Tag Archives: Forrest Gump

The Best Picture Winners That Never Were – Part 2 (1991 – 2015)

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“Now are you a rusher? Or are you a dragger?”

Yup, the Oscars are almost here. The annual celebration of people doing their job very well when they’re paid hundreds of thousands of times more than you and me do for our nine-to-fives. Basically, it’s Hollywood’s Employee of the Month award with an almost ironclad guarantee that winners will go on to do something bloody awful afterwards – I’m looking at you, Halle Berry and I’m DEFINITELY not looking at Swordfish.

So what do you say? Shall we continue my list of missed opportunities and wrong decisions? I promise to be a little less controversial than I was in the first part and hopefully, hopefully, you’ll agree with some of my choices. Only one way to find out.


1994 – Pulp Fiction

The first of a 1994 double bill that lost out to the bloody terrible Forrest Gump. Yeah, I know, I’ve probably lost you already, but hear me out. My dislike for Tom Hanks aside, I simply don’t like Gump and his stupid face. The whole film just bugs me, and the fact that it has beaten a bonafide classic like Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is just unforgivable.

The intertwined stories of gangsters, everyday criminals and Joe average that blurs the lines between good guys and bad is one of the most amazing films dedicated to celluloid. To spend the two and a half hour running-time with these characters is to spend a tenth of your day with some of the most brilliantly written characters in the history of film.

Between this, and the next film in my list, there’s no way on God’s green earth that anyone, ANYONE, can tell me that they think the escapades of Mr. Gump deserves that Oscar.


1994 – The Shawshank Redemption

Yeah, believe it or not, the Forrest Chump beat this to the Oscar too. Based on a Stephen King short story and current, almost permanent, number one on the IMDB top 250 (Pulp Fiction is 5, while Hanks’ statue thief sits at 13), Shawshank is regarded by many as the greatest film is ever made.

Frank Darabont makes his feature film debut and gets his name known around the world with what is easily the best prison drama put to film. Featuring Tim Robbins and an Oscar nominated performance from Morgan Freeman as a pair of unlikely friends working through years behind bars with each other. With escape constantly on the mind of Robbins’ innocent Andy Dufresne and Freeman’s “Red” living with the desire to just play out his time in peace and quiet; Shawshank is maybe the only film that could beat Tarantino’s Classic to the finishing line if quality of film was actually the standard used for handing out these awards.


1997 – Good Will Hunting

Genuinely, I think this is a no-brainer. Forget the star power of writers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting is a truly original film. The story of Damon’s Will Hunting who, with the help and guidance from his court appointed psychologist (Robin Williams) learns to find his identity in a world where he can solve almost any problem, but can’t seem to shift his own personal demons.

Compare that to the film that won the Oscar that year? A film about a giant sinking boat. And while Titanic may be a visually impressive film to watch, the fact that it’s a love story, based on an unsinkable boat that sank, where the happy ever after was one of the lovers freezing to death in the water while the other clung to a lump of wood to survive? No thanks. Utter guff. And again, no staying power. All these years later, Titanic looks like a CGI laden mess, Good Will Hunting can still draw you in with its fantastic drama.


2011 – Moneyball

Definitely more of a personal opinion for this one than a flat out obvious mistake on the Academy’s part. Based on Michael Lewis’ book, The art of winning an unfair game, this Brad Pitt starring drama lost out to The Artist. Now, I enjoyed The Artist; it was a well made film that, considering what it was, kept me riveted the entire time it was on. But in my opinion, it was a flash in the pan and on second viewing isn’t half as good.

Moneyball earned a handful of nomination in 2011, including acting nods for its star and, much to everyone’s surprise, Jonah Hill. The film takes the mundane behind the scenes stuff of pre-season baseball and makes it a thrilling, interesting, drama that has you hooked early on and doesn’t let go. Its author hits his third adaptation to get a nomination for best film this year with The Big Short (the frankly amazing The Blind Side as also nominated in 2009 but lost, quite rightly, to The Hurt Locker) and honestly, this should have been his first win.


2015 – Whiplash

Now, I know I’m gonna get shit for is one, and that’s ok. There was absolutely nothing wrong with last year’s winner, the brilliant Birdman was deserving of its statue. And even when watching it again, it’s just as good; well acted, brilliantly directed and with a very cool improvised jazz score I would gladly have The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance in my collection.

But it didn’t do one thing that Whiplash did. Not only did the film completely blow me away, but the story of the young jazz drummer going up against his abusive band leader and trying to come out on top left me walking out of the cinema in a state that I can only describe as shell shocked. It’s a state I’ve been in several times after watching this amazing spectacle of a film. Every rewatch leaves me exhausted and at the same time begging for more. The only other film to do that recently is 2016 best pic nominee Mad Max: Fury Road. And only time will tell us if whatever beats it has the staying power that both of these films have.


That’s me done. For this year at least. What did you think? Do you agree with my choices? Think I’m a complete imbecile for hating Titanic and Forrest Gump? Do feel free to let me know. There’s nothing I like more than a good argument over great films!

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US Box Office Report: 5/9/14 – 7/9/14

Absolutely nothing happened, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Well.  This is embarrassing.  Here I was, all set to begin a re-launch of my US Box Office Reports on the site that has been willing to tolerate my deranged ramblings and draining of their resources for the past six months, bringing you the same verve, insight and poor stand-up that I did on a weekly basis for the last site I did this stuff for… and absolutely nothing happened.  There was one new release that was even close to Wide and that’s it.  Almost literally nothing happened.  Teade outlets are already reporting on this being the worst weekend at the US box office for two years, but, well, I think we all knew that this outcome was inevitable when we all looked at the release schedule and saw this giant void where films are supposed to be.  Calling this the worst weekend in years in an alarmed and surprised fashion is like calling a child foolish and in the worst shape of his life after voluntarily choosing to try and jump a 10 mile wide gorge on a unicycle only to fall face first into the thing; duh, why are you surprised at this completely expected outcome?

Eh, anyways, similarly surprising no-one due to its completely expected nature, Guardians Of The Galaxy three-peated at the top of the chart with $10 million in ticket sales.  Also surprising no-one, the film is now the biggest August release ever, smashing past The Sixth Sense’s prior record of $293 million, has become only the fourth film in the last 10 years to top the charts for four weeks (alongside such company as The Dark Knight, Avatar No Not The Great TV Show The Crappy James Cameron Film, and The Hunger Games), and maintained its position by being the only decent film that’s playing in over 2,000 theatres.  Behind that, as it has been for the last several weeks as well as in life itself, we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which eased to $6.5 million.  Seems that we will be very much getting those sequels after all, the people involved taking the canny “shove it out in a month where there is literally nothing else coming out to give everyone a collective feeling that they have to see it” approach to maximising profits.

The lone new wide-release for this week was The Identical, a faith-based piece of speculative fiction, inexplicably featuring Seth Green in the supporting cast, about what might have happened if non-copyright-infringing Elvis Presley’s twin brother hadn’t died at childbirth and which looks exactly as awful as that sounds.  Thankfully for everyone involved, nobody liked the sound of it either and it only made $1.9 million from just under 2,000 screens for 11th place continuing the trend of faith-based movies that don’t explicitly reference religion in their titles (like devout Christians are way too busy to actually do some research about films beyond their titles or something) bombing spectacularly.  Also attempting to kick up the vaguest spurts of activity for me to talk about, Forrest Gump received an IMAX re-release for some bizarre reason and a nation collectively dug out their DVDs of it instead; only managing $405,000 from 337 screens.  In better news, the documentary Last Days In Vietnam managed to take $30,500 from 2 screens, and the debut feature from Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, God Help The Girl, swindled $12,800 also from 2 screens.

And… yeah, that’s about it.  I imagine we’ll have a very similar sort of situation next week, as well, when the only new films are the Idris Elba-starring thriller No Good Deed and Dolphin Tale 2, a sequel to Dolphin Tale 1.  No, really, they made a sequel to Dolphin Tale.  You know what’s even crazier?  Dolphin Tale was actually a box office number 1.  Not kidding.  So, yeah, the American box office doesn’t get going for another two weeks.  Just goes to show you how lucky we Brits got it this weekend, don’t it?


This full list is almost Identical to last week’s.  Do you get it?  Cos there’s a film called The Identical and the list is basically the same as last week’s.  It’s a play on words.  We call these things “puns”.  Can’t help but notice you’re still not laughing at my Identical pun, so I’ll take this to mean you don’t understand humour in general.  You see, “humour” is based on subverting…

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Box Office Results: Friday 5th September 2014 – Sunday 7th September 2014

1] Guardians Of The Galaxy

$10,160,000 / $294,567,000

All of these accolades that Guardians keeps racking up are thoroughly deserved.  Couldn’t have happened to a better movie!  Unless said movies were Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes or The Raid 2.  Cough.

2] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

$6,500,000 / $174,647,000

This hits the UK two days after my birthday, so thanks for the wonderful belated birthday present, Paramount!  How did you know that I wanted an absolutely abysmal-looking movie for my 20th?  You shouldn’t have!

3] If I Stay

$5,750,000 / $39,663,000

Think it’s fair to say that this one hasn’t quite caught on in the Fault In Our Stars way that I imagine Warner Bros. and New Line were hoping it would.  Still, all it has to do is hang on for another two weeks and it will have outlasted The Fault In Our Stars’ run in the Top 10.  Next week will be dead easy, because we’ve already established that nothing is coming out.  The week after, maybe not so much.

4] Let’s Be Cops

$5,400,000 / $66,598,000

Look, my jokes may stink, but at least they’re funnier than pretty much the entirety of this movie.  OH, SNAP!

5] The November Man

$4,200,000 / $17,870,000

You know, as his post-Bond career keeps trundling along, I’m starting to get the impression that only we Brits know how to use Pierce Brosnan right.  I mean, there’s The Ghost Writer, The World’s End, The Love Punch, Mamma Mia!, A Long Way Down… actually, disregard pretty much everything I just said.

6] As Above, So Below

$3,723,000 / $15,576,000

A precipitous 57% drop between weekends.  Does this mean that we can finally retire found-footage now?  The gimmick has been run into the ground, then run a bit further for good measure and then run a little bit further still.  Find something else to abuse for your horror movies!

7] When The Game Stands Tall

$3,700,000 / $23,490,000

I… I got nothing for this one, folks.  Not even a decent pun or pithy aside.  Sorry to waste your time.

8] The Giver

$3,591,000 / $37,835,000

I couldn’t Giver f*ck about this movie.  OOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!!!  PUNS!

9] The Hundred-Foot Journey

$3,200,000 / $45,669,000

Saw and reviewed this one at the weekend.  It’s OK.  I was bored to tears, but I could appreciate the decent craft on display and the film isn’t bad or anything.  It is two hours, for some genuinely inexplicable reason, though and I will definitely hold that against it.  If you were able to get some enjoyment out of it, good on you, I won’t stop you.  And besides, why should you listen to what I think?  I put 47 Ronin on my Top 10 Films of 2013 list, tied with My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, no less!

10] Lucy

$1,950,000 / $121,207,000

It’s up to $313 million worldwide, at the moment, and this news pleases me to absolutely no end.  It proves that Scarlett Johannson is a full-fledged box office star who can open pretty much anything by herself, it proves that gloriously dumb films that aren’t insultingly so really can find an audience, it proves that female-led films (along with Maleficent, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Frozen and The Fault In Our Stars) do succeed no matter what idiots may think, and it proves that Hollywood will once again not pay one damn iota of attention to all of this, instead continuing to just do what they always do despite this past Summer proving that that may not be the best idea.  It’s the little victories, folks, it really is.

Dropped Out: The Expendables III

Callum Petch is the changingman built on shifting sands.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Best Films on TV: 27 May to 2 June

The best free-to-air films on television every day this week, as chosen by Fast and Furious series convert and  site editor, James Diamond.

He’s too busy trying to watch the new Arrested Development season 4 and packing for a holiday to spend much time on his recommendations this week. It’s probably for the best.

unforgivenMonday 27th May – Unforgiven (TCM, 9pm)

The Oscar-winning western that laid to rest Clint Eastwood’s legendary career in the genre. Great performances from Eastwood, Gene Hackman, and Morgan Freeman elevate the film to classic status.

Tuesday 28th May – Green Zone (Film4, 9pm)

Today’s film sees Matt Damon reteam with Bourne Ultimatum and Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass. Based on the non-fiction book ‘Imperial Life in the Emerald City’, it explores the US involvement in the restructuring of Iraq after the second Gulf War in 2003, as well as the search for WMD. For those who want a late night fright, the utterly wonderful Let the Right One In is on Film4 at 1.25am. My review from last year is here.

Wednesday 29th May – The Italian Job (Film4, 7pm)

Michael Caine at his cheeky chappy best. He plays Charlie Croker, a con recently released from prison who plans the heist to end all heists right under the nose of the mafia. Cue Mini Coopers racing around Turin, Noel Coward orchestrating events from prison, and “you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off”.

Thursday 30th May – Forrest Gump (Film4, 9pm)

Beginning to be a bit of a Film4 love-in here, but there’s really no competition today. Tom Hanks in a career-defining role that isn’t as schmaltzy as you might remember. A stunning achievement in cinema (although Pulp Fiction should still have won the Best Picture Oscar that year).

Friday 31st May – The Man Who Haunted Himself (Horror Channel, 4pm)

There’s not a huge choice today, so I’m just going to recommend a film that our very own Owen Hughes recently wrote about in his Decade in Film piece for 1970:

“1970 was an almost “inbetween” year for Roger Moore. By the time this film was released, he was already a household name. Not because he was Bond, James Bond; he was still yet to play 007 for another 3 years! But because of his role in one of the highest rated British TV shows of the 60s, The Saint. Wanting to show he was more than just a camp heroic adventurer, he collaborated with British director Basil Dearden and showcased a rather more serious side to his acting ability.

I’m not much of a Bond fan. When I was younger, I preferred Sean Connery (much to my dads disapproval) although as I’ve gotten older, I have come to appreciate and prefer Moore’s take on Ian Flemming’s iconic character. But it’s here, and not in the world of secret spy espionage, that I think I have found my favourite film of Moore’s.

Shot like a mystery thriller with elements of the film noir genre about it, copiously straddling various different answers to its myriad of questions before finally drawing the curtain back and revealing what has been going on all along – it plays on the concepts of identity theft, of schizophrenia and psychosis. It spends time developing the story, enhancing the mystery element and finally in getting the best out of and then delivering an exquisite performance from its star actor. Combined with a fantastically early 70s look, a late 60s swing and a very catchy theme tune by Michael J Lewis (that even now creeps into my subconscious every so often and loops around my head all morning) the effort that has gone into it definitely paid off.”

Saturday 1st June – A Few Good Men (Watch, 10pm)

Another day, another film review I can steal from one of my colleagues. This time it’s Kate Diamond’s Decade in Film for 1992:

“In a court house of the United States government, one man will stop at nothing to keep his honour, one will stop at nothing to find the truth, and Kevin Bacon has the most remarkable haircut you ever did see. Aaron Sorkin wrote the oft-quoted screenplay after hearing about a similar case in Guantanamo Bay, on which his sister was a military attorney. The Sorkin trademark ‘walk & talk’ also originated in this movie.

Despite winning precisely nothing at the Oscars, critics and the box office deemed it a hit, and it went on to be the most commercially successful work of hero director Rob Reiner. A veritable all-star cast, including Tom Cruise at his preppy nineties peak, Jack Nicholson chugging on cigars and shouting ‘I’m gonna rip the eyes out of your head and piss into your dead skull!’, Demi Moore, Kevin Pollak, Kiefer Sutherland and plenty of others. A Few Good Men is a largely court room based tale of honour, loyalty and Code Reds. It’s also a pretty great advert for never joining the Marines.”

Sunday 2nd June – The Karate Kid (Watch, 12.30pm)

I’ve not seen it for years, but I cannot imagine this film being anything less than the superlative film about learning to stand up to bullies that I remember from my youth. Ralph Macchio (last seen in this year’s Hitchcock) is ‘Daniel San’, or at least that’s what the mystical Mr Miyagi keeps calling him. Through the power of household chores, Daniel San becomes a bit of a karate legend, and has to face down his tormentors in competition. Someone sweeps the leg, someone does a ‘crane kick’ and we all get down to Joe Espostio’s ‘You’re the Best Around’