Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random Thoughts

Okay. So I'm a bit late in addressing the MTV Movie Awards , which were held almost two weeks ago. I had initially planned on ignoring them altogether, like I always do, but a recent comment from an acquaintance prompted me to address something tangentially related to the MTV Awards.

I was on campus this week and ran into someone who I haven't seen since I was a lowly freshman. We got to chatting, about school/life, etc. When he found out I had graduated from the film/video program, the conversation veered towards movies. He asked me if I had watched the MTV Awards, which I replied "no." Then he said something about it being better than the Oscars, because "at least [he] had actually heard of most of the movies." That really made me think...

Are the movies nominated for Oscars always better than those nominated for MTV Movie Awards? Well, the short answer is yes. Anyone who knows me knows that I find the Academy Awards fascinating. I love the spectacle. I love when they get it right and I love arguing when they get it wrong (which is more often than not). I think about my favorite movies of the past decade or so:

No Country for Old Men
2006: Children of Men
2005: Brokeback Mountain
2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2003: In America
2002: Far from Heaven
2001: The Royal Tenenbaums
2000: Requiem for a Dream
1999: Fight Club
1998: American History X
1997: Boogie Nights

Of those titles, only two were actually nominated for best picture, and only one took home the title. My point? Both the Academy Awards and the MTV Movie Awards often show a lack of imagination/discernment when it comes to their choices. But yes, I would rather take the Academy Awards' selections over the MTV Awards' selections any day of the week, and I don't think that makes me a snob. Maybe it does. I don't care. Transformers won best movie this year. It boggles my mind that more people voted for that film than any of the other films released in 2007. This is unforgivable for so many reasons, not the least of which was that No Country for Old Men was not even nominated! Seriously. Maybe my social circle is a little skewed because I've been hanging out with film students for the past four years, but you'd be hard pressed to show me a more zeitgeist-y movie from 2007 than No Country. It certainly wasn't unpopular, and certainly not among young people. And if the MTV crowd is going for action, that's fine. But Transformers? A movie made by the egomaniacal Michael Bay that, while definitely a step up from previous efforts, was still a muddled, overlong mess? Why not go for something like The Bourne Ultimatum or even 28 Weeks Later both of which were action-packed, intelligent and well-made? It's choices like these that remind me of that student in one of my classes who told me that Ryan Gosling was her favorite actor. Yet when I asked if she had seen Half Nelson or The Believer or (to a lesser extent) Lars and the Real Girl, she replied "no." That irks me. And people like her exist by the thousands. And they aren't doing good actors like Ryan Gosling any favors by only seeing him when he makes commercial, yet pedestrian efforts like The Notebook. Do you see where I'm going with this? Maybe you don't...

What's the point of this rant? It's that you're not going to be told what movies are good or bad by awards shows. You have to search to find the great titles, which is becoming increasingly easy with information being at our fingertips. Don't take what's force fed to you. Seek out quality in every piece of culture that you consume. Be it the coverage you choose to follow about the presidential election, the books you read, the music you listen to, the television you watch (though I recently discovered that Desperate Housewives is actually a pretty smart show underneath all the mainstream hype...who knew?) and the movies you see. Seek out quality!

1 comment:

Emma said...

I would take the Oscars too, but - MTV awarded Far from Heaven? I had no idea. That's pretty cool.

And MTV *did* award BBM, which is total ♥