Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bad Shakespeare Oscar Extra: Lighten Up, Everyone.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and I swear one day Nathan Fillion, the Oscars are officially over. Yes, the little statues have all be handed out, Entertainment news is packing their Red Carpet Teams back in boxes and putting them in warehouses like at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and we can go back to anxiously waiting for the next Fast and the Furious Sequel to kick off the start of the Summer of Statham. 

I originally wasn’t going to write up a Post-Oscar follow up, mostly because it follows my yearly tradition of not writing a Post-Oscar follow up. But you see, this year was different. Mostly because I didn’t have to be anywhere on Monday Morning, so I was able to follow most of what was happening on the Oscars in real time while flipping back and forth to WWE Fastlane, which, because Brock Lesnar only works twice a year and is somehow the champion, had it’s own issues. But that got me thinking about a lot of things that I wanted to talk about.

One, of course, is the “backlash but not really” to the winner, Birdman. Look, I understand that Birdman is a weird movie. Quite frankly, I’m a little bit frightened that Academy voters went in so heavy for a movie I liked so much. Not because I’m out of the mainstream or because I don’t want to like the favorite movie like most movie snobs out there, but because... it’s a weird movie. Seriously Best Picture of the Year probably should have gone to Whiplash, or Wes Anderson Quirky Movie #78. Hey, no one is happier than me that it won. (Except the director. And the Actors. And the production team.)  I’m just surprised that it actually did. It was an awesome movie, it was a weird movie, and it’s one that people will be talking about for a while.

Except movie snobs, I guess. 

I do want to talk for a minute about the favorite movie ever for a lot of people (The Dissolve went and and made it the best picture of the half-decade so far, and many a think pieces were written about it’s sheer greatness) and that was Boyhood. Look, I get the appeal, but it wasn’t a very good movie. It was too long, and mostly, it didn’t have a coherent story. I get that it was filmed over the course of 12 years, a cinematic feat! I joked that it’s not been seen since the Up Series when I wrote my mini-review for the marathon, but the truth is it’s a feat not seen since the Harry Potter series, which I guess did it in 8 years, but told a story. (Technically 7)

I understand that there is a problem in trying to tell a story like that, but you have to sit down at some point and say: What is this movie about? What is our end point, not just when we run out of film. I understand that Ethan Hawke doesn’t exactly have Gattacta money anymore, but what was the point of the entire movie? Even tell mini-arcs about him growing up. It just seemed to me that no one on the cast really knew what the movie was going to be about beyond this grand experiment to film it a little each year... and it’s been done. Remember in Harry Potter when it turned out Snape was the good guy the whole time? Yeah, two people knew that. JK Rowling and Alan Rickman. They knew it because it was important to the plot, the arc started in Harry Potter and the Magical Macguffin Part 1. Richard Linklater needed to know that about his character, and he didn’t seem to, even with him working one year at at time. The ending had all the urgency of a student who realized that he needed to turn in a paper or get an “F”, but chose not to finish it with the hopes of at least a “C”. I don’t understand why people liked it.

The other big complaint, was like I said, from conservatives bashing the non-win of American Sniper. This, of course, was held up as THE LATEST REASON LIBERALS HATE AMERICA. Look, if a movie HAS to win, that’s not a win, it’s a hostage situation. But it also pushes aside the other main point, and that’s this: there were over 400 films eligible to be nominated for best picture. Love it or hate it (please... hate it) Dumb and Dumber To was eligible for best picture. Transformers Age of Extinction was eligible, and that featured an extended justification for statutory rape. American Sniper was chosen above every. Other. Film. Except. For. Seven. Others. to make it to the top slot. Some would argue it made it over other films, including Nightcrawler, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Still Alice, The Fault In Our Stars... (For the record, these were ALL listed as early frontrunners when they appeared. I know some of them may not seem like it, but they were.)  These didn’t make the cut. American Sniper did. So, it’s not the latest reason for anything, except the need to push an outdated narrative. 

Basically, stop pouting because your movie didn’t win. That doesn’t make Birdman some strange outlier. It’s a movie a guy made. Some people liked it. They didn’t like the movie you liked as much as yours. It’s not some vast conspiracy against you. 

The problem is, especially when it comes to the Oscars, WAY to many people take it seriously. It’s an awards show. Because Wes Anderson Quirky Funtime doesn’t win, it doesn’t suddenly make it a bad movie. I still love it. (I keep calling it that because I can’t spell Budapest.) Movies are supposed to be fun. Even if they’re taking you to a dark place, it’s supposed to be a fun transformation. Paying attention so much this year made me realize that people pay WAY to close attention to it, and they need to lighten up a little bit. I mean... come on. Relax. I enjoy the movie marathon, because I like going to the movies, and having to sit and watch them all reminds me of that, and it reminds me of just how interesting movies can be. I think that some people need to step away from the hype for a little bit, relax, and enjoy it again. And that’s one of the reasons I liked Birdman so much. Because of that one scene... when he’s imagining (or slowly devolving into madness) the movie scene around him, wanting to have fun. I mean... in the middle of this sad comedy about a guy losing his mind and fortune, he reminds himself that he was once a dude in a bird suit, and people loved him for it.

So lighten up, everyone.

Oh, and everyone, stop complaining about the Oscars running long. You’ve seen them before. If they get in under a tight six hours, it’s a good night.

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