Monday, February 29, 2016

waking up to the Oscar results

How about that: Best Picture went to a movie I saw and actually liked, as opposed to the expected winner of a movie I wouldn't see on a bet. This is only the second time the former has happened so far in the 21st century, as opposed to the latter which has happened eight times. (The other six were somewhere in between: two I saw and thought tolerable, two I saw and didn't much like, one I turned off, and one I'd be willing to see but never have.)

Two I saw and liked: Spotlight, Argo (I'm not comparing these in quality, except that I enjoyed watching both. And to which I could add, just over the century's edge, Shakespeare in Love, one of my favorite movies of all time and one of only three in that category ever to win Best Picture, the other two being Driving Miss Daisy and The Sting)
Eight I wouldn't see on a bet: Birdman (sounds weird, and not in a good way), 12 Years a Slave (torture porn), The Hurt Locker (I filled my quota of movies about Iraq with Three Kings), Slumdog Millionaire (just does not sound appealing), No Country for Old Men (sounds way too gruesome), The Departed (gangster movies are one of the two genres I just won't watch), Crash (sounds way too violent), Million Dollar Baby (and boxing movies is the other genre). Note that this is my decision about what I want to spend my entertainment time on, and this is entertainment time, not a political or artistic judgment. I am not disputing these movies' quality, or their importance, or whether anybody else might want to see them. And it's not that I avoid movies on difficult or painful topics: didn't I just praise Spotlight? I would also give thumbs-up to Brokeback Mountain and Mystic River among Best Picture near-misses, among others. But I'm not going to see a movie just because the topic is important or meaningful.
Two I saw and thought tolerable: The King's Speech, Gladiator (both pseudo-historicals, a genre I have a weakness for)
Two I saw and didn't much like: The Artist (mannered and vaguely repulsive), The Return of the King (which I only watched because I felt obliged to see it on the grounds of "know thine enemy")
One I turned off: Chicago (I'd hoped its being a musical would overcome my distaste at everything else about it. It didn't.)
One I'd be willing to see but never have: A Beautiful Mind

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