Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Intensely watching movies: the reveal

So my plans came to fruition and we managed to see enough of the major Oscar contenders to feel in the know when the awards were presented. That gave me the opportunity to feel cheated when No Country for Old Men won the Best Picture prize.

I love the Coen brothers, but I will never see how you can vote for a soul-less hit man movie to be Best Picture. The only way that works for me is if people base their judgement on some kind of technical standards, because you can't argue that NCforOM is not very well made. But I guess I am looking for more than technical perfection. I want a great film to teach me something about humanity, reveal some wisdom about life, inspire me - it's got to be something more than a thrill ride. NCforOM is in the same category as Silence of the Lambs - great flick, scary, entertaining, but in the end, empty of meaning.

Even the critics have trouble finding any deeper meaning, for the most part.

"...the movie demonstrates how pitiful ordinary human feelings are in the face of implacable injustice." - Roger Ebert

"...unsettling notions about the bloody, absurd intransigence of fate and the noble futility of human efforts to master it." - A.O Scott

"...a literate meditation...on America's bloodlust for the easy fix....Recent movies about Iraq have pushed hard to show the growing dehumanization infecting our world. No Country doesn't have to preach or wave a flag — it carries in its bones the virus of what we've become." -Peter Travers
Oooh, the virus of what we've become. Strong stuff. I think the most meaningful interpretation of this film is that the persistent evil in the film is Islamic fundamentalism represented by the hit man - relentless, mirthless, vengeful, operating under a set of principles no one else can understand. But that interpretation is too "flag waving" for Rolling Stone, I guess, or any of the other major critics.

Since the Oscars, I've been kind of obsessed with understanding why people thought this movie was this year's best - especially in light of how much more there is to get from There Will Be Blood. There's a film that gives you some insight into the human condition. That's what I'm looking for. That and a good milkshake. For that matter, if you had a milkshake I would take my long straw from across the room and I...drink...your...MILKSHAKE! I DRINK IT UP!

See the Daniel Day Lewis movie and that will all make sense. Sort of.

1 comment:

DodgerScott said...

Why you got to bag on Silence of Lambs, man? Silence of the Lambs taught me that it's OK to drink a Chianti with fava beans. Haven't seen No County, but I loved the trailer. I still want to see Atonement, especially after listening to James McAvoy at the SB Film Fest. I have a much greater appreciation for actors and their craft. Bloggers, though, are still like birthday party clowns.