Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What Is Wrong With the Oscars? News The Huntsman & New Spider Man

I have received so many requests to "Say something about the Oscars!" that I guess I have to; I also need to talk about what is happening with a few films so this might seem disjointed, but it will bring everything up to speed.
So, the Oscars.
Sony and Marvel Studios came to an unprecedented agreement to combine Sony-owned Spider Man and the Marvel-owned Avengers into one; rumors started circulating about who the next Spider Man would be: Logan Lehrman and Taron Egerton both being lead contenders. Today, however, rumors are circulating that strongly suggest the next Spider Man will be either black or possibly Latino. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with this, except that it is a part of a larger context to destroy white people and the art expressions we have created for ourselves. IF black people, or Latino people, held the values which a character like Spider Man represents, ethnic artists would have developed those characters--OR EVEN BETTER ONES--for their own culture; they haven't because they don't. These are characters which symbolize the needs of white people, in our own peculiar way, and--this is going to offend people, but I don't care---WE OWN THEM. The same as Martin Luther King Jr and Harriet Tubman are owned by black people. Changing the characters who are supposed to represent us and our problems and hopes and wishes and dreams is a FORM OF REDISTRIBUTION. A blatant attempt at wiping out our cultural identity by destroying our art and cultural heritage through redistributing identity that doesn't have any foundation in reality or art apart from political consequences and agendas.
This is the deal: the Oscars used to be a BIG DEAL. Why? At least three reasons: first, fans got to root for their favorite actors and films (guessing who was going to win used to be a BIG DEAL, but not now, which is one of the problems); secondly, as has been mentioned before, success breeds success. Those who win Oscars, are courted for making films that we will be seeing for the next several years (it's easier to get financing when you have Oscar winners and it's easy to advertise the film to get viewers to watch it when there are Oscar winners involved, making the film look important). Thirdly, the Oscars was a few hours when stars truly showed themselves as stars, worthy of fame and their fans adoration: the bond between the celebrities and viewers was strengthened, insuring that those fans would continue to go see their favorite stars in their next film.
All of this has changed.
The pre-quel to Snow White and the Huntsman, The Huntsman, starring Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron, has now added Jessica Chastain to the new film, which suggests a dramatic increase in the quality of the script. Kristen Stewart has not been asked back. 
Not all of this is the Academy's fault, however, they can be faulted for not holding up a standard and insisting on that standard being fulfilled: they have, instead, consistently lowered their standards, thinking, erroneously, that lower standards equals higher quality entertainment equals more viewers. The stars do not act like stars, and--as with what appears to be all of Hollywood--they have willingly sold their one night of putting their best face forward in exchange of being talked about the next day. There are no behavior standards for the stars--the host appears on stage in his underwear? You have got to be the most tasteless and classless of all hosts to even suggest in a closed door meeting that something like that might happen!--and fans no longer bond with them; in fact, when people go to the movies and see people that they have seen making jokes about green cards, or yelling about prison being the new slavery, etc., etc, (these are things others have complained about the night to me) you don't want to see the star in their new film, because you don't want to be associated with liking someone who has no glamour, in a word, no RIGHT to be famous.
I have an incredible degree of respect and admiration for JJ Abrams. Because of this, I have made a personal decision that I am not going to participate in the "try and find out as much confidential information about the film as you can before the release" race. Abrams and company have gone to great lengths to secure the fruits of their very hard work and I respect that so I will no longer be posting rumors about this happens, or that happens, regarding  the plot of the film. I will obviously be posting things released by the Studio itself and Abrams, including obviously, trailers and the like, but there are so many sites trying to publish the latest rumors, that it's an act of disrespect I am not going to participate in with this. 
Many other writers have pointed this out, however, I am going to take this a step further. While many lament the "dis" superhero films have received, they seem to be missing the pattern, one with a nasty message. The highest grossing films of the last several years don't get Oscar nominations, those films that the most fans went to go see. The films receiving tons of nominations, such as Birdman with a pitiful $37 million in total box office revenue (that would hardly even qualify as a good opening weekend, but that's it's gross take, like American Hustle of last year), are films that fans have consciously not gone to see, while intentionally going to see films such as Godzilla.  In other words, the American public has intentionally rejected all the liberal and socialist inundated films that Hollywood desperately thought their diminishing star power would compel people to go see, while Hollywood punishes the pro-America, pro-capitalist films that fans have spent their dollars supporting. In still other words, there is literally a war between Hollywood and film fans, and the fans are winning.
I really want to like this film, I really do, but the more I see of it, the less confident I am that I can. I will probably go see this, because I am concerned that animated films are working over-time to brainwash kids, and while I haven't been able to make it to every film, I am quite concerned about this; I will wait to see the film to see if my suspicions are founded or not.
The 16% drop in viewership was not the result of Neil Patrick Harris hosting (even though that's why I didn't want it), nor was it the result of the black population boycotting because Selma wasn't nominated for more awards--I can base that on its statistics, hardly anyone has gone to see this film--no one in the potential viewing audience saw any of the films and so had no investment in seeing if their favorite was going to win; because so many actors have distanced themselves from fans by their outspoken liberal political views, and many undignified, un-star-like behavior, people didn't have a vested interest in tuning in for the celebrities, either.
There is another factor working against the increasingly socialist Oscars show: the free market. So many other groups (the New York Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, American Cinema Editors, Austin Film Critics Association--how many film critics are there in Austin?--not to mention other real big ones like Golden Globes, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild, AFI, etc.). By the time the Oscars roll around, saturation has set in and, rather than excellence being celebrated, it becomes narcissism with all these awards being given out to the save films over and over and over and over. To some degree, the Academy isn't at fault for this: they can't do anything about a group wanting attention, so forming the Alliance of Women Film Journalists so they can garner some publicity for themselves; what the Academy is at fault for is failing to distinguish the Oscars as being the creme dela creme. Because they have people running the show who don't believe in excellence, rather, in ever-lowering standards (Anne Hathaway and James Franco, really?) the BAFTAs show-up the Oscars and remind people what glamour used to be, and where it certainly doesn't exist anymore.
Because stars refuse to behave with dignity, and even--dare I say it?--exhibit leadership in public manners and courteousness--no one in the audience wants to watch there own unglamorous selves: we don't want to see the stars acting like normal people, doing the boring daily stuff that we do all the time--Ellen's selfie, and ordering pizza, or wearing underwear--that stuff goes on in my life, why should I bother with someone else doing it? The Oscars used to be about people looking their best, behaving their best and doing the best; the Oscars used to be inspiring; now, it's a showcase for mediocrity on every level, and that is a catastrophe.
As we know, Hollywood loves movies about making movies, the shallow are fascinated with themselves. Because we the audience don't get very many opportunities to see and understand how films are made--hence, to appreciate the work that goes into making the entertainment that means so much to so many of us--movies about making movies educate audiences and serve as a vehicle to understand the art form America relies upon as a means of self-critique, morality-questioning and soul-searching.  I have not seen Birdman, and I probably won't. No, I know I won't. This film is a vehicle for undermining the very leadership films such as Captain America and Thor are serving to disenchanted Americans sick of our POTUS; those films remind us who we are and what we believe. Birdman is a personal critique of Michael Keaton's of his playing Batman years ago, and feeling guilty that he enjoyed the success so much, in spite of him being politically adverse to everything a superhero represents and symbolizes. Thank you, I am not in the least bit interested. What is most interesting to me is, I actually thought Hollywood--in a mode of forced "repentance" for their "racism," would vote Selma Best Picture, but no, the lure of lamenting how money makes it impossible for them to be truly devoted to their art and rules every facet of the industry was far more important for them then appeasing the monster of racism they helped to create. That is the most interesting thing at the Oscars that didn't happen.
My sister told me, "It's like they called in for all the jokes, they were so bad." I know this is going to sound weird, but that's the point of diagnosing what's wrong: only mediocrities embrace socialism, because they are content with being mediocre, and want mediocrity celebrated. All the films being nominated and winning are pro-socialist, and that's a political agenda that screams brainwashing. The Oscars aren't about mediocrity, they are about excellence, so if they are going to celebrate mediocrity instead of excellence, people who want excellence aren't going to watch. That's a pretty simple lesson for the Academy to grasp, but they won't, and that's the tragedy.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
I almost totally forgot! The Lazarus Effect does not appear to be opening early, at least not in my vicinity, so I have plans to go and see the earliest showing on Friday. I am 90% confident this film will be pro-socialist because of the director's past work. I could be wrong: just because James Wan directed the very pro-socialist The Conjuring, doesn't mean that his next project, Fast and Furious 7 is going to be pro-socialist. As usual, I will be posting my immediate response via Twitter, and I will work like heck to get the post up asap.