Skip to comments.Oscar Bait
Posted on 01/12/2009 6:46:31 AM PST by dangus
Its the political movie time of the year. I can enjoy a liberal, preachy movie, from cheesy to highbrow. I liked Star Trek IV, The Mission, Romero, The Emerald Forest, and even Mosquito Coast. But somewhere along the lines, Hollywood decided that simply preachy was enough to win an Academy Award.
Consider Philadelphia, one of the most successful Oscar-bait movies. It was like watching an episode of the Practice. Except without the characters Id learned to like, or enjoy hating. And it ran for what, five hours? And the characters had all the moral complexity of the Noid from those 1990s Dominoes commercials.
Actors often take preachy movie roles to be taken seriously, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Tom Hanks. Hanks was never seriously considered for awards for Big, despite an acting performance that couldnt be matched by any of the other comic actors gone serious. Sure, youve seen the Forrest Gump schtick pulled off by Sean Penn, Robin Williams, and Dustin Hoffman. But even if they had been the right age, can you picture Big starring Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Dan Akroyd, Jamie Foxx, or Bill Murray? But between Big and Forrest Gump, Hanks did Philadelphia, and therefore was a serious actor. (Hes has come so far since his days as a Fly Girl on In Living Color!)
So here are this years doses of cinematic napalm hoping that the bright lights of Oscar will drive some sheep into the theaters:
Radical American-hating leftists can watch 4 and a half hours of communist propaganda for free on MSNBC every afternoon, so why watch this epic destruction of history? They can buy the T-shirts for half as much money. Brought to us by perennial Oscar-baiter Steve Sodenburg, the man who can make $2 million on a movie starring $150 million worth of talent and have it be called a hit. (Yes, Julia Roberts was in an R-rated movie called Full Frontal.)
Milk The story of Americas first elected gay activist, Harvey Milk. Youll never look at those Got Milk? ads the same way again.
Hollywood takes on the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. So ground-breaking! What next? These brave souls in Hollywood are so brave, perhaps some day theyll even make a movie about a gay-rights activist!
What did I just say about paying good money to watch what you can see on the news? Actors here re-create what you couldve watched on TV. Of course, Michael Sheen is a better actor than David Frost. (Richard Nixon is still the funniest.)
Hey, if I wanted to watch a pseudo-documentary about wrestlers, Id watch WWF.
Ironically, the funk Hollywood finds itself in, again, goes back to a basic problem. The two kinds of movies that make the big bucks are good, honest children’s movies that parents can stand to watch as well; and Golan-Globus style low rent almost indie movies with no-name casts and direction.
But those are not the movies that Hollywood wants to make, and has never wanted to make. Then add to that the non-entertainment corporations that now own Hollywood, that know little and care less for entertainment. They want a given amount of profit for the production of “product”.
The end result is that Hollywood now is reduced to producing either no-profit leftist bilge, or extremely heavy CGI action movies with little or no plot or acting, that either sink or swim in the box office. And just a few of these high budget turkeys in a row, and the studio is near bankrupt.
The numbers add up. A cheap ‘B’ movie, that costs $8M and makes $30M is a LOT more profitable than a CGI extravaganza that costs $120M and makes $130M.
So a low budget company can place “nickel bets” all day, and even if a dozen of its movies go stinker, it should have plenty of cash to try again. That’s how Golan-Globus succeeded for many years, until they just couldn’t resist making high budget movies, which killed them.
The great irony of this is that both writers and good, if no-name actors, are a dime a dozen, and both give audiences what they want to see.
All of these movies are liberal crap except The Wrestler. I like Mickey Rourke again. First he takes responsibility for screwing up his life and career. Does anyone take responsibility for anything anymore?
Second - he thanked his dogs for helping him make it through his tough times. He carried around his 16-year old dog with him whereever he went because he wanted to spend all of his time with his dog.
All one really need do is compare the Hollywood of today with that of the 30s and 40s. The overwhelming lack of talent—both lead and perhaps especially in character roles—leaves the studios little choice but to copy, mimic, scam and play the role of societal watchdog. What are we up to now...Rocky 15, Aliens 10? Replace Bogie and Bacall at Key Largo with Kevin Costner and Kate Winslett and what can they do but complain about the condition of the coral reef!
I didn’t see the movie of DOUBT, but I know it’s focus is a lot trickier than it being a movie about “sexual abuse” in the Catholic Church, as practiced by priests. It’s reaL subject is, of course, “doubt” , and the necessary social practice of allowing a healthy “doubt” into all our deliberations of who is guilty and who is innocent. The viewer is left wondering, and pondering whether we know enough about the claims of both parties, and just how much it matters anyway.
One movie I DID see, that wasn’t mentioned , is a sure contender for a number of Oscars, Rachel Getting Married.
This is quite a movie. Shot in a nervous, documentary style, it’s actually more an experience than a movie.
It features a knockout performance by Anne Hathaway, and memorable cameos by a bunch of others, and a cast of unrecognizable non-actors and even a few jazz musicians.
It comes across as “a family affair” (both since some of the director’s kids are in it, and it is about an extended family.) It has lots and lots of good stuff, some truly great stuff, and at the same time seems a little cloyingly multi-culti, stuffed with too many quirky crosscultural folks doing a lot of crosscultural stuff that’s not quite believable in its obvious attempt at making you feel all warm and cozy amidst the family’s emotional wreckage.
The more I learn of people, the more I like my dog.
As a regular DVD renter, this year’s new-releases have been just wretched........suddenly, I have found myself watching a lot of older movies.......
I watch a lot more foreign movies, “The Lives of Others” is a much better film than anything Hollywood has put out in the last 10 years.
Hillary Swank is a tremendous actress, and Tim Robbins deserved an Oscar for Mystic River. He may deserve to be deported for his ploitics, but he can act.
May I suggest Centennial, Last Days of Sophie Scholl, goodbye Lenin,Enchanted. Of course, I like 24, Lost
and did also enjoy The Shield.
That was great, also Goodbye Lenin, Sophie Scholl.
There is still a lot of movies to watch, even eliminating the Hollywood junk of the past years.
Goodbye Lenin is definitely one of my favorites as well.
I saw Slumdog Millionaire over the weekend. I liked it a lot. Am looking forward to seeing The Wrestler.
Last Days of Sophie Scholl
BZZZZZT! That's it, I don't wanna know any more, thankyouverymuch....
LOL! Not having seen the movie, I don’t BELIEVE there was ever anything to see. My point was only to say how tabloidy Soderburg’s publicity-seeking can be.
Hollywood will not be good until they stop making films by committee. They need to look at their roots and see what people want to see rather than what they think is good for us.
We need more Frank Capra like films. In these times we need good upbeat stories. We need more comedy like the Marx Brothers, or Abbot and Costello.