The Best Films Make Great Stories

by Shannon

Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year: The Oscars. And this year has boasted a particularly strong crowd of Best Picture nominees. And I actually saw a good amount of them. Usually, I might see one or two of these films. But this year, I’ve seen an impressive five!

Being the story-obsessed person that I am, I can’t get behind a film if it doesn’t have a great story and great characters at its core. Here’s my run-down of the five films I saw and why they’re more than just great films: they’re great stories, too.


I wrote a post on my personal blog after Argo came out. But, suffice it to say, Argo combines taught, nail-biting suspense, superior camera-work, great dialogue, good characters, and fabulous actors. I’m pulling for Argo the most tonight.

Django Unchained:

Ah, Quentin Tarantino. While my heart still belongs to Inglorious Bastards, Django is a close second. The story is long and sprawling, a western as epic as any other, a legend as worthy of telling as that of Brunhilde and Siegfried. Yes it’s violent and gory. But it’s also funny and heart-stoppingly spot-on. The dialogue delivery is perfect…particularly where Christophe Waltz is concerned. That man is seriously one of the best actors working today.

Les Miserables:

From book to musical to film adaptation…I can’t say what other work has has such a history as this. My first introduction to Les Mis was through the musical. I tried to read the novel, but only got about halfway through it. I was curious to see how it would translate to the screen. Well, I think. It’s a musical and you have to know that going in. It’s mostly going to sound like being at the opera. But it’s also visually stunning and compelling. Though, I do think Hugo’s story is so sprawling that when it got condensed into musical form, which became the true source for the film, the narrative continuity kind of fell apart. It spans a very long period of time and is populated mostly with minor characters. Yes, it’s a redemptive story and the story of the conflict between Jean Valjean and Javert. But it’s also a very large part of the history of France and the class relations. In short, it’s a lot for any musical or film to take on.

Life of Pi:

The cinematography of this film was outstanding. It so perfectly correlated with the surreal, kind of bizarre, almost dream-like quality of the story. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read the book so I don’t remember it all that well, but the film narrative was well-pace, well-timed. I got to watch this film in 3-d, but the whole film experience was very visceral, very real.

Silver Linings Playbook:

I love Jennifer Lawrence. She’s fabulous. And she’s even more fabulous as Tiffany. Not only is this film funny, it’s smart and it’s tragic. You go from feeling wildly triumphant to uncomfortable to fearful to cracking up. Not a lot of films can handle that many changes of emotional tone with such skill. I found out later that this was based on a novel, so I have no comparison in that regard. But, this film was pretty damn perfect.

There you have it folks. Who has your vote tonight?


3 Comments to “The Best Films Make Great Stories”

  1. I haven’t seen any of these Films, as I haven’t been going to Films as of late… But I will say, The Oscars is one of My Favorite things to watch… I’ve watched it for years, especially since Film Making was my Dream, which I did in fact pursue for a few years.

    Out of all of these Films, “Argo” is the one that interests me most. The preview alone has me hooked. Though I am looking forward to seeing each of these Films.

    I’ve Loved Ang Lee ever since “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, and “Sense and Sensibility”, which he also did. If you haven’t seen “Sense and Sensibility” Shannon, I definitely would. It’s my Favorite Alan Rickman Role… Even more so that Snape, Lol

    Though I’ve never been drawn to Les Mis, I very much want to see the Film. It looks Visually Awesome, and I like several of the Actors.

    I too Love Jennifer Lawrence… Other than Maggie Smith, who is my Favorite Actress, Jennifer Lawrence is probably my Number Two. Mainly because of “Winter’s Bone, which she’s just Exceptional in… Though I very much liked her in “The Hunger Games” as well… I really look forward to seeing her in “Silver Lining’s Playbook”… In fact, she is my One Oscar Prediction for this Evening… I really think she’s going to get it… She looks Amazing in that Role.

    I also need to see Django.


  2. Down in the depths of Africa, we wait with interest. Then I will go where the Oscars flow – poetic, isn’t it?

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