Sunday, February 22, 2009
Yes, I will be watching...
Thought the show was really great! Best one in years. Three things:
#1- If they care about the value of the broadcast show, they need to ditch the awards that are not relevant to mainstream movie goers. They should always award and recognize folks like SOUND MIX EDITORS and such, but just like they give out technical awards off camera and at a different ceremony, the more techy awards really need to happen off camera (again, assuming they want to boost the ratings and make the show itself more entertaining). I love the movies, have relatives who work behind the scenes, and respect the behind the scene jobs immensely and I don't even want to watch that shit.
#2-Replace those more technical awards with a few more mainstream awards. It was nice to see some airtime given to the less arty flicks. And as Will Smith said, the action movies (or the comedies or horror flicks,etc) have many, many fans. It only makes sense that if you want to bring more folks to the show, you should focus more on the movies that millions of people actually love. I'm not saying change the voting process to make sure flicks like KING FU PANDA make it into the BEST ACTOR and BEST PICTURE categories. I am saying that the academy needs to invent a few new awards such as: BEST COMEDY, BEST ACTION MOVIE, MOST ENTERTAINING, A PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST PICTURE,etc. Every one of those I would stay tuned for and be eager to see who won. And what would be so bad about adding a few extra awards? Those are valid categories and don't take away from the main BEST PICTURE category at all (at least not to me).
#3- Wow, my boyhood idol- Steven Spielberg- is looking old. Which is very weird for two reasons:
a- when you see you childhood heroes age it makes you feel old and makes you realize that we're all only here for a finite amount of time. This- obviously- is obvious. But when you see it laid out like that, with Spielberg kind of limping (it seemed...or shuffling or something odd in his walk) onto stage with his unkempt Einstein hair and very, very white hair and beard it just hit home for me....
b- He's only like 61 or 62. My dad is 82 and looks more full of life and energy that Steven Spielberg. Maybe he just had the flu or something because he just seemed- for the first time that I've ever seen him- to have lost a bit of the sparkle behind the eye. Maybe all the funding issues with his new company have taken a toll. Maybe he's still kicking himself for Crystal Skull (he should be ... :) )....
I have a love/hate thing with the Academy Awards.
As a kid, I looked at Hollywood (movie directors and writers and other behind the scenes folks) as a window into what my adult life would be like: a glamorous, exciting, and rewarding window into what I was 100% sure was my future.
As an adult, working in a creative industry, having won some awards in my industry, and having seen our pervasive tabloid culture give rise to the obliteration of Hollywood's magic, the reason I now watch the Oscars has changed. These days- depending on my mood- I watch the Oscars for one of the following three reasons:
REASON #1: Nostalgia- As a kid, the Oscars were my Super Bowl. It's fun to think back to those early morning band rehearsals where I would sit with my equally obsessed film buddy Jay while we poured over the just announced nominations that had come out at 5am that morning. It's fun to recall obsessing over the Oscar ballot in USA TODAY that I would carry around in my pocket and study during lunch, arguing with friends over who would and should win. It's fun to recall how excited I was to enter into the movie business and entertain the world with the movies I would make one day. And it's fun to dip myself in the 'magic waters' of nostalgia (as James Earl Jones says in Field Of Dreams) that bring me back to the days where I was sure I would become the next Steven Spielberg*. What a great, sustaining fantasy that was, back when I really needed it the most!
REASON #2: Mocking- it's fun to shout at the tv and make fun of how self-important and full of shit many of the folks on stage and in the audience seem to be (Sean Penn proclaiming that ,"Jude Law is one of our finest actors" was bad enough, but then the entire audience applauding like this is some sort of 'true dat'/'it's about fucking time someone trumpeted the brilliance that is Jude Law' kind of statement?!?!...or the 'All Hail King Jack Nicolson as he holds court!' cut aways that we get every fucking year and the host always kissing his ass while 'King Jack' just sits there in his shades and nods and smiles as if to say, "I am the Godfather of this town!"...ugg, how I fucking hate that shit)! But now look, I love the movies. Love them! Depending on the day, they are my #1 or #2 favorite form of entertainment (movies swap places with video games depending on what I am watching/playing). So movies- for me- are gold. And I am so happy there are people who are great at making the movies that entertain the world. BUT so often you just want to punch these fucktards in the mouth when they go on and on about the magic of their medium. Or the glamour of their town or of their lives. Or how if you just dream big enough, you can be just like them! Or how they- too- were once little kids prenteding to give an Oscar acceptance speech in the bathroom mirror with a tube of toothpaste subbing in for the Oscar statue. Oh Jeeze. Oh Blechh!
Oh and that "Blechh" sound? In case you were wondering, that was me puking. Because how many magical movies hit in a year? 1-3, at best? And as for the life of glamor? Well you know good and well that these celebrity's lives are just as normal/exciting/boring/mundane/magical as our own lives and yet they insist on perpetuating this damaging fantasy of glamor and godhood in order to...what? Convince themselves that their normal life IS actually unique? Create a persona that will help them sell more movie tickets, but in the process continue to damage society by presenting false images of what life is actually like? I dunno...I- clearly- got a real issue with this issue. And it comes to full bloom on Oscar night. And so I tend to shout at the tv. A lot. It's good fun :)
REASON #3: Fantasy- With all that said, it's still fun to kick back at the end of the day and watch the beautiful people walk the red carpet as the warm California sun bathes them in its glow; as people scream their names and rush to get interviews; as we get to see modern versions of fairy tales come to life, where nothing goes wrong for these people, they always look great, everyone always loves them, life is exciting, and there is no reason to ever fear anything. I know it's all bullshit, but just for a few moments amid the 3-4 hour show, I get to indulge in the fantasy that all is well. And the ironic part is, all IS well. But you only end up knowing that if you leave the fantasy behind, live in the real world, and realize that it's actually not so scary after all. But that takes work...and that's hard. So for a few hours, it's fun to imagine the alternative.
So I'm gonna go spin and get some exercise, then do some work on the game for a few hours, and then plop my ass in front of the tv, a pizza slice in one hand and my Tivo remote in the other (I sure as SHIT don't watch the Oscars without 30-45 minutes of buffer on the hard drive that lets me skip the boring shit). Hope you guys/gals- who choose to watch- dig the show!
*NOTE: I still think dreaming HUGE is important...nothing wrong with those sorts of goals, but I think you gotta plot your own course/walk your own path versus shooting to live someone else's already spoken for life. As Oprah Winfrey likes to say, "There can only be one Oprah, and I already have that job and I do it very well".