You know how it is with those big budget epic historical movies. They come out and we all ooh and aah at the cast of thousands, the period costumes and scenery, and the running time of three hours or more. If it's long it has to be good, right? That'swhatshesaid!
Then come all the Oscars the picture inevitably wins because it is "important" and then comes the backlash and then those movies usually disappear to never be seen again. When you come across them on the TV years later you think, "Well, that was a good movie but I don't have that kind of time to invest in it again today."
What you would find if you did watch them again is that some of them hold up pretty well but some of them really suck. Titanic? Still great. Chariots Of Fire? Booooooooring. Amadeus? Awesome. The English Patient? Unwatchable. Some of the epics I never saw at the time and still haven't seen include Braveheart and Dances With Wolves so I don't know how they've held up. I suspect the Lord Of The Rings trilogy will be fine.
Recently Donna and I decided to invest 195 minutes in Gandhi, which was playing on AMC. Tip to old movie fans: Always watch them on the commercial-free channels. If Ghandi were on TBS it would have been five hours long.
For the youngsters in the blogosphere, Mohandas Gandhi was the spiritual leader of India who promoted civil disobedience to effect change in his country and elsewhere in the world. He fought racism, poverty, and against the British crown for Indian independence. So, of course, he was assassinated in 1948.
Director Richard Attenborough chose a virtual unknown for the title role, an Englishman of Indian heritage named Ben Kingsley. Both men won Academy Awards for their work. According to the AMC intro to the film, Dustin Hoffman and Anthony Hopkins were both considered to play Gandhi too. Fail!
I was really surprised while watching the movie unspool how many other notable actors are in the movie that I didn't even remember being in it.
Do you recall that Gandhi is also a Martin Sheen movie? And Candice Bergen. John Gielgud. Plus Nigel Hawthorne many years before The Madness Of King George. Do you remember a young Daniel Day-Lewis as a street thug? How about Cheers' favorite mailman John Ratzenberger driving a jeep?
It's always fun to see actors you now know in movies that came out before you knew them. I still can't get over that Seth Rogan is one of the high school kids beating up Donnie Darko in that film. Good times.