Sunday, February 22, 2015

Birdman Wins Big

OK, so Birdman won four Oscars.  It tied with Grand Budapest Hotel for total, but it took home more in major categories.  Now, I'm happy for all involved, but I have to say that since I've seen Birdman, I've really had some second thoughts about it.  It's a well-written, well-acted and well-directed movie that completely misses the mark.  The more I think about it, the more I believe that it's complete malarkey.  I've written about this before, but the notion that art has to be dangerous in order to be valid is utter hogwash.  If you throw in a bunch of professional actors acting very unprofessionally, then its impact is further blunted.  True, it's about a group of flawed individuals putting on a show that will redeem Michael Keaton's main character.  But if anybody was ever as disruptive as Edward Norton, then they would never be able to act again anywhere, Broadway legend or not.  And the most maddening aspect of the entire film is that the staging of these Raymond Carver stories doesn't even appear to be that good.  If it wasn't for the intervention of the aforementioned dangerousness-that-proves-art, it would be just another sub-par, pretentious vanity theater production.  Sure, it has some surprising comic moments along the way and Emma Stone is quite good, but its view on art is so childish and it being such a central theme makes much of the film grate on me.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: art is not achieved by mistake or in desperation; it is made by people who hone the craft.  It is a calculation.  If that sounds like a bleak assessment, it isn't.  If you know how it's done, you do it.  And it isn't done the same way every time.   It always changes, which is why inspired mistakes and desperation don't help matters at all.

Funny thing, I wasn't overly crazy about Grand Budapest Hotel.  I felt it was all light and little heat.  It was very tough to care about any of the characters, especially those whose manners were more wooden.  It does offer the standard Wes Anderson charming awkwardness and attention to detail, but it left me cold.  Mind you, I loved Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom.  Those should have won all the Oscars, but what can you do?  Anyhow, that was this year's Academy Awards.  At the party I went to, I only got 10 out of the 24 categories right, so no prize for me.  Oh well, that's what I get for not betting on Whiplash.                

1 comment:

triptrumpet said...

I found Birdman clever and interesting, although I wouldn't go so far as to say outstanding. I don't think the movie necessarily made the point that one has to involve danger to make art. It did seem to more than imply that Keaton's character needed to do something to shake himself up and break free of his demons/past.