Sunday, February 24, 2008


I tuned into the Academy Awards show for 5 minutes after "The Wire" was over, and apparently the French have taken over: Ratatouille and some French actress (who portrayed Edith Piaf) won?! Absurd, and I won't stand for it. Actually, I don't give a shit, I would have turned it off anyway. I know the Coen Brothers and Danny-Day are going to win anyway. Yawn.

I used to watch the Oscars every year and even attended parties, but now I'm really no longer interested. In fact, for the first time in many years I haven't even seen any of the movies nominated for Best Picture. The only nominated movies that I've seen were Into the Wild (which I despised, and which also reminds me of a bad date I went on), and Ratatouille. (I saw the latter with my nieces a few weeks ago, but only because I bought the DVD for them for Christmas. It's a shame that they introduced the Best Animated Film category so it didn't get nominated for Best Picture. Yes, I'm serious.) Regardless, I officially don't give a Pixar-animated rat's ass who wins what golden, glorified personality contest trophy. I just heard about how the Hollywood writers' were getting the shaft, now I have to watch these same guys patting each other on the backs? Forget it. Oh, and fuck James Mangold.

Maybe I'm just getting more jaded in my old age (d'ya think?) but I find very few movies that are worth my $10.50 (and rising). I tried to go see a matinee of No Country for Old Men the other morning only to find that it had only one showing at 4 PM; however, I could go to any one of 12 showings of the new Larry the Cable Guy "offering" instead. This is the problem with the current movie landscape: the divide between genres has never been greater, as it seems like there are either "Oscar" movies or "escapism" (action/comedy/kids) movies, the latter financing the former. Blame it on Lucas/Spielberg and the rise of the blockbuster, but things like "marketing", "focus groups" and "financial viability" have more to do with what gets greenlighted and shoveled into multiplexes than actual creative decisions made by the studios.

Why is it that the quality movies don't get showcased as robustly as the mass-market ones? For every No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood trailer I've seen, I've had to endure about 100 various ads for Jumper and Transformers, and I don't think I've seen trailers for the other 3 nominated movies more than once or twice. The main problem is that movies that make a lot of money don't win Oscars, possibly because of snobbish voter backlash ("if so many people enjoy it, there's no way it can be good"). Usually, only 1 out of the top 10 is even considered worthy for best picture; this year, that number was zero. In fact, the only #1 top grossing films to win the Best Picture award in the past 20 years were Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003), Titanic (1997), Forrest Gump (1994), and Rain Man (1988). (Okay, I'll cut Spielberg a break: in 1998, Saving Private Ryan got screwed by Shakespeare in Love. But fuck Lucas, who long ago stopped directing movies and decided to just sit back and cash the checks.)

So when was the last time all 5 nominees were also among the Top 10 grossing films? 1970, just before the blockbuster era was ushered in, and Spielberg's Jaws and Lucas' Star Wars were just mere gleams in their directors' eyes. Why am I mentioning this? I don't know. I just wanted to say that there will be no Oscars show for me, I'm too old to care.

No comments: