A Film Buff Who Doesn't Care About The Oscars

Many people wonder why I, as an avid film buff, couldn't care less about The Oscars. I have not watched the ceremony in years, which is especially telling considering cinema is probably my biggest hobby and interest. Simply put, The Oscars are not about film so much as about the people involved in the commercial aspect of it.

Every year, the focus is on the celebrities (especially the expensive loaner gowns and jewels they're wearing), spectacle, and host. Certainly there are genuine awards given away, and I'm not trying to say that The Oscars are worthless. Rather, it is the extravagant awards ceremony itself which is a boring, tedious, insider-masturbation-fest. The Oscars have nothing to do with film in general, but rather the systematic rewarding of Hollywood insiders. It's all about the establishment. What else could explain the persistent insolence of the selection process throughout the years?

If The Oscars were all about rewarding the best-of-the-best, then what might explain such oddities as Kramer vs. Kramer winning Best Picture over Apocalypse Now in 1980, or Martin Scorsese still being without a Best Director trophy after losing year after year to less notable, less skilled, and less influential directors (we shall see how this stands after this evening). Stanley Kubrick would have won his own Best Director statue for at least one of his masterpieces. He was never an insider, however, preventing him from winning. The list of oddities in the winner's circle is endless and puzzling.

In the end, the argument comes down to me not wanting to waste 3-4 hours of my time on a long, boring ceremony when I can get the text summary of winners later in the evening, which only takes 2 minutes of my time and I arrive at the same result. Either way, I will agree with many awards and disagree with just as many, as is the case with any arbitrary awards ceremony or list. Ultimately, though, whether a film wins an Academy Award or not is completely pointless. It does not affect art, it does not change the film itself, and it does not change my opinion of it. If such were the case, I would not hold in such high regard so many films that were unjustly snubbed at the Academy Awards, and current day critical consensus would not look back on past awards with awe and astonishment.


Sharing my troubles

I would like to share some of my troubles. Here is a list of some of the worst films I've seen:

2 fast 2 furious
Alone in the Dark
House of the Dead
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

When I look at this list, I ask myself why it is I watched these to begin with. It's interesting to note that 3 films out of the 6 listed above are from Uwe Boll. He started off as a pain to me, because I seriously thought Paul W.S. Anderson to be one of the worst directors available at the time who solely concetrated on turning video games into films (and created 2 science fiction films of poor quality). Boll stepped into the picture and truely outshined Anderson's incompetence to my great sadness. What attracted me to Boll's...ummm...work is the fact that it's so bad, one can't help but not take it seriously. It's feels as if it was done on purpose and although these movies are terrible, they sort of hold a place in my heart. It's as if watching these make me realize how much better the world is compared them. Anderson's work is simply frustrating and irritating, whereas Boll's work gives a good laugh and raises questions afterwards: If this had been handled by a more competent team, how would it have turned out? Essentially the answer is always the same, it would still have been crap given the fact the source material, script, is terrible to begin with. Nonetheless, Boll's work gives way to my imagination, picturing how things could be done better. Anderson simply leaves me frustrated and insulted.

The other three are simply horrible films. Ultraviolet strikes me as perticularly bad. There is a scene in the film where Milla Jovovich's character Violet tells a boy she doesn't care if he dies as long as he isn't in her way. The following scene, she grabs him by the arm, pulls him in closer and tells him how horrible it is that the people who are after them both would want to kill the young man and that she isn't going to let that happen. This is, of course, following an horribly thought out scene where she walks on a rooftop and fights a band of triad-vampires that surrounds her. She then utilizes the fact that the circle makes them actually shoot each other if they are to fire at her. The writer really thought triad-vampires would be stupid enough to do this, and I thought the writer was stupid enough to write such a plot element.

2 fast 2 furious is by far one of the worst. I almost felt as if I was watching a bad blaxploitation film which insulted black people. Truly some of the worst dialogue and action pieces put together on celluloid in a long time coming. This is, of course, accompanied by horrendus acting and ludicrous (pun or no pun?) plot development.

Lara Croft's second entry into cinema marked my first walk-away-from film. It was purchased by my sister and sat on the shelf for a while. I, at the time, had a policy of watching any film that was purchased and added to the overall collection. So one late night, I sat down and watched it. I got about 30 minutes into it when I turned it off not to be touched again for another couple of months. I eventually finished the film, and I'd rather not discuss the experience any further.


Backwards Research

I don't mean to be arrogant, but this is something Eric and I have been having problems with for a while now. This problem deals with how the education system often times force us to do what I call backwards researching. Often times, we are given subjects that needs a certain amount of research, cited sources and other such references but we are not in need of such resources to properly write a paper related to the subject.

I'm really quite happy to do references where references are needed, but I'm often times stuck on the fact that I essentially need to do my research project backwards: I write the paper first, then go over it to write in references. I'll re-read, add a footnote, add a "according to this research" or "this author". This is a tedious and annoying process, because I can never see to fully enjoy writing about the subject, I'm always stuck with the feeling that I'm writing half a real research and half a documented, boring and uninteresting paraphrase of something else.

This sort of problem is usually derived from the underestimation of student's capabilities and turns simple projects into serious problems. It seems as if programs aren't as up-to-date with students as they're suppose to be. Less research oriented projects and more straight-forward theory should be the base of education. Research projects are interesting, and fun, but aren't properly integrated and the incredible limitations and guidelines takes the fun out of personal research. I believe that if one was to give report projects instead, it would make the whole process a lot more interesting. Instead of giving an extreme amount of limitation, one ought to give the simple request of a report on a subject. A student then would simply have to do the research, or write up the latest conclusions of that subject. This is a better way of doing things, and a lot simpler. It doesn't require a minium or maximum amount of references, since the results are essentially the same. Whether it take someone several references, or very few to explain the up-to-date findings is left to the individual rather then by the teacher.

The problem with current curriculums is the fact that when several different subject are treated by the same standards, it makes it quite complicated for the students who research such subjects. Sometimes a certain amount of references isn't required, and somethings the high amount set up is actually more of a hassle to get and becomes the focus of the student's work as opposed to the research paper.

This reminds me of what I wrote concerning research methods courses in CEGEP. They called it original research when they would only allow you to base your research on existing research. What they really meant to say was "replicate results already obtained". Which takes the whole word 'original' out of the equation.


Fighting the System!

Teenagers go through this phase, the phase that helps define who he/she is by fighting an authority or challenging a superior. Some teengers choose who they fight, while others swing at everything that sets boundries. The idea is common and widespread, everyone should fight the system, not abide by it or fall into the cracks of the Totalitarian regime 'we live in'. But are we truly abiding to the system? Are most people simply following directives, cashing in paychecks and paying their taxes?

I strongly believe that most people don't actually follow rules, sets and guidelines. Now, whether or not this is a conscious decision or plain supidity is up for debate. The reason why I believe most people are not following rules is through common observation. I constantly observe people breaking proper road conducts and showing how defiant they truly are. The amount of times I was almost rendered a pancake by some idiot deciding that he was good enough to turn left from a priority-right-turn is astonishing.

Also, whenever the winter season comes around, it's the excuse many people were waiting for to suddenly park where and how they feel like. Rows are misaligned with clear evidence as the starting culprite. Triple parking becomes an art form.

It's also interesting to notice how, like a disease, breaking rules for ones benefits is. It seems to me like the phrase "That guy's doing it to!" has been heard and spoken way too many times then it ought to. People are more interested in using a rule breaker as an excuse to break the rules then to fight against him to set things right.

The same goes for some 'consumer beware' programs who often don't go in depth in analysing problems and informing their audiences as they should. Instead, the 'quality programming' offered is simply report after report of how businesses have screwed people over and how (with little information) a consumer can avoid such a hasle. The solutions often times are simply logistics such as 'avoid certain companies'. But like I've been informed, certain customers actually spend days in grocery stores looking for badly price articles to then exploit the flaw and get as many things cheaper if not free! Surely these shows might also attract an unpleasant amount of business to certain wholesalers.

The truth is people are fighting the system because people feel different. "Rules don't apply to me, I'm smarter then the average Joe"