It was clear to anyone with half that half a brain of theirs that this year’s Academy Awards presentation was a gigantic fiasco. Viewership was down 10 percent, James Franco was bloody-eyed stoned throughout and Anne Hathaway tried a little too hard to really become Chrissy Snow from TV’s “Three’s Company.”
Despite the public revelation long ago of the Oscars being nothing more than another stop on the promotion train for films with enough clout to get all aboard, as a pathetic cinephile, I can’t help but still be disappointed by the flicks left railroaded in the dust:
“My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done” was a joint production of David Lynch and Werner Herzog, based on one of the nuttiest “true” stories ever told. Flamingoes, ostriches and big city cops intermingle with ancient swords and Greek tragedies in this dreamlike wonderland based in gritty reality.
“Catfish” is a DIY documentary that Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman himself recommended to me as the year’s best. The story of a young New York nebbish who discovers a terrible truth about the girl he’s “met” on Facebook actually being real or not matters little. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen.
“Exam” is a nearly perfect psychological thriller born of the kind of stuff that made “Cube” an underground hit and “The Twilight Zone” classic television at its best. I won’t give away the ending, except to say that it sucks . But don’t worry: That’s only ten minutes out of an otherwise ambrosial 101.
Two documentaries that make the cut are “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child” about, you guessed it, rock star painter Jean-Michel Basquiat; and Canadian entry “Last Train Home,” dealing with the largest yearly human migration on the planet.
Perhaps “The Illusionist” was omitted from the “Best Animated” short list for its startlingly elegiac look at the way dreams do fade once we grow too old to strive for them.
No matter, as I had a bitch of a time seeing this film in the theater.
And speaking of: Where the hell are all the arthouse theaters in Boulder? Why can I see a limited release film in Iowa but not out here? I have to spend all that money and time on a bus getting to the Mayan in the middle of BFE Denver just to see an arthouse film whose visuals and audio quality make it a necessity for big screen viewing?
The Film Series at the main branch of the public library is fine. We’ve got the IFS on campus, and hopefully Boedecker will come through as needed. But, goodness, where have all the movie theaters gone?
The cruel reality, of course, being that there were no truly great movies to watch in the theaters this year.
Maybe the only way we’ll able to see said great movies aside from the library, video store and Netflix will be for one of us to brave the storm, stand up and make a few ourselves.
We’ll otherwise remain at the mercy of those dastardly dreammakers in NYC and Hollywood who operate smoothly under the code of H.L. Mencken: “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the people.”