One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- February: Margaret Thatcher becomes leader of the Conservative Party
- April: The Vietnam War ends as Communist forces from North Vietnam take Saigon
- November: Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain, dies
The second film to win the ‘grand slam’ at the Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (in this case adapted), Best Actor and Best Actress
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has a lot of promise, but it doesn’t quite come together. On the whole, it’s great. Funny and poignant, with a superb performance from Jack Nicholson and the ensemble cast that make up the rest of the psychiatric patients. But, the end felt severely lacking in emotional nuance. The sudden change of tone from comedy to tragedy jars horribly, particularly when the tragedy is dealt as subtly as the blow of a sledgehammer. It’s a real shame, but it truly lets down everything that comes before it.
I found One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest quite difficult to comprehend; the comedic moments often felt quite awkward given the setting and the more serious moments didn’t particularly impress me. It very much reminded me of the episodes of House when he ends up in an institution, yet with House it felt much more considered and thought provoking. There were funny moments and Jack Nicholson was pretty good, but nothing about the film stands out.
Combined rating: 5/10
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
- March: The Iraq War begins, with the invasion of Iraq by US and allied forces
- June: The US Supreme Court declares sodomy laws unconstitutional
- October: Concorde makes its last commercial flight
The Return of the King broke the record for most oscars won, when winning all nominated categories. It won 11, the previous record of 9 was set by Gigi (1958) and equalled by The Last Emperor (1987).
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is undeniably a masterpiece, and The Return of the King is a fitting finale. It’s exciting, absolutely lavish in scale and poignant. Throughout the large ensemble cast add believable performances to the deluge of special effects that help make the film visually stunning. It’s over-long ending is its singularly flaw; undoubtedly, the film should end half an hour sooner. But this isn’t enough to majorly sour a brilliant film, just prevent it from reaching the very heights of greatness that the Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers achieved before it.
I’m no Lord of the Rings obsessive; I’ve never read the books and although I’ve seen the films once before, I didn’t remember any of it (Will gave me a 2 minute intro to explain where the story was up to). That being said, I thought The Return of the King was excellent. Great battle scenes, a very strong cast and beautifully shot. The last twenty minutes felt entirely unnecessary, but the rest of the film zipped by.