March 2022 in Summary: Slap Happy

CODA - Family

Other considerations for this update’s title were “What Did the Five Fingers Say to the Face?”, “Will Smith is the New Moe”, and “My Parents Are Deeeaaaaad!!”, but I ultimately decided to instead pay homage to the German/English avant-pop band Slapp Happy that did two albums with Henry Cow (Desperate Straights and In Praise of Learning). Check those out if you like experimental, jazz-flavored progressive rock.


Films watched in March 2022:

In theaters:

  • <None>

At home:

  • The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021)
  • Nightmare Alley (Guillermo del Toro, 2021)
  • Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
  • CODA (Sian Heder, 2021)
  • Belfast (Kenneth Branagh, 2021)
  • King Richard (Reinaldo Marcus Green, 2021)

SLAP!

So, yeah, that just happened. And now it has its own Wikipedia page.

I do like how a lot of Oscar purists took one look at Will Smith slapping Chris Rock across the face on live television and declared the sanctity of their event to have been forever ruined. Anyone actually familiar with the history of the Oscars and not suffering from some kind of metaphorical myopia can probably name a few incidents that prove that boat has long sailed.

As for the victories themselves, I was kind of surprised to see Dune win as many awards as it did, and while I was hoping Drive My Car would pull the same upset victory Parasite pulled two years ago, I’m fine with CODA winning. I was expecting The Power of the Dog to win, but I do give credit to the Academy for shining the light on a solid indie film. As I said, it’s the kind of indie film we need more of – not meandering, plotless stuff like Nomadland.

Plus, it is definitely one reason why, as flawed as they are, the Oscars do have a leg up over their video game equivalents. The Game Awards treat indies as though they’re lesser efforts by putting them in their separate category the way the Academy separates animated and international efforts. As bad as the latter approach is, at least indie and mainstream efforts are forced to compete on an even playing field for an Oscar. The Game Awards should take note of that if they want to remain be relevant.

Actually, you know what? I take back everything I said about any potential snubs occurring. It was worth the Academy nominating Don’t Look Up simply so Amy Schumer (in one of the very few times she was actually funny) could dunk on them for their poor judgement (actual quote: “I guess Oscars ‘Don’t Look Up’ critics’ reviews”). Granted, she backpedaled a few seconds later, but the look on Adam McKay’s face was priceless; that was the look of a deflated ego if I ever saw one. Coupled with his film being one of two to get completely shut out (the other being Nightmare Alley, which was fairly good, but it’s definitely not one of Guillermo del Toro’s better efforts), and I consider that and CODA’s victory to be a 100% positive result.


Featured articles:

Top Ten Unused Batman Villains For Future Films – With Matt Reeve’s The Batman having hit theaters recently, Starloggers take a look at Batman villain who should be considered for future films.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline – Writing for his new site, Roars and Echoes, Lashaan Balasingam takes a look at Ready Player Two. Considering that it’s a token sequel to a book that, even just eleven years later, has aged rather badly (although unlike most instances, it’s not really the author’s fault), that it failed to generate waves is unsurprising.

Clash of the Titans (1981) Review – Alex of Alex’s Review Corner takes a look at Clash of the Titans – a classic film from a time when fantasy was starting to hit the mainstream.

Film in 500: The Worst Person in the World Review – Never mind. If the Academy couldn’t make it to ten films, they should’ve gone with the best another country had to offer as opposed to a poor effort from a creatively exhausted, yet domestic source. WCRobinson reviews one of said “Best International Picture” nominees: Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World.

My Generation: The Who’s Timeless Youth Angst Classic – Mr. Wapojif highlights the hit single off a classic rock record wherein The Who sings “My Generation” (wasn’t it called The Who’s First Album?). A classic of the 1960s, to be sure.

Talking shop #2: Two types of success in online writing – AK discusses what it may take to be a successful blogger, and criticizing the profit-driven nature of certain endeavors.

Top 5 Gaming Controllers – Matt Doyle Media takes a look at five gaming controllers – some from this generation and others classic blasts from the past.

Top 10 Kirby Games – With Kirby hitting his 30-year anniversary, Scott of the Wizard Dojo ranks his top ten personal favorite Kirby games.


Links to my articles:

Other posts:

12 thoughts on “March 2022 in Summary: Slap Happy

    • You’re welcome! And honestly, I’m not sure if it was worth slogging through the rest of the ceremony for that because it was still quite tedious as usual, but it was priceless all the same. Bet you didn’t expect to wake up to that!

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  1. As usual, I didn’t watch the Oscars, but I guess I missed a lot. Naturally I saw the unedited clip on Twitter later — at least you can say Chris Rock handled the situation in the best possible way. Certainly the Academy has silently condoned or at least turned a blind eye to far worse than that slap. That aside, I agree that the Oscars is still a lot more relevant than the Game Awards, which I think are widely considered a joke even if some people do get legitimately upset over the results.

    Out of all the films entered into the awards, I think the only one I saw was Dune. I’m no expert in the technical stuff but it was definitely impressive, though I wish I’d gotten to see it on a big screen. Making it through the novel afterward helped put a lot of it into context, but Villeneuve still did a good job telling the first half of that story, and I look forward to Part 2. I’ve been spoiled on the last five minutes of Don’t Look Up and I got the impression from the tone that I’d have disliked the rest of the movie, even if I basically agree with the agenda I’ve heard Adam McKay is pushing. Of those others you brought up, I want to at least see Drive My Car and Belfast for sure.

    And thanks for the link! Trying to make money writing was rough ten years ago, and I can’t imagine how much rougher it must be now. Unfortunately, there are some scammers aside from the legitimate business-oriented types who are now giving copywriting a bad name. I love writing, but I’m happy to keep it as my hobby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! I’m not used to seeing these kinds of wacky moments live, so that completely caught me off guard. I had to rewind and see if I was seeing things correctly. Even the censored version showed the slap (but not the cursing). And yeah, I find it interesting how purists are up in arms about this moment when, if you were to list the Academy’s transgressions, it probably wouldn’t even rank in the bottom ten. Not that I’m condoning the slap, obviously, but as I said, that boat has sailed.

      And I have to say that as soon as I heard the premise of Don’t Look Up, I knew how it was going to end. In fact, as soon as I learned of its existence, I already knew that and how it was going to be bad. I also knew the Oscars would eat it up despite its lukewarm-at-best reception. And while I can agree with the agenda Adam McKay is pushing, there’s no getting around that the man is beyond insufferable, hence why I refused to even rank his effort on my list.

      He’s actually similar to Bob Chipman in that he makes good points, but you don’t really want to give him the satisfaction because he makes himself very difficult to like. They’re also alike in that they rose to prominence in the 2000s and never really mentally aged beyond that decade, which is why their rhetoric tends to get dismissed by liberals as out of touch at best (and tone-deaf at worst). It really says something that Don’t Look Up told critics exactly what they wanted to hear, and they responded with a resounding “Meh”. Long story short, if you were turned off of Don’t Look Up based off what you heard of it, I can assure you that actually watching it will not change your mind.

      I’m looking forward to Dune’s second part myself. And I highly recommend Drive My Car and CODA, although Belfast was pretty good as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the mention, really appreciate it! Totally agree, too; I find it sort of jarring that there is the need for an International Film category… Some films like Parasite and Drive My Car qualify for Best Picture, but then some others don’t? How does that work? The Worst Person in the World certainly should have taken priority over, say, Don’t Look Up or Licorice Pizza (FYI I enjoyed Licorice Pizza, I just don’t think it was particularly spectacular). Also Renate Reinsve should have had an acting nomination, in my opinion (and maybe even won).

    Again agree on how the Academy does well at including both the lesser-known films and the big-budget stuff. I think a lot of people take the Oscar nominees/winners as recommendations of films to seek out, and that’s a positive in my book. Admittedly games such as Hades and Celeste have been nominated for Game of the Year in The Game Awards (and It Takes Two even won, but I haven’t played that game so have limited ability to comment), so I think there is an effort going into doing it on the gaming side too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! And yeah, that really doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. I kind of get why the Oscars would place such an emphasis on domestic efforts, but if they’re going to acknowledge international efforts at all, then they should just be allowed to compete on the same level as everyone else. There simply isn’t a reason to shine a spotlight on the product of a mediocre-at-best American director in lieu of the best other countries have to offer. And yeah, I thought Licorice Pizza was good, but it wasn’t really Oscar worthy. I think it was more based on the director’s track record, though at least critics actually liked it; Don’t Look Up didn’t even have that going for it.

      I do kind of think the Oscars work as a list of recommendations. I wish the lineups were a bit more consistent quality-wise, but I guess some years are just inevitably going to be better than others, so if one year is a bore, it’s not really their fault. Still, their overlooking Leave No Trace and (almost) every actual good film in 2018 was pretty egregious.

      And if it’s one thing I think is holding the art of game criticism back, it’s their general unwillingness to shine the spotlight on indie efforts due to being at the beck and call of publishers. Admittedly, it was nice that It Takes Two won, but then again, it was also published by a major AAA company (EA), so I wonder if it would’ve gotten that award had it been self-published like Celeste and Hades. It is nice that indie games have, on occasion, been allowed to compete in the main pool of games, but giving it a separate category gives off the impression they’re lesser efforts much in the same way the Academy refuses to acknowledge the accomplishments of animators or their counterparts abroad (although to their credit, The Game Awards do allow international efforts to compete on the same level). Fortunately, I do feel a lot of independent bloggers and channels are better at getting the word out about indies than the mainstream outlets, and the community itself is far more involved in making them succeed than their film counterparts with their own indie scene, so it kind of balances out in a weird way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the mention, as always! Couldn’t pass up the opportunity to praise Kirby!

    “The Slap” wasn’t even the worst thing about THIS Oscar ceremony (that would be the blatantly ignorant remark against animation that the Academy forced the presenters of Best Animated Feature to say). There are so many worse things the Oscars have done. I certainly don’t condone Will Smith’s actions (and am shocked that it was Will Smith of all people who did them), but if this ruins his career when Hollywood and the Academy have turned a blind eye to so many other, far worse offenders, that’s more an indictment of them than it is Smith.

    Now I can’t believe I’m saying this, as much as I have against the Oscars, but let’s not even pretend that The Game Awards are their equivalent. Video games simply don’t have an Oscars equivalent.

    I will have to check Coda out now though that I hear it’s not your typical (as you put it) meandering Oscar darling of an indie flick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! That franchise is indeed worthy of praise.

      And that slap caused me to forget about that comment about animated films. There comes a certain point when what is intended to be a lighthearted jab instead comes across as sour grapes, and I tend to get that vibe whenever film fans dismiss animation. When your medium regularly produces stories with the level of imagination and ambition as your average Pixar feature (or successful indie game developer, for that matter), then we’ll talk. Until then, pipe down. And yeah, I’m pretty sure if you were to list the Academy’s transgressions, Will Smith’s slap probably wouldn’t even be in the bottom ten (or, at worst, it would rank 8 or so). Personally, I find what they did in the 75th ceremony to be far worse than The Slap.

      And no, The Game Awards, for all their bombast, are not on the same level as the Oscars. Not even close. Say what you want about the Oscars – at least they’re not complete sellouts. Their lack of relevance among gamers may honestly be a good thing, though, because with no Oscars equivalent to pander towards, there is a lot more freedom in what developers can do (well, indie developers, anyway). Music fans kind of collectively decided that the Grammy’s are pointless, and their medium is doing just fine. Hell, they’re arguably the most innovative medium out there.

      And yes, you should watch CODA. A modern-day indie film with an actual sense of purpose to it needs all the attention it can get. I highly recommend Drive My Car and The Power of the Dog as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nomandland remains a mystery to me. I don’t know how it could even get away with a win that big amidst the competition. But you’re right about all those odd categories we continue to stick to today at these different awards. I guess it gives more chances for more people to win something in the end. Thanks for the shoutout by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! And really, Nomadland only won because it was going up against some rather weak competition because let’s face it – 2020 was an abysmal year for films. Even the best films nominated were just merely good and not great. It’s difficult to know for sure, but I feel it would’ve schooled had it faced the “Best Picture” nominees of the previous or following years, which were of a much higher quality overall.

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  5. I’m a fan of Nomadland, although I’m not convinced it deserved Best Picture. I agree that it didn’t have the toughest competition that year.

    I wasn’t wild about the Best Picture noms this year, but admittedly I’ve only seen about half of them. Truthfully, I’m becoming far more enthused about animated film than live action.

    Thanks for sharing the link re: Success in Online Writing. I’m heading there now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t care for Nomadland, but I will admit it did have a degree of artistic sincerity that Green Book lacked, if nothing else. At least we can agree that 2020 provided for some rather weak competition, huh?

      And I don’t blame you for turning to animation. They’ve been hitting it out of the park these past few years while I think the live action directors kind of got complacent (although I really liked Everything Everywhere All at Once). This year, I was really impressed with Turning Red and The Bad Guys.

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