What The Nominations Tell Us
Benjamin Button??? You gotta be kidding me. I spent three days watching Benjamin Button one evening and if that’s not the emptiest, most meaningless piece of high gloss semi-entertainment produced last year than I don’t know my American Idol. I mean, Brad Pitt’s a great actor who's had sex with Angelina Jolie, I concede that. But what was the movie about? People don’t actually get younger, right? So it had to be a metaphor for something. But what? As near as I can make out, it was Hollywood’s take on what marriage is like: You hook up when you’re both hot then she loses her looks and he starts acting like a child.
Slumdog Millionaire? Yeah, I enjoyed it—then promptly forgot it: it’s a little, you know, light. And though I sympathize with Muslims getting persecuted in the world’s largest democracy, I can’t help noticing that Hollywood almost completely ignores all the Christians getting persecuted by genuine tyrants like the Myanmar junta and the ACLU.
Milk was also good, an entertaining little hagiography which proved once and for all that Sean Penn has made a deal with Satan:
You can be the greatest actor of your generation, Sean, if you will but embrace my servants Hugo and Fidel.
Yes, my master Satan, so let it be sealed in my blood.
As for Frost/Nixon and The Reader, look, I really wanted to see those, but I had to wash my hair that night. Or someone’s hair.
Satan Striking Out Before Moving On To Sean Penn
To sum up, this years Oscar nominations are a mixed bag: a bad movie no one went to see, two pretty good movies no one went to see, and two movies even I didn’t go to see.
So what about The Dark Knight? That was a good movie and everyone went to see that. Well, I understand there’ve been whispers from certain shadowy character assassins who look suspiciously like John Nolte that my Wall Street Journal op-ed comparing Batman to George W. Bush may have contributed to the film getting snubbed. If that’s true, I would like to publicly and sincerely say to the film’s producers, director and writers, “Hey, could you lend me a couple of bucks?”
No, I think the real message the Oscar noms are sending is that the films Hollywood takes seriously and the films the people love are not the same films. The Los Angeles Times ran an article last week trying to cast this in a positive light: isn’t it wonderful that movies are getting Oscar respect even if they didn’t make money? But what’s so wonderful about that? Are the visions of American movie makers so deep, brilliant and complex that they can’t express them in ways the ordinary moviegoer can understand? Or is it that their ideology, arrogance and elitism teach them to despise the very people they're supposed to entertain?
I’m guessing: B.