Monthly Archives: October 2014

Thoughts On Black Swan

Rewatching Black Swan this week, I was surprised all over again that somehow it managed to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  Not surprised in the sense I couldn’t believe anybody would think it the Best Picture of the year – after all, when recapping 2010, I thought it the Best Film of 2010.  Rather, I was surprised because the film is such a daring and outré choice for such a historically conservative body to even think about giving Best Picture to.

After all, Black Swan is a film so unrelentingly dark, and the drama so built on fragile psychology and overt sexuality – hetero, homo and incestual – that it seems like the kind of film the Academy would normally run away from like their hair was on fire.  Don’t forget, this is the same body of milquetoasts that routinely gives Stephen Daldry nominations for films that are generally regarded as being lousy and chose the insipid Crash over the game-changing Brokeback Mountain. Continue reading

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Two New Books

Cover Smaller Cover1Hey, everybody, glad you’re here, reading my blog, which I don’t mind giving you for free.  Thusly, you should not feel bad taking it for free.  BUT, if you do feel like a freeloader, or just want to buy something, or throw some sweet, sweet cash my way — I know cash is sweet, I taste all mine — you can click on the links at right and follow that rabbit hole.


You can buy one of the two books linked to the pictures in this post.   Neither one will break the bank and, since they have entirely different points of view, and exist in different genres, one of the other may work for you.

Just remember, nobody ever died buying a book.

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The Best Picture Project — Out of Africa (1985)

Directed by Sydney Pollack

Screenplay by Kurt Luedtke, from the books Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Story Teller by Judith Thurman, and Silence Will Speak by Errol Trzebinski

Starring Meryl Streep, Robert Redford and Klaus Maria Brandauer

Out of Africa is a typical 80’s movie.  Not in the way that Top Gun is an 80’s movie, with all the bombast, jingoism, reductionist story-lines and bonanza box office.  No, it’s an 80’s movie in the way Ordinary People and Ghandi and The Killing Fields are all 80’s moves: it’s earnest, epic, about something sort-of important, and, above-all, fairly dull.

In other words, it’s the movie the Academy typically fell in love with in the 80’s and dumped a butt-load of Oscars on.

Even as I say that, with all the weariness and disdain I can muster V just imagine me rolling my eyes when I write typically – it really comes as no surprise bloated, boring epics were the name of the game in the 80’s, as far as the Academy was concerned.  Giving awards to this kind of film was just what they did.  And honestly, just like this isn’t the first time I’ve said it, it probably won’t be the last I say it, either.  No, what will be said here first – at least by me – is the reason I think the 80’s went the way they did.

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