Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Because I keep reading about the Oscars

I won’t be watching the show. I think it might be tomorrow night, though I’ve been hearing about it for ages. Between speculation about whether the WGA strike would allow it to be held in the first place to feverish coverage of Juno‘s screenwriter and Javier Bardem’s pageboy hairdo in No Country for Old Men, it’s been pretty impossible to miss.

I won’t be watching them because I have no real desire to see any of the nominations. I think Juno is really only this year’s version of Little Miss Sunshine, and the only reason I saw that one was because I went with my best buddy. I enjoyed the latter, certainly, and it was certainly well crafted, well written, and well structured, and it certainly had a lot of heart


(you knew there would be a ‘but’, of course). I don’t know; it was technically good, and enjoyable, but mostly– well, let’s just come right out and let me admit I like blowing shit up. My favorite movie is Shakespeare in Love, but my top ten is filled with the likes of V for Vendetta, Casino Royale, and Mission: Impossible III (also: The Sixth Sense). I’ve never been a huge fan of smaller indie movies (that last I mentioned because it comes about as close as I get). Grosse Point Blank is, I think, the closest I come to indie, and while it doesn’t blow anything up, there are silencers around.

So the full disclosure is that I’m not sure I’ve seen anything nominated, but when has lack of knowledge ever prevented anyone from writing about something, especially on the Internet? Tha Interwebs were invented for unfounded opinions from people who don’t know what they’re talking about, weren’t they?

In keeping with blowing shit up, how about some bullets?

-I’m tired of hearing about Diablo Cody, although I’ve begun to consider renaming myself The Jesus Casidy. With one ‘s’, because it’s cooler.

-The Coen brothers are interesting enough that I want to see No Country despite everything good I’ve read about it, but that’s because I like they’re stuff. I’ve always liked their stuff (though I think it’s a little too quirky just for the sake of being so). Intolerable Cruelty might be George Clooney’s best movie, and this from a guy who loves the entire Ocean’sfranchise (dear Mr. Soderbergh: you’re going backward. What we want is Ocean’s Five, with Damon, Pitt, Clooney, Cheadle, and Izzard, pulling off a low-tech heist of a low-tech casino, shot like Full Frontal. Get right on it, please).

-I’m more impressed that Daniel Day Lewis has cobbled shoes by any of his performances I’ve ever seen. Not that they were bad, mind, but he seems a poster child for the whole “Life’s too serious to be taken seriously,” as are work and craft. Dear Mr. Day Lewis: you’re an actor. Lighten up. Unless you want to do more cobbling of shoes, in which case, I wear an 8. Thank you.


I think one of the reasons I’m so disappointed is that two movies I loved were completely ignored. Zodiac is very nearly as close to perfect a movie as I’ve ever seen; it’s a lot like The Shawshank Redemption in that it manages to tell precisely the story it set out to in precisely the way it needed to, without gimmick or spectacle. A perfect example of a director really letting the story do the work. It’s the sort of movie someone who knows about how movies are made watches and thinks, wow, that’s well done, because the craft of it is just about invisible. It’s so subtle.

Also: Gone Baby Gone was robbed in just about every category. Best picture, best director, best actor, best supporting actor, best adapted screenplay . . . in a truly awesome world, Affleck would have won his second, third, and fourth Oscars for this movie, though it would have been a damned close race with Fincher.

But congratulations, Oscar, for nominating Casey. Just a shame you got the wrong movie.


  1. Yeah, Zodiac was royally screwed this year. It should have been up for the main awards.

  2. I *am* a self-proclaimed indie movie whore, although my tastes run the gamut, and I’ve got to say I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the movies out this year. Little Miss Sunshine and Juno are movies that were supposedly “made” for people like me. I’ve yet to see either and have no intentions of seeing them either. Why? Well, for the former, I can’t stand the little girl. She tries way too hard to be cute, and her brand of cute is much to quaint for me. Kids shouldn’t try to be cute. Usually, their just being kids does the job. As for the latter, I really wish I could endorse it. I’m a big fan of Jennifer Garner and think she’s awesome in anything. But I have a big problem with “issue” movies. What I’ve seen of Ellen Page’s performance does nothing for me. Perhaps, she is a great actress. But the deadpan humor has never once grabbed me.

    As for Daniel Day Lewis, I’ve never been a fan. I tend not to endorse actors who use a big A to pronouce their profession. I like actors like Don Cheadle, Johnny Depp, and Tim Robbins who are more concerned with the act of being human than being some great artiste. Their humanity is precisely what comes across. Not necessarily perfect, but always nuanced and convincing.

    The problem with Hollywood is that the “great” label is usually saved for things that are mostly cliched and devoid of real meaning. Contrary to popular belief, a comedy can be just as insightful as any somber tearjerker.

    What annoys me most about Hollywood, movies and television alike, is that so many writers/directors/etc want credit/compensation/etc when the vast majority of the work they produce isn’t worth the film used to created it.

  3. Jesus. I’m typo-mad today. I swear I’m not an idiot. It’s the Nyquil.

  4. The thing about the Oscars is that this year it wasn’t predictable. I didn’t watch them, either. I just rely on NPR to tell me what I need to know.

    It’s interesting. I love indies. I think one of the reasons is because I know I’ll see a great film that isn’t going to get overhyped.

    And I hated Michael Clayton. I apparently hated it so much I fell asleep about halfway through.

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