Now, first things first, the Oscars always suck so this isn't a surprise. What is hilarious is the praise that Paul Haggis' Crash is still getting. Crash is being heralded as a breakthrough in race relations (much like Brokeback Mountain is being hailed as a breakthrough in gay relations), while really all it does is use "second-class" citizens to play out childish narratives played by petrified stereotypes. And I know "race" and "stereotype" is the "point" (because we're beat over the head), but it is more likely an afterthought in a film that still treats blacks with the most hostility and still makes the middle-easterner the would-be terrorist.
And yet Ebert picks it as his film of the year. Ebert is becoming more and more irrelevant to the point that it offends me. His year-end lists are always capped with movies that I don't believe he honestly likes, but movies that he thinks that you should see because you are white bread middle America who didn't see anything but Harry Potter and Star Wars this year. Because they are in his best political and popular interest to choose.
He is always using ridiculous hyperbole (like calling Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit one of the most "delightful films EVER MADE" [emphasis added]... now, while I would question that statement outright, I even more question why, if it is one of the most delightful movies ever made, that it would be nowhere near your top ten. It is because it isn't as apolitical as Syriana (or for that matter, Good Night, and Good Luck)? Because America would be better if they pondered Brokeback Mountain, which treats homosexuality like a chaste sitcom?
Ebert has a gift for pointing out the movies that are, at their very surface, almost about one issue (that gets all the hype) while entirely missing the subtext. Crash is a race melodrama that falls into the same traps it accuses America of. Or 2004's Million Dollar Baby, a movie about regrets of fatherhood (although both Ebert and the Oscars have written off everything Bill Murray has done in the past five years), presented to us in an obnoxiously conventional, cloying, obvious fashion. Or 2003's Monster, which again purports gay relations and capital punishment, but fails in that, at its crux, it is a movie that believes that, regardless of victim/oppressor ideology, some have more a right to live than others.
Ebert and the Oscars then play their careful balancing act in which they weigh the film's popularity with its perceived quality. More often than not, we are left with, at best, a middlebrow picture.
And now for something that I care about much more than the Oscars, INCREDIBLE ROCK AND ROLL FESTIVALS! Unfortunately, this years Coachella line-up was announced this morning. And it goes a little something like this:
Saturday, April 29:
Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros, Common, Damian Marley, Atmosphere, Carl Cox, My Morning Jacket, Ladytron, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Tosca, Cat Power, Animal Collective, Hard-Fi, Derrick Carter, Devendra Banhart, She Wants Revenge, The Walkmen, The Juan Maclean, Audio Bullys, Imogen Heap, Lady Sovereign, Deerhoof, The Duke Spirit, Editors, stellastarr*, Lyrics Born, Matt Costa, The New Amsterdams, The Zutons, Platinum Piped Pipers, White Rose Movement, Chris Liberator, Colette, Joey Beltram, Hybrid, Wolfmother, The Like, Living Things, Nine Black Alps, The Section Quartet, Infadels, Youth Group, Shy FX & T Power, Infusion
Sunday, April 30:
Tool, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bloc Party, Paul Oakenfold, Scissor Sisters, Matisyahu, James Blunt, TV on the Radio, Sleater-Kinney , Mogwai, Coheed and Cambria, Gnarls Barkley, Coldcut, Phoenix, Digable Planets, Amadou & Mariam, Little Louie Vega, Mylo (DJ Set), Seu Jorge, Wolf Parade, The Go! Team, Kaskade, Metric, Art Brut, Dungen, The Dears, Jamie Lidell, The Magic Numbers, Los Amigos Invisibles, Jazzanova, Michael Mayer, Mates of State, Gilles Peterson, Gabriel & Dresden, The Subways, Minus the Bear, Be Your Own Pet, Giant Drag, Kristina Sky, The Octopus Project
A (very short) list of bands that I would be even slightly interested in seeing at this year's Coachella: Franz Ferdinand, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Walkmen, Deerhoof, Sleater-Kinney, Art Brut.
Come on guys, Tool? Matisyahu?? COHEED AND CAMBRIA?? I've already seen Sigur Rós, Bloc Party and Common. I don't really care about Franz Ferdinand or Deerhoof. That leaves CYHSY, The Walkmen, Sleater-Kinney and Art Brut. I don't think that cuts it guys. 2006 Coachella looks like a couple of fanboys at Goldenvoice completely dropped the ball (Tool), and then picked up any hyped buzz band of the past year regardless of whether anyone actually cares. I hate to say this, but I am highly doubting whether or not I will attend Coachella this year. This is the most disappointing thing ever.