January 27, 2013

Two Thumbs Down

Don't ask me who's going to win at the Oscars this year. In fact, don't even ask me who is nominated. I have no business whatsoever talking about movies. But Having recently opined about my lack of interest in -- and knowledge of -- prime time TV shows, I am now going to demonstrate an equal ignorance when it comes to films. I don't think being an introvert has much to do with it (although I am happy not to be in a crowd); I think it's just that I'm not a big movie person in general. And neither is my wife, so that makes us a great match.

How rarely do I watch movies? Let me put it to you this way: I had to do some serious internet research to think of the last time I actually saw a major movie in a theater. I'm pretty sure the last one was was that Narnia movie with the lion (wife wanted to see it). Checking online, I see that film came out in 2005. Wow, it's been a long time since I've graced the clean, comfortable, quiet confines of a movie theater (is there font for sarcasm?).

I wouldn't even know where to begin if you asked me about any of the popular movies of 2012 or which ones are nominated for an Oscar. I ventured over to Roger Ebert's site to see his ten favorites from last year. Prior to inadvertently stumbling upon Tweets and news stories about the recent Golden Globes awards show, I had only heard of one movie on the list, Lincoln. Nothing on the list sounds too appealing. I wonder if Flight would be good. Sounds like a modern verison of those airline disaster movies from the 70s. Does George Kennedy have a cameo in Flight?

Whenever conversations about which movies are going to win come up at the water cooler, I quietly slither away (introverts are good at bailing). This gets me thinking: when was the last time I saw a movie that won the Academy Award for best picture? 
I perused the list of all best picture winners since the 70s on Wikipedia. Here’s the very short list of the ones I’ve actually seen, starting with the most recent, and my very brief commentary:

American Beauty (2000) – It was creepy. I don’t have any interest in seeing it again.

Titanic (1997) – Certainly well done from a special effects standpoint. But I thought it was way too long. I wish the dang boat had sunk sooner so I didn’t have to hear Celine Dion sing that theme song for three hours! (Not my original joke but don’t recall where I first heard it.)

Forrest Gump (1994) – I liked this one, but thought it was too long. (Can you tell I’m impatient? That comes up often in reconciliation.)

Schindler’s List (1993) – I think I’ve only seen parts of this one. Quick story: I was the producer of the late local newscast for the NBC station in Tampa on Feb. 23, 1997 immediately following the "uncut" network TV premiere of Schindler's List. To please the network, we produced and teased plenty of "news" that tied-in with the movie. That same evening there was a shooting on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I can't remember whether I chose to lead the newscast with the shooting or the movie-related stories (to keep the movie audience tuned in). But the next morning, my news director was angry with my decision.

Silence of the Lambs (1991) – I think I’ve only seen parts of this one too. Thrillers just aren’t my thing.

Dances with Wolves (1990) – I recall that I kind of liked it but, once again, I thought it was way too long.

Rain Main (1988) – This was a good. Lots of comedy mixed in to a serious movie. Whenever I'm in a restaurant and the server takes everyone's order without writing anything down, I always consider cracking a Rain Man joke. Something like: wow, this waiter's better than Rain Man.

Platoon (1986) – Saw it. Not excited about war movies. But I liked the visual joke about it in The Naked Gun (one of my all-time favorites) when we see Frank Drebin and his girlfriend laughing histerically as they walk out of a movie theater; then the shot widens and we see that the film they just saw was Platoon. 

Chariots of Fire (1981) – Don’t remember much about it, other than not liking it since I was too young to understand it. But I did like the theme music, especially when they used it in National Lampoon’s Vacation (another favorite of mine) when the Griswolds were running through the parking lot at Walley World.

I didn’t see any of the winning films in the 70s, and likely wouldn’t have understood them as a kid at the time.

Why don’t good comedy films (rare as they may be) win more Oscars? My favorite movie of all time, Airplane!, was completely snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1980. (Ordinary People took best picture that year; never saw it.)

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