I really hadn’t planned on writing any more about The Lone Ranger, but a series of news articles and quotes that have been floating around this week, along with countless commentary, have me feeling like I should weigh in. First, Disney has projected that it will lose $160-190 million on The Lone Ranger. At the same time, or possibly in response to this, several people behind the film have piped up to blame the critics for the box office failure of their film. Continue reading
Even before Argo won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Hollywood’s top honor, it was already being plagued by controversy. (Nevermind the fact that every other nominee was controversial in some way: Lincoln got easy facts wrong, Silver Linings Playbook mishandled mental illness, Beasts of the Southern Wild romanticized poverty, Zero Dark Thirty lied about torture’s effectiveness, Django Unchained was racist and used the n-word too much, Russell Crowe’s singing was horrible in Les Miserables, Life of Pi misrepresented Indians and religion, and Amour advocates assisted suicide and wasn’t even in English!) It’s nothing unusual for films to encounter controversy, or even to court it, but the debates this year about facts and politics in film have raised questions (none of them new) about the responsibility of filmmakers to the audience.
Another Academy Awards ceremony has come and gone, and overall it was an enjoyable evening. There were few surprises among the award winners, though I only correctly predicted 16/24 winners correctly (equaling my score from last year, at least I’m consistent). In addition to there being no real surprises there are also no winners that I feel were not deserving to win; even if I disagree with the outcomes, the awards went to quality films/performances which makes it hard to complain too loudly. The show itself was enjoyable, if not spectacular, with some wonderful moments and some bits that fell flat, and I was surprised with how much I enjoyed Seth MacFarlane. Read on to see my thoughts in a bit more detail.
Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, Django Unchained, has been billed and advertised as a Western, but that’s not entirely accurate. It has horses and gunfights and a Sam Peckinpah mixed with Sergio Leone style, but it’s not really a Western. For one thing, it takes place in the South, from Texas to Mississippi to Tennessee. For another, it’s really a slavery revenge story. And though it was generally enjoyable, it made me wish that Tarantino had chosen to make a true Western, if only to show what he could really do by sticking to the genre. Continue reading