The Least Among You, a review

The Least Among You is a film based on a true story of a young Black man, Richard who attends a previously all-white seminary as probation for an arrest during a riot. The film follows Richard as he is placed in school with people of competing agendas, including, his mom, the dean, and even himself. Will one agenda overcome the others, or will they come together for the good of all?

Overall, this film has a strong message. The story was compelling but unfortunately, the budget, the script, and/or the production made the film hard to follow at points. The film itself, being produced by a Christian company has to make some obvious adjustments to content which is fine, but the somewhere in the production the story became jumpy. There were points between scenes I was confused how we transitioned between the two. I am not sure if this was a problem with the script, the production, he budget, or a combination. Because of this I have to give the film a lower rating. If you can overcome the jumpy transitions you may find a compelling message that is worth the trouble. 3/5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this film free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Homeless for the Holidays, a review

I received the movie Homeless for the Holidays from Team Buzzplant to review. The movie follows a family who is your typical upper-middle class family. They have two cars, a big house, and the dad is over worked. His commitment to work is a tension at home. He ends up losing his job to due an error in a label he supposedly signed off on, the misprint caused injury to several users. Although he did nothing wrong, he took the hit so the company would stay open, with the promise to be rehired when things cleared up. The rest of the movie follows the events of his life (the movie is based on a true story).

While the movie had a good premise, and the trueness behind the story I am sure is wonderful, there seemed to be a few too many fantastical elements. Realizing the budget was low, the acting was decent. Do not expect an all-star acting. Despite the lacks in acting the actors did much better than I have seen in other low budget movies. My main concern is the understated political messages. There are two clear parts that give the impression that the government is out to take your money and waste it and the church is the only place to give your money. Essentially stating big government is evil. Well, I cannot disagree with some of the sentiments given, they are completely unnecessary for the story and Christians fall all over the place on these issues (I believe all would think Christians should give to their church, but disagree on the government’s role in helping people). If the movie lacked these political statements I would give it 2 1/2 stars out of 4, deductions for unrealistic elements, some jumpiness, and mediocre acting, however because of the political issues I have to give it only 1 star.

Again the premise of the story is nice and this film might work well with upper elementary kids and their parents, I do not see anyone much older wanting to see the movie. A good family night movie especially if the, at least, two scenes of politicized messages are reworked.

(I received an advanced screening copy so the scenes could have/be edited to remove to the political issues.)

Best Pictures 2000’s

2000 – Gladiator won the award. I enjoy Gladiator but I think Traffic is a better film.

2001 – A Beautiful Mind won the award. The Academy knew you could not get enough of Russell Crowe so his film won again.

2002 – Chicago won the award. This is probably the best musical I have seen, the musical numbers actually advance and tell the story instead of pause it. With that said I would have picked The Pianist.

2003 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won the award. This is a hard year for me as I also really like Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

2004 – Million Dollar Baby won the award. This is a great film but so is Finding Neverland.

2005 – Crash won the award. I prefer Good Night, and Good Luck to Crash, as Traffic was the original film worthy of winning for this type of story telling.

2006 – The Departed won the award. Again how can I choose between The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima and Little Miss Sunshine.

2007 – No Country for Old Men won the award. I enjoy Coen Brothers films but this was not their best. Juno or There Will Be Blood are better.

2008 – Slumdog Millionaire won the award. This seemed like a down year.

2009 – The Hurt Locker won the award. I prefer Up and Inglorious Basterds, but as long as Avatar did not win it did not matter. Avatar like Titanic is way over rated, Avatar even more so that Titanic. Cameron had the script for over ten years and this is what we get, no plot development.

The Decade overall – This was a strong decade as well second best (through 2009), again I have seen a lot of the other films and these are geared more toward my generation.

To see all the prior decades click here

Best Pictures 1990’s

1990 – Dances with Wolves won the award. I think this film could have been condensed to make it more enjoyable.

1991 – The Silence of the Lambs won the award. This film is great almost as good as the book, a tall order. The film closest to being a horror film to win.

1992 – Unforgiven won the award. I did not enjoy this film. I prefer A Few Good Men to Unforgiven.

1993 – Schindler’s List won the award. This film is too moving to not have won.

1994 – Forrest Gump won the award. This was a strong year with Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption also being nominated. But all I can say is “Run Forrest Run.”

1995 – Braveheart won the award. Who needs historical accuracy (Apollo 13) when you can add more blood and guts.

1996 – The English Patient won the award. I prefer Fargo.

1997 – Titanic won the award. In a strong year a boring movie won the award. L.A. Confidential, Good Will Hunting, and As Good as It Gets are all much better. Popularity (I do not why how it was) and production cost won over acting, script, and quality.

1998 – Shakespeare in Love won the award. Another strong year. I personally would have picked Life is Beautiful, even though Saving Private Ryan was great as well.

1999 – American Beauty won the award. The third strong year in a row. I cannot decide if I would pick American Beauty, The Green Mile, or The Sixth Sense.

The Decade overall – This decade ended really strong, it helps I have seen many of these films. I would venture to say this is probably the strongest decade of them all (through 2009).

Tomorrow the last of the winners will be posted, the 2000’s. To see all the prior decades click here

Best Pictures 1980’s

1980 – Ordinary People won the award. This was a quite moving film. I thought the tough nature of the subject made this a great film. The Elephant Man was a strange film as are all David Lynch films and I recommend seeing it.

1981 – Chariots of Fire won the award. This is also a moving film. Although wouldn’t have been fun if Raiders of the Lost Ark won.

1982 – Gandhi won the award. It seems the Academy was on an emotional kick, three in a row.

1983 – Terms of Endearment won the award. This movie was funny but it seemed more like a lifetime movie than an Academy Award winner.

1984 – Amadeus won the award. This like Tom Jones is a strange winner, in randomness.

1985 – Out of Africa won the award. This was an upsetting film. Nothing seemed to progress as you wanted it too.

1986 – Platoon won the award. Who doesn’t like an antiwar movie. Though I really enjoy The MIssion.

1987 – The Last Emperor won the award. I am not sure of my thoughts on this film, it was a lot different than I was expecting.

1988 – Rain Man won the award. Dustin Hoffman again does and outstanding job in this film. And how could we live if a Tom Cruise film never won the award.

1989 – Driving Miss Daisy won the award. Morgan Freeman is outstanding and I quite enjoyed this film.

The Decade overall – Again I have not seen many of the other nominated films. It seems that the Academy was broadening their horizons and picking different genres.

Check back tomorrow for the 1990’s, to view the prior years look here

Best Pictures 1970’s

1970 – Patton won the award. This was an interesting film. I thought it dragged in a few parts.

1971 – The French Connection won the award. I like this crime film.

1972 – The Godfather won the award. I enjoyed this film.

1973 – The Sting won the award. This does not make up for Butch Cassidy… not winning but was an enjoyable film. It would have been interesting though if The Exorcist won as no true horror film has won.

1974 – The Godfather Part II won the award. I would have really enjoyed this film if they did not include the back story, as it did not fit, more like two separate films. The back story would have made a lot more sense with the first film, the rise of Vito and Michael.

1975 – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won the award. I though Jack Nicholson did a great job in this film and enjoyed it.

1976 – Rocky won the award. This of course is a classic film. Adraaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnn.

1977 – Annie Hall won the award. This is a typical Woody Allen film. I probably would pick Star Wars over Annie Hall though.

1978 – The Deer Hunter won the award. This was a strange film. I could not figure out where this film was going.

1979 – Kramer vs. Kramer won the award. Dustin Hoffman is outstanding in this film.

The Decade overall – I apparently have not seen many 1970’s films as most years I had only seen the winner, hence the lack of comments.

See the prior years here, tomorrow the 1980’s will be posted

Best Pictures 1960’s

1960 – The Apartment won the Award. I found this movie quite funny.

1961 – West Side Story won the award. For a musical this movie was made bad. However, this story is really just Romero and Juliet.

1962 – Lawrence of Arabia won the award. I would have really enjoyed this movie if it was two movies instead of one. To Kill a Mockingbird was much better because it was coherent and Gregory Peck was outstanding.

1963 – Tom Jones won the award. This is probably the most random movie to win the award. I would not be surprised if Monty Python’s Flying Circus was inspired by this movie. I also really enjoyed How the West was Won.

1964 – My Fair Lady won the award. If you removed the musical numbers from this film I would have really enjoyed it. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb I think was a much better film.

1965 – The Sound of Music won the award. Again if you removed the musical numbers I would have really enjoyed this film.

1966 – A Man for All Seasons won the award This film seemed more like a play than a movie. While the film was not bad, it did not seem put together very well.

1967 – In the Heat of the Night won the award. This was a great movie which was unfortunate for Guess Who Coming to Dinner and The Graduate, I believe both of these could have won as well.

1968 – Oliver won the award. This must have been the decade of musical.

1969 – Midnight Cowboy won the award. This is by far the worst movie on the list of winners. I thought Dustin Hoffman did a great job in this film, however, the back story was not told well and I hated the subject matter. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a far superior film and one of my favorite of all time.

The Decade overall – I thought this decade started off strong but finished off weak, except for 1967, one of the strongest years.

Check out the previous ones here, and check back tomorrow for the 1970’s

Best Pictures 1950’s

1950 – All About Eve won the award. I really liked this film but I also really liked Sunset Boulevard. Both of these are really good and I am not sure I can place one over the other.

1951- An American in Paris won the award. This movie was decent but a little long in my opinion. This is a musical that Gene Kelly dances through.

1952 – The Greatest Show on Earth won the award. This movie was an over the top production, think Avatar, except a circus instead of a planet. James Cameron probably got the pacing of Avatar from this film. Little bit of plot, watch this, little more plot, watch this, etc, concluding with a severely underdeveloped plot but stunning visual. James Stewart’s character was greatly underdeveloped which only made the movie all the more disappointing. High Noon was a much better movie and I highly recommend it over The Greatest Show on Earth.

1953 – From Here to Eternity won the award. This movie was decent, Roman Holiday or Shane are better in my opinion. I thought From Here to Eternity had too much dead space.

1954 – On the Waterfront won the award. This was also a decent film. Marlon Brando does a great job in this film.

1955 – Marty won the award. This movie was mostly depressing and I had a hard time liking it because of its depressing mood.

1956 – Around the World in 80 Days won the award. This was a fun movie. I am glad that it won over The Ten Commandments, I have the same thoughts about it as I do The Greatest Show of Earth, both DeMille films.

1957 – The Bridge on the River Kwai won the award. Despite being quite long I really enjoyed this film. I think the movie is an interesting study in what is the right thing to do. I also really enjoyed 12 Angry Men.

1958 – Gigi won the award. This movie is a little disturbing since Gigi is quite young and the man is quite older. I did not really like this movie, it did not help that it was also a musical.

1959- Ben-Hur won the award. This movie was decent. It was made like a DeMille film but was more coherent.

The Decade overall – I found this decade to be the best thus far. I would not have picked all of these films to win but most I can see why they won.

Check in tomorrow for the 1960’s or see them here

Best Pictures 1940’s

1940 – Rebecca won the award. I really liked Rebecca directed by Hitchcock, although I like Psycho and North by Northwest better by Hitchcock. While I liked this movie, looking over the other nominated movies I like Philadelphia Story better, ranks as my first or second favorite movie, I have not seen any of the other nominated films of 1940. Rebecca has that classic Hitchcock style, it is dramatic and yet suspenseful. However, Philadelphia Story keeps me laughing the entire time and Cary Grant and James Stewart are outstanding.

1941- How Green was My Valley (HGMV) won the award. This film was good but again I found other films nominated to better. Citizen Kane (CK) I think definitely should have won, as I think many movie lovers also think. HGMV was an average movie, I was interested in how everyone’s life would play out but I was inspired or felt I was watching a great film. CK is visually stunning, I love the story and the breakthroughs it brought. I also like Maltese Falcon from that year as well. I want to see Suspicion so I can compare it.

1942 – Mrs. Miniver won the award. This is the only film I have seen that was nominated, but I really enjoyed this film and think it was deserving based on how good it was. I liked how it made you think. It is a war film but about those left at home. I particularly like the scene when a German pilot comes to her home (she is British). Even though I have not seen any of the other films from 42, I think this movie was made well enough to have won.

1943- Casablanca won the award. Who does not like this film? This movie is an instant classic and has so many memorable lines, I can even remember a few and I am horrible at remember lines from movies. I have not seen any other the other nominated films but have a hard time thinking any of them could be better.

1944 – Going My Way won the award. I did not hate nor like this movie, I found it rather average. I have also seen Double Indemnity and think the same of it. My guess is this was a down year, probably because of the war.

1945 – The Lost Weekend won the award. I think this movie was a lost weekend. I really did not like this movie, I did not think it went anywhere nor did I care about the characters. The only other movie I have seen, that was nominated, is Spellbound and it was average, between the two I pick Spellbound.

1946 – The Best Years of Our Lives won the award. I can see how this film was good in its time, about soldiers returning home from the war. I liked the film but it was not anything special. I probably would put It’s a Wonderful Life ahead of it.

1947 – Gentlemen’s Agreement won the award. I think this film won for its social commentary about anti-Semitism. This was a good film, I have not seen any of the other nominees though. I think it was made well enough to win, Gregory Peck does a great job.

1948 – Hamlet won the award. While Olivier does a great job as Hamlet, this film was boring. This film was more of a play than a film. I do not think Olivier makes the necessary steps to make this a successful film. From what I remember, I like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre better.

1949 – All the King’s Men won the award. I had seen the remake, with Sean Penn, before I had seen this film. I liked the remake better than this one.

The Decade overall – I found this to be a weak decade, at least of the winners. Only Casablanca is a hands down winner. Mrs. Miniver and Gentlemen’s Agreement were good. With two years of what I thought the wrong movie winning a few years with no real outstanding films bring this decade down. However, there was a major war so I guess that can excuse so of the mid-40’s.

Come back tomorrow for the 1950’s or see them here

Best Pictures 1928-1939

1927, 28 (as listed) – Wings won the first award (known as Outstanding Picture, Production). This was a good silent movie, the only silent movie to win the award. Also during this ceremony there was a category known as Unique and Artistic Production which Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans won. Sunrise was also a great movie and silent. After this first ceremony this second award was done away with. I recommend you watch both movies. I also plan to watch Seventh Heaven which most of the other awards and was nominated for Production. (Interesting note Wings has not been released on DVD in region 1, the US, so I had to borrow a VCR to watch it.)

1928, 29 – The Broadway Melody won the award (known as Outstanding Picture). I liked this movie. I was not spectacular but was good.

1929, 30 – All Quiet on the Western Front won the award (now known as Best Picture). I liked this movie. It was not what I would call a great movie but it was interesting and held my attention. I have not seen any of the other nominated movies.

1930, 31 – Cimarron won the award. This movie was quite long in my opinion and the characters did not act rationally. Not a favorite.

1931, 32 – Grand Hotel won the award. I found this movie to be so-so. I liked Shanghai Express better.

1932, 33 – Cavalcade won the award. This movie was a little like Forrest Gump, the characters are involved the big events of the times. However, unlike Forrest Gump I noticed the movie was episodic, and did not think it all came together well. Also I could not for the life figure why it was named Cavalcade. (Interesting note this movie has not been released on DVD in region 1, the US, so I had to borrow a VCR to watch it.)

1934 (as now listed) – It Happened One Night won the award. I enjoyed this comedy of two people who cannot get away from one another.

1935 – Mutiny on the Bounty won the award. This movie was so-so. I liked Ruggles of Red Gap better.

1936 – The Great Ziegfeld won the award. I do not really like this movie as it seems to have won because it had huge musical numbers that had nothing to do with the plot. I also think it ripped off Broadway Melody a little bit, one plot line, as there where many, as quite similar.

1937 – The Life Emile Zola won the award. I did not like this film. I did not care for the main character Emile Zola.

1938 – You Can’t Take It with You won the award. This movie was up and down. I liked the beginning and ending of the film but struggled a little through the middle.

1939 – Gone with the Wind won the award. I do not like this film, I find it too long and I do not care about the characters. I prefer The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington better. I would think this was a really hard year to choose.

The first awards 28 and 29 were decent I really like the films that won in 28. The 1930’s overall where not that great in my opinion. I liked the beginning of the decade and the end though I disagree with the winner in 39. Maybe it was the depression that created this lack in quality or maybe audiences/voters just liked a different type of film.

I will be adding each decade everyday until all have been added, you can also view them here, of course depending on if I have released it.