I Liked the Oscars

Last night, my husband and I watched the Oscars. I had not — and still have not — seen any of the best picture nominees, but that didn’t stop me from printing out a ballot and filling in what I wanted based on what I’d read. The two movies I did see that received Oscar noms were Marvel’s The Avengers (nominated for best visual effects) and Pixar’s Brave (winner of best animated feature film).

I am a movie fan — I’d like to call myself a buff, but I think that implies a level of knowledge of both movies and the stars that I don’t quite have, so I’ll call myself a buffette. I like good movies and bad ones. My husband and I are suckers for the $3 and $5 bins at stores like Walmart and Big Lots. We own a copy of every Pixar film, and many other animated ones, at my instigation (not the kids’). I have a stash of movies made by the “mockbuster” studio The Asylum, including “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus,” which contains performances by Lorenzo Lamas and Deborah Debbie Gibson, in case you’re wondering whatever happened to them.

I don’t expect a whole lot from the Oscar telecast, or even the host. It’s a pretty thankless job — make people laugh while the film industry, which makes a boatload of money every year despite the perennial gnashing of teeth, pats itself on the back. Don’t offend too many people, but don’t be too milquetoast either. With those kind of low to mediocre expectations, it’s hard to get disappointed and if I’m going to invest 3.5 hours into a show, I at least want not to be disappointed.

So I watched last night, I laughed, I was entertained, I was pleased to see Ang Lee win Best Director for Life of Pi, and somewhat disappointed that Frankenweenie did not win Best Animated Feature. What can I say? I’m a big Tim Burton fan. On the other hand, I haven’t seen Frankenweenie, so perhaps Brave was the better film. (Or perhaps people feared being stomped on by Pixar’s desk lamp).

Yet I get up this morning, and everywhere I look, the Oscars are being slammed. MacFarlane was lame and unfunny and misogynistic. (Really?) According to Tom Shales over at Roger Ebert’s site (and I enjoy Shales’ articles), MacFarlane also couldn’t sing or dance (again, really?). For MacFarlane himself, I had no expectations — I have not watched Family Guy, although I’ve seen bits and pieces, and I did not see the movie he wrote, Ted.

But I thought he was funny. I actually liked the opening number “We Saw Your Boobs.” I just found the whole idea of singing such a song — backed by a gay mens’ chorus! — great fun. Some of his one-liners hit and others missed. I admit I squirmed at the Django Unchained/Chris Brown/Rihanna joke, but hey, you can’t like it all. And I could have lived without “All that Jazz,” from Chicago. You had John Travolta there — give us a number from Hairspray!

I was relieved to find a couple of articles over at Slate.com written by people who, like me, were in fact not offended by MacFarlane’s routine. Even in this day of constant commentary, guess what? You are free to turn off the television. You are not obligated to watch the Oscars, nor, even with the ease of access of Twitter, et al, are you obligated to express your opinion of it to the world (but if you want to, have at).

A lot of people went on about the boobs song and how it was degrading, etc. True, there is not likely to be a male equivalent like “We Saw Your Balls” or “We Saw Your Junk.” (Although wouldn’t it be fun, and let’s get Meryl Streep to sing it, with that same chorus.) Why? Because aside from Harvey Keitel in The Piano, you won’t find much male frontal nudity in mainstream US movies. (Wait, there was that guy in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, right?) So why can we not poke a little fun at nudity in the movies? Yeah, it’s female nudity mostly, but who’s fault is that? Until the MPAA and other groups loosen up, and/or the actresses decide to keep their shirts on until there’s topless equality, this is the state of things for a while. So let’s sing a song about how silly that is.

(Aside: Some may note that Jodie Foster baring breasts in The Accused was different than Kate Winslet in Titanic, and I’d agree. But this is slippery ground in humor. Should MacFarlane have limited himself to only rom-coms, or coms, or roms, or trashy horror movies? I don’t know. It wouldn’t have made a difference to me, but others might have carped at that very limiting. It’s up to MacFarlane to decide, then up to us to be offended or not.)

But perhaps in a more egalitarian song, MacFarlane could sing “We Saw Your Butt,” because I’d say male and female derrieres appear in about equal numbers of movies.

I can’t keep up with all of the things I’m supposed to be upset about, to fight for or against. So I’ll just pick my battles. This is not one of them.

Years ago, on MTV, they ran a special that dealt with things like the influence of music on suicidal people, and other “dark” things. You know the type of thing — did Black Sabbath really get people into Satanism and what not. Personally I’m guessing the guys in Sabbath were too drunk and/or high to do much with inverted crosses. What I remember is Lemmy from Motorhead saying that there are always people who will be offended, that there are people who go around with little notebooks, waiting to be offended so they can write it down.

And now they take it to Twitter.

 

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lady Falcon on February 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I enjoyed the Oscars as well. I had it DVR’d and didn’t watch it till Monday night and managed to not get caught by any spoilers. I fast forwarded some parts of the broadcast along with all the commercials but that is the beauty of DVR and one of the reasons I think it is an awesome invention. Aside from that, the only movie I’ve seen from the ones featured was the Avengers and Brave. I too love movies but I have an issue paying $10 just to get in a theater and even PPV is now $7. So, I have to wait till it comes on regular tv….dvr it so I can ff the commercials unless its an “I got see that” movie. I do look forward to seeing Silver Linings, Life of Pie, JDango, and Zero Dark Thirty.
    As to those who get offended…I agree with your quote at the end. Somebody will be offended no matter what so you just have to live with what you choose and go on with your life.

    Reply

    • I, too, rarely to go theater movies. The last one I think I saw was “Avengers,” and before that, “Hugo.” Yes, we DVR’d the show as well, although we started watching about a half an hour into the broadcast. This allowed us to skip a lot of commercials, although we caught up towards the end.

      One of the reasons we have so many DVDs is that it’s cheaper. For $5 or whatever, yes, I’m giving up the “theater experience,” but I’m getting at least two viewers (myself and my husband, sometimes my son) per movie for a fraction of the theater price. Plus, we get to rewatch them, if we want. But even if we don’t, it’s still much cheaper. What I miss about seeing things in a theater is simply seeing it on a large screen, which is how they are meant to be seen. That is sometimes worth the price of admission (that, and getting out of the house 😉 ).

      In fact, the hub and I are looking at movies for this weekend, as I have a gift card left from my birthday. Tough call, though I think “Life of Pi” is probably the front runner. Then perhaps “Argo” or “Silver Linings Playbook.”

      Reply

  2. Posted by Kristin on February 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    My yoga teacher just told me there is a “We Saw Your Junk” video – http://youtu.be/RD5NLYjBiQA 🙂

    Reply

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