The 2023 Oscar Nominations Remind Me of My Dysfunctional Relationship With Movies

(Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

The Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday and, for the first time in years, I was aware of a lot of the movies on the Best Picture list. I haven’t seen any of them, mind you, but I’d at least heard of most of them.

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While perusing the nominees, I got to thinking about my odd relationship with movies, which then prompted me to write about it rather than keep it all in my head. It’s often quite helpful to bounce things off of you, my astute readers.

First off, I’m not one of those people on the right who thinks that there’s some kind of conservative street cred to be gotten by avoiding popular entertainment. Social media is at its most tedious when an awards show is airing and conservatives are falling all over themselves to tell everyone that they’re not watching. You’re not in a Cool Kids Club because you’re avoiding the Grammys. In fact, given the consistently low ratings of awards shows, the non-watchers are one of the least exclusive groups in America.

I do keep up with movies, even if I don’t watch them a lot. I’ve been in the entertainment industry for decades, I read Variety and Deadline. I’m aware of what’s going on. Mine is a self-imposed “outside looking in” approach to movie fandom, I guess.

No, my thing with movies is that I’ve never been a huge consumer of them, and I don’t know if there is a reason why. I feel like I’m always swimming upstream on this. Everyone loves movies, right? It’s as if I’m at a banquet with 10,000 people and I’m the only one not raving about the food. I don’t hate it, I’m just not very hungry.

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There are some movies that are near and dear to my heart. Most of the Star Wars films, for example. Not surprisingly, a bunch of comedies like Blazing Saddles, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, to name just a few.

Harold Ramis was involved in two of those three comedies, by the way. He wrote and directed Caddyshack and wrote Vacation. I am a huge fan of pretty much anything he was involved in from 1978 (National Lampoon’s Animal House) to 1986 (Back to School). Maybe he spoiled me. I know that I would much rather re-watch Caddyshack for the kajillionth time rather than commit two or three hours to whatever it is they’re calling comedies these days.

That last line may make me seem like a “Get off my lawn!” classic movie-loving curmudgeon, but I’m not. Well, I guess we can call movies from the ’70s and ’80s “classics” now, so I’ll amend that. I’m not a fan of the classic movies from the Golden Era of Hollywood. I find most movies made before the 1960s to be over-acted piles of “blech.” I came to this realization while re-watching Casablanca a dozen or so years ago. I found myself thinking that I’d rather be at the dentist than watching it. I then took a mental inventory of which “classic” movies I enjoyed.

There’s The Wizard of Oz and a handful of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton flicks.

My affront to the sensibilities of my movie fan friends doesn’t end with Casablanca; I think Gone with the Wind is a hate crime.

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You can see that I do like some movies though. Maybe my whole reason for writing this was to come to the realization that I want to watch more movies. Perhaps that can be one way I shake things up in 2023. I would like to watch some off-the-beaten-path fare. Any suggestions from you, dear readers, would be greatly appreciated. Who knows, I could become one of the last Boomers to have a movie library at home. Now that I’ve put it out there in public, there’s a greater likelihood of it happening.

I’ll begin this weekend by watching Top Gun: Maverick, as I am one of the fourteen adults in the United States who hasn’t seen it. Then I can work my way through some of this year’s Best Picture list.

That’s going to require time away from my books and my video games, but I think this is a change I can tackle. I’ll do it for work so that I can write about movies more.

It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for you, dear readers.

I will leave you with this:

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