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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Timing is Everything

You are about to bear witness to a very rare phenomenon.

A pre-shower blog entry. I am a meticulous morning shower-er but I have yet to partake in my watery rebirthing ritual yet today. Perhaps, I cannot bear to tear myself away from the yummy breakfast sandwich I am currently enjoying (yes, 12:55 PM is breakfast time in college). Perhaps my morning rituals have been disturbed by a painful 10:00 AM fire drill. Or perhaps I am just so excited about today's blog entry that I can tolerate my own stink for another 30 minutes or so.

I would like to think it is the ultimate of that list. 

I have now seen 3 of the 5 Best Picture Nominees or the Oscars. I had a ball at Slumdog Millionaire and I loathed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (seriously, just watch Big Fish or Forrest Gump again). I solemnly swear to never watch The Reader because it stole The Dark Knight's rightful nomination and I will be watching Milk tonight at the Athena. Astute readers will notice that I left one film off of that list, and that is the one film that I would like to speak about right now: Frost/Nixon.

I loved Frost/Nixon.

I thought it was wildly entertaining, thought-provoking and quietly epic. As a matter of fact, I think Frost/Nixon is my favorite film I have seen this year that isn't named The Dark Knight or Wall-E. I could ramble on and on about why I love Frost/Nixon but that isn't the true purpose of this blog entry (readers who would like some insight as to why I love it should read this old post, however). No, the point I am trying to get across is this: I think Frost/Nixon is a wonderful movie and I think it is by far the best of the 3 Best Picture nominees that I have seen so far...but I do not think it should win Best Picture.

I can hear the collective "Whaaaa.......?" all the way over here, so let me take a moment to explain my reasoning. If Frost/Nixon was viewed in a vacuum, it would be the most powerful and excellent of the five nominees. But, unfortunately, we cannot watch movies in vacuums. We watch movies in a certain collective mindset and perspective, influenced by the culture around us and the time that we live in. And while Frost/Nixon is a powerful film, it does not quite have the resonance within the current culture that we occupy that other films have. David Frost is no longer a consequential voice in Western society and Richard Nixon has long been six feet under, both metaphorically and figuratively. This is a new age of American life where Hope is in a constant struggle and Fear and Insecurity and this is an age in which people are beginning to seriously reconsider their priorities in life and their way of viewing the world.

The themes and images of Frost/Nixon are timeless, but that is not always the way that movies should work. I believe that a Best Picture nominee should be a time capsule that we can hold up to future generations and say: "this was us in the year 2008 and this is what we chose to represent how we felt." Frost/Nixon is a superior work of art and think it is the best Best Picture nominee I have seen so far...but it isn't "us" this year. Slumdog Millionaire and its frenetic, exciting blend of Bollywood and Dickens-like orphans fits the bill closer for 2008.

It is a shame because I think Frost/Nixon is viewed completely different in the mid-2000s and is the perfect movie for a different era of politics and American culture. I think if this movie is released anytime between 2003 and 2006, it wins the Best Picture Oscar, no question, and probably goes down as one of the most acclaimed movies of the decade. 

Oh well, I guess it just goes to show that timing is everything.

Enough thought and introspection, I need to go wash my rancid body now.


Woozie said...

Needs more Israeli fighter jets.

A.G.B said...

I think that would improve most movies. During Milk I kept thinking "This is good...but it could use more dead Palestinian refugees."