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.

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)

A famous war drama that is actually about something more interesting, told on a grand scale by David Lean and bunch of great actors.

INTOLERANCE (1916)

Maybe the first big blockbuster, somehow still leaving viewers flabbergasted a century later. Also one long missive about “cancel culture,,” basically.

RYAN’S DAUGHTER (1970)

Lots of beautiful Irish locations can’t save a movie that is incredibly long for the amount of story it has and includes a series of truly awful performances.