Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace
From a few years ago, me mugging with the bronze buffalo sculpture at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Night: You're Kidding; the Winner is Who?

It's Oscar day! I struggle to contain myself. Producing all of the suspense of bread rising, Hollywood's annual salute to itself is one of those events that is difficult, at least for me, to even bother turning on the TV for. A bunch of movies I haven't seen, starring a gaggle of actors I usually either don't know or else don't like, awards for categories I don't care about all wrapped up in an overproduced extravaganza of over-hyped glitz. Yawn.

Of the nominees for Best Picture, I've seen Winter's Bone and Inception -- both Red Box rentals. Winter's Bone was made with a budget of, perhaps as much as, $300. Its plot has neither a beginning nor end. It's 90 minutes of nothing much happening and then it's over. It must be art because it certainly isn't entertainment. If you want my opinion of Inception, scroll back through my January blogs and look for one titled The Movie, Inception: Who's on First? By the time I finished watching this movie my head ached and my eyes were swimming in my head. In other words, I don't give a damn what movie wins Best Picture.

Now if it were the Red Box awards, at least I'd have a prayer of seeing more than one or two of the nominees, and might even have a favorite or two to root for. My senior year in college, the group of fraternity brothers I roomed with had our own academy awards. It was late in spring during our last term. We had been watching a bunch of B movies throughout the year because, well, that's what you do when you are in college with nothing to do and no money to do it with. We were able to pool our fiscal resources and come up with a fifth of Jack Daniels to pass around as we watched, but that was the extent of our bankroll.

I think we called our awards The Masterpiece Theater Awards. I remember when it came to the awards night, we basically had two films under consideration -- both gawd-awful turkeys that were so bad, they were funny. The first was 1968's The Swimmer starring Burt Lancaster. In a nutshell the plot followed some sap (Burt's character) as he swam across some suburb of NYC from backyard swimming pool to backyard swimming pool. He would interact with the people whose pools he was swimming across. Wow, it was riveting.

The second nominee for our Masterpiece Theater Awards was The Last Rebel, starring Broadway Joe Namath. It was a spaghetti western made in 1971. In this epic, Namath's character is a Confederate soldier who either doesn't know that Lee surrendered or doesn't care. In any event, he continues fighting. All I can remember about it is that the dialogue (It was made in Europe, remember.) was dreadful and the acting even worse. No doubt there were film schools pumping out student's films with bigger budgets and better production quality. It made For a Few Dollars More look like Citizen Cane.

In the spirit of unmotivated slackers everywhere, I think we voted them a tie.

At least in those days the real Academy Awards usually featured movies people had seen and were willing to stay up until midnight to root for. For the most part today's nominees seem to be tomorrow's best hope for, well, the Masterpiece Theater Awards.

I'll be turning in early.

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