The King’s Speech and Oscars and shit

tn_kingsspeechThe 2011 Oscars are on in a couple hours. I know it’s supposed to be cool for movie fans to say they don’t care about the Oscars because it’s all meaningless and etc., but FREDDY VS. JASON was meaningless too and I still wanted to see who would win. Of course that one was ambiguous, I say Freddy won because of the wink but Jason got to do that cool strut holding the severed head. So I’m calling a best director/best picture split tonight.

I mean there’s nothing wrong with it. We all understand the inherent flaws of an award show, but you can still enjoy them, just like you enjoy seeing everybody’s stupid lists of the top 10 of the year or all time best explosions or whatever so you can get mad at what they left off or agree with some unexpected choices they made or whatever. It’s part of being too into movies, don’t get all uppity about it.

This year I was kinda feeling like I didn’t have a bird in this cockfight, because I didn’t even think I had a favorite theatrically released movie this year, but then I remembered that I did and I just didn’t want to admit it because it was about ballet.

I crammed and watched WINTER’S BONE and 127’S HOURS this weekend, so I’d seen 9 of the 10 best picture nominees. I knew it was gonna be a bummer to watch the only one I hadn’t seen be the winner so I went and saw KING’S SPEECH too.
mp_kingsspeechI guess I don’t really get THE KING’S SPEECH. I know everybody seemed to really enjoy it, so I’m not gonna say they’re wrong. But from my perspective it just seems like if you saw the trailer and you thought you know, I’d like to see what happens between those scenes, just to be sure, then you will be perfectly comforted. Yes, it is what you expect. It will wrap you in its gentle warmth and steadfastly refuse to surprise or startle you. I don’t mean the trailer gives away too much, I mean there’s not much to give away. It’s a cinematic adaptation of a concise, easy to explain premise. You know. It’s cute, I guess.

Colin Firth plays the Duke of York (not to be confused with A #1 Isaac Hayes), second in line for the throne of England just before WWII. It’s the dawn of radio and that changed everything, before video killed the radio star and the internet turned video into little clips of animals doing funny things. It is explained in dialogue that a prince used to just have to stand there looking important, but now because of the new technology he has to be able to talk good. This poor bastard has to make a speech to everybody and he’s had a stutter since he was a little kid. I never had a stutter, but I think most of us can identify with the stress of having to go do some thing where you talk in front of a bunch of people, and you can imagine how much more terrifying it would be if you stammer.

The movie starts pretty much the same as 8 MILE. He has to make this speech and he’s nervous, there’s a big buildup, he goes up there and tries but nothing comes out of his mouth and everybody stares at him. But this is no movie, there’s no Mekhi Pfeiffer.

There’s another movie it resembles more than 8 MILE. I had a whole thing written up about how much THE KING’S SPEECH was like THE KARATE KID, but then I used the google.com search engine when I realized somebody else had to have pointed this out before. The first one might be this guy in Vanity Fair. Shoulda kept up to date with kingsspeechfanz.org I guess and I woulda seen that link.

To make a long story short both are about an underdog moved to a place he doesn’t want to be (California, the royal palace) who is bullied (by the Cobra-Kai dudes, by his brothers and dad) but meets an eccentric, uncredentialed foreigner (Japanese, Australian) who in a ramshackle dojo (in this case a set from a gay porno) makes the student do silly things that cause him to whine and the audience to gently chuckle because they know it’s actually a brilliant, unorthodox training method that through a series of montages and growing experiences will lead to excellence.

I don’t think Vanity Fair pointed this one out, but Hitler plays the part of Johnny, the mean blond kid who’s better at karate/speaking and has to be taken down. It would be cool if the King gets an injury during the speech, like he bites his tongue real hard or something, and Geoffrey Rush tells him he doesn’t have to finish, he’s already proven himself, but the King insists so Rush does an Australian healing method (possibly involving eucalyptus) and he goes out there and finishes through the pain.

Then as long as they’re hollywooding it up I think there should be a part where the King runs into his asshole brother – or shit, even Hitler himself – and speeds through perfect enunciations of a bunch of tongue-twisters. And the bully is taken aback and says “wh-whut?” and the king yells “Did I stutter, motherfucker!?” and pushes him out of the way.

This is not a bad movie, it’s perfectly watchable and sweet, and the actors are all as good as you’d expect. Helena Bonham Carter is even likable playing a loving, supporting wife instead of another one of the crazies she’s been playing lately. And I did find myself mildly involved in the climax and pulling for him to turn it into ROCKY 2 and win the big speech match or whatever.

I’ll try not to linger on this point for too long, but I want to bring it up since this is also my Oscars post: it does bug me that so much lavish praise gets thrown on safe, middle of the road movies like this. They’re like the centrist democrats of movies, they try so hard to  please everybody that they get very little done.

They have a broad, mainstream appeal but are British-y and histrory-y enough to seem a little more highbrow and grown up than more technically proficient and more intelligently made popcorn movies. I would argue that other best picture nominees like TOY STORY 3, THE FIGHTER and INCEPTION have the same kind of broad mainstream appeal while also being very distinctive movies, often with something more to say, and in at least 2 of those 3 have much more emotional weight. And one of ’em’s about dolls.

KING’S SPEECH is fine but I don’t think it’s as good as those movies because it doesn’t challenge you in any way or make you think or do anything you haven’t seen before in a movie or do a better job of anything you have seen before in a movie. It clearly explains its themes in dialogue just to be safe. And it has jokes a little kid can understand.

It doesn’t go as broad as it could with the humor but come on dude, you can’t get much more obvious than ha ha ha, the King is saying “fuck” a whole bunch of times! And in this type of movie since it’s not a comedy and there’s no rule that says it has to be funny then anything that is very mildly somewhat funny-ish will make Seattle audiences laugh a little too hard. So at the “fuck fuck fuck” part they act like it’s 1980 and they’re watching AIRPLANE for the first time.

And there’s even a part where Geoffrey Rush tells the bishop that he’ll have to clear out Westminster Abbey for him to prepare with the King. The bishop looks like steam is about to come out of his ears, and you’re obviously supposed to think “ha ha ha, he’s really sticking it to that uptight clergyman, I’d like to take the starch out of his collar.” I only regret that the bishop doesn’t loosen up and go streaking at the end, or judge a wet t-shirt contest.

The Weinsteins, who you would sense were the producers of this movie even if it had no credits, are apparently re-releasing a PG-13 cut to get more money, so it’s not gonna have the scene where he says fuck a bunch of times. I don’t know if they plan to add in some farting or something to make up for it, but at least they’ll still have the part where Geoffrey Rush sits on the throne just to fuck with him! Can you believe it? He’s turning the whole system upside down. Next thing you know there’s gonna be teachers standing on their desks throwing text books. The Man has gotta be shakin’ in his boots after the way that King and his buddy stuck it to him. In fact I have a feeling this movie played a big part in what’s gone on recently in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

* * *

The standard-def wisdom says it’s gonna be THE KING’S SPEECH for best picture with the dark horse outside chance going to THE SOCIAL NETWORK. So it basically comes down to whether more people are willing to vote for a movie about British royalty or one about college kids – I don’t think either one has won a best picture before. But let’s compare the two I guess.

Both are about a priveleged but socially awkward weiner who works hard to achieve something. With THE KING it’s through lessons, with SOCIAL it takes more smarts. Both sort of end up being about the importance of friendship, but in THE KING it’s “and they remained friends afterwards, isn’t that great?”, with SOCIAL NETWORK it’s “and he ruined his friendship, doesn’t that suck?” So they’re coming at it from different angles.

Both are sort of about technology creating a major change in culture, but THE KING is just going with the flow, SOCIAL is getting out in front of it and turning it to his advantage. But THE KING’s goal is to unite the nation going into WWII, SOCIAL’s is just to be the biggest to impress girls. But it’s not like the movie portrays that as a good thing.

Both movies are meant to be non-judgmental about their protagonists, but I think SOCIAL comes across more as a cautionary tale and KING’S as a triumphant underdog. I think both kind of have small, unimportant things to say about the way changes in technology affect our culture, neither is real deep. But SOCIAL is a far better piece of filmatism as far as photography, editing and music, a far more layered and interesting script about a more difficult to dramatize subject. And as good as Colin Firth is I think plenty of fine British actors could’ve pulled off that role, but very few if any twentysomething nerds could’ve handled the personality and mouthsful of dialogue that Jesse Eisenberg did in his. So I’d give the Oscar to the kid. Don’t think they will, but they should.

appendix: my loose ranking of the 10 nominees in case anybody gives a shit

2. TOY STORY 3 (this might actually be the best but I don’t want to admit it ’cause it’s a cartoon and a part 3)
3. THE SOCIAL NETWORK (or possibly INCEPTION, but I saw SOCIAL NETWORK a second time and it grew on me more)
6. TRUE GRIT maybe? gotta see it again to deal with my remake vs. original issues
7. 127 HOURS
9 and 10: not sure between KIDS ARE ALRIGHT and KING’S SPEECH, those were the only two nominees I didn’t like very much. Both have their positive qualities, KIDS is arguably more original but also more flawed

* * *


Well, no surprises there, except the fella from The Nine Inch Nails won for the SOCIAL NETWORK score. I didn’t expect that. Maybe we’re making babysteps toward a more RZA-friendly future.

I was happy to see Natalie Portman win. Not a surprise but well deserved. Looks like doing movies instead of sex videos is a viable choice for some former child stars. (Jackie Earle Haley chose this route also.)

Even in a 10 nominee field it looks like the CRASH principle can hold true: I liked 8 of the 10 so it’s gonna be one of the other two that wins. Looks like alot of people are mad about THE KING’S SPEECH winning over SOCIAL NETWORK, to me it’s more about winning over several movies that I believe were way better.

Oh well. I’m a little more disappointed in the script and direction of KING’S SPEECH winning. I feel like it’s a pretty blatant way of honoring mediocrity. Nothing against the dude but I have no clue what is special about Mr. Hooper’s achievement as a director there. He did a professional job of plainly photographing a cast that wouldn’t do a bad job even if they were in a STAR WARS prequel. They’re all good but I don’t feel like he got any career highs out of any of them or brought out any new sides of them that we haven’t seen before. And the script is not terrible but it’s a pretty by-the-numbers story complete with two “here I will explain what the themes are” lines of dialogue and what I think is a really phony emotional climax when he yells “BECAUSE I HAVE A VOICE!” To me that felt more like a line for the Oscar reel than a believable response from the character.

But life will go on, and I believe several of these movies will be remembered and re-watched much more fondly than this one, so what else is new? At least with the 10 nominees they give a little bit of respect to a bunch of really good movies that deserve a high five or two.

Now I would like to make an argument I don’t think many people will agree with, but despite my ranking above I’m feeling that the nominee that had the least chance of winning best picture – TOY STORY 3 – was probly the one that deserved it most. Think about the emotions of that movie, the way it speaks to parents facing the day when their children grow up and leave them, to young people growing up and having to leave their families, to giving up the things that were meaningful to you in the past, to facing your own mortality and accepting it because of the love of your friends and makeshift family… and I think this list could go on with several other very relatable, human emotions that these animated inanimate objects experience. Now think of just the filmatism of it, the humorous way they tell this entertaining jailbreak story, and the incredible attention to detail in creating the world and culture of the toys living in a day care center. And think of the technical achievement, the animation and design that is so much more layered and textured and nuanced than even the previous TOY STORY movies. And the performances created between animators and voice actors. And all of this in an animated sequel, a movie that would’ve been a huge hit even if it was lazy and shitty, but instead managed to exceed all expectations, even coming after a couple home runs in a row from Pixar.

I guess I could make similar arguments for BLACK SWAN or SOCIAL NETWORK, which I think are both great achievements, powerful stories, exceptionally well told, and movies that could not have been made by other directors. Maybe I’m latching onto TOY STORY 3 because it’s a pretty big underdog in the Oscar world. There’s such a prejudice against an animated movie winning best picture, especially when it has a separate category to win in. If it somehow pulled off a win people would complain about it for years, like when the song from HUSTLE & FLOW, which was absolutely crucial to that great movie, justifiably and against all odds won an Oscar. I agree, I don’t like Three Six Mafia, I don’t like that entire genre of “dirty South” hip hop, but that was one of the most deserved original song Oscars ever. No wonder it’s such an uphill battle for something unorthodox to win, even when it does win people grumble about it for years.

Now I would like to close off this rambling screed with a rant I have had developing all year but I don’ t think I’ve unleashed it on the internet yet. I am sick and fucking tired of hearing people say that they don’t want to see THE SOCIAL NETWORK or didn’t get into it because “I don’t want to see a Facebook movie” or “I don’t use Facebook.”

When the movie was new it was a mildly annoying thing to hear, because David Fincher is a director that most movie fans are familiar enough with to have some faith in, and the tagline “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies” succinctly sums up what the drama is gonna be.

But now that the movie has been seen and discussed by millions of people for a year I think it’s fair to point out the utter stupidity of that logic. I saw it again in Entertainment Weekly’s article where they talk to anonymous Oscar voters about what they voted for. Maybe I’m more open-minded than some, but I’m not a boxer, I’m not a crackhead, I’m not a king, I don’t give speeches, I’m not a doll, I’m not a young girl seeking my father’s killer in Indian territory, or a young girl seeking my father in the Ozarks. Yet I can see the drama inherent in all those topics. Nobody ever refused to watch SCARFACE because they don’t use cocaine. Or WALL STREET because they don’t invest in stocks. What the fuck are you talking about? Please stop saying it.

oh shit, the music is playing, I love you mom, etc.

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 27th, 2011 at 4:37 pm and is filed under Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

94 Responses to “The King’s Speech and Oscars and shit”

  1. Every Oscar show has the same problems: Overlong, awful scripted punchlines, etc.

    But yeah I’ve watched every Oscar broadcast since 1996 (when BRAVEHEART won for ’95) because its really the Super Bowl for us moviephiles, the pageantry, the spectacle, the drama (upsets! right people winning for the right nods! the WTF wins i.e. CRASH)

  2. Been saying the same thing denigrating the Oscars every year since GLADIATOR won Best Picture. In the last couple years, I’ve come to realize that my complaints are not that original, though that shitfest THE HURT LOCKER winning last year (not to mention the universal presumption that AVATAR finished in 2nd place) renewed my outrage and fortified my dismissiveness of the whole ordeal. These winners/nominations are almost on the same level of absurdity as that CRASH debacle which I know nothing about b/c I’m too good to follow the Academy Awards.

    Knicks – Heat tonight, 4 of the 5 top scorers in the NBA in one game, and I gotta try to figure out if Chauncey is really a big upgrade over Raymond Felton. Oh wait, I have 2 TVs side by side here. Okay, I do enjoy some of the tribute montages, I guess.

    Everyday, TOY STORY 3 gets better & better in my mind, so it’s the more timelessly great movie, but nothing from 2010 cinema will ever be better than my first viewing of BLACK SWAN.

    I saw the rest of the nominees, with the exception of 127 HOURS (due to my vehement anti-Danny Boyleism), and, though they are all worth watching, none of them come close to Vern’s top 2.

    In conclusion, go watch INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS again.

  4. Always read, never post – but Mouth, Billups is cooked. He’s no better than Felton and probably has more downside. My question is what Melo actually will be worth – it’s not like his teams have a big history of winning…

    As for the Academy Awards, the fact that Toy Story has absolutely zero chance of winning Best Picture says everything you need to know – not that I think it was the best film of the year, but that so many do… and yet it stand no chance.

  5. I’m still bizarrely optimistic that TOY STORY 3 will win the big one. 3 hours (or more) on my countdown to disappointment.

    **it does bug me that so much lavish praise gets thrown on safe, middle of the road movies like this. They’re like the centrist democrats of movies, they try so hard to please everybody that they get very little done.**

    Now I’ve never been one to talk politics in these parts, ahem, but might we find a more apt comparison for this crowd and say that these “safe, middle of the road movies” are like traditional wedding gowns? They’re plain white and well-made, with some train and a little veil, not revealing too much cleavage or curvature of course. They are respectable but boring.

    And then you have the sexy wedding dresses — they’re lower-cut or show some leg or pronounce the right parts to facilitate the groom’s desire to consummate doggystyle after the reception, maybe they have a splash of color. These, of course, are the bride dresses everyone remembers. Like, say, STEP-UP 3D is the slutty bikini top bride dress that I will always enjoy more than THE KING’S SPEECH. It’s more entertaining, more colorful, and definitely more memorable.

    Note: Vern will be pleased that Natalie Portman, due to pregnancy, has hit a nice phase of hotness indicating that she has consumed some of those chocolate milkshakes he prescribed a couple months ago.

  6. Mouth: I’m with you 100%: this is the year of the animated best picture, best picture.

    As for hotness, Trent Reznor just won for the Social Network soundtrack, but f___ Trent Reznor, did you check out his wife Mariqueen? That’s one smokin’ Filipina.

  7. Anyone else find it weird/annoying that the TV ads for this year’s broadcast just refer to the event as “Oscar”? Like they’re trying to make it all minimalist and hip for some reason.

    Oh, and next year’s NFL championship game will be known as “Super” and the NCAA basketball semifinals will be “Four”.

  8. Freddy totally won. After my girlfriend and I saw it, I was like, “I can’t believe Jason won.” And she was like, “No way. As long as Freddy is alive, he’s going to find a way to outsmart Jason.” And she’s right. I dare anyone to find fault with that logic.

    As for the Oscars…I haven’t been able to forgive them since Children Of Men, surely one of the greatest films of the decade, didn’t even score *nominations* for Best Director or Best Picture. And now, Tom Hooper over David Fincher? DAVID FUCKING FINCHER? Go screw, Oscars.

  9. Somewhere someone had the idea to add a best stunt Oscar, which would rock, but it also may be too late.

    Poor stuntpeoples. No love.

  10. You’re right that it’s a grievous oversight for some of, unquestionably, the most dedicated people in the business. It’s incredibly insulting considering that these people literally risk their lives and their health for the movies, but they don’t get official recognition. However, the guy fiddling with faders in the mixing room does. What the fuck?

    On a related note, I went to the World Stunt Awards once. An entire evening dedicated to honoring stunt men. It fucking ruled.

  11. (please note that the post is updated at the bottom)

  12. The King’s Speech has such an oscar-bait premise that they could have just called the screenplay “The Best Picture” and left it at that. So I guess you have to give them some credit that they actually made an effort to make it a bit classy and didnt just give it to some TV director because it would have fucking won anyway.

  13. I agree there should be a stunt award. I believe it was up for consideration a year or two or three ago, but got rejected. The conventional wisdom was that some people didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that it wasn’t the stars really doing that shit. But I think it’s more likely a prejudice against respecting action movies as art.

  14. Yeah I had people say they werent going to see The Social Network because it’s computer nerd movie, or it’ll be dudes talking about writing software for 2 hours or whatever.

    My answer was hey remember that cool movie The Spanish Prisoner? Where the bad guys are trying to steal “the process”? And you dont know what “the process” is and it doesnt matter? That kind of how they treat facebook in this movie. Kind of. Well you dont need to be a programmer to enjoy it anyway.

  15. I had to work tonight so I missed the Oscars, but I am dissatisfied with the results and I agree with everything you said.

    The major oversights as I see them:

    Nolan should’ve been nominated for Director
    Scott Pilgrim and Tron should’ve been nominated for effects
    Fincher or Aronofsky should’ve won director (or Nolan, but, uh, see above)
    Black Swan, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, and Inception were all far more interesting films than the King’s Speech (Hell, Scott, Pilgrim was way better than The King’s Speech)
    And I completely agree that Eisenberg’s performance was far more impressive than Colin Firth’s, and I’ve been arguing that he should win actor with all my friends, even though he clearly had no chance.

  16. obviously I meant “Scott Pilgrim,” not “Scott, Pilgrim.”

  17. Haven’t watched the Oscars yet (after all in my timezone it was 2am when they started and the show is only half as long when you record it and skip the commercial breaks), but judging by all the “Wahhh, the Oscars suck” comments in my Twitter feed, I guess THE KING’S SPEECH won. (Or THE SOCIAL NETWORK, because this movie might have been the victim of the fastest backlash ever! From “Wow, it’s awesome!” to “What a boring and mediocre piece of crap” within less than a half year.)

  18. the Oscars kind of fucking suck, but I still watch them every year, the key is to not take them too seriously, because even though they like to think they are, they are not the be all end all decision makers of what the best movie of the year was, at the end of the day it’s still just opinions, but opinions that come with shiny gold statues

    my pick for best picture was either Inception or Toy Story 3, but have you ever noticed that the Academy will almost always favor movies with lots of talking and no action or special effects over movies that have those? (Annie Hall beating out Star Wars anyone?)

  19. I think maybe the main reason some people tend to dismiss The Social Network is that there’s a certain type of person who is 100% convinced that nothing on the internet can ever have real-world consequences. So, to them, the idea of Facebook having an impact on anyone’s life (even the site’s creator) is actually offensive.

  20. [spoilers if you haven’t seen the film, even though if you’ve ever seen any film, you’ve seen this one]

    i’m a brit and i hated this film. as vern said, it’s not a bad film, it’s just completely safe and mediocre and i’ve seen it a zillion times before. You see, this film comes complete with an unorthodox and irreverent mentor whose character can be summed up with the phrase “he calls the king ‘bertie'”. except in the final scene in which he calls him “your majesty”, which is of course entirely deserved.

    what really irked me was stuff like the “BECAUSE I HAVE A VOICE!!”, where i’m meant to believe that the ozzie speech therapist was endowed with such extraordinary foresight and manipulative abilities as to manage to orchestrate the whole conversation towards that one line. of course he knew that by sitting in the throne he’d get colin firth to shout “i have a right to be heard” and “because i have a voice”. of course he did.

    also i hated, hated, hated all the “made for trailer” jokes, which as vern said are made funny by the very fact that it’s not meant to be a funny movie. plus all these quips are so predictable, you can see them coming from miles away, like the jokes on “Friends”.
    “tell him to quit his job”
    “he can’t”
    “indentured servitude?”
    “…something like that.”
    ho-ho-ho! how witty, how very british! that’s a right knee-slapper that is, these funny little brits with their sly understatements!

    “what’s he saying daddy?”
    “i don’t know but he appears to be saying it well!”
    that’s another bloody good line that is, original too, were it not lifted verbatim from the lyrics from Evita (yes, I know the lyrics to Evita, i love that shit).

    Finally, Churchill irritated the hell out of me because he was a caricature. I’m meant to believe that the guy spoke in private with the same intonation he did while giving speeches to the nation. Of course he did.

    I swear I hate the fact that as a species we are so addicted to mediocrity that this shit passes for “great” or worthy of any praise whatsoever. Colin Firth? He’s…ok. He does some acting. He’s not “oscar” acting, he’s just acting. But because we’re not really used to him doing anything other than his puppy-dog-hugh-grant shtick, because he’s in the most uncontroversial film of the year, and because he is sooooo incredibly english he’s basically a foreign actor so him winning is never going to piss off any of the other contenders, kinda like giving first prize in a spelling bee to a dyslexic mongolian, of course he wins the award.

    I swear I’d prefer the world of idiocracy. This rampant culture of mediocrity is just boring.

    Sorry for the rant vern.

  21. So once again the Oscar for best picture goes to the movie that went the furthest out of its way to suck academy dick – what a fucking shock. You’d think these pricks would be tired of being pandered to by now…

  22. Colin Firth looks pretty ready to take an Academy dick in that picture

  23. Christopher Hitchens tore THE KING’S SPEECH apart in his SLATE column twice so far, if you want to see some mean Britishness and find other legitimate reasons to dislike the movie.

    I had forgotten how terrible Timothy Spall is as Churchill. He’s usually good. What the hell happened? Who let that performance stand? The editors must’ve hated that.

  24. you have to wonder sometimes if the academy members actually know what it is a director actually does. The Kings Speech was so obviously and cynically designed by Harvey fucking Weinstein to win Awards, they should have handed him the oscar instead of Hooper. In fact Harvey should have let Kevin Smith direct it, we’d have got the same fucking movie and Smith could stop whining about critics hating him.

  25. nah, i’m fine with historical inaccuracy, ultimately i just want to see a good story told right. ultimately, this film does that. what annoys me is that it is so intentionally sucking up to the academy and that it managed to achieve its aims by doing so while nobody even knows what The Iron Giant is.

  26. billydeethrilliams

    February 28th, 2011 at 6:24 am

    We all know what the best film of 2010 was… Harry Brown. That movie’s great. I have yet to see I Saw The Devil though. Come on Friday!

    Oh, and Mouth: Who is that big breasted beauty?

    Hey Vern, did you see Blue Valentine? It’s a good answer to all these horrific romantic comedies.

  27. Complaining about the Oscars is a little like complaining about the weather. Sure, you might have a legitimate grip, but it isn’t going to change anything. I thought there were some pretty good nominees this year (granted, I’ve only seen six of the ten, but I actually want to see most of the films I haven’t gotten around to). In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say that the films this year were heads and shoulders above the ones last year. I’m glad the academy is using its ten nominees to shine a little light on smaller pictures like Winter’s Bone. So, good for them.

  28. As long as the Academy will be run by 90ish years old people who haven’t gotten out of their Sound of Music fantasy shit like Crash, Shakespeare in Love and The King’s Speech will win best picture oscars.

  29. Vern: I have an idea for you. Next year, host “The Bad Ass Oscars” (or some variation on that, since the real Oscars will sue you for trademark violation… The “BadAssies?” Maybe the statue can be Van Damme doing a roundhouse? …much better ideas out there). Run up a list of nominees, in all the same categories as the Oscars, but of course, only from Bad Ass films. Supplement with valid alternative categories like stunt work. Make it aggressively international, break this lame American bubble the real Oscars operate in. I see you added a “Bad Ass Awards & Honors” Link above right, but it only goes to this story. Maybe you’re way ahead of me and already considering this idea? Yeah!

    Announce nominees the same time the Oscar’s announce theirs. Shadow them and steal their thunder. The definition of Bad Ass does not have to be narrow or stereotypical: I would think, for example, that “The Black Swan” passes convincingly as an example of Bad Ass cinema.

    Let people argue about the nominees. For weeks. Correct nominee lists as the public demands. Then run some sort of voting mechanism. Of course it will be abused. Who cares. The point isn’t to be accurate, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean in a popularity contest.

    Then announce the results around the same time as the Oscars. Let people argue and howl some more. You can steal some thunder Vern, it would bring mondo traffic to this site.

    People would really flock to such an alternative prize, you are not the only one tired of sickly sweet Oscar winners and the completely deserving but ignored. Heck, if it grows in enough popularity, you might wind up with a real life venue on your hands. Do it Vern! Next year! People, second this motion!

  30. Fellow EVITA fan shalom82 hit on something there at the end of the rant. Some of these Oscar-bait movies strive for excellence, but it’s a calculated, safe kind of excellence, thus it’s compromised & less than excellent.

    I like what Spielberg said last night about the 9 nominees that won’t win. They join the ranks of CITIZEN KANE, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, GOODFELLAS, etc..

  31. good one @Baraka and include the DTV in your list of nominees.

    We all know that John Hyams was the best director of 2010.

  32. While THE KING’S SPEECH joins the ranks of CRASH, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, CHICAGO, etc. Maybe losing is a blessing in disguise.

  33. F-f-f-f–f–fff–ff—ff—f—f–ff–fuck o-o–o-o-ff Colin F-f-f-firth.

  34. I think THE KING’S SPEECH’s win, besides the fact that a lot of folks inexplicably but genuinely loved it, can be explained as a self-conscious corrective for last years Oscars. THE HURT LOCKER, regardless of what you thought of it, was not a middle-of-the-road crowdpleaser. It was a little more challenging, more of a critical darling rather than something that a lot of people connected with. More importantly, it was infamously the lowest-grossing film to win best picture. A lot of people I knew seemed to be falt-out unaware of its existence before it won the Oscar.

    As Melissa Leo correctly pointed out, the Oscars are as much about selling tickets as they are about acknowledging good work. They are propaganda for Hollywood and the movie industry. After last year’s less broadly-appealing win, honoring THE KING’S SPEECH is a way of letting viewers know that they’re back to playing softball again, picking big, crow-pleasing, inoffensive hits and whatnot.

  35. I just don’t understand how anybody could possibly call The Hurt Locker shit. I mean, that’s just bullshit to say that.

  36. Yeah, well, it’s also bullshit to listen to every civilian critic praise the “realism” of a movie so foreign to reality.

  37. I thought the anti-piracy bit was a little jarring

  38. Really glad to see Christian Bale and Randy Newman win oscars.

  39. Sternshein,

    If you’re going to insult someone for a opinion they off-handedly mentioned, you kinda owe us more than dismissively calling their opinion “bullshit.” Do you care to explain further why Mouth isn’t allowed to think it was a bad movie?

    And I say this as someone who loved THE HURT LOCKER.

  40. wait, i liked the hurt locker too. is that a no-no in geek circles now?
    it’s so damn hard to keep up with this shit. then again, i didn’t like scott pilgrim so what do i know.

  41. I don’t remember knowing that Mouth hated THE HURT LOCKER. I’m almost afraid to ask but I’m guessing it must be some serious military accuracy issues because I think otherwise he would really appreciate it as a piece of suspense filmmaking and a commentary on old action tropes, as well as a more carefully constructed and visually understandable version of the post-action style.

    I won’t praise its realism, but can I praise its real-seeming-ism?

    I think Dan makes a good point. I don’t think the voters are that calculated, maybe it’s more of a backlash against challenging movies than a conspiracy. THE HURT LOCKER is a little artier and gives you more to digest. If it was written in the style of THE KING’S SPEECH there wouldn’t have been so much disagreement about whether it’s entirely apolitical or very political, whether it was pro or anti or neutral towards the war. Jeremy Renner would’ve had a line toward the end where he said “It’s ironic, I fight so hard to defend everybody at home but then when I get home I just want to go back.” And there’d be a scene where they debate the war and come to some pat conclusion about how whether they agree with it or not they signed up to do a job and they’re in this together.

  42. Vern,

    Of, I agree that it probably wasn’t an actual conspiracy or anything like that. But based on my (highly unscientific) observations, THE HURT LOCKER’s win was received with a collective “Huh? What’s that?” by the American public last year. And then when folks did get around to seeing it, it wasn’t necessarily their cup of tea, they didn’t see what the big deal was. At the time, I was vaguely happy to see a smaller movie (that I genuinely dug) get accolades. Now I just think it lead to a lot of people seeing a movie that wasn’t really up their alley.

    I think this might have been on the back of Oscar voters’ minds. I don’t doubt their genuine affection for THE KING’S SPEECH. Heck, I mean, besides it being a bonafide hit and crowd-pleaser, it received serious critical acclaim too (score of 88 on Metacritic, and they tend to stick to professional sources, unlike Rotten Tomatoes). So it’s not like this was just a case of the Weinstein publicity machine steamrolling over critical thought, lots of people think it’s a good one, even if folks like you and I agree that it was cute but hardly remarkable. I just think there’s a sense where they wanted to throw America a bone. It’s more important that the Academy has its finger on the pulse of the general public than the cinephile crowd.

    It’s the sweet spot the need to hit: something with mass appeal and popularity, with enough classiness and quality to them so they aren’t embarrassing themselves by awarding THE KARATE KID, even though as you point out it’s basically just a less-prestigious version of the same movie. (Not a knock. I liked KARATE KID too).

    Which, you know, whatever. That’s cool. I don’t have a problem with movies like this or SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, entertaining-enough crowd pleasers that I don’t regret seeing, even if they don’t really light my fire.

  43. I suspect the same thing will happen with the Grammies next year after it turned out that no one except bearded hipsters knew who Arcade Fire were. Expect album of the year to go to “Bob Dylan & Paul McCartney Sing Cole Porter Songs Over Lightly Strummed Acoustic Guitars.”

  44. Either that or “Pretty 20-something White Girl With Pleasant Voice Sings Lite-Jazz Influenced Pop Songs,” an album heralded as a new classic and then promptly forgetting by everyone within 12 months.

  45. That ‘I don’t want to see a film about facebook’ line of thought was exactly what I had, I must admit. And I kept it up for the first five minutes of the film where I was thinking ‘Oh no, not only is it about facebook, but it’s all talktalktalktalktalktalktalktalk. I can’t keep with this’, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t slowly but surely turn out to be one of the best films of the year as it went along. In fact, most people I know seemed to have the same reaction; expecting to be non-plussed, ending up being very plussed. The problem is knowing that a lot of people would like it if they actually just watched it, but that they won’t watch it because they’ve dismissed it. A lot of the time I find the films I have the lowest expectations of turn out to be gems whereas the can’t-fails fail to live up to the hype.

  46. Is it okay if I still just don’t want to see THE SOCIAL NETWORK? I mean, I believe you all that it’s great but there are about 50 million other movies that I’m more interested in. What do you call that phenomenon when you’re sure a movie will be good but you don’t actually feel like sitting down and watching it?

  47. Wait-for-TV-ism

  48. Majestyk,

    Maybe something like “the Ron Howard Effect”?

    Either way, SOCIAL NETWORK is great, but seeing as you’re more of a scholar of cult, action and horror films, its not a must-see. I’d just say, if you find yourself in a situation where watching it is convenient, you should go for it.

  49. I was kinda like that about THE SOCIAL NETWORK when I really found out what it was about (I actually for some reason was initially under the impression it was a horror movie about either a curse or a killer that strikes through an obvious facebook expy. Don’t ask me why), but the reason I’ve REALLY not watched it yet is it didn’t seem like the sort of movie that I personally HAD to see in theaters. I’ll catch it eventually on TV, but I’m in no rush, no matter how much people talk about it.

  50. Also a found it weird how the promotion of the movie for some reason made it come off more like a thriller than a true story drama. I mean, look at that “you don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies” poster/cover and tell me that doesn’t make it seem like the movie is about Jessie Eisenberg playing some geek who’s being targetted by a psycho he’s unintentionally slighted by refusing a friend request, or not poked back or something.

  51. Dan P.: it could be that the “sweet spot” you mentioned might have been a film like TOY STORY 3. I mean, I feel that there are a lot of people who genuinely love AND respect that movie, and don’t just like it from a “oh haha, that movie was cute” kind of way, but were really moved by it. Unfortunately, animation in general is still a divisive genre, because no matter how thoughful, mature, or well-made an animated film is, there will still be a not-insignificant camp that will think lesser of it because there aren’t actual people on the screen.

    On the other hand I’m pleasantly surprised that there have been two animated films nominated for Best Picture since the introduction of the “Best Animated Feature” category, which I had assumed was where they’d all end up be default. So props to the Academy there, I guess.

  52. BLACK-GLOVED SLASHER has written on your wall!

    “I’m going to kill you.”

    You dislike this.

  53. capefearwx,

    Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head. TOY STORY 3 is a sterling example of mainstream filmmaking and what it can accomplish, but it still had no chance of winning because it’s a cartoon. And animation will never shake the stigma in this country that it’s just a medium for children’s programming.

    What does everyone think of this:

    No one expects the Academy to scrounge up obscure, provocative, divisive art films and hand out awards to them. Yet, if we agree that best picture is going to go to an easy-to-swallow, crowd-pleasing, mainstream money maker with a predictable-but-satisfying structure and a cast of well-known actors, is it unreasonable to think that maybe THE FIGHTER would have been the better decision? I don’t think THE FIGHTER was a great movie (it’s not even in my top 5 of the 10 Oscar nominees), but can we agree that if Oscar wants to go with the safe choice, THE FIGHTER provided basically the same experience (heartwarming underdog tale with a dash of prestige) that KING’S SPEECH did, only it did it with with more style, energy, originality, etc etc?

  54. I predict Trent Reznor will become the new Danny Elfman. Leaves his popular cult band and begins scoring some films, does a great job in a style that is a bit reminiscent of his band. Ten, fifteen years in the future he will be doing uninspired, self parodying hack work and people will just wish Nine Inch Nails would get back together.

  55. Sorry for thinking Mouth’s opinion of a really great and well made movie that had me on the edge of my seat to be bullshit. I don’t see any movie and automatically assume it’s realistic because it’s not a documentary. But it was really well made. Surprising at times. It was skillfull and interesting. These are all things that make movies a movie good.

    As far as the Oscars go, why is there so much focus on best picture? Toy Story 3 won a major award, Social Network won a major award, Black Swan won a major award, The Fighter won a major award and The King’s Speech won a major award. In Oscar speak, they’re essentially saying those were the best movies of the year and just have to by protocol put something as Best Picture.

  56. “They have a broad, mainstream appeal but are British-y and histrory-y enough to seem a little more highbrow and grown up than more technically proficient and more intelligently made popcorn movies.”

    I vowed not to comment on the Oscars again, since I don’t want to dignify them as having any more legitimacy in pointing out the “best” movies than the deservedly derided Razzies have mocking the “worst” ones (and I think both ceremonies have proven time after time that they don’t). But I would like to comment on “The King’s Speech”, even though I haven’t seen it and probably won’t see it. Vern, don’t blame this particular crap (ok, maybe the movie wasn’t crap, but I’m damned if I’m going to pay money to see something that was blatantly created for the sole purpose of winning Oscars instead of entertaining / educating / challenging its viewers) on us Britishers. Blame it on America’s taste in British movies, if you like. There are plenty of great British films that aren’t made by Mike Leigh or Tom Hooper that don’t get so much as a look-in, and plenty of foreign or American films (“Cold Mountain” immediately springs to mind) that are “made for Oscar” also.

    And if I had my own awards ceremony, I would’ve given the best picture prize to “Inception” or “Toy Story 3”. Not a big fan of “True Grit”, and I haven’t seen “Black Swan” (yet, I will as soon as it comes out on Netflix) or “The King’s Speech”.

  57. @ Mr. Majestyk- HAHAHAHAHAHA

  58. Paul: I think there’s this very curious thing about American audiences and how they react to British things, mainly that they’ll perceive something at a slightly higer quality if it’s British. So an otherwise middling film might be seen in a better light if it’s about British (sounding) people. Bonus points if it’s about British royalty.

    I’d be interesting to see someone make two versions of a movie, both with the exact same plot, dialogue, and quality of actors, except make one version with an all-British (or all-British-sounding) cast and one with all Americans, and see which one Americans rate higher.

  59. Jesus Christ that bit with Kirk Douglas was uncomfortable to watch.

  60. I thought the King’s Speech was a phony baloney bit of boring predictable Oscar Bait, and Colin Firth did a good job as the Oscar Meyer Weinerschitzel but I’m totally on board with Christopher Hitchen’s criticisms.


    If you’re doing a historical film based on real people and events and you start fudging the facts to get a smoother more palatable story well, who the hell do you think you are? A historian? Most everyone who sees your based on a true story flick is gonna believe they’re seeing the real deal, so when you flake on your responsibility to what really went down and go for a truthier tale, you’re nothing but a goddam hack time bandit muddying up the past. Screw you for making it up instead of making do with the ugly truth.

    The best part of the flick was the speech and that mostly because it was buoyed up by Beethoven’s 7th.

    Whatever for the Oscars…I watched Rubber last night and I nominate Robert the psychokinetic psychopath big wheel in the badass film awards inanimate object category. No Country For Old Tires, friendo.


  61. “Unfortunately, animation in general is still a divisive genre, because no matter how thoughful, mature, or well-made an animated film is, there will still be a not-insignificant camp that will think lesser of it because there aren’t actual people on the screen.”
    And even when animation is respected, only the really, really, really special, moving and thoughtful stuff will be appreciated. Animation can’t be appreciated just for entertainment value, it always has to be “worthy” to even be acknowledged. Even Vern doesn’t seem to have much interest in action animation unless it happens to be a Black Dynamite spinoff or something.

  62. @capefearwx

    Good point about all things British getting a pass. That’s another aspect that I found really annoying about The King’s Speech – all the cloying your majester subservience shown for the royals. Actually I think the whole film is just propaganda for the Firm, got to keep in the commoner’s good books, let’s give them another movie worshiping our wealth and privilege. How’s about another wedding to pump up our popularity with the proles?

  63. It’s okay to like THE HURT LOCKER. I thought it was a less than good film, personally, even though I liked a couple of the scenes and certain aspects of 1 or 2 of the characters. I’m glad people enjoyed it or got something out of it, that it was a uniquely intense experience that left you feeling satisfied with your time & money spent. I try to stay positive, so I generally refrain from ripping apart the tastes of others.

    This particular case irked me something fierce because of the universal ecstatic acclaim from critics, many of whom decided to comment on the “realism” of the thing. When judging the filmatism & tone of THL, everyone, it seems, decided to forget Kathryn Bigelow’s directorial history —
    -that Willem Dafoe one that Vern kind of liked,
    -a melodramatic vampire movie that Vern liked and that I thought was between okay & bad until the stupid ending made it really bad,
    -the quintessential unintentionally hilarious action movie that happens to be mostly awesome in equal measure due to & *despite* the direction,
    -an underrated sci-fi murder mystery about virtual dream experiences that unfortunately asks us to find Juliette Lewis hot and, again, is badass both b/c and *despite* the filmatism,
    -a submarine movie I never saw.

    Maybe that last one explains it, but I don’t get why there wouldn’t be more skepticism when assessing the nonfiction or “real-seeming” aspects of THL. I’ve gotten over it, though. My rage surfaces occasionally when I remember how some people gush over the movie in which a special operations soldier cries (!) and hesitates to shoot an enemy cameraman. I cringe less now when I recall how that doesn’t-play-by-the-rules SFC (who many reviewers incorrectly referred to as a SSG, indicating to me an inexcusably sloppy level of journalism and probably a reliance on some shared incorrect press release notes about THL) let that complex-IED triggerman run away.

    There are many inaccuracies (made all the more glaring b/c clearly much care went into getting a lot of it right, like the gunner throwing empty beverage containers at stagnant traffic) and confusing moments in THL for those of us who have spent some time in Baghdad the last several years, but I won’t go on. Like if a real bank robber or a real “I am an F-B-I Agent!” watched POINT BREAK, he/she would probably be like, “What? That’s not how we do it.” But most of us can still turn off part of our brain and enjoy it overall.

    Ultimately, as long as I maintain that the Oscars are meaningless, the thing irks me as much as the HAPPY GILMORE script’s disdain for PGA rules would offend the professional golfer audience.

  64. Also, the movie might have been wack, but COLD MOUNTAIN the book is pretty fucking awesome. I recommend.

  65. Stu: action anime notwithstanding, I think Vern gives animation a fairer shot than some in the film critic community. I saw a reviewer on one website (not this one) state flatly once that he “hate(s) anime, even Miyazaki”, which I always thought was an odd thing for someone professed to be a film geek to say. So what, you’re basically stating that you’re shutting yourself out of an entire field of movies because “lol anime sucks”? I mean, no question that there’s a ton of crappy anime out there, but that shouldn’t diminish the truly good films from people like Studio Ghibli, Satoshi Kon (may he rest in peace), etc. And really, EVERY genre has good and bad product. There’s terrible sci-fi, there’s terrible action, there’s terrible drama. But obviously not every sci-fi movie is BATTLEFIELD EARTH, you do get an ALIENS every now and then.

    stefaneechi: I have this theory that we Americans have this deep-seated collective guilt for gorging ourselves on lowbrow bottom-feeder tripe like JERSEY SHORE, so first of all we go for shows where abrasive British people in positions of authority yell at/insult/shame doughy Yanks just like us (see: Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsay, that woman from THE WEAKEST LINK), and then we go see movies about His/Her Majesty’s Darkest Hour/Greatest Triumph to get our highbrow entertainment fix. It’s sort of like the lady I saw at Golden Corral once who had this plate totally heaped with greasy food except she had topped it all off with cottage cheese. But look, cottage cheese is good for me, right? I’m eating healthy.

  66. “Also a found it weird how the promotion of the movie for some reason made it come off more like a thriller than a true story drama.”

    When you eventually see The Social Network, this will all make sense. It’s super moody and angst-ridden (what else would one expect from a Fincher/Reznor team up?)

  67. hey capefearwx – one thing I like about anime is usually even bad anime is still pretty entertaining or at least not boring (most of the time)

    of course anime is a very acquired taste I think, but there’s plenty of anime out there that has more general appeal (Cowboy Bebop for example), but I can see why most people wouldn’t like something like Lucky Star (am I the only fan of that here?)

  68. @stefaneechi

    Kinda agree with all that. Not that I’m a conspiracy theorist but this film comes out and makes everyone think “Oh the royals are just like real people’ at a time when the tory establishment are driving 600,000 more children into poverty, destroying the North in the UK by getting rid of 500,000 jobs, engaging in totally unnecessary austerity which goes further than the EU demanded of a bankrupt Greece (whilst Barclays Bank makes £11.2 billion profit and only pays 1% tax). And then we have the Kings Speech which is a pack of lies about some privileged tosser whose right wing Nazi leanings have always been suspect and which makes everyone all cosy about Royalty. And to boot it wins bleeding Oscars. Bring back Cromwell I say.

  69. @stefaneechi

    pardon me mate, that bit about the wedding to pump up the popularity with the proles is (silly) populism (no offence).
    i think william getting married has a bit to do with the fact that he’s 29 years old and he’s going to get married at some point. the fact that they make a big deal out of it has more to do with all the media machine that makes its bread with stuff like this than it has to do with “the proles”. they make as big a fuss about big brother starlets, it’s the media, it’s what they do.

  70. No, Griff, you are not alone.

  71. hooray!

    what side of a chocolate cornet IS the top anyway?

  72. @ Griff: heh, I guess I was thinking more of the popular stereotype that “all anime = tentacle porn”. Or Pokemon. I think what most Americans don’t realize is that in Japan, just about everything is fair game to be animated, and there’s nothing that the medium is really “beneath” adapting. This is how you can end up with a respected war novel like GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES being animated for the big screen. To the Japanese, the fact that it’s animated doesn’t diminish the story being told to the degree that it might in the States; in fact, some directors use this freedom of a completely created world to their advantage (I think Satoshi Kon did this very well).

    Maybe it’s also the dub/sub issue that intimidates a lot of people. Many anime fans seem to prefer subtitles, but then you get the people who say that they want to “watch movies, not read them”. That’s understandable, I guess, but then some of the anime dubs aren’t that good which gives people the perception that the subject material itself isn’t good. That’s one good thing about the Disney/Ghibli partnership, Disney has thus far managed to bring together some good voice acting for the Stateside releases of the Studio Ghibli films (they even got Jean Reno for the French version of Porco Rosso).

  73. @shalom82

    People get married all the time, but Prince William’s upcoming wedding is another thing altogether. It’s an uber public media event because the Royal Family has arranged it that way. The wedding gives them the perfect opportunity to celebrate and justify the monarchy’s position at the top of society. Their fulltime PR staff are well aware of this fact, because they carefully craft the Royal image to best benefit the Institution. The Royals used to be rulers, when they lost that and became figureheads embodying the rightness of inherited status, they’ve cultivated that image ever since, because fame along with their wealth is their remaining power. And that’s true of every celebrity. Celebrities LOVE and court the media because that’s the source of their power. There’s a deeply synergistic relationship between the media and all celebrity; celebrity could not exist without the media. And who does the media choose to put on a pedestal and focus its attentive worshipful gaze on? Those who most benefit the media parent companies. It’s no accident that the Royal Family’s portrayal in the media is probably the clearest example of the glorification of the rich, and it’s no accident that the King’s Speech is officially sanctioned by the Royal Family, nor that the Nazi friendly content disappeared.

  74. Today I watched the Oscar show and already forgot about it. It wasn’t boring, it was just not memorable. My two highlights were THE WOLFMAN winning Best Make Up (although they showed for any reason a clip that was all CGI) and constantly pointing out to my mother which Oscar nominee or winner is or was who in which comic book movie. (“He’s gonna be in CAPTAIN AMERICA. That guy is playing HULK. Oh look, Batman won an Oscar. Remeber that guy from SPIDER-MAN movies?” etc)
    Also Anne Hathaway was hot. I slowly start to get why men are so attracted to her.

  75. Jareth Cutestory

    March 1st, 2011 at 8:47 am

    You guys wouldn’t think less of me, would you, if I admitted that I think ANNIE HALL is in every possible way a better film than STAR WARS?

  76. I like ANNIE HALL. It hold up very well. Same could be said about STAR WARS, though. I guess that Oscar night, over 30 years ago, was the beginning of the self-victimizing, that Star Wars fans love to do to this day.

  77. Unlike some other films, Star Wars wasn’t beat by a film that was clearly inferior. Annie Hall is actually good and deserved to be nominated for best film. If you liked one more than the other, then that’s okay, but let’s not pretend Star Wars was robbed.

    I rented Annie Hall back in high school but decided to go party with some friends rather than watch it. My brother, who is a Star Wars fanatic, decided to watch it in order to see what film dare swipe the Oscar away from George Lucas. When I asked him what he thought of it, he had to begrudgingly admit that it was actually a damn good movie. I think George Lucas fans and Woody Allen fans can get along (I happen to like both directors, even if they have had a massive dip in quality over the last few decades).

  78. @stefaneechi

    i think that’s a well argued point.

  79. one guy from andromeda

    March 1st, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Holy shit, i just saw the King’s Speech. Embarassing. All the hallmarks of Oscar bait bullshit you can hit, it’s almost like a parody. I am not sure if it is as bad as Crash was, but at least Crash had ONE memorable scene (when the woman gets saved out of the car wreck by the same cop that raped her), but The King’s Speech? That was just… nothing. A whole bunch of forgettable nothing. Aren’t stories supposed to at least have a little bit of subtext? This thing was nothing but plot with cardboard characters on top. The same kind of insta-forgettable movie that will never be seen again as last year’s… um… whatever the title of that one was Jeff Bridges got his Oscar for. Kitsch and manipulation as a substitute for emotion.
    Waste of time.

  80. “Maybe it’s also the dub/sub issue that intimidates a lot of people. Many anime fans seem to prefer subtitles, but then you get the people who say that they want to “watch movies, not read them”. That’s understandable, I guess, but then some of the anime dubs aren’t that good which gives people the perception that the subject material itself isn’t good. ”
    What I’ve always found funny about the sub/dub debate with anime is that I suspect most of the western fans who are pro dub because it’s “better” don’t actually speak Japanese, so despite what they may have been told, how do they KNOW the reading isn’t all stiff and has all the wrong emphasis on stuff? I prefer dubbing, even if it’s bad because the Japanese language is a bit of a barrier to me really observing things like that, and because of the precision required to speak it, I don’t tend to recognise too many distinct forms of voice or accent. At least with western voice actors I can recognise different ones and there’s an attempt at context with them trying to make the characters sound like they’re from where they’re meant to originate. With a sub, I can’t really tell if the japanese voice actor is for instance trying to speak japanese with a french accent or not.
    I do prefer my asian live actions movies to be subbed though, but probably because dubbing for those has historically been many many times worse than what you’d get in anime, plus they’re less free to make dumb changes for localisation (like all the Jackie Chan movies there are where in the dub they’ve renamed his character “Jackie” because something like “Cao Lei-Lung” is somehow too much to expect a western audience to accept).

  81. Kind of wanted to say this somewhere, or to someone, and this thread feels like the closet thing I’ll get to an opportunity.

    While I liked The Hurt Locker well enough, I was annoyed greatly by people championing it as a bracing honest look at the Iraq War when it really was much more Point Break: Port of Call Iraq; an action film meditation on adrenaline-junkie machismo.

    As that film I rather enjoy it, but if I look at it as an “Iraq war movie” I would have to agree with Mouth that it is a certain kind of bullshit that annoys me.

    Thankfully the biggest lesson I’ve learned from reading Vern all these years is it’s my goddamn choice how I look at a movie and that I prefer liking things to not liking them.

  82. You know, I am a military guy, and Vern I am sorry for hijacking this topic for more THL talk, but I liked that film because I know that guy. I mean, the guy Jeremy Renner played, all bullshit aside, is a guy I’ve met. He’s a fucked up, only likes deployments, scarred individual who does stupid things and gets in trouble, but will always, always, always go back out there. I know a lot of that guy and I love that I get to see an action movie with him as the lead. It’s like Vern’s thing about Die Hard and how it is the everyman James Bond. Jeremy Renner’s ridiculous action movie character is a guy I’ve met. I love that about it.

  83. “I try to stay positive, so I generally refrain from ripping apart the tastes of others.”

    Mouth, I’ve never had that problem; I will rip with impunity. Luckily I tend to agree with people on most things. Unluckily I’m generally most vocal about the things I don’t agree with them about.

    Case in point: I agree with Vern’s general opinion about pretty much all of Seagal’s films, with the sole exception of “Hard to Kill”, which I find unwatchable. Guess which one we’ve had the most debate about?

    I’m a Republican in the British sense of the word – someone who believes that the Royal family shouldn’t exist as an institution – so Sicga and Stefan won’t get any disagreements from me. As for politics, I find the very idea of political parties an an anachronism that dates back to a tribal instinct that should have no place in modern rational discussion. I used to be the kind of person who generally agreed with the liberal democrats’ principles. Now I say, stuff principles, we shouldn’t have to have solutions to political problems that ONLY benefit the majority, the rich, or the most vocal minority. Take the solution that does the most good and the least harm, and try to sort out the negative effects in other ways.

    Way off topic here, so apologies…

    We have a referendum coming up over here on whether or not to give the Welsh parliament more powers to make laws without Westminster’s oversight (Westminster being the seat of the English parliament, whose interests have occasionally been accused of running contrary to those of the Welsh people). Opinions seem to be divided on whether this oversight constitutes a necessary safeguard or an impediment to necessary legislation. Trouble is, I don’t know what laws would be passed if the parliament is given more powers that wouldn’t have been before. I’m being asked to cast a vote on what seems to me to be entirely a matter of principle, without being given any specific data with which to make an informed decision on how it would affect me or my family / friends / society in general.

    I feel that if I vote, it would be from a position of ignorance; and if I don’t vote, the only people who will do so will be the political “fanboys” (which in this country generally means the sixty-something retirees who think that the death sentence is too lenient a punishment for any teenager who stands on a street corner in a hoodie). You know, sort of like the people who voted for “The King’s Speech” to win “Best Picture”.

    Ok, back on topic.

    I haven’t seen “Hurt Locker” yet (I’ve got a copy of it but just have never got around to watching it yet). I’m not an anime fan – I’ve tried to watch some NGA and haven’t been able to “get into” it – but I’ve enjoyed a few Japanese animated films (“Spirited Away” comes to mind). Does seem rather baffling to dismiss an entire genre if you’re a professional critic, but maybe that’s what this guy’s readers are looking for.

  84. Technically, animation’s an artform, not a genre.

  85. Anime isn’t, though.

  86. I’d say anime/animation/cartoons are a medium of entertainment, albeit one dominated by certain profitable genres. There’s no barrier to their being a vehicle for artistic expression except the usual one ie. getting people to give you enough money to make it.

    I don’t mind the Oscars, but it does annoy me that you never get any good trailers attached to a movie with awards buzz. I successfully resisted the nagging feeling that I really ought to see The King’s Speech, went to see Paul instead – Fast 5 trailer. Result.

  87. Hey guys!

    -Anime is a MEDIUM, not a GENRE. Grave of the Fireflies and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust and Akira are not films whose genres could be confused, but they are all of the same medium.

    -THL is the most suspenseful action film since THE WAGES OF motherfucking FEAR, and for many of the same reasons. J. Renner is the closest the US has to that guy who played Oldboy.

    -I could be wrong, but I think the fact that the make-up in WOLFMAN can be mistaken for CG even in close up is exactly why the film deserved the award as much as it did.

    -Offended on Helena Bonham Carter’s behalf for Hooper’s comment that, roughly paraphrased, “It was really us MEN who made the movie good, sorry babe” when he accepted for best director. That’s really classy, Hoop. (also, notice her mouthing “it was crap” or something after the performace clip they showed for her?)

    -Indignant on Sandra Bollock’s behalf for the unbelievably tasteless comment “we love her as an actress but even more for who she is as a person” or some shit. a) It implies that maybe the fact that her husband left her might indicate that she’s not a great person and thus she needs reassurance/clarification, and b) I’m sure she wants to be respected for her fucking WORK and not continually have this issue brought up in public!

    -Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, fucking
    T H E W A G E S O F F E A R .

    shit. anybody see that movie that was up for short documentary that was the muslim dude investigating the origins of terrorism in the muslim community? looked interesting and controversial.

  88. I’m not saying that the Wolfman make up looks like CGI (or that Rick Baker didn’t deserve his Oscar), it’s just that the clip, that they showed at the Oscars, was the full CGI transformation, instead of a scene or two, where you could really see the make up.

  89. Yo Mouth, maybe try not to lump Citizen Kane and Goodfellas with Inglourious Basterdz again. It’s not a smart move.

  90. Yo Justin, what do you have against CITIZEN KANE & GOODFELLAS?

  91. I really liked this movie. Maybe it wasn`t the best in 2010, but it was good

  92. I laughed:


    Mike Tyson has improved as an actor.

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