Much has been made of the low-rated and generally dull Oscars which aired on Sunday night. As unused moments for humor came and went, production values were bland, and Ellen Degeneres’ segues were lifeless, it was clear that if this was the best Hollywood could put together, no wonder people have stopped going to movies. Upon a bit of reflection, however, I wondered why anyone would be surprised that the Oscars were dull? It’s hard for people who don’t truly love life and embrace its possibilities to have good senses of humor. I mean, would you honestly want to have many of the people so prominently displayed on your television screen so much as over for dinner?
If Leonardo DiCaprio came, he might systematically demonstrate all the ways you are destroying the environment with your inefficient home. Gwyneth Paltrow and Maggie Gylenhall might speak of their concern for the downtrodden, forgetting to mention the privilege and luck they experienced growing up children of Hollywood elite. Or maybe even Al Gore could stop in and share his Oscar-winning “film,” er Power Point presentation about global warming. (That is, unless a snowstorm in this frigid winter keeps him at home). If all else fails, maybe George Lucas could come over. If his conversation is as bad as his scripts, however, it might be a very dull night. (Okay, that wasn’t fair. I do like Star Wars.)
My point is that we shouldn’t be at all surprised the Oscars missed the mark; leftists are boring. Worse, they’re cynical. How could you expect a group of people who believe the earth will self-destruct in ten years to have a good time? When Al Gore is applauded as though he were a savior, you know you’re going to have problems. They are humorless, apparently unable anymore to poke fun at themselves, and they take themselves as seriously as a heart attack. They live lives dominated by fear: fear of the future (why they love raising a stink about global warming), fear of losing control (why they hate capitalism), and fear of virtue (why their movies are cynical to the core). They can’t relax long enough to be witty and self-reflective.
Ultimately, unhappiness seems like it has become synonymous with liberalism. I realize that is an over-simplification. But from my point-of-view, and from a lot of experience with die-hard leftists, modern liberalism has its roots in the negation of God, therefore the negation of the Truth. With this, what are you left with? So movies more and more relish in a postmodern ennui, inevitable disaster, and pointlessness. So few movies can affirm a love and passion for life; it seems to take children to do so, because most directors and writers don’t seem to believe there is much point in living.
Not that films have to be stupidly naïve. Far from it. Great movies of the past wrestled with the difficulties we face in life, and even the temporary feelings of hopelessness we all encounter, but didn’t always give into the seduction of cynicism. Chariots of Fire comes to mind. A cliché, perhaps, but Blade Runner, even set in such stark film noir scenery, is ultimately uplifting. Even Star Trek II is more profound than this year’s sci-fi Children of Men. And I love realistic movies. I was glad Scorcese and The Departed won. I was a huge fan. But realism and cynicism need not be the same thing, and Hollywood doesn’t know how to make the distinction quite yet.
I tried to watch as little of the show as I could, but I do love movies, and their production is rather fascinating. Knowing how difficult it is to get one photograph just right, to make a movie, much less a great one, must border on the impossible. Watching all of the nominees for costume design, art direction and cinematography reminded me how much skill and time goes into a film; acting, consequentially is probably the least impressive feat. (Apparently, even American Idol contestants can become as good as any Julliard-trained thespian overnight. Who knew?) But a lot was indeed missing on Oscar night, and it could have all been predicted if you know the heart of a leftist.