Wherever the Road Leads

The Academy Awards

Much Like Unions

For a long while I lived like a pauper and a hermit. Not much of a life but my house is paid off. Each Saturday afternoon I would look to see what movies were available for download on the internet. Each Saturday night I would watch what I thought was the best of the current choices, many still running in theaters.

Few were spellbinding. Many I gave up on, eventually abandoning Hollywood movies for subtitled movies in French, Italian and even Swedish.

Some time previously, before I became a skilled downloader, I remember being so excited because “Lost in Translation” had arrived finally at my local video store, heralded with great hoopla. It went on to win Best Picture and Best Writing. That was the last time I put any truck in an Academy-Award-winning movie.

You may remember the flick. Bill Murray, about as funny as passing gas in a crowded elevator, goes to Tokyo to shoot a whiskey commercial. Much younger Scarlett Johannsen is at the same hotel with a boyfriend who has doesn’t have time for her. Bill Murray either sits on the edge of his bed emoting, or explores a few of Tokyo’s sights with a woman his daughter’s age. Then it ends.

The film was ‘lost’, all right. I lost an hour and a half watching it.

It used to be that an Oscar-winning movie won and was worth watching on its own merit. In today’s world, politics and political correctness skew the field so badly that being nominated, winning or losing mean little.

“American Sniper” had no chance of winning. It is about American involvement in war and it was directed by a Republican, Clint Eastwood. Mr. Eastwood certainly has the last laugh as according to ‘Box Office Mojo,’  Sniper remains on track to wind up over $330 million, which will rank second all-time among R-rated movies behind The Passion of the Christ ($370.8 million)”. Ah, yes, Mel Gibson, another Hollywood outcast. I’ve got the movie and will watch it soon.

“The Imitation Game” I acquired for my mother and she quite enjoyed it. However, it is about breaking the German Cipher Code during WWII and is a British film, therefore would be of interest to a limited and dwindling audience.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” I saw and didn’t really enjoy. But in mulling it over, you have to realize that it is very nearly a cartoon. My opinion of the movie improved by NOT taking the film seriously.

“Selma”… I was afraid that this Oprah-produced story would take best picture due to Hollywood’s affinity with black-man-done-wrong-by-whitey theme. I’ve done my own research into Selma. It was not Martin Luther King – the preacher who spent the final night of his life in the arms of two prostitutes – who made this story, but the heavy-handed treatment by George Wallace and the Alabama State Patrol of a march that would have fizzled out in a couple of hours if left alone. Oprah’s movie cost $20 million to make and has brought in $49 million. That’s more than I will make this year, but a drop in the bucket compared to Clint.

The others – Birdman, Boyhood, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash – I wouldn’t waste my Bell Canada limited bandwidth to watch for free, let alone pay whatever it costs in Canada for a movie ticket, (plus 13% HST), then popcorn and coke, (plus 13% HST), then shovel my truck out of a snowbank in the freezing cold before I could come home.

The Oscars are now much like Unions: Useful in a time that has passed them by.

 

Here’s a poignant scene from a movie I never tire of. Tennessee Williams’ “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” is set in the state of Mississippi during the 1920’s, some south of Memphis, Tennessee. This scene is on the banks of the Mississippi River.

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