The latest movie on my quest to see every Best Picture winner in the history of forever was The French Connection, starring Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider. The film was the winner from 1971. It was directed by William Friedkin. I wasn’t a fan.
I’m having another one of those “I didn’t really think this through” moments. It kind of sucks writing about movies I struggled through, and even more frustrating is that I always feel the need to explain why I didn’t like it. If these movies won Best Picture, they obviously have some merit, which means that millions and millions of people did like them. As this quest continues, I feel myself wanting to tread heavier as I trudge through film after film. So here I go. I’m going to start adopting a more “take no prisoners” approach. You may have liked _____ (Insert Film Name Here) 30 years ago, but I thought it royally sucked! Whatever.
In terms of The French Connection, where was the exposition? The character development and depth? The set up? Two cops are trying to shut down a French narcotics ring led by Alain Charnier. They yell at people a lot. Charnier’s minions kill people and do bad things and then get caught. Everyone runs around squawking. There was a pretty cool chase scene, but by that point, I just didn’t really care. And then (SPOILER ALERT) you don’t even find out if they caught the guy or not! You have to watch the sequel to find out.
The film did have a gritty-city look and feel to it. The shaky camera added to the tensity of the chase scenes, but this may just be another case of exhaustion. I’m part of a modern-day audience, one over-saturated with EXPLOSIONS! and car chases, and HEIST films, and double-crossing deception! In terms of action and story, I deem this Connection a missed one.
I’m taking recommendations for what Best Pic I should tap next. I really need a home-run soon. And by “home-run,” I mean motivation.
epic film quest, Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, The French Connection, William Friedkin