Monday, November 09, 2009

Hangover: Best Picture?

Saw The Hangover on Saturday night. It was as funny as everyone said it was. It was playing at the dollar theater and we went to the 10 p.m. showing, which was packed. Pretty impressive for like its 10th week in circulation. Or, maybe it just says something about people's tastes in Erie.

Really though, I haven't talked to anyone who didn't like the movie and some people like it a whole lot. One of our friends thought it was the funniest movie ever made: funnier than Animal House and Caddyshack. Both my wife and I liked it, which means it scores with diverse audiences, as our movie tastes are fairly different. I guess the point I'm getting at, is can a low-brow comedy like this be nominated for best picture?

I think the Academy has been catching some heat in recent years, for ignoring "popular" pictures like this and wouldn't be surprised if they threw a curve ball this year just to change their image. I mean those Hollywood types are awfully image conscious you know. I don't know what the qualifications are for Best Picture, but I know I saw Slumdog Millionaire last year, and while it was good, in my opinion, The Hangover was better- whatever that means.

But, let's take Caddyshack, for example. I my opinion (once again), that was maybe the funniest movie ever. Granted, I caddied for a few years at Kahkwa, so my perspective is skewed, but everyone else seems to like it as well- and it has to be one of the all-time most quoted movies.

According to a Google search, Caddyshack came out in 1980. In 1980, here were the five pictures nominated for Best Picture: ORDINARY PEOPLE (which won I guess), Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, and Tess. Okay, Raging Bull may be a better movie than Caddyshack, but those other four... I'm sure they have their charms, but 30 years later, nobody is suggesting I watch them. Caddyshack, meanwhile, holds up.

I guess my point is that great comedies really don't get enough credit. It's always been my contention that a comedy is the toughest movie to make well. I base this on the fact that I've seen so many bad ones. Of course, it's certainly easier to make a niche comedy, like a formulaic romantic chick flick, because there are certain demographics that find comfort in that sort of thing. I remember this kid in college who I thought was perfectly normal and fairly intelligent until he told me he thought the "Earnest" series of movies was the greatest. I immediately thought less of him, but as I continued to hang out with him and get to know him, I realized this did not necessarily make him a dumb person, just someone with a different sort of comedic taste than I have.

The thing that makes Hangover great is that it seems to satisfy every comedic taste (well, maybe not the Christian right wingers, who I haven't heard weight in on it yet). I don't know how it will hold up in years to come, but it's fairly hot right now. And I certainly think it deserves consideration for best picture of 2010.

Any thoughts?



J. James said...

Possible? Sure, especially since they are stupidity nominating TEN movies for Best Picture this year, which is a rant for another day.

Likely? No way. I found the movie hilarious, but it is "low brow" humor, whereas Academy voters are far too smug to vote for that. As far as comedies go, they prefer the quirkier, more thought provoking kind of humor like Little Miss Sunshine.

While I personally don't think it will be on my top ten of the year (probably top 15), I would still be happy to see it get nominated though. I just don't ever see it happening with the way the Academy votes.

Anonymous said...

Kinda like Monty Python movies...

Originally dismissed as "low-brow," Python continue to be the most-frequently quoted band of movie-makers in recent memory (at least on college campuses).

"It's just a flesh wound..."

Ralph said...

Was Python dismissed as low-brow at one time? When I was a kid, I remember it aired on PBS every night at like 11:30. I assumed this meant it was high-brow. Or was it low-brow comedy for high-brows? Either way, Holy Grail doesn't seem to have been recognized by the Academy.

As far as 10 better movies this year, I must admit haven't seen 10 movies, so I'm in little position to comment. Feel free to share some recommendations through--especially comedies, as I said, I find it especially hard to find good comedy movies.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that just the time when they aired perverted British humor on the telly?

In any event, you'd have a tough time arguing that songs about Spam and skits about liver extraction (from living patients) are high-brow comedy, that's for sure.

Ralph said...

You're right, they used to televise Benny Hill, as well. What was that all about anyhow? Was a national PBS thing or a local Erie thing? Who made those programming decisions? We'll give you Sesame Street, Fred Rogers, the Electric Company, and perverted British humor...Is someone's idea of balanced programming?