Friday, February 5, 2010


I finally saw Avatar.

I mean...words can not express. They simply cannot express how disappointed I am in all of us. Somehow, this movie which took an UN-ETHICAL amount of money to make, has now grossed enough money to rebuild significant portions of Port-Au-Prince. Not to mention that it has bought itself 9 Oscar nominations (for those of you who are still wide eyed innocents: In Hollywood, awards aren't earned...they're bought Re: Sandra Bullock).

This film did not warrant a 500 Million Dollar budget, it did not warrant a Gazillion Dollar box office, and it most certainly does not deserve Best Picture.

I mean, have you seen "An Education"? Oh, I forgot. Of course you haven't. Because good taste is dead. And more than that, it doesn't pay.

This is the reason why Sandra Bullock will (oh, yes, she will) win Best Actress even though Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, and especially Helen Mirren could wipe the floor with Sandy's horrifically forced accent in The Blind Side alone.

Really, I know Sandy's a nice lady, but she should be embarrassed. And those other women should be pissed. Even my mother, who can act as a representative for Middle America, realizes that Sandra Bullock doesn't deserve an Oscar. But she'll get it. Because in a community of people that present and profess to be bleeding heart liberals ("Hope For Haiti, Now!"), Hollywood is the most capitalistic, money driven group of them all.

Out of the women nominated, Sandy's movies made the most money this year. Just like out of the films nominated, Avatar made the most money by far. So you, yes you Middle America, have voted with your dollar and Hollywood will reward you. On March 7, they will give you what you want: Sandy at the podium and Avatar immortalized.

Oh, fear not. They'll throw a few bones to some of the "more artistic" selections. I mean, why do you think they up-ed the film category to 10 nominations? Appearing as if you are an awards system hell bent on rewarding the "best" is crucial.
So, a "foreign" actor will win for Best Supporting, and they may even let Kathryn Bigelow take home a statue for Best Director instead of Cameron (I mean, after all Cameron already has a few, and Katy will only be the 4th woman to EVER be NOMINATED. ZERO women have won. EVER. And you know Oscar is nothing if not egalitarian.)

But the take home message will be this: The Lowest Common Denominator always wins. And that's exactly what Avatar is. Lowest. Common. Denominator.

Look. I get it. It's visually groundbreaking. Couldn't agree more. It's the new bench-mark for visual effects. So, let it sweep the cinematography categories. It can win for best sound, best graphics, blah blah blah.

But the acting BLOWS.
The story BLOWS.
The screenplay BLOWS (planet "Pandora"?! An un-obtainable mineral called "Un-obtain-ium"? Are you fucking kidding me?!)
And to be perfectly honest, James Cameron didn't direct fuck. He hired really good CG and motion-capture people. That's not "directing." That's called "producing." That's what a producer does.

So...let's do the math: Shit story+shit screenplay+shit acting+minimal directing=Best Picture. Guess so.


Not to mention the offensive-ness of the film itself. Really, Cameron? You, who are known for your greed and general douchbagery, are going to make a film about economic and environmental ethics? And use the Native Americans (who we ass-raped) as the trope to communicate your message?

And THEN you have the gall to represent "Indiginous People" in the trite-est, most stereo-typical way possible? "Oh, we are soooo connected to the earth. We are minimalist and primitive, but we love furry animals and plants and we're all one big, connected group hug." Never mind the fact that some Native American tribes had political, social, and scientific infrastructures that are better than ours. Never mind the fact that they created feats of engineering with their bare hands that we, in all our advancements, have yet to duplicate. We should just show them sitting around a tree, moaning, wailing, and chanting like savages...ooops, I mean, Indians, ooops, I mean aliens, oooops I mean "others," ooops I mean (blue) people with loin cloths and war paint and long black braids who click their tounges and ride horses.

I could go on, but I need to stop. My blood pressure is already too high.


So, after talking to a few of you about this; I feel the need to address something. Yes, Avatar is the first film in a loooonnng time is a true "Theater Experience." And, as a lover of film, I really do long for the days when movies were made to be "experienced." The kinds of big production flicks that require a huge auditorium with a collective audience waiting with hushed voices and baited breath, ready to be taken out of themselves and their mundane lives, even for a short time, and escape to a new and exciting world.

And, yes, Avatar meets this need. It really is an experience. It's something akin to Star Wars, or Jurassic Park (although still, not as good in terms of story, directing, etc.)

But there is still one problem. And since I have already said enough, I will let Paul Young over at say it for me. He writes:

Here is where I become torn again. Avatar will most likely look absolutely crap-my-pants fantastic on an IMAX screen in 3D, but on my laptop screen with my Bose headphones, it just doesn’t ruffle my skirt. I feel like I’m watching a big CGI cartoon episode on Nickelodeon. I’ll get some Avatar lovers throwing some hate at me for that last comment, but that’s how I feel. Avatar is being sold as a true “theater experience” type of film, but... how will this hurt its “re-watchability” factor? The way a movie stays alive after its theater run is via Blu-ray, DVD, VHS, Digital Copies and so forth. If I watch a movie that I really enjoy and want to watch it again outside of the theater, then Blu-ray and DVD are my only options. If the only way to truly enjoyAvatar is to watch it on a 30-foot screen with a 10,000 watt sound system, then why would I want to purchase a home version?

Precisely. Outside of 3D, IMAX blah dee doesn't look as good. In fact, if you watch a clip anywhere online, it DOES look cartoony. And since it will be immortalized on DVD, isn't it kind of embarrassing to say that the most expensive, ground-breaking movie of our time looks like low budget Anime? Add to that the lack of substance beneath the graphics and Avatar begins to crumble. And shouldn't a "Best Picture" film be able to withstand all the tests of re-watching, in-home viewing, and time? I rest my case.

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