Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jim's World


"Is Jim's World on hiatus," asked reader Lawrence in an e-mail, "and is a nod to Wayne's World?" Last question first: It absolutely is!

But I didn't realize that until Lawrence wrote. When I was little, I loved Wayne's World. The first movie and the second movie I watched all through middle school and high school. I know both films by heart -- and most of the SNL skits that Mike Myers and Dana Carvey did as Wayne and Garth. When I decided to do this feature the first time, Dona sarcastically suggested "The Gospel According To Jim" or "Jim's Word." Others joined in with suggestion but I hollered, "Jim's World! Jim's World!" It sounded like a song.

Now I know it was, the theme to "Wayne's World." Thank you, Lawrence. "Jim's World" is done as last minute filler or planned when we know we don't have a great deal of time to struggle with features. It's the latter for this week.

Movies. Tonight the Academy Awards will be handed out. Ava and Jess and C.I. (and a date) will be there. I may fill in for C.I. tonight at The Common Ills if she's able to do an entry prior to the Awards. But Oscars are the movie crazy days and with Ty working for a production company, that's only more so around here this time of year.

This time of year, in fact, makes the whole country feel like they're an expert on movies. And why not? The largest international audience for a US TV event is the Academy Award broadcast. Movies are one of the few things America still knows how to make and still makes (to a large extent) in the US.

My big shock this year is the complete shut out of Bunraku.

And there are people who are laughing right now and think I'm joking but I'm deadly serious.


The film had a very limited release in the fall of 2011. It got some awful reviews but even the bad reviews noted the visual look to the film so I was expecting that they'd get some kind of a nomination.

But nothing.

The film hit the festival circuit in 2010. Director Guy Moshe also wrote the screenplay. The cast is headlined by Josh Hartnett, Gackt, Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore and Ron Pearlman. It's a story of violence and the addiction to it.

It has some spectacular moments in it and I don't just mean the fight scenes.

And I honestly liked the movie beyond the visuals. I was talking to the guy Ty works for about this movie and he said Blade Runner was basically disowned when it was first released, so-so box office and bad reviews. His point was that forward looking films sometimes need a few years for the public to catch up.

And certainly the Academy Awards are not known for being forward looking. They overlooked Pulp Fiction as best film to give the award to the reactionary Forest Dump. And Marilyn Monroe never won an Oscar, never even got nominated. (She was nominated for Golden Globes. A fact I did not know until Ava and C.I. wrote their piece on Smash.) Charlie Chaplin never won an Academy Award for acting or directing. This year, Gary Oldman's nominated for the first time.

First time. Not nominated for Prick Up Your Ears, JFK, Dracula, Romeo Is Bleeding, The Contender . . . What were they thinking?

And Charlie Chaplin never won for screenwriting either. And lost out, in 1948, to Sidney Sheldon. Sidney Sheldon!!!

So what it all proves is that it's not really about the best or even the best at this moment. It's about whom the Academy feels comfortable honoring. Though we claim it as "our" show, it remains their show.
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