(First posted to Bad Movie Night in 2001 or so.)
I think I know why the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences decided to give this movie the Best Picture award for 1989, ahead of such competition as Field of Dreams and Dead Poets Society:
1) A lot of Academy members are old ladies. And
2) The film hits you over the head with a big, obvious anti-racism and anti-bigotry message in its last half-hour.
Now, don't get me wrong, this film isn't BAD. It's rather enjoyable. But 1989's Best Picture? Hah. Hah, I say! HAH! How good can a movie be if it has Dan Akroyd in it, and Akroyd DOESN'T get to act like Elwood Blues or Ray Stanz? And how good can it be when you can't understand half of the things Morgan Freeman is saying?
I know from his other work that Morgan Freeman is fully capable of delivering his lines in a clear and cogent manner. But in this film, his character's southern accent, southern vocabulary, and intentional mumbling and slurring together of his words leads to dialog such as this:
MISS DAISY: I don't want to be driven anywhere.I'm glad I learned how to work my TV's closed captioning.
FREEMAN: We goan heppin' wif de bane pone.
MISS DAISY: I didn't ask for your services.
FREEMAN: Rang lansum oatman sookles.
Oh, and one other gripe (spoiler warning!): The movie starts out in 1948, and follows its characters through the next 18 years. How come Miss Daisy, who already looks like an old lady in 1948, doesn't appear to age ONE DAY until she suddenly goes senile near the end? Akroyd ages. Freeman ages. Miss Daisy is apparently an ever-living vampire of some sort. I suggest we storm her castle and drive a stake through her heart, as soon as we're done with Dick Clark.
ADDENDUM (2013): Going back and reading this review again after the intervening decade, it seems that somebody in that time must have taken my advice and destroyed the Picture of Dorian Gray that was keeping Dick Clark young-looking all those years. Pity it came at the cost of a stroke and a subsequent fatal heart attack.
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