Home Movies

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t know what a movie is anymore. 

Movies used to be these films that you’d go out to your local theatre to see. 

Sure, you could watch them on your TV, or in recent years, via your screen/tablet of choice.  But this was only AFTER we had to move our asses out of the house and out to….well, somewhere.

Leave… the … house??

Now we have the chance the watch them sitting, lying or doing god knows what else in our living rooms, bedrooms or kitchens.

Heck, we could even be the FIRST on our block to view next year’s Academy Award winning best picture sitting on our bathroom toilets via our iPhones if we so desire.

Gonna work all day to get that out of my head

Too vivid an image, I know, and who’d want to?   (Note: Okay, you know someone would).  Still, this is more than possible and, in certain circles, could be viewed as progress.

The groupthink in the ad world right now is that consumers, more than anything, desire OPTIONS and will pay handsomely for the privilege of getting what they REALLY want in that moment.

And, let’s face it, which of us at some moment doesn’t desperately want to be the FIRST?

ME! ME! ME!

Of course, the latter doesn’t seem to apply to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in far too many communities in the Deep South.  Despite more than 50% of the US having already received at least one dosage there are millions of holdouts determined to be the lastor in the (not) over my dead body category.

These are the kind of people who have stubbornly vowed to never watch Titanic or The Lord of the Rings.

And lest you think I’m any different, just know to this day I’ve never seen Jaws. Sure, I’ve always blamed it on my lifelong love of the beach and body surfing.  Why put those images and ideas in my brain?

But at this point, well, it’s just a matter of pride.  And since June is PRIDE month for all LGBTQ Americans, I don’t see any reason to end this 47-year boycott.

:: wink ::

Still, Jaws admittedly became a seminal MOVIE movie back when it was released in 1975.  Meaning, that not only was it a box-office smash action film but it also had a story and characters.  So much so, that it likely paved the way for films like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings.

That is, at least in the minds of the movie studios and film financiers everywhere. 

Jaws might not have actually won the best picture Oscar, but it’s worth noting that it did receive an Academy Award nomination in the best picture category.  And that’s really saying something since that year its fellow nominees were classics like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon and Nashville.

One of these things is not like the other

I’d venture to say the only one of those that would be likely to be given a green light as a movie today is Jaws. 

I think what THEY’RE really saying is that only the threat of a shark attack would be enough to get us all up and out of our homes and back to our local theatres.

The rest, well, they could be binge-watched.

Thanks, Steven (Note: Spielberg, that is).  Despite your penance with movies like Schindler’s List, Lincoln and the upcoming West Side Story, you literally did create a monster that has stayed with us to this day and morphed into all kinds of variants.

“You’re welcome Chairy”

Once studios realized they didn’t have to delve too far into the human psyche and take very many risks away from funneling their money into tried-and-true formulas, they didn’t.  Or mostly didn’t.

This brings us back to not leaving our homes and what the definition of a movie is.

In the last ten days, I’ve binge-watched two extremely watchable movies that are not considered movies at all – Amazon’s highly original, bold and superbly reimagined historical drama The Underground Railroad and HBO Max’s infinitely engaging murder mystery, character-driven drama about the American working class, and the rest of us, Mare of Easttown.

Both a must

The UR is 10episodes and M of E is 7 episodes.  Total then up and they’re approximately a 17-hour movie.

In 1975 they likely would have been 8 different movies made by various studios on similarly themed subjects over a decade. 

I’m not sure if that’s better of worse than what they would be considered now, which are stellar episodes of two contained limited series able to dig deep into the human condition in a way few theatrical features can or seldom try to do in 2021 (Note: Pandemic not withstanding).

Give them all the awards please

I only know that MOVIES like these, which are solely being shown on television, are the reason that I, as a young person, wanted to go OUT to the movies in the first place.

Oh sure, I’d leave my bathroom or get off the couch to be frightened to death by The Exorcist or Poltergeist or even The Shining. And as a prideful LGBTQ person I couldn’t wait for the spectacle of something like the next midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Or even, well, okay, Funny Girl. (Note: I was VERY young and my aunt and Mom took me when I begged).

Me, at the movies

But spectacle wasn’t ALL the movies offered.

What got me out of my bathroom, off my couch and out of my house was the chance to connect with something recognizable and human and identifiable.

It wasn’t solely the in-your-face thrill but the thrill of realizing, among a group of other humans, that you were not alone and that others had the same fears, loves, dysfunctions and battles with the establishment as you did and that it was okay – or could be.

Most importantly, it was finally, the knowledge that you were not alone.

Also you were allowed to openly weep in public

I loved feeling that not alone feeling among other people watching something deep and human that up to that point had, unbeknownst to me, been plaguing me in the darkest, most dangerous depths of dread in my brain.

Those are the movies I loved and the movies that, post pandemic, I still long to leave my home tablet and screens to return to.   And the ones I seldom find anywhere, pre or post pandemic.

Yet strangely, I do remain ever hopeful.   Because the one thing the movies have taught me is that I am NOT alone.

“Day After Day” – Badfinger

Zoom Free Zone

The 93d annual Academy Awards will be presented next Sunday, April 25.  ABC will carry them live at 5pm PST and at 8pm EST.  The main stage hub will be located at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, an architectural delight of Deco and Spanish design, long considered among the last of the great train stations.

Red carpet ready

Consider the decision to use this public transportation landmark as a gathering place for the world’s most popular awards show, one that could surely rival the old MGM’s claim of having more stars than there are in heaven– as an innovative coup.

For one thing, it’s NEVER been done before.  And, well, at this point I’m not sure there is much of anything any of us can say that about.

But for another, this year’s Oscar producers have categorically promised, sworn really, that this production will contain:

NO ZOOM CHATS.  AT ALL.

Live shot of me in my living room next Sunday

NOTHING on the small or big screen can categorically claim that these days as we enter the latest chapter in our more than year-long (and still counting) continuing TV series, entitled:

AS THE PANDEMIC TURNS….

It’s the program that consistently reminds you:

No one really knows for sure how close is too close, even if you’ve been vaccinated. 

What?

Thank god I look good in green

Yeah, sure if you’ve been jabbed you can get “close” to random people and be fairly sure you won’t get IT, or at least a bad case of IT.  But if you’re careless you still can’t be positive (Note: Or can you?) you won’t pick IT up and pass it on to your friends, your kid, other family members or even someone you randomly meet… somewhere ….and strike up a conversation with.

Not that many of us are back to doing much of that these days.  I don’t think.  Though, well, truly I can’t be sure.

What I can be sure of is that other than the fact that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on hold until they can sort out 6 or so blood clots it unwittingly induced among a handful of unlucky women, and the fact that those of us fortunate enough to receive Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations will now need a third booster jab no more than a year from out first vaccination date, the US is doing great!

It is, right?

That is, as long as you’re not a Black male within 1000, okay 10,000, feet of a police officer, or even someone who happens to care about what happens to Black males engaged in anything that could place them anywhere near the vicinity to any of the above.  That series, which truly has been going on since 1776, could very presciently be entitled:

REPARATIONS?  DUH!!!

Though, well, let’s see.

Because it might not be the type of four-quadrant series studios and production companies long for, despite how timely it might seem at this moment.   Meaning it likely would NOT appeal to the broadest possible audiences of all ages and economic classes the industry longs to attract given how polarized our country is at the moment.

No comment

A better choice might be chucking the topic all together and stay with something, um, safer….for the majority of us, that is. 

Given our national fascination with gun violence, which pretty much affects everyone now since you can not only get your head blown off at a school, a movie theatre, a supermarket and, as we’ve just learned a few days ago – even a nondescript FED EX facility.

you just know something that promised some blood and bullets and, well, MAIL would be a bigger draw.  The action. The letters left unopened or undelivered.  Who knows what could have been in them that remained unrevealed and unrealized before it was too late?

By the way, does this latest FedEx fiasco have anything to do with how screwed up the Trump Administration’s still lingering postmaster Louis DeJoy made the US postal service with all his slashing and burning of services?

Evergreen

Maybe not, but let’s blame him anyway because, well, it just feels right.  Doesn’t it???

It is for all of the above and more that I am truly, and greatly, looking forward to this year’s Oscars.  It’s why I’ve been blogging about it lately and why we’re devoting several of our new POD FROM A CHAIR podcasts to who will win and why, as well as why not.

Yes, we all need to pay attention to what’s going on in the world.  The shootings, the trials, the racism, the guns, the sickening lack of empathy the idiot who occupied the Oval Office fomented for four years before Joe Biden took office, not to mention the shots, the masks, and the vigilance we need to all employ in just about everything as we try to forge a new and better normal.

No more than ever, Moira.

Yet amid all that I would argue we also need to rely on the few constants we have left.  Pizza and chocolates are two.  The Academy Awards are a third.

Do NOT judge me.

NO JUDGEMENT

Aside from Union Station, this year there will also be cutaways to Oscar’s usual home, the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, a place close to my heart because I could walk there from my own home if I so desired; which I do not.

Though needless to say, I wouldn’t get very far.  Those surrounding streets should start getting barricaded right about…well, now.  And when that happens there’s  more security and barricades than just about anywhere. 

Certainly, it’s much more secure than our Capitol Building in D.C. was on Jan. 6th.  The ONE thing Hollywood ALWAYS does better than everyone else is keeping people out who they have somehow decided en masse to never let in.

But let’s not get too political at this point (Note: Time’s up).

wink

Instead, here’s what you can look forward to in this last week leading up to the Oscars.

A NEW POD FROM A CHAIR on TUESDAY with a special guest star.  Someone who is a REAL LIVE MOTION PICTURE ACADEMY VOTER who will share with us WHO THEY VOTED FOR AND WHAT THEIR PREDICTIONS ARE FOR THIS YEAR’S OSCAR WINNERS.

Of course, the Chair and Holly will also weigh in.

This may not be the booster vaccine you were looking for but don’t even start saying something Oscar-related is meaningless.  Anything that can take your mind off of…anything for a few minutes right now, so you can reserve your rage for the big stuff, is worth its weight in sanity.

The Rolling Stones – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”