I prefer to rent films rather than go to the movie theater. After-all, the best place for a picky person like me to watch a movie is in my living room on my flat screen television. I make myself a nice cup of lemon tea, slice myself a piece of cake, get comfortable on the sofa with my dogs, and rip open a Netflix. More often than not, if my choice is a recent Oscar contender, when the movie is over, I am thankful I didn’t pay big bucks to see it.
Sometimes, I wonder. What is Hollywood thinking, and exactly what is the criteria for an Oscar worthy film? Movies like The Descendants and Bridesmaids, both critic favorites, hardly made a dent with me. Despite being praised as a commentary on a modern family’s interaction, The Descendants does not reflect any contemporary family I know (thankfully), and Bridesmaids, though marketed as a comical glimpse at the relationship between a bride and her attendants, is nothing but trash wrapped in a pretty bow.
Before George Clooney fans scold me via email, let me just say George Clooney’s recent best actor nomination for The Descendants was well deserved. As always, Clooney’s performance was excellent; he personifies the Hollywood leading man. That being said, this movie was nothing more than a soap opera that left me thinking “so what”? Critics hailed the movie as one of 2011’s best, a cinematic joy, a well crafted social commentary. If The Descendants is a commentary on today’s society, allow me to stick my head back in the sand. I definitely did not agree with the critics on this one.
However, I agreed with New York Times critic Manohla Dargis when she wrote Bridesmaids, another Oscar nominee for Best Picture, “goes where no typical chick flick does: the gutter.” The film, billed as one of the biggest comedies of 2011, garnered two Oscar nominations. Please tell me why (on second thought, please don’t). When I see chick flicks, especially films about weddings, I don’t want to see women relieving themselves in the sink or behaving like drunken sailors.
If films like The Descendants and Bridesmaids reflect Hollywood’s creativity, and Hollywood’s creativity is an extension of current social trends, we’re in trouble. Clooney’s film was about a dysfunctional family; Bridesmaids was about dysfunctional women. Hollywood has produced movies about dysfunctional individuals before (On Golden Pond and Monster in Law, for example) without crawling through the gutter. It seems as though Hollywood continuously lowers the bar instead of raises it. If Hollywood (and society) continues along this downward path, I may skip Oscar nominated films altogether.
I am leary of films that break the box office or stir excessive “Oscar buzz”. In my opinion, many of these productions fall flat in the average viewers’ eyes and are undeserving of their accolades. Call me cheap, but I don’t like throwing good money at trash. Thus, I don’t miss going to the movie theater, and will remain at home where I can peruse Netflix recommendations for non-Oscar contenders, or watch HGTV, Hallmark and The History Channel.
I am well aware movies like The Descendants and Bridesmaids have many fans. To that I say, to each his own.