Central Snark

The Oscar Grouch by mattresspolice
Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 9:29am
Filed under: Pop! goes the Diesel

Have you ever been stuck entertaining someone you don’t really know that well and don’t seem to have anything in common with? Like maybe your great aunt Hilda from Milwaukee comes to visit your mom and she brings her grand-nephew Tolbert along because he was off this semester and Hilda needed someone along to remind her to take her pills, so while mom and Hilda are catching up, you’re stuck with Tolbert, desperately trying to find some point of commonality beyond both being carbon-based life forms.

So you say “Let’s go see a movie,” because worst-case-scenario at least you’re free from trying to make conversation about the weather for two hours, right? Of course you’ve been dying to see The Groan of Zombies or Harry Potter and the Slide into Satanism, but you don’t want to impose your eclectic tastes on poor Tolbert. And Tolbert, being the personality-challenged lump of carbon-based protoplasm he is, just keeps saying, “Oh, whatever you want to see is fine…” But you know that what he really means is, “If you pick The f—ing Groan of Zombies I’m going to passive-aggressively drip small amounts of mayonnaise on every bit of fabric in your house.”

So you end up picking That Movie That All the Critics Love. And you sit through it, mildly entertained and marginally edified by its passion, grandeur, and strikingly beautiful people rendered strikingly ugly through the miracle of using makeup to do exactly the opposite of what God created it to do. And you walk out and say to Tolbert, “That was good, huh?” And Tolbert says, “Yeah, it was ok. Too bad we didn’t see The Groan of Zombies though. That looked awesome.” And then you carefully remove the velvet rope from one of those metal support thingies and proceed to strangle and then beat Tolbert to death.

Don't look up!

That, my friends, is how I feel about the Oscars. It’s the lowest common denominator method of recognizing Great Achievement in Film. You know what an Oscar nomination tells you about a movie? It tells you that it’s the kind of film that could get an Oscar. That’s it. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t even tell you that much, because We at the Academy may just have nominated it because recognizing films about gay cowboys makes us feel Enlightened. Then, after getting the hopes up of gay cowboys everywhere, we’ll give the Oscar to An Important Film about Racism.

Now before you get all pissy with me, let me say that I really liked Crash. I didn’t see Brokeback Mountain, but to be fair I wouldn’t have seen it if it was about the forbidden love between a man and a woman either. Just not my kind of flick. Make it a woman and a woman, and I’d probably make an exception, but then my wife would lose interest, so there you go.

I’ll admit that Oscar-nominated movies are generally pretty good. Take, for example, last year’s nominees:

  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • Crash
  • Good Night and Good Luck
  • Munich

These are all Serious, Important movies dealing with Big Issues. I’m sure they’re all watchable, and when they make it to basic cable in a couple of years and I have a few hours to kill, the odds are pretty good that one or more of them will lull me to sleep some lazy Saturday.

Yoda wants to kick some ass

Now as an illustration of just how much we all need the Academy to point us toward quality fare, let’s look at the favorite movies of 2006 as chosen by the knuckle-dragging public:

  • Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
  • The Chronicles of Narnia” The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • War of the Worlds
  • King Kong
  • Wedding Crashers
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Batman Begins

I’ve seen most of these. Revenge of the Sith was decent; much better than the other two Star Wars prequels. The Chronicles of Narnia was quite entertaining as well. I honestly can’t remember if I saw that Harry Potter movie. All Harry Potter movies are lumped together in the same batch of 30-40 neurons in my brain. I’m sorry; I just can’t spare any more room for boy wizards. War of the Worlds was ok. Wedding Crashers is rolling-on-the-floor funny. Not quite as good a time as that screwball gem Munich, but it’s up there.

Best movie ever

Batman Begins is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest movies ever made. There’s not a chance in hell I would vote for any of those other sombre entries over Batman Begins. It has everything: a meditation on vengeance versus justice; exploration of the idea fear as the ultimate weapon; a thought-provoking examination of the meaning of loyalty… not to mention badass special effects, killer action scenes, romance, and probably the best cast of any movie in years: Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe, Rutger Hauer…. And Katie Holmes is nice to look at.

My point? Sure, the Oscar nominees are all stolid, respectable affairs. But I’d gladly sit through Madagascar, Harry Potter and the Whatever It Is This Time and Attack of the Fifty Foot Scientologists for one chance to see Batman Begins. Meanwhile I bet your Best Picture Winner is collecting dust next to that shiny gold statue.



17 Comments so far
Leave a comment

why do we love Diesel? because he makes us laugh. oh, and think. oh… and squirt tea/milk/coffee (ouch) out of our noses while we laugh and/or think.

that said, i’m not sure i think Batman Begins is the greatest movie ever made, but then, i haven’t seen it yet (my bad, we have it, we mean to, we will). of course, since i completely agree with his assessments of the films i have seen, he’s probably right. for the record, we haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain either. but then, shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but we still haven’t seen Shindler’s List. not that we don’t want to, mind you — we just haven’t gotten around to it yet. xox

Comment by One Hot Puppy

Oooh! ‘Tis a funkified post FO SHO!

Diesel, you had me when you declared your love for “Crash” (the most brilliant writing EVER and what I would aspire to write if ever I were to write a screenplay, which is doubtful, seeing that these days I cannot even muster words for a damn post!) but you lot me (*sob*) with the mention of Wedding Crashers! *sigh* But this is coming from the bohemian who loves the Bill & Ted movies so I guess we can call it even, whaddya say? Hmmm?

Faboo post amigo mio and it is fantabulous to have us some male energy here at the estrogen driven Snark FO SHO!

Snuppy, I have not seen Brokeback Mountain either but I have been in no hurry to either as a lot of my gay friends weren’t too crazy about it! I guess the fab thing about it was that a gay lovestory had the floor for once but other than that, they were not too impressed so if I do see it it will mostly be to add it to my “been there, seen that” list I am afraid!

But Schindler’s List? Must see FO SHO! FO SHO!!! But just like Life is Beautiful (which KILLED me with emotion though it did not helpt that I saw it when very preggers with the first kid), it is a movie I will nevr watch again! I cannot go through such strong emotions again… more so with Life is Beautiful!

Anyway, I blabbeth on as I siteth here doing homework with the girl… yeah, how attentive am I!!! 😉

Comment by Catty Yummy Mummy

I loved Batman the Begining. I snuck out of the house one afternoon to see that one when very pregnant with Gracie. It was really really good!

Comment by ckmunson

Snuppy, if I was stranded on a deserted island with just one DVD, it would be Batman Begins. In fact, I’d pick Batman Begins over Munich AND a battery-powered DVD player.

Catty Yummy Mummy, you used more exclamation marks in that comment than I’ve used in 36 years on the planet. I’m glad that your keen eye was able to discern the subtle funkification of my post. Not quite as wacky as my last 2, but my job is to keep you guessing. Wait, that’s not my job. What the hell is my job again?

Ckmunson – Wasn’t it awesome? All I could say for about 4 hours afterwards was, “That was… awesome.”

Comment by Diesel

Exclamation marks come with bohemian territory I am afraid! I am normally hyphenated but I save the exhausting ranting hyphenated style for my place so here, I figure, exclamation marks will suffice! (There you go! Ay! Does it ever stop????) 😉

Comment by Catty Yummy Mummy

oops that was me. I said the same thing, simply awesome!! I actually marked the date on my ical when it came out on dvd. 😉 It was a much better movie than The Land of the Dead I snuck out to see earlier in the month.

Comment by cj

Oooh Batman Begins…when Christian Bale became a hottie! But yes…awesome movie. The bestest.

The Oscar movies are good for one thing: insomnia.

Comment by littlebluepill

So I’m taking notes, must see Batman Begins. Rent Crash soon. Harry Potter movies are always oddly relaxing to me – all the magic. I’ve seen a couple, my daughter keeps tabs on which ones we’ve seen. Wedding Crashers was fun I’d have to agree.

I did just see MatchPoint on video which I though was excellent albeit a bit nerve racking and THe Squid and The Whale which I have to say was also worth the price of the rental. Jeff Daniels was very annoyingly good in it.

CatYummy, I’m with you on Life is Beautiful. That just wrecked me – I could never watch it again.

Comment by Lampsha&Ebert

Diesel, your job is to show up and entertain us – so far you’re doing your job. But about the popcorn…

Comment by Lampsha&Ebert

I have seen Batman Begins possibly more times than all other movies combined. It is indeed THAT good.

I can’t wait for the sequel….only 16 or so months to go!!

Comment by Joel

CJ – I actually thought Land of the Dead was quite good too. Excellent combination of action, horror and social satire. Seriously.

Catty Yummy Mummy – Shouldn’t Bohemians use Czech marks? Man, I slay me.

LBP – Even I thought Christian Bale was hot in Batman Begins.

Lampsha – Batman Begins and Crash are both must-sees. Oh, and I’ll bring enough for everyone next time.

Joel – Indeed. Up until that point, Spider-Man 2 and the first 2 X-Men movies were near the top. But Batman Begins blew them away.

BTW, I should have said “favorite movies of 2005”, not 2006. Because of course the 2006 Oscars are for movies released in 2005. Although I bet they’d do just as good a job picking the movies before any of them had come out.

Comment by Diesel

The thing that stands out most to me is the fact that you lumped Capote in with the others as a “Serious, Important movies dealing with Big Issues”. I saw Capote. The most striking thing about it was that they managed to make a movie with a main character who was completely unsympathetic.

Now, off to borrow Batman Begins from my best friend’s husband. I’d get to see more movies I want to see if I went with him rather than his wife.

Comment by Robin

My, you are spot on today. Actors all want to be ‘enlightened’ and show they care about Very Important Issues so of course the movies that win are almost always boring as hell or just god awful to watch because they’re so damned grim. Can’t remember the last time I watched the oscars *yawn*

Comment by Claire

Robin – I’ll admit I cheated a little with Capote. It’s also the only one for which I couldn’t find a poster with the lead looking downcast or off in the distance.

Claire – I almost never watch any awards shows. I have my own award show. It’s called “Here’s $6.50.” Now playing at a theater near me. Many are nominated, but few win.

Comment by Diesel

THIS year’s Oscar contenders are no where near as good as last year’s *yawn* And I understand being cynical about the academy–there are definitely some prejudices and agendas involved. That said, I saw all the nominated films last year, and liked them all, PLUS lots of other films that year, such as Junebug. THat movie was just as interesting as Capote, in my opinion.
I didn’t get to see Batman Returns, yet–we shall put that on The List. My favorite movie ever was Twin Falls, Idaho, and I don’t think it ever won anything.

Great post!

Comment by actonbell

I immediately noticed a new style of writing. Wonderful and a great post at that!

I have to agree with snuppy, Batman Begins? I am not totally on board with that statement…but somebody has to watch it and support it. Sadly, I can point to none of the titles of movies and say: “This one is the best!” Reagrdless of my opinion I just enjoyed this post so very much!

Comment by Penguin

[…] since I dismissed gay cowboy movies two weeks ago and blogged about my unpleasant near-gay experience on Friday, maybe I should do a […]

Pingback by …and an Honorable Mention for Dick « Central Snark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: