/A night at the movies

A night at the movies

Perusing news from the U.S.A. I learn that people now go to a library more often than a movie theatre.

A Gallup poll taken just before Christmas found that people visit a library on average 10.5 times a year compared with only 5.3 times a year for movie theatres.

After reading about and watching Sunday’s annual Academy Awards show I understand why. I’d rather watch raccoons dining at the dump than pay to view some of Hollywood’s recent offerings.

Take for instance the ridiculous Once Upon a Time in Hollywood . How it made it to the Academy Awards defies common sense as well as common decency. It has to be one of film history’s all-time duds.

It’s packed with star power: Leonardo DiCaprio Brad Pitt Margot Robbie and Al Pacino. Were they on vacation with nothing to do so they volunteered to take part in this movie-making catastrophe?

It did work out well however for Brad Pitt who won best supporting actor for his low-key performance as a stunt double to DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton a washed-up cowboy movie star.

The movie was directed by Quentin Tarantino and to be totally transparent I don’t like any of his work. He has a penchant for brutal violence and racial slurs in his films.

He is not a natural storyteller and prefers to create movies that are non-linear with scattered plots sprinkled with absurdity.

If I want to watch disjointed absurdity I don’t need to go to a movie theatre. I can watch the evening news or take a walk through downtown Toronto.

That’s just my opinion. Many people love Tarantino’s work which has included Kill Bill Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction .

Although I don’t like Tarantino’s work it is good that Hollywood has it. The movie industry needs diversity in its people and in its work.

It got a shot of diversity Sunday when the South Korean thriller Parasite became the first film not in English to win an Oscar for best picture. The film’s director Bong Joon-ho won best director and it also picked up the Oscars for original screenplay and best international feature.

I haven’t seen Parasite yet because I dislike having to read subtitles but I will get to it.  I’m told it is a cutting social satire about economic inequality.

I’m assuming that the Academy Awards voters did their job thoroughly and that it is a much more interesting flick than the competing 1917 Joker or The Irishman .

I thought they were OK but not on the top of my Academy Awards list although some of the acting in the competing films was terrific.

Joaquin Phoenix was outstanding in Joker getting a well-deserved Oscar for best actor. Renée Zellweger (best actress) in Judy and Robert De Niro ( The Irishman ) put in good performances but neither film left me with anything really memorable.

I would have fallen asleep during 1917 but the rifle fire and explosions kept me awake. It did win three Oscars – for sound cinematography and visual effects.

Last year’s offerings were much better I thought. Films like A Star Is Born Green Book Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther had good storytelling while carrying important messages.

Three of the best movies I watched this winter did not figure in this year’s Academy Awards.

The Wife which won nominations last year is an intriguing story of a wife (Glenn Close) who writes her husband’s books and he wins the awards. The Good Liar (2019) is about a con man outwitted by a widow (Helen Mirren) he is trying to con and Rocketman is the biographical musical about Elton John.

I thought each of these was as good or better than some of this year’s Academy Awards offerings. But then again I’m not a film expert. I’m just a guy who likes to sit down to watch some good storytelling and to leave the theatre having seen something memorable.

Much of the Academy Awards stuff I’ve seen this year is not memorable. Except of course for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood which was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

However as my dear old mother used to tell me: “Everybody to their own taste said the old lady as she kissed the cow.”