Oscar pictures: The bigger, the better!
I just got a fun rant-from-the-rooftop e-mail from a journo pal of mine who feels gypped this Oscar season. Like he's not getting a full plate at the Paramount canteen. Studio movies are too small in every way, Kev says: They dramatize tiny, unimportant stories on minuscule screens. Kevin Lewin is bored! Hurry up and give us Baz Luhrmann's "Australia," he cries!
Is he right? Personally, I know exactly how he feels. Now I share his rant with you. Words below are Kev's, who, by the way, is an editor at World Entertainment News Network.
"They say size isn't everything, but I'm beginning to think otherwise when it comes to the big screen in the new waste-not-want-not economic era.
"I don't know about you, but I'm tiring of the hours I waste in cinemas watching Sunday night TV dramas.
"Call it the curse of the indie, but smaller doesn't mean better when you have all that canvas.
"And, as we all brace ourselves for another mind-blowing epic from Mr. Luhrmann, it's a tonic that there's still a moviemaker out there who knows how to fill the screen. He's the David Lean of today — and he's just about to remind the world that big screen means BIG!
"With the world in the grips of the type of recession that makes for a great financial drama, I'd like to send out a plea to the movie execs and the guys behind the lenses: Stop cheating us with the small stuff.
"We, the audience, pay to see your films because we want an escape from our everyday, especially now. So fill the screen, give us romance, blockbusters, epics and popcorn. Ditch the dreary, the TV dramas, the kitchen sinks, the reminders that life is crap! It's a big screen so let's be big about it! Move us, leave us speechless, amaze us.
"As we ponder the 2009 Oscars, there are three so-called must-see movies that the critics, me included, would have you believe will feature in the race for the gold guy. One is a dreary French drama that will depress the life out of every parent in the audience, another is classic Mike Leigh, small is beautiful fare and the third is about a missing dog — and that's kinda it!
"I'm oversimplifying, obviously, but 'I've Loved You So Long,' 'Happy-Go-Lucky' and 'Wendy & Lucy' are in the Oscars mix. The three films have put Brits Kristin Scott-Thomas and Sally Hawkins and Michelle Williams in with a chance of a best-actress nod, so, when one or all of them get a nomination in January, be careful before you flock to the cinemas to see films that you fear have passed you by.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not dismissing the efforts of directors and actors here. But, come on! A film about a girl looking for a lost dog? Please!
"I'm lucky, I get screeners. I can sit in the comfort of my home and watch these films on my TV — funny that they're a perfect fit — but the weekend warriors that spend their hard-earned cash at the cinemas often only have the critics and the hype to guide them.
"The hype is just that and the critics can, dare I say it, get lost in the art. I mean, come on, it's a film about a woman looking for her dog. Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh! It's nice. Michelle Williams is lovely as the woman, but does anyone really want to pay to see this TV movie? Those tickets aren't cheap any more.
"One of my favorite films of the year was 'The Visitor,' but I'm not afraid to tell ya I would have been just as touched and moved by Richard Jenkins' performance from my armchair at home, rather than in the company of the unknown rustlers and crunchers at my local art-house mecca.
"And I used to be the guy screaming at the philistines who would say, 'I'll wait until the film comes out on DVD!' People, until they start paying you to go and see small at the theaters, I'd go one step further — wait until the movie hits mainstream TV, cuts and all!
"Wow! I'm glad I got that off my chest. Critics all, please be mindful of the economic times and let the people know just what's worth seeing on the BIG screen and what isn't. Call it a public service. The money you'll save the film fan could help little Johnny get that "WALL-E" DVD he craves!
"Thank God for Baz! Moviemakers, go and see 'Australia' — and remember it's a big screen! Let's have a bit more bang for our buck!"
Photo credits: 20th Century Fox, Paramount