Okay, enough with the prankster headlines.
“‘Benjamin Button’ sweeps Oscar nominations with 13,” for example. Don’t they have any grown-up editors at Newsday to squelch this kind of childish newsroom humor?
And, where are the copy editors? How could they let something like a nomination for Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino slip through the cracks?
You’re saying that this isn’t a joke?
These are the real decisions of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the “the more than 6,000 artists and professionals who bring the magic of the movies to life?”
This nomination explains why it’s much safer to keep movie stars and their moneyed handlers out of Washington. If this is “magic,” the safest place to keep it is in Los Angeles.
But, “magic?” Look, this is possibly the worst movie in history. Its closest rivals are:
- The Golden Child (1986) — Eddie Murphy’s alternative to root canal surgery without the painkiller.
- Forrest Gump (1994) — Tom Hanks’ dopey ode to feel-good vacuity (the warm-up to Cast Away, his vacuous feel-good ode to dopiness in 2000).
- The Crossing Guard (1995) — Out of Ambien? Drug store closed? Watch Jack Nicholson sleep walk through Sean Penn’s self-indulgent, endless soporific and see whether your butt or your brain cries “Uncle!” first.
It’s not even fair to include The English Patient (1996) in this list of incredibly dull movies, it’s such low-hanging fruit.
These are the kind of movie you go to because someone with whom you want to share life’s most meaningful moments — or, whatever, you know — wants to see it. Something … I have no idea what … overrides one’s innate intelligence and critical sense.
Putting that aside, what these movies have in common is that they are empty intellectual calories. There is nothing to them. None of them tells a good story. They are “buzz” movies.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is all of that down and doubled. You’ve already read everything you need to know or will ever learn about or from this wretchedly boring exercise in prancing Brad Pitt in various forms of digital special effects across the screen. A man is born old and gets younger. The progression affects people around him. After the first five minutes, the only mental exercise you will enjoy will consist of looking at your watch and wondering whether you need a new battery.
Okay, if you insist that there must be something more to it — some weighty theme or deep literary artifact hiding behind this really silly device — read the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald here. It’s free. It’s online. It takes much less time than the movie.
And it’s just as light weight.