Monday, February 28, 2011

The Oscars 2011! And Hollywood History 101

I haven't seen the King's Speech yet - but I can't imagine a stammering king is more entertaining than Natalie Portman masturbating in front of her mother!!  Hello.

 Apparently stuttering is as gold to Oscar actor as a prosthetic ugly nose is to Oscar actress.  And speaking of fucked up speaking - how much did you love seeing 94 year old stroke-surviving Kirk Douglas make all sorts of jokes that only a speech pathologist could subtitle?  I half expected recent amputee, fellow 94 year old Zsa Zsa Gabor to get up there with him.  The only thing better would have been seeing birthday girl Elizabeth Taylor (79 today!) strut the stage to announce her 9th marriage. 

When I saw the memorial segment, I had no idea that Patricia Neal died!  She had this mad affair with a married Gary Cooper during filming of "the Fountainhead" that had to be the top 1940's scandal next to Gene Tierney's shock treatments.  Followed by top 1950's scandals including:

#1 - the egrigious HUAC anti-jew, anti-subversive, anti-communist (most importantly, anti-American) bullshit of the 1950's, Ingrid Bergman's affair with Rosselini, Lana Turner's daughter's (some sources say it was Lana herself) 1958 murder of Lana's mob-ish lover Joey Stampanato, the 1967 beheading crash death of buxom Jayne Mansfield, and the gruesome 1969 Manson murders of Sharon Tate, her fetus, and friends.  What were the 70's?  The 70's were Network and "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" which is when I was born and where I live. 

I can't figure out though, if I'm mad or if I'm mad.  Regardless, it drives me.  And I have to congratulate Aaron Sorkin on his "Social  Network" screenplay- and thank him for noting that 35 years ago Paddy Chayefsky won  best screenplay for another movie with "Network" in the title.  What a movie it is. 

To sew this all together, Kirk Douglas was massively smitten with Patricia Neal, he even escorted her to the premiere of 1949's Fountainhead.  In fact, Gary Cooper reportedly slapped Douglas in the face for trying to steal his young lover!  As Patricia Neal appeared on screen in the Oscar memorial tribute, Kirk Douglas flirted with host Anne Hathaway - telling the girl (who wouldn't stop giggling), "where were you when I was making pictures?"  She giggled.  Again.  He was not slapped. Cooper is dead.

Things (history) didn't fare so flirtatiously well for Miss Neal. Cooper refused to leave his wife, insisted Neal abort his child, and she later was spat upon by Cooper's daughter, vilified by his wife, suffered emotional distress and the later death of a another daughter from measles.  Finally she converted to Catholicism on her deathbed for a bit of reprieve. 

This is all wine and roses compared to what actress Susannah York (also featured in the memorial tribute) endured in her portrayal in the virtuoso depression-era drama "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (1969) which is not only an incisive allegory of life, but one of the most amazing films ever put on screen.
York was a best supporting actress nominee for the role, that of a desperate dance marathon contestant, and this year's supporting actress winner was The Fighter's Melissa Leo.  As if I'm going to see yet another boxing movie.  People that punch for a living are not inspiration!!

Leo gave a speech that felt full of contrived, calculated humility until she let slip an F-Bomb "It looked so fucking easy!" which totally made me her new fan. Although the US censors bleeped her, she was uncensored in Australia and I fucking loved that!  As Mae West might have said: If you're so easily shocked you need to be shocked more often!

She was expressing joy!  What is this of people wanting world peace?  I don't want peace I want JOY.

And yet religion everywhere says you begin with "original sin"!  Talk about child abuse.  Give me a swear word and Janet Jackson's nipple every day over original sin.  Parents have the right/obligation to shield their children from hate and prejudice and profanity (or try), but this does not mean they can take license to fervently intro their children to an angry/petty creator, judgment, and absurd allegories like Jonah who supposedly lived in a whale's mouth because he was running from God.  Who wouldn't run from that god?  But as far as the whale - honey, I have NO idea how Jonah got past the baleen!  Did he wonder-twin-power activate into a patch of krill?  Unless Jonah managed to slip into an orca or a sperm whale - and that would explain everything, wouldn't it? 

At least with Santa Claus parents have the decency to let a child find out it's all a hoax. 

Here's what I propose - parents wait until their children are THINKING, rationalizing adults and then relate bible stories and commandments and we'll just see how many religious people we are left with (until they are 85 and fear death, Patricia Neal).  Reason trumps superstition, unless you're brainwashed as a young person.  And then, as is always the case, other people's children will be the basis for all the rampant discrimination you leak into the world.  Nudity is as natural as fuck.  Seriously.

At Sydney's recent FAIR DAY, I told a friend (Neil) how some guy showing his butt was forced to put on pants by the police he said, in a mocking American accent, He should cover up.  I am mortified. The human body is a disgusting thing!

Then I showed him a photo of the altercation:

He quickly said: They made him put clothes on? I am mortified.  That is a gorgeous ass!!

Not completely unrelated - how beautiful was Halle Berry's memorial tribute to Lena Horne?  Lena was an amazing entertainer, soulful singer, and great beauty.  She was also born on my birthday!  Because of the times; because of southern bigots and white supremacists and willfully racist public opinion studio big wigs were convinced that their bottom line could not/would not offend someone else's children, and lovely Lena Horne was relegated to all black studio remakes of white classics.

All that, while the German descended white actress Luise Rainer (now 101 years old, Luise gave an interview just this month (there must be something to this film!)  praising the King's Speech.  In any case, Luise Rainer won her 2nd best actress Oscar playing CHINESE in 1937's the "Good Earth":
We can maybe agree that was well-intentioned, but what about the disgraceful, cringeworthy send up of CHINESE that Mickey Rooney gives (complete with Billy-Bob teeth) in Breakfast At Tiffany's:
And yet here she is, the beautiful Lena Horne.  No, she never played a maid.  But no, she never got the parts she should have gotten.  The star part of Showboat's MULATTO (which she was), which was given to her friend Ava Gardner (who was NOT) because a mulatto playing mulatto would be much too much realism.  Maybe she should have asked to play Chinese?

It was great to see Lena Horne get her own extra special recognition in 2011.  It was the highlight of the Oscars, and included her words: "It's not the load the breaks you down, it's the way you carry it."

It's the way you carry it.  You have a voice, even though you may not sing.  Use it.

Try not to let it make you psychotic!

And if it does, go out like Christian Bale and Robert Downey Jr, who both today were winning about their psychotic past.  The world needs less platitudes and more fucking realness.  Which brings me to: David Fincher was robbed!  Is James Franco stoned?  Helen Mirren and Russell Brand get my vote for best couple.  Billy Crystal... he is a dead ringer for Peter Lorre (with notes of Kathy Bates).

And, um, is Gwyneth Paltrow singing - or is that a Fruity Lexia hallucination?


SaintSinner said...

Good Lord, man!

What the hell were you drinking/smoking when you wrote this?

And where can I get some of it (if it's legal in the States)?

Seriously, tho, there were some brilliant observations staggering around in that blog.

Fr'instance, Network ("the movie with 'network' in the title," according to Sorkin) is one of my absolute favorite films. I have it memorized.

I am a bit surprised that The King's Speech was such a "BIG, BIG-TITTED SUCCESS!" (Robert Duvall to William Holden).

I saw TKS with my bf the day of the awards, and we both liked it. But here's the thing: Like the Academy ALWAYS does, they went for the safe thing. Just like they passed over Brokeback Mountain (in 2005) for Crash (a nothing movie with a plot gimmick), and Denzel Washington's (1992) bravura performance in Malcolm X for Al Pacino's rather disappointing performance in Scent of a Woman.

The Black Swan was daring, and it pushed screenwriting, filmmaking and acting to a whole new level. I'm so happy Natalie Portman won, I could just spit.

But as much as I like The King's Speech, Black Swan should have clinched Best Picture.

As I said before, they're philistines and don't recognize the value of great Art.

And yes, I'm pretty sure Franco was baked on something....

Jesse Archer said...

SaintSinner - thanks, I also agree Black Swan should have won. For the mere fact it was engaging and entertaining from start to finish!

They don't dare - um, "How Green Was My Valley" over "Citizen Kane"? but the audience unfortunately isn't sophisticated and that's where they pander...the lowest common denominator (as with everything political)

Network rocks!

And yes, boxed wine is legal in the states. :)

Anonymous said...

I noticed that poor Glenn Shadix was curiously absent from the memorial segment.

Jesse Archer said...

Beetlejuice!! Yes there is some curious politicking going on. They also snubbed Farrah Fawcett, Bea Arthur, and Peggy Lee from the memorial segments in the past. You think they could include these folks and cut out, I don't know, all of the nominated songs?

Bob Frank said...

Actually, Mickey Rooney played a Japanese man (if you could call him that), almost ruining a wonderful movie. Lena Horne got to play Julie in a musical number from Showboat in the movie "Till the Clouds Roll By". If you want to hear something moving, go on Youtube and search for "Bein' Green", where Lena Horne sings to Kermit the frog. Her delivery, Kermit's expressions, and the underlying meaning of the song make it a standout performance.