Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why You Should Still Watch The Oscars (Even If You Hate Them)

The 86th Annual Academy Awards are still weeks away, but bloggers and critics everywhere have taken it upon themselves to make predictions, bash the "undeserving" nominees, defend the select handful of films they enjoyed, and relentlessly attack the Academy for "losing its way". This is nothing new, as the Oscars have, at least through most of my lifetime, been a subject of heated scrutiny that comes from both sides of the spectrum. For purposes of convenience, I'll label one of those sides "film people" and the other side "movie people".

Wes Anderson on the set
of "Moonrise Kingdom"

Film people consist of anyone who watches, writes, produces, directs, studies, and consumes cinema as an art form. They see the cultural importance of making better, more daring stories told in more creative and unexpected ways; and how the writing, cinematography, actors, special effects, etc. lend themselves to the bigger, more beautiful picture. They expect a takeaway.

Christopher Nolan on the set of
"The Dark Knight Rises"

Movie people love movies (think summer blockbusters). They watch to be entertained and to be impressed and view film not so much as an art form, but as a perpetually changing fad that needs to be kept up with in order to stay relevant. As opposed to film people, movie people expect an experience or an escape - but only for the amount of time that the film runs.

These are both gross generalizations, but when it comes down to peoples' criticisms of The Academy Awards, it's important to know that not all criticisms have equal footing. Film people and movie people both watch the awards with different expectations in mind, and because of that their complaints are often very different. So while we hear all of these complaints and suggestions coming from both sides of the spectrum, how are we (and by we, I mean the Academy) supposed to remedy them? It's like having your mom yell at you to clean the house and then twenty minutes later having your dad yell at you for hiding everything you put away while cleaning.

So, keeping that in mind, let's get to the point: What's wrong with the Oscars?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989)

Whenever I first started college, a lot of my friends and fellow film students and I began revisiting films that we had seen as little kids, but had since long forgotten. The list of hazy childhood nostalgia ranged from The Iron Giant, Disney’s The Black Cauldron, and even to such obscure depths as the 1970’s adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (AKA nightmare-fuel). The list goes on and on, but what all of these films had in common was the overall lasting impression of disturbing us enough to eventually push them out of the forefronts of our memories. Until now.

All of a sudden, I started to piece together snapshots of things I thought I remembered about a movie that I was fairly convinced was real. Flying beds. A princess. Dancing toys. A supernatural circus. I became fairly certain that all of these psuedo-memories belonged to one film - but which one?

Luckily I live in the age of the internet, where such vague google searches as “kids’ film with floating beds” are met with immediate answers. My quest did not take long, as I instantly encountered forums where hundreds of other young adults were asking the same sorts of questions. Apparently a great multitude of us were being regularly haunted by memories of the same movie. The culprit? Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland