Monday, March 08, 2010


In case you're wondering, yes I did see The Hurt Locker. A work friend of mine who is former military lent me her copy a couple of months ago after telling me it was one of the best war films she's ever seen. So after putting it off for a couple of weeks, I finally popped in the dvd one night while I ran to some final table on pokerstars or something until 4am, and I watched the whole thing with about 98% focus. And guess what?

It sucked.

I guess I should qualify that. I went out and saw Slumdog Millionaire last year after it one all the acclaim at the 2009 Oscars. It's rare that Hammer Wife and I both are really interested in a seeing a movie in the theater, so when that does happen we tend to make it happen, and Slumdog was just such a film. So I went, with the high expectations of a man who knows he is about to see the Best Picture of the Year. And, like most other people I know, Slumdog reallly underwhelmed me. It's the kind of movie that you leave and say "That was good". But that's about it. Nobody but nobody left that theater saying "Wow! That movie's gonna win Best Picture this year for sure!" Nobody. Just like nobody left "Up in the Air" saying that. Because it was good (at best), but definitely not great. Same thing with Slumdog Millionaire. They both may be just the kind of movie the Academy who decides each year's Oscar winners loves to glom on to. But ultimately they're both about a 6.5 out of 10, and not more. Period.

And now it's the same thing with The Hurt Locker. I know it's just the kind of gritty, documentary-style war movie that the Academy loves to shoot their wad all over. I especially know that it tackles the war in the middle east which is a topic that not many others have tried to capture in a mainstream movie as yet ("Three Kings", anyone?), which gets the Academy hot and bothered all over again. But you know what? It's a 6.5, just like last year's Best Picture, and so many others over recent years.

The Academy got what it wanted on Sunday night with the Oscars. So did all the faux intellectual types out there so desperate for others to view them as artistic, cultured and refined. But just as in past years, we all know what was the actual greatest movie of the year. It may not be the Best Picture, but we all know the best picture when we see it.

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Blogger l.e.s.ter said...

I guess this makes up for Oscar's snub of Point Break.

10:32 PM  
Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

It was a weak year for Best Picture.

Avatar and Dsitrict 9 would not have even been in the category if they didnt expand to 10.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Astin said...

That would be Inglourious Basterds I assume? I haven't see The Hurt Locker yet, so I can't compare them.

Obviously not Avatar though, since that sucked. Hard.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

@l.e.s.t.e.r. -- to say nothing of Strange Days.

@Queens -- Avatar would have for sure been nominated, whatever you think of its quality. It was too huge not to be. District 9, The Blind Side, A Serious Man, An Education, and Up are almost certainly the extra 5. I think I'll just consider this the year of Precious, Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Up In The Air, and Inglourious Basterds.

Haven't seen many of the nominated movies. I liked Avatar, I thought Up was good but minor Pixar. Inglourious Basterds is a really subversive movie if you consider its conclusions; it was probably the cream of the crop last night of the movies I did see. Which is just three, I guess. So whatever.

The Oscars don't mean much. I prefer to wait a decade or more years and see what's still remembered. Who's still talking about The Last Emperor? It won that year. Un-nominated films that year include The Princess Bride, Raising Arizona, Full Metal Jacket, Planes Trains and Automobiles, and Adventures in Babysitting.

Perhaps the majority Best Pictures are pretty forgettable, and even those that aren't are often clearly not the best. Stack Forrest Gump up against Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction and you'll see what I mean.

@Hoy -- FWIW, there hasn't been an actual war film best picture since 1985, when Platoon took it down, so I'd have to disagree with the characterization that War Film = Oscar Gold. Hard to believe but Saving Private Ryan came up short. Nevertheless, Oscar doesn't like genre. If Cameron had made Avatar three movies and added hobbits, he'd have had a prayer.

-Julius, based on the novel "Goat" by Sapphire

12:36 AM  
Blogger Micah Seymour said...

Remember though that this author praised Avatar /for it's story/.

3:52 AM  

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