As my contribution to the environment, might as well recycle last week’s headline – thinking up a new one would probably require beer, snacks, and electrical power for the TV and VCR, so we’re talking non-trivial effort here. Should point out it only makes sense if you pronounce it right: “teer” not “tare”, but such is the price we pay for socially-responsible copywriting. Speaking of booze, first, a note on last week’s editorial on the subject of licencing laws here in Phoenix. Regular Swedish TC-er Sven Taveby writers:
“Sweden has always had a rumour for many rules dealing with the selling and serving of alcohol, at least among Swedes. And never minding the fact that we sell more Absolut to the US than we import any booze from the rest of the world. Interesting to read that Arizona has the same licence system Sweden had ’til 10 years ago. The restaurant had to have 25% of its income from food in order to get a licence for alcohol. So many restaurants served cheap lunches at noon, closed shop til evening and became a bar after sundown… I remember one place that was a bar, and nothing else. I wondered how that was possible until I noticed the small door leading to the pizza restaurant next door, obviously with the same owner. Rumour had it some restaurants wrote “pizza” on the cocktail check, trying to fool the county officials. When that didn’t work anymore, because they could show no record of buying flour, they started to bake pizzas and throw them away, just to make the books look alright.”
Thoughts on last night’s Oscars:
- It was mildly amusing, but not worth pre-empting Alias. Particularly not if it was a new episode.
- It was nice to see the mentally ill honoured last night. Not only in A Beautiful Mind, but also by Cameron Diaz’ hair-style, borrowed from a New York bag lady.
- What were Sharon Stone and John Travolta on? Apart from the brink of obscurity following once-promising careers, obviously.
- Jennifer Connolly really needs to eat something now and again. Once a month would apparently be an improvement.
- Never mind winning Oscars, did anyone out there even see Iris? Anyone? Anybody?
After last year, it was, however, largely back to business as usual, with political considerations supplanting anything artistic. With a black presenter and a black lifetime award winner, did anyone really doubt Denzel Washington and Halle Berry were going to win? And Peter Jackson’s chances were slim, since he’s spent the past three years toiling away in New Zealand, rather than on the talk-show circuit like Ron Howard.
The race issue perhaps merits more comment though, especially after Berry set a whole new standard for blubbering drivel in her acceptance speech, surpassing previous efforts by Roberts and Paltrow. Even before an Oscar-worthy performance (either that, or she needs to be committed to a secure facility), it was kinda hard to take Berry seriously since the reports – started by one of the movie’s producers! – that she was paid an extra $500K to spice up Swordfish by getting her tits out. Money wasted as far as I’m concerned; it’s been sitting round here on VCD for a year, and I still haven’t raised the enthusiasm to watch it.
Despite all the self-congratulatory back-slapping from the Academy, it’s hard to take their protestations of diversity seriously. How many Asian actors have ever been nominated? Indeed, how many non-English speakers? Equal opportunity, it seems, extends only as far as the Hollywood freeway. Denzel Washington is less suspect, since he has, at least, a track record of nominations, and no-one has ever claimed he dropped his shorts for money. But did Berry win because of her performance, or because of her skin colour? If it’s the former, then race is irrelevant, and she should be ashamed of herself for making it an issue. If it’s the latter, then it means nothing, and I would frankly be embarrassed to accept such an award.
I have my suspicions, but can’t properly comment, since I’ve not seen Monsters’ Ball. Once I realised it wasn’t a sequel to Monsters Inc., I kinda lost interest. And besides, if I want that sort of thing, I don’t need to go to the cinema, I can see Jerry Springer any afternoon. The thought does arise however: now that it has won an Oscar, will there be a sequel, The Monsters’ Other Ball?