City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Roger L. Simon
Handicapping the Oscars « Back to Story

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I'm hoping that Sandra Bullock will win for her emotional performance as the astronaut lost in space trying to find a way to return to earth. I don't watch many movies at the theater but Gravity was great and the best 3D movie I have ever seen. I hope it wins best picture.
I find most modern "Oscar-worthy" movies to be tedious and clearly not family-friendly. I don't need nudity, sex, violence, and profanity to be entertained. So, I simply boycott most of what Hollywood thinks is artistic. I have taken to watching older movies that rely primarily on great stories and superb acting to entertain and create thought-provoking art. These movies are fun to watch together with my family. It's too bad that Hollywood feels compelled to make so much garbage that I can't watch with my family.
Although "Gravity" teeters on the cusp of profundity without quite achieving it, I think the movie may be an important marker as a corrective to the predominant "blow everything up and when all else fails, blow everything up again" style of moviemaking. It achieves something amazing in current Hollywood: it actually uses special effects to serve the plot, rather than the other way around.

I haven't seen "12 Years a Slave" and don't mean to dismiss it, but Hollywood has never been short of problem plays cum star vehicles around Oscar time. A film that put spectacle at the service of story, however? Sad as it is to say, that feels truly novel in 2013.
I am sorry that "The Book Thief" was not even given a mention. Despite that it too, like "Slave", was on a subject so over-done as to be almost mind-numbing in it almost ritualistic reoccurrence in every film season, sometimes several times, I enjoyed it very much on several levels - the characters, obviously, but also the absence of over-cooked sentimentality. The script, the filming, the authenticity of the setting, a great score and the stunningly beautiful Canadian actress, Sophie Nelisse whose performance was absolutely captivating. "Gravity" is simply silly compared to it. But perhaps I am prejudiced as I am also Canadian.
Thanks for the "Gravity" review. The film does make waves for technical prowess. A knockout.

And "Twelve Years a Slave" makes quite the statement, a cultural opposite to the revival of KKK sentiments that comes with A&E reinstating Phil Robertson.

We've had "conservative" (largely pro-fasicst) commentators decrying the dead Nelson Mandela as a communist. They damn their own Reagan and Thatcher -- killers in Lebanon and the Falklands -- for their support of Apartheid. It was the communist countries that opposed Apartheid and put their resources to work against it.

We should hope that "Salve" does very well at the awards.
Could it be that the Liberterianism you observe beginning to creep into the younger set is actually Conservatism? Just like Liberals and Communists now label themselves "progressives", I suspect that a lot of young Conservatives have to hide their transformation by calling themselves "Liberterians", which is
more acceptable.