I see my sister has started posting. Perhaps the guilt was starting to get a bit much for her. I mean, it had been almost two whole months since she decided to place something on our little piece of the Interwebz.
Still doing a lot better than Derek, however. Apparently, he’s too busy running doomsday cults and trying to summon great Elder Ones to end Earth and all existence in a maddening song of death and delirium. But that’s fine. I got to see him and as a reward for trekking to his distant and damp apartment, he paid for a viewing of Oscar nominated and likely winner Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant.
So here is my movie review:
Yup, that’s it. Just ok. I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen better. DiCaprio isn’t the best actor in the film unless you consider lots of heavy panting noteworthy acting. Tom Hardy was quite good, however, and demonstrated a vastly different range of skill portraying the cowardly and inconsistent Fitzpatrick. Though billed as a “white man gets revenge flick for the death of his native family” the film is actually a “see North America beat the crap out of DiCaprio and him trying to eat every living thing in response” film. There’s light characterization, little plot between the three overlapping but ultimately shallow narratives and a bunch of poor decisions made by the principal actors in order for the story to move along.
It’s pretty, though. Not sure it justified the larger screen but there are plenty of moments you can forget you’re watching a movie desperately trying to win an Oscar and think you’ve stumbled across David Attenborough’s fevered dreams of the Secret Life of North American Fauna While on Crack. Though, I’m sure that mountain of elk skulls is meant to be artistic or symbolic or something.
The movie is simple, brutish and harsh which I suppose was the goal in order to communicate how much it sucked being a fur trapper on the edges of colonial America. There’s probably some other dialogue meant to occur that, beyond the confines of civilization, man just sorts of reverts to a barbaric and violent state of nature but that’s such a boring, tired and ultimately unfounded argument that I’m not going to indulge it any further. At the very least, I can tell you that the production crew were very meticulous in making sure their representation of fur traders and the frontier was accurate. I say this with confidence because Kait keeps dragging me to pioneer villages and everything I’ve learned from Fort William Historical Park to The Fort Museum in Fort Macleod was front and centre on screen.
Anyway, I don’t wish to go into the finer merits and demerits of the film. I’d rather complain about the Oscars.
Mostly, I don’t understand the appeal of the awards show. I know there’s been a large discourse over the institution and its implications for the entertainment industry in general in regards to representation. It’s a worthy conversation and one where the issues are pretty plain to see. Course, with such huge gobs of money involved, change will no doubt be slow and painful even as television starts making greater strides to prove that widely held truisms simply aren’t based on reality. Look at Marvel’s Agent Carter. There’s a show that’s presumably doing well, lead by a prominent female protagonist and (second season at least) has a minority co-star and love interest. Granted, you can see that in the new Star Wars too.
Anyway, I don’t want to bang on the social justice drum. I mostly want to express how baffling I find people’s obsession with the Oscars is in general. I simply do not understand the appeal. I mean, it’s an awards show. I don’t get why I should care. I especially don’t understand why I should care when the awards are doled out in an arbitrary fashion following the tastes and judgements of unnamed individuals who never need justify or provide oversight for their decisions. At least something like the People’s Choice Awards involves public polling to provide some sort of attachment for the viewership and the results.
But not the Oscars. No, their arbitrariness is meant to be accepted. It’s meant to be enjoyed.
I suppose it’s a testament to the entertainment industry that they can turn their own industry awards into a public spectacle that lots of people tune into and discuss fervently. You won’t find co-workers gathered around the water cooler who have obsessively tuned into the Queen’s Award for Enterprise to vehemently argue how Bonds Limited was robbed in the International Trade (Export) category in 2010. And yet, you’re practically a philistine if you haven’t some horse in the race for Best Picture or haven’t heard of Spotlight let alone seen it. There’s tons of articles covering the politics of the Oscars and how actors or films will be rewarded not for the quality of their entry but as a sort of “pity award” for being ignored prior until the individuals had established their careers. When talking about likely winners, people are more likely to debate whether someone is too young or if the award should go to the guy who has been nominated six times and still hasn’t won rather than whether their specific performance deserves it or not.
This should probably sound familiar, given the opening of this rant. I wouldn’t be surprised if DiCaprio wins for his nomination despite, as I said, his acting in this movie boils down to learning about twenty lines then rolling around in dirt for an hour and a half. People will debate how this is such a great injustice. People will argue how the films nominated don’t deserve their recognition when other films were snubbed.
But for me, I think it’s stranger that we’re talking about this. Unless you were involved in the production itself or are cheering for a family member, I simply don’t understand why you’d care. It’s the same reason why I never understood the Spike sponsored Video Game Awards. My life is literally unaffected whether The Revenant wins best picture or Fallout 4 continues to be loved by critics and fans despite being one of Bethesda’s worse products in recent years. Of all the awards in all the industries, why is it people are so interested in the Academy’s movie awards?
I don’t mean this to ruin anyone’s fun or detract from the conversation regarding its process people wish to hold. I am merely perplexed and can’t help but wonder why there’s such public involvement in this sector and why no one has been able to harness that involvement to improve it for the better.
And why can the average person riddle off all the Oscar Best Actor nominees but not name a single Nobel Prize winner for the same year? Where have our priorities gone?