So many big announcements in the last couple of weeks, so little time to make snide comments about them.
In an act of pure optimism (or pure marketing, depending on which side of the film-buff/film-industry-cog line of demarcation you lie on) the Academy has decided to give us ten nominees for best picture this year. While most of us may be hard-pressed to even name ten decent movies that came out last year, Hollywood tells us they had to double the number of nominees just to squeeze in all that high-quality entertainment they’ve been milling.
In no particular order, we have…
District 9 // I hate it when movie critics complain about plots holes. When they do, it’s usually a sure sign that they don’t even know what a plot is, let alone what a hole in one might look like. I won’t try to claim there are all sorts of plot holes in District 9, but there are gaps in logic you can drive a truck (or, indeed, a convoy of eighteen wheelers) through. While everyone was being dazzled by seamless special effects that gave the film a documentary level of realism, no one seemed to notice all the questions about the basic premise of the story that went flying by unanswered. Maybe a sequel can spend an hour or so of its running time explaining all the stuff that didn’t make any goddamn sense in the first movie.
Precious // Haven’t seen it, and it doesn’t seem like such a fun night out at the movies. My main concern is that it’s been endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. In my experience, anything endorsed by Oprah has turned out to be awful or fraudulent. On a side note, I’d like to address Oprah personally: O, I know you’ve recently announced the date you’ll be retiring from your talk show. Please, for everybody’s sake, don’t promise to hand it over to Conan O’Brien and then change your mind. We can’t live through that again.
Avatar // Proving, once again, that in Hollywood you don’t have to tell an original or engaging story, or even have any interesting thematic points to make, in order to receive all sorts of critical praise and awards. You just need to make boatloads of money. I mean, how can the biggest money-maker of all time not be the greatest movie ever? It’s simple math, people.
The Blind Side // Sandra Bullock plus football. I can’t imagine why I haven’t already seen this. Oh wait. Right. Sandra Bullock plus football.
An Education // Wow. We haven’t had a good Oscar-bait jailbait movie since Lolita. Except maybe The Reader. But it doesn’t count when hot chicks do it to underage boys.
Inglourious Basterds // Spoiler alert! Every Jew on Earth owes it to themselves to go see Hitler get machine-gunned in the face.
The Hurt Locker // The year’s most over-praised movie. It’s still quite a good movie, and I’ve been a long-time Kathryn Bigelow advocate. But honestly, I don’t even think this is her best film. Or her second best film. Maybe not even her third.
A Serious Man // If there’s one thing racists have taught me, it’s that Hollywood is run by Jews. So I guess it’s no surprise that the latest Coen Brothers movie, the Jewiest film since Yentl, got a nomination. It also happens to be the densest and most impenetrable movie of the brothers’ career, so that must mean it’s profound — although I have yet to meet anyone who can explain all of its nuances, let alone sit through it enough times to determine where all those nuances may lie.
Up // You mothercusser Pixar cusses. Isn’t it enough you’re already nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and will probably end up stealing an Oscar from Fantastic Mr. Fox (not to mention Coraline)? Seriously. Cuss!
Up in the Air // If I had to pick one to win from this batch, this would be my choice. What can I say? I just like movies about sad people in depressing jobs. George Clooney living in planes and airports and hotels while he flies around the country firing people? That is such a cooler job than, I don’t know, being a space marine and going hunting with a bunch of giant blue people on a pretty planet.
And yeah, I know I’m totally behind the Twitter world media on this, but I just have to mention the big iPad announcement that rocked the world to sleep a couple of weeks back. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely respect Steve Jobs’ Rasputin-like ability to survive his own body’s frequent attempts to murder him. But really? An iPhone you can’t put in your pocket, take a picture with, or use to make a phone call? That’s the announcement all you Apple fanboys were on tenterhooks waiting to hear?
Maybe I just don’t understand the phenomenon of Apple worship. I’ll readily admit, as a long-time PC user, that PCs suck. It’s just that Macs suck even more. True, we’re utterly beholden to Microsoft who, when it’s time to release a new operating system, apparently flips a coin to decide if it will be a good and useful operating system, or the worst thing since smallpox. But the trials and tribulations of PC use, particularly back in the day when I got my first one — a 286 that was a big upgrade from my Commodore 64 — have taught me to troubleshoot against the odds, and bring a finicky machine back from the blue-screen-of-death. Learning to rewrite batch files every ten minutes so you could squeeze out that extra byte of memory to play Jumpman was good training in computer maintenance. Unfortunately for Mac users, they live by the credo that you should just be able to plug-and-play anything. As a result, when anything goes wrong, they flop around like a fish on land, gasping for air and begging tech support to toss them back into the ocean. It’s sad to watch, really. As is their zombie-devotion to anything that rolls off the Apple assembly line. To quote one friend from a few short days before the iPad was announced, “I don’t know what they’re coming out with, but I’m getting one.”
As for me, iDontcare.