The Dark Side
My sense of duty is as well developed as that of the next critic (let's not go there), but I couldn't bring myself to watch the whole Academy Awards last evening. I enjoy watching film clips and preening stars as much as anyone, but I couldn't abide the ads.
I don't mean the commercials, which would have served as a great plague on Pharoah, if only the Lord had thought of it. No, I mean the ads congratulating the Academy for being so wonderful and putting on all those wonderful awards shows of the past. I know there's been a writers' strike, but did they have to show all those replays of funny, touching, uplifting bits, when everyone knows that this year's nominees are sorely lacking in all three qualities?
The coverage focused on the "dark" mood of Hollywood, which according to some reporters is out of date now that a Democrat might get elected. But the darkness in American films has been building up for a long time now, especially in those precincts of the movie colony where people are just as cynical about politics as they are about everything else. To my knowledge, the only candidate who has said anything about the sick violence now pervading mainstream films is Barack Obama. So go figure.
This stylish, apolitical darkness dominates all the nominated films, with the exception of Juno - as host Jon Stewart put it, "Thank God for teenage pregnancy." Even the kerzillion-dollar blockbusters that keep Hollywood going feel obliged to get progressively "darker" with each sequel or lose their franchise.
So get ready for the sequel, Ratatouille Twouille , which will feature a demon rat voiced by Johnny Depp, who tears American tourists apart with his long yellow fangs, then drops the pieces into a savory boeuf bourguignon, which his pal Rémy will then feed to other American tourists. Maybe then the Academy will take notice ...