President “Bobby”: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
President “Bobby”: In the garden.
Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
President “Bobby”: Spring and summer.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
President “Bobby”: Then fall and winter.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we’re upset by the seasons of our economy.
Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
Benjamin Rand: Hmm!
Chance the Gardener: Hmm!
President “Bobby”: Hmm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I’ve heard in a very, very long time.
[Benjamin Rand applauds]
President “Bobby”: I admire your good, solid sense. That’s precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.
George Roundy: You ever listen to women talk, man? Do you? Cuz I do til’ it’s running out my ears. I mean, I am on my feet all day listening to women talk and they only talk about one thing: how some guy fucked them over. That’s all that’s on their minds. That’s all I ever hear about. Don’t you know that?
Lester Karpf: I follow your thinking on that.
George Roundy: I mean, face it. We’re always trying to nail them and they know it. They don’t like it. They like it and they don’t like it.
I thought it would be fitting to follow up my in memorium Sidney Lumet post with a more prolonged discussion of one of his greatest masterpieces. Like I said in that earlier post, I saw 12 Angry Men for the first time on PBS a few years ago. I couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before. Part of what makes this an undisputed masterpiece is how timeless it feels. Yes, it’s filmed in black and white, but it feels as fresh as if it were filmed today. Amazing, considering it was Lumet’s first feature film. The only other directorial debut I can think of that is equally as amazing is Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Surprisingly this film was only nominated for three Academy Awards and lost them all to The Bridge on the River Kwai (something tells me François Truffaut was not happy with the Academy’s decision that year; read his book The Films in My Life and you’ll see why I think this). The awards it was up for were Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Peyton Place, Sayonara, Witness For The Prosecution and winner The Bridge on the River Kwai. Regardless of its Academy history, the film is ranked #7 on IMDb’s user-generation Top 250 and is generally considered one of the greatest films ever made.
Heaven Can Wait is one of my favorite romantic comedies, though I don’t really want to box it into that genre. It’s more than just a run-of-the-mill rom-com. It’s a meditation on life and love and the pursuit of happiness. It’s also a little bit sci-fi and a little bit sports. Basically, it’s a mix of a lot of great things all in one perfect 101 min film. It lost to The Deer Hunter and I’m not even going to try to argue that that was the wrong choice, because I don’t think it was. The Deer Hunter was definitely the right choice; I just really love Heaven Can Wait and feel like not nearly enough people have seen it. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction (won), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor Jack Warden, Best Supporting Actress Dyan Cannon, Best Actor Warren Beatty, Best Director and Best Picture. It was up against Coming Home, Midnight Express, An Unmarried Woman and winner The Deer Hunter.