aired Feb. 22, 2015 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/Qx2atxKOxbQ
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of February 22nd, 2015.
Problems in the Middle East got you down? Sick of the fighting over healthcare and immigration between the left and the right? Constipated by last night’s meal? (I know I am.) We’re still in the ass-end of winter, the Super Bowl has come and gone, and Purim is mainly for kids, so hurray for the Academy Awards, here to give grownups a shprits of glitz and a glimpse of glamour, if only for a night. It’s a chance to forget our woes and wallow in Hollywood worship. Three-and-a-half hours of people who make more money in a week than you will in a lifetime, patting each other on the back over just how hard their jobs are.
I’m being sarcastic but, you know, you can take 80 million dollars and make a piece of drek, or you can take that same amount of money and create something memorable and touching and fun. Or best of all, you can take 80 million dollars, give me two million, and I don’t give a crap what you do with the rest.
Anyhoo, this year’s Oscar roster is an eclectic bunch. It seems they always are now that they allow something like 37 movies up for Best Picture. There’s been controversy this season over how white all the acting nominees are. Not one best or featured actor is a person of color – unless you count Robert Duvall, who’s grey, or Benedict Cumberbatch, who, if he were a paint, would be eggshell.
This could be pushback from last year, when “12 Years a Slave” won for best picture, and you had African actors up for other prizes. Considering what John Travolta did to that nice Jewish girl Idina Menzel, maybe the Academy is just terrified of what he’d do to “Selma” actors like David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo.
Up for Best Picture is “Selma” – so I feel bad for her sister, Patti – as is “American Sniper,” which is also controversial because in one scene, Bradley Cooper is holding a baby, but it’s obviously a plastic doll. The screenwriter later tweeted that the first infant got sick and the second didn’t show up, so they had to go with a fake. Still, viewers are crying foul, saying how dare Clint Eastwood ask us to use our imaginations and suspend disbelief. That’s what Fox News is for.
Vying with “Selma” and “American Sniper” for Oscar honors are “Birdman,” “Whiplash,” “Boyhood,” The Grand Budapest Hotel,” The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything.” “Birdman” is about a washed-up actor who keeps trying to make a comeback on Broadway. Or, as I like to call it, the Tony Danza Story. “Whiplash” stars J.K. Simmons as a music teacher so obnoxious and abusive, he missed his calling and should have become a New York City cop.
Then you’ve got “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” a Wes Anderson confection about an old man who can’t give up the one thing that keeps him young. Or, as I call it, The Bill Cosby Story.
We also have “The Imitation Game,” which tells the tale of Alan Turing, a genius who cracked the Nazi code in World War II, only to be hounded to suicide because he was a faigeleh. The tragedy of Alan Turing is that he voluntarily underwent chemical castration, when all he had to do was find the right woman, marry her, and she’d castrate him every day of his life.
Also up for the big prize is “Boyhood,” a story of adolescence that has the critics kvelling because Richard Linklater shot it over the course of 12 years. That’s not inspiration, that’s laziness. Instead of using makeup and padding to make Patricia Arquette look old and fat, he let God do it.
And finally we come to “The Theory of Everything,” a bio-pic about astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. You know, the guy who wrote “A Brief History of Time,” which everyone bought but no one could understand. Kind of like Reaganomics. The point of the movie is that Hawking didn’t let Lou Gehrig’s disease cramp his mojo, especially since it didn’t affect his brain. Well, not until 2013, when that homely hobbit chose to boycott Israel over its supposed mistreatment of the Palestinians. The only black holes Stephen Hawking should be concerned with are the ones in Muslims’ hearts.
So there you have it: the nominees for the 87th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. I would be remiss, however, not to mention one of the nominees for best Foreign Film: “Ida,” about a Polish woman who’s about to become a Catholic nun when she learns that her parents, murdered during the Holocaust, were actually Jewish. You can tell that the movie is Polish because it’s set in 1872. Just kidding. You might also check out the Animated Feature Film nominee called “The Boxtrolls,” just because that’s what they really should rename the remaining women on “The View.”
So everyone get your popcorn, your ballot sheets, your No-Doz for Sunday night, February 22nd, when the Oscars arrive and all’s right with America. I’ll miss Joan Rivers on the Red Carpet. Though she was more fun on the kitchen table. Again, just kidding. In closing, I’d like to thank the Academy, my parents and the Lord. And I’m not even schvartz.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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