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Clint's the auteur
February 27, 2005 9:14 PM   Subscribe

Eastwood wins. Clint Eastwood got the double dipper tonight with Best Pic and Director. Not that Scorsese isn't badly due one, but the fact is, The Aviator is not one of Marty's top five films, while Million Dollar Babies is top five among Eastwood's pics. It's that simple. My thought: I think this film and Mystic River proves, once and for all and without argument, that Eastwood is among the top American directors ever, up there with Scorsese, Sidney Lumet, Woody Allen, and the others. (He's actually better than Allen). I think all of the critics like Pauline Kael who dissed Clint without thinking over the years have to eat it and eat it hard.
posted by Leege (115 comments total)

 
...This is an odd opinionated post.
posted by cyphill at 9:19 PM on February 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


Mystic River: meh. Unforgiven: yes!

MetaFilter: Eat it and eat it hard.
posted by Justinian at 9:20 PM on February 27, 2005


<insert snarky comment about spoilers here>
posted by John Shaft at 9:21 PM on February 27, 2005


PS: It's "Million Dollar Baby".
posted by John Shaft at 9:22 PM on February 27, 2005


Leege, you may want to duck.
posted by shoepal at 9:25 PM on February 27, 2005


Oh my god! This settles it then, because the best, most artful movies always win the Oscar, you know!

BTW, there are better ways to post about this.
posted by Dukebloo at 9:33 PM on February 27, 2005


Shoepal, appreciate the heads-up.
posted by Leege at 9:34 PM on February 27, 2005


I never could grok how a picture (eg. "Aviator") could scoop up all the significant secondary awards -- yet loose the big one. Nor how you ever have a situation where someone wins best director -- yet their movie doesn't win (granted, that wasn't the case this year).
posted by RavinDave at 9:37 PM on February 27, 2005


Well done Leege. If everyone else could post a FPP with their cinematic ideas, I'd much appreciate it! Truly, best of the web!!11
posted by odinsdream at 9:40 PM on February 27, 2005


Ah yes, the spurious logic that winning Academy Awards "proves" that directors (actors, cinematographers, etc.) are the "best" at their business. By your logic, Leege, these are also "among the top American directors ever":

Frank Borzage (2 nominations, 2 wins)
Lewis Milestone (3 nominations, 2 wins)
Leo McCarey (3 nominations, 2 wins)
Robert Wise (3 nominations, 2 wins)
Fred Zinnemann (7 nominations, 2 wins)

Not to take anything away from these men, all of whom were fine directors, but Leege, how many of these directors have you ever heard of? Well you should have heard of them all - because, by your own logic, their multiple Oscar wins should prove "once and for all and without argument" that they are among the top directors ever - better even than Lumet (no wins) and Allen (1 win).

Winning awards proves that directors are popular among the people who vote for them. Whether that corresponds to "best" is another matter.
posted by googly at 9:42 PM on February 27, 2005


Pauline Kael is dead and can't eat it, but Zombie Pauline Kael will consider it.
posted by raysmj at 9:43 PM on February 27, 2005


RavinDave, I guess the best example of a Best Director award winner and a non-Best Picture winner would be Spieldberg in 1998 for Saving Private Ryan, but losing to Shakespeare in Love.

Saving Private Ryan's screenplay was loaded with cliches, especially Giovanni's speech about his mother and then having him die minutes later, or the soldier from the streets of Brooklyn. That said, Spielberg did spectacular work with the written material he had and directed some harrowing footage. On the other hand, you have Shakespeare in Love with what many consider to be a brilliant script and a director that basically didn't allow it to be screwed up.

Thus, Best Director Spielberg and Best Picture Shakespeare. Don't bother trying to get me to explain how Driving Miss Daisy won though.
posted by Arch Stanton at 9:44 PM on February 27, 2005


One welcome change in policy at the awards came when they mentioned that the Scientific and Technical Award winners were "in the audience tonight".

I never got that invite, being "previously recorded" (and edited out), although Sharon Stone did say I was cute.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:47 PM on February 27, 2005


Was anyone else totally bugged by Blanchette's over the top characterization of Hepburn in Aviator? For me, it was like she was doing one of those "One Woman Shows" without any though of other actors sharing the space. . .

I am glad that Million Dollar Baby got the Oscar. . .I saw all of them and that was by far my choice.
posted by Danf at 9:48 PM on February 27, 2005


Leege wins! Leege won worst post of the day with an overly-opinionated, unsubstantiated FPP. Not that halekon isn't badly due one, but the fact is...

they have blogs for this sort of thing.

It's that simple.
posted by santiagogo at 9:48 PM on February 27, 2005


Mystic River was amazing...until Linney's little speech at the end. I felt that it was stilted, unconvincing and just plain goofy. That kind of tainted my opinion of Eastwood's work.

But give me an independent director any day. But, we are talking the Oscar's, so I'm in the wrong post.
posted by mortimer at 9:50 PM on February 27, 2005


First, thanks for the nice dose of humility from all of you. I'll remember it next time I try for a thread. Don't worry, however - I'm sure Clint got lousier reviews in his time.

Some thoughts:

John Shaft: My bad.

RavinDave: There's definitely a lot of politics involved and emotional considerations involving awards that go outside the nominated performances (career performances, whether "it's someone's turn." I've long said the screenwriting awards are merely the honorable mention awards for Best Picture.

Googly: Probably the best points made so far. I'd respond: Yes, I totally agree that the awards are not the be-all and end-all way to determine directorial worthiness. I was just trying to suggest that the wins were another piece of circumstantial evidence, let's say, to prove my point that Eastwood is one of the best American directors out there.
Just a thought on the directors you listed; you don't think Robert Wise was a good director?

...their multiple Oscar wins should prove "once and for all and without argument" that they are among the top directors ever - better even than Lumet (no wins) and Allen (1 win).
I'd personally rate Eastwood equal to Lumet just examining his work. And I'll argue he's better than Allen the same way.

Raysmj: Yes, I know Pauline's passed on to the great beyond - she was one of my favorite movie critics, although I thought she was dead wrong about Eastwood. I wasn't aware of any living critic who had as much of a vendetta against him like Pauline did. As fierce as she was about film, I'd have no doubt she'd care if Clint actually did a good film whether she was dead or not.
posted by Leege at 10:02 PM on February 27, 2005


I'm personally disgusted that Eastwood won again, having just won last year. Look, we get it- he's a craggy old man, whose silent demeanor must mean he's "really deep". Oh, lookie, he made a picture about a "controversial" subject- oooh! God forbid Eastwood direct himself in a movie where he's a retarded guy overcoming insurmountable odds...

Look, I saw Mystic River, and it was atrociously bad. Had I not rented it, I would have gone to the ticket counter and demanded my money back. God, it was lousy- and the Linney schtick at the end was just over the top- what was the fucking point of that dreck? Such unadulterated trash! And how fucking Kate Winslet, goddess among us, doesn't win fer yet another year.... inconceivable!

I guess this year's Oscars prove, once and for all and without argument, that Clint Eastwood has secret blackmail pictures of most of the Academy fucking young goats.
posted by hincandenza at 10:17 PM on February 27, 2005


The Oscars seldom have anything to do with quality. They're not voting for the best film, they're voting for class president. Of course, I still watch them.

I think this thread is going to turn into a train wreck soon. It will surely be more entertaining than this year's telecast.

On preview: Hincandenza, Eastwood didn't win last year. Have you no sense of history?
posted by goatdog at 10:20 PM on February 27, 2005


Some slightly related commentary from MSNBC...
This moral simplicity, by the way, doesn’t extend to the powerful final third of the film, currently under attack by right-wing blabbermouths Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved. ...And, just as an aside, what kind of insane nation have we become when the right-wing attacks Clint Eastwood? Who are they going after next — John Wayne?

Not that Clint was ever a hard and fast right-wing ideologue, but it's a good point. Eventually, fundamentalists always purge everyone who doesn't "think right" until they're the only ones left in the room.

hincandenza: So, so wrong. Were you one of those guys who Rock interviewed on tape during the show saying they thought The Chronicles of Riddick was the best film of the year?
posted by Leege at 10:30 PM on February 27, 2005


By fundamentalists I mean fundamentalists of every political/religious spectrum.
posted by Leege at 10:34 PM on February 27, 2005


Googly: Thought on your previous comment.

via MSNBC' Erik Lundegaard... And if he [Scorsese] doesn’t win? He’ll join five-time non-winners Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Altman. Being in such rarefied company is probably more of an honor than the Oscar; but I’d rather he got the Oscar.

Does this fact mean Marty's as good as Alfred and Bobby A.? Something else to think about.
posted by Leege at 10:38 PM on February 27, 2005


Anyone see Chris Rock's opening?
posted by drezdn at 10:42 PM on February 27, 2005


Hmph, I quite enjoyed The Chronicles of Riddick, the director's cut admittedly. Blanchett did seem over the top in The Aviator, I just presumed Hepburn must have been like that? I reasonably enjoyed Million Dollar Baby but it seemed like an odd mixture of Rocky and Almodóvar's Talk To Her...
posted by Onanist at 10:49 PM on February 27, 2005


posted by Leege at . . .

Hmm . . . 5 of 24 comments so far.

Is it just me, or does Leege appear to be congratulating himself for making such an inciteful and thought-provoking post? I have to applaud him - few would have the courage to so fully embody the self-congratulatory spirit of the Academy Awards.

PS I'm looking forward to hearing what Leege thinks about this comment about Leege. Leege!
posted by gompa at 10:54 PM on February 27, 2005


Sorry- was thinking he'd won, my bad. It doesn't excuse the fact that Mystic River was lauded, and nominated, and yet stunk up the high heavens!
posted by hincandenza at 10:55 PM on February 27, 2005


hincandenza: So, so wrong. Were you one of those guys who Rock interviewed on tape during the show saying they thought The Chronicles of Riddick was the best film of the year?

hincandenza, so, so right. Mystic River was a horrible, pointless annoyance. Look, I dug "Unforgiven", and I'll always stop what I'm doing to watch "A Fistful of Dollars" or "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" or the Dirty Harry flicks, or hell, even "In the Line of Fire". But come on, just about everything he's touched since, say, 1995 has been just abominable. "Space Cowboys"? "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"? Sheeeeesh.
posted by 40 Watt at 10:55 PM on February 27, 2005


Did I actually mean "insightful," or was it a textbook Freudian slip? Leege: thoughts?
posted by gompa at 10:57 PM on February 27, 2005


The best films of last year were Sideways and Shawn of the Dead, and anyone who says otherwise is a merlot-swilling zombie.
posted by w0mbat at 11:10 PM on February 27, 2005


Anyone know where I can download the show? Like bit torrent?

/not in the U.S.
posted by zardoz at 11:44 PM on February 27, 2005


The best films of last year were Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Shawn of the Dead, and anyone who says otherwise clearly had their memories erased.
posted by thecaddy at 11:48 PM on February 27, 2005


Jeeze Louise, Leege!
posted by squirrel at 11:52 PM on February 27, 2005


Excuse me sir? But i do believe you have mistaken metafilter for your own blog?
posted by Dreamghost at 11:57 PM on February 27, 2005


Leege: NO ONE is as good as Robert Altman.
posted by exceptinsects at 11:58 PM on February 27, 2005


Leege said:

Just a thought on the directors you listed; you don't think Robert Wise was a good director?

Well, even though I'm not Googly, I'd like to point out that he already said:

"Not to take anything away from these men, all of whom were fine directors..."

I mean, was your question meant to intentionally ignore what he'd said?

Aside from that, I think that the idea that your post "was just trying to suggest that the wins were another piece of circumstantial evidence, let's say, to prove my point(One made on your own blog, I wonder?) that Eastwood is one of the best American directors out there" is more than a little suspect. What a lot of people in this thread are saying, which I think you should very seriously consider before replying, is that nothing that happened tonight at that ceremony reinforces anything about those movies or the people involved except for their reception among a certain number of their peers.

One way I like to say it is that what marks a movie or director as great exists solely on the celluloid, not the awards ceremony. Bear in mind that Raging Bull (imo FAR better than anything eastwood has ever done, as is Goodfellas, as is Do The Right Thing, ad infinitum) never won the Best Director or Best Picture Oscar. You know what won Best Director that year? Robert Redford, for Ordinary People. I know that when I think of the best movies of the 20th century, the top of the list is DEFINITELY Ordinary People. I appreciate that you made the distinction (in the thread, if not the post) between definitive and circumstantial evidence. But the circumstances DON'T actually support your point, in this case.
posted by shmegegge at 12:11 AM on February 28, 2005


These are the kind of posts that really bring MF down. If this has to be explained then you don't really get it. Now we're all forced to work extra hard to salvage a lousy post. Good luck, everyone!
posted by quadog at 12:11 AM on February 28, 2005


exceptinsects said:

Leege: NO ONE is as good as Robert Altman.

Have you seen Cookie's Fortune?

I mean, don't get me wrong, the man's a great director, but the best? ever? anywhere?

But hey, he did make Dr. T and the Women, so I guess he must be the best ev-...

scratch that.
posted by shmegegge at 12:14 AM on February 28, 2005


zardoz: please see this thread

Anyone see Chris Rock's opening?
posted by drezdn at 10:42 PM PST on February 27 [!]


I saw it. He did a stand-up routine that was okay but didn't really stick in my mind. He riffed on how if directors want "insert name of major actor here", they should wait instead of going with "insert name of 2nd rate actor here."
posted by Jim Jones at 12:14 AM on February 28, 2005


Oscar.com + Wikipedia + "here's what I think" + "I didn't know Kael died a few years ago" = ?
posted by matteo at 12:14 AM on February 28, 2005


zardoz you dont want one huge torrent of the show, you probably want all the best moments in nicely chopped up servings

million dollar baby shouldnt have won. clint acted like clint, morgan acted like morgan, everyone was either perfect or totally flawed and the suprise ending was nothing different than anything anyone who has watched television the last 30 years hasnt seen thousands of times.

the only difference was that in this film it was as if someone turned the dimmer setting of the lights way way low.

ray wuz robbed
posted by tsarfan at 12:19 AM on February 28, 2005


Anyone know a site with a good (printable) list of past Oscar winners? The Academy's site blows and most the other ones I've seen only mention the very top categories or present the material in a piecemeal manner.
posted by RavinDave at 12:24 AM on February 28, 2005


god, I really wish someone else had just put something like "official oscar thread here. post all thoughts inside." and left it at that.

Are we all reduced to having clint eastwood be the only topic discussed about the event, now?

would it be too late to make a separate, official discussion thread?
posted by shmegegge at 12:30 AM on February 28, 2005


Jim Jones

Downloading the Academy Awards isn't the same as downloading a movie or an album. Sorry, it just isn't. Or is ABC planning to sell a DVD of the show? If that's the case then I guess I'm stealing money from them. Otherwise...you're being preachy.
posted by zardoz at 12:33 AM on February 28, 2005


Did you ever write CLINT in caps and then kinda squint at it the way CLINT might squint at it?
posted by pracowity at 12:34 AM on February 28, 2005


pracowity is my hero.
posted by shmegegge at 12:46 AM on February 28, 2005


I can't find a link for this, but fair play to Halle Berry for turning up to callect her Golden Raspberry.
"I'd like to thank Warner Brothers for putting me in this pile of Crap. I'd like to thank my agent for not reading the script before giving me this role." (I'm paraphrasing a paraphraser here, so chinese whisper news reporting rules apply.)
posted by seanyboy at 12:51 AM on February 28, 2005


That link here.
posted by seanyboy at 12:54 AM on February 28, 2005


I am very glad that Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine) won for best original screenplay. I really enjoyed Sideways and really would have liked to have seen Paul Giamatti at least get nominated, even if he could never have beaten the juggernaut that is Jamie Foxx. Anyone who has seen Ray: is it a really great movie all-around or does Jamie Foxx's performance carry the movie? Just curious because the way people are acting about him makes me think he must completely blow minds in this movie.

But, you know, to stay on topic, I didn't see Million Dollar Baby and don't really care about Clint Eastwood.
posted by pikachulolita at 1:01 AM on February 28, 2005


seanyboy: That thread here.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 1:10 AM on February 28, 2005


Eastwood is the epitome of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking. Low-risk filmmaking. I liken him to Ron Howard (though he's admittedly better), their "styles" are similar--bland, unimaginiative, dumbed down--yet competent and solidly made. I didn't see MDB, just recently saw Mystic River and thought it was mediocre, though the ending was just bizarre. I thought it would be a statement on violence and regret, but the end turned into some sort of mafioso story prequel.

Anyway, Eastwood is revered because he's the true Hollywood dream: stuntman turned actor turned writer turned director.
posted by zardoz at 1:13 AM on February 28, 2005


Anyone who has seen Ray: is it a really great movie all-around or does Jamie Foxx's performance carry the movie?

It's a pretty standard-issue biopic with a couple of fancy (and occasionally clumsy) auteurish flourishes, and it kind of overplays and oversimplifies Ray Charles' heroin addiction, making it the central fact of his life and the main thrust of the narrative even as it refuses even to look full in the face (let alone actually examine) the inconvenient fact that Ray's heroin use coincided precisely with his most fertile period as a musician and composer. But nonetheless it's worth watching for Foxx's performance. He completely disappears into the character - it feels almost more like sleight of hand than acting.

Also - in further aid of the much-needed realignment of this thread away from its original topic toward any other related issue anyone can think of - I think they should just make Scorsese a permanent nominee in the Best Director category, since a significant portion of the (meagre) electricity generated by this year's ceremony was waiting to see who they'd pick instead of him.

And furthermore: you think Rock decided on his own to throw in the "support the troops" line, or was that the necessary trade off for the extended Gap-invades-Banana-Republic critique of the Bush Administration?
posted by gompa at 1:19 AM on February 28, 2005


One more thing about Ray: Curtis "Booger" Armstrong is also a highlight. Weirdly compelling in his role of Atlantic Records bigwig Ahmet Ertegun.
posted by gompa at 1:30 AM on February 28, 2005


[Jamie Foxx] completely disappears into the character - it feels almost more like sleight of hand than acting.

I agree. The strangest thing is that a few weeks ago I tuned into "The Blues Brothers" on tv, and for a few seconds I thought I was looking at Jamie Foxx.
posted by bobo123 at 1:40 AM on February 28, 2005


Gompa said:

I think they should just make Scorsese a permanent nominee in the Best Director category, since a significant portion of the (meagre) electricity generated by this year's ceremony was waiting to see who they'd pick instead of him.

laughed. hard.

he also said:

you think Rock decided on his own to throw in the "support the troops" line, or was that the necessary trade off for the extended Gap-invades-Banana-Republic critique of the Bush Administration?

You know, my gf and I were talking about Rock's performance in general. I strongly suspect that the academy went to Rock and said something akin to "You know what this show needs? Street Cred. We don't really capture that urban demographic. We need someone 'funky' and 'fresh' to really make our show 'da bomb,' or whatever you people call it. We'd considered getting Dave Chappelle, but we're afraid he'll say the N word. You want to do it? Hey, and could you maybe give someone 'props' or whatever you do? That'd really help. Thanks."

So, to sum up: No, I don't think anything he said tonight was specifically his idea.
posted by shmegegge at 1:43 AM on February 28, 2005


Did someone say my name?
posted by eatitlive at 2:07 AM on February 28, 2005


For Leege,

Hysterical and frantic, Wendy runs into the bar carrying a baseball bat and retrieves Jack from his reverie. She screams that Danny was attacked and strangled by a crazy woman:

"Jack, there's someone else in the hotel with us. There's a crazy woman in one of the rooms. She tried to strangle Danny."

Lloyd - the fraternizing ghost and the well-stocked bar, and any other evidence of the supernatural immediately disappear, yet Jack still seems drunk. Jack turns to her, and responds to her gradual descent into craziness with a role reversal:

Jack: Are you out of your fuckin' mind?
posted by gsb at 2:40 AM on February 28, 2005


Spoilers on the front page are very bad etiquette. I'm watching the Oscars on the telly and we're about half way through in New Zealand. Cheers leege. Cheers.
posted by meech at 3:11 AM on February 28, 2005


I liken him to Ron Howard (though he's admittedly better), their "styles" are similar--bland, unimaginiative, dumbed down--yet competent and solidly made. I didn't see MDB

So we can all ignore your opinion, given that you're talking out of your ass.
posted by raysmj at 3:19 AM on February 28, 2005


pracowity, it used to be that comic books, which pretty much always spell things in all caps, would avoid using the word "flick" for the same reason. Curiously, in the early 60s, Marvel introduced Clint "Hawkeye" Barton, who started off as a villain then turned hero and has been around ever since. I've always wondered if someone thought they were getting away with something in regards to him....
[Back to your regularly scheduled thread, already in progress.]
posted by kimota at 4:09 AM on February 28, 2005


Mystic River was atrocious. Some people clearly like Eastwood as a director though. I feel personally assaulted by this FPP.
posted by fire&wings at 4:36 AM on February 28, 2005


The best Oscar snark was here, live blogging courtesy of TWOP.

I've never much liked Clint but his Amazing Botox Forehead last night provided a few much needed moments of hilarity in a show that was probably the most boring ever.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:17 AM on February 28, 2005


"Mystic River" was full of cliches and stock characters, a Lady Macbeth whose evil side comes out almost nowhere, and scenes no more inventive than anything off "Law & Order." But it worked anyway, mostly. It's almost like a convention-filled blues song (Are there any other kind by now?) that seems to work despite itself, that's greater than the sum of its parts.

I thought that was even more true of "Million Dollar Baby." However, at least the first half is surprisingly energetic. There are some irredeemably stupid cliches that show up now and then (the welfare mom, particularly), but there's something interesting in the way Clint works with the cliches and conventions, something impossibly earnest about it (and occasionally intentionally twisted a bit, as when the wrongdoing of one-dimensionally amoral opponent in the championship bout is cast aside). Whether this is all intentional, or just his automatic way, is the big question with me.
posted by raysmj at 5:17 AM on February 28, 2005


Well....

Thinking about The Aviator, was I the only person who was a bit underwhelmed with it? It was a film with no obvious flaws but no real outstanding strengths either.

I think that Spike Lee had a few choice but true comments last year. First, what is the world coming to when a civil war that is even less progressive than Gone With the Wind in talking about slavery up for a best Oscar? And how many people are still talking about Driving Miss Dasy 15 years later vs. Do the Right Thing?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:41 AM on February 28, 2005


It was lousy (except for the Gap-Banana Republic thing)--and where was Nicholson? (has he ever missed one?)
posted by amberglow at 5:44 AM on February 28, 2005


oh, and poor poor misguided Renee Zellweger--what was she thinking?
posted by amberglow at 5:45 AM on February 28, 2005


raysmj
So we can all ignore your opinion, given that you're talking out of your ass.


I wasn't talking necessarily about the style of MDB, but Eastwood's style in general. Which I've seen enough of his films to get a feel for. So there. I win.
posted by zardoz at 5:47 AM on February 28, 2005


I barely laughed at the Gap-Banana Republic thing, and I was up for a Bush joke. Chris Rock was an awful host.

And no, zardoz, you don't win when commenting on Eastwood, after admitting that you haven't seen the film that's being discussed or was honored. See it, then you have the right. It's not "Mystic River 2," no matter what you ultimately think of the film.

I would've rather have seen "Eternal Sunshine" win, but thought MDB was a fine piece of work all the same, if a tad too dark. But most of the movies nominated this year were dark. The year 2004 wasn't a happy one, though, so maybe that fit.
posted by raysmj at 5:55 AM on February 28, 2005


raysmj

Where in my post did I discuss the merits or demerits of MDB? Where? I wasn't addressing that movie, I was addressing Eastwood's style. I haven't see all of his other previous films, though I've seen enough to get a general impression of his style.

I still win.
posted by zardoz at 6:00 AM on February 28, 2005


And the pans flow in

Do the Oscar folks have rocks in their heads?

Rock, Well . . . Didn't

If they give Oscars for boring, this year's broadcast wins big
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:50 AM on February 28, 2005


*recalls such classic Eastwood acting roles in films such as "Any which way you Can" and "Every which way but Loose" and giggles* Only in America. :) The Oscars never cease to amaze me.
posted by cass at 6:53 AM on February 28, 2005


Yeah, man-- 'Space Cowboys' rocked! Clint's best film yet! And stay tuned for the sequel 'Space Cowboys II,' where Clint gets cuddly with a giant Space Ape! Featuring Danny DeVito as the voice of The Spaceship! Did I mention his best friend is a Talking Pie?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:55 AM on February 28, 2005


Those who think that Clint Eastwood's directing style is habitually conventional and politically safe should take a look at his film Bird, which was primarily panned back in 1988 for reasons that now seem superficial. Some critics were annoyed at his use of flashbacks nested within other flashbacks; some (including Spike Lee, if I remember correctly) were bothered by the idea of a white director making an epic biopic about a black musician; some decried his decision to focus on Charlie Parker's interracial marriage, ignoring his two previous wives; some jazz purists were offended by Eastwood's decision to strip the backing instruments from original Parker recordings and record new performances in their place. The only complaint I have against the movie is that the cinematography's problematic, with not enough lighting in some scenes. But it's still my favorite Eastwood movie, more so than Unforgiven, Mystic River, and MDB (the last two of which I think are noticeably flawed).
posted by Prospero at 7:03 AM on February 28, 2005


"Million Dollar Baby" is certainly not politically safe, as has been ably demonstrated in recent weeks. (Not that you were saying that, Prospero. Just pointing that out.)
posted by raysmj at 7:07 AM on February 28, 2005


Thanks to whoever posted the links to nice chunks of the show! I didn't have a chance to watch it over here (mostly because it started at 1AM local time) and appreciate the chance to catch-up a bit so I won't be behind in everything that my American friends talk about for the next week.

I probably would have made more of an effort to see the show if Eternal Sunshine had received more nominations. Million Dollar Baby hasn't made its way over here yet, so I am behind in understanding the hype.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:21 AM on February 28, 2005


Leege: NO ONE is as good as Robert Altman.

I will never, ever, forgive him for gestating the stinking turd that was Ready to Wear.
posted by jalexei at 7:22 AM on February 28, 2005


From that USA Today article linked by CunningLinguist:
Apparently the academy thought using hipster favorite Chris Rock as host and giving short shrift to the lower-profile awards would re-energize the Oscar show, turning it from a dowdy matron into a hot, younger-demo hit.

Yes, because the edgiest, "hipster favorite" comedians always get to host. Not the established, cornerstone ones who have been appearing live and in films for over a decade. Anyone who thinks Chris Rock was an "edgy" host probably also thinks that Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon have unspeakable political views, even after we've known these people as personalities for years.

The Oscars , even more so than the Grammys, is an opportunity for the names everyone's been hearing for at least a decade (or four) to get together and give a few token awards to some earnest youth while holding on to the majority themselves. Not that they don't deserve it, but they're polishing their game, not coming up with new tricks.
posted by mikeh at 7:59 AM on February 28, 2005


Eternal Sunshine was my favorite movie of the year, too, and I'm glad Kaufman won but I wish I hadn't fallen asleep and missed his acceptance speech. I thought Rock's monologue was not all that funny and in many cases (Nicole Kidman joke, some of his divisions b/t the "stars" from the "non stars") unnecessarily mean spirited. The humor from the Carson clips made me realize how much I missed him as a host. ("For those of you just tuning in, we're here at day 164 of the Academy Awards telecast . . .")

I can't understand why Scorcese hasn't won yet. The acceptance speech of his film editor, saying the award was all his, was very gracious.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:45 AM on February 28, 2005


I enjoyed drunken Dustin Hoffman presenting the award for Best Picture with Babs. He was a wreck. Great TV.
posted by Dr. Boom at 8:51 AM on February 28, 2005


I laughed several times at Rock's bits, especially when he interviewed people at the Magic Johnson Theater. How can someone saying "my favorite movie was Chronicles of Riddick, and I don't have a second favorite" come off as anything but hilarious?

I don't really care if his schtick met with critical acclaim or not. As Mike Myers so eloquently summed up his love for film: "I like the part where Shrek farts in the mud"

As far as the nominees, I have to say this may have been the weakest field of movies for an Academy Awards, well maybe ever.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:55 AM on February 28, 2005


I'll say this: Alice Cooper's Billon Dollar Babies was his finest album. Even better than Raise Your Fist and Yell.
posted by stevil at 9:08 AM on February 28, 2005


Apparently Dr. Boom is not the only one who thinks Dustin Hoffman was drunk.

http://www.juiceenewsdaily.com/0205/entertainment/hoffman_drunk.html
posted by theknacker at 9:14 AM on February 28, 2005


...but how about those commercials?

just sayin.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:49 AM on February 28, 2005


I need some clarification: Are there really MetaFilter users who take the Academy Awards seriously?

As noted earlier, the Academy Awards in no sense represent an objective examination of the best films of the year. They are, indeed, almost as transparently superficial as the Grammys or the Emmys. They exist as a tool of the corporations who own the major Los Angeles-based movie production companies, and they are literally that -- a tool, a means of extracting more money from consumers. They are a particularly egregious example of the manufactured perception of quality, a perception whose purpose is to sell more stuff to the consumer. If you can convince both the multiplex-going public and the faux-art house-going crowd that, "Tonight's TV broadcast is different! It's about soberly awarding quality films!", you can perhaps entice a few more reluctant consumers to watch TV that night, and then you can advertise to them, for three or four hours. (How long was last night's ceremony? I'm seriously asking, because I don't know.)

Martin Scorsese shouldn't care one whit whether he ever wins an Academy Award. Despite the fact that a large percentage of those who are drawn to the entertainment industry naturally have a penchant for masturbatory self-congratulation, these awards are largely superfluous to Scorsese, despite what he might say in the press. His reputation among filmmakers and discerning film enthusiasts has been solidified for over twenty years.

The Academy Awards are as useless to that same group of filmmakers and discerning film enthusiasts as those bizarre AFI Top 100 Whatever lists, and they serve the same purpose: to further advertise the largely uninteresting products of the major entertainment corporations.
posted by gramschmidt at 9:57 AM on February 28, 2005


We discovered the best way to watch the Oscars last night: TiVo. Fast forwarding commercials, Beyonces, etc., we started watching 90 minutes after the show started and caught up with it just as it ended.

Personally, the only awards I could get excited about were the writing ones and I was happy SIDEWAYS and ETERNAL SUNSHINE won.

Oh, and Rock? I hope he rented that tux. He's not going to need it again.
posted by papercake at 10:02 AM on February 28, 2005


We did the TiVo thing too. That is the ONLY way to endure the silliness. No commercials, no Robin Williams, no P Diddy, (long pauses during Penelope Cruz and Selma Hayek)...
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:09 AM on February 28, 2005


Hooray for gramschmidt.
posted by loquax at 10:16 AM on February 28, 2005


Oh, and Rock? I hope he rented that tux. He's not going to need it again.

He got it free from Puffy, so no big deal. Very weird to have him as a presenter, by the way--what's his connection? And where were the older stars? Nicholson, Streep, Pacino, Newman...even Adrian Brody wasn't there, and he just won recently. And what's stuck up Sean Penn's ass? why knock Rock for the Jude Law thing?

My best dressed: either Drew Barrymore (mushmouth herself) or Scarlett Johannsen.
Worst: Natalie Portman (not enough body for the dress) and Charlize (haven't we seen that dress already?) and Halle Berry (weird cockeyed bodice thing going on)

Slate has a good insider view up at their site.

And Imelda Staunton not winning is a crime.
posted by amberglow at 10:24 AM on February 28, 2005


I finally figured out why Sean Penn wanted to defend Jude Law. They're currently filming a movie together. And Tim Robbins gave Rock the finger after Rock ripped him for talking about politics. Of course, half of Rock's opening monologue was about Bush.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:25 AM on February 28, 2005


on a tangential topic, would anyone else like to pitch in and buy Sean Penn a sense of humor?

(oh, and hooray for Replay TV, TiVo's bastard cousin. will never watch another awards show without it)
posted by killy willy at 10:31 AM on February 28, 2005


I wonder how many complaints the FCC got because Rock said "Sit your asses down."
posted by SisterHavana at 10:40 AM on February 28, 2005


SisterHavana, probably a bunch. But judging by this, 'ass' is a rather common word on television.

I'm guessing more people complained to the FCC that Passion of the Christ didn't win any awards.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:46 AM on February 28, 2005


Clint Eastwood was born on the same day as me. Yep.
posted by Mach5 at 10:48 AM on February 28, 2005


Well, I think this was a "Clint is very popular and lets vote for him award". It was nice of him to bring his mother with him, and seeing his mom doing so well means Clint will undoubtedly live to be involved with at least one more western or war movie.
Haven't seen "Baby" and probably will not see it for a while. Didn't see "Mystic River" either.
I do like seeing bad guys getting killed and blown up. Or blown up and killed. And the lifetime achievement award for blowing up and killing bad guys in film goes to ... Clint Eastwood!
posted by buzzman at 11:00 AM on February 28, 2005


I don't go to the movies & absolutely detest award shows, so I really don't give a sh... Uh, it's a matter of complete indifference to me.... There.
posted by Pressed Rat at 11:15 AM on February 28, 2005


And Imelda Staunton not winning is a crime.

I thought Don Cheadle not winning was a crime (and yes, I saw both Ray and Hotel Rwanda)
posted by darsh at 11:18 AM on February 28, 2005


Pressed Rat opined: I don't go to the movies & absolutely detest award shows, so I really don't give a sh... Uh, it's a matter of complete indifference to me.... There.

Hmm. Bold and intriguing Mefi posting strategy, there, Mr. Rat. Mind if I borrow it? 'Cause there's at least a half-dozen FPPs today alone that I'm not particularly interested in, and I'm sure the people discussing those topics would find it engrossing and insightful to learn of my disinterest. Maybe it will even start a trend, and soon the annoying habit Mefites have of discussing issues raised by the links will finally come to an end and leave us with thread after thread of people shrugging indifferently at each other. Which would be absolutely scintillating.
posted by gompa at 11:32 AM on February 28, 2005


For everyone who questioned the validity/sanity of this post, I say...

Mea culpa.

I have to admit that the way this whole post went up was not thought out in the best possible way. In the heat of the moment, I as a lifelong film fan and Clint admirer decided to put my opinion out to everyone.

The truth is I don't think Eastwood needs defending from anyone. If he could survive the Depression, bad parts during the first part of his career and bad reviews, he doesn't need me sticking up for him. His career (far from over, btw), will speak for itself; even though I still think he's a great filmmaker.

Who knows, maybe I'm getting a little stir-crazy after being housebound for two years looking after my kids in an Iowa town too far from anywhere. Maybe I'm craving reaching out and getting in touch with people too much. Maybe I'm just generally crazy and feel too much out of the loop.

Anyway, I think I'm going to retire from posting threads for a while, at least. Got plenty of stuff to take care of - watch the kids, download some videos of them, actually write something that might get published. I'll be back sometime.

I would like to thank everyone who had something to say. Looking back on everything posted so far, I'm surprised at the number of people who really made some good, thought-out discussion points (better than me).

As for those who thought I was cluttering up the Internet, well... you're probably right. But hell, there's plenty of stupid stuff out there, more than any of us can look at. In this vast life, some words about movies on some site don't really mean that much. Don't worry - like Tupac said, I ain't mad at ya.

BTW, any of you all had a thread/post you'd like to take back? Did you cop to it or just hide out for a while? Just curious.
posted by Leege at 11:46 AM on February 28, 2005


Thanks for letting us know that, pressed rat. We were all wondering.

On preview: what gompa said. I was typing as fast as I could!
posted by goatdog at 11:47 AM on February 28, 2005


Oh, and Rock? I hope he rented that tux. He's not going to need it again.

Or maybe he will, as I'm hearing this year's edition was the highest rated since 2000. Of course, that could've been a lot of people just showing up in case Chris said "f*ck" over and over.
posted by jalexei at 12:00 PM on February 28, 2005


there are some young Clint in a posing strap pics around online--i'll hunt them up for you, Leege, after work
; >

The movie theater bit was clever (and telling), but it wasn't really funny, and the fact that they showed basically no clips at all and ran long means that it was a present from the producer, like Crystal's opening numbers were.
posted by amberglow at 12:22 PM on February 28, 2005


Leege, in response your two thoughts:

1) What shmegegge said (thank you, shmeg). I think that the number of awards that an artist has reflects that artist's popularity more than his/her merit. What I meant to imply was that, irrespective of their merit, directors such as Wise, Milestone, and Zinneman were all popular enough at one time to win multiple Oscars, but I see very few lists of top directors with these names on them. Doesn't mean they weren't good, or even great directors, just that they haven't had the staying power to be classified as "among the top American directors ever." This is how I think Eastwood will eventually be regarded: as a fine, talented director, who made a few films that were immensely popular and resonant when they were released, but whose ouevre doesn't stand the test of time and is not one of the all-time greats.

Does this fact mean Marty's as good as Alfred and Bobby A.? Something else to think about.

2) I assume this was a joke. :) But it reinforces what I said above: winning awards and being regarded as an all-time great are loosely correlated, if at all. Many of the best directors (artists, writers, etc.) produced work that was not especially popular during their own lifetime, and thus did not receive many accolades.

BTW, I wasn't hiding out. Just sleeping and then working.
posted by googly at 12:46 PM on February 28, 2005


Oops, misunderstood your "hiding out" comment, Leege. Please disregard my last line.
posted by googly at 12:48 PM on February 28, 2005


As for those who thought I was cluttering up the Internet, well... you're probably right.

For the record, Leege, I don't think anyone was suggesting that you were needlessly cluttering up the internet so much as violating the ground rules of this particular corner of it. And when you use a phrase like "eat it and eat it hard" in your FPP, folks around here are going to assume you're fairly combative and counterpunch with similar vigour. (That, at least, was my assumption.)

Now, if you'd wanted to start a discussion of this year's Oscars - which as the 100+ posts to this thread attest, Mefites were eager to engage in - you could've simply done something like: "Eastwood wins, Scorsese loses again." (With links to Oscar round-up articles.) Then you could've found a link to one of Pauline Kael's voluminous dissings of Mr. Eastwood (with text along the lines of "New Yorker critic Pauline Kael never thought he'd amount to much") and maybe also linked to Frank Rich's recent examination of Eastwood's odd new position as the reactionary right's liberal-director whipping boy, and then posed the question of whether his Oscar-night victory vindicated him. And then you could've got out of the way and let the discussion flow - it's generally considered bad form to over-moderate a thread and respond to every other post.

As well, it's a bit unfair of you to lay a guilt trip on us at the end of the thread, as if we took digs at your post knowing full well you were "craving reaching out" or that you'd taken the time to do this instead of be with your kids or whatever you were insinuating. (I truly don't mean to be dismissive of your personal life, Leege, I'm just saying that hauling it out as a counter to the criticisms of your FPP reads as sanctimonious, which I don't think was your intention.)

Finally, if you are indeed craving connection with a lively and engaging community, I'd say you're in the right place - I know I certainly feel more a part of a community here than I do anywhere else on the interweb - and i'd suggest you cop to making an ill-conceived post (as you sort of already have, only maybe without the self-pity next time), reread the posting guidelines, and then jump back into the fray.

People have bounced back from much worse, as those familiar with the recent, infamous "drama queen" incident can attest.
posted by gompa at 1:06 PM on February 28, 2005


np, googly. was worred about speaking for you. glad to see it didn't offend.
posted by shmegegge at 1:17 PM on February 28, 2005


Leege: Frankly, with all the bad attention the post has garnered you, I'd try not to be too discouraged. People had legitimate conerns about the post (myself included) but call-outs, from what I can see, are mostly a matter of self-policing the community. They're not really a reflection of anyone's opinion of you or anything.

But I'm guessing at your motivation.

Either way, at least you did facilitate civil discussion and didn't resort to defensive attacks against your detractors, which speaks volumes for you character.
posted by shmegegge at 1:23 PM on February 28, 2005


Leege, I didn't like your post. But, I will be sure to give you warm fuzzies and lots of respect if your next post is better. Don't put yourself into some self-imposed non-posty exile. To misquote Godard, "the best way to criticize a post is to make another post". Now go get 'em!
posted by Arch Stanton at 1:34 PM on February 28, 2005


Gompa: Not trying to guilt anyone, just explaining where I was at. Trust me, I'm a big boy, I've had a few worse rips on my writing than this. And in case I didn't make it clear enough, yes I did admit to a bad thread (at least on my part).

Thanks for the advice, anyway.
posted by Leege at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2005


Gompa: The advice was much appreciated. I'll be back.
posted by Leege at 1:46 PM on February 28, 2005


Cate Blanchett wins for portraying Hepburn. Jamie Foxx wins for being Ray Charles. That's not acting. That's imitating. If imitating got you an Oscar then Eddie Murphy would be a multiple winner - he can do Stevie Wonder, Little Richard, Mr. Rogers and more. Shameful. The Academy Awards have officially become the Grammys. Totally irrelevant.
posted by dah_sab at 3:29 PM on February 28, 2005


very good point, dah_sab. it's as if smaller people were pretending to be bigger people in a way.
posted by amberglow at 4:15 PM on February 28, 2005


Yes! to whoever noted that Cate Blanchett's performance as Katherine Hepburn was completely, completely over the top. I thought it was painfully embarrassing and I'm surprised I haven't heard this opinion expressed elsewhere. It was almost indistinguishable from Martin Short's same impression.

I was impressed by her resemblance to KH, though. Did the red hair and the nice period clothes win her the Oscar? Or was KH actually portrayed accurately -- i.e. was she insane? Maybe she really did fling her arms around and gesticulate wildly and deliver her lines yelling like a madwoman even when her line was "Breakfast is ready." Yikes.
posted by margarita at 7:38 PM on February 28, 2005


Metafilter: Where Zombie Pauline Kael eats it hard.
posted by jonp72 at 8:40 PM on February 28, 2005


Would Spencer Tracy have had a decades-long affair with a crazy woman?
posted by amberglow at 9:53 PM on February 28, 2005


I don't know, amberglow. Would he? Wasn't he an alcoholic?
posted by margarita at 5:51 AM on March 1, 2005


*sighs* It's just not the same without Billy Crystal as the host. He's the only one who can seem to do it right, IMHO. (I don't like him in anything else.)
posted by cass at 7:47 AM on March 2, 2005


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