Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things I learned from the Oscars...

American Family's Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson are funnier than Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

J.C. Penney is so not cool.

Deaf people are just like regular folks; they like fast food even though it's crap (thanks for clearing that up, Mickey D).

Faux-perfume ads that turn out to be about cervical cancer are scary

I don't want manta rays coming out of my TV... sorry, that's what I learned from Oscar commercials.

Jamal Sims is the worst choreographer ever: I won't go so far as to take back all the disparaging things I've said about Debbie Allen's awful Academy Awards numbers, but I will venture to say that insipidness is actually better than sheer, willful ridiculousness. What does some guy in white pants doing a retro robot dance have to do with Michael Giacchino's saccharine score for Up? What's the connection between a ripoff of Jerome Robbins' gym dance from West Side Story and Hans Zimmer's score for Sherlock Holmes? Seriously, I've seen better choreography for competitive cheerleading teams.

Someone at Dior Couture hates Charlize Theron — How else did she wind up at the Kodak Theater wearing a dress with icing-swirl bull's-eyes over her boobs?

Miley Cyrus and Amanda Seyfried should not be allowed to select their own formal wear: They presented the best song award dressed like music-box ballerinas, which is only okay if you're, like, five.

The cult of John Hughes has overstayed its welcome: I like Sixteen Candles as much as the next person who had a blast during the '80s and doesn't care who knows it (hell, I might even go see Hot Tub Time Machine) but The Breakfast Club is not The 400 Blows. Though I must concede that the footage of Hughes' young stars — Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, James Spader, Emilio Estevez, Lea Thompson, Matthew Broderick, Jon Cryer, Judd Nelson and all the rest — looking as dewy and sweetly unformed as newly hatched chicks was heartbreaking. "Don't You (Forget About Me)" is still a great song. "When you grow up, your heart dies" is still a cringe-inducing line.

The pompous gasbaggery about James Cameron's visionary vision must stop: Avatar is a shiny, candy-colored cartoon, not a divine vision of the future of cinema.

Ben Stiller isn't as funny as he thinks he is: His Avatar-mocking introduction to the best make-up award was painful. And what's with pitting movies like The Young Victoria and Il Divo against Star Trek? Apples and oranges, anyone?

Sometimes there is such a thing as a sure thing: Like Mo'Nique for best supporting actress (Precious); Christoph Waltz for best supporting actor (Inglourious Basterds); Jeff Bridges for best actor (Crazy Heart); Sandra Bullock fr best actress (The Blind Side).

Costume designer Sandy Powell is a class act: She dedicated her Oscar for The Young Victoria to all the designers who dress "contemporary films and low-budget ones" and are consistently overshadowed and underappreciated.

No one outside the business has any idea what sound mixers and editors do, even after that stultifying educational video narrated by Morgan Freeman. And you know what? Nobody outside the business cares, either, which is fine. They don't vote for Oscars.

You can't top an acceptance speech that begins "Thirteen years ago, my doctors told me I [wouldn't] survive" (Kim Sinclair, winner for Set Decoration), so don't try.


Brian Whisenant said...

Apples and oranges, yes. But I actually thought Il Divo deserved to win.

Yes, it was makeup for one character. But the makeup told us what kind of film we were going to see. A little over the top. A little bit black comedy. It meant everything to that movie.

kdboury said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kdboury said...

Well, I will always be a John Hughes fan. And since he dropped out of sight for so many years, maybe that makes me a cult member. But really, he just died last year and was a cultural touchstone for a generation. This will be the last hurrah, as the next generation will have no clue why his movies worked in that time period when they could work.

As for James Cameron, I am afraid his best days are behind him. His open checkbook pretty much wiped away the "hunger" that brought us his masterpiece period, from T1 to The Abyss. Hell, I'd rather watch Piranha II than slog through Titanic!

I don't get his new obsession with making large-scale versions of the 3D interstitials that show up between the action segments of video games. And now he's infecting all the superhero movies too with this 3D faddism.

Avatar is cool, but unreal in it's attempt to be real. I'd still rather melt into the creamy yet gritty B&W 2D visuals of, say, Billy Wilder and Charles Lang's Ace in the Hole. The former is just a trick. The latter is magic.