My mother wouldn’t let me see this movie when I was a kid. She did, however, give the local rental store permission to allow me to rent rated R films. This was mostly for action pictures and such. One time, when I was about twelve years old, I went to the rental store with my friend Tiffany to rent movies for her birthday party and we all wanted to see The Exorcist, but it was rated R. Needless to say, I rented it for her. We watched it. It scared the shit out of us. My mother found out that I rented it and was very angry. That was my first experience with the movie. I didn’t see it again until I was 18 and I went to see it as a midnight movie the night before Halloween. That was one of the worst decisions I ever made in college. So many nightmare that night. I’d only seen it those two times, so I decided to rewatch it again in order to write about it now. After the cut are my thoughts. The film became the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture, racking up 10 Academy Award nominations, winning two: Best Sound (won), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay (won), Best Supporting Actor Jason Miller, Best Supporting Actress Linda Blair, Best Actress Ellen Burstyn, Best Director William Friedkin and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were: American Graffiti, Cries and Whispers, A Touch of Class and winner The Sting.
The 1956 film Giant is one of my favorite films of all time. George Stevens won the Best Director Oscar that year and the film was nominated for a total of nine awards – Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design – Color, Best Art Direction – Color, Best Supporting Actress – Mercedes McCambridge (she won the award for 1949’s All The King’s Men), Best Actor Rock Hudson, Best Actor James Dean (this was his second posthumous nomination in a row) and Best Picture. It lost to Around The World In 80 Days. I recently watched that film and I would say there is no way it is a better film than Giant. The other nominated films were Friendly Persuasion, The King and I and The Ten Commandments. Last week I also watched Gigi which beat Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in 1959, another year where the winner is in no way as good as some of its competition. I think the reason 80 Days won is because it’s a giant Technicolor travelogue, and 60 years ago it was filled with images that many people didn’t get to see in everyday life, whereas today all you have to do is flip to the Travel Channel. But if you compare the stories and the performances and the lasting power of the films, Giant is a classic in every definition of the word and is just as compelling now as it was in 1956 and 80 Days is most definitely not.