Sunday, February 25, 2007

AKA Lois Maureen Stapleton is dead

Ugh. Just watched the Oscars. Yawn. Who cares about any of these people at all, having their big love fest on the stage? Weird body shapes and crazy dresses? Ellen not getting any laughs? Listening to another dreadful Randy Newman song that sounds like every other song he’s ever written for every other Pixar film?

During the hours and hours of watching the Academy Awards, I could have done so much else. I suppose it sounds like I’m complaining. I wouldn’t really have suffered through it if I hadn’t derived some pleasure from the experience. And Brad was keen to watch it.

That’s good. It gave me an opportunity to memorize the faces of a few other movie stars who I don’t know. A few years ago, I couldn’t have picked Penelope Cruz out from a lineup of hookers. Still today, I wouldn’t be able to find Sharon Stone in a Swedish restaurant. I know Carol Channing. And Tom Cruise.

Baking while watching the Academy Awards is a good
way to avoid making a
full commitment to the show.

I’m told I don’t like movies.

I know that’s not really true. I find movies to be a great distraction from reality while I’m on a long flight. I peer up at that little screen and catch up on all the films everyone is discussing. In the last month I enjoyed Kevin Costner’s desperation role in the Guardian. I caught some bad movie about kids in prison who play football with the Rock in a shoot-em-up flick called the Gridiron Gang. Was relieved to have an in-flight screening of the Queen, even though the word GOD was bleeped out throughout the film. Must have been edited by religious Jews. And just a week ago, I half-watched the painful-to-watch Man of the Year, starring Mork from Ork.

Now, if that’s not enjoying my movies, then I don’t know what is. I’m pretty sure some others were shown to me, but I don’t remember them.

Brad is responsible for quality control of the Oscar cookies.

Even with all of these 37,000-foot films, I’ve actually entered a theater a number of times in the last month. To see Babel -- because everyone claimed it was good even though it was bad – and Notes on a Scandal, with Judi Dench’s creepy and depressing lesbian character. I enjoyed that one.

Here’s my revelation: it’s not true that I don’t like movies. I’m just not proactive about movies. My favorite films have always been surprises to me -- films I’ve known nothing about, other than a title. To seek out ‘the right movie’ requires reading reviews, which is something I loathe. My definition of an ideal movie experience: I don’t want to know anything about the movie, except whether it will be depressing or whether it will be long. Subtitles are no problem. Neither are actors or subjects.

As you can imagine, this makes me a difficult movie person. I rarely have gotten excited about a movie, called a friend and said, “Hey Mike. Want to go see Nixon?” I wait for that call or suggestion.

But I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to pay attention. I read the copy of OK magazine that was left behind on my flight from Houston to Phoenix a week ago. I learned about dress sizes and who’s dating whom. I’m trying to be much more on top of Hollywood these days. I think it will make me a much better person.

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