The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Saturday, February 26, 2005
PRE-OSCAR SHOW: I have a hard time caring about the Oscars, but they're as good an opportunity as any to spout off about last year's movies. If The Perpetual Three-Dot Column were handing out the statuettes, here's the prizes we'd award:

Best Picture: Tarnation
Best Fiction Picture: Bad Education
Best Older Picture That Didn't Get an American Release Until 2004: The Saddest Music in the World
Best Science Fiction Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Best Superhero Movie: The Incredibles
Best Animation: In the Realms of the Unreal
Best Sex Scene: Team America
Good Teen Movies: Mean Girls; Napoleon Dynamite
Really, Really Shitty Teen Movies: The Perfect Score; Saved!
Best Movie I Saw on an Airplane: Barbershop 2
Most Underrated Movie: Seed of Chucky
Best Underrated Movie: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Most Welcome Sequel: Kill Bill Vol. 2
Most Pointless Sequel: Tanner on Tanner
Inspired the Silliest Positive Hyperbole: The Passion of the Christ
Inspired the Silliest Negative Hyperbole: The Passion of the Christ

I trust the difference between "most underrated" and "best underrated" is clear. Seed of Chucky wouldn't make it onto my top ten list, but it didn't deserve the drubbing it got from most of the critics.

Music notes: Ray gets a special Saved By The Soundtrack award. Yes yes, Jamie Foxx was good, but it was the music, not the performances, that made that terrible script bearable. The year's best original song, of course, was Team America's "America, Fuck Yeah!"

A special booby prize goes to Saved! for reminding us that blue-state liberals really can be the condescending bigots of Michael Medved's nightmares. A second booby prize goes to Medved, whose assault on Million Dollar Baby showed more contempt for audiences' intelligence than anything concocted by any actual filmmaker.

And the real Oscars? They're a joke, of course, but they can be fun as long as you remember the rules of the game. The Academy rarely honors genre movies because it thinks they're lowbrow; and it doesn't honor genuinely challenging art films because they usually don't do well at the box office. The prototypical Best Picture winner is a financial success that also bears what Hollywood takes to be the marks of "quality" -- period costumes, liberal politics, handicapped characters, "epic" scope, English accents, the Holocaust, etc. Sometimes, of course, these happen to be genuinely good movies. But they're almost never the best.

I'll be pulling for Sideways, but I don't expect it to win.

posted by Jesse 9:54 PM
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