In remembrance of the late, great actors who hosted the 83rd Annual Academy Awards a few nights ago, I wanted to pay homage to them via movie reviews. But then I was told, although they totally bombed a few nights ago, they are actually still alive. I figured, in that case, let’s honor them by remembering some of their better performances, shall we?
If we are being honest with ourselves, Anne Hathaway tried with all her might to perk the crap out of the show, and I think she did a pretty great job. This brings me to Love & Other Drugs. You know, I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this one. I was pretty stoked to get to see a reported smorgasbord of mostly naked Jake Gyllenhaal, but there was a lot more of Hathaway’s boobs than I was ready for. Much like her Oscar hosting gig, her lady bits were perky and great. Oh, I’m supposed to be talking about the movie, aren’t I?
Jake’s character, Jamie, is a “dick-swinging” pharmaceutical rep who meets Anne’s character, Maggie, a 26-year-old with early on-set Parkinson’s disease. She doesn’t want a relationship, but as you can imagine, they fall in love. Some other stuff happened, but there are no other feasible plot lines. Everything that happens leads directly into the one, which is fine for one-note, no-fail, romcoms with a dramatic twist. It was good. It was sad and funny and romantic and nice and whatever. I feel wholly unaffected by it. Love & Other Drugs is definitely worth seeing, but until it comes on TV with massive edits, I probably won’t be seeing it again.
Now, from what I saw, James Franco was actually nothing more than a dead corpse being moved about like a marionette while hosting the Oscars last night, so let’s all have a moment of silence.
I do not know Alan Ginsberg personally. Btw, I moved on to Franco’s movie Howl, during the moment. Stay with me here. So I’m going to say Franco did an excellent job portraying the controversial poet. Really, though, the movie itself is more important than any of the actors in it. (It’s chock-full of amazing actors, too.) Howl is a depiction of Ginsberg’s obscenity trial, interviews with him, and animated illustrations of his poem in question. All of the dialogue was actually spoken by whoever is portrayed as speaking it in the film.
For those unaware, as I mostly was before watching the film, Ginsberg was a beat poet, and in 1957 his published poem “Howl” was the subject of an obscenity trial in San Francisco for depicting hetero- and homosexual intercourse, as well as lots of other “filthy, vulgar, obscene, and disgusting language.” While I fully understand the drastic differences between culture in the 1950’s and now, I still find it completely remarkable that “experts” like literary critics and English scholars could have said in a court of law that a poem—any poem—especially Ginsberg’s, has absolutely no merit or validity as art or literature. I am not very into poetry, mostly because words mean too much to me to make them mean something else. I love the dictionary too much to be able to wrap my head around most poetry. I don’t even particularly like “Howl.” Despite that fact, I can still appreciate the difference between what I like and what is art.
In the end, Ginsberg won, citing that the poem does have redeeming social importance (duh). In fact, the judge added, “Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms?” Touche, sir. Touche, indeed. I strongly suggest everyone see this film. It’s a movie and a history lesson all wrapped up into one. A lot of art we see and hear today is a direct descendant of this exact trial. Know your ancestors.