Friday, October 2, 2009

My Top Ten Movies of All Time

Number 7:

The Aviator (2004)

Directed by:  Martin Scorcese

Starring:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchette, John C. Reilly, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Kate Beckinsale

Oscars (winners in bold):  11 Nominations (5 wins) - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing

Ranking on AFI's 100 Greatest Movie List (2007):  N/A 

Review:  This movie literally changed my life.  This is epic filmmaking on a grand scale that I did not know Scorcese was capable of.  Throughout his career Scorcese has shown himself to be a master of films that are very self contained.  His great films, remain within themselves and focus on the characters and the inverweaving of their stories.  His previous attempts at epic filmmaking floundered a bit in my opinion (Kundun, Gangs of New York) so this was a shaky proposition.

This film would have to span multiple decades, multiple locations, and would have to icorporate many different character from different times, not to mention the ultimate character himself, Howard Hughes.  Hughes was the perfect example of the thin line between genius and insanity, which makes him an extremely interesting and complex character to portray on film.  This is the movie that solidified DiCaprio as a truly great actor in our generation.

Scorcese hit a home run with this one.  He was able to handle the weight of the material and not lose anything with the characters, vividly painting each one as only Scorcese can.   He is able to truly capture the struggle that Hughes had in his every day life, how he slowly slipped into his OCD world over the years.  Along with DiCaprio he was able to further show the pure mental strength of Howard Hughes by his ability to overcome this disorder, to some degree, and still run his company and appear in front of the senate, etc..

DiCaprio gives what could be his best performance to this point and Cate Blanchette gives what could, if you ask me, be one of the greatest performances of all time.  I don't know the first thing about Katherine Hepburn but I do know the Blanchette portrayed her amazingly in this film.  The rest of the supporting class was superb as well, Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, John C. Reilly among them.

Why this made the list:

This movie sparked a large interest in Howard Hughes for me.   The aforementioned line between genius and insanity is infinitely thin and has alway been an area of interest for me.  Nobody exemplifies this greater than Howard Hughes.  Many of the items we take for granted in our everyday life are the result of plans Hughes put into motion years ago.  The modern day jet, helicoptor, satallite and Cable TV are among them.  He was truly a troubled visionary and this movie was able to capture that perfectly.

DiCaprio gives an amzing peformance, as does the rest of the supporting cast,  and Scorcese holds it all together while still looking at everything through such a grand lens. 

I will admit, I went to see this with a friend and his family, not really wanting to see it or expecting much.  I was thoroughly blown away.  The epic scale of this film is phenomenol, but unlike most "epic" it does not fall in love with it's own epic-ness.  The film remains within itself and portrays all of its features and characters in a realistic manner.  This is a film about a man who had an epic life and it is just put on film, no need to add anything, it was already in Hughes' life.  Providing such insight into such an interesting man, along with the great direction, and acting are why this movie makes my list.

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