Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar Humbug

I liked John Stewart, though I felt the whole time he was humoring the audience, telling his jokes with a grain of fear that those "hollywood types" just wouldn't understand.

I'm not afraid to admit that I was NOT rooting for CRASH in the Oscars. Not only was I not rooting for it, I was rather surprised it made it in and such fantastic movies like TransAmerica and Junebug did not. Oh I know...but it had such an important message, you say. People need to be made to think when they go see a film, you say. Yes, fine, that's all well and good. But the movie still has to be good in order for it to achieve that. In order for a movie to be good in my humble opinion, it needs to be well-written and well-acted, and well-directed.

As a writer, I found the dialog and writing cliched. As a viewer hoping to make emotional connections with the characters, I found the acting over-done, and an entire cast of talented actors turned into cliches because the writing they had to work with was so bad. There were a few powerful scenes, but mostly it was a bunch of people yelling at each other, having very little compassion for each other, and trying to prove their points with bad consequences.

Directing wasn't too bad, except that for at least half the characters (Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Phillipe), I had to suspend disbelief; i just did not believe their characters.

I know that if you say you didn't like a movie like CRASH you're liable to be accused of being racist. "It was the message that scared you. You just couldn't handle it. You know, racism still thrives in this country!"

Racism still thrives, it's true. And I probably have as much internalized racism as any character in that movie, which did seem to be the point of it. But so thrives sexism and violence and rape and suppression and I still wish Brokeback or Goodnight and Good Luck had won. I don't like a movie just for its message; and I've gotten the message from more even-handed, subtle movies before.

So. Can we still be friends?


At 7:02 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Hmmm. Interesting...I haven't seen Crash yet, but have heard only good things from those who have. I'm a dialogue snob, though, and demand that it be as true as possible, so I might end up agreeing with you.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Joy said...

"I know that if you say you didn't like a movie like CRASH you're liable to be accused of being racist."

So true. Likewise, if you don't like a movie like Brokeback Mountain, you might be called homophobic. Sometimes you just don't like stuff!

I haven't seen either movie, though. :)

I am happy Hoffman and Witherspoon won. I did see those movies, and I'm shocked people I actually like won an Oscar. That hasn't happened since the mid-90s.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Lori--well I will be curious to see what you think. I thought the dialog sounded pretentious and more suited to a stage-play than a screenplay.

Joy: Yeah, it's true, except that whereas I don't believe for a second that my few friends who weren't blown away by Brokeback are homophobic, I'm not finding that people are as fair with me about Crash. I just didn't like it. There are a lot of movies I just didn't like that others did. It's not personal. It's just a matter of taste!

I thought Reese Witherspoon's acceptance speech was lovely, though I felt a bit like she was acting it, (and overacting at that) rather than giving it. Still, she's a fabulous actor and to me this is just final vindication for the performance she gave at the age of 16 in "Freeway."

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

The only movie that got me out of the house to the theater this year was Brokeback Mountain (although I'm going to see Capote this week because it's finally in a theater close by). I thought it was perfect. Destined to be a classic.

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Yes, Myf, Brokeback is a classic already in my book!

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I thought it was really funny how easily you heard voices arguing with you. ;) I hear them too.

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Steph: The voices in my head get mad when I talk about how they argue with me :)

At 11:31 PM, Blogger TDharma said...

My teenage daughter and I went to see Crash when it first came out. We were stunned - having not really heard too much about it. I must say, I can't disagree more with your assessment of the writing and acting, but hey, that's okay. I saw it a second time, to catch all that was going on. My daughter took her boyfriend. I thought the film was intelligent, well written, directed, acted. I remember my daughter and I saying to each other, "this MUST win best picture of the year!" It is innovative. My dyke heart wanted Brokeback to win, but I just didn't think, as a movie, it was as good as Crash, though I loved watching BB and applaud its being in the world.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Taradarma-- I've learned lately that my friends and I don't always agree on movies anymore. After my 20s, I seem to have more friends with whom I can comfortably disagree. So welcome, Tara, and I bet you had a fun night watching the Oscars, then?



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