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And the Oscar for snark goes to...

January 17, 2014 - Nick Dutro
I love talking about movies. I don’t just love watching a good film -- which is one of my favorite pastimes -- but I mean the act of TALKING about movies. For me, the Academy Awards are like Christmas when I was a kid, in that I go insane in the weeks leading to the event. I strongly back one or two movies that I saw and loved, and express doubt and disapproval for those predicted to overtake them, especially when I haven’t seen those films. I speculate and overanalyze every article I can get my eyes on, again, often for the movies I was unable to watch.

But when it comes to love for the act of talking about movies, the conversation often tips on the side of hate or snark more so than respect and admiration. To me, the Oscar is the only award that matters in movies, but it’s the Golden Raspberry -- the awards given to movies dubbed the worst of the year -- I maybe find more intriguing. There’s nothing better for a movie snob than talking about the worst movies of the year, especially ones you’ve not seen.

For as much as I enjoy a good “Best Of” list for the year (and there were many I read with great interest and fervor), it was the “Worst Of” lists I probably enjoyed more. I think it was Roger Ebert who said that while he loved a good movie, the review for a bad movie was more fun to write. (It’s the movies that are “godawful and boring” that truly belong in the “bad column.”) It’s maybe no wonder that I own Ebert’s “Your Movie Sucks,” his second compilation of reviews for bad films. Enjoying the commentary of “bad” movies, music, television and books is a pastime like few others. Perhaps it’s because I agree to some extent that the best kind of camaraderie comes from mutual hate more than a mutual love. It’s why I proudly display the worst of the worst films in my collection -- “Plane 9 From Outer Space,” “‘Manos’ The Hands of Fate” and “The Room” -- as prominently as I do the best -- “Citizen Kane” and “Ghostbusters.”

This time of year, I also enjoy the analysis of the process of criticism itself, like reading articles in which the Razzies are questioned by the snarkiest of media sites for piling on the hate for directors and actor who have long been critical failures, choosing the safe bets rather than tackle the some of the commercial success -- or failures -- that were potentially more deserving. For instance, the Onion’s AV Club ribbed the awards for focusing again on veteran nominees like Tyler Perry (nominated as worst director for “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas” and “Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor” and worst actress for reprising the role of Madea) and Adam Sandler (whose “Grown Ups 2” was nominated for almost every category) and piling on big-budget flop films like “Lone Ranger” and “After Earth,” while not making mention of the truly bad films that were quickly forgotten (like this summer’s big loser, “R.I.P.D”) or tentpoles like “A Good Day To Die Hard” that at best damaged a once great brand.

With the announcement of the films up for Oscars yesterday, now begins the period of waiting to catch some of those great movies I didn’t have the chance to see during either short runs or limited release, and anticipation to see which movies are recognized as the best of the best for 2013. And just as important, the night before I’ll be waiting to see which movies are recognized for falling at the other end of the spectrum.

What I’m listening to: CHVRCHES. Yet another band from 2013 I didn’t discover until it was too late.

What I’m reading: “New Avengers” by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch. It’s a favorite from my youth that I thought deserved to be revisited.


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