Editor’s note: Art Threat has launched a cultural archaeological project that involves digging up previously published but now inaccessible film reviews and cultural musings from Montreal-based writer and teacher Matthew Hays. We’re calling it The Hays Files, and to get things rolling, we’re republishing a review Hays wrote of Bowling for Columbine when the documentary first shook up the cultural and political scene ten years ago. Each article will be prefaced with a short contemporary intro from Hays. Enjoy!
I won’t ever forget meeting Michael Moore. I had interviewed him by phone but this was the first in-person interview, (Read more…)
The Hollywood-White House embrace was front and center when Michelle Obama was beamed into the Oscars, military personnel behind her, to announce the best picture pick. Surprise, surprise… Argo, replete with revisionist pro-American propaganda, was the Oscar winner.
The Hollywoodization of entertainment is bad enough, what’s worse is Hollywood-as-political-tool. Argo is loaded with a cargo of make-believe and half-truth. It is less about historical veracity and more about finding a way to celebrate an American action-story featuring Affleck as CIA hero Tony Mendez, with political messaging and patriotic cliches not far beneath the surface of the action.
. . . → Read More: drive-by planet: Argo: American propaganda wins best picture at the Oscars
To this day the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my career was stand in front of a group of 300 university students in my role as president of an student newspaper organization – my peers at the time – and explain to them that they needed to rise above sexist (or racist, or homophobic) jokes. My hands have never been so damp and my heart beat so fast I thought I might faint. The incident had been triggered by a joke newspaper distributed at a student journalism conference – innocent enough. Except that throughout the day (Read more…)
How ironically fitting that Michelle Obama announced the Oscar for the winning picture. Argo is a putative “true” story from the not too distant U.S. past – a past to which American viewers can easily relate – a feel good story of American perseverance, ingenuity, courage, an inspiring version of U. S. exceptionalism resulting in a bloodless American victory with only, according to the script but not Ken Taylor, a smidgen of help from Canadians. Such an uplifting image was far more appealing to mean-age 63 Academy voters. Does Argo deserve the Oscar? Depends on what “deserves” means. For (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Politics and Entertainment: Why a completely unremarkable film called Argo won the Oscar
Nothing seems more of a waste of time and money than the Oscars. Last night for over three hours millions of people, statistics of which show 7-9% of them unemployed and most of the others barely scraping by in menial labour, watched wealthy celebrities in designer dresses get out of limos, walk down red carpets, pose for photographs, describe how glorious and important their work is, and collect gold statues.
Of the whole night of opulence, there was one scene far more important to any criticism that one could lob at the 84th Academy Awards, one picture put the whole
. . . → Read More: The Scott Ross: The Awe Of Oscar
Me! Because I got to watch the Oscars last night with the 2 most amazing kids in the universe. H stayed up for the first half. (And had trouble getting out of bed this morning. It required several loud Uh Oh’s on my part and “your nose has grown to the size of a pumpkin. There are fairies dancing on it.”) M went to bed at the very end. (And wanted to know why it’s called the Oscars if it’s the Academy Awards.)
I actually had seen several of the movies this time around and M had watched
. . . → Read More: A Novelist’s Mind: Lilian Nattel Online: And the Winner Is…