1. The African Queen(1951) : a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship in Africa during World War I. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Nominated for 4 Oscars, including Best Director – John Huston, Best Actor – Humphrey Bogart, and Best Actress – Katharine Hepburn. Winner of Best Actor – Humphrey Bogart.
I'm a huge fan of both Bogart and Hepburn, and this is one of those movies that I will watch anytime it comes on TV. It is enjoyable from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
2. The Best Years of Our Lives(1946): Three WWII veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. In black and white. Starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, and Teresa Wright. Nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director – William Wyler, Best Actor – Fredric March, and Best Supporting Actor – Harold Russell. Winner of 7 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director – William Wyler, Best Actor – Fredric March, and Best Supporting Actor – Harold Russell.
There is a reason that this movie won 7 Oscars -- it is simply terrific. The picture of coming home after the war and the adjustments that had to be made by both the soldiers, families, and community is both realistic and heartrending. It is so easy to think of the military as heroes, especially those who served in World War II, but we often forget what happens when the hero has to resume being an ordinary human. This movie shows us just that. Highly recommended.
3. The Goodbye Girl(1977): A divorced dancer and her daughter are forced to allow an off-off-Broadway actor to share their apartment. Starring Richard Dreyfus and Marsha Mason. Nominated for 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor – Richard Dreyfus, Best Actress – Marsha Mason, and Best Supporting Actress – Quinn Cummings. Winner of Best Actor – Richard Dreyfus.
As a fan of both the playwright Neil Simon and the actor Richard Dreyfus, I expected to enjoy this movie from the start. It did not disappoint. There are portions that had me laughing out loud, and I would definitely watch it again. Recommended.
4. American Graffiti(1973) : One night in the life of a group of American teenagers in 1962. Starring Richard Dreyfus, Ron Howard, and Cindy Williams. Nominated 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director – George Lucas, and Best Supporting Actress – Candy Clark.
Okay, I’ll admit it – I know a lot of people really like this movie, but I just don’t get it. There’s no plot whatsoever, and the acting is average and certainly not a stretch for any of the actors. I can definitely see the nostalgia potential, but since when was that enough to qualify for a Best Picture nomination? This is not a movie that I would spend time rewatching.
5. Paradise Now(2005): Two childhood friends are recruited for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Starring Kais Nashif and Ali Suliman. In Arabic with English subtitles. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (Palestine).
The subject matter of this movie would be disturbing, even if it had no relevance to modern-day life. Trying to understand the thought processes of a suicide bomber is not something that most of us can accomplish, but this movie helps to make some headway on that journey. The film was very well done and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in understanding the current situation in Israel and the surrounding areas.
TAMMY'S TRIVIA: This week's trivia focuses solely on "The African Queen"
- Known as the "LS Livingston", the "Queen of Africa" was a working steam boat for 40 years prior to it being "cast" in the movie. The boat is now docked next to the Holiday Inn just off US Highway 1, in Key Largo, Florida.
- This is the role that won Humphrey Bogart the only Oscar of his career.
- Walt Disney used this film as the basis for the Disneyland's "Jungle Cruise" attraction.
- To show her disgust with the amount of alcohol that John Huston and Humphrey Bogart consumed during filming, Katharine Hepburn drank only water. As a result, she suffered a severe bout of dysentery. Sources claimed that everyone in the cast and crew got sick - except for Humphrey Bogart and John Huston, which they attributed to the fact that they basically lived on imported Scotch. Bogart later said, "All I ate was baked beans, canned asparagus and Scotch whiskey. Whenever a fly bit Huston or me, it dropped dead."
- Katharine Hepburn’s written account of the film's production is entitled "The Making of 'The African Queen,' or How I Went to Africa with Bogie, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind."
- In a February 1952 New York Times article, John Huston declared that he hired local natives to help the crew, but many would not show up for fear that the filmmakers were cannibals.