Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Spoonful of Sugar

A long time ago, before kids, I spent a lot of time at the movies. Come Oscar season (much like deer season, except you aren’t actually allowed to shoot your prey), I would go early on weekends to see as many of the nominated films and performances as possible. I would read all the articles, keep up with all the award shows, and by actual Oscar night, could pick most of the top five categories (and a good portion of the lesser categories) almost perfectly. I had personal opinions about much of the acting, directing, and even the writing categories because I had actually, you know, watched the films.

Now, I just hope some of them come out on Netflix in time for me to still care about watching them. Because, let’s be honest, on a Saturday night, after a long week of work, child care, etc., do you really want to watch an Oscar-caliber movie (or performance)?

For example, this year’s batch includes such heart-warming and fun-loving topics as:
- Welfare, teen pregnancy, physical abuse, rape, and incest (all in ONE movie)
- Welfare, football, and interracial adoption
- War, bombs, death, and mayhem
- War and Nazis
- War and environmental destruction (with aliens)
- Apartheid (with soccer) [And Matt Damon]
- Apartheid (without soccer [or Matt Damon] but with aliens)
- Corporate downsizing
- Grief and death (the gay version)
- Grief and rebirth (the animated version)
- Grief and revenge (the Markie Mark version – with teen rape and murder)
- And a movie I have never heard of

Seriously, does that group of movies sound like fun to you? At all? If Precious was the last movie on earth, I still wouldn’t want to watch it, even to make fun of Mariah Carey, because it sounds just so abjectly depressing. In fact, considering the subject matter of most of this year’s nominee’s, I think I’d rather just watch HGTV. With the exception of Julie and Julia and a few little indie movies that hit the big time this year, do any of those movie topics have you running to your local Blockbuster? At the end of the week, do you really want to pop in a little ditty about apartheid? Does anyone really want to cozy up to a bowl of popcorn and a bunch of Nazis?

And yes, I do realize that many of the movies are supposed to be inspiring. The beat-down child becomes a big league football player. A country is united through sports. This time, the Germans fight back and win. Grief is overcome. Yada Yada Yada. Where’s the fun in these movies? The joy? This year’s Oscar nominees are the equivalent of fiber-rich cereal. Even Clooney and Damon are just the sugar coating in their whole wheat movies. Good for you, but not necessarily fun to eat. (Though once again, Cameron and Jackson get on the shelf just by having the best toys.)

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