Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"I Don't Go to Movies to Think!"

I'd been festering all day to write a rebuttal against the carping criticisms about the Oscars, mainly by news pundits and sportscasters (one of whom is quoted in my post heading and pictured above) and other wanks who know nothing about movies. And I still might, but Nathaniel R. over at The Film Experience has already pretty thoroughly covered the bases (excerpts below, edited grammatically in a few spots -- sorry, can't help myself):

On audiences:
"There will be more articles....about the Oscars' low ratings this year, the lowest ever, and more misleading attacks on how they've lost touch. And sure, Oscar could use some lightening up. But Jesus, the public's taste lacks for variety. The public is even more narrow-minded in their favoritism than Oscar is in theirs....And why does no one stop to consider that Oscar mostly honors movies made for adults and box office mostly honors movies made for kids?"

On media complicity:
"But again... this whole 'I've never heard of that!' complaint is silliness and it's part of the widening problem of a press that wants to constantly butter up and infantilize the masses, feeding them the line that they're always right. Information is so easy to get now. Everything is literally a mouse click away. You haven't heard of that movie? Look it up, you damn lazy fool."

On nominated movies:
"So why do so many articles try to widen the gap and reinforce the perception that people don't see/aren't seeing the Best Picture nominees? Wouldn't the media at large benefit from a public that was more interested in exploring the arts and not just sitting there like lumps being force fed whichever movies had the highest ad budgets? Compounding the problem is that the media is so selective and hypocritical about how they bitch about this public/Oscar disconnect....This year Juno is a smash and No Country For Old Men has done very solid business....If you ask me There Will Be Blood has done terrific business for what it is. It's a truly challenging, almost alien movie."

On the Oscars themselves:
"Somewhere and probably thousands of somewheres in the world, young kids and even some sheltered adults are hearing about great movies that they might never have heard about otherwise if it weren't for this popularity contest that looks beyond superheroes and anthropomorphic animals."

Read the whole thing; it's worth your while. Meantime, I'll be fretting like Claude Rains in Casablanca over this year's acting winners: "I am shocked -- shocked! -- to find that foreigners have taken home gold statues...."


Rene said...

Can't imagine anybody being surprised by the success of the 2007 foreign stars. For many years, Katherine Hepburn was the only non-foreign star that could upstage them.
I see no reason for panic. Our actors have come a long ways since the Hepburn era.

Chet Mellema said...

I've heard Golic say the "I don't go to movies to think" line a number of times. His level of intellectual disengagement is remarkable.

Don't get me wrong, I love a mindless good time at the theatre every now and then as well, but to not be able to even acknowledge there is another side to the story boggles my mind.

And thanks for the link to the Film Experience write-up...I enjoyed it.

Craig said...

Rene: I do remember one Oscars several years ago -- the "Sense and Sensibility" year, I believe --when the majority of the nominees were Brits. Like this year, it was a fluke occurrence. Dunno if others feel this way, but I agree that American actors are better than ever, even if their roles aren't.

Chet: I think Golic is a smart guy who knows his audience. Sometimes he betrays his blue-collar jock persona in unwitting ways, like recently while unmanning one of his colleagues that featured mention of the movie "Tootsie," Golic suddenly stopped and said, "By the way -- 'Tootsie.' Good movie!"

Chet Mellema said...

Craig, you're giving him WAY too much credit. Even if Tootsie was a good movie, Golic likely only recognized it as something that may provide him some level of street cred with those among us who may actually enjoy going to the movies to 'think.' Oh well, I applaud him for (hopefully) having seen it and potentially appreciated it's subtleties.

Thanks again for the post. Keep up the good work.

Craig said...

Thanks, Chet. I wasn't giving Golic credit, though. Just showing how machismo can unintentionally show its flipside.

Rene said...

To quote a small part of Nathaniel R's excellent post: "box office mostly honors movies made for kids?'. Golic quote in your post heading "I Don't Go to Movies to Think!" sounds like an adult who is still a kid.

Kim said...

Higher Oscar ratings could be achieved by subtracting the adult Golic type.