Who says the newspaper isn’t a bargain? Mitch Albom, turning up his nose at the Oscars, shares the secret of his success:
Now, I’m not a Pollyanna. I enjoy films. I collect them. And I understand that not every story ends with music swirling and heroes walking off into a sunset.
But lately there’s this sense that unless a movie is dark, violent and hopeless, it can’t be “real.” It can’t be “art.” It can’t truly “matter.” I put these words in quotes because it feels as if critics and awards committees define things that way.
So instead of praise for, say, “The Bucket List,” a film that everyone I know has loved and which has a positive message about getting old and sick, most critics attacked it as too “sentimental.” Meanwhile, we get an Oscar nomination for “The Savages,” a movie about getting old and sick that is so depressing, you want to jump off a building.
If only the crusty old dad in “The Savages” had taken the time to share some of the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime, it might have worked for Mitch. But take heed, America — if you want to be as rich as Mitch, and he is vastly rich, be more like him. Go see “The Bucket List” and don’t be afraid to smile through your tears at the end. Because that’s entertainment.
(Just a writerly aside here: Does any newspaper column these days fail to contain a qualifier? Now, I’m not a Pollyanna. I’ve learned to look for it. I’m not saying Obama is an empty suit, but… I see it because I’ve done it myself, and I know exactly how it happens. First, you state a strong opinion. Then, the imaginary editor reading over your shoulder says, “Christ, I’m going to be talking to pissed-off readers all morning tomorrow. I have better things to do.” And so you pull your punch. If Mitch Albom thinks “The Bucket List” is a better movie than “No Country for Old Men,” the spineless tool ought not to be afraid to say so. On the other hand, that might be an unpopular opinion, and the cycle continues.)
I didn’t really watch the Oscars last night, but I had it on in the next room while I farmed health-care news. My overwhelming impression: Tilda Swinton has never actually been out in the sunlight, has she? I know Great Britain is famously cloudy, but she’s as pale as one of those fish that only lives in the Marianas Trench. I’m a child of the pre-melanoma ’70s, but I never see skin that pale and think “luminous English rose.” Only “fish-belly.”
But I can’t hate her, either. She’s a great actress. I saw “Michael Clayton” Saturday night, and she did such a fine impersonation of a former boss of mine — ruthlessly ambitious, high-strung, brittle, murderous — that I nearly had to squinch my eyes when she came onscreen. I loved her white pantyhose, too. Dressing for success is the same in Omaha as in Fort Wayne, apparently.
So how about some Oscar bloggage? David Mills followed the action with underachieving crazy-lady — and Detroiter! — Debbie Schlussel: “Self-hating, pro-Palestinian Jew Daniel Day-Lewis who stars in the very depressing, awful anti-Christian, anti-business, ‘There Will Be Blood,’ wins Best Actor. Predictable.” What a fun date! P.S. Thanks to the miracle of Safari’s command-F feature, I know the word “annoying” appeared eight times in her live-blog entry.
I thought Nicole Kidman was pregnant. Aren’t pregnant ladies supposed to lay off the Botox? She’s not.
I guess John Travolta overslept, and mixed up his hair product with a can of spray paint.
Sean what’s-his-name Combs charitably described as “entertainer.” That’s one way to put it.
To the gym! Because I’m paying for it whether I show up or not!