Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Movie awards

A friend pointed me to this commentary from last week's Time. Richard Corliss says that the reason no one is watching the Oscars is because they don't give the award to the movies people LIKE! Here's a great excerpt:

But the movie award shows won't increase their numbers by becoming like other TV programming. They should do it by returning to their original mandate: to nominate the year's best popular films. In the old days, the Best Picture prize went to box-office hits like Casablanca, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Sound of Music. The mass audience had seen these movies, and they paid attention to the Oscars. Now when the nominations come out, people try to catch up with the finalists, but it's almost like homework.

I have to admit, when I look at the list of movies that the critics are lauding as the year's best, I DO feel like I've been given homework. Most of the movies aren't ones that give pleasure - they're designed to provoke thought and discussion. Not bad objectives - but not what Middle America is interested in. Why should I spend two hours watching "The Kite Runner" (don't get me wrong - I loved the book, but the idea of a film adaptation of it?) when I can chomp popcorn and watch a feel-good movie like "Enchanted." Look at the box office winners - Spiderman 3 was number one!

If you read this blog regularly, you know I see a lot of movies. Usually one a weekend - sometimes two - in addition to the stuff I get from Blockbuster and Netflix. There are times I enjoy being challenged by a film. But usually, I'm seeking an escape from my every day, boring life. Why see "Away from Her" - about a woman with Alzheimers - I've got a mom suffering from dementia and don't need to see that dramatized. I've lived it.

So, come on Hollywood. Start to recognize the popular films. The viewers are already voting with their box office dollars - and by switching off the tv on Oscar Night.

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