February 26, 2007

Oscars

Surprisingly, I can't argue with many of the award choices. It must be the first time ever.

Okay, "The Departed" isn't "Raging Bull," but it sure is entertaining. You're probably hearing a lot of cinemaphiles claim that it doesn't compare to the Hong Kong thriller, "Infernal Affairs," that it's loosely based on, but I can't imagine anybody saying that who had seen "The Departed" first. Scorsese is one of the very few of the cocaine casualties of 1975-1985 to come all the way back. Coppola has never really recovered and Cimino ("The Deer Hunter") hasn't made a movie in a decade. But in his sixties, Scorsese, after the relative failure of "Gangs of New York" regrouped and made "The Aviator" and "Departed." And well deserved Oscars for William Monahan's richly detailed screenplay (he's written a comic novel that sounds interesting, if overdone) and to Scorsese's great editrix Thelma Schoonmaker (her third).

How about the anti-Communist "The Lives of Others" winning Best Foreign Film?

Jennifer Hudson's Best Supporting Actress award points out the impact of "American Idol" on the entertainment industry. Clearly, before the TV show came along the music industry wasn't doing a good job of identifying female singing talent.

Speaking of energetic old guys, Oscars, and drugs, what was the point of making Alan Arkin's grandpa in "Little Miss Sunshine" a heroin addict? Doesn't heroit make you nod off, not radiate a ferret-like intensity? This just seemed to be another example of the film's random quirkiness, so I can't be too enthusiastic about it winning Best Adapted screenplay, even though I liked the film's message. ("The Lives of Others" wasn't nominated for Original Screenplay, but it would have been a better choice.)

Still, Arkin is a marvel. If you get a chance to see the trilogy movie "Eros," skip Wong Kar-wai's and Antonioni's segments and watch Soderbergh's (highly non-erotic) section for the amazing comic chemistry between Arkin and Robert Downey Jr. as a 1955 psychiatrist and his patient, Madison Avenue man in a gray flannel suit advertising executive, who between them invent the snooze button for an alarm clock Downey is promoting.

Another bad award: Best Score to "Babel" -- maybe the music wouldn't be so irritating if everything else about the movie wasn't so annoying, but by the end of the film I was intensely sick of the music. Well, "Babel" didn't win anything else, so let's count our blessings.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Are you surprised that Hollywood Jews voted for The Lives of Others for the best foreign film Oscar? You seemed to imply earlier that these same Jews might be responsible for the relative paucity of movies about life under Communism.

Fred

Ian Lewis said...

I am not sure if this is relevant to your posting, but I had no idea that the Oscars were even on.

Instead I watched Iron Chef America...Bobby Flay won in Battle "Peanuts".

Anonymous said...

steve your movie reviews are sometimes surprising-- i found departed to be a nasty film, suspenseful, yes, but with no real character development (what was up with the romance-- it made no sense. or no fucking sense, to speak in a language the film deserves.) i couldnt imagine watching it again.

are u conservative or what?

little miss sunshine was also awful, grandfather teaching a little girl to dance like a stripper. and he wins am academy award. are u kidding me?

Anonymous said...

The Departed is not a loose remake of Infernal Affair, its quite a faithful remake of Internal Affair, regardless of which movie you saw first. Scorsese, apparently, haven't seen IA, so he's allowed to believe his own justification for doing a remake. The Departed lifted what was great in IA: the plot (almost point to point, incl. the great use of cell phone), the characters, their moral dilemma and their predicament. To the screenwriter of The Departed credit, he has transplant the action to Boston milieu quite well, but w/o IA there would be no The Departed.

Steve Sailer said...

And without "Romeo & Juliet" there would be no "West Side Story."

"The Departed" is simply a vastly richer production that uses most of the cute plot from Infernal Affairs to very different ends. Compare the driving range scenes in the two movies.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, I just thought of another, very good American film made post-1990 that depicts life in Cold War Eastern Europe: Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Seriously.

Ron Guhname said...

Fred: And what are you saying? That Jews have no disproportionate influence in Hollywood? Or that they do, but that they hate Communism just as much as Nazism?

JoshRandall said...

First...Alan Arkin?!? Eddie Murphy got robbed,people! Arkin has always seemed to me a bit creepy,looking like he is either angry or about to cry;I am not a big fan.His role in "Sunshine" could have been phoned in-and he died 2/3 of the way thru! Murphy played a far more complex and interesting character. Yes maybe Hollywood saw Arkin as some kind of sentimental favorite---big deal! Murphy has put millions upon millions of 'assess in seats',and brought great wealth to Hollywood. How about rewarding HIM?!!!

Josh--Again! Sorry! said...

Oh,yeah,and second: Ellen Degeneres did a decent job(the Jack Nicholson laughing joke was the only home run). She is likeable and slyly amusing:sort of a Jerry Seinfeld,except without the,I dont know,"hostile-neediness" thing Jerry seems to have? And also--without the penis! Her comment that there would be no Oscar w/o "blacks,gays and jews" was a little weird(white straights couldnt put on a good Oscar? Well,we might need the gays...)and she seemed to say that only to set up the lame joke:"There would be no PEOPLE named Oscar". Ellen,get better material,maybe do lunch with Sarah Silverman! :)