Hindsight is 20/20, but my word does this movie feel like it was based on a play.  The biggest reason Proof failed (well, other than me not being cast as an extra) is that it basically was a filmed version of the play.  Not a knock against plays, they are just a different animal than movies.  Not saying movies need to be expansive, Driving Miss Daisy just lacked a certain…cinematic quality.  The disjointedness of the scenes, for example.  Or the way we are told and not shown too many things.  Mostly, though, the way that nothing really happens.

Not that I disliked the movie.  I wouldn’t say it was moving, but it was certainly entertaining.  I mean, shoot, any movie starring Morgan Freeman has better than even odds of being good, right?  Obviously, it is a defining role for him, one that set the tone for his roles ever since.  And sure, he’s amazing in it.  But to be honest, I kinda wish he was given more.  At least, less Bagger Vance, and more a character with some sort of depth.  Because any depth I saw was a direct result of the awesomeness that is Morgan Freeman.  Same goes for Jessica Tandy.  Her character wasn’t terribly notable to me, but I wouldn’t mess with her.

Call me crazy, but the standout in the movie, in my mind, was Dan Aykroyd.  He was nominated for an Oscar for the role, and you know the Academy absolutely dreaded having to do that.  Again, the character wasn’t terribly interesting, but it just seemed to fit Aykroyd like a glove.  Mostly a straight man to a dominant (though not domineering) mother, he had Southern charm, a little guy-next-door-who happens to own a factory, and sure, a few laughs.  In some ways, he’s the linchpin of the movie, bringing everything back to reality, and acting as a relief from seeing Freeman and Tandy square off.

1989 had a rather diverse set of Oscar-nominated movies.  Check them out.  I kinda feel like doing this blog during late 1989 would have been all sorts of fun.  I’ll save my gushing for another post, but it is safe to say I would have been dismayed at Driving Miss Daisy’s haul.  The movie is solid, and certainly watchable, but I can’t imagine telling someone they need to see it.  I totally get the Oscar appeal: Morgan Freeman, old respected lady, and it is “weighty” because it is historical, it deals with racism (but the toned down everybody is happy kind), and was based off a play.  Still, as is more often the case than not, the Academy got this decision wrong.  Driving Miss Daisy is a good film, but not a special one.

Trailer after the jump.

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