Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sucked Into the Oscar's

I love movies. Absolutely. Not all movies. Some movies. Love 'em. Hollywood, not so much. The Oscar's, even less.

Yeah, I'm curled up on the couch tonight watching the Oscars. I'm sucked in, as I am every year. Mostly for the celebrity awe, not because I'm going to applaud any of the winners.

We all have our tastes in movies. I certainly have mine. And they are, year after year, vastly different than the Academy's tastes. I'm a basic mid-western conservative and most academy voting members are bi-coastal liberals, so we're not going to agree much. Hardly ever at all.

Movies can entertain and inspire and transport you. Or, they can degrade and desensitize and pander. There are way to few of the former, and legion of the latter coming out of Hollywood. Just stroll through your local video store and try to find a worthwhile move in the sea of slasher dreck or American Pie sequels. Hard to do.

I know this is odd for a sex blogger to say, but Hollywood is generally out of sync with my values. Generally, it's my values as a parent that they assault.

Adults, let's watch whatever we want - I do. I watch a wide range of films, from light sap like "Employee of the Month" (watched it this week) to serious films, with a significant amount of raunch thrown in. (I even watched Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth", which is a stretch for a conservative like me.) But, again, I'm an adult.

What I object to is how Hollywood treats kids. Let's take the last two movies I saw as examples:

1 "Little Miss Sunshine". A mildly entertaining ensemble film of no consequence. Excellent actors acting excellently in a formula quirky film. The formula: make all the characters disfunctional, even more disfunctional as a family, and put them on a road trip. Entertaining, but not lasting. Certainly not "best film" material.

What's objectionable? The environment that they put the little girl in. Take a pivotal scene, featuring Alan Arkin - who won an Oscar earlier this evening for this part - as a raunchy grandfather acting up. Sitting one seat behind Olive in the van, raunchy Grandpa gives her 18 year old brother this colorful advice:

"Fuck a lot of girls. Not just one. A lot. They're jailbait. You're jailbait. It's perfect. Get all that youngstuff you can. Fuck a lot girls."

Something like that. Yeah, they play it cute with Olive having headphones on. But what, the little girl actress did not read the script and rehearse it several times? That sweet little girl wasn't immersed in that dialogue for weeks on the set? Please. Nice job, parents, pimping out you kid for the role.

And there's the finale where, after many mishaps on the road trip, Olive gets to compete in the beauty pageant. What does she do for her talent? She innocently performs an entirely age-inappropriate raunchy dance to Rick James' "Superfreak" - choreographed by Academy Award winning character/acter Alan Arkin / grandpa. Oh, how magnificent an achievement!

Thank you very much raunchy, profane, coke-snorting Grandpa for despoiling little Olive's innocence for our amusement - here's you Oscar!

Okay, a little preachy. But you get the drift. Didn't anyone in Hollywood think it was innapropriate to use a little girl actress like that? Or to award an Oscar for that vulgar character played by Arkin? That's the best you've got? Really? Not my values, sorry. I was apalled.

2. "GhostRider" with Nicholas Cage. A movie made from a comic book.

When did comic books relish in evil so much? Sure, it's a well made special effects bonanza. But, when did selling your soul to the Devil and becoming the Devil's bounty hunter become kid's entertainment? (Don't tell me they're not marketing it to kids...)

What appalled me the most was the unserious banality with which the moviemaker's frame evil for the audience. Selling your soul to the Devil, and fighting the Devil's evil son is just the latest good guy/bad guy comic book/movie twist. Nothing to see here but special effects, kiddees. Just pay at the box office and don't forget to buy popcorn too.

Okay, preachy again. But enough already with sexualizing the kids and pouring evil down their throats in tablespoonfuls. Hollywood's not doing America's kids any favors.

Yes, there are kid friendly movies out there. Awesome ones. And we go pay at the box office and enjoy them. Didn't see many of them represented at the Oscar's tonight, though. Just sayin'.

Okay, back to the Academy Awards:

- There were some positives for me: Ellen Degeneres was a good host. Some good music. And I can go with "The Departed" for best picture. It was the one pic that I regretted not seeing last year.

Things I could do without:

- Al Gore worship, with the accompanying Global Warming lectures. (Okay, I'll save that for my political blog!)

- Little Miss Sunshine in the Best Picture category. Please, be serious.
posted by Semi-Celibate Man @ 7:39 PM | 0 comments


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