When I first thought about writing this piece, I was only going to list my all-time favorite movies, breaking them down by decade. I was going to explain that these weren’t my idea of the greatest or most innovative films of the past 80 years or so, but merely the ones I have enjoyed the most, and in most cases have seen more than once.
Because the choices are totally subjective, a lot of movies you might expect to find -- movies such as “Gone With the Wind,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Dr. Zhivago,” “The Godfather II,” “Easy Rider,” “All That Jazz,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Bringing Up Baby” -- aren’t included. The reason is that I didn’t enjoy them.
But before I got to it, along came the Oscars, and it would seem like a serious oversight not to comment.
For openers, I had even less interest than usual because I thought 2008 was the worst movie year in history, but I did make my annual wager with my wife, and so I had a vested interest -- 25 cents and bragging rights. For the record, I won, but that’s because she tends to pick the candidates she’s pulling for, whereas I put sentiment aside and go for the gold.
Having sat through Oscar shows hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman, I naturally assumed these things couldn’t get any worse. I was mistaken. The entire production was one big mishmash. I could never quite figure out what film clips I was looking at. Some of them seemed to be scenes from the nominated movies, some seemed to be from old classics and still others seemed to have been culled from my worst nightmares. But even harder to take was listening to all those former Oscar-winners paying fulsome praise to the nominees seated in the audience. The nominees kept clasping their hearts and mouthing “I love you” back at them. I hadn’t seen so many kisses blown since Carol Burnett went off the air.
Other loathsome moments included Bill Maher’s juvenile remarks about God and religion, and Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech upon receiving the Oscar for his mawkish “Milk” screenplay. It struck me as he droned on that he was simultaneously propagandizing for same-sex marriages and trolling for a date for the next Gay Pride Parade.