February 28, 2005

Million Dollar Bore

In honor of The Academy's perennially bad taste, here's James Bowman's take from earlier this month:

To me, Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby is just routine Hollywood product but with a much higher-than-usual schmaltz content.
I didn't hate it quite as much as Bowman, but I did think it fell apart in the third act, where the "conflict"-- whether or not Frankie should pull the plug on Maggie-- became so ludicrously onesided. In this corner, a shining beacon of morality played by Morgan Freeman argues that to choose her death would be a final victory. And in this corner, a priest who has for most of the movie served as comic relief-- at one point losing patience and calling the protagonist a "fucking pagan" for persistently asking theological questions-- says that it'd be a terrible sin. Who will win? Edge of your seat, eh?

This is a dramatic objection, not a political one; I have no problem with euthanasia for consenting adults. But I agree with Bowman that it's more than a little odd that so many people are capable of denying that the film has any political content at all.

My favorite movie of the year, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, wasn't even nominated-- though Charlie Kaufman rightly scored a win for Best Screenplay. Of the Best Picture nominees, my favorite was Finding Neverland; I didn't see Ray but I'd be surprised if it changed my mind. And I can't for the life of me understand why the remarkable Metallica: Some Kind of Monster was completely overlooked for Best Documentary.

Posted by John Tabin at February 28, 2005 12:27 AM

Considering how this was the best year for documentaries in movie history, that final list of nominees was damn strange. "Some Kind of Monster" was the most disgraceful absence, but what about "Control Room"? "Paper Clips"?

Since they nominated the Tupac movie, I really can't understand why they dissed Metallica.

Posted by: Dave Weigel at March 1, 2005 01:44 PM