Monday, February 27, 2012

Rant #682: Oscar Who?

It's really amazing that so many people watch a show each year that celebrates films that nobody remembers soon after.

Yes, that is a terrible sentence, but it's true: does anybody remember Oscar-nominated films even a month after the show ends?

Movies today, with few exception, are garbage. Nobody remembers them because they simply aren't memorable, feature lousy performances that are often touted as being the work of genius, and heck, it costs so much to go to the movies that most people just stay home.

I personally saw very few of the nominated films, so I really shouldn't talk about them. But why should I spend my good money on films that simply don't interest me at all?

I have seen movies in my life that move me and stay with me, but most of those films were made years and years ago, when filmmaking was more of an art form than it is today. Today, most movies seem to be made for eventual home video consumption, not really for a real movie. Sure, you can see these films in the theater, but they become everlasting as videos you can see at home.

And do you really think that "The Artist" will be remembered a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now?

I doubt it.

Sure, my likes are more toward comedies and musicals of days gone by, and no, I don't consider "Bridesmaids" worthy of any mention at all. I did see that movie--on home video--and that movie epitomized the trash that is out today. I don't care how many nominations it received, that movie was Garbage with a capital G.

I have seen movies in the past that I didn't mind spending money on. They were insightful, funny, and/or grabbed me in a certain way and wouldn't let go--and still haven't let go.

It would be hard for me to name my all-time favorite movies, but I am going to try. I am not saying that they were all "art," but they did something to me as I watched them that made a major impression on me, and years later, still has a hold on me.

"Favorites" are a subjective thing. My favorites may not be your favorites, and vice versa.

Here is my list, and you will see, there a very, very few Oscar winners on this list.

Each is on the list because they absolutely cry out for repeated viewings.

And each is connected, because each of them did not take a safe route. These films all took chances, and in my book, their chance-taking paid off via a successful film.

10) "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner": A perfect movie about an imperfect subject. It is done in such a way that it never hits you over the head with its message.

9) "To Sir With Love": Sidney Poitier is one of our greatest actors, and in this movie, he absolutely shines as a teacher in a school educating kids on the wrong side of the tracks. I guarantee that his performance made many viewers think about teaching as a profession.

8) "Bye Bye Birdie": When you see Ann-Margret in that last sequence, that is an image that stays with you for the rest of your life. Great soundtrack, great cast, great music, what else can you ask for in a film?

7) "A Hard Day's Night": A similar review to the previous one. The Beatles' first full-length movie set the tone for all musicals to follow it. And a lot of great humor mixed in with the Fab Four's music.

6) "Psycho": Certainly one of the greatest thrillers ever made. Everything is perfect in this film, except for the crime. Hitchcock at his very, very best.

5) "Buck Privates": People scoffed at Abbott and Costello films in the 1940s, looking at them as the equivalent of movie candy. But this film is so well done, that you can't really scoff that much. And the humor holds up 70 years later.

4) "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein": Quite frankly, this is one of the funniest films ever made. A clever idea turned inside out, and it is as funny as any movie that has been made before or since.

3) "The Wizard of Oz": Without the doubt, the greatest fantasy film ever made. Again, everything is perfect in this film, from the story to the casting to the music. A film that I loved as a kid and love equally as an adult. Maybe the greatest movie ever made.

2) "Head": I have pontificated about this Monkees' movie many times. It takes "A Hard Day's Night" and turns it inside out. I love this movie, because every time I watch it, I see something that I had never seen before.

1) "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World": Was there ever a greater amalgam of comedians and comic actors in one film? Sure, it's long, but it needs to be to fit everything in. And in one of his greatest performances, Spencer Tracy steals the show from all the comics while he steals the loot. I can come into this film at any one of its moments and fall in line immediately. What a movie!

So there you have it. I would give every film here a "Larry" for making me love the potential of movies even more. Not a piece of trash among any of them as far as I am concerned.

I love them all!

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