The Morning Read (2.23.09) Jerry Lewis, John August, Ebert on the Oscars
I don't know how much we're going to find out there this morning. I'm not going to spend hours trolling for content, either, because I don't have hours to spare. I've got at least 14 articles for the blog to write this week, and one pitch that I have to have perfected by Wednesday afternoon.
Daunting workload, and that doesn't account for the screenings I have to attend or schedule or the DVDs I have to write, or the near-constant rotation of illness back and forth between my oldest son and my youngest son and my wife and myself and my mother-in-law and my youngest son and my oldest son and my wife and me and my oldest son and my wife and my youngest son and me and oh good god already don't any of us have functioning immune systems?!
So I'll surf a bit and whatever we get, we get. After all, everybody wants to talk about the Oscars today and, frankly, I don't. I didn't watch one minute of the show last night. I was working the whole time they were on. I got over the Oscars when I was about ten years old, right around the time I figured out that what I love wasn't going to be winning the awards, and that I don't think Oscars mean anything to the larger conversation about film as an art form. They're too political, too of the moment, too much about the mood right now among a very small group of people, The Academy.
I know people love the Oscars, and to them, I say enjoy it. It's just not my thing. I'll go to an Oscar party if I like the group of people who will be there, but I'm going for the people and the experience, not because I actually care who does or doesn't win or who wears what or says what. It just bores me, and especially when we spend months and months and months talking about them. If I were the producers of last night's show, though, I'd take some solace in Roger Ebert declaring them "the best Oscar show I ever saw."
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I'll offer one observation on the Oscars and then move on. Last night, Anthony Dod Mantle won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. This may well be the first time that's happened for a film that was shot on video as much as film, and I'm curious if anyone even noticed. The video revolution is no longer coming, folks... it's over. Video won.
Brian Bendis sent out a link on Twitter to a site where you can watch a whole bunch of episodes of "The Larry Sanders Show." That's just plain awesome. I resent Garry Shandling a little bit for not putting out the entire series on DVD, but I guess he's got his reasons. In the meantime, I'll take any opportunity I can get to watch one of the best shows every produced.
Or if you don't feel like watching something while we read this morning, then maybe you'd rather listen to the streaming feed of U2's entire new album, "No Line On The Horizon". I'm still debating if I want my first time listening to it to be anywhere besides my car, a long-standing tradition with this band and their albums. I'm sure I'll try to resist and crumble, but for now, I'm going to attempt to behave myself.
I saw some grumbling on Twitter and on various liveblogging locations (I avoided watching the awards by occasionally flipping from liveblog to liveblog, including here on HitFix where Greg did a heroic job) about Jerry Lewis getting his award. First of all, it was for humanitarian efforts, and second of all, even if it was a lifetime achievement award, he'd deserve it. You're free to like or dislike Jerry Lewis... I don't care. But you can't diminish the impact he had on the industry in terms of other comics and the echoes of his persona that are still felt or in terms of technical on-set accomplishments or just in terms of the way film comedy could be shot. I just caught up with this interview between Jerry Lewis and Peter Bogdanovich. Uh... that's just plain cool.
And if you wonder who would follow the Oscars on Twitter but not watch the show, John August has a good piece this morning about his own experience with the Oscars and Twitter and dislocation.
This piece by Cory Doctrow over at BoingBoing is generating a fair amount of debate, and I think it raises some good points about parenting in the console age. Toshi would love to play games, but our policy is pretty simple and consistent: no video games at all. Ever. None. Not with him in the room, and certainly not with him playing. He is aware that there's a video game machine in the house. He even knows which cases that he spots next to the PS3 are for games, and which are for movies. He would love to play "LittleBigPlanet" with me, but my wife and I decided that unless we both agree, he can't have access to certain media, and video games is not even under discussion at this point with her. She feels that strongly about it. I like the compromise proposed by these parents. I wouldn't do that, I don't think, but I like the idea of making your kid think about the real-world implications of the fantasy game he's participating in.
If you'd like a longer article also by Cory Doctrow, you might want to check out this piece about "How the Internet will devour, transform, or destroy your favorite medium." Big ideas at play in the piece, and a lot to debate after you read it.
And now I'll wrap it up (told you this wouldn't be a long edition of this column) with a look at probably the best pure cinema analysis this morning, an article about one particular sequence in "Rashomon." Absolutely great.
I've got my DVD column coming up just after lunch, and a few more things I'll be posting by the end of the day. Stay tuned. It's going to be a fun week here at Motion/Captured.
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