TONIGHT, an expected 41 million Americans will tune into the 78th annual Academy Awards to watch a spectacle largely honoring films they have not seen and may never get around to watching....Well, I'm going to watch -- with TiVo to leap the longueurs -- because I like simulblogging this sort of thing. See! I simulblogged the Oscars last year. Wasn't that amusing?
There are all sorts of reasons why "Munich," along with "Brokeback Mountain," "Capote," "Crash" and "Good Night, and Good Luck" were nominated for best picture (they're pretty good, for one) and a couple of reasons why we should care. Among the most obvious and discomfiting, however, is that Big Hollywood increasingly finds it difficult to make the kinds of high-profile movies that the industry likes to honor with its most important awards.
The Dargis conclusion:
The crisis now facing Hollywood isn't unique to the movies; the atomization of the culture makes it hard to know what people want, particularly when they belong to a multi-everything society like ours. Still, something will be lost if Hollywood continues to downsize its ambitions and fails to make movies that connect with the mass audience, to make movies that speak to us as a unified whole rather than as a mass of self-interested egos, that give us a sense of collective identity and social cohesion. A nation of iPod-people, each staring at his or her individually downloaded film on the delivery system of his or her choice, seems a poor substitute for the oceanic feeling that comes with watching a film with a crowd, finding communion in the dark.Yeah, well, that crowd is slurping gallons of soda and popping up to pee every 5 minutes, so spare me the old blather about communion in the dark -- which sounds like something Norma Desmond would say:
And I promise you I'll never desert you again because after 'Salome' we'll make another picture and another picture. You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!Maybe we've about had it with being your wonderful people in the dark, communicants at your bogus church. Maybe this atomization of the culture is a good thing. We can find our affiliative connections over small things through blogging and other internet methods. And these will be much richer, better connections. Since the new movies can be made and distributed cheaply, digitally, real artists can reach out to us with film, and we will be here -- yes, with our iPods -- to listen to them.
Oh, but something will be lost? You're looking for "a unified whole rather than ... a mass of self-interested egos"? Excuse me if I -- ooh, I'm so egotistical! -- opt out of your dream, which reminds me, somehow, of all of my least favorite political schemes.