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Scene Staff Report | Monday, February 27, 2012

1. “Patton”

Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1970 biographical war movie won seven Academy Awards, including Best Actor for George C. Scott, who refused to accept the award. The film tells the life of General George S. Patton who led America’s Third Army across Africa and Europe in WWII. Beginning with an iconic speech against the backdrop of a huge American flag, “Patton” is a classic.

2. “Chinatown”

Roman Polanski’s classic neo-noir film was nominated for nearly all of the major awards at the 1974 Oscars, but only walked away with Best Original Screenplay. The film is based on the historic California Water Wars, a long-running dispute over land and water rights in southern California. Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston star.

3. “Good Will Hunting”

This 1997 drama was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won two — Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Robin Williams and Best Original Screenplay for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. The cast is star-studded and each actor plays his role excellently, evoking the right emotions at the right times and drawing the audience into the story, the life of a young man from South Boston who is secretly a genius. It’s no wonder this film was nominated for so many awards and holds a special place in the hearts of so many.

4. “Kramer vs. Kramer”

This Oscar-dominating film follows a father, mother and their young son as the family undergoes a nasty divorce. The story is a fascinating study of the effects of divorce on everyone involved. It won five Oscars in 1979 Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

5. “Philadelphia”

The first of Tom Hanks’ two-in-a-row Best Actor Oscar wins came from his starring role as a lawyer fighting against his wrongful dismissal. Andrew Beckett (Hanks) is fired from his law firm when it is revealed he is suffering from AIDS. To fight the suit, he turns to the homophobic personal injury lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) for help.

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Scene Staff Report | Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“The Longest Day”

This Academy Award-winning war film chronicles the D-Day invasion of Normandy. John Wayne, Sean Connery and Henry Fonda, among others, star in this impressive movie, which attempts to cover the war from all perspectives. Although this may seem overly ambitious, the all-star cast carries the movie. The plot isn’t lost, but rather is engaging and moving, resulting in one of the best World War II films of movie history.

“Lilyhammer”

“Lilyhammer” is Netflix’s first foray into an original scripted series. Steve Van Zandt plays an American mobster who enters the witness protection program on the condition he can start his new life in Lilyhammer, Norway. This show features the comedy of culture clash and the drama of foreign criminality. For fans of a quality series, the mafia or Norway this show is a must watch.

“Senna”

People don’t usually like documentaries unless they involve a man named Michael Moore or a certain fast food chain know for its super-sizing practices. However, this documentary, which follows the life and legacy of Brazilian Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna, has been a critical darling and a popular hit thanks to its compelling story and quality filmmaking. Using only archival footage, the documentary features everything from Senna’s strong sense of faith to his fatal accident during a race. With a string of awards under its belt, including Best Documentary and Best Editing at Sunday’s BAFTA awards, “Senna” looks poised to snag another award at the Oscars.

“Arrested Development”

If you’ve never seen this woefully short-lived comedy before — about the best dysfunctional family around — then really the only option is to change that. Immediately. With the recent news of more episodes and an eagerly anticipated movie, there is simply no better time to catch up with the Bluths as they face the trials and tribulations of a family too rich and too foolish for their own narcissistic good. Even if you share the deepest sympathies with Tobias the Never Nude or the deeply misunderstood Mr. F, there really is no such thing as too much “Arrested Development.”

“That Thing You Do”

Tom Hanks is a man of many hats, so it’s no surprise that his first feature length foray into writing and directing is as charming as any of his guys next door or military heroes. A loving ode to the rock n’ roll of the early 1960s, “That Thing You Do” has an infectious soundtrack and heartwarming story about small town buddies turned rock superstars. 

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Scene Staff Report | Monday, February 6, 2012

“Labyrinth”

David Bowie never looked so good. In this ‘80s fantasy movie you’ve likely never seen, Bowie stars as the Goblin King of a giant labyrinth created by master “Muppets”-man Jim Henson. Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), charged with the task of babysitting her insufferable little brother Toby, accidentally wishes him into the captivity of the Goblin King. She only has 13 hours to navigate the labyrinth and rescue her brother. It sounds cheesy (it was the ‘80s, so it was), but Henson’s puppet mastery extends to the many creatures of the Labyrinth. Plus, Bowie is the best-singing villain outside a Disney movie, ever.

“Blue Mountain State”

This TV show from Spike is not for the easily offended. The series is about a fictional university, Blue Mountain State, and its football team, the Mountain Goats. Every college stereotype is present, from the dumb jocks to the wild partying to the hazing of fraternities. The humor can verge on lewd sometimes, but it’s not bad enough to turn you off from the whole show. The Goats may be a little dimwitted, but they are amusing and sometimes loveable. Check out all three seasons of this show on Netflix Instant.

“White Chicks”

Although it aired in theaters in 2004, “White Chicks” is one of those forever-quotable comedies that never gets old. Shawn and Marlon Wayans star as Kevin and Marcus Copeland, two FBI agents who undergo drastic transformations to protect hotel heiresses from a kidnapping plot. The two brothers disguise themselves as the female socialites and, throughout their undercover mission, are faced with crazy mishaps and laughable situations. From awkward dates to shopping with girlfriends, Kevin and Marcus are willing to do anything to get the approval of their mistrusting boss and to save the Wilson sisters. An afternoon watching “White Chicks” will certainly be a very entertaining one.

“Jackie Brown”

Though it is probably Quentin Tarantino’s least discussed film, his third directorial effort, “Jackie Brown,” is a worthwhile entry in the Tarantino collection. Coming on the heels of “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction,” the film maintains the same distinct feel as those two modern classics, though it is based on the novel “Rum Punch” by Elmore Leonard. Pam Grier stars alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro.

“The Wonder Years”

This coming of age retrospective is now on Netflix Instant. As a now 30-something protagonist, an earnest Kevin tells the story of his hey-day growing up in the suburbs in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. “The Wonder Years” features everything a classic coming of age tale should, from Kevin’s first pimple to his first crush. It also addresses political and historical issues, giving viewers a realistic look at what it was like to grow up during the Vietnam War era.