By the time my body clock struck 5 a.m. and the hobbits shuffled onstage one last time, the Oscars were redeemed only by the yummy fixins and beloved company at Dom and Mark’s place in Cobble Hill.
I’m allergic to Billy Crystal. All the chicks had called each other beforehand and said ‘Nobody’s wearing anything pigmented, okay? Pass it on.’ Hollywood actors spouted guff about ‘practising their craft’. Charlize Theron showed up orange and thanked her _lawyer_. The only bright spot, apart from Annie Lennox, was the revelation that sheets of straightened hair are officially over, and soft, sexy waves are back. Especially for Eugene Levy.
With a mixed sense of dread and duty, I finally dragged myself to see _Return of the King_ last night, still jetlagged and increasingly irritable. I can see why so many people enjoyed it, and I’m glad they did. Unfortunately, I’m not the target audience. Though I’m ridiculously suggestible in movies about human beings–prone to weeping and terror as the director sees fit–I find special effects so distancing that I want to leave the cinema. They are never good enough if we come out saying ‘Great special effects’. I sat there wondering how they did the lumbering Harryhausen monsters instead of being transported by the story, which I didn’t understand. I daydreamed about Orc extras sitting around the catering tent and chatting in Kiwi accents. Jackson taunted me with fake endings too many times, until I was ready to yell ‘Jump, Frodo, jump!’
LOTR interests me only as a study of Tolkien’s First World War experience, where childhood friends from the shires marched off to interminable battles that were beyond comprehension, and the only cause that made sense was loyalty to each other. But I didn’t need nine hours of the cherub-in-peril stuff, even with a few years’ break in between. I’m too old and cynical not to splutter at the dialogue, and by the eighth hour of Sam Gamgee’s plump, sweaty yearning, my brain had superimposed Philip Seymour Hoffman in _Boogie Nights_.