Friday, February 20, 2009

Oscar Comes to the Mall

So we're two days away from Oscar. I have seen all five films nominated for Best Pic. The last was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Since I had low expectations (and because I went with my mother who is still one of my favorite people to sit next to in the movies) I enjoyed it a fair amount. What I'm noticing is how the stucture of film has fundamentally changed. It seems to evolve every twenty years or so.

I'm not talking necessarily talking about "trends" in film, like the collapse of the studio system into the "birth" of mainstream Indy film of the 70's or the grand sweeping epics of the 80's. What I'm seeing is how the straight linear film (like Button, even though it is told in a flashback) seems really old fashioned. Perhaps it is the obvious result of the advances in technology, but it is no longer confusing for an audience to quickly adopt to a story told in fragmented, diversionary ways. For this reason, Slumdog Millionare has the edge over Button. Of course, while I say that I realize that The Reader was also linear, but the filmmaking was so inventive (or maybe just so accomplished) it did not seem old fashioned to me.

Oh, the mall thing... I was in Chicago last week for a conference and ended up in a food court mall. On our table was an advertisement urging all to "come get your picture taken with Oscar" (Clark Gable's Oscar in particular.) My first thought was, "How cute, someone with a lot of money bought this Oscar and sitting at a card table someone on the first floor of Nordstorms."

But no.

It was this massive traveling kiosk complete with red carpet, monitors with looping interviews and Oscar footage, and finally a podium with Clarkie's Oscar attached to a two foot leash. People stood in line and a guy took pictures that you later access on a website.

"Oh, you've got to do that," my friend Bridgett said as soon as she saw it. She was right, of course. My only regret was that my wardrobe was on the dumpy side. Not that I should have been expected to come upon such a thing wearing a cocktail dress, but still, it would have been nice to have on "better" jeans, maybe a scoop-neck black shirt instead of the patterned hooded zip-up top...

Needless to say, the pic did not turn out well. But I will admit I was pretty geeked about palming the golden guy. I knew it would be heavy (learned from years of watching various celebrities go "Whoa, this is heavy".) Still, I was able to transcend the cheesiness of standing in a mall having my picture taken by a guy in an oversized polo shirt pandering to my affinity for a lifelong love of movies.

Can't wait for Sunday. And yes, I am still rooting for the Reader.

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