Wednesday, February 29, 2012

oscared out

”So.  What did you think of the Oscars?”

I knew her face.  But it had been a couple of months since I last saw her.  And my mind was scanning face files faster than a Homeland Security computer.

”What is her name?  Donna?  No.  Diane?  No. Denise.  It must be Denice.”

”But what is she saying about Oscar?  The grouch?  Felix Unger’s roommate?  The first name of a famous wiener?”

Then she let the gato out of the bolsa.  “Isn’t it great that the Academy can be open enough to recognize a creative French film?”

Ah, yes.  I guess Sunday night was the entertainment conglomerate’s night of self-delusional awards.  And I missed it.

”Missed” is exactly the wrong word.  I did not see it.  Nor did I have any plans to see it.

There are certain American cultural events that once meant something to me.  But, down here, they sound like the rituals of tribes in Rwanda.

That transition began before I moved to Melaque.  I was once a big Super Bowl fan.  My friend, Stan, and I would get together and invest our full attention to the television.  Starting with the first Super Bowl (before it inherited its monarchical Roman numerals).

And there was a day when the awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were a true event.  In high school, we would wrap up our neighborhood baseball game to watch Bob Hope host what was little more than an opportunity to see snippets of films we would never see at the Victory theater.

But somewhere along the line, all of that began to fade.  Probably when I exiled television from my home about  twenty years ago.  It is difficult to invite Elizabeth Taylor and the Green Bay Packers into your living room without an appropriate medium.

I suspect there was something else, though.  When the Super Bowl commercials became more interesting than the game, I stopped looking around for a game day venue.  (This year’s game was played while I was in the air on my way to China.  I have not bothered to see who won.) 

And when the post-modern subtext of the Oscars lost all of its irony, I stopped attending my friends’ Oscar night parties.  The jig was up when the Academy realized the viewers knew that the Academy knew that the show was nothing more than an exercise for Hollywood to pretend it did not make its living off of Porky’s and its piglets.  The award show was merely a parody of itself.

By the time I left for Mexico, both cultural icons were a thing of the past for me.

I guess that is what surprised me about Denice’s question.  I had not given any thought to The Artist.  It would not have played at the Victory theater in Milwaukie.  And I am certain it will not show up in Manzanillo unless the producers add some vampires or sorcerers. 

And why Denise, who lives here most of the year, would care is a bit astounding to me.  Maybe she simply liked seeing the film clips.  Just like when we were kids.

I occasionally mumble about the lack of cultural events in Melaque.  And I will in the future.  But one thing I will not miss is the absurdity of another awards show.

Woody Allen said it best in Annie Hall:  “What's with all these awards?  They're always giving out awards.  Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.”

And, true to form, he (Woody, not Adolf) did not show up on Sunday night to claim his Best Writing – Original Screenplay award.

That is my kind of winner.


Mcotton said...

You are your mother's son. I died not watch the Super Bowl game, either.   Nor, did I watch the Oscars. Instead, I watched the "All Star" Basketball game.  The West and the East were playing.  Of course he West won.  LaMarcus Alridge of the Portland Trail Blazers was playing, or I probably wouldn't have watched it.  

Mexican Trailrunner said...

Couldn't agree more!  Yawn.

I will say, however, I do find value in the list of Oscar nominees as a reference point when looking for a decent (read even mildly interesting) dvd to rent or buy.  

Andean said...

Was asked the same question here several times... ahh... ok, no I did not. Saw some excerpts by chance in following days. Maybe fashion I don't know what else may have changed. Basketball I like because my son plays and has been to several live games, and grew up with it. 

John Calypso said...

Being an AVID film fan I would have watched the Oscars - but my Internet connection was down. For the record I thought the Artist was great entertainment - the Iron Lady not so much. The Woody Allen film was very good (but I am a fan). Help was a predictable tearjerker with a good message and excellent acting.

It seems in the last few years of movie offering - quality has been thin.

Hugo is worth seeing.

I have seen enough of Brad and Angelina on red carpets; and of George and his always taller, 20 year younger girl friends. Billy Crystal is past his prime.  I did like Money Ball and The Artist - they are recommended.

Andean said...

Thanks for the review... those are the best.

Steve Cotton said...

 If anyone attempts to take basketball away from you, I pity them.

Steve Cotton said...

 The only films on the nominee list that I saw during my brief sojourns north this year were The Iron Lady and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  And I already offered reviews on them in December.

The chances of seeing either The Artist or Hugo in Manzanillo is probably rather remote.

Steve Cotton said...

 My family was a basketball family above all else.  My mother taught my brother and me some baseball techniques.  But we were really never a football family.

Steve Cotton said...

 I like films a lot.  Unfortunately, Hollywood serves up primarily movies.  That would not be so bad if almost all of them seem to have been produced for adolescent boys.

The Iron Lady was a good actor workshop for Streep.  Not unlike Mirren's turn in The Queen.

I am just not certain how anyone can say with a straight face that  a given film is "best."  But the awards were started as a marketing tool (to gain some predictability for an art form that was looking just a bit vulgar) and they are still meeting their marketing purpose today.  After all, the Academy has managed to get us involved in a conversation.

John Calypso said...

 Regarding The Iron Lady - Streep did an excellent job and the makeup was terrific. The film (movie - you choose) bothered me in that it dwelt on Thatcher's current condition - that of battling dementia. Everything seemed to flash back from this sad situation. I think Thatcher deserved better. I read that her two children were unhappy with this as well. It was lacking in focus of her active life as a politician - more as you suggest of a showcase for Streep.

Of course like the Grammys and so many other award shows - they are mostly promotional; advertising with a hint of players out of character. I find the MOVIE reviews and chatter interesting - less taken by the skits and pomp and circumstance.

Steve Cotton said...

 The focus of the film could have worked -- how the powerful are reduced like all of us.  It is a nice empathic hook.  Or would have been if there had been something to hook into.  Margaret Thatcher was a woman of ideas and action.  You would barely know that from the film.  Other than she says so in her doctor's office.

I hope there will be a better film of her life.  And Streep would certainly be up to something a bit meatier.  After Mama Mia!, though, I have some doubts.  ;}

John Calypso said...

 The focus should have been on her very energetic life - certainly the contrast provided by her current condition is worth noting - but not to be the central theme. 

As you suggest one can hope there will be a better film or two on that woman.

Mama Mia - not Streep's best work - and it made a ton of money - how disappointing that that effort would get such validation.

Mexican Trailrunner said...

All the dvds are available here almost immediately.  They must come out of Guad.

Steve Cotton said...

 I should check to see how quickly the cartels are getting the DVDs into the tianguis.

Babsofsanmiguel said...

I went to my first Oscar party - ever- and it was in Merida.  We, about 15 of us watched it in Spanish, had margaritas and were entertained by our waiter with his funny comments.  An "other world" experience to put it mildly......

Steve Cotton said...

 Isn't it great when it feels as if Kafka is writing our life script?