by Lauren Bans
The Oscars used to really mean something to me. So much so that in years past I held Oscar parties, run with an iron fist. I forced my guests to complete pre-show ballots and shut the fuck up during the high-brow Billy Crystal montages. But late last month my earthly body died during a screening of Valkyrie and my thetan flew to the Venus landing station where it learned the truth about Hollywood's duplicitous portrait of humanity, past and future. I've since been reincarnated, and now when I see movies I only see their glaring retardation. It is my frak pack to bear. Thus I offer the following awards:
MOST RETARDED METAPHOR IN A MUSICAL NUMBER: Bruce Springsteen/The Wrestler
In the first stanza of The Wrestler's eponymous theme song, Bruce mutters:
Have you ever seen a one trick pony in the field so happy and free?
If you've ever seen a one trick pony then you've seen me
Have you ever seen a one-legged dog making his way down the street?
If you've ever seen a one-legged dog then you've seen me
One trick pony analogy: okay, sure. But, uh, Bruce, question pour vous: Have you ever seen a one-legged dog? Because I don't think you have. A one-legged dog gets put to sleep. Like, immediately. You can't even find a picture of a one-legged dog on Google Image Search. Well, there's this one, but I'd be willing to bet my butt cheek that this photo is doctored.
Perhaps you meant to invoke the more apt image: a three-legged dog. A dog who makes his way down the street conducting his regular dog business with a little limp in his stride. A little limp in his soul. Needless to say I can't relate to your faulty analogy, and thus you lose. I mean, you win: MOST RETARDED METAPHOR IN A MUSICAL NUMBER.
BEST USE OF AN ACTOR'S LACK OF TALENT: Keanu Reeves/The Day The Earth Stood Still
As you've probably heard on the news by now, an anorexic woman by the name of Jennifer Connolly saved the planet a few months back by promising aliens that we'd all go green and elect Barack Obama. In the film, Keanu Reeves plays the alien rep who descends upon our planet in an oversize Iron Man spaceship to scout the Earth for hope. Apparently the way to convince the alien civilization that humans really do care about the environment is to drive their representative all over the New York tristate area in a gas guzzling SUV.
Reeves' main talent lies in sounding monotonously confused; hence he is best cast as a stoner, an awed human-Jesus, or an emotionless alien-Jesus. Only Reeves' lack of expressive talent could deliver such riddles as "If the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the Earth lives" (a question I got wrong on my LSATs) with such convincing alien indifference. He makes Jon Hamm in the role of the government science dude seem like a trained thespian. I salute you Keanu Reeves for turning tricks on your non-talent during these recessive times.
BEST PUBLIC ADVOCATE IN A MOTION PICTURE: Kate Winslet/ Revolutionary Road
Revolutionary Road was the must-see date movie of the Christmas season-- an idyllic and warm-hearted portrait of married life in a sweet, little suburban house just like the one you used to have up until your foreclosure. But amidst the gaiety, serious themes emerge. Right before the ship crashes into the iceberg, Frank Wheeler, played by Leo, finds some sort of tube in the hall closet and starts screaming, "How could you think of doing THAT? What kind of person DOES THAT?" to which Kate Winslet shout/cries back, "THAT is our only choice! THAT is how we're going to survive!"
At first I thought "THAT" was obviously "Gogurt: the yogurt you eat from a tube!", but then one of the last shots of the movie cuts to Kate Winslet standing in her white-carpeted living room, staring out the window demurely as blood begins to seep through her beige skirt, and I was like, "OH MY G." WE MUST KEEP TAMPONS SAFE AND LEGAL. How embarrassing for her! It just goes to show how much The Academy looooves when actresses are willing to humiliate themselves for the role.
BEST INDIE VERSION OF MARLEY & ME: Wendy and Lucy
The only other contender for this category was the Israeli animation Waltz With Bashir, because it too had dogs in it. But Wendy & Lucy ultimately grabs the honor of indie version of Marley & Me, if only for the basic similarities: both titles have two subjects, both center around the love between a dog and its human, both feature golden Labradors, and both have sad endings in which the dog goes to a better place or "goes to a better place." In true indie film form, Wendy & Lucy interprets the role of John Grogan as a poor, homeless girl played by Michelle Williams, donning brunette locks and Avril Lavigne's wardrobe. Williams' post-Dawson's Crack nose job makes her appear way too upper-crust to be a believable poor person while Owen Wilson's nose could definitely be convincing on the face of a homeless dog owner from the Midwest. This creates a very important liminal connection between the films.
BEST EMOTARDED CAUCASIAN HISTORY MAKER IN A MOTION PICTURE:
Benjamin Button/ The Curious Lawsuit of Benjamin Button
Benjamin Button begins with Benjamin, 85, under the table with a little girl, age 8. Flash forward to the court room wherein Benjamin's "curious" defense is that he's really only a boy of 10, you know, in his head, and he never actually touched her hoo-hoo. Written by Eric Roth, the same man behind the wonder that is Forrest Gump, the movie takes us back to moments in Benjamin's curious life when he was an inadvertent history maker. Button meets and falls in love with Elizabeth Abbott, the woman who eventually became the first female to swim across the English Channel. In the movie's historimagination, this accomplishment was the result of Button's slow drawl of encouragement years earlier, something mentally ill like: "Having dreams is great!"
As in Forrest Gump, the movie teaches us the important lesson that history is made inadvertently by semi-retarded white people. You should just be dumb and totally passive, and then WHOA, the Civil Rights movement will just kind of happen because you flung a booger at the right person at the right time in the right place. (See also: Eric Roth's forthcoming Trig Palin biopic).
Note: The Curious Lawsuit of Benjamin Button also won the BIGGEST LETDOWN FOR COLLEGE BOYS award. What will those young MCM majors who incessantly enthuse about David Fincher pre- and post-coital use to lure girls now that Fincher has gone the mainstream family film path of Tim Burton? Oh noooooes! Kill Ur Idolzzz!!!!!
And, ahem, lastly:
BEST BUTT IN THE MOVIES, EVER: Marisa Tomei/The Wrestler
You can't really see it here, but there's a reason no director lets M. Tomei keep her clothes on in movies. OMG. Amazing.
Lauren Bans is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn. She blogs here.
UNPLAYED PIANO CAN STILL HOLD A TUNE
"Courting Blues" - Lisa Hannigan (mp3)
"Lille" - Lisa Hannigan (mp3)
"I Don't Know" - Lisa Hannigan (mp3)
"Keep It All" - Lisa Hannigan (mp3)
PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING
The butterfly swims upstream.
God stopped keeping score.
Somewhere along the way.