Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Deep Thoughts from Tom O'Neil

From Tom O'Neil's Gold Derby Awards blog at the L.A. Times:

Was 'Sunrise' really Oscar's first best picture?

"I've seen "Wings" a few times and liked it OK. But now that I've viewed "Sunrise," I must concede: "Wings" soars by comparison. "Sunrise" is paper-thin, hilariously schmaltzy. All three primary characters are cartoonish clichés and their performances 3-inch slices of honeyed ham.

Mind you, I'm the kinda guy who'd normally side with the weepie. On my top 10 list of fave pix of all time are "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "Titanic." But I just can't shed a real tear when the farmer in "Sunrise" decides that he just — by golly! — can't off his sweet, dimpled wifey-pooh, after all. Nor could I cheer the scenes of the couple back together, all giddy smiles and kisses, posing for photos like newlyweds, dancing a happy peasant dance, joyous once he decided not to wring her scrawny little neck and hurl her over the side of the row boat.

What corn pone! Smothered in Cheez Whiz! "Wings" ain't Shakespeare or Scorsese, mind you, but it's better than that!"

I have no words for this other than the usual, "how can this guy get paid to write about movies while everybody else is getting fired" line, but we're bored with that by now, right?

EDIT: I should note that Tom O'Neil covers the awards beat for his paper, so he's more of an entertainment journalist than a film critic, which makes my comparison to fired critics off base. But it's still a pretty embarrassing review regardless.

Anyway, here's some sublime corn pone:


Blogger P.L. Kerpius said...

I can't tell you how much I adore this movie. I remember the first time I saw it, I was 18 and in my first film class, and even at that point I knew it was something special. It was one of those from a handful of movies that made my jaw drop open in awe. I watched those 8 minutes from the clip just now and they're better than most of the film I've seen in probably months. That moment when she collapses at the table is such a profound moment of sadness, it aches. When her baby softy grabs for her when she faints onto the bed, so tender. Even the title cards are masterworks the way Murnau recalls the same one from the scene past; adding so delicately to the dialog that she sits at home alone......heartbreaking!

So seriously, how is it this guy's getting paid for this? Depressing city.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Matt Singer said...

I'm no lover of a lot of the silent films I've seen and I feel no need to be automatically reverent to every movie from that period just because it's old -- a lot of silent movies are crap, just like a lot of sound movies are crap.

But SUNRISE has its reputation for a reason. It's remarkable, by any period's standards. If that's corn pone (or "corn porn" as I initially thought he wrote -- look I've had a long day), I'll take corn pone every time I go to the movies.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Andrea Janes said...

@ P.L. Kerpius
You mean the moment when she's framed and lit like a Vermeer? Yes, beautiful and sad.

@ Tom O'Neil
I guess you don't consider little things like, oh, photography when you go to the movies. Seriously, this is one of the most beautifully lit and photographed motion pictures ever made. What's his deal?

2:08 PM  
Blogger Wealthy Pete said...

Them's fighting words Tom O'Neil!

Sunrise, since 12th grade, has been one of three movies I claim as my absolute favorite (shared with "The Apartment" and "North By Northwest").

"Paper Thin"? Of course it's paper thin! It's a fable, it's a classic "once upon a time" tale, featuring, Man, Wife, and Women from the City. If the guy was expecting more, he should have turned it off right after reading the cast and characters.

Yargh! Pone.

12:44 PM  

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