A Smug Film Bonus Post About the 2013 Oscars

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Cody’s Oscar Thoughts:

I hate the god damn Oscars. Basically, for all the same reasons everyone hates the Oscars, so I don’t need to get into all that here. However, I still watch every year, because the tree of disgust for Hollywood must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots. (I think Thomas Jefferson said that.)

Of what’s nominated, basically, Joaquin should win Best Actor (his acting in The Master is as good as acting can possibly get) Michael Haneke should win Best Director (I haven’t seen Amour yet, but the man can do no wrong, and fuck the Academy for snubbing The White Ribbon for Best Foreign Film a few years back) Amour should win Best Picture (because fuck you again) and Emmanuelle Riva should win best actress. (I’m sure she’s great in Amour. She’s a great actress. Léon Morin, Priest is like the greatest thing ever.)

Of the ‘lesser’ categories, Philip Seymour Hoffman should win supporting actor (but I’d be okay with Christoph Waltz getting it, because he’s a delight) Amy Adams should win best supporting actress (decent in The Master, but I don’t care about anyone else in that category) Amour should win Best Foreign Film (obviously it’s gonna win this and not Best Picture—way to telegraph such a thing by nominating it in both categories, Academy) Amour should win Best Original Screenplay (I swear, even if this movie sucks, and it probably doesn’t, but even if it does, I’d be fine with Haneke winning for it simply because all his other work is so well-written) and nothing should win any of the other categories.

But not one of the things I want to win will win, except, I guess, Amour for Best Foreign Film, so whatever. I look forward to yelling stuff at the TV and eating good food and drinking beer while horrible art is honored by horrible people. By the way people, it’s 2013. If you don’t have a healthy distaste for the Oscars and most Hollywood movies (including most Indies—don’t get me started on the Spirit Awards) then go fuck yourself. And I mean that with the utmost disrespect. Because seriously, what are you doing? You’re like those people who still watch SNL and swear it’s still as good as it ever was. Sure, every year there’ll be two or three sketches that are good (that Starbucks one this year was incredible) but man. Wake up. You can stream movies from like every goddamn era ever. There’s no excuse to be watching shitty things. Watch great stuff. It’s easier now than it ever was.

Alex’s Oscar Thoughts:

I’m pretty sure everyone involved in the Oscars secretly wishes they’d just cancel ’em. I’m pretty sure of this because I’m pretty sure everyone, deep down, thinks like me. The Academy Awards are a bunch of hokum that wouldn’t even have been on my radar had I not been asked by Cody to provide my thoughts, but since I was, here are my picks: P.T Anderson and Michael Haneke, and those associated with their movies, deserve to sweep the categories they’re up for. I haven’t seen most of the other nominations.

Greg’s Oscar Thoughts:

What’s nominated this year, Argo?  Argo sucks.  I like Ben Affleck, I’ve always liked Ben Affleck, even when it was cool to not like him because of Jennifer Lopez or something.  I probably like Jennifer Garner even less, so it doesn’t matter to me.  I like him.  I like Armageddon and Chasing Amy and his one scene in Boiler Room.  (And I even saw John Frankenheimer’s Reindeer Games—who else can say that!?)  Anyway, Ben Affleck and his bland, nothing Argo will probably win Best Movie or whatever.  And good for him.  It’s cool to me that he made a thing people like.

I don’t know of anything else that was nominated.  I assume other things were, but I just don’t know what they are.  I barely know what else came out.  Is A Talking Cat!?! nominated?  That came out this year.  Let me talk about A Talking Cat!?! for a second.  I heard about this movie from my friend Nick who discovered it because it was recommended to him by Netflix.  Geniuses.  I wonder if Netflix is so smart that their system even knows when people will like things ironically.

There are a million movies exactly like A Talking Cat!?! but none of those million movies are really anything like A Talking Cat!?! and therein lies the enigmatic genius that is A Talking Cat!?!  And also A Talking Cat!?! is really a great title.

There’s kind of a genre for movies like this.  I guess you could call it ‘awesomely bad’ or ‘best worsts’.  I’m of course talking about movies like The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, Troll 2, Plan 9 From Outer Space, etc.  However, A Talking Cat!?! is a little different because it goes under the radar by virtue of being a movie for kids.  On the surface, A Talking Cat!?! is no different than Air Bud or MVP Chimp or whatever other crappy shit geared toward 8 year olds.  But when you watch A Talking Cat!?! you’re introduced to a profound and unique ineptitude that can only be found in the true gems that line the museum walls of awesomely bad movies.  Where do I begin?

A Talking Cat!?! opens with A LOT of establishing shots, many of them shaky, of waterfalls and oceans and tropical locations.  We also see a cat and then we hear it talking.  It pontificates on the quickness of modern society and its dependence on ”beeping machines”.  Oh, by the way, the cat is voiced by Eric Roberts and it literally sounds like he’s inside a toilet that’s in a closet.  I’m speaking objectively—the audio quality is astoundingly bad.

The plot is pretty simple.  A flamboyantly gay teenager (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it doesn’t make sense later) lives in a complicated-looking mansion with his single Dad.  Their house was decorated by some woman the Dad hired because he’s been too busy working with computers.  The son gets a call from a girl he’s never seen before asking if he can tutor her in english.  On the phone, he acts nervous, as if he has seen her before and knows she’s pretty.  He basically likes her before he even knows her or meets her and, nervously, turns down her offer to pay for his tutoring services.

Then there’s also another family—a single mom (see where it’s going!?) and her two insanely attractive twin teens.  The girl is ambitious and wants to be an internet maven of some kind, and the dopey boy doesn’t want to take an internship at a toy store because ”those [internships] should go to someone with imagination”.  What?

The cat basically plays cupid and orchestrates meetings between everyone.  Well, what’s weird is, he sets up the two boys, who are clearly gay, and they have a really erotic swimming pool scene together, but they don’t actually get together because the one kid ends up with the tutor girl.

Another really cool thing is the internet maven girl ends up showing the father a computer program she designed.  You scan in all of your clothes and it picks out outfits for you.  So let’s just ignore the fact that she literally came up with the program from the opening scene of Clueless and focus on the fact that what follows is a montage where the father and son ‘scan’ in all of their clothes using an LED reading light.  Pretty clever.  Also, the montage itself is made up a series of very clunky and shaky dolly shots that just keep pushing in and pulling out over and over and over.  (In fact, the whole movie is littered with very shaky dolly shots.)  At the end of the montage, they find out the program ‘worked’ because the dad is wearing a button down shirt that barely fits and his huge belly is spilling out all over the place.

In a certain way, A Talking Cat!? is better than Argo.  It’s at least more fun to watch—albeit, because you’re rubbernecking a train wreck.  But it’s also inherently more interesting because it’s unique badness can be deconstructed.  Why did people create this the way they did?  Why did they think it was okay when they were done?  How did it end up on Netflix?  These might be hard questions to answer, but they’re certainly more fun to think about than it is to pick apart the sensical, by the book, ‘technically proficient’ boringness of Argo.

To prove everything I said, here is a trailer that I found with green timecode burned into it for some reason.  Much of what I discussed about A Talking Cat!?! is shown here, truncated into easy to swallow trailer length:

The only other two movies that I saw this year were Looper and Flight.  Looper was a huge surprise, I liked it a lot and don’t even remotely have enough time to discuss it here.  It’s stupid that it wasn’t nominated for stuff.

Flight would’ve been great sans all the stuff with the girl and the ‘after school special’-esque score.  I saw Flight because Robert Zemeckis is my favorite director of all time and this was his return to real movies after a foray into weird motion capture animation stuff.  I really like that it opens with out of focus boobs and a scene where an older, overweight Denzel Washington looks into the butthole of a flight attendant he slept with the night before.  And as always with Zemeckis, the visual craftsmanship is wonderful and the song choices were great.  Denzel was really good, of course, but ultimately the whole thing was too long.  Again, because of the shoe-horned nonsense with the blonde.

Also, I didn’t care about Django.  So yeah, I vote for A Talking Cat!?! to win everything.

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2 Responses to A Smug Film Bonus Post About the 2013 Oscars

  1. Chloe Pelletier says:

    It’s true that the Oscars are pretty pointless these days, so you’d think I wouldn’t be surprised that Looper wasn’t nominated, but it was just so good that I am nevertheless.

  2. Pingback: Nights On Netflix: A Journey Through The Aisles Of Our Friendly Neighborhood Internet Video Store | Smug Film

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