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Father, I saw "The Wrestler" with my 29 year old son last night. Its a gut wrench...but I don't see the "redemption" in it that Evangelicals are looking for, its the fallen world from first to last, and very real and very sad. The strip bar scenes are brutal but are the bottom line (if you'll forgive the double entendre) of most people's lives: we are soul and body but we sell our flesh and souls even with our noble aspirations. I have some VERY mixed reactions to it that I'll probably unpack in a blog post soon. I haven't seen the other Oscar nominee performances, but I think Mickey Rourke was robbed. He was that good. Not for the easily scandalized.

Did you notice that the diminished fifth is also the Simpson's opening theme? which just got renewed for two more seasons? which means that they have overtopped Gunsmoke in longevity?

"Maria"?? West Side Story??!! I thought you meant "Maria" from The Sound of Music! That diminished fifth is all devil's music! :)

There you go, as requested.

S-P, I share your interest in "The Wrestler," though I'm not so sanguine about the flick as my evangelical friends, who scry in it some faint trace of Good Friday and Easter. I reminded them that living outside of the Triodion and Pentacostarion that they do, their search for meaning has become diffuse and obtuse.

JM, I really didn't think of watching the Oscars as something the Opus Dei people might enjoy, for a different reason altogether.

"Sexed up without being explicit" is Mickey's goal, made very plain by -- dare I say it -- Ariel, of all (mer)people. "Are those new clam shells?" (a question posed by a pelican, I think). I rest my case.

Fr. Tobias, I though self-flagellation was a Western thing that died out in the Middle Ages. Is this a normal part of the preparations for Holy Lent?

I haven't seen HSM either, but it seems to me that anything coming out of Disney targeted at adolescents these days is way sexed up, and yet somehow without being explicit about it. I can't figure out how they do that, but I think it has something to do with the make-up, sparkles, and auto-tune.

I watched the last set of awards (from "Best Actress" forward...) It was the first time I have watched part of a prime time TV program in probably ten years. I hadn't seen any of the movies, I didn't recognize most of the people except a few of the presenters. I will probably not watch TV again for another ten years and will probably see fewer than my usual 4 movies this year. What a crock Hollywood is. (Though I do want to see "The Wrestler" for some odd reason...) Thanks for the rant. I loved it.

I confess abject ignorance of the substance of HSM. I know neither lyric nor melody nor plot line. My younger daughter, who is my Virgil in this sub-terrain, was the one who signaled to me (with no small disdain) the presence of Zack (no Dad, Zac) and the girl (Vanessa, geez) who have the HSM franchise tag on their contract ... (oh wait, this is showbiz not football). Anyhow, I rejoice that Disney is experimenting with wholesomeness. There must be a market-segment of wholesome values that needs to spend some money. And Mickey is there to help.

At least, Christopher, you did not point out the satanic interval in the Maria melody. I'm waiting for that to appear in the comments. ;)

Busted again. At least it wasn't during the Great Fast, which -- as always -- cannot come soon enough.

James, thanks for bringing up the fine point that we confuse (or conflate) fine arts with entertainment. I would like to see actors return to their old Shakespearian status.

And Eddie, you are a brave, brave man.

Usually wishing to be more like you, I must register dismay about your views of High School Musical. Here's why High School Musical is pretty good, especially for the 5-15 y.o:

1. Positively illustrates that stereotyping others--and yourself-- is mistaken and uncharitable.
2. It's not just a "follow your dreams" message. It embraces a Christian sense of vocation--doing what God has given you to do, and not being ashamed if it is unpopular.
3. The love story is depicted more in terms of friendship between two unlikely people. They become friends, not lust-mates.
4. The songs...well, they're pretty catchy, and less irritating than many things marketed to adolescents.
5. Few bad attitudes toward authority per se. The protagonists know their duties and struggle with them.

I'd rather the kids sing "Maria" or "Favorite Things," but it was a kind of musical that didn't suffer from Hollywood's irony syndrome.

...and if you disagree, at least I didn't watch the Oscars myself! :p

Peace!

I can't remember the last time I watched the Oscar parade. I get more enjoyment out of watching my wife try and cook where the plot if adventuresome, the theme is all about flavor or the lack thereof, and the outcome is generally SiFi.

The ads for these "award" shows...have turned me off and turned my stomach for too many years to get sucked in again. Happy to take my chances on missing nothing. Thanks for affirming a standing instruction. :)

The pretense of the "artiste" in these things seems to be such a hoot... as if they aren't in it for the buck.... but heck... this is more than anything else... all about the buck. It's commercial music and commercial films that are awarded and showcased here. They never count tickets at the box office... only dollars. So what's a guy to think?

Wouldn't be so tough to deal with if it weren't so unbecoming... and sadly spilling over to the fine performing arts that seem struggling to survive and following the whole sad misguided marketing-led sort of Leviathan embrace glitz blitz that's obliterated our Protestant churches (yes I'm reading your stuff!).

Busted.

But I didn't enjoy it.

And I didn't watch the whole thing. I can't stay up that late anymore.

Ah hah! I knew it. What in the world are you doing watching the Oscars????

Oh, come now, Andrea: are you suggesting an anti-American penchant in the self-celebrated? aka Academy (perhaps the most oxymoronic term in the modern idiom) of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?

Of course you do, and you are right. We are the pupils, and the Academy are the pedagogues, trying to "re-wit" us closeminded nitwits.

Tell your son he is culturally astute, "Hello Dolly" was truly clever, and Wall-E is articulate and impressive -- especially in today's Hollywood.

Thanks!

And another thing about musicals and Wall-E - I agree with the sacrilege in the hodgepodge, but thought Hello Dolly in Wall-E was inspired.

I had some of the same impressions, though not as matured. Another observation was the lack of American born award recipients, so maybe you can add the importance of hating America to your list. My son counted only one American winner, the producer of Wall-E. Even without this context, I thought his speech was the most articulately impressive, or impressively articulate.

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