Kids, you probably don’t know this. You were probably playing Mass Effect II, watching a Tool Academy marathon, or listening to Ke$sha while getting fellatia from Laticia while your mother was watching The 82nd Annual Academy Awards. I’d tell you who won, but you still wouldn’t know. I will say with confidence though that the winning pictures should be robustly congratulated, because they were energetically supported in the voting by significant majorities of the thirty five or so people who actually went to the movies to see them.
That’s right kids, of the movies that won the “big” awards, only The Blind Side and UP –which no doubt won the overwhelming support of academy members to whom the DVD was mailed and who hadn’t gotten around to taking their rescued children to see Coraline–cracked the top twenty four highest grossing movies of the year. No doubt, The Blind Side received extra support from liberal movie goers put off by Avatar‘s reliance on the tired cliche of white people reaching down and using good works to rescue the fortunes of deprived members of other races–really? It was? She did? Oh. Never mind.
Kids, I guess my message here is: Just let us have the Oscars. You gotta understand. We’re old. Most of the people who won awards last night are no longer young enough to join the focus groups that test them. We can’t see well enough to play video games, and we don’t get have sex with teenagers–except for Clooney. Popular culture no longer cares what we think. Nor for that matter should it. Looking back over the list of top grossers, it’s actually sort of pathetic to see how hard Hollywood tried to motivate us to rumble ourselves into power-scooter-capable cineplexes. They dredged up the Transformers, G.I. Joe, Star Trek and even Alvin and the Chipmunks–with David Seville, the only man who has done more in the past fifty years to keep small rodents in vogue than Tom Cruise! I doubt that it worked though. Those movies made a lot of money, but it wasn’t from repeat visits by people in my coterie. For one thing, these days it is almost impossible to get from the mall parking lot to the door of the multiplex without passing a Hot Pretzel Shop or a Cinnabon. If you’re like me, you get distracted, arrive late, roll up to the ticket counter, check the titles, see Drag Me to Hell, remember that that was the title I secretly gave to my wedding video, know full well that if I miss the first five minutes of Fast and Furious I will spend the rest of the movie trying to figure out which one is fast and which one is furious, then wander off. Instead of feasting on the latest that Hollywood has to offer, you just jangle your “Has Lost the Will to Live” medic-alert bracelet, head over to the teen readers section of Borders and mutter “You call these vampires! In my day, Vampires didn’t sparkle!”
In a way, the Academy Awards show has actually become a fifty-ish upper-level executive in search of a midlife crisis itself. It gets way too dressed up just to go out and sit on the porch with its friends, pretends to like martinis when it would rather have a beer, yells “You better believe it!” when someone tosses out a bit of flattery about the good old days, is attended to by youngsters who portray the proper humility but secretly want him to pass on so they can spend the inheritance, and reminisces on and on and on about the recently deceased.
This year more than ever, the aging, embarrassing, somewhat flatulent uncle that is Hollywood needs the Oscars. In a year when even the most bankable celebrities had to take steep cuts in pay, more people watched Youtube’s “escalator slide guy” than Crazy Heart, and most kids only went to Avatar to see if they could steal the glasses, Hollywood needs to assure itself that it still matters. And kids if you are honest, you will admit that in some small way Hollywood does still matter. It’s like the balloon animal guy who was so cool when you were five. It’s like your grandpa the college professor who has free access to Lexis-Nexis the night before your term paper is due. It’s like Marlene’s burned out uncle Rusty from Colorado who slips you the occasional loose joint. It’s still where you go to chart the final decline and death of your Rap idols–yeah, I’m lookin’ at you DMX. It’s still where you go see full resolution, dolby surround, 1.85:1 torture porn. And it’s still where you go to see professionally lit and often professionally constructed naked female breasts!
Kids, all I want to say is thank you for your indulgence. Thank you for allowing us our evening of the nostalgic delusion that we are still in the game. we hope we weren’t too much of an annoyance. We know there were a lot of reruns on against us, but those reruns were on broadcast television, so they would probably be new to you! At any rate, you needn’t be bothered by us until next year, when we will ignore Warlords, Ironman 2, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and The Last Airbender, because there is a half Jewish-half Arab single mother who has seen the dark underbelly human trafficking while performing relief work, in Port Au Prince–and whose story has to be told! Believe me, we know what an albatross we can be. We were young once. In fact, if you have a minute, I remember way back in the 1970s . . . . .