#91 – Sophie’s Choice (1982) vs. The Apartment (1960)
Note to self: Do not watch Sophie’s Choice the same week as losing a close family member. Or any other week.
The movie is sad. Like, rip your heart out of your chest so you never have to feel this much pain again, sad. Piercing to watch from beginning to end. What is Sophie’s “choice”? (spoiler alert) The biggest is having to choose, as she arrives at a concentration camp, which of her two young children will be executed immediately and which will be sent to the children’s camp.
But the movie is also about Sophie’s other choices: staying with her abusive lover, not telling of her family’s anti-Semitic views, her refusal to grasp the new beginning offered to her, and finally, her decision to kill herself. A fun romp.
But despite the fact I NEVER EVER EVER want to see this movie again, Meryl Streep deserved the Best Actress Oscar she won for this film. Plus every other actress award in the known universe. Seriously, she was that good.
The Apartment I had also never seen before. Billy Wilder’s follow up to Some Like it Hot, it is a comedy that forgets it is a comedy part way through, but then remembers again by the end. It won Best Picture in 1960, surprising given the themes of the film: adultery, attempted suicide and more adultery.
Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacClaine were nominated for Best Actor/Actress although neither won (a fact Kevin Spacey found so upsetting he dedicated his 2000 win for American Beauty to Lemmon’s performance). And they both were really good, although neither Streep’s caliber.
But on to Janie’s Choice: On the surface the decision is between Sophie and The Apartment. But really my choice is: do I pick the movie I enjoyed more or the movie I think is better? I definitely enjoyed The Apartment more, but Sophie’s Choice kept me on edge. So I’m going to go with Sophie.
So after 10 movies into the showdown, AFI is ahead 8 films to IMDb’s 2. So far I’m pretty steadily agreeing with “da scholars” rather than “da masses”:
|AFI’s Top 100||IMDb’s Top 100 (as of 1/1/12)|
|#91||Sophie’s Choice (1982)||The Apartment (1960)|
|#92||Up (2009)||Goodfellas (1990)|
|#93||The French Connection (1971)||Downfall (2004)|
|#94||Pulp Fiction (1994)||Gran Torino (2008)|
|#95||The Last Picture Show (1971)||Metropolis (1927)|
|#96||Do The Right Thing (1989)||The Sting (1973)|
|#97||Blade Runner (1982)||Gladiator (2000)|
|#98||Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)||The Maltese Falcon (1941)|
|#99||Toy Story (1995)||Unforgiven (1992)|
|#100||Ben Hur (1959)||The Elephant Man (1980)|
Next week is Astaire and Rogers’ Swing Time vs. The Bicycle Thief (Adam’s all-time favorite movie, if I’m not mistaken). I might be persuaded to vote for Swing just to see Adam’s head explode.