By Jeff Girod
Somebody open a window because, baby, I’ve got Oscar fever! No, wait. False alarm. Actually I’m just wearing two undershirts.
December is traditionally when studios release their “artistic” films in anticipation of next year’s Academy Awards. You know, films everyone are supposed to see, showpieces movie critics describe as “intelligent” and “breathtaking” and a “tour de force in landmark cinema.” The problem with tour de forces is usually they’re about two and half hours long and my butt falls asleep about the time Sean Penn starts speaking like a mentally challenged person or Meryl Streep tries to save a Rwandan orphanage. Tour de forces are great in theory, but, c’mon! I’d rather suck on a Junior Mint while watching 90 minutes or less of Kevin James sliding on his belly in Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
This year’s Oscar front-runner is another delight called The King’s Speech. It’s about . . . You know what? Let rottentomatoes.com tell it:
“Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother—ZZZZZ, don’t let my snoring butt distract you—arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) . . . With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle!”
Did you get all that? So instead of robbing a Vegas casino, or stopping a runaway train or defeating a legion of brain sucking zombies after one hour and 51 excruciating minutes of nobody getting naked and nothing with lasers exploding, the “high point” of The King’s Speech comes when King George VI talks into a microphone. Well color me excited! Why should we even hold the Academy Awards? Just dip the entire cast of The King’s Speech in gold! (Seriously, submerge them all in a fiery molten liquid, especially that witch Helena Bonham Carter, so I never ever have to waste another 45 seconds reading a preview so bland and lifeless.)
You think this movie sounds awful? You should see the poster. They didn’t even try to make it interesting. It’s just three torsos looking all British and snooty as if to say, “Even WE realize this movie would be far more interesting if Bill Pullman played the president, Will Smith was an Air Force pilot and aliens invaded Earth, but none of that is going to happen in The King’s Speech and we’re STILL going to win an ass-load of Oscar trophies, so enjoy 119 minutes of unintelligible accents, bad teeth and jolly old pocket watches. Tut tut!”
The King’s Speech—or some craptacular “period” piece just like it—is going to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and that pisses me off. Because I wouldn’t watch this movie if you Super-Glued my testicles to a cannonball and fired it down the theater aisle. And somehow that makes me stupid or less cultured because I prefer movies where—and let me find a refined way to say this—SHIT ACTUALLY HAPPENS. Car chases. Gun battles. Prison escapes. Bruce Willis riding an asteroid like a bucking bronco on a collision course with earth. Any of these things is better than watching a group of self-important actors playing out their fetishistic scenarios as a one-armed cancer patient or a musically gifted Holocaust survivor or a Death Row convict with a heart of gold. And for what? To win a Hollywood popularity contest?
The irony of these artsy movies is they aren’t all that popular—at least not with moviegoers. Last year’s Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, to date has made $16,400,000 in ticket sales. By comparison, Hotel for Dogs—which literally is a movie about a hotel for dogs—has earned more than four times that.
Now I’m not saying Hotel For Dogs is four times better than The King’s Speech. I’m just saying I’m four times more likely to buy a ticket for Hotel For Dogs II.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.