Robots Are Sexier than Brad Pitt

If “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” wins Best Picture, I’m moving to Canada.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the film, I don’t understand how you could give Best Picture or (heavens!) Best Director to a movie that could be thematically improved by the discussion in my mother’s Corolla in the Chili’s parking lot.  Seriously, the committee of my family made some great suggestions. 

The Katrina framing device does not work.  We’re all worried about what happens to that daughter and those nurses.  The whole Luke-I-am-your-father thing does not work.  Why does Benjamin Button not grieve the loss of his mother, or his family home?  How come Brad Pitt plays him like an eerily emotionless Ken doll?  Isn’t the interesting thing about this character that he experiences life in this unique way?  We need to see how he feels about that.

How come it’s not sexy to see Cate Blanchett in bed with him (sigh)…?  Why does Benjamin seem to not even know his sister?  Is his adoptive mom married to that guy she sleeps with, or not?  And why not?  What about that clock motif?  Time goes backwards, but then it doesn’t, and why does it stop going backwards? 

When the movie was a great popcorn fest, like the last Indiana Jones, these discussions were just for fun.  Fine: I accept that a man could survive a nuclear blast inside a refrigerator.  But “Benjamin Button” is supposed to be a serious movie telling us about the meaning of life and time.  It’s all Katrina-ed up, for heaven’s sake.

“Frost/Nixon” is perfectly well-intentioned, if a little distant and dry.  It’s a lot more laughs than you might expect.

I’m trying to bring myself to watch Sean Penn go gay.  Why oh why is playing a gay guy such a spectacular transformation?  Is it really harder to pretend to want to kiss boys than to pretend to be a serial killer or Richard Nixon?  I’m not impressed by straight men pretending to be gay.  This annoyed me with “Brokeback Mountain,” too.  I liked the movie fine, but to me, pretending to be in love with someone you’re not in love with is the trick, not the gender of your pretend lover.

I’m also having a hard time psyching myself up to see Kate Winslet’s Holocaust/statutory rape film.  Honestly, these aren’t topics I want to focus on in my free time.

I’d also prefer “Doubt” to get a Best Picture nod over “Benjamin” or “Frost/Nixon.”  The subject matter really appeals to me– schools, power, faith, skepticism, hierarchy– and I enjoyed the visuals and performances, especially Philip Seymour-Hoffman.  He’s tricky, tricky, tricky, and, while not my favorite actor, worth a thousand Brad Pitts.  The debate between the old-school discipline and the new-school warm fuzzy hippie love is oversimplified, but I liked seeing it played out anyway.  Those mean old nuns! (I am an aspiring mean old teacher myself.)

But how could the Academy have pleased me?  Why don’t we go “Beauty and the Beast” style and nominate “WALL-E” for Best Picture instead of leaving it in the Animation ghetto?  I was enthralled by the visuals in “WALL-E,” I laughed at its silent-movie-style humor, I smiled at its simple optimism and morality, and WALL-E reaching out to hold hands with EVA is sweeter and more romantic than any scene in “Benjamin,” Brad Pitt be damned.

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