Oscar Open Thread
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I have to say I’m liking the glamor/train fashion redux but Naomi Watts looks like she just took a stroll through the cobwebs of Peggy Noonan’s mind. Jessica Alba, on the other hand, looks fab.
[T]he ‘Hollywood doesn’t reflect mainstream America’ argument is one of the oldest and phoniest in the playbook, with Michael Medved making the same case that Catholic organizers did in the 30′s to push for a decency code. The truth is that Hollywood has almost never reflected heartland values, from its birth it’s reflected urban energy, cosmopolitan taste, social conscience, and pagan fascination, and when it’s conformed to conventional pieties, as during the dreariest stretches of the postwar period, when disillusionment and subversion had to sneak in through the shadows of film noir as the topline product stayed shiny, bright, and chipmunk cheerful. Do you really think the racy, wisecracking, night-owl-edition, socially conscious crime dramas and comedies of Warner Brothers in the thirties reflected heartland values? Or those Lubitsch comedies with their flirty innuendos and musky intrigues so redolent of Paris and Budapest? Or the Astaire-Rogers "white telephone" musicals, with their French farce plots and Manhattan-skyline sparkle? MGM manufactured an enduring neo-Victorian mimicry of smalltown America in the Andy Hardy movies and others, but that didn’t so much reflect heartland values as reflect the immigrant vision of what the white-picket-fence country they imagined lay east of the Hollywood hills.
Think of the movies now considered classic (or semi-classic) from the great grunge stretch of the late Sixties and Seventies, movies such as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, The Last Detail, Five Easy Pieces, Blazing Saddles, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, on and on–do these movies speak to the pieties and platitudes that William Bennett holds dear? Even back then during all the noise and excitement I remember sweet old ladies wondering why they didn’t make nice movies like The Sound of Music anymore, and they’re still asking that same question today. It may be the same old ladies, having gone through two generations of floral muu-muus. Get over it, grandma! They’re not going to make movies like Sound of Music anymore, they barely made them back then.
The only thing I have strong opinions about are the best documentary category. Love love love Murderball, love Street Fight (gave Marshall an ad in the sidebar, please click), and I absolutely LOVED “The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club” (nominated for best short documentary). That was some of the most remarkable storytelling I’ve seen in years, I was on the edge of my seat and I’m pulling for Dan Krauss.
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