Sunday, February 24, 2008

And the Oscar Goes To....

Your 2008 Best Picture is No Country for Old Men. I've made my feelings about that particular film very clear over at USeeThat, but I have another axe to grind.

It's more of a question really. I watched the Oscar broadcast to see a countdown of all the Best Pictures leading to the present one, and I wondered: Where have all the great films gone?

Here in reverse chronological order are all the Best Picture wins of the 21st century:

No Country for Old Men

The Departed


Million Dollar Baby

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


A Beautiful Mind

Some of these are good movies. Some of them are great movies. But are they All-Time Great movies?

Here's the lineup for Best Picture in the decade of the 1970s:

Kramer vs. Kramer

The Deer Hunter

Annie Hall


One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest

The Godfather Part II

The Sting

The Godfather

The French Connection

Can anyone realistically say that a Crash or a Chicago or a Lord of the Rings has the drama of a Kramer vs. Kramer? The cultural influence of a Godfather? The pathos of a Deer Hunter? The timelessness of a Rocky? The wit of an Annie Hall? Is it even close? Should a cinematic adaptation of a play or the third movie in a trilogy even really be considered for Best Picture?

Perhaps the Best Pictures of the modern day will be looked back upon as timeless classics, and it is only through the opaque, rose colored glass of history that the best films of thirty years ago seem so superior. But if not, why? Are the true best pictures falling through the cracks? Are modern film making techniques somehow diluting the quality of the films they purport to improve? I'm certain the directors, writers, et. al of the modern era are working just as hard as their predecessors to produce quality products, so why the disparity?

As someone who was a mere child in the 70s and has never been a Hollywood insider, I don' t know if I'm qualified to speculate intelligently about this, but it sure does arouse my curiosity.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Five Coolest Lines from "The Terminator" (1984)

1. "That Terminator is out there. It' can't be bargained with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear and it absolutely WILL NOT STOP. Ever. UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD."

2. "He'll find her. That's what he does. That's ALL HE DOES."

3. "I'll be back."

4. "Come with me if you want to live."

5. "You'll be perfectly safe. We got 30 cops in this building."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl Wrapup II

Okay, time now to continue my annual tradition of recapping the Super Bowl.

The Game:

The NEW YORK GIANTS are your Super Bowl XLII Champions! Who could have predicted it? Oh wait, I did, a week and a half ago.

In all fairness, it's easy to pick an underdog; if they lose, you get credit for making such a bold prediction and if they win, you look like a genius. And it was sort of a soft prediction. Nevertheless, I put it out there.

Since it seems like it will still be a long time before my long-suffering Jets make the big dance, I will have to live vicariously through their sister team. I will definitely enjoy the blemish on Belicheck's perfect season. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Congratulations 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Objectively, I think any football fan can be happy that we had a great game where each team had their destiny in their own hands down to the final minute of play. Everyone wants a great game (except perhaps Patriot fans, who would have been completely intolerable had Brady pulled out a last second miracle) and we got one.

Oh. And the commercials. Every year, the cry goes out that the commercials aren't what they used to be. Don't believe me? Click here. And every year I insist that they were NEVER what they used to be. I think we always got one or two good ads, which lingered in our memory as a spate of great Super Bowl commercials. The commercials haven't changed, WE'VE changed. If we could have hopped online in 1970 or 80 or 90 to dissect every commercial that appeared, as we can today, I wonder if we would ever have learned to romanticize Super Bowl ads. Furthermore, in the last decade, there has been a quantum leap in the level of ingenuity required by advertisers looking to attract clients online, and the tools they have at hand to entertain, surprise and amuse viewers thanks to technology. Traditional T.V. commercials really don't stand that much of a chance.

In sum, we had an exciting season, a great final game, some cool commercials (Alex Rocco reprising his Godfather "Horse head" scene with a car grill), some lame ones (a baby buying stocks on eTrade, Coke bringing Republicans and Democrats together, these are just tired retreads as far as I'm concerned...besides the only kind of coke that brings Republicans and Democrats together doesn't come in soda bottles) and a bunch in between. Next up, Super Tuesday, a contest whose outcome is actually of genuine importance.