"Better than 'Goodfellas.'" That's the thing I always remember every time I think about 'Dances with Wolves,' the 1990 Best Picture and Best Director winner over Martin Scorsese's gangland opus. At the time of both of their release, I was only about 14 years old, but thanks in no small part to some of my considerably more astute classmates, even then Kevin Costner's win seemed inappropriate or unworthy. Mind you, the film obviously had many, many fans, and its epic sweep was always undeniably impressive, but given the fact that Scorsese was beat out of an Oscar ten years earlier by another first-time filmmaker, Robert Redford, for 'Ordinary People,' by 1990 it seemed like the guy who already made 'Taxi Driver' and 'Raging Bull' and 'The Last Temptation of Christ' was long overdue for some recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
On Tuesday, Fox Home Entertainment released the Extended Edition of 'Dances with Wolves' on Blu-ray. With Oscar nominations looming on the horizon, it seemed like a good time to go back and see if the film continues to live on as a testament to Kevin Costner's forward-thinking vision (much less commercial heyday, much less the Sioux nation's perseverance and endurance as an embodiment of nobility). As such, 'Dances with Wolves' is the subject of this week's "Shelf Life."