Thursday, January 22, 2009

pain does not equal art

David Denby, in his review of Revolutionary Road, observed:

It has become clearer than ever that the movie year is divided into two parts. There’s the first nine months, which are filled, it seems, with big-audience digital spectacles about men who fly, animated movies about indignant handheld devices and chatty rodents, and all-male comedies about virgins lost in a condom factory. And then there’s the Oscar-focussed final three months of the year, which are devoted to movies about failure, abjection, death, and the Holocaust, most of them starring Kate Winslet or Cate Blanchett. “Revolutionary Road,” from the celebrated Richard Yates novel of 1961, is one of the latter. It is honorably and brutally unnerving. Yet it may suffer, as only an awards-season movie can, from the illusion that pain and art are the same thing.

Well, Hollywood bought it hook line and sinker, with movies like Benjamin Button, The Reader, and Revolutionary Road raking in the nominations. I would like, for one year (preferably this one) for the Academy to eliminate all movies released in December or January from contention, but to not tell anybody until right before the Oscars. This way, all movies that are flagrantly intentionally attempting to pick up awards are eliminated, and the rest of the movies can be judged purely on merit.

In other words, can't we just accept that The Dark Knight and Wall-E were decisively the best movies to come out in 2008? One was animated. The other a superhero movie. And they were released in July. But they were the best. That's it. Thank you. If The Reader wins, I am never watching the Oscars again.

p.s. Frost/Nixon, the only Best Picture nominee I've seen this year, was a great movie and I'm glad it was nominated, but Dark Knight and Wall-E were better. I wish Hollywood would take the first 9 months of the year seriously.

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