WD Fyfe

A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society

It’s Oscar Season…again!

I love movies.  When I’m finally convicted of a capital crime my last request on Earth is going to be dinner and a movie.   Movies are one of humanity’s last intimate experiences.  They are personal, powerful and private.  That’s why people cry at the movies.  So it’s with great sadness that I take this opportunity to bitch about the movies and all the claptrap that clings to them like smeary stuff on Velcro.  Movie people are ruining movies. 

Normally, I don’t care.  I can avoid the artful dodger directors, the over-medicated actresses and Alec Baldwin.  I wouldn’t know Scarlett Johannson, off camera, if she hit me over the head with a 2-by-4, and I like it that way.   I don’t give a rat’s buttock for camera angles and lighting.  Nobody should, unless you’re a camera angle person or a lighter-upper guy.  But every year, at this time, the Academy Awards release the names of their nominees, and the pompous asses come out to pontificate like it’s cinematographic Hallowe’en.  It’s as if we all died with a sin on our soul and Purgatory is Entertainment Tonight.

First of all, if God had a modicum of mercy, He would put a stop to all these “Gimme an Award” award shows.  By the time the Golden Globes, The Screen Actors’ Guild, The People’s Choice etc. etc. etc. etc. get around to the Oscars, every living creature from Santa Barbara to Laguna Beach has a film award.  I’m surprised that all the people accepting their awards, night after night, have any time left over to actually make movies.  It must be embarrassing:
“I got a Golden Globe!”
“Yeah?  So did Bingo, my hairdresser.”
I’ll betcha they’re using them as hood ornaments on their Hummers.  It’s like the Student-of-the-Week certificate you got in grade school.  I kept mine for a while — until I finally figured out what Mrs. Cranston was up to.

This year’s Oscar nominees are remarkably similar to last year’s nominees, and the scary part is I haven’t got a clue what this year’s nominations are all about.  I take that back.  I know there’s one where everybody talks with an English accent; you’d have to be living on Jupiter not to have heard about that one.  (I’m betting my nickels it’s Colin Firth’s turn.)  There’s one with Jeff Bridges, a remarkable actor who can actually play The Big Lebowski playing a cowboy playing John Wayne playing Rooster Cogburn.  There’s one about a true life struggle or the triumph of the human spirit or something.  There’s the perennial favourite They Came to Talk, a tale of heartwarming sadness, and then a whole pile of other ones.  Oh, yeah!  And everybody’s pissed ‘cause whatshisname didn’t get nominated, eh?  That’s par for the course.  A lot of people in this country are still mad at Hollywood because Men with Brooms never got anything.  This all sounds oh-so-catty, but, deep in your heart, you must know that the 367th running of the Academy Awards is getting a bit predictable.   And poor old Oscar is becoming woefully outgassed by all the other hardware that’s getting thrown around.

However, come February 27th, I’m going to watch — just like I do every year.  Oscar is still the Big Kahuna, Gidget, and Hollywood still makes good movies, despite what the CBC will tell you.  Of course, in recent history, I spend a bunch more time doing other things on Oscar night.  I check out the red carpet, for example, to see which bony bimbo shows up dressed as a turnip.  And I watch anxiously — all evening — to see if Johnny Depp finally achieves maximum cool and bursts into flame.  I’m getting a little tired of baby bumps, though.  Honestly, if Natalie Portman doesn’t want to practice Safe Sex, that’s her business.  And I’ve noticed it’s getting harder and harder for Sean Penn to even walk across the stage since he got that stick shoved up his ass.   Of course, that’s what’s wrong with the Oscars, isn’t it?  Movie people just take themselves too damn seriously.

Movies, films or cinema — depending on how far you went in college — are about entertainment.  Full stop.  Shakespeare knew this, centuries before he fell in love with Gwyneth Paltrow and Judi Dench got an Oscar for a walk-on Elizabeth I (who came across as M at a costume party.)  But I digress.  Shakespeare and the boys invented show business, and they knew the reason people came to the Globe Theatre.  It was because they wanted to put their mundane lives on Pause and hit Play on their imagination.  After that, you can do what you want to.  But if Hamlet’s teenage angst hadn’t captured the crowd’s imagination in the first place, we’d all be watching bear-baiting on A&E.  Trust me; that’s where Shakespeare’s audience was headed when they saw the marquee.

Acting, directing and producing movies is hard work.  The people who do it are serious.  In the main, I like their product but not every “good” movie is a Testament to the Human Condition, and not every “good” character is a reflection of all of us.  I don’t care what a director is “trying” to do, nor how many critics stick their body parts in the air, in approval.  In the end it’s all make believe.  It’s been that way since Grog the caveman played the mastodon in the original Quest for Fire.  Come on! What are the chances that Darth Vader is Luke’s Dad?  I mean, really!

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6 comments on “It’s Oscar Season…again!

  1. B.J. Vandale
    January 28, 2011

    I am not much of a movie or TV watcher and I can’t tell one actress/actor from another. That is not because I can’t see or hear, I have just lost interest in the whole movie and TV thing. In years gone by, before they decided to screw up the award shows and make a whole lot of crappy movies it was different. I keep scrapbooks of movie star pictures, I could tell you who played who in what movie. I was, at one time up-to-date on all the award shows and all the movies being made. At this time of year was the time I watched TV, every award show that was on I was there watching. Then ever so slowly they (whoever they are) started to change the whole award show format. The award shows went from two hours to four hours and you were sitting through a lot of awards that you could really care less about. Like who put the toilet paper in the stars loos. Every person that showed up got an award for something. It was in the late 80’s early 90’s, and I could be wrong on the time frame, but that is when the movies and movie award shows lost all their appeal for me. I think there is nothing like sitting and watching a real good movie and my hat goes off to all the people that are involved in making a real good movie but that same “Real Good Movie” is getting harder and harder to find. There is nothing like curling up with a good book before someone comes along and screws it up by making it into a movie.

  2. amoriarty
    January 28, 2011

    Bill, your revolutionary heart must be afire with Tunisia, Egypt etc.
    Looking forward to our Egypt commentary!

    • wdfyfe
      January 28, 2011

      moriarty you gave “us” away

  3. amoriarty
    January 28, 2011

    “your” commentary

  4. N Watt
    January 28, 2011

    I haven’t watch a movie in years, once Disney got their grubby little hands on the likes of Peter Pan, and other classic tales, I became fed up with movie makers, and actors. Let’s be honest, that whole industry consists of people getting paid big buck to do what we did as kids for free, playing lets pretend. There hasn’t been a comedy made in the last few years that was actually funny, I’m talking about those movies that made you laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes, and almost wet your pants laughing. I don’t care how many awards are given out, I wouldn’t waste my time watching any of them strut around the “red carpet”. I’m with BJ , give me a good book anytime.

  5. amoriarty
    January 29, 2011

    I stopped NOT watching awards shows a few years ago in the name of lightening up and you know what happened?—I really enjoyed them. Red carpet, gossip, artists (yes, they’re artists) taking themselves seriously and sometimes surprising us and not —-all of it’s great. Human drama, so-called light entertainment, it’s all been kicked around too much for me. And God, does anyone not like Colin Firth?

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This entry was posted on January 28, 2011 by in Social Comment and tagged , , , , .
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