Sunday Night’s Oscars Snafu Prescient of Hollywood Demise!
If anyone was desperate enough to see three plus hours of an intolerable self-congratulatory paean from one movie star to the other, one could have witnessed the snafu where the elderly Warren Beatty and his cohost Faye Dunaway announced that “La La Land” had won the best picture award for 2016. As it turned out, the true winner was the movie, “Moonlight”.
Does anyone really give a damn?
As a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, I could barely watch “La La Land”. After about twenty minutes of watching this film, I had to turn it off. It was a complete farce as is anything related to movie making, especially the category of “musical”.
I have always been a fan of the actor, Ryan Gosling. However, in this film he showed how inept he is as both a singer and a dancer. I do not blame him. Not even the talented Justin Timberlake could have saved this banana.
The writer/director of this self-immolation, Damien Chazelle, is none other than the talent behind the highly dramatic jewel of a film, “Whiplash.” If you didn’t see “Whiplash” please check how it shows the agonizing perfection required to become a jazz drummer. By contrast, “LaLa” is coarse imitation of a Roger & Hammerstein product manufactured in a Hollywood system that is dying a quicker death than I anticipated.
Last night’s snafu was a metaphor for the incredible mess that 21st century Hollywood has created for itself. Too many people, especially producers, have descended onto a movie project. In the case of “La La”, we have the following distribution/financing entities: Summit Entertainment; Black Label Media; Impostor Pictures; Gilbert Films; Marc Platt Productions.
That means that financing films has become more complicated and less rewarding both monetarily and in the quality of the end product. In this case, the producers tried to peddle some tired story about how hollywood wannabes get to the big time. Who cares? thats old stuff, last century!
Today, the millennials [as well as millions of other viewers] watched an average of twenty minutes of the Oscar show to assess the spirit and timbre of this particular night. I was anticipating the prerequisite Trump bashing. The incredibly non-talented Oscar host, Jimmy Kimmel, was both crass and disingenuous in his overblown need to reaffirm the evening’s presumed narrative of both diversity and inspiration.
What appeared subsequently was a Madame Tussaud’s reincarnation of the elderly [withered Shirley Maclaine]; the infirmed [Michael J. Fox with Parkinson’s Disease]; and the completely confused [Warren Beatty]. Oscars had turned away from succinct entertainment into a hegira of political correctness and patronizing speeches invoking the sad plight of disenfranchised minorities [Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims].
Needless to say, the foolish diatribes were laced with political bitterness condemning every American action from building the Mexican wall to the apparent absence of a noted Iranian film director, Asghar Farahadi. Instead of coming directly to the states, he wrote a letter condemning the “inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.” [NY Times, 2/27/17].
I would have been far more impressed with this self-anointed Persian if he condemned the pandemic repressions of both Ayatollah Khomeini, and his not too bright son Ayatollah Khameini. Yet, that takes courage and self-sacrifice; not something that most movie personnel are known for.
It is disconcerting to witness the parade of movie stars who have been pampered with millions of dollars in salaries to make any relevant statements about worldwide poverty and universal inequality. These professional pretenders have acquired countless numbers of plastic surgeries yet have not realized that they are not the inspirational motivators of anything more than box office receipts. As the internet and its expansive tentacles reach out into the world, Hollywood will mirror the statement that Billy Wilder made famous in his 1950’s movie, “Sunset Boulevard”. In his poison-pen valentine to Hollywood, an aging film star, Norma Desmond, ensnares a young screenwriter in order to resuscitate her career. She kills the writer. She ends her deplorable life in a psychiatric institution for the criminally insane. Its the demise of Hollywood. I say now is a good time to get rid of a system that was built on exploitation, victimization and sick fantasy.
Billy Wilder, a genius, said the following:
“If you’re going to tell the people the truth, be funny or they’ll kill you.”
Words to the wise are sufficient!