had this to say: “The events aren't accurate, the dates aren't accurate, the characters aren't accurate, the names aren't accurate, the clothes aren't accurate—in short, just about nothing is accurate.” Way to be a buzz-kill sweetie, thanks. (If you want to read more about the discrepancies, head to Wikipedia.com.)

THAT said….. I still think it’s a great movie. I am not watching for historical accuracies, (I don’t know much about that part of history anyway), I am looking to be entertained by a good story. Inaccurate or not, it is a compelling film with fantastic acting. I will warn you though that this is a very violent film. The battle scenes are brutal and bloody and even some of the non-battle scenes are too. So if you’re easily affected, keep one hand over an eye. I usually am easily affected by gore; I hate horror films and don’t do well with blood and death. However, I think this film is influential enough to overpower that. (Plus, the color of the fake blood (that even splatters on the camera lens for a split second – ick!) is so obviously fake, that made me feel a little better. I did keep repeating to myself though “No horses were harmed in the making of this film, no horses were harmed….”)

“Braveheart” was up against another movie that I have seen many times and LOVE: “Apollo 13”. I think that is another amazing true story in which the actors were brilliant. It was also up against “Il Postino”, “Sense and Sensibility”, and “Babe”- yes, the one with the talking pig. (That must have been embarrassing for the other nominees. DON’T ask me how that got into the running over “Mr. Holland’s Opus” or “The Usual Suspects”!!!) Gibson won the award for Best Director but was not nominated for Best Actor which is shocking to me. I immediately knew James Horner composed the music to this film; I recognized his “style”. The award-nominated score sounds like a sibling to the scores of “A Beautiful Mind” and “Titanic”.

POWERFUL SCENE:

While it’s not my favorite, I think the ending is very influential and moving; it’s one that I remembered from my first viewing of this film. Wallace has been captured and is going to be executed for treason and murder. England’s treatment of their convicted during the medieval times is absolutely barbaric and horrifying. The scene was well-filmed though. Instead of focusing on the gore, the camera’s focus was on Wallace’s face and the faces in the crowd. Wallace had an astounding amount of fortitude, determination, and love even until death. His last word and what he held in his hand are evidence of that.


LESSONS LEARNED:

In order to please historians when making a historical drama, try to sprinkle more than a few facts into the storyline.

Freedom most definitely comes at a cost. Some think it’s worthy to die for, others do not. Those brave enough who do, deserve our respect.

Have courage. In the words of Sir William Wallace, “Every man dies, but not every man truly lives”.

If you feel born/called to be a leader, be one that people can trust. William Wallace was only able to attract an army to defend him because he was trusted as a leader.

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