Sunday, December 30, 2018

1965 Alternate Oscars

My choices are noted with a ★. Historical Oscar winners are noted with a ✔. Best foreign-language picture winners are noted with an ƒ.

"Half of this probably belongs to a horse out in the Valley somewhere," said Lee Marvin upon winning the Oscar for his performance in Cat Ballou. Sounds about right. Thus, Smoky's half-nomination for best actor.

Chimes at Midnight — the tragedy of Shakespeare's greatest comic figure, Falstaff — is, in my book, second only to Citizen Kane as the best movie Orson Welles ever made. Dismissed upon its initial release and largely unseen since, it's now available in a restored, remastered edition from Criterion. Highly recommended.

As for the Academy's choice for best picture of 1965, The Sound of Music, it's not the worst movie to ever win the Oscar for best picture, but thanks to the weakness of its competition, it may be the worst movie to nevertheless deserve to win for best picture.

On the other hand, Julie Andrews is sublime. It might be the best performance by an actress in a musical ever. At least I can't think of a better one.

If in fifty years Chimes at Midnight has developed an audience to rival that of The Sound of Music, I'll change my vote. Until then, I'm sticking with the people's choice.

On a more serious note, I've been debating whether to share some rather personal news — I generally prefer to reveal the personal through my insights into movies rather than through the autobiographical — but I think the autobiographical is already beginning to affect the work so I might as well explain myself.

About six weeks ago, I found out I have cancer, stage 2 esophageal adenocarcinoma (read about it here). The doctors — some of the best in the world — caught it relatively early and I'm otherwise in good health, so they are able to pursue an aggressive form of treatment that includes chemo, radiation and surgery. As my thoracic surgeon put it, the prognosis is "realistically optimistic."

By June, or so they hope, I should be right as rain. Knock on wood.

As you might have guessed if you've been following this blog for any length of time, Katie-Bar-The-Door has been extraordinary, and my friends and family have come through like champs. To quote Lou Gehrig, "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

In the meantime, I will keep plugging along with my alternate Oscar polls as long as I am up to it. I'm two weeks into the treatments and I'm just now beginning to feel the side effects, including fatigue. We'll hope for the best.

But for those of you who, like me, prefer to let the movies do the talking, I offer up some thoughts on life, death, love and life as expressed though a handful of select reviews: here, here and here.



Erik Beck said...

As my own film reviews reveal, I am not a religious man, so I will just say that I hope for the best for you with your treatment. My personal world of movies would be much less rich had you not linked to my review of The Story of Temple Drake oh those many years ago now. Your insights into film have been some of the most meaningful I have read and I thank you for all of them, even when you choose a film like The Sound of Music.

Mythical Monkey said...

... even when you choose a film like The Sound of Music.

That made me laugh out loud.

I honestly would never try to make a list of a year's best films and performances without checking your blog first. I've read every word for years now and consider it the single best alternate Oscar blog on the internet.

DKoren said...

I'm glad it was caught fairly early, and it sounds like you're in good hands for the treatment. Hoping to hear good news from you as treatment progresses.

I LOVE that horse in Cat Ballou. :-D Very scene-stealing horse.

Mythical Monkey said...

Thanks DKoren -- the doctors tell me if I can put up with six months in hell, I will most likely be cancer-free at the end of it. For a deal like that, I can put up with anything!

Re: the horse in Cat Ballou, I almost straight-up nominated him for best actor but I thought, no, even I can't get away that.

Anonymous said...

I love your Alternate Oscars notes and polls, no matter if I agree or not with your choices - this is part of the beauty of the game. More than Sound of Music, I want to watch you safe and sound. Amen.

Joe Morani

Mythical Monkey said...

Thanks, Joe! Even I don't always agree with my choices, but I'm sure hoping I get to keep on making them!

mister muleboy said...

I can't believe you'd bring up cancer in front of an alcoholic.

There; with that done, let us turn to important things.

Quick two ?

Mythical Monkey said...

I can't believe you'd bring up cancer in front of an alcoholic.

Especially an alcoholic cancer survivor!

Cancer buddies for life, Mister Muleboy!

Quick two ?

See you tomorrow!

Erik Beck said...

Well, not what I would choose to have in common with such a talented guy like you but aside from our love of film, we now have cancer in common. I had surgery yesterday to remove a cancerous mass that was just found on Monday. I won't know my own total prognosis until all the tests come back but it was, at least, the most treatable form of cancer.

Mythical Monkey said...

Holy cow, Mr. Beck! Not on the short list of things I was hoping we had in common either! Here's hoping they caught it early and that you'll soon be cancer-free.

Like you, I'm not a praying man, but I have found that the well-wishes of friends and family go a surprisingly long way. Katie-Bar-The Door and I will have you in our thoughts.

I can't write this blog without standing on your broad shoulders. Hang in there!

Maggie said...

I've come back to blogging and feel I have been punched in the stomach. Life is strange. I have always felt your good, your kibdness. Perhaps, that is what I came for.

Mythical Monkey said...

So great to hear from you! Glad you've returned to blogging.

The treatments are going well. I have a big surgery scheduled for mid-April but I'll be as close to cancer-free afterwards as any doctor is willing to cop to -- the difference between 50-50 and one-in-fifty.

In a way, the whole experience has been liberating. I've had mortality on my mind since my dad died right after my high school graduation. I had alway figured I'd gotten a handle on it, but, you know, it's all theoretical until you look down the barrel of the gun, so to speak. Now that I have, I feel like "That's all you've got, Death? Ha! I can do this standing on my head!"

By the way, my blog links on the side of the page disappeared a while ago, but I've saved the page to my favroties and will be dropping in -- so keep raging, my favorite Dylan-loving, snowflake vegetarian, and I'll be there!