For the first time in my adult life, I have not seen any of the movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. This may say more about me than about the nominated films, but I’ll let you decide that.
In my callow youth, I remember making a pointed effort to see all five of the Best picture nominees. It wasn’t easy, but I tracked down a hole-in-the-wall theater that was still showing Atlantic City - which had been just nominated, along with Burt Lancaster for Best Actor. The movie made a great impression on me, and not only because Susan Sarandon showed her boobies.
One year I dutifully sat through Warren Beatty’s ego vehicle Reds, which I believe was three days long (with intermission).
I loved Amadeus. I hated Terms of Endearment. And on and on...
At some point, I realized that a movie could be nominated for an Oscar, and still be an unwatchable piece of crap. JFK, or the Crying Game, for example. I think the last Best Picture nominee I actually enjoyed watching was Ray in 2004. Inglourious Basterds was fun, but I still can’t believe it was nominated for anything. Little Miss Sunshine made me physically ill, and There Will Be Blood was utter nonsense.
Plus, we don’t go to that many movies in the theater anymore. I’ll wait for the DVD so I can watch it at home, where the popcorn is far less expensive and I know who sat in my seat before me. Does that makes me sound like an old fart? So be it.
Still, I was interested in the announcement of this year’s Oscars. Until I saw the list:
Hugo - This, apparently, is Martin Scorsese’s first cartoon...and it’s set in Paris. That’s all I know.
The Artist - A silent movie? Mel Brooks did this back in the 1970s. Big deal.
The Descendants - George Clooney makes this movie every year, and changes the title. Seriously.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - A 9/11 movie with Tom Hanks? No thank you. I thought this was the title of another Nicholas Cage car theft/chase movie.
The Help - I have to admit I’ve heard of this one, and it’s the only one on the list that sounds interesting enough to watch. We’ll see.
Midnight in Paris - Is this not that nasty X-rated Marlon Brando movie from the early ‘70s? Oh, a Woody Allen movie? Even worse...
Moneyball - Based on a book by baseball stat geeks? How is that any more interesting than a probing look at the life of an insurance adjuster? Hey, no offense.
The Tree of Life - I heard that this Terrence Malick film is so unwatchable that audiences at screenings were angry enough to riot. But Malick could Flip video his dog taking a dump and the Academy would nominate it for Best Picture.
War Horse - Call me cold-hearted, but I don’t care about horses. Sea Biscuit...Secretariat...Black Beauty...Mr. Ed. I just don’t get it. I have as much feeling for horses as I do for goats - and I wouldn’t watch a movie about goats either.
That’s quite a list of movies that most people have never seen, and will never see (and I include the voting members of the Academy). War Horse will win going away, because it’s Spielberg.
As for me, I think I’ll rent Captain America again.