what he said

Quoting Stephen King — what can I say? I just like this guy, I really really like this guy, ever since I was 12 — from his latest column in EW, in which he ruminates on the Oscars. I think he’s absolutely dead-on, which is why I’m just typing out his words instead of coming up with my own (’cause I’m tired)…

I thought Jon Stewart was fine. The negative reviews of his performance suggested to me that there have been so many hosting changes in the last 10 or 15 years that it’s hard to get comfortable with any new face. More to the point, hosting the Academy Awards is a pretty damned thankless job…I thought Stewart was sweeter-natured than Chris Rock…

There’s been a fair amount of talk about BROKEBACK being a breakthrough, but that’s nonsense. A check of BROKEBACK parodies on Google should convince anyone with half a brain that the American pop culture is intent on passing this passionate, well-meant, and well-made movie like a kidney stone. And how does the American pop culture pass what it cannot stand? Easy. It laughs that shit right out of its system.

You can say Hollywood has been here before, awarding gold to MIDNIGHT COWBOY in 1970, but that’s also bull — COWBOY is a well-made male weepie about friendship…BROKEBACK is about enduring love and fierce sexual attraction between two men. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at bottom as conservative as the current U.S. House of Representatives, gave Ang Lee one Oscar (which surprised me), the writing team of McMurty and Diana Ossana another…and with those bones thrown, felt free to move on. To CRASH, of course.

CRASH was the perfect alternative…the sort of flick the Hollywood establishment loves best…one where the complexities are all on the surface…CRASH says we have problems. CRASH says we have troubles. It says this modern life of ours is certainly a pain in the ass, especially this modern urban life. People keep “crashing” into each other (heavy symbolism at work, better wear a hard hat). But in the end — this is the part Academy voters like best — we can all get along if we rilly, rilly TRY!!! You almost expect to hear “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” over the closing credits.

And you know, until I read that last paragraph over, I didn’t realize how bitter I’ve become about this process. Because I liked Crash. I did…It’s a valid point of view, a decent theme, and Paul Haggis* made the most of it. But was it the best film of the year? Good God, no. BROKEBACK was better. So were CAPOTE and THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, for that matter.**

*A fellow Canadian



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