Alternate Oscars


You are right on target Klavan on the Culture!   Film in this country would be far more interesting if the politics in the films were not, predictably, 90% of the time firmly on the Left.  Outright conversative films like American Carol are quite rare:

Of course the deadening ideological conformity of the film industry is only one of its many problems.  Others include:  lack of creativity as illustrated by endless sequels;  actors and actresses who are articulate as stones;  screenwriters who, judging from their output, view plagiarism as the highest form of their art;  and a total dependence on violence, profanity, sex and technical effects, to conceal the fact that films are usually poorly written, poorly acted and poorly directed.  I would give up seeing films for Lent, but I am afraid that in the current state of the industry that would be too small a sacrifice to make.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Don, good post. But fine films didn’t end in 1939, as Klavan suggests. I just saw David Lean’s “Great Expectations,” made in 1949. Wish you would post the clip near the end between Pip and his benefactor on his deathbed. Moved me to tears.

    Others that would make my top 10 list: “Il Postino,” “Amadeus,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Bridge on the River Kwai,” “The Mayor of Casterbridge” (BBC), “12 Angry Men,” and “The Apartment.” Scarcely a sex scene or profanity in any of them, except for an imagined vulgarity by the Mozart character.

    My wife and I suffered through the execrable Black Swan and nearly walked out. It was disgustingly Hollywood. I haven’t watched the Oscars in full since Johnny Carson hosted. Whatever happened to the Golden Age that included the likes of Spencer Tracy, Bogart, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Vivien Leigh, etc., to be replaced by James Franco in drag and a bunch of talentless, classless poseurs. It was left to old Kirk Douglas, creaky and half-gone, to save tradition, only to have the Oscar-winning supporting actress to drop an f-bomb at the end of his presentation.

    That sums up Hollywood’s middle finger to the better America many of us remember.

    By the way, at your suggestion, I have ordered El Cid from the library and note that Angel on My Shoulder is scheduled to be shown soon on Turner Classics, along with Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1940’s version).

  2. Joe, I think fine films are still being made today. I greatly enjoyed The Incredibles for example and I think the latest Star Trek film had its moments. The Lord of the Rings trilogy fascinated me. Kenneth Branaugh’s Henry V is one for the ages. My list could go on with many other films. I watch quite a few films with my family, and not just those from the Golden Era. It is simply that the abysmally poor category has increased dramatically since the Sixties. We have a perfect storm of dropping educational standards, the ability of film directors to conceal poor films with sex, violence and explosions and actors and actresses who specialize in mumbling to produce some mind boggingly bad drek. The biggest problem I think is that so much in the way of films seems to be produced on autopilot with little to no original thought behind them. As T.S. Elliot noted we live in a time of hollow men with hollow chests and hollower heads.

  3. Donald-
    looking at your list reminds me of a conversation that’s been going around (here and here for example) about supposedly “adult” fare.

    The Incredibles is probably the best original movie released in my adult life (a category that is a bit more limited than it may seem, living in the Era Of Remakes); Lord of the Rings, even though it (naturally) suffers from not being six movies and the limited imagination of some of the actors, was outstanding.

    I can’t watch the newest star trek, for reasons starting with “even a military as cruddy as Picard’s StarFleet does not work like that” and including a deep disgust for “updates” by and large.

    Thinking of movies I love, they’re almost all “childish” or “geeky”– things that reject the supposedly adult culture. The Last Unicorn, Princess Bride, Willow, the real Star Wars movies, Riki Tiki Tavi… good grief, my daughter’s Magical Meow Meow Taruto anime has more dealings with mature themes, like death, honor, loyalty, bravery, truth and unrequited love than most “adult” movies. (Anyone who can watch episode 3, “Long, Long Ago,” without crying is either heartless or very tough.)

    Hollywood isn’t just limited by their politics– they’re limited by their belief that hope, optimism and joy are childish.

  4. heh

    Last time I cared about the BS/oscars was the year “Patton” was nominated.

    Some of you weren’t allowed to be born . . .

    No wait! That was before Roe v. Wade!

  5. We live in odd times Foxfier when the best “adult” films are often kid flicks. In regard to the Trek movie I had similar criticisms which I posted in my review that no military in the world acts the way Star Fleet does in that movie. However, I also pointed out that the original Star Trek was about as silly. (Oh yes, it is a good idea to send the Captain and the ship’s senior officers on an away mission that should be commanded by Ensign Expendable. Then we have the female personnel running around the ship dressed in miniskirts and go-go boots. Kirk has a “flexible” attitude towards orders and yet never seems to suffer any consequences. Paperwork for command officers has apparently vanished in the 23rd Century. The list could go on and on!)

  6. Have any of you seen “The King’s Speech?” I highly recommend it (there is a brief scene which contains bad language – the King did not stutter when he cursed. Unfortunately, I hear as bad or worse simply walking down the street behind a bunch of teenagers.)

    No surprise ending, but it nonetheless moved and entertained me. The film celebrates responsibility and duty (the sometimes romanticized Duke of Windsor is portrayed -accurately – as a selfish and nasty bounder) and also the wisdom gained by experience vs. merely having a degree. At a time when our own elites seem allergic to common sense and have boundless scorn for those who did not attend the right schools, that message hits the mark.

  7. I am looking forward to seeing that film Donna. I have always had a fondness for George VI. He was a good family man and he and his family showed a fair amount of courage by staying in London during the blitz and sharing the dangers of their people. I also liked the way he talked Churchill out of landing with the British troops on D-Day by telling him that if Churchill was doing this, he as King had to be there also. The English have had far worse kings than the Queen’s father.

    Agreed as to the Duke of Windsor, a selfish grown brat of marginal intelligence, less ability and more than a little sympathetic to the Nazis prior to the War. The British dodged a bullet when he gave up the throne to marry the golddigger he lusted after.

  8. And let’s not forget the King’s wife. When I was in England many years ago, I was struck by the affection and respect that the Brits, even young, trying-hard-to-be-hip London males, had for the “Queen Mum.” Everyone, even those not enamored of the institution of the monarchy, seemed to adore her, as though she was the kindly National Grandmother. When I saw “The King’s Speech,” I better understood the reason for their love.

  9. I know very little about the Royal Family, other than that my grandmother– who hated the English with a burning passion– liked the current queen; looking at the lady, I’m not surprised to hear folks say her folks were good people.

  10. Donna, et al, just returned from seeing The King’s Speech and found it wonderfully crafted and moving and, notwithstanding Christopher Hitchens’ meanspirited (since when is he otherwise?) essays finding fault with the portrayal of Churchill, heartily recommend this film.

  11. Don, this is a movie that’s meant to be seen on the big screen. Don’t wait, go see it in a theater. You will be glad you did. Guaranteed.

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