It's pretty ridiculous to go look over the films nominated for Feb. 24th's Academy Awards and realize my children have seen more of them than I have seen.
It's pretty ridiculous to go look over the films nominated for Feb. 24's Academy Awards and realize my children have seen more of them than I have seen.
That fact probably became inevitable a few years ago when the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences began a best animated film category. By the end of the year, the kids have usually seen three or four of the nominees from that bracket (thanks to their aunts or their mom), while it is not unusual that I have not seen even one of the nominated films.
The Motion Picture Academy made another change a couple of years ago: They increased the number of Best Picture nominees from five to as many as ten films. In theory, this should make it more likely that I have sat in the theater for a couple of these pictures. However, it has not worked out that way. I am zero for nine this year. That's right, so far I've missed them all: "Lincoln," "Argo," "Zero Dark Thirty," "Amour," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables" and "Life of Pi."
I did see the first installment in "The Hunger Games" trilogy in a movie house. Jennifer Lawrence, the female lead in "The Hunger Games," is nominated for an Academy Award this year for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. So I saw the right actress in the wrong movie.
I think I finally understand why the motion picture industry so frequently targets the youth audience with their product: it's because, by and large, they're the demographic buying most of the tickets. From my early teens through my mid-twenties, more Friday nights than not, I was probably at the movies. The balcony of the Riviera Theater in North Tonawanda was practically a second home. Trips to the cinema have become less frequent as the years have piled up. I hate that pile.
The Bruce Willis-type action movies, the comic book superhero films and all their sequels, the increasingly popular horror genre -- they are all produced with the young adult movie-goer in mind. Recently, an entirely new genre has sprung up. It's the young woman falling in love with someone from a different species (vampire, zombie, werewolf, Democrat) and all the complications that arise from that. I generally pass on these movies.
If "Jaws" was being released for the first time next week, I probably would never see it on the big screen. When it came out in 1975, it was a must-attend event. The last Best Picture winner that I actually saw in the theater was Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004. I'm more likely to catch up with the year's best movies when they are released on DVD or to a streaming service, like Netflix. "The Artist," last year's Best Picture winner, is available for home viewing on Netflix. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to see it before this year's winner is announced.
Page 2 of 2 - Neal Simon is a staff writer with the Evening Tribune.