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, June 5, 2012

Patton, 1970








Rated PG (which might be a little too lenient)

BOOORIIIIING! And forgettable…. like in the amount of time between my watching it and sitting down to write this blog. (And again, I must be in the minority… I read that this is an “American classic” and it scored a 97% on rottentomatoes.com.)

This film is a (long) biography about an American commander during World War II, a true non-conformist if nothing else: General George S. Patton. He was temperamental and controversial but successful in certain commanding areas. “Patton” is considered a war film, but it’s not really about the war- it’s all about Patton, also known as “Old Blood and Guts” (??).

This film’s subtitle (A Salute to a Rebel) was aimed to attract a younger crowd at the time of its release. This rebel believes in harsh discipline and has no patience for cowards. He is determined to lead his men to victory, but his loud mouth and quick temper get in the way. He believes “there's only one proper way for a professional soldier to die: the last bullet of the last battle of the last war.”

I’m not sure if he wasn’t a little bit crazy though too, because when he comes across a vacant battlefield, he tells his fellow commander that he fought there once for Napoleon… so… did he believe in reincarnation? He was “there” two thousand years ago when the Carthaginians were attacked by three Roman legions. Seriously, what?

This is the first PG-rated film that won Best Picture since the institution of the MPAA rating system, however, I’m not sure that’s an appropriate rating. The eccentric general liberally throws around the words ‘bastard’ and ‘goddamn’ among other curse words and crude sayings.  

“Patton” was up against “Airport”, “Five Easy Pieces”, “Love Story”, and “M*A*S*H” (ß the precursor to the TV series). It had a pretty successful evening walking away with seven awards from its ten nominations. Among them, was Best Actor winner George C. Scott (Patton). He was AWOL at the ceremony and became the first actor to refuse the award claiming “the competitiveness was demeaning to actors – ‘a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons’” according to filmsite.org. (The second actor to deny an Oscar would be Marlon Brando two years later for “The Godfather”. And how’s this for strange... Francis Ford Coppola wrote both of those screenplays!)

FAVORITE SCENE:

Perhaps the most memorable was the very beginning. The film starts with a six-minute monologue by General Patton standing in front of the largest American flag I’ve ever seen. He appears to be giving his speech to incoming soldiers. It actually kept my full attention and it was a perfect introduction to who he was.


LESSONS LEARNED:

The Academy likes war films.

If you’re a loudmouth, you need to at least know when to bite your tongue.

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