ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (1984)

A nearly four-hour period gangster movie that represented the culmination of director Sergio Leone’s career. It is also a super weird movie.

BARRY LYNDON (1975)

Stanley Kubrick’s period epic tells the life story of a 1700s rogue with spectacular visuals and a maximum of emotional detachment.

EXCALIBUR (1981)

With King Arthur back in theaters, we revisit this tonally wild epic 1980s masterpiece (??) for the Arthurian completist.

GIANT (1956)

This sweeping story of a huge Texas cattle ranch over several decades lives up to its name, but I think falls short of its clear ambition to be “Gone With the Wind, but as a Western.”

SOLARIS (1972)

A heavily influential Soviet sci-fi epic that takes a lot of patience from the viewer to get to its basic message: no matter how far we go, we’ll never be able to escape our own humanity.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915)

It’s the very first blockbuster, but unfortunately I can’t emphasize enough how racist it is. However racist you think it is, it is way more racist than that.

DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990)

Probably the best known movie about Native Americans, directed by and starring a very laconic white guy who I’m not sure can actually act. But I think it mostly works?

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)

An epic of Russian history that’s more interested in its central love dodecahedron than it is in Russian history, a fact that leaves me wondering what the point of it all is.

THE LAST EMPEROR (1987)

Our Forgotten Best Pictures Film Festival closes with an interesting epic about the final emperor of China, who lived a fascinating life despite lacking any personal agency whatsoever.