Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mad as Hell: Oscar Season

I hate Oscar season. I really do. It's where the tyrannical grip of Hollywood is most present. Theatres are flooded with pretentious Oscar bait, and dozens of films are instantly labelled "the best films of the year" before they've even come out. And, like them or not, if you fail to recognize these films as flawless masterpieces, you'll be cast out like a rabid animal. I'm not saying all Oscar season films are bad, but close-minded critic gab can sour anything.

Just this year, we had, for example, The Wrestler. Best film of the year, right? WRONG!!! There's a reason I left it out of my top ten, people, and it not because I didn't see it; I just didn't like it. Don't get me wrong, the acting was great, there's no disputing that (of course Mickey Roarke is always great. Why else would I have watched Stormbreaker?) But here's the thing: the film bored me out of my gorram skull. I really can't stand it when people defend a movie by saying it was "realistic". When did that become a good thing in cinema? Aren't movies supposed to be escapism? Y'know, getting away from reality. I not saying realism is always a bad thing, but when it's all your film has going for it, it sure as hell is. One of my favorite quotes of all time (as to who said it, I've got no clue, but he's a fraking genius) is "reality is a poor excuse for bad drama". If a film isn't engaging, entertaining, or thought-provoking it's crap. Period. And The Wrestler was none of these things. The documentary style camerawork may have made it seem realistic to some people, but too me it made it feel like some bad reality show. And I wasn't exactly expecting a sunshine-and-lollipops ending, this is Darren Aronofsky after all. But I was, in fact, expecting an ending of some kind. The film had no ending, it just suddenly stopped. It never resolved any plot points or character arcs, it just went to credits.

But my point is not that The Wrestler sucked. My point is that most of you by this point have already written your hate comments, or at least written me of as a trolling hate-monger who just doesn't appreciate good films. And half of you thinking that haven't even seen The Wrestler. You just believe what your told without question, no actual knowledge required, and it makes me mad as hell.

I could go on about this, but as it turns out, Robert Fure over on Film School Rejects has it covered much better than I ever could. Not that I agree 100% with him (The Dark Knight is not overrated!! The Batman shrine in my basement proves nothing!!!) but still, this dude knows what's up. So I leave you in his capable hands:

What about you? Do you think Oscar acclaim makes people close-minded?

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