February Prompt: Best Picture Winners


With the Oscars around the corner (March 4th) and the recent announcement of the Oscar nominees, we decided to make the prompt for February be about Best Picture winners.

89 films received this recognition. Are they the best and the greatest films of their time? Highly subjective, but I do believe they reflect the times of Hollywood and cinema, maybe not the best of times but they show some small evolution in film making. I was surprised to remember how many of my personal favorite films were actually Best Picture winners such as Marty, The Apartment, The Lost Weekend and The French Connection.

I believe the Oscars had a big impact on guiding me to certain films and helped me access the large and vast world of cinema. Let’s face it, there are a ton of movies and this was one way for me to find “the best of the best.” I look forward to the Oscars, mainly for the debate between cinephiles and the bridge it creates to discuss movies with non-cinephiles. I probably can’t have a deep conversation about mother! with co-workers but thanks to the nominations I can talk about Get Out or The Shape of Water.

When compiling the list of Best Picture winners I was expecting my number of unwatched films to significantly outweigh the number of watched, instead it was 45 unwatched and 44 seen, simply 50/50. I can thank TCM for their 31 Days of Oscar programming during high school for helping me knock out a lot of these films.  I hope to have multiple picks for the month but for right now I’m going to choose one and it will be 1927/28’s Best Picture winner and the first film to receive the award, Wings. I have two reasons for picking this film, it was the first film to obtain the honor and I recently read that Rian Johnson had a tribute/homage to it in a scene from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Pick an unwatched Best Picture from the table below and let us know by email (cinemashame@gmail.com) or tweet us (@CinemaShame) with your choice. Happy Cinema Watching!

Year Best Picture Winner
1927 Wings
1928 The Broadway Melody
1929 All Quiet on the Western Front
1930 Cimarron
1931 Grand Hotel
1932 Cavalcade
1934 It Happened One Night
1935 Mutiny on the Bounty
1936 The Great Ziegfeld
1937 The Life of Emile Zola
1938 You Can’t Take It With You
1939 Gone with the Wind
1940 Rebecca
1941 How Green Was My Valley
1942 Mrs. Miniver
1943 Casablanca
1944 Going My Way
1945 The Lost Weekend
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives
1947 Gentleman’s Agreement
1948 Hamlet
1949 All the King’s Men
1950 All About Eve
1951 An American in Paris
1952 The Greatest Show on Earth
1953 From Here to Eternity
1954 On the Waterfront
1955 Marty
1956 Around the World in 80 Days
1957 The Bridge on the River Kwai
1958 Gigi
1959 Ben-Hur
1960 The Apartment
1961 West Side Story
1962 Lawrence of Arabia
1963 Tom Jones
1964 My Fair Lady
1965 The Sound of Music
1966 A Man for All Season
1967 In the Heat of the Night
1968 Oliver!
1969 Midnight Cowboy
1970 Patton
1971 The French Connection
1972 The Godfather
1973 The Sting
1974 The Godfather Part II
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
1976 Rocky
1977 Annie Hall
1978 The Deer Hunter
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer
1980 Ordinary People
1981 Chariots of Fire
1982 Gandhi
1983 Terms of Endearment
1984 Amadeus
1985 Out of Africa
1986 Platoon
1987 The Last Emperor
1988 Rain Man
1989 Driving Miss Daisy
1990 Dances with Wolves
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
1992 Unforgiven
1993 Schindler’s List
1994 Forrest Gump
1995 Braveheart
1996 The English Patient
1997 Titantic
1998 Shakespeare in Love
1999 American Beauty
2000 Gladiator
2001 A Beautiful Mind
2002 Chicago
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004 Million Dollar Baby
2005 Crash
2006 The Departed
2007 No Country for Old Men
2008 Slumdog Millionaire
2009 The Hurt Locker
2010 The King’s Speech
2011 The Artist
2012 Argo
2013 12 Years a Slave
2014 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
2015 Spotlight
2016 Moonlight

–Nick Britt


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WANTED: 2018 Shame Statements

Only nine more days left in the month of January. A few brave contributors have committed to knocking off some major films in their Cinema Shame Lists. Below are the links to the list of these writers. If you would like to add your Statements for the year to the site, reach out to us on Twitter @Cinemashame or check out the instructions located here.

@movielovebogart  – https://cinemashame.wordpress.com/2018/01/13/aint-that-a-shame-2018/ (Statement is also listed at @movielovebogart’s own website https://areyouthrilled.com/)

@007hertzrumble – https://cinemashame.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/so-2018-is-still-shameful/

@campbelldropout –  https://cinemashame.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/2018-cinema-shame-list/

@deaconsden – https://cinemashame.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/shame-statement-2018/

@BNoirDetour – https://bnoirdetour.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/cinema-shame-2018/

@realweegiemidge  – https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/collaborations/cinema-shame-2018/january-realweegiemidgets-11/

@TakingUpRoom – https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/movies-eleven-2018/ 

@jrwells82 – https://jrwells82.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/cinema-shame-statement-2018/

@quellelove – http://www.outofthepastblog.com/2018/01/cinema-shame.html 

February Prompt

Award Season is in full swing and on March 4th will be the Oscars. So for the month of February, we will be using Best Picture winners as our source of shame. Posts will be provided later in the week providing information.

Best Picture Winners and Nominees from Wikipedia –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Award_for_Best_Picture#Winners_and_nominees 




2018 Cinema Shame List

For the past week I’ve been thinking about what to include in my Cinema Shame list for 2018. With the change in prompt, I’ve decided to limit the overall picks for the year to provide some wiggle room for additional films throughout the year. I used several resources to compile this list including the following: previous shame lists, contributors lists of shame, conversations on twitter, Danny Peary’s film books, various film books by critics and of course the intimidating “to watch pile” (stop judging me unopened Phenomena blu-ray).

2018 Cinema Shame List

Touch of Evil – Orson Welles is a true blind spot in my cinematic viewing.

Malcolm X – Denzel Washington and Spike Lee.

Zardoz – I would say Connery is an icon however I’ve only seen his Bond films and his work from the mid 90s to his retirement.

Two Lane Blacktop – Everybody needs more Warren Oates in their cinematic diet.

The Thing – This will be watched, no matter this will be watched for 2018. It’s been on my list since 2015, I’ve owned the DVD for years and I’ve had the Shout Factory blu-ray for months. This will come off the list.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Deaconsden discussion of the western genre in his 2018 Cinema Shame list has pushed this title onto my list. A genre that is sorely lacking in my catalog of watches. Also, this was a previous entry on past Cinema Shame statements.

Pale Rider – A discussion on twitter about Eastwood’s directing made me realize excluding stuff from the past 15 years and Unforgiven, I’ve watched very little of his directed films. Probably the least exciting entry of the group especially after watching Heartbreak Ridge and the first hour of Firefox.

Alien 3 – I like David Fincher and the first two Alien films.

Short Cuts – From the to watch pile and I’ve watched so little Altman.

Hell in the Pacific – Lee Marvin.

Pretty Poison – Recommendation from Danny Peary’s Guide for the Film Fanatic and a co-worker recommended this film within the past month.

Shame Statement 2018

Great to be a part of another year of Shame! I actually accomplished quite a bit. I knocked off a good deal of horror films with Friday the 13th being the big one I wrote about. I also watched and wrote about Straw Dogs which was a very unique viewing experience. Now here we are at 2018 and I have a new list of films to partake of for the first time. This year I want to try for a themed approach. This year I want to focus on westerns, my favorite genre. Not every Shame will be a western though. But I do want to add some more of this genre to my cinematic talking points.

Yojimbo/Sanjuro – Akira Kurosawa

The Hidden Fortress – Akira Kurosawa

The Shooting/Ride the Whirlwind – Monte Hellman

The Revenant – Alejandro G. Inarritu

Romancing the Stone – Robert Zemeckis

A History of Violence – David Cronenberg

Hang em High – Ted Post

One Eyed Jacks – Marlon Brando

McCabe and Mrs Miller – Robert Altman (pray for me here as I typically can not stand Altman films)

Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo Del Toro

Ghost in the Shell – Mamoru Oshii

Death Rides a Horse – Giulio Petroni

Wyatt Earp – Lawrence Kasdan

August: Unseen Films of X Director

For the month of August, Cinema Shame will be highlighting the unwatched films of our favorite directors. You know the ones I’m talking about, you love Spielberg but haven’t found time to watch “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, you adore Scorsese but you still haven’t sat down and entertained yourself with “The King of Comedy”, you’ve seen the name George P. Cosmatos show up on cable but have no clue about “Of Unknown Origin”. Well, Cosmatos may be an outlier (even though his small filmography is strong), but you get the idea. We are focusing on films we have missed in a director’s filmography.

At first, I stumbled through IMDB searching for various directors scrolling through their filmography. It was too random. I was aiming for prestige directors such as Frank Capra, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Lewis Gilbert, etc. These auteurs had directed films that have been on my Cinema Shame list for years. I wanted to stretch my boundaries, as with most of my film viewing habits, I consider it to be a random journey. The directions for these journeys come from various sources, such as film twitter, a book, most recent boutique label blu-ray release. I like to believe most of the films I pick for viewing are based on my personal mood and current interest. Depending on my mood can be iffy. Thankfully letterboxd helps me map out my film adventure. I dived into some data analysis (what I call opening the app) and reviewed the directors I’ve been watching throughout 2017.

I picked three titans of cinema: Walter Hill, Tony Scott and Spike Lee. Are these my all-time favorite directors? I’m not sure yet, but each one has directed a film that would easily fall into my top 20. Throughout the month of August, I am going to tackle one film from each director. I hope you can join the Cinema Shame website on this little voyage. I will announce the films later this week. Feel free to discuss your Director Cinema Shame with your own blog post, twitter or your own blog throughout the month of August.

No Dog in this Fight: My first viewing of Straw Dogs.

The end of Straw Dogs has Dustin Hoffman’s David Sumner driving an uncredited David Warner’s Henry Niles back to town after the climatic showdown in the Sumner house. Henry tells David, “I don’t know my way home.” To which David responds, “That’s okay. I don’t either.” This final exchange sums up the entirety of what  Straw Dogs conveys. At the end of the day, just what are we? 

There will be spoilers here.

Prior to my viewing of Straw Dogs, the only film by Sam Peckinpah I’ve seen was The Wild Bunch. I took that film as a more visceral version of a Leone western. However having only seen it once, I didn’t get the themes that are prevalent with Peckinpah’s work. This film is rife with controversy and complications and interpretations. It is not an easy watch. Things do not resolve themselves. People are not good and don’t nescesarily become better people by the end of this.

This film is certainly one that earned its controversial status. It raises questions. Even if you answer one question, you may not answer the next question the same way.  Is Straw Dogs a condemnation of violent masculinity? One may interpret it that way. Or is it a celebration of that? It may be as well. Is Peckinpah blaming women for the violence that occurs against them? It seems that way, at least to me it did. Early on David asks his wife Amy (a heartbreaking performance by Susan George) why doesn’t she wear a bra if she doesn’t want the leering eyes of her ex-boyfriend and his cohorts focused on her chest. This moment is actually one of many that show her husband is not only meek, but part of the overall problem. He disrespects his wife at times and belittles her. He blames her sexual freedom for the attention she did not ask for. By time we reach the climax, you’ll see David is no better than the brutes who invade their home. It just took him a little longer to get there.

The controversial rape of Amy is still a discussion point to this day. Becuase of how Peckinpah filmed the scene, there are indicators that Amy at first refuses but then acquiesces. Now I do not see it that way. I saw a woman trying to cope with the violation being committed against her. The scene is brutal and uncomfortable and I actually feel uncomfortable trying to discuss it. Yet this is film criticism and I’d be remiss to not mention it at all despite its notorious reputation.

This is a very complicated film, directed by a very complicated man. Did Peckinpah hate the violence within himself? Did he allow that to manifest in this film? Does he think David is a hero or antihero? So many questions. It’s fitting that this film came out in 1971, the same year as fellow controversial director Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Straw Dogs, like that film are not easily watched. Yet both films hold a mirror to the ghastly primal nature of humanity and at the very least, make you look inside and question just what are you. Straw Dogs, structurally is a time bomb, ticking away during its runtime until it explodes in the climax. 

Is it just a matter of time for any of us? Just another of the many questions it forever brings. Endless questions and endless discussion.