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Best Picture This

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Best Picture This

Mike Cavaliere & Brian McMillan

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Every Best Picture nominee of the 21st century. Join Mike and Brian as they reevaluate the films and Academy Awards of the past, talk trivia and top fives, and address the big question: "Would you keep or kick the Academy's picks for Best Picture?" All that and more on Best Picture This -- where it's always Oscar season!
 
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show series
 
Happy Halloween! With spooky season now in full swing, Mike and Brian throw out the usual format to dig into three of the big horror releases of 2004: director James Wan's SAW M. Night Shyamalan's THE VILLAGE and shark-thriller OPEN WATER, directed by Chris Kentis. They talk genre rules, the power of twist endings and which of these three scary mov…
 
Horror movie month is in full swing! To celebrate, we look back at zombie-comedy "Shaun of the Dead" (2004), directed by Edgar Wright, whose new film, "Last Night in Soho," releases Oct. 29. In this episode, Mike and Brian explore the impact "Shaun" made on the horror genre, dig into its best moments and discuss its chances of contending for a top-…
 
Strike up the band, because we're kicking off a brand new miniserieis -- this time on the films of 2004! In this episode, Mike and Brian reevaluate director Taylor Hackford's Best Picture-nominated musical biopic, "Ray," which landed Jamie Foxx a Best Actor Oscar. They debate the importance of staying true to the facts in movies about historical fi…
 
What was the best movie of 2003? In this miniseries finale episode, Mike and Brian recap the year that was, rank the Academy's picks for Best Picture, kick the ones that don't belong and discuss their personal top 5s. Plus, trivia, Golden Takes and more. www.bestpicturethis.com Want to curate a future episode? BECOME A PATRON. Agree or disagree wit…
 
The final installment in director Peter Jackson's epic fantasy trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" proved to be the one film of 2003 to rule them all, sweeping the Oscars and blurring the lines separating "geek" movie from prestige picture. But how does it hold up nearly two decades later? In this episode, Mike and Brian talk g…
 
Mixing drama with documentary, and live-action with animation, "American Splendor" (2003), directed by Shari Springer and Robert Pulcini, feels much more inspired by the art and attitude of comic book writer Harvey Pekar than by his actual life. And that's a good thing. In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into the biopic subgenre, talk Paul Giamatt…
 
The Wachowski's sequel to "The Matrix" was a box office smash, but reactions were decidedly mixed. Even many critics who reviewed the film positively included qualifiers about its geekiness, special effects and religious iconography. So what do we think nearly 20 years later? In this episode, Mike and Brian set out on a hero's journey of their own …
 
A horror movie being nominated for Best Picture? Yeah, right. In spite of the Academy's long-running resentment of the genre, however, director Danny Boyle's don't-call-it-a-zombie movie is undoubtably one of the most important films of 2003, making way for a wave of low-budget horror films and reinvigorating the zombie subgenre. In this episode, M…
 
Everyone is turning colors in this week's Patron's Choice bonus episode, on 1998's "Pleasantville," directed by Gary Ross. Mike and Brian talk repression and opression, best moments, trivia, and then compare "Pleasantville" to Ross' follow-up, the Best Picture-nominated "Seabiscuit." www.bestpicturethis.com Thanks to Maddie for putting this movie o…
 
Charlize Theron won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos in director Patty Jenkins "Monster." But maybe most interesting about the movie is how Jenkins manipulates our sympathies, constantly threading the needle between compassion and condemnation. In this episode, Mike and Brian explore how Jenkins uses contradictions to crea…
 
Tobey Maguire was riding high after starring in 1999 Best Picture nominee "The Cider House Rules" and playing Peter Parker in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man," and now he's jockeying for another Oscar in director Gary Ross's horse racing drama, "Seabiscuit." In this episode, Mike and Brian talk underdog movies, the power of efficient editing, trivia and wh…
 
Welcome to another episode of The Morality Hour, with Mike and Brian! Director Clint Eastwood's complex exploration of violence and justice in 2003's "Mystic River" invites the viewer down a rabbit hole of moral gray area, and Mike and Brian take the bait. They debate the "message" behind this six-time Academy Award nominee, which won Sean Penn and…
 
Like most genre movies, comedies tend to get little love during award season, and the subject of this week's Patron's Choice bonus episode -- "Drowning Mona" (2000) -- is no different, boasting 0 nominations and a measly 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. But what does that really mean for these movies, especially when a negative critical consensus clashes wi…
 
Director Sophia Coppola's sophomore release, the moody "Lost in Translation," starring Bill Murray, is a rumination on ennui. But it's funny. And it's romantic. So it's a rom-com ... right? In this episode, Mike and Brian explore the choices that make this movie so hard to categorize. They question what can be learned from the empathy we extend to …
 
Critics loved director Richard Linklater's "The School of Rock," showering it and its star, Jack Black, with praise. It scored a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic called it "uncut bliss." Yet, it was nominated for 0 Oscars. In this episode, Mike and Brian question whether a "light" comedy could ever win an Academy Award and debate the value of fun…
 
Once ranked the 13th best movie of all time by the AFI, director David Lean's "The Bridge on the River Kwai" won seven of its eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, in 1957. In this bonus episode, Mike and Brian discuss the effect that the "classic" label has on how we consume older movies, talk cultural representation in post-WWI…
 
The 2003 retrospective series kicks off with director Peter Weir's 10-time Oscar nominee "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," starring Russell Crowe. Mike and Brian break down the movie's best moments, deliver Golden Takes, argue about the value of beetle-handling on film and decide whether to keep or kick this Academy Award winner (c…
 
Made on a shoestring budget, the debut feature from director/writer/actor Zach Braff connected with audiences in a profound way in 2004. But do its concerns ring as loudly almost two decades later? In this bonus episode, Mike and Brian take a fresh look at "Garden State," costarring Natalie Portman, whose character is often cited as a founding exam…
 
What was the best movie of 2002? In this miniseries finale episode, Mike and Brian recap the year that was, rank the Academy's picks for Best Picture, kick the ones that don't belong and discuss their personal top 5s. Plus, trivia, Golden Takes and a tribute to Dermot Mulroney. www.bestpicturethis.com Want to curate a future episode? BECOME A PATRO…
 
After making two ensemble-casted epics about disease and downward spirals ("Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia"), director Paul Thomas Anderson turned left. The result: a colorful, cosmic romance starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, one which he describes as a story about "finding your music." In this episode, Mike and Brian explore PTA's career and b…
 
What makes a masterpiece? Mike is joined in studio this episode by special guest co-host Joey Santos (Ask Flagler), to break down director Martin Scorsese's 2002 American immigration-revenge-crime-history (phew) epic, "Gangs of New York," starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio, which earned a whopping 10 Academy Award nominations, includin…
 
Is horror the perfect genre for sneaking deep, adult themes into movies that feel light and popcorn-y? In this bonus episode, Mike and Brian revisit David Cronenberg's 1986 body horror classic, "The Fly," which was chosen by patron Chris from Tampa. They dive into the film's best moments, explore what (aside from the Oscar-winning make up) makes th…
 
The Oscars love Holocaust movies — so what does that tell us about how we consume historical dramas? Is it possible to separate the art from the artist? And how does violence/obscenity in movies dull — or sharpen — our life experience? Mike and Brian's conversation veers into unexpected places this episode, in exploring director Roman Polanski's "T…
 
Do musicals have the power to spark intellectual revelations? Is that even their aim? Mike and Brian wrestle with the genre by exploring the impact of director Rob Marshall's debut, "Chicago," which won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 2002 and stars Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and John C. Reilly. They discuss the Oscar…
 
Director Sam Raimi, who launched his career with low-budget splatter horror films, brings a sense of campy enthusiasm to 2002's "Spider-Man," starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. But does that style elevate or cheapen the film's comic book aesthetic? In this bonus episode, Mike and Brian dive into the movie's best moments, talk trivia and debate…
 
With a star-studded ensemble cast led by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore, director Stephen Daldry's "The Hours" has a literary style and lofty ambitions. That combination led it to an Oscar nomination for Best Picture in 2002. In this episode, Mike and Brian are divided in discussing the film's impact and best moments. They talk triv…
 
Is "The Two Towers" even better "The Fellowship of the Ring"? Would the movie be stronger with less Gollum? And is every film in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy a lock for its respective year's top 5? Mike and Brian tackle these questions and more in this episode, recorded in studio on Facebook Live, then get into trivia and play Ke…
 
Live-action reimaginings of animated Disney classics: yea or nay? Mike and Brian continue their summer series this week with Disney's live-action "Mulan." They dive into the history of the Chinese legend that inspired the story, Disney's recent run of live-action remakes, as well as the usual Best Moments, trivia and more. www.bestpicturethis.com W…
 
Jim Carrey makes his return to the big screen (and to absurdist comedy) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2020), directed by Jeff Fowler. But is his commitment to the role enough to keep this film afloat? In this Facebook Live bonus episode, Mike and Brian dive into Carrey's career in comedy and drama, talk trivia and pull out the Popcorn-O-Meter to measure e…
 
Director Paul Greengrass explores the power of storytelling in 2020's "News of the World" which, starring the great Tom Hanks, earned four Academy Award nominations. But what else can the Oscar-nomated western teach us about genre, truth and modern life in America? In this special bonus episode, broadcast live on Facebook and in partnership with th…
 
What was really the best movie of 2001? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences chose Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind." But how does that pick hold up 20 years later? In this miniseries finale, Mike and Brian re-rank the Academy's nominees for Best Picture, kick those that don't belong and build their own top 5 lists for the year in film. www.…
 
How much truth do we need in movies that are "based off of a true story"? Director Ron Howard takes many liberties throughout "A Beautiful Mind," which took home the Academy Award for Best Picture. But is the movie better or worse because of those changes? Mike and Brian explore the film's best moments, compare Russell Crowe's performance to those …
 
What makes a cult classic? For director Richard Kelly's "Donnie Darko," starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal, it's its seamless mix of horror, comedy, sci-fi, philosophy, '80s pop music, religious subtext and an unwavering committment to Sparkle Motion. But how does all that ambition hold up on rewatch? In this episode, Mike and Brian dive into the mov…
 
Can a fantasy epic really be one of the best pictures of the year? Peter Jackson gets started on his Lord of the Rings trilogy with "The Fellowship of the Ring," and Mike and Brian tackle the big themes — and some small, petty ones — in this episode, which was simulcast on Facebook Live. Visit bestpicturethis.com for past episodes and that all-impo…
 
Is Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) really an "avenging angel"? How are we supposed to feel about his climactic shootout? Is director Martin Scorsese trying to drive us crazy with saxophones?!? Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1976, TAXI DRIVER is crammed full of enigmas, and in this special bonus episode, Mike and Brian dive headlo…
 
Made for just $1.9M, director Todd Field's "In the Bedroom" is by far the smallest-budget film in the Academy Award's 2001 slate for Best Picture. But, led by powerhouse performances from Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek, its dramatic punch just might be most powerful. In this episode, Mike and Brian dive into the movie's best directing and writing m…
 
Great Scott! A special Facebook Live bonus episode! This is heavy! This week, Mike and Brian skateboard into the studio to talk about director Robert Zemeckis' 1985 time travel classic, "Back to the Future," starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. They get into trivia, debate the place of "popcorn" movies in cinema and smile wide for the cam…
 
If you like "Downtown Abbey," you'll love "Gosford Park" -- at least, you should, seeing as how the TV drama was originally conceived as a spinoff of Robert Altman's Academy Award-nominated film. In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into the 2001 Best Picture nominee, debate its thematic intentions and consider its place among the top films of 2001 …
 
This is the pod. In David Lynch's 2001 surrealist masterpiece, "Mulholland Drive," dream and reality collide. But is the result transcendent ... or just weird for weird's sake? In this special bonus episode, Mike and Brian explore the movie's many mysteries through their Questions Three, dive into trivia and critics' reviews, then gush over Naomi W…
 
The first musical nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 10 years, "Moulin Rouge" is not your grandfather's song-and-dance film. Instead, director Baz Luhrmann's approach is hyper-sensory, supercharging raw enthusiasm with modern visual effects. Recording from the center of the bohemian world (in Florida's WNZF Studios, of course), Mike…
 
Mike and Brian are joined by filmmaker Aleem Hossain, director of "After We Leave," which won Best Sci Fi Feature Film at Sci Fi London 2019, to revisit Steven Spielberg's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." - How does the movie hold up? - How have kids' movies changed in the past 40 years? - And what are Aleem's top 5 Best Picture contenders of all time…
 
What was the best film of 2000? In this miniseries finale, Mike and Brian recap the year that was, rank the Academy's picks for Best Picture, kick the titles that don't belong and offer their own top fives. Join the conversation! www.bestpicturethis.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/BestPictureThis Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BestPictureThis …
 
Digital worlds, real lions and bloody decapitations -- are you not entertained!? Director Ridley Scott's $106 million swords and sandals epic, "Gladiator," won Best Picture of 2000 and earned Russell Crowe a Best Actor award, but does it hold up? Mike and Brian decide whether to keep it or kick it as one of the the year's five best films, go deep i…
 
Tom Hanks is directed once again by Robert Zemeckis, this time on a desert island. Hanks was nominated for best actor, and Mike and Brian agree it's one of his best performances. Some critics said it was good, not great. Why? The iconic moment is, of course, the skinnified Tom Hanks breaking down over an inanimate object: Wilson the volleyball. In …
 
Beloved fairy tale, "Chocolat" earned five Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture, following its release in 2000 -- but what was it about this movie that got people feeling all gooey inside? In this episode, Mike and Brian talk about the power of happy endings, read listeners' favorite Johnny Depp performances and ask the questio…
 
Wait -- the same guy who made 1995's "Sense and Sensibility" also made "Hulk" ('03), "Brokeback Mountain" ('04), "Life of Pi" ('12) and "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" ('00)?! Director Ang Lee's career has been a series of surprises and experiments but, through it all, he's maintained a focus on philosophy over genre: exploring our place in the wor…
 
No one had a better year in 2000 than director Steven Soderbergh, whose movies -- "Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich" -- accounted for two of the five Best Picture nominees at that year's Academy Awards. Mike and Brian talk Julia Roberts' celebrity and the power in playing against type, trivia, one-liners, the Oscars, feminism, and decide whether to ke…
 
With its documentary feel and multiple storylines, Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" earned mass acclaim (and a Best Picture nod) in 2000, being praised by critics for its complex view on the war against drugs. But can large-scale, societal subject matter sometimes infuse a movie with an unearned sense of importance? Kicking off their first season on t…
 
One of the greatest movie years of all time, 1999 featured no shortage of films now seen as cultural touchstones. But were the top titles of the year represented in the Academy Award nominations for Best Picture? Capping off their pilot season, Mike and Brian look back at the top films of the final year of the 20th century, rank the Academy's picks…
 
Once hailed as a masterpiece, director Sam Mendes's "American Beauty" has had a hard fall from grace in the two decades since its release. In 1999, it was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screeplay. Kevin Spacey's sexual assault allegations certainly play a part, but are the mo…
 
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