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Defend This Movie: Gladiator

We all love things that others love to hate, whether it's a Counting Crows CD you can't get rid of or your "Degrassi Junior High" boxed set. Now I'm giving you a chance to explain yourselves in a new feature called Defend This.

In honor of the fast-approaching 2007 Oscars, I'm devoting this week's Defend This to a recent Best Picture winner that I find baffling: Ridley Scott's Gladiator. Not only did this movie take the top prize at the 2001 Oscars, but Russell Crowe also won Best Actor, beating out Ed Harris for Pollock and Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls. More tragically, what was basically a mediocre action movie set in ancient Rome beat out the far worthier Traffic and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Now, I know many of you are probably saying to yourselves, "Hey, I liked Gladiator!" Great! But can you justify its winning a Best Picture Oscar? If so, tell me below. Now, on your marks, get set, defend!

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Fergie-Ferg Fergie-Ferg 10 years
I'm eternally pissed-off that Joaquin didn't win.
sragan5 sragan5 10 years
Gladiator was a magnificent movie. It was a thow-back to the movie greats like Spartacus and Ben Hur. Except that it was a movie for our time. The story line, a profoundly intimate one of revenge and redemption, hit hard, especially when it received it's many just accolades at the academy awards just after 911. The production value was beautiful, the photography gorgeous. Many complained about the special effects, but they only seemed to enhance what was already nearly flawless. Having been to the Roman colliseum some years back, it was startling to me the look and feel of it when Maximus entered that huge arena. I felt that Ridley Scott had transported me back in time. He truely deserved best director for all the blood sweat and tears he put into that movie. And then you wonder how any actor could step up to the challenge of making this huge canvas of Roman society come to life. It may have been an all star cast, but their characters absorbed them and you only saw Marcus Aurelius, Juba, Proximo, Lucilla, Commodus, and the heroic Maximus Decimus Meridius. The interplay of sadly flawed and treacherous Commodus against the charasmatic, strong, and heroic Maximus was extraordinary. But in the end, the success or failure of this film laid on the very broad shoulders of Russell Crowe. He gave a riveting performance, and because of him, Maximus became a genuine larger-than-life hero, and Gladiator became a modern classic.
amaximus26 amaximus26 10 years
GLADIATOR... My favourite movie of all time. I have watched it dozens of times (I can't remember exactly how many). Which motives provoke my fascination for it?: Its heroic story, great script, convincing and passionate characters, captivating music, spectacular production, magnificent performances, incredible reconstruction of the Imperial Rome, amazing action scenes, impressive costume, careful details (in spite the detractors that have wasted their time, enumerating technical mistakes), fabulous visual and sound effects, the smart direction of Ridley Scott, the values and principles that it transmits... Every time I watch it, I feel a different emotion and I always find a new detail, a meaningful word, an expression that amaze me... With Gladiator, I have return to my childhood dreams, when I enjoy watching the epic stories of heroes with principles. And...MAXIMUS is MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER ON THE FICTION. IT'S A PITY THAT HE HAS NOT REALLY EXISTED, BECAUSE A MAN LIKE HIM SHOULD DESERVE TO HAVE BEEN OF FLESH AND BONE. HIS PRESENCE SHOCKED ME, SINCE THE FIRST TIME I WATCHED GLADIATOR. I LEARNT TO KNOW HIM, TO ADMIRE HIM AND OF COURSE, I COULD NOT STOP LOVING HIM. WHY?. BECAUSE HE INCARNATES THE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES THAT I LOOK FOR IN EVERYONE: INTEGRITY, HONESTY, MORAL AUTHORITY, COURAGE, HONOUR, STRENGTH, A DEEP SENSE OF DUTY, LOYALTY, AND AN INFRANGIBLE LOVE FOR YOUR FAMILY AND HOME. HE HAS CAUSED A DEEP AND PERPETUAL IMPRESSION ON ME. I THANK WHOEVER IMAGINED HIM AND MADE HIM COME TRUE ON THE SCREEN.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
Joaquin Phoenix was good in this movie....but I thought he was better in 'Quills.' He should have been nominated for that instead, and both films were released the same year. I have to say my dad loves this movie, and I enjoy watching it with him. So whether people argue about it, it reminds me of good times watching it with him. I heard from a friend in the DVD version there is a scene where someone is fed to a tiger. If that's the case, I'm glad it didn't make the final cut.
bfly1133 bfly1133 10 years
Well, I will try to defend it. I happen to love this movie myself! To me this movie is much more than your average action flick. It had emotional depth on every level. You had revenge on the part of Maximus, a gripping family dynamic carried by Mr. Phoenix, and each supporting character was three dimensional. You rarely see that in even the best films. Even though you disliked some of the characters, you understood them and still had feeling for them. The music was gripping and passioniate. The director of photography captured the supernatural and earthly parts of the story in a brilliant way. It was dreamy and surreal, but the average film goer was able to understand it. The script was solid, the colors were moving, and the images still stand out in my mind. What I loved most about this movie was that it was both a commerical and critical success. The Academy has tended to favor only dramtic pieces, and this was an exception to the rule that I found very appealing. So that's my story and I am sticking to it! :)
girodet girodet 10 years
I can't defend this movie. It really didn't deserve the top Oscar prize. Personally, I thought the filming of the battle scenes was awful. However, for some reason, everyone loved the cinematography. I found it annoyingly jerky. I think it speaks to the male gender more. It was saturated with testosterone. Traffic was a monumental movie that lambasted the war on drugs.
code-monkey code-monkey 10 years
The movie had decent symbolism, although I thought it was pretty obvious (fields of wheat, fields of wheat...and, one more now, fields of wheat). Everything else was pretty mediocre as I recall. You'll get no defense from me. I'm much more eager to see 300.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
Joaquin Phoenix was outstanding in an otherwise mediocre film. I agree with brazilnut, though: the cinemaphotagraphy was outstanding. And Russell Crowe, though not great, was good.
Jinx Jinx 10 years
I think Benicio DelToro won for Supporting Actor for Traffic. I didn't have a problem with that, but then I love Benny the Bull. :D ------------------------------------------------------ I'm so happy cause today I've found my friends, They're in my head - Kurt
yiddidea yiddidea 10 years
I agree that Joaquin stole this movie and deserved the Oscar. I can't remember now who won over him... I think this film was well made and there were strong acting performances from all of the main cast, notably Connie Nielsen and Djimon Hinsou. Russell Crowe, while he slipped into his Aussie accent a few times, carried the emotional weight of the film well and created a hero we wanted to see win. I thought Traffic was a good film, but not the masterpeice everyone else saw. As for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, it should have won the cinematography award but not best picture.
Jinx Jinx 10 years
I can't defend this film. It was sooo predictable. ------------------------------------------------------ I'm so happy cause today I've found my friends, They're in my head - Kurt
brazilnut brazilnut 10 years
Gladiator in all it's mediocracy fulfilled "an eye for an eye". People related to the very basic human nature appeal that the bad guy got finished off at the hands of the good (and sexy in the hulking, sweaty sense) guy. Not to mention the cinemaphotagraphy was outstanding. In my humble opinion, Joaquin Phoenix was the real star of this movie, his performance was chilling and definitely Oscar worthy.
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