Among the many reasons I have refused to follow the Academy Awards in recent years is that the whole process has become a self aggrandizing bully pulpit for post modern liberal elites that share very little in common with those that pay millions to watch them. But I’m going to pay attention this year because there are three movies (The Hurt Locker, Blind Side, and Avatar) that I actually watched in a theatre that are in contention, the last of which was Avatar which I saw today with my seventh grade son.
Avatar was a technically interesting presentation but the premise of the story was an all too familiar mix of conspiratorial corporate greed, anti military angst and Mother Earth worship. It’s easy to imagine that this screenplay was written and approved during a same period that conceived and birthed what is now seen now as a clueless progressive legislative and Executive effort that the public finds numbing and confusing. It was, in short, The Day After Tomorrow with even more dazzling special effects.
The Hurt Locker is a gripping and frightening film if the audience suspends disbelief and disabuses themselves of critical plot lines. However, I think a believable plot and adherence to certain details are important elements of films that portray war, which is why The Hurt Locker should be shut out of the Oscars. Notwithstanding the criticism heaped on the producer by current military personnel and EOD specialists (who say they laugh at the film), the producers and directors employ nothing original in their presentation and often revert to tired clichés (mainifested by the reflexive Hollywood Mỹ Lai meme in this movie) such as officers condoning field executions, NCO’s conducting unapproved vigilante expeditions and a complete disregard for the very real and onerous rules of engagement that our military operates under in Iraq.
The Blind Side is perhaps the most rewarding and redeeming film of the year because it is a call to action for every American to reach out and touch the lives of someone who is hurting (it’s also a true a true story, unlike the abovementioned ). This movie depicts the life of a homeless young man named Michael Oher who is taken in by an upper middle class family in Memphis, Tennessee. There are several themes at work in this film, the most obvious of which is the racial dynamic which juxtaposes the young Oher, steeped in a world of poverty and neglect, with a wealthy white family that literally brought him in from the street.But The Blind Side also presents front and center the difficulties good Samaritans encounter as they choose to offer grace in the face of a country grown accustomed to entitlement. Probably the most extraordinary aspect of The Blind Side is that Michael Lewis wrote the book upon which the movie is based long before the Michael Oher was drafted as first round pick in the NFL, an extraordinary example of prescience that is rarely acknowledged in Hollywood.
So there you have it. Two liberal love stories (complete with anti capitalist and anti millitary angst) and one act of grace at the Academy Awards. It’s a good thing that Michael Lewis is an accomplished author because he doesn’t stand a chance against the liberal zeitgeist that will drive the Academy’s decision process.