Monday, February 8, 2010

A Little Respect Please

Wow, this year there are ten movies nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – and I’ve seen exactly one, Up. I loved it. Did you know that it’s only the second time that an animated feature has been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar? Can you guess the other one? I actually think that one was more deserving of one of those gold statuettes.

Like most kids, I grew up on animation – when there were artists who actually sketched each cel, and computer-generated graphics hadn’t been invented. Think about how labor-intensive each animated movie was. Lady and The Tramp is beautifully and lovingly drawn, with a story to warm the cockles of the hardest hearts. Is there a child who hasn’t cowered under the seat at Maleficent transformed into a dragon in Sleeping Beauty? Many a youngster (and Mom) cried when Bambi’s mother is killed (and what is Walt Disney’s problem with mothers?). But I always found the scene in Dumbo, when Mrs. Jumbo is chained and unable to comfort her baby at least a two-hanky sob fest.

Animated features, like comic books and now graphic novels, still seem to be the illegitimate children of cinema and literature. And yet, some of the best stories are to be found in these media. Graphic novels have captured an audience of young readers, especially boys, long lost to more conventional books. Graphic novels are among the highest circulating collections in public libraries. Today graphic novels cover a broad range of subject matter – fiction, nonfiction, sci-fi, fantasy, almost every classification found on library shelves. The 1986 publication of Maus, by Art Spiegelman, may have been told in comic book format, but the subject matter was anything but comic. In using this format to describe the horrors of the holocaust, Spiegelman forever changed the impact that this type of literature could convey. It won a “Special” Pulitzer Prize – but today, I wonder if it wouldn’t have competed with conventional books for the Literature Prize – no need for a special category.

Whatever you like to read and watch – I guess short of porn, but then I shouldn’t be judgmental on that either! – is a personal decision. Enjoy the escape!

Marian, the Northern Half of Evelyn David

Murder Takes the Cake by Evelyn David
Murder Off the Books by Evelyn David


  1. I haven't seen "Up!" but would like to. I think Ed and I will have to rent it and maybe "The Hangover." We saw "District 9" on DVD, and it was kind of cool and very odd at the same time. I was surprised it was nominated. I've been told I need to see "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," too. I'm usually not much for animated movies, but so many lately have looked so charming that I have a feeling I'll be won over.


  2. Up is cute.

    Loved Blind Side, surprised it got nominated though, since it was such an uplifting movie.

    Did see the one with Basterds in the title with Brad Pitt. It was okay, but a long way from the best movie.

    Didn't like Up in the Air at all, much too depressing even with George Clooney in it.

    Love to watch the Academy Awards though if for nothing else than to see what everyone is wearing--and what outlandish thing might happen.