Sunday, February 22, 2015

Does the Red Carpet Match the Drapes?*

Every February we’re made to fulfill some sort of unspoken social agreement by taking a few moments out of our lives to pretend to care about something that we instantly forget about by the end of the news cycle. But enough about National Weatherman’s Day.** I’m going to talk about the Oscars instead.

Boy oh boy. So the Oscars are tonight. What is this, the 99,923rd Academy Awards show? I’ve lost both count and interest. And who can blame me?

Typically, if history is any guide, I’d use this opportunity to talk about the movies that are up for awards, and possibly give quick synopses of their plots. But my customary Sunday afternoon ennui is preventing me from rolling out of bed, let alone being bothered to see what movies have been nominated this year. Probably something foreign. Maybe something with Judy Dench in it. Perhaps something historical, or even a biopic? The latest Adam Sandler rom-com? All of those are valid options.

I know one thing for sure when it comes to movies that are up for “Best Picture”: they’re never fun movies that people like. The flicks nominated for that category are usually movies made by one part of Hollywood, for another part of Hollywood. Complete industry insider bullshit. We call that CINEMA. Meanwhile, the popular movies are tossed away as offal for the masses.

Don’t get me wrong. I know the difference between good and popular. Back in the early “naughts” I had an argument with a guy who kept telling me The Strokes were the BEST, because they had the highest-selling album of the year. I laughed at him. For a long time. A decade later and time has borne my truth. Half of you are asking who The Strokes even are!

I also know that there are plenty of award shows and competitions out there where nominees are voted on by the cretinous whims of the Great Unwashed. Hell, that’s how we elect our leaders. But to me, it seems odd that the Oscars are so mainstream for such an insider event.  Why are we supposed to care what filmmakers think about other filmmakers? It certainly doesn’t shame the bad filmmakers into quitting (isn’t that right Brett Ratner?). Are we being guilted into liking movies that don’t really appeal to us? Why do I have to like Whiplash? The concept of jazz drummers has never been interesting to me in the least. And I don’t want to feel bad because my commoner brain was entertained by Lucy.

There are people who do their best to go out and watch each “Best Picture” nominee picture each year. You probably know people like that too. Investing far too much effort, time and energy into watching movies that you wouldn’t normally watch on your own, (and you don’t get paid for it, no less) seems like the height of masochism. Actually, I take that back. Veganism is the height of masochism. And then, when they finish their viewings, these people can sit back and cultivate opinions on things that they never had input in. Sounds productive!

I think movie awards should be given out like Guinness gives records: the award stands until a better movie can beat it. If that means I, Frankenstein is the best movie for three or four years, then so be it. We could go some years with no Oscars being given out at all!

I’m not going to watch tonight. I never watch. Even with the gaffs, the flubs, the snubs, the grubs and the droogs, it’s not worth it. I’ll just have to find out tomorrow morning whose speech was cut short, who was wearing what Italian designer, (whose spring line us normies will run out to buy ASAP) who won for best Key Grip and the reasons behind why Kanye was even at the show in the first place, let alone whose speech he drunkenly interrupted.

And then next year, when February rolls around once more, we’ll poke our heads out of our burrows, like the majestic groundhog, cast our gaze across the barren winter landscape, sniff the fetid air, pretend like last year never happened, and proceed to do it all again.

Let’s just hope that next time, the Academy will stop ignoring Bruce Campbell’s many achievements.

*Could have gone with a period joke. Almost did. But didn’t. You’re welcome.

**A real thing. Never let it be said that you don’t learn shit reading my ridiculousness

Sunday, February 08, 2015

A Lovely Partnership (or, How To Get Married and Mean It)

A few weeks ago, in the Washington Post (motto: “Newspapers--not just for lining the bottoms of bird cages!”) I read this fascinating wedding announcement.
  “Woah, woah, woah, Josh,” You’re no doubt saying out loud to yourself like a crazy person. “Why, in the name of Zeus, are you reading wedding announcements in newspapers?” And the answer is simple: I am too weird to even understand myself sometimes. Also, I had finished with the comics but my compulsion to laugh was not yet satiated. And what better way to enjoy a hearty guffaw than by reading about voluntary imprisonment in the name of love?
And then I encountered a story that not only shocked the eyebrows right off of my forehead, it also gave me renewed hope in love, marriage and the knowledge that there are people out there who get it!
I discovered Ann Belkov, 75 and Jerry Lewis, 81. You see, Ann and Jerry met ten years ago, at the young virile ages of 65 and 71 respectively. And after ten years of “dating”* they decided to get hitched. It’s not Jerry’s first time. He’s been shackled to a broad before and got kids and grandkids for his troubles. But I guess Good ‘Ol Jer is a masochist, because he felt the need to marry again.
It’s interesting that Ann has never married before. But much as women these days, in their 20s and 30s, can sometimes feel the internal call for success overpower the call to settle down and focus on family, Ann decided to put her career and desire to enjoy and experience life before her need to get married. For decades she dedicated herself to breaking glass ceilings and manhandling the scrota of her male colleagues. In short, while her lady friends were all busy teaching their children not to eat glue or shit themselves, Ann was off taming lions and doing body shots off of Ernest Hemingway or whatever.
While that alone is intriguing and refreshing, it’s not what caught my attention. To me, what really stood out is the fact that these two fossils have no intention of living together. Think about that for a moment. Let it roll around your simple brain like a fine wine caressing your palette. Open your mind to that concept and let it move in for a spell. Marvel in the simplicity of such a novel, (yet devastatingly brilliant) idea.
We’ve all seen tv shows and movies from the 1950s and 60s where the chaste married couple sleep in separate but equal twin beds (Plessy v. Ferguson v. Serta**). And I once had a girlfriend with whom I had more than one conversation about marriage, and we always talked about having separate bedrooms. Good times. But this couple! Man, they just get it.  They went the next step of separate beds, separate rooms and separate houses.
What’s even better is that they’re only going to hang out and do stuff together on the weekends. On week days, they’ll each do their own thing in their own homes. Though, to be honest, I really have to wonder what things they’re getting into at such advanced ages. Alone. I’m guessing Tinder is involved.
That all sounds so fabulous and smart to me. Far too often I’ve seen relationships destroyed because couples are forced to interact with each other. Sometimes daily. That can be a real strain. But when couples only spend a couple days together a week, they get to keep things fresh and interesting. “Gee, I wonder if Jerry is still alive to come over this weekend,” is probably something that goes through Ann’s thoughts. Now that’s exciting and spontaneous!
Of course, the couple realizes that they’re getting up there in age and won’t be able to commute to love forever. But it’s okay, they have a backup plan for that. When the day comes that Ann needs to live with her part-time husband, she will take up residence in his house.
In the basement.
Yeah. She’s going to move into this guy’s basement (no word in the article on how many floors his house is, but I’m going to guess conservatively and say at least four) and they will maintain the schedule of only seeing each other on weekends. Do you hear me? They will live together in the same building and continue to only see each other on weekends. That’s heavenly. Short of one’s hubby being incarcerated or in a coma, this is the best possible situation for a married person to be in!

Man, I can’t wait to be old so I can shed the time-wasting games and stupidity that overcome people in love and instead focus on being pragmatic and sensible. It doesn’t make love less romantic; it makes the lovers smarter and more in tune with each other and our severely limited time on this planet. More people should consider this vista. I think these two wacky kids have a real future together. And if they don’t, I’m sure I’ll read about it. Because I cruise the obituary section too.

*Seriously though? Dating? That’s got to be an incredibly loose definition of what a date entails. I’m sure there were a lot of oxygen tanks and long rests on park benches involved in whatever they did together.

**This joke brought to you by Black History Month. “Black History Month: it’s that thing that teachers and old people guilt you into caring about.”