Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar, Schmoscar

Hey AMPAS - Young Frankenstein is NOT a Horror movie. Its a COMEDY. Granted (as my friend Jonathan pointed out), it wouldn't exist if it weren't for the genre, but still. Don't get me wrong, it's a brilliant movie - certainly one of Brooks' best and on my personal Top 10, but it is NOT a horror movie. And neither is Frank Oz's film of the musical Little Shop of Horrors. That's what we call a Musical Comedy. NOT a Horror movie. No wonder real film buffs have come to hate the Oscars and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They don't even know how to distinguish a Horror movie from a Comedy. Granted, there are Horror movies that are also Comedies: Dead Alive; Evil Dead II; Basket Case; Drag Me to Hell... But they are Horror movies first, and Comedies second. And was it me, or was Taylor Lautner actually prettier than Kristen Stuart (of course, it doesn't take much to be prettier than Kristen Stuart - ouch!)?

With a scheduled hour left in the broadcast (and Lord only knows how long it will actually drag on), I gave up on the Oscars, made my lunch for tomorrow and came in to write. Steve Martin stopped being truly funny at least 10 years ago and Alec Baldwin looks like he'd rather be anywhere else but the Kodak Theatre, tonight. I must admit to laughing when Steve slapped Alec in the Paranormal Activity parody, which seemed much more like another John Hughes tribute to Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

And was it me, or did Molly Ringwald look absolutely terrified during the tribute to the late John Hughes? And is it the dress, or does Miley Cyrus always have bad posture?

Having Neil Patrick Harris open the show was a cheap attempt to capitalize on his current popularity, though his signing on for The Smurfs Movie may very well damage that popularity beyond repair (unless of course, The Smurfs Movie is a brilliant parody, which I hope and pray it is).

Mo'Nique won. Surprise! (Though I must admit her emotional speech was one of the night's best.) And it looks like the overrated, over-blown Avatar may only win technical awards, which warms my heart to know end.

Of course, the inclusions of two Comedies in tonight's "Tribute to Horror Movies" wasn't what I found most offensive about it. Rather it was the exclusion of even one frame from what is the single scariest movie ever movie ever made: Robert Wise's amazingly effective 1963 film, The Haunting. Wise was smart enough to know that what we conjure in our own imaginations is far more frightening than anything a special effects guy can come up with. If you've never seen this absolutely terrifying film (featuring a truly amazing performance by Julie Harris), you're missing out. I dare you to watch it alone with all the lights off.

Minimal special effects, loads of atmosphere and skilled performances from a cast at the top of their game make the original version of The Haunting a truly scary picture. And if you're smart, you'll avoid Jan DeBont's ridiculous 1999 remake at all costs.

Oh wait - I have updates... Jeff Bridges just won Best Actor? Sandra Bullock won Best Actress? No! Really? Shocking! Excuse for me for not caring about things everyone already knew were going to happen. Give me streakers, bon mots and political activism over predictable and boring every time.

More, anon.

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