Monday, February 27, 2012

It's time the Oscars celebrate the way we see movies now

Watching the Oscars last night, I couldn’t help but notice that the usual tone of love for the cinema and the big screen was actually starting to sound a bit conservative, almost protective, in its nostalgia for a bygone era of moviegoing. 
Between the stage made to look like an old movie house, and the tacky, IMO, stunt of the beautiful popcorn vendors in the theaters, it was a harkening back to another time.  Throughout the show, Billy Crystal and others repeated the slogan “Let’s all go to the movies!” before either a montage of engaged fans in their seats, or a great Cirque Du Soleil number showing the “ride” movies can take you through.

All of this was fine, except somebody out there in Hollywood needs to get on stage and say, “Guys, we need to start celebrating the fact that people can now experience at home the kinds of big-screen thrills, 3d visuals and incredible sound effects that used to only be available in theaters.  Let’s celebrate that we have these DVDs that include endings no one got to see, or actor and director commentary that adds dimensions to the film.  We need to start celebrating all this, along with the fact that someone CAN watch a movie on an IPhone, or an IPad, or a laptop computer whenever they want.  People are still watching and consuming media, far more so than before.  Let’s stop pining for a time when this technology was unavailable.”

This especially came to mind for me when they included Steve Jobs in the memoriam section this year: Jobs’ creations have greatly helped in making movies and television media more widespread for personal computer technology, yet the Oscars still seem reluctant to celebrate that technology even as they honored the man.

Meanwhile, if the AMPAS is so serious about getting people back to the movies, then more should be invested in bringing down movie and concession prices, bringing back double features and drive-ins, and other things that made “moviegoing” a fun activity.  As it is, I’ll probably only be paying for the big event films at the theater this year, such as Hunger Games, The Dark Knight, and maybe a few Oscar contenders. 

Besides that, to save cash and time, I’ll mostly be watching movies on my HD TV screen, either thru DVD or a hi-quality streaming site, and I know I’m not alone in that.

It’s time the Academy learned to celebrate that constituency: people who still love the movies along with the ever-expanding ways to experience them.

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