Friday, December 27, 2013

Best Picture: "Driving Miss Daisy," 1989

Movie Stats:
Released 1989 (USA)
American, in English (very minimal Hebrew, both translated and not)
Director – Bruce Beresford
Stars – Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd

Plot Summary:
Set in Georgia circa 1950s-1960s. After elderly Daisy Werthan (Tandy) has an accident in her car, her son Boolie (Aykroyd) hires her a chauffeur, Hoke Colburn (Freeman), much to her consternation.


Bad Stuff:
A lot of the music is super 1980s-cheesy.

It lacked the emotional punch I expected it to have.

Good Stuff:
Solid acting from all the main players. I especially enjoyed Aykroyd’s performance as the good-natured, put-upon Boolie.

It’s very sweet and amusing.

The Verdict:
There’s nothing wrong with this movie. As I said, it’s very sweet, if not especially exciting. Like a lot of the 80s winners, it’s a movie about life – about the passage of time, and about how we and our relationships change as we grow and age. It’s not earth-shattering or titillating, but it’s the kind of movie that practically anyone will find relatable.

I actually like this film. It’s charming. In comparison to the “greats,” however, it falls far short. I don’t understand why it won Best Picture. It’s simply not good enough for that kind of award. Because of that, I don’t feel comfortable giving it a rating in the 4s, even though it’s very enjoyable. While I would recommend that you watch it if you’re in the mood for something endearing and heart-warming, I would tell you not to anticipate being wowed.

I give the movie 3.75 stars.


Patricia said...

What percentage of best picture winners would you say have "wowed" you. I ask because I wonder if the wowing wears off after a while.

balyien said...

I'd say it's more like there is usually one movie per decade that is a "wow" movie (two if I'm really, really lucky). I don't have one for the 20s (only 2 to choose from, neither very good), but here are the others: 30s - "Gone with the Wind"; 40s - "Casablanca"; 50s - "On the Waterfront"; 60s - "In the Heat of the Night"; 70s - "The Godfather"; 80s - "Platoon."

Each decade has a lot of "You know, that was a really great movie." It also tends to have a lot of "That was good, but not any better than movies I've seen that haven't won an Oscar" (I would put "Driving Miss Daisy" in that category). Sometimes it has a few "I'm not sure why anyone thought that was remotely good." And, very occasionally, it will have a "Watching that movie made me wish I'd never started this project."