A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Sunday is Oscar Night. They’ve moved it up because of A.S.F. (Award Show Fatigue.) Apparently, this is a real thing. People just get bone-ass bored with Hollywood during their Give-Me-A-Trophy season. (Who knew?) It makes sense though, after the Golden Globes, the Baftas, SAG, Critic’s Choice, Sundance, TFI, AFI and an endless stream of the usual suspects, wearing enough money to feed a Malawi family for a year, striding up to the microphone and telling the rest of us to quit voting for Trump and drinking soda pop with a straw … God, take a breath, Fyfe! You’re going to hurt yourself … It’s no wonder people tune out. I’m probably going to watch, though, because a) I’m a dinosaur b) the Academy will do a decent tribute to Kirk Douglas (more about that later) and c) despite all my complaining, I do believe movies are important.
Movies give us something we can’t find anywhere else. For example, every person on this planet has a least one movie that they simply don’t share with anyone else. It’s not secret, but it’s kinda private. It’s personal. It’s a cozy connection. It’s a few tears or a lotta laughs – just because. It’s an old lover who shows up on a stay-at-home Friday night and says, “Why don’t you slip into something more comfortable and make some popcorn? This evening’s just about the two of us.” And for a couple of hours, you totally relax because you know everything about them (including the dialogue) and they’ve seen the holes in your underwear. These movies aren’t necessarily the best or award winners or the critic’s choice, but they belong to us. They occupy a place in our psyche that we can’t explain. They are the tales of intimate strangers told to us, alone in the dark, like important whispers we need to remember.
I have several movies like this. Yeah, believe it or not, I wasn’t always the party animal you see before you. I’ve had my fair share of stay-at-home Friday nights. I’ve sailed El Carib with Captain Ron and danced with Marlene Dietrich on more than one occasion.
So, on Sunday, after the Red Carpet, I don’t really care if some guy in a tuxedo scolds me about my promiscuous use of plastic. I’m there for the movies. And when they eulogize Kirk Douglas, along with Spartacus and Paths of Glory, I hope they remember 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It’s a remarkable tale of an ocean adventure, told to a kid from the North American prairie who’d never seen the ocean.