Deep Thought

Comments

1
That's great.
2
As with the Sandra Bullock thing, I don't understand the Avatar hate.

If a movie makes that much money (and it's not based on a best-selling book) it's gotta be kinda good, right?

For the record, I really liked Avatar. The plot was a bit cliche, maybe, but the graphics alone did it for me. Nerd splooge @ those effects.
3
@2, you don't get the Sandra Bullock thing? Watch Speed II and get back to us.
4
@2: By that logic, McDonald's should be winning awards for its great food
5
For me, it was less about hating Avatar and more about being excited that my favorite movie of the year (and the one that I believed most deserved to win) actually won best picture. I've definitely liked some of the Best Picture winners in the past 10 years, but I wasn't pulling for them in the way that I was pulling for The Hurt Locker.
6
Amen. Cameron's ego is already three sizes too big.
7
Speed II was awful, yeah. But since when does one roll define someone as an actor? Meryl Streep was in Prime , after all...
8
You're comparing her to Meyrl Steep? Did you drop out of high school? Or did your mother drop you on your head?

Oh, "Miss Congeniality" "All about Steve"....

Really Meryl Streep?!?!?
9
@7: The Proposal, All About Steve, The Net, Hope Floats, Two Weeks Notice, Crash, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, and there's probably other ones that aren't immediately obvious because they were just soppy, bland, and forgettable instead of outright terrible.
10
@4: Exactly. By that logic, Thomas Kinkade is the greatest American artist ever. Ten years from now, when the special effects look dated, more people will see Avatar as the poorly written and acted piece of schlock that it really is.
11
@2 I liked Avatar too, but if "the graphics alone" did it for you, then Avatar totally deserves all the technical awards, which it did win, but it does not at all deserve best movie. And how popular something is has little to do with how good it is.
Granted, I'm not quite sure The Hurt Locker deserved it, but I'm glad it won over Avatar.

Though Avatar also didn't deserve best cinematography over The White Ribbon or Inglorious Basterds, yet it won there, sadly.
12
@8 -- My point was that Meryl Streep is brilliant (and no, Bullock is NOT her. that's not what I meant), and therefore the fact that she's acted in awful movies shouldn't matter.

Sandra, not exactly "brilliant", but I don't think she's as awful as everyone likes to think. The woman has talent.
13
Avatar lost for the wrong reasons. Actors hated it because of all the CGI and the writers hated it because it excluded them as well. Personally I didn't really care for Hurt Locker - perhaps its because I'm Canadian and I was turned off by all the rah rah yeah America stuff. My pick would have been Inglorious Basterds.
14
Popcorn movies don't win Best Picture. Big Idea pictures win.
15
@11, if I had my choice Inglourious Basterds would've won everything... but sadly, it doesn't work that way.

I loved Avatar, thought it was great. But I'm saying that I understand when people coin it was a Pocahontas rip-off. Point is that it was a lot more than that. I just don't understand why people hate it so much.
16
@13 - That's funny, one of the reasons that I liked The Hurt Locker so much (when I don't tend to like action or war movies) was that it didn't have very much of the 'merica rulez, jingoistic attitude. It wasn't about the explosions or the war or the military, it was about the character. (s). The fact that we get so thoroughly inside his head is one of the reasons why it's a great film...
17
because its just a boring story.
18
I'm still kind of surprised Inglourious didn't pick up any editing or screenplay awards. Throw the film a bone here.

@15: I think you should just understand that people aren't disagreeing with you just because they don't understand you.

"Point is" is your opinion, not a fact. Plenty of people actually do understand your point, but they disagree with it. Right? I understand why you might like Avatar, but I don't agree with it. Different things.
19
Has a movie with ZERO character development EVER won best picture?
20
@15: Oh, and right ... people who think it was a Pocahontas rip-off might also think it wasn't anything more than that. The opinions are not mutually exclusive.
21
@18-- Oh yeah, I know. This is an unwinnable fight, I'm well aware. :)
I just talk a lot...
22
@20 -- I get that. Everyone has their own opinion, but I'm trying to understand why people don't like it. There's gotta be at least some respect for it, as it grossed mass amounts of money and was a pretty big technological advance for the film industry.

To the people who don't like it.. what do you think about the graphics stuff? The technology part of it was pretty cool, was it not?
23
Perhaps I'd feel better if the winner was a movie I'd ever heard of. Guess I'll crawl out from under my rock and check out this "Hurt Locker" film.
24
Ness - I actually thought Avatar was entertaining. I was prepared to really dislike it, because I had heard so much about how bad the dialogue, writing, and character development were, and those are generally the things that draw me in to a film. Pretty films with those flaws rarely impress me. But... I found myself enjoying Avatar despite the flaws (much to my surprise).

Despite that, the movie's flaws are still there, and they are glaring. Even though Avatar was entertaining and visually impressive, it was not a Best Picture film. It's pretty solidly in the "mindless fluff" category of entertainment for me...
25
@3 By that logic fuck Mo'Nique and her Precious win. She less than two years ago hosted Flavor of Love with Flava Flav.

Everyone has utterly shit in their acting past. George Clooney, Facts of Life. Jeremy Renner, Senior Trip.
26
@24 Julie -- I totally agree with you. I don't really think Avatar was best picture either (IB ftw), and I can't comment much on The Hurt Locker cuz I haven't seen it. I just don't get what all of the hate is about. I didn't think I would like it, but it wasn't a terrible movie or anything. Has it's flaws, but I don't think it's hate-worthy. I think people are just picking on the popular kid.
27
Ness, the technology (and I would say artistic design) part of Avatar was in my opinion awesome. That is why it was even more insulting and infuriating that the big piece of poop that Cameron called his "script" was allowed to come along and soil the whole thing. Disgusting, and such a waste of good work. SO GLAD IT DID NOT WIN!
28
@22: I'm pretty content to say it was flawless special effects. But I still didn't like it, because I'm just not entertained enough by what's essentially a billion-dollar demo reel.

You know the interesting thing? The biggest "WHOA we're in a SCI FI FUTURE!" moment for me was actually at the beginning of the movie, well before we were on Pandora. It was the scene where we meet the soldiers all stashed away for their space journey. The endless rows of sleep-lockers with casually floating medics and doctors was so fucking cool.

(I also think the 3D worked best here; the rest of the scenes, probably because they were on a planet-scale, were flattened out to me.)

For some reason, Pandora never really grabbed me. I don't think it was any fault of the special effects, but the over-the-top design ... it felt like a blacklight rave to me. Everything was just pure visual assault, all the time. I felt fatigued after a while instead of genuinely awed.
29
To Mr. Frizelle: That thought was about as deep as the screenplay for Avatar. I'm guessing that's the point? If not, I just gave you an out.
30
And I misspelled your name...sorry about that.
31
As for Avatar, it was no less entertaining than Star Wars. Not every film has to be some deep intellectual experience, and thank God they aren't all that way. For every Precious and 2001 and serious Cohen brothers film you need your Avatars and your Zorros and your Transformers. If one happens to rise even more to the level of art versus spectacle, great. Reward them. The Avatar hate is just getting to be old and immature. Best picture? No. One of the best pictures, taken as a whole? Certainly. Would I have voted for it if I was a voting member of the Academy? No. I'd have voted for D9 or Up.
32
Ness - I guess my answer about "why the hate" is the fact that the writing was terrible (really, truly awful -- e.g., the massive "as you know, Bob" info dump at the beginning), the characters were flat stereotypes, the story was full of cliches and "why the fuck would they do that?"s. That kind of shit drives people batty (at least, the kind of people that read Slog). And it usually drive me batty too, but I begrudgingly put it aside to enjoy the visuals -- I think it helped to have been forewarned about the terribleness of everything else.
33
@22 Again with the box office take as a measure of a film's quality. By that measure, Transformers 2 is also a great movie (spoiler alert: it's not).

As for the CGI, yeah, it looked great. So what? They spent half a billion dollars making it, so for it to not push technical limits would have been unforgivable. Without a decent story, the film is basically just a very expensive tech demo. I didn't hate it, but I doubt I'll ever watch it again.

As happy as I am that Avatar didn't win, I'm still in total awe that Best Picture went to The Hurt Locker, and I don't mean that in a good way.
34
Didn't see this anywhere else on Slog, so the link below explains the embarrassing Kanye West moment where a harpie commandeered the podium and pretty much ruined the Oscar win of "Music by Prudence". But since this film is Zimbabwe-based, perhaps Charles will elucidate.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/08…
35
@26: I think the idea is that popularity is a factor. Nobody cares about the crappy films that go straight to DVD and are never heard of again, etc., because their bargain-bin status shows pretty obviously more derision isn't needed. They fell to the appropriate fate.

Avatar gets more flak because they got more praise *than it deserved.* Emphasis there.

And of course, also the fact that it's a little alarming that special effects will carry a film so far ... not just "ok, it was boring but good to look at", not just "it's flawed", but *Best Picture* nomination. It's not good news for people whose craft is about characters and stories, the things that actually will carry a film for decades after the effects in Avatar starts looking dated.

Sorry if I go on a lot, but having your boyfriend as a CG animator is so awkward when you express these kinds of thoughts.
36
I guess I should add that I don't think the Best Picture winner needs to be a "deep intellectual experience" kind of movie about the Holocaust or war or race or whatever. But it does need to be a good story with good characters.
37
@31: I don't get why it has to be "mindless entertainment" OR "deep intellectual experience." Entertainment doesn't have to be terrible or stupid.

This comes from somebody that does like Star Wars, Zorro, The Mummy, Indiana Jones, etc. etc. -- "not" arty films that aren't eye-rollingly idiotic either. Are we relegating something awesome and fun like Die Hard to, I dunno, something like White Chicks now? (I haven't even seen that, what a weird example.)

I mean, what is UP or District 9 to you? Do you genuinely believe that either of those films doesn't feel thought-out or crafted? UP is a light story, but it definitely still has brains behind it.
38
Look, Sandra Bullock won because she did what you have to do to win an Oscar for Best Actress:

1. women have a sell by date, thus younger women won't win unless hell freezes over.

2. a woman must radically change her appearance and style so as to truly transform herself - either by losing 50 lbs to play a Nazi, making herself look ugly, or playing Southern when she isn't - in general you have to either play a role where you are - or were - despicable - or had such acts done to you - or both.

Those are the rules. Nobody said they were fair. No, they're not the same for men, but they don't have sell by dates, which if you watched the Awards on a 50 inch or bigger 1080p HDTV set, you'd get.
39
I predicted that Avatar wouldn't win simply because the majority of the Academy voters are actors and actors know where the important stuff comes from, namely, the writing. There have been many films with new technology and that's great because the medium evolves. But you don't give a film Best Picture because of special effects.

I think the subtlety of The Hurt Locker is lost on a lot of people (luckily not the Academy).

I didn't see Crazy Heart so I don't know if Jeff Bridges deserved it for that but he has done great work over the last 35+ years. Sandra Bullock is a decent actress but did not deserve this Oscar either for Blind Side (which I did see and Meryl and Gabby worked rings around her) or for her past work. I think it was one of those "you really like me" awards.
40
I still haven't seen Avatar and I've never wanted to slap my forehead harder than I did after the brief "best picture" montage it got.

And people who won saying things like "this Oscar sees you" and "we knew we were working with a genius"? Really? Who says that?

Avatar didn't win because James Cameron is a fuckhead to end them all.
41
I haven't seen the movie that Sandra Bullock won her Oscar for, and I'm willing to be that everyone who's ranting about it here has not either.
42
Now I want to watch it again. I don't remember the writing being that awful, but I was probably distracted by all the pretty colours.
Still liked it though.
43
BTW, @ 40, are you going to answer my question to you or not?
44
Meanwhile, James Cameron is still rolling around in the millions of dollars he made off of Avatar ....
45
James Cameron movies are always entertaining but they all suffer from serious script problems (well, maybe not Aliens but that wasn't an original Cameron idea).

I love Sandra Bullock but I hate her movies. Hopefully, the Oscar win means she can get some juicier roles.
46
Anyone else think that Fantastic Mr. Fox deserved "Best Score" over Up? Or was that just me?
47
Well, obviously somebody liked it...
49
never in a million years did I expect to like Avatar... I held off on seeing it for a couple months and even then only went out of "pop-cultural obligation." I am admittedly a bit ashamed to admit I am one of the people who has suffered from PAD (post-Avatar depression) but it is what it is.

I am one of the most jaded, cynical, cantankerous SOB's around. I make it a point to pick things apart and point out what irritates me about them -- even things I love and enjoy. I guess I can't find the words to adequately express how stunning it is I fell for Avatar as hard as I did. All I can say is I was taken on an incredible ride and loved almost every minute of it...

Whatever this says about me, I couldn't care less... I'm a bit of an "intellectual elitist" myself and, frankly for once in my life, think people with "intellectual" complaints should just shut the fuck up and get lost in a dreamworld for once in their overly-analytical, drearily logical lives...
50
@29 -- Thanks for the out! Funny. If you really, really want more of my thoughts on these two movies, here you go:

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives…
51
like =/= good. And that's okay.
52
48:
We don't reward the "best" for being the best, but we give trophies to those who have a good story. There have been two excellent examples so far this year.

Then why did "Titanic" win? Story? Narrative? Character development? Riiiight. That's why Cameron didn't win last night, the Academy had already recognized his visual effects impact once....
53
"I'm so glad Avatar didn't win."

I'm sure Mark Driscoll seconds that.
@2 why the hate?
Besides the knee-jerk anti-populism of the hipster crowd, there's perhaps a subconscious sentiment shared with these reviewers:

Hot Air: “Avatar” reportedly super mega ultra left-wing
Given the framework of the plot and the obvious allegorical intent — military invades planet to secure valuable commodity in the soil — what other way could this flick have conceivably tilted?

Debbie Schlussel: Don’t Believe the Hype: “Avatar” Stinks (Long, Boring, Unoriginal, Uber-Left)
It’s essentially a remake of “Dances With Wolves” and every other movie where we evil Americans terrorize the indigenous natives, kill them, take their land, and are just all around imperialistically wicked and inhumane. Oh, and we’re destroying the environment, clearing precious giant trees and natural landscapes and killing rare animals and their habitats, in order to invade and harvest valuable substances under the ground. Sound familiar? Yup, just like a million diatribes from Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, and every other far-left outlet about how we invaded Iraq for oil. Yes, “Avatar” is cinema for the hate America crowd.

Newsbusters: Is ‘Avatar’ A Multi-Million Dollar Ad For Global Warming?
With the imminent release of the science fiction blockbuster “Avatar,” some have characterized it as a multi-million dollar public service announcment for global warming.

Telegraph UK: Is Avatar an attack on the Iraq War?
The US public is frankly tired of the anti-war rhetoric of the Left, which has sounded increasingly hollow since the success of the surge in Iraq. James Cameron should leave the political commentary out as he promotes his new film, and acknowledge that the Iraqi people are immensely better off now than they were living under the boot of Saddam Hussein.

RedState: “Avatar” Is a Steaming Pile of Sith
In case you don’t get the analogy, we (the humans) are the Bad Guys who are going to attack the “Tower” that the Noble Savages hold dear. In other words, humans are attacking the environment with technology, and it’s analogous to 9/11. Americanism is terrorism, in other words. [...] No one should be surprised that Hollywood liberals hate America and Western Civilization.
54
Science fiction doesn't do all that well at the Oscars. Remember Annie Hall beat Star Wars and Gandhi beat ET.
55
Hey, that's great, good for The Hurt Locker. Now will you guys quit your elitist pissing and moaning about Avatar, please? Seriously, you're no better than the fucktards in high school that threaten to beat you up because you think Metallica sucks. Just because you approach it from a more intellectual position doesn't mean you're not being pushy dickheads.
56
I didn't think Hurt Locker did that good of a job of character development. Do you remember any character other than the main one? I vaguely recollect a constantly pissed-off black soldier, but I never learned anything else about him. He might as well have been a Humvee - a prop to help explain a scene.

Even the main character - what other facet aside from his bomb-diffusing addiction did we see? I feel like I know nothing else about him. I found the whole thing pretty cartoon-like.
57
Not to begrudge Mo'Nique her moment in the sun, but Gabourey Sidibe's performance was so affecting in its naturalism, so adept at bringing the audience into her skin and into her headspace, it practically existed in a different film than Mo'Nique's big, flashy "acting with a capital A."

Frankly, I thought Mariah Carey subtly acted rings around Mo'Nique too. (There, I said it!)
58
@57 - true. But she had an easier role.