a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Inevitable Oscar Thoughts

A crisis involving my apartment's heat kept me from getting to this a bit earlier, but, yes, the Oscars were announced yesterday and as always I'm feeling blah about it. That said, there were the usual smattering of pleasant surprises: no Best Pic nod for Cold Mountain; ditto-sorta for Nicole Kidman's uninspired perf; the fact that some people did remember City of God after over a year; Johnny Depp's Mick Jagger impersonation; song nods for A Mighty Wind and The Triplets of Belleville (take that, Golden Globes!). On the other hand, a pox on those apparently tireless Seabiscuit supporters! Incidentally, has any organization remained so consistently contrarian? If you can rely on no one, you can at least rely on AMPAS members.

Meanwhile, the Razzies were also announced. Ideally, they should be the anti-Oscars; unfortunately, they live up to that ideal too perfectly. Like their AMPAS brethren, the Razzie voters -- also multitudinous, only you have to pay to join -- are an unimaginative lot, filled with nothing but kneejerk noms and a grudge on people like Sly Stallone that grew redundant many moons ago. Basically, they've gone the predictable route and fed into the delusional Gigli pie. Wouldn't it have been wittier and more pointed to lay siege on, say, Mystic River or 21 Grams? How about A Mighty Wind, just for kicks? Yes, it's a mass organization but, as Homer once pointed out, democracy doesn't work. Live by the norm, die by the norm.

In brighter news that's also a fat day late, David Edelstein and A.O. Scott are digging into the glories of J. Hoberman's book The Dream Life and Peter Buskind's pussy-footing quasi-lambast of the Weinsteins, Down and Dirty Pictures. Haven't read the latter, but Hoberman's is one of the best books I've read in awhile about putting movies back into their socio-economic context, with the added bonus of gobs of McLuhanesque digs at the media. I also almost cried at the end of the penultimate chapter, in which Hoberman winds down his thesis via a re-reading of Dirty Harry. Since when has anyone cried at a goddam thesis? The two's less nakedly emotional analysis can be procured from here.

Let's get some rules out of the way first so I can busy myself breaking them: this blog will not be a place for me to dwell or rant upon my tediously normal personal life. It will, however, be very soon filled with gobs of crap about movies, books, politics, analyses of Paul Williams' varying hairstyles, and music. (For instance, the new Stereolab is shockingly compact.) Every now and then, I may slip and dump a personal grievance or two, but that shall be rare. (Yeah right.) The title's horseshit, incidentally. Literally opened the first book next to me (Pictures From an Institution by Randall Jarrell, in case you're curious) and pointed to the first word cluster. From here on out, though, things will not be horseshit. Things will be pure, if admittedly myopic. And away we go.