An eclectic collection of Best Picture winners
calvinnme | 02/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The group of films in this collection is so varied, it would be hard to be a real fan of one of the five and not really dislike one of the others. There's no common theme here, not even a time period. The films included are as follows:
All Quiet on the Western Front (1929-1930) - A group of German schoolboys are encouraged to sign up to fight in World War I. Once they get to the front, they encounter the harsh realities of killing your fellow man up close. It's still a powerful film because it was made pre-code and there was much more freedom to use harsh symbolism than in films made after 1934. It really embodies the antiwar sentiment that was common between the world wars. (5/5)
The Lost Weekend (1945) - This is another really great film. Great acting by Ray Milland as Don Birnam, an alcoholic writer whose brother pays his bills so he can go on drinking. After decades of movies making drunkenness look like great fun, this film showed just how low a man can sink when he really needs a drink. (5/5)
The Sting (1973) - This was a different kind of film to win the Best Picture award. It seems like it should be a film noir, since it is about revenge for a grifter buddy murdered by a mobster, but the mood of the film is actually rather playful. (5/5)
The Deer Hunter (1978) - This is a great film about the effect of the Vietnam war on three friends from Pennsylvania. It is effectively a war movie without a war. The focus is more on what happens before and after the three experience what happens in Vietnam than what happens during their time in the military. (5/5).
Out of Africa (1985) - This is one of those slow beautiful-to-behold but impossible-to-watch kind of movies that the Academy honors every now and then. I've sat through it exactly once, just so I could honestly say I had given it a chance, but I really found it insufferably boring. It's supposed to be based on the life of storyteller Isak Dineson, who lived in Africa from 1913 until 1931 running a coffee farm, and her love for a man that wants to keep his freedom. (3/5)...And I consider myself an easy grader.
If you average the ratings of the movies together, you get 4.6/5, so I round up the score to 5 stars. You basically have four excellent films in this pack and one pseudo-dud. However, your mileage may vary depending on your taste in film. It's a good value if you are trying to collect the Best Picture winners on DVD and you can find it for under sixty dollars, plus its content doesn't overlap with the other Best Picture boxed sets. Overall, highly recommended."