We gave it a B+
”Every man dies,” opined William Wallace, the condemned Scottish rebel in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. ”Not every man really lives.” It’s not the best motto for those hoping to appear in the sequel, but it’s a proven strategy for Best Picture glory. Oscar has a weakness for heartbreaking tragedy, exemplified by the seven films in Paramount/DreamWorks’ Best Picture Collection (R/PG-13/PG; 18 hrs., 15 mins.; 1972-2000). Titanic isn’t the same film if Jack and Rose survive to become king and queen of the world, and Gladiator‘s totally different if Maximus goes on to lead a military junta. Just imagine if The Godfather‘s Sonny Corleone remembers to bring his E-ZPass. The Academy, it seems, demands a sacrifice, be it Forrest Gump’s beloved Jenny or American Beauty‘s rejuvenated sad sack Lester Burnham (played by Kevin Spacey). (Look no further than all five nominees for this year’s Best Picture.) Unlike Forrest’s box of chocolates, you know exactly what you’re getting with this collection: indelible characters, iconic imagery, and the grim reaper. And even though a few of the titles (like Terms of Endearment) skimp on the extras, all seven Oscar winners have a long and rewarding shelf life.