My wife and I enjoy films. We have not seen as many in the past several years, but we have seen the two main contenders for best picture (if Drudge's link can be believed). Here are some comments on "The Aviator" and "Million Dollar Baby":
This film gives the viewer a window into Howard Hughes' life from the time of his early 20s, filming his extremely expensive "Hell's Angels" film about WWI pilots, to his Senate battles and successfully flying the famous "Spruce Goose" for the only time. Leonardo DiCaprio is excellent in the film, and I am a person who despised Titanic. Cate Blanchett, as a young Katherine Hepburn, is dynamic in the role and convincing.
In the film, Hughes is a brilliant man, a clear visionary and patriot, but mentally conflicted with an obsessive-compulsive disorder that practically destroys him. My wife did a good amount of research online after seeing the film to find out more about Hughes. The film does not address his childhood, his parents, or his sad end in a Las Vegas hotel. However, the performances are rich and the story compelling.
The Million Dollar Baby
If you loved "Unforgiven," then you will love "Million Dollar Baby." It almost seems as a modern day version of "Unforgiven," with Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman playing similar roles as before. Instead of an old retired gunslinger out to fight one last battle with his willing sidekick, played by Morgan Freeman, Mr. Eastwood plays a boxing trainer agreeing to train his last boxer, Hillary Swank. Mr. Freeman narrates the film and pushes Clint's character to train a "girl". The film, like Unforgiven, has a morality tale focus, though it does the best job of any film I have seen explaining boxing.
I disagree strongly with the moral conclusions that Mr. Eastwood's character and Hillary Swank's character choose. However, it does deal honestly with the struggle they face. Hillary Swank deserves a best actress Oscar for her role. She is extremely believable as an aspiring boxer.
I lean towards "Million Dollar Baby" even though I disagree with its ultimate moral reasoning. There is more to this film to digest and reflect on, and I believe it will be the more enduring picture.
If I could nominate a film that I enjoyed the most, with a great family story and wonderful character development and action, it would go to Pixar's "The Incredibles". As Roger L. Simon says (who actually voted):
To be fair, I should have voted for The Incredibles number one for Best Picture, because I am sure in future years it will be the most watched movie of 2004.
I agree wholeheartedly.