February 22, 2001

Naked Gold Men and Stuff

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And the winners are … who? I am beginning to wonder who has their thumbs in the butts of the Oscar nominators. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Gladiator were both excellent movies. The latter was a great epic thriller — as oh so many reviewers love to classify it — a nonsense category that is reserved for the Oscar potentials. But it is also a movie based on realistic events, with some touches of the modernity and incest that always go a long way with the college viewer. Well, I thought it was cool. But Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was too powerful not to love.

I seem to remember writing a Rant about two weeks ago cursing reality gone creative. But in this movie, with constant scenes of tree-jumping and roof flying, there is still a story that is incredibly well written, with a few 10-minute scenes of perfectly choreographed fighting (or was there some computer enhancement?).

After pulling the thumb out of my own ass, I would have to give the Oscar to this Taiwanese picture, and yet, I know it would get the same shaft that Life is Beautiful got. The Academy calls its voters “the ablest artists and craftsmen in the motion picture world.” I call them American patriot wanna-bes that couldn’t bear to give a Best Picture Oscar to a foreign film.

Did the Academy say to Life is Beautiful: “Hey, we already gave the Holocaust an Oscar, let’s just give Benigni his due and call it a night?” No, of course not. But I feel the Academy Awards are just a stand-up comedy act. And I am not talking about the stupid one-liners that come out of the presenters’ mouths as they half-ass the bits off the teleprompters. I’m certainly not talking about the Billy Crystal skits that are the only highlight of yet another boring night in Hollywood.

No, I am talking about the joke that is the naked gold statue that goes to the winner who deserves nothing.

Let’s take Traffic for example, a movie I somewhat liked, but understand is nominated for an Oscar because it is a patriotic piece of garbage that shows drugs are a problem. Thanks for the information, but Cornell has enough sex that I don’t need to see fifteen sex scenes between drug dealers and the poor rich kids of Columbus, Ohio.

I have to say that Clooney was excellent in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and his cold shoulder from the Oscars seems to tell me that they still have no admiration for the television actor turned movie star. He is a deserved actor that played the role he was given well. You can’t pick at a Coen brother movie, since it isn’t meant to involve thinking; it is meant to entertain without the scrutiny.

Give Russell Crowe the Oscar. I think we’ve had enough of Tom Hanks’ roles being force-fed to us with spoons of sorrow and amazement. Oh no, poor Tom! The poor guy is in a movie that has him as the sole living attraction on the screen for more than an hour.

I didn’t really mean for this to be a review of the Oscar nominations, but maybe it turned out that way. Forget it, the $9.50 I pay to see a movie at Lincoln Square in Manhattan is a waste of money anyway. I’d rather spend it paying off bartenders.

Archived article by Josh Plotnik