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Oscar worst

“Most of the normal, hardworking, all-American folks in Hollywood are crew — and they showed it with their heartfelt booing of Michael Moore when he removed the muffin from his pie-hole just long enough to run down our country during the 2003 Oscar ceremony. But these great Americans are generally not members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and they don’t get to vote for who takes home the Oscar. People like Sean Penn do. And Tim Robbins. And tranny vomit recipient Susan Sarandon.

“These are the kind of folks who make up the majority of Oscar voters, so it’s no wonder that the Academy Awards show is so often a festival of nitwittery that leaves normal Americans scratching their heads wondering, ‘Um, what the hell was that?’ …

“So, in no particular order of insanity, here are Oscars 10 biggest recent screw-ups: 1. ‘Crash’: Best Picture 2006: Before Paul Haggis annoyed the Scientologists, he annoyed most of the rest of the world with ‘Crash,’ a ponderous stew of liberal guilt and condescension that lucked into a Best Picture Oscar through a combination of pinko button pushing and the pure dumb luck of having an equally tiresome raft of competing nominees.”

Kurt Schlichter, writing on “The 10 Worst Winners In Oscar History,” on Feb. 21 at the Andrew Breitbart site Big Hollywood

The real Bogart

“As Pauline Kael put it, ‘Breathless’ and ‘Shoot the Piano Player’ were ‘haunted by the shade of Bogart.’ They in turn planted one in me. Kael put words to the image in her book ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ (1968) when she explained Bogart as ‘The man with a code (moral, aesthetic, chivalrous) in a corrupt society, he had, so to speak, inside knowledge of the nature of the enemy. He was a sophisticated urban version of The Westerner, who, classically, knew both sides of the law.’

“He was, of course, faking it. As Stefan Kanfer makes clear in his new biography ‘Tough Without A Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart,’ Bogart’s ancestors were more like characters in ‘The Philadelphia Story’ than the ones in movies that Bogie himself would become famous in. ‘In the 150 year history of cinema,’ as Kanfer puts it, ‘few performers have arrived with a more impressive resume of monetary privilege and social distinction.’”

Allen Barra, writing on “The Last Film Star,” on Feb. 20 at the Daily Beast

Film samizdat

“Not long ago, I received a package from a person I have never met. Inside I found no message — only the initials “JLG” scrawled on a DVD-R, and though I’m no die-hard Godardian, I recognized the object as a totem designed to set my small-town cinephile’s heart aflutter. Jean-Luc Godard’s newest polyglot provocation, ‘Film Socialisme,’ had recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. … Responding to a bulletin on a social networking site … I sent out an e-mail, and in lieu of a reply I received a FedEx. I’m not the only beneficiary: at some point I’m supposed to forward the disc to a guy in Nebraska. Like I said, film socialism. …

“This is all to say that Susan Sontag, consummate Manhattanite, had it wrong in her 1996 essay ‘The Decay of Cinema’: ‘Perhaps it is not cinema that has ended but only cinephilia.’ If the ardor of film culture were dead, movie piracy wouldn’t matter. I imagine that if Sontag had been exiled to Peoria after developing a taste for Bela Tarr, she would have found a way back to Satantango through sheer force of will, some well-connected friends or a high-speed wireless setup.”

Akiva Gottlieb, writing on “Viewing Conditions: On Jonathan Rosenbaum,” in the Feb. 21 issue of The Nation

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