Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Movies: Five Year Plan

As if I didn’t already have enough problems with Entertainment Weekly, now they’ve stolen my idea.

I believe that the best measure of a movie is how it holds up over time. So every Academy Awards season I’m tempted to revisit the films that were – and weren’t – honored five years earlier, to see which titles have faded and which have aged well.

EW has finally put that notion into practice, the bastards, complete with poll. At this point, Jennifer Connelly (Best Supporting Actress, A Beautiful Mind) is the only winner to retain her crown. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring would sweep were the balloting held today.

Writer Jeff Labrecque cites several performances that, in retrospect, should have been nominated – Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums, Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive. I still can’t believe that Billy Bob Thornton wasn’t recognized for his work in my favorite movie of that year, the Coen Brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There.

My video collection contains several other films from 2001 that didn’t get much love from the Academy. Like Vanilla Sky. Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The Deep End. (No nod for Tilda Swinton? Come on!) Ghost World. And perhaps the most influential movie of 2001, Memento. I’ll bet you have overlooked favorites, too.

This exercise has taught me two valuable lessons. One, my taste is very odd. And two, the ultimate honor is to be considered for a nomination.

TV: Raquel!

Now that I’m getting 18 hours of streaming video per month with my Netflix subscription, I want to make the most of it. I’ve already watched all four hours of House of Cards. Today I struck the mother lode: Raquel Welch’s enthusiastically self-titled 1970 TV special. It features an interpretive ballet based on Barbarella, a rendition of ‘Age of Aquarius’ featuring a parade of astrological symbols atop a Mexican pyramid, and appearances by John Wayne, Bob Hope and Tom Jones. It is, in a word, awesome.

Next up, something a little more sedate: 1979’s Bobby Short at the Café Carlyle.