February 24, 2012

Intellectualizing the Oscar movies

As I mentioned before, late 2011's crop of Ocar-contender movies proved peculiarly hard to come up with anything intelligent to say about how they relate to larger themes in American life (whereas Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Bad Teacher, X-Men: First Class, and so forth from the popcorn season were smart reimaginings of things you aren't supposed to talk about explicitly). For example, the most intelligent thought I came up from thinking about "The Artist" was that maybe instead of speeding up the film 2 frames per second, they should have sped it up 4 frames.

In contrast, in years past it was easy to come up with interpretations of Oscar-nominated films radically different from the conventional wisdom: e.g., "District 9" wasn't so much an "apartheid allegory" as it was a dystopian Malthusian take on illegal immigration from Zimbabwe by a refugee Boer. "Borat" wasn't a documentary exploring prejudice in Red State America, it was a 90 minute Polish joke illustrating traditional Jewish attitudes toward goyishe kop Slavs. But, "The Artist" is a fun silent movie.

That doesn't stop pixel-stained wretches from trying, however. Here, for example, is Frank Bruni in the New York Times painfully drawing analogies between each and every one of the 9 Best Picture nominees and the GOP presidential primaries.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

"whereas Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Bad Teacher, X-Men: First Class, and so forth from the popcorn season were smart reimaginings of things you aren't supposed to talk about explicitly"

SMART??? RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES????

Anonymous said...

Democrats cutting down government in Illinois, but liberal Illinoisians still solidly Democratic. Why? It appears social issues are bigger among libs too. As long as Dems put up a black guy as president and are for 'gay marriage', it doesn't really matter what they do with gubment or economy.

Anonymous said...

"SMART??? RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES????"

Yes. If for nothing else, then for the fact that it treats IQ tests as measuring something objective.

Of course, its portrayal of uplifting Negroe... erm, great apes intellectually is not bound to sit well with the Supremacists.

Anonymous said...

"SMART??? RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES????"

Yeah, it's one of his hobbyhorses. Hopefully something else catches his fancy soon.

Brazilian said...

SMART??? RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES????

The London Edition a quite realistic.

AmericanGoy said...

""Borat" wasn't a documentary exploring prejudice in Red State America, it was a 90 minute Polish joke illustrating traditional Jewish attitudes toward goyishe kop Slavs."

Actually, Borat was showing the incredibly racist Jewish views of Eastern Europeans (for example, Poland back in the Middle Ages all the way to WW2 had a thriving, separate but equal by their own choice Jewish population, complete with schools, laws and movies practiced and made exlusively in Yiddish, but we can't talk about that).

Where was I?

Oh yeah - Borat.

First, the movie shows the typical racist attitude of Jews toward those rubes, proles, peasants who work, Eastern Europeans.

Second, and even more important to Americans, it shows "Look! Look how stupid Americans are! So easy to bamboozle by us, the smart, chosen people!".

Hunsdon said...

AmericanGoy said: Actually, Borat was showing the incredibly racist Jewish views of Eastern Europeans

Hunsdon replied: Steve said, "a was b." You said, "Actually, a was b."

TGGP said...

I have never heard anyone say anything positive about Frank Bruni's column. Do there exist people who think it's good? Someone gave him a job, but the reasons why remain a mystery.

I've yet to actually read one, I'm not going a waste a pageview and a minute of my time.

sunbeam said...

Is this movie/entertainment interest a California thing?

I mean, I really don't pay any attention to movies, and don't think they are important.

People seemed to get sucked into analyzing the zeitgeist or something, but in the end whether they do that or not, it doesn't seem to change anything.

And most often they turn out wrong anyway.

I actually think movies are dangerous in some ways. Not so much for spreading "dangerous" ideas or altering people's consciousness, but in giving them an unrealistic view of the world.

I think some people think you can hit someone with a barstool, it'll break, and that's that.

It doesn't work that way though.

Heck maybe movies do spread dangerous ideas. Just not in the way the makers intended.

Brazilian said...

sunbeam said:

"I actually think movies are dangerous in some ways. Not so much for spreading "dangerous" ideas or altering people's consciousness, but in giving them an unrealistic view of the world."

This is one the main reason i don't watch movies anymore.

beowulf said...

Is this movie/entertainment interest a California thing?

I'd suspect there's a causal relationship to Steve's job as a film reviewer for Taki's Magazine.

Could be worse, he could be talking about Downton Abbey all the time. :o)
http://youtu.be/i9TF-GKGvgE

beowulf said...

Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie looks pretty awful.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/02/sacha-baron-cohen-dressed-as-the-dictator-to-appear-on-the-red-carpet/

Steve Sailer said...

"Someone gave him a job, but the reasons why remain a mystery."

He's gay and he used to be fat, but he lost a lot of weight. So he's got that going for him ...

slumber_j said...

Steve Sailer said of Frank Bruni "He's gay and he used to be fat..." I took one look at his headshot and pretty much knew he was gay, which got me thinking again about a recent suspicion of mine regarding gayface, which Bruni's got in a big way. (Other big-time gayface havers include former NJ Governor and aide-molester turned candidate for the Episcopal priesthood Jim McGreevy, and the late Zoroastrian belter Freddy Mercury.) Is it perhaps a byproduct of the same in-utero hormonal influences that theoretically produce a predisposition to homosexuality?

Anyway, one nice thing one can say about Bruni is that his restaurant reviews were a hell of a lot more readable than those of his NYT successor, Reinhold Neibuhr's grandson Sam Sifton. But that's not saying much. At all.

Anonymous said...

How Hollywood Conquered the World (All Over Again)

swimming swan said...

"Governor and aide-molester turned candidate for the Episcopal priesthood Jim McGreevy,.."

Gay Episcopals planning on being priests, interesting, I was acquainted with one several years ago in college and wondered whether or not his homosexuality was going to be a problem in his future career.

The CronoLink said...

Speaking of Sascha Baron Cohen:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/02/sacha-baron-cohen-dressed-as-the-dictator-to-appear-on-the-red-carpet/

Anonymous said...

"For example, the most intelligent thought I came up from thinking about "The Artist" was that maybe instead of speeding up the film 2 frames per second, they should have sped it up 4 frames."

The PAL TV broadcasting system shows movies at 25 frames per second, so there is always 1 frame per second acceleration, but you couldn't tell. Or could you? Maybe if I visit USA, my impression would be: exactly like in movies, but somehow slower than I expected ...