Thursday Movie Picks – Oscar Winners Edition: Best Actor and Best Actress

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy almost Friday! It’s TMP time! The Thursday Movie Picks blogathon was spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… Oscar Winners Edition: Best Actor and Best Actress

Ok since there’s no rules as to which time period to pick from, I selected one classic and one contemporary actor and actress who I think are worthy winners. For the fun of it, I also picked one actor + actress who I don’t think deserve to win on the year they’re nominated.

In any case, here are my picks:

FAVE BEST ACTRESS WINNERS

Vivien Leigh – Gone With the Wind (1939)

Scarlett O’Hara is not exactly an easy woman to love, she’s practically an anti-heroine which in and of itself is quite revolutionary. Vivien Leigh was primarily a stage actress and was in a few plays with her second husband Laurence Olivier. She’s perhaps one of the first classic actress I’ve seen growing up… I must have been in my pre-teen when I first saw Gone With the Wind, and I’m still in awe of her performance to this day. To think that she almost didn’t get the role as producer David O. Selznick considered her to be ‘too British’ at one time. I can’t imagine another actress in the role.

Helen Mirren – The Queen (2006)

Ok so I pick another British actress, I didn’t exactly plan for that. I wanted to include someone from the 2000s and the one I thought of right away is the Dame’s performance as Queen Elizabeth I. Of course by now there have been another great memorable performance of the Queen in her later years (Olivia Colman in The Crown), but I think Helen Mirren’s portrayal is still an iconic one. Her physical transformation with the wig and glasses, complete with her facial expression and slightly downturned mouth, voice delivery, everything is just spot on. Even the Queen’s OCD behavior was accounted for based on Mirren’s research. Per IMDb trivia, Mirren was so convincing that by the end of production, crew members who had been accustomed to slouching or relaxing when they addressed her were standing straight up and respectfully folding their hands behind their backs.

___

Least Fave Best Actress Winner

Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare In Love (1998)

I still think it’s practically scandalous that Paltrow won over Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth. I mean, generally speaking Blanchett can run circles around Paltrow all day long, but I’ve seen both films and in no universe did Paltrow gave a better performance in their respective films.


FAVE BEST ACTOR WINNERS

Gregory Peck – To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Is it a surprise I picked this gentleman? If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you’d know I was obsessed with Mr. Peck a few years ago and have blogged about him repeatedly. This was actually his fourth Oscar nominations following The Keys of the Kingdom (1945), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), and Twelve O’Clock High (1949). I’ve seen them all and they’re all terrific Oscar-worthy performances, but I think Atticus Finch so tailor-made for him that he practically become the character and be forever be known for that role. It’s no surprise The American Film Institute named Atticus Finch the greatest movie hero of the 20th century and Peck’s performance certainly helped cement that in history.

Jamie Foxx – Ray (2004)

When I first saw this film years ago, I was so blown away by Foxx’s performance. I think this was the first time I saw him in a lead role and man, did he kill it. He was so dedicated to the role that he attended classes at the Braille Institute, and he also had to wear eye prosthetics to make him look authentically blind for the entire shoot. I can’t imagine having to endure something like that, AND have to act at the same time.  Plus the musically-gifted actor also played the piano himself, though it was Ray Charles’ voice that was heard in the film. His win marked the first actor to win Best Actor in a music/musical movie since Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964)

Least Fave Best Actor Winner

Roberto Benigni – Life Is Beautiful (1997)

I loved the film but honestly I didn’t think Benigni’s performance was Oscar-worthy. Especially given he was nominated alongside Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan and Edward Norton in American History X. His Oscar speech was a hoot though irritating at the same time. In any case, his win marked only the second time that an actor had directed himself in an Oscar-winning performance, the first was Laurence Olivier for Hamlet (1948).


So which Best Actor and/or Actress winners are your favorite?

Thursday Movie Picks #42: All in the Family Edition – Father-Daughter Relationships (Biologically Related)

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy Thursday everyone! This is another entry to the weekly Thursday Movie Picks that’s spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog. Here’s the gist:

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. Every last Thursday for the first nine months of 2015 I’m running the All in the Family Edition and today the theme is… 

Father/Daughter Relationships (Biologically Related)

I actually don’t really have much experience or memories of father/daughter relationship, as my dad was never really part of my life after my parents split when I was three. I was raised by my late mom and strong-willed grandma, the latter was a successful businesswoman revered by her family and peers. So in a way she’s as close to a father to me given her strict rules and occasional anger outbursts that used to petrify me but now that I look back, I find it kind of endearing.

Despite not having a biological father present in my life, I certainly appreciate father/daughter relationships in movies, here are three that left a big impression to me:

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

ToKillAMockingbirdI didn’t get to see this film until my intense Gregory Peck obsession days, but it’s truly the moment when the actor became the character. Talk about a dream dad. No matter how busy he is, town attorney Atticus Finch always have time for his kids and he genuinely enjoys their company — he doesn’t see time for family as a chore.

I remember tearing up a few times as I watched Atticus interacting with his vivacious young daughter Scout (Mary Badham), displaying his affection and sharing his wisdom in the most natural way. It’s obvious that Scout needs her dad just like any young kid needs their father, but I think those moments are crucial for Atticus too, beyond just the familial bond. Being with his young daughter must’ve reminded Atticus of the purity and goodness of life amidst the darkness and brutality he faces every day in his job. I live vicariously through Scout in her moments with her beloved dad, and I certainly take his wise words to heart…

“…you never really knew a man until you stood in his shoes and walked around in them…”

Apparently the father/daughter bond between Peck and Badham carried over beyond the film set. The two became close in real life and kept in contact for the rest of their lives, Peck always called her Scout.

Regarding Henry (1991)

RegardingHenry

People remember Harrison Ford mostly for his iconic action roles as Han Solo or Indiana Jones and granted he’s fantastic in those roles. But I absolutely love his performance in Regarding Henry, which is a wonderful story about second chances. One of my favorite moments in the film are the ones Henry spend with his young daughter Rachel (Mikki Allen).

In his *old* life prior to the event that transformed him, Henry barely had time for his family. Suffice to say he didn’t really know his one and only daughter, he’s too busy being a hot shot lawyer and having affairs with his secretary. Interesting that Henry’s also a lawyer like Atticus but clearly he’s got his priorities out of whack. But he’s given a second chance to make it right and his daughter helps him do that. I LOVE all the scenes where she teaches him the most basic things like reading, as he’s back to being a kid again, literally. Ford and Allen have a wonderful chemistry, their scenes together are endearingly funny and so full of heart.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
PridePrejudice_FatherDaughter

Whenever one hears Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, naturally we think of Elizabeth & Darcy’s relationship. But in Joe Wright’s film adaptation, I love the depiction of Lizzie (Keira Knightley) and her dad Mr. Bennett (Donald Sutherland). Clearly she’s her father’s favorite and he understood her much better than her mother ever did.

I LOVE this quote when Lizzie’s mother insisted that she married Mr. Collins…

Mr. Bennet: Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins… And I will never see you again if you do.

The scene towards the end when Lizzy asked her father’s permission to marry Darcy is also wonderful…

Lizzy: He and I are so similar.. we’ve been so stubborn

Mr. Bennett: You really do love him don’t you?

Lizzy: Very much

Mr. Bennett: I can’t believe that anyone can deserve you.  It seems I am overruled.  So, I hardly give my consent. I could have not parted with you my Lizzy to anyone less worthy.

Veteran actor Sutherland portrayed Mr. Bennett so perfectly, with such calming wisdom and compassion. The scene of him crying is so utterly moving, once again the chemistry of the cast work beautifully here.


What do you think of my picks? Have you seen any of these films?

 

FlixChatter Review: The Judge (2014)

TheJudgeBanner

It’s a film featuring Robert vs Robert. One is a hugely popular actor hitting a stratospheric rise in his Phase 2 (pardon the Marvel pun) of his career if you will, and the other a veteran actor known for his dramatic intensity. As with the case of Robert Downey Jr, I feel that ever since I saw him playTony Stark, I notice that essentially he plays a similar personality as that character in a lot of his other films. In this one, he plays a top notch defense attorney who’s got a reputation for representing guilty people with money. Hank Palmer is smart, wealthy, snarky, irreverent and a bit of a womanizer. Sounds familiar? 

The story pretty much starts after his mother dies suddenly and he has to return home to a small Midwestern town for her funeral. It’s apparent Hank hasn’t been home in a while and thus made him sort of an outsider with his own family, especially his dad, Judge Joseph Palmer, played by Robert Duvall. It doesn’t take long before the two butt heads, both stubbornly harboring old grudges and neither can reign their ego to concede. I feel that the film takes too slow to get to the heart of the story, which is when the town’s judge became a murder suspect of a man he sent to prison who was later paroled. You could see where the story’s going from a mile away, so there’s hardly any surprises when they all materialized. Even the fact that Joseph is terminally ill, which he vehemently tried to hide from everyone including his own family, is hardly surprising.

TheJudgeStill1

The Judge is part courtroom/dysfunctional-family drama has its moments, but often times it’s way too clichéd and too over sentimental for me to truly enjoy. I’m a big cryer, I mean I cry watching even animated movies like Toy Story & How To Train Your Dragon, but I barely shed a tear in this one. Now I know that alone isn’t a measure of a movie’s quality, but I felt that the lack of emotional involvement makes this one pretty forgettable. The father-son storyline feels very familiar, you’ve seen it done many times over in both films and TV. Regardless of its A-list cast, this courtroom drama type story seems more suitable for a TV movie. 

Now speaking of that cast, I think Downey has dramatic chops, that’s been proven before, but here he doesn’t quite hit a new note. He’s Downey being Downey, and he seems to be playing another Tony Stark-type persona. Duvall is good but again, I think his acting cred is what makes his role interesting, not necessarily how he’s written. Even the scenes between two acting juggernaut RDJ and Duvall didn’t quite ignite the screen as you expect it to. Some of the shots of the courthouse seems to [attempt to] evoke To Kill A Mockingbird, which was Duvall’s big-screen debut. Alas, I must say that his small, non-speaking role there makes a bigger impression to me than he was in this entire film. The two supporting cast that did make an impression to me are Billy Bob Thornton and Vera Farmiga, as Joseph’s prosecutor and Hank’s high school sweetheart respectively. However, despite my admiration for Farmiga’s talent, the tertiary storyline between her and RDJ’s character gets more screen time than it needs to be. Dax Shepard lends some comic relief but his performance seems too goofy that it feels out of place. 

TheJudgeStills2

It turns out that this was directed by David Dobkin, the director of R-rated comedies The Wedding Crashers & The Change-Up, which could explain the uneven tone of drama/comedy here. I think this film would’ve been a bit more digestible if it weren’t so repetitive and overlong. At 2 hour, 22 min, it’s 3 minute shorter than Gone Girl but not nearly half as intriguing. Now overall I think it’s a decent film but given the quibbles I’ve listed above, I’d probably save this one as a rental.

threereels


Has anyone seen The Judge? Well, what did you think?

A Pictorial Tribute to 15 Favorite Movie Dads

PictorialTributeMovieDads

June 15 is Father’s Day here in America, but we can always celebrate dads and fatherhood anywhere in the world. As I mentioned in my special Father’s Day post a couple of years ago, though I didn’t grow up with a father, it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them in the movies. This is a follow-up to my first list, so I’m not going to include those already on that list, such as Marlin from Finding Nemo, Paul from Hotel Rwanda and of course, the ultimate movie dad ever, Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. I also included my favorite father figure ever, Alfred from Nolan’s Batman Trilogy.

The fathers on this list may not always do the right thing, but despite their flaws or questionable decisions, they love for their child/children with all their heart. Interesting to see how many single fathers are on this list. I didn’t realize that until I picked them but I think the fact that they’re raising their kid(s) on their own just make me respect them more.

So here are 15 [additional] unforgettable fathers I wish I had.

Frank_Frequency

Stoick

HenryJones_Indy3

TedKramervsKramer

GuidoLifeIsBeautiful

MufasaLionKing

ElrondLOTR

DanielLoveActually

VincentTheMachine

JorEl_JonKentManOfSteel

MrBennetPrideandPrejudice
MichaelSullivanRoadToPerdition

Graham_SIGNS
3MenandABaby

MartinSheenTheWay


So to all fathers or father figures out there …
Happy Father’s Day!


Thoughts on these pics? Feel free to share your own favorite movie dads!

Weekend Roundup – Back from blogging break

Hello everyone! Hope you had a nice weekend, yeah I know it’s Tuesday already so you’ve probably forgotten all about it, ahah.

Well, I saw the Prometheus chatter all over Twitter though I did hear that it got beaten by Madagascar 3 at the box office by about $10 mil! (per BoxOfficeMojo) Man, those animated kids movies really are a force to be reckoned with, but at least the Ridley Scott alien flick still ranks 10th amongst R-rated movies with $51 mil, so not bad business at all.

Logan Marshall-Green’s uncanny resemblance to Tom Hardy is out of this world!

I haven’t got a chance to read any of your reviews, yet. I literally only had time to check my email for a half hour since last Friday night, so suffice to say I didn’t have time to blog nor watch any movies. But I really had a great time hanging out with my best friend [we’ve been good friends since we were 13!] and seeing her on her graduation from De Paul University. Walking around downtown always reminds me of Nolan’s Batman movies, too, I should probably order those tickets for The Dark Knight Rises soon!

I also got to meet my blogging friend Kristin from All Eyes on Screen blog, who is as awesome as her always well-written and original posts, like this one she did on Five Memorable Courtroom Scenes, inspired by her first-time viewing of To Kill a Mockingbird, yay! That’s right Kris, better late than never. It was lovely meeting you and chatting with you, always so blessed to meet a like-minded people who share the same passion, in movies and otherwise. I hope you’ll visit MN soon, girl, I’ll take you out shopping for sure! 🙂

Well, the closest thing I got to some movie watching is catching a snippet of several movies playing on TV: An Officer an a Gentleman, a decent Navy drama starring a young Richard Gere in uniform [yowza!] and a race-car action flick Driven starring Sylvester Stallone & Burt Reynolds, which undoubtedly deserved all the Razzie awards they were nominated for in 2002, especially for Estella Warren who has no business in the acting industry. But this TV series from the early 90s Jailbreakers should’ve won a Razzie version for TV as well, I was alternating between admiring Antonio Sabato Jr’s exquisite face to cringing on his dumb acting. I think anything with Shannen Doherty is naturally cringe-worthy. It made me chuckle to see Adrien Brody in that show, glad to see he’s come a loooong way since then.

Well, that is my lame weekend movie viewing, folks. I’m 100% certain you’ve seen far better movies than I did, ahah.


So what does your movie-viewing weekend look like? Did you get to see Prometheus?

Beauty is Forever: Happy Birthday, Mr. Gregory Peck!

The Hollywood icon would’ve turned 96 years old today. Though he has passed away for almost a decade, I do think his legacy lives on. I feel like I’ve been preparing to pay tribute to Mr. Peck for over a month now, but suddenly when the time comes, I find it ever so daunting a task as I feel like there’s so much to say I don’t know where to start!

Most of you who’ve read my Spellbound post knew I fell head over heels for him in that Hitchcock film. It really was like ‘lightning striking‘ when I first beheld the 6’3″ lanky then-29-year-old man with magnificent cheekbones, melancholy eyes, and THAT deep, rich voice that can be as commanding as it is soothing. Anna @ Defiant Success said in her email to me that the “Gregory Peck bug” didn’t bite you. It pretty much ate you alive. Ahahaha, well I can’t refute that. I mean how else would you explain the plethora of Gregory DVDs all over my basement, ordering multiple sheets of Atticus’ Forever Stamps, AND devote a Tumblr all to just to this one man? 😀

But really, can you blame me?

Peck in a promo pic from one of his early theater productions

Few actors possess the kind of charisma, looks and talent that Gregory had. But what makes me respect him more is that he never capitalized on his looks, far from it. After reading his biography by Gary Fishgall, which is such a fascinating read that I kept going back to it repeatedly, I’m struck by such a humble beginning he had, especially his years as a struggling theater actor trying to make it on Broadway. Theater work was really his first love, so much so that when Hollywood beckoned, he wasn’t easily swayed. He even made MGM’s famed producer Louis B. Mayer cry when Peck refused to sign his offer of seven-year contract  — promising the then unknown to be the next Clark Gable — as he wanted to fit in more theater work in between films. He was the first actor of that era who refused to be ‘bought’ by the studio. Clearly he didn’t need such a contract to succeed!

I have even more respect for his intelligence and exemplary work ethic. His preparation for every role was a labor of love, beginning with committing every line to memory, he then ‘assembled the character to the best of [his] ability.’ That dedication shows in every single film he did, and he continually challenged himself with every role in various genres, from drama, thriller to westerns. After reading every available articles on Peck known to man, as well as that biography, it’s clear that he’s a hero on and off screen. All the honors (both acting and humanitarian) and legacy he’s achieved, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon Johnson. Truly, a beautiful man inside and out.

Just yesterday I read that President Obama will introduce a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird, both at the White House Family Theater and also on the USA network airing on April 7 as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of that iconic film (per THR). I do think that Atticus Finch — voted by AFI as the greatest hero in American film — is a rare occasion where the actor and the role meets. Just as effortlessly he had fought against anti-semitism in Gentleman’s Agreement, Peck championed for racial equality with such integrity and grace.

“…[Peck] embodied the best in all of us… He gave idealism a good name, made it seem possible in the flawed state of this human condition,” stated this msnbc article titled Gregory Peck, the last noble breed. On the year he died, TIME magazine ran this article citing “…Peck was the sonorous pitchman for movie humanism. He showed how a strong man could also be a gentle man.”

No doubt he earned the respect of not just critics, moviegoers, but also his peers. Liza Minnelli called him “the ultimate movie star.” His co-star in Designing Woman, Lauren Bacall, said it best I think:

“His values and his standards are very high, which is why Bogie respected him so much. You don’t meet many people, much less actors, who have that kind of character.”  (per Films42 tribute post)

His Forever Stamp inauguration was attended by the likes of Sidney Poitier, James Darrin, Morgan Freeman, and hosted by Sharon Stone. It’s Freeman’s story of meeting Peck that made me grin ear to ear, “… he told of sitting in the very same Academy theater, seeing Peck walk up the aisle and jumping from his seat to stop him dead in his tracks as Freeman dropped to knees in front of him and mumbled something about the honor of being in presence of Captain Ahab.” Oh my, would I love to be a fly on the wall at that moment!

What few people know though, that this regal and elegant man has a dry wit and great sense of humor. “He can be funny,” said Peck’s Paradine Case costar Louis Jourdan, “which is fortunate. Otherwise, such perfection would be unbearable.” (per Peck’s Kennedy-Center bio) If you’ve seen Designing Woman, you too would wish he had done more comedic roles. The scene where his ex-girlfriend dumped a plate of ravioli on his lap, his deadpan expression made the scene even more hilarious, especially as he calmly asked the waiter for a pair of pants! “George Burns used to call it the funniest take he ever saw on the screen,” Peck told the msnbc writer.

Need proof? Check out this clip of Peck appearing on the Jack Benny show with the host himself and George Burns!


For his birthday festivities, I invited a few of my friends to participate by sharing their posts on Mr. Peck, be it a tribute or reviews of his films. As you can see below, this ever so versatile acting legend covered pretty much any genre and he’s always convincing in every one of them. That’s why I picked him as one of the Then Best Actor of All Time in this relay race blog-a-thon.

So to those of you who have NOT seen any Gregory Peck movies, you no longer have any excuses not to watch at least one or two. We’ve got all kinds of suggestions out the wazoo here! 😀

To Kill a Mockingbird

Front Room Cinema (includes interview with Mary Badham)

Inspired Ground
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The Guns of Navarone

Paula’s Cinema Club

Duel in the Sun

Cinema Romantico

Musings on Duel in the Sun*..

On The Beach

Defiant Success


On The Beach Mini Review*
Birthday Tributes

It Rains… You Get Wet     |  The Focused Filmographer

I Think Therefore I Review    |   Via Margutta 51

A retrospective on Peck & Hitchcock 

I Luv Cinema


Top Five Favorite Scores from Gregory Peck Films

Peck and Hitchcock on the set of The Paradine Case
Beloved Infidel

Via Margutta 51

………………………
The Boys From Brazil


My Film Views

Roman Holiday

Inspired Ground

///
Defiant Success

59 Reasons I Love Roman Holiday*
,,,
Spellbound
../
The Case of Being Spellbound*

Defiant Success



…..
Yellow Sky

I Think Therefore I Review

The Omen

Top 10 Films
Cape Fear
../
Jack Deth’s Guest review
*

Defiant Success

…..
Mirage

Ruth’s guest review @ The Focused Filmographer

Note: The one with the * (asterisk) is a FlixChatter post


I think I will forever be a Gregory Peck fan. You know that old saying ‘they don’t make ’em like him anymore‘? Well in the case of this one Hollywood icon, it’s not a cliché at all.


Please join me in celebrating this wonderful man by reading one of the posts listed above. What are your thoughts of Mr. Peck and his work? I’d love to hear ’em in the comments!

Weekend Viewing Roundup: Bourne & yes, more Gregory Peck marathon!

Hello all… it’s a cinema-free weekend roundup again I’m afraid. But I was really bummed out that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Artist and Coriolanus, THREE of my most-anticipated movies I had hoped would arrive by now are NOWHERE to be found within a 50-mile radius. It’s a shame really, I mean, you’d think that given the excellent reviews the studios would at the very least consider ONE theater in Minneapolis area to carry their movie!! Seriously, sometimes I feel like Hollywood don’t think people in the Upper Midwest don’t watch movies! FYI, we don’t live in igloos, y’know…

Ok, end rant… just need to get that off my system…

Now, thank God for home cinema, as I managed to quite a few stuff this weekend.

Bourne Identity (2002)

As I mentioned in my Five for the Fifth post, we got the Bourne trilogy on Black Friday. This is one of the rare trilogies in which all three movies were actually GOOD, not just decent but EXCELLENT.  It’s been ages since we saw any of the Bourne movies and I kind of forgot most of the details about the first one.

A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and without memory, then races to elude assassins and recover from amnesia.

Matt Damon really is the perfect choice as Bourne, which was a pleasant surprise to me at the time as he really didn’t strike me as the ‘bad-ass assassin trained to kill with his bare hands’ kind of guy. But yet, he is totally believable as that character, yet has the sensitivity to make you care for his well-being and his ‘mission’ to break away from everything he’s been trained to do. The supporting cast is top notch: Brian Cox, Chris Cooper, Julia Stiles… and Clive Owen in a brief-but-memorable role.

Based on Robert Ludlum’s novel and directed by Doug Liman (Mr & Mrs Smith), this is the anti-Bond espionage thriller that delivers on all counts… action, suspense, intrigue, even romance. German actress Franka Potente (Run, Lola Run) is such a breath of fresh air than the typical Hollywood flawless-but-boring starlet as Bourne’s partner-in-crime turned lover. The filming locations in France, Czech Republic, Italy and Greece offer gorgeous scenery, as well as make the chase even more exciting. I also love the car chase with a vintage mini through the streets of Paris… it almost rival that one in the opening sequence of The Transporter.

Arabesque (1966)

My pal Vince recommended this to me just before I got on with my Gregory Peck marathon. Fortunately, it’s part of the Gregory Peck’s box set I bought just before Thanksgiving.

Story of international intrigue involving a university professor, an Arab prime minister, a ruthless businessman, a beautiful spy, and hieroglyphics.

Some of the reviews I read said this movie’s got a bit of Bond and a bit of Hitchcock. Even the DVD cover and the opening title design with Henry Mancini’s score is VERY Bond-esque. Now, I’ve always thought Gregory would make an awesome Bond, though given his credence, I seriously doubt he’d even consider playing such a role.

According to IMDb, the part of the bumbling professor David Pollock was originally written for Cary Grant, it’s really tailor-made for him. But you know what, I think Peck’s comic timing was pretty darn good. He had that inherently-likable quality about him and he seemed to relish in being all goofy after the serious roles he’s played. The star of the show however, is Sophia Loren. The ultra-sultry Italian actress was in her prime and was more than up for the task to play the seductive Arabic mystery woman Yasmin who knew more than she let on. The fashion by Christian Dior is almost a character itself in this movie, especially the ‘nighty’ she wears the first time she meets Pollock.

You don’t really take this kind of movie seriously, there are more plot holes than the plethora of shoes Loren wore in this movie. But it’s a good escapist fun through and through, with tons of cheeky, memorable scenes, especially the one where Pollock hides inside Yasmin’s shower and playing footsie when she drops the soap! In the Conversation with Gregory Peck documentary, Peck was asked in a Q&A if Loren was really naked in that scene. Peck was coy about it, replying… “I can’t really say, but the view was spectacular.” Ahah, we believe you, Mr. Peck!

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man Tom Robinson against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.

Oh my… where do I begin… there are so many things I want to say on this one. When I’m done with my Gregory Peck marathon (probably in a couple of months?), I plan on writing special appreciation posts on a select few of his films, and for sure this one will be at the top of the list.

Minutes after the film’s over, I tweeted this.. ‘Some films will linger for days, some for weeks, and some a lifetime. I think To Kill A Mockingbird will stay with me forever…’ I’m still mulling it over after seeing this about 48 hours ago. I’m amazed why it took me this long to finally see this masterpiece. My friend Dan at Top 10 Films listed this as number one in his list of Top 10 American Films about Race and Prejudice, and rightly so.

On top of the momentous racial issue, this film also offer a moving depiction of fatherly love… Atticus Finch was the hero to his daughter Scout and son Jem first before he become the town hero defending racial prejudice. His tender scenes with Scout, especially in the bedroom reading scene, is as powerful as his courtroom speech. This is a role tailor-made for Peck who exemplifies quiet strength beautifully, I really can’t imagine anyone else in this role. His Oscar win (his fifth nomination) was truly well-deserved… and of course, more than a little overdue.

Besides Peck, the other performances are noteworthy as well. Brock Peters is excellent as Tom Robinson and his courtroom scenes are really heart-wrenching. Robert Duval in his debut performance only has a brief role here, but it’s certainly memorable. But the film truly belongs to Mr. Peck, it’s no wonder he’ll forever be known as Atticus Finch. It’s also fitting that AFI has chosen Atticus as the Number One On-Screen Hero in the last 100 Years.

Just a little trivia from IMDb:
The watch used in the film was a prop, but author Harper Lee gave Gregory Peck her father’s watch after the film was completed because he reminded her so much of him. Mary Badham (Scout) and Gregory Peck became close during filming and kept in contact for the rest of his life. He always called her Scout.


So what did you all see this weekend? If you’ve seen any of these films, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.