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Sunday, March 07, 2010

There I Was, Watching the Oscars…

...And Tyler Perry shows up to present an award. He had this to say: “They just said my name at the Oscars. I’d better enjoy it because it’ll probably never happen again.”

Yeah, that’s probably true. Thing about Tyler Perry is that, firstly, he seems like a nice enough guy, secondly, his heart seems to be in the right place in his films, and, thirdly, he doesn’t come close to deserving an award. Of course, many of the movies don’t deserve their awards, but his tend to be phenomenally bad. Not only does he scrape up every racial stereotype possible, but the scripts, the direction, and the acting are usually atrocious.

The same kinds of people who will tell you that Tyler Perry movies are good in any kind of an artistic sense are the same kinds of people who would tell you that the Left Behind books are artistically satisfying, that The Gamers: Dorkness Rising had good art direction, and that contemporary Christian pop music is something other than uninspiring pablum.

Okay, there may be a few exceptions to that last part, but the point still stands.

Those people so strongly believe in the subject matter that they entirely ignore the artistic flaws. There is a difference between artistic merit and personal preference; the Oscars may not always find the artistic merit, but it should always be their goal. Tyler Perry doesn’t deserve that kind of recognition, regardless of how nice of a guy he is and how much he tries to make moral movies.

The Oscars this year were a bit of a fumble, though, weren’t they? A few funny bits here and there, a fun intro with the resurgent Doogie, a great dance number, and some worthy winners were nice. It was also (up to the point where I am writing this, at least) pleasantly politics-free.  On the other hand, the camera cuts were horrendous (especially noticeable at the beginning of the memorial section), the Baldwin-Martin team was uneven (although not horrendous), and a goodly number of the presenters proved themselves incompetent without a script and without good editing (Cameron Diaz, you’d be number one on that list).

Cheers to Jeff Bridges (goofy, strange acceptance speech aside) and all the other winners on the night, though. Whatever lack the show might have, it is always an honor to be recognized by your peers.

On a more important note, now that I know that Morena Baccarin is in it, I might have to watch V.

Update: Forest Whitaker’s introduction of Sandra Bullock for the Best Actress nominations was top notch. Some of the others, for both Best Actor and Best Actress, were nice, too, but Whitaker’s was pitch-perfect.

Update to the Update: The previous note was convenient since Sandra Bullock won and gave a touching and funny speech of her own. Love her.

That said, leave it up to Barbra Streisand to point out that we could have the first female or black director winning an Oscar this year. It turned out to be the first woman (Kathryn Bigelow for Hurt Locker) and a well-deserved win on merits.

But did it really need to be about that? Couldn’t it just be about the movie or even just about her talent?

Tom Hanks just noted that Casablanca was the winner the last time there were 10 films up for consideration. I watch it somewhat regularly and, though it’s a little old-fashioned, it has maintained its relevance artistically, culturally, and even politically through the decades. A wonderful movie.

Will any of the movies nominated this year wear as well? A few of them might, but I doubt that any of them will be as well-remembered as Casablanca. Which isn’t to say that it was a horrible class of movies (I liked Up, Hurt Locker, and Inglorious Basterds. I’m still pondering A Serious Man. Both District 9 and Blind Side were surprisingly good.

Casablanca is tough to live up to, though, in the same way that Lawrence of Arabia would be hard to live up to.

All that prologue aside, Hanks’ announcement of Hurt Locker winning Best Picture was a bit anti-climactic, wasn’t it?

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Morena Beccarin couldn’t save “V”.

on Mar 07 2010 @ 09:09 PM

You’re probably right. But she might make it worth one episode.

on Mar 07 2010 @ 09:20 PM

Yeah, the announcement of Best Picture seemed rushed. They spread the nominee clips throughout the whole show so by the time they announced the winner I had forgotten most of the movies that were eligible. I wonder if there was a final, concluding montage of all 10 movies that they skipped because they were out of time.

on Mar 08 2010 @ 10:32 AM

Oh, and comparing any given year’s winner to Casablanca is almost always going to make you very disappointed. Not a lot of movies were both recognized as great when they came out and also stand up well this many years later.

on Mar 08 2010 @ 10:42 AM

I wondered if they had skipped something, too. I’m going to go ahead and assume that they did--otherwise, it was just staggeringly bad planning.

You’re right about comparisons.  I blame Tom Hanks.

on Mar 08 2010 @ 11:23 AM

Well, I admit I was interested in the Terminator TV series as much on account of Summer Glau as any other reason. I wound up watching only 1 episode anyway.

Presumably, I’ll soon catch up in my viewing of SG-1 to see Morena as Adria.

Didn’t watch the Oscars.

Who is Tyler Perry?

on Mar 08 2010 @ 06:30 PM

First, don’t go hating on The Gamers, you big old hater.  It’s not deathless cinema (more like undead cinema), but any movie involving a sneak attack with a ballista in a bar has a certain, I don’t know, je ne sais quoi*.

It’s almost like hating on Clint Eastwood’s singing in Paint Your Wagon.  Some things just aren’t done.

Oh, and you misspelled “Inglorious Bastards” ... and you didn’t misspell it right.

* Yes, I know.  8-)

on Mar 09 2010 @ 10:00 PM

A- I’m shocked that anyone else has seen The Gamers movies. I didn’t even attempt to brutalize my wife with those.

B- I, for one, should always properly misspell the words that require proper misspellings. I am shamed.

on Mar 09 2010 @ 10:11 PM

A - I’ve been a gamer since the early 1970s (before D&D), and I worked in the industry for almost 9 years.  I haven’t just seen it, I own it.  (Really.)

B - Good.  8-)

on Mar 10 2010 @ 06:38 PM

Why can’t we have retroactive Oscars or something?

By any rational measure, “Groundhog Day"is worthy of winning any award about best movies.

But no one knew that at the time.

on Mar 17 2010 @ 04:08 AM

Maybe we should take it upon ourselves. Invite a group of great blogging critics to vote on pseudo, retroactive Oscars. We could also review choices from previous years and take the statues back from the (in retrospect) unworthy.

Marisa Tomei’s Best Supporting Actress nod for My Cousin Vinny needs to be reconsidered, I tell you.

on Mar 17 2010 @ 07:12 AM

She’s a decent actress and all...but it was an “eh” performance in an “eh” movie.

I’d rather give her an Oscar for her work in Oscar, to tell the truth. (not a bad movie, btw, despite being widely panned...just pretend you are watching a play instead of a movie, and it works much better)

on Mar 17 2010 @ 07:36 AM

That may be the only Stallone movie that I’ve never seen. Ahem, mainstream movie, that is.

on Mar 17 2010 @ 07:46 AM

Invite a group of great blogging critics to vote on pseudo, retroactive Oscars.

I’ll do the “Best naked or topless performance by an A-list actress not using a body double” category.

Yeah, I know. Tough job. But somebody has to do it. And I want you all to know that I’m here for you, to take on the dirty work.

WV: “last68”—so close, and yet so far

on Mar 17 2010 @ 02:21 PM
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