The Friday Blog
Lena and I had some friends over last night for dinner and movies. I made a new kind of chili that I tried out on them because I enjoy turning house guests into guinea pigs, and I rented a flick on the Apple TV. On the dual strength of the Oscars last Sunday and the compelling trailer I got The Hurt Locker. I agree that it was a good movie… probably the equivalent of Sherlock Holmes or maybe Where the Wild Things Are. One movie it was not as good as was Avatar.
Now I’m not going to sit here and argue artistic merit vs. high-minded philosophy, monster blockbusters vs. indie film making, psychological depth vs. digital flash. All I’m gonna say is that Avatar kept me thoroughly engrossed and completely invested for it’s entire three plus hour length… while I could have turned off Hurt Locker three-quarters of the way through and not looked back. I’m kind of glad I didn’t, because the end was a nice pay-off for the movie, I’m just saying it was a bit of a slog getting there. (Yes, I fell asleep during Sherlock Holmes too.)
The Oscars has always suffered under the weight of it’s own image. While they do everything they can to make the ceremony appear fun, light, and happy, the effort is mostly the result of the voters being so completely out of step with the movie-consuming public. I would argue that a movie that is incredibly popular is by definition a great movie, since it does what it sets out to do, which is to entertain. I would further say that the Academy probably needs to create a new category called “Movies We Vote For So Everyone Will Take Us Seriously, Even Though They’re Not That Great”, just so they can get it out of their collective system and award Best Picture to the actual best picture.
BTW, I also saw Inglourious Basterds recently. Funnily enough, this movie was really not about what I thought it was going to be about. It was bigger, tighter, more complex, and a lot better than I was thinking it would be. While it’s still obviously a Tarantino flick from start to finish, it’s fascinating to see how he’s improved his craft throughout the years, and to see the reach of his new abilities. I would definitely recommend it.
Seen any good movies lately?