Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks - Prodigy/Genius

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join us by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them - it's fun, promise!

I am sitting in my warm apartment watching the snow blow around outside, and I must admit that I feel very content. This is my favorite thing in the world, especially with a mug of hot cocoa (check) and a fire in the fireplace (not happening in a one bedroom in Manhattan, unfortunately). Next to movies, of course, which is why I haven't moved from the couch all day.

But it's Thursday, which means I have some picking to do! This week's TMP theme is geniuses. I'm not one, although I do have my moments! The point being, I should be so lucky to do something so brilliant as these people that I get a movie made about me.

Amadeus (Milos Forman, 1984) One of the greats. A movie about the rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a bona fide genius, and Antonio Salieri, an almost genius. The Best Picture Oscar winner of 1984 (which made it my favorite film sight unseen for a long time - I was born in 1984) is deliriously entertaining, one of the best films to win Best Picture. And F. Murray Abraham's performance as Salieri is one of the all-time great performances.

Searching For Bobby Fischer (Steven Zaillian, 1993) An ordinary man discovers that his seven year old son is a chess prodigy. He and his wife find a coach for the boy as he goes and plays in the park against random men. Except that in the hands of writer/director Zaillian, this is so much better and more complex than that plot sounds. This is easily one of the best films of the '90s.

Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant, 1997) Will Hunting is a math genius, wasting his days as a janitor at MIT and his nights hanging out with his buddies on the south side of Boston. One day, a professor posts an impossibly difficult math problem in the hall, and Will solves it. Naturally, the professor wants to work with his brilliant mind, but Will has a lot of issues, so he must go to see a therapist (played by Robin Williams in an Oscar-winning performance). I love this movie so much. Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and it's kind of amazing that they haven't written anything since, although it's clear from their performances here that they were always movie stars.

16 comments:

  1. I had a bit of trouble at first with Searching for Bobby Fischer, it was different but it reminded me of Little Man Tate quite a bit but then I became involved in the story and ended up liking it.

    Good Will Hunting is fighting it out with Theory of Everything for title of the week. An excellent film that I haven't watched in a while, it was a wonderful discovery when I saw it in the theatre. Its hype was just starting to build so I didn't know too much about the story which made it all the better. I never quite got Minnie Driver's nomination, not her fault the role is just nothing special, but the rest of its nods were well deserved.

    We match!! Amadeus was such an awesome experience in the theatre, at times almost overwhelming. Beautiful performances and top flight everything else.

    I slipped in a theme within a theme this time with all mine concerning musical prodigies.

    The Legend of 1900 (1998)-In the year 1900 Danny Boodmann, a stoker (Bill Nunn) on an American ship discovers an abandoned baby left on board. Taking him in to raise as his own he gives him a long unwieldy name eventually shortened to 1900 as the pair live their life at sea. As 1900 grows his musical genius becomes apparent and he becomes the ship’s mascot. After a tragedy befalls Danny 1900 remains on board growing to manhood (where he is played by Tim Roth) never touching dry land but continuing to hone his skill (including a fantastic sequence where he plays a waltz during a storm at sea). In time he befriends Max, a trumpeter in the ship orchestra (Taylor Pruitt Vince) and it is through his reverie we learn 1900’s story.

    Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)-Starring Shirley Temple, one of Hollywood’s premier musical prodigies (in terms of dollars & cents THE musical prodigy) as the rich girl of the title. Barbara (that would be Shirl) on her way to boarding school is left to her own devices when her nanny is killed in an accident. Barbara unaware of this but not wanting to go to the school wanders the city until she becomes acquainted with and is taken in by a pair of down on their luck performers Jimmy & Jerry Dolan (Jack Oakie & Alice Faye). Thinking she’s an orphan and realizing that she’s a musical prodigy they put Barbara in their act as their daughter. Soon they hit the big time with their own radio show overseen by ad exec Margaret Allen (Gloria Stuart of Titanic fame) where they’re heard by Barbara’s widowed father who has been searching for her frantically. One of the better Temple vehicles with a first rate supporting cast, both Oakie and Alice Faye get several chances to strut their stuff, and no matter how you feel about her Shirley was a bundle of talent.

    Amadeus (1984)-Multi Oscar winning story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) and Antonio Salieri (an Oscar winning F. Murray Abraham) and how Salieri’s jealousy of Mozart’s genius lead to great tragedy for both. Amazing music, performances, set design and direction. An essential film.

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    1. While I agree that Minnie Driver's role in Good Will Hunting is nothing special, I think she's very special in it. So there's that.

      LOVE Shirley Temple and Poor Little Rich Girl is one of her best. I've never seen The Legend of 1900, though.

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  2. I picked Amadeus as well! It's such a good movie and the music, obviously, is great. Good Will Hunting is popular this week and I love it! It was a real breakthrough for those 2 youngins:) I love Robin Williams especially when he talks about his wife and what he misses about her. I have not seen I. search of Bobby Fischer and never had a real desire but this has changed after reading your review here. Gosh....I was 20 in 1984

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    1. Robin Williams is so perfect in Good Will Hunting. I love that part as well.

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  3. Good Will Hunting and Amadeus really become popular picks this week! In fact, I loved both of them, especially Gus van Sant's work, but the real deal is Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's work!

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    1. Yeah, Damon and Affleck both did such great work in Good Will Hunting it's kind of surprising where their careers went after that.

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  4. Love Good Will Hunting and The Search for Bobby Fischer. I picked the latter, myself. Haven't seen Amadeus, yet.

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  5. Loved Good Will Hunting and Amadeus (I need to rewatch it though). Haven't seen the other one.

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    1. Searching for Bobby Fischer is really great. Amadeus is always worth a rewatch.

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  6. Yay Good Will Hunting! I haven't seen the other two.

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    1. You should totally Blind Spot Amadeus.

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  7. You and I match with "Amadeus". Your other two picks I've seen a few time already. I'm uncertain about the documentary. I have "Good Will Hunting" in my Netflix cue to see. Thanks for sharing and have a delightful weekend!

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    1. Oh Searching for Bobby Fischer isn't a documentary - I think it is based on a true story, but it's a narrative feature. And it's GREAT. Thanks for commenting!

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  8. Love Amadeus, including Tom Hulce's laugh. Looks like I really need to see Searching For Bobby Fischer, its popular today.

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    1. OH GOD Tom Hulce's laugh! SO PERFECT.

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