Yes, we know — winning an Oscar is about class, honor, pride, accomplishment. Or at least the illusion of same. About notching a moment in history and saying “Yes, I did that” or “I was a part of that, and therefore my life has a measure of value and meaning.” This kind of thing means more to serious filmmakers than, say, costarring in the latest Dwayne Johnson movie and saying “whoa, people really paid a lot of money to see this piece of shit!” Because one day they’ll be dead, and they can’t take it with them.
In David Lean‘s Lawrence of Arabia, Jose Ferrer portrays a Turkish Bey who feels alone and isolated in the remote city of Daraa. At one point Ferrer looks sadly at the stupid Turkish solders under his command and sighs to Peter O’Toole‘s Lawrence, “I am surrounded by cattle.”
Peter O’Toole and Jose Ferrer during the Daraa garrison scene in Lawrence of Arabia.
Today Hollywood Elsewhere readers can say the same thing with even greater conviction and melancholy. Who among them would argue that they’re not surrounded by tens of millions of primitives whose ADD appetites are incapable of processing anything outside the fantasy escapist woo-woo realm, at least as far as theatrical viewings are concerned?
Chris Nolan‘s Dunkirk, a Best Picture nominee, was the best-reviewed, the artiest, the most visually distinguished and thoroughly believable action-driven film of 2017. So far Dunkirk has made a fair amount of coin — $188,045,546, which is $12 million more than the $176 million earned domestically by Get Out, another Best Picture nominee.
But the megaplex morons paid much more to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($617,116,708), Beauty and the Beast ($504,014,165), Wonder Woman ($412,563,408), Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 ($389,813,101), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($367,410,756), Spider-Man: Homecoming ($334,201,140), It ($327,481,748), Thor: Ragnarok ($314,352,974), Despicable Me 3 ($264,624,300), Justice League($228,585,922), Logan ($226,277,068), The Fate of the Furious ($226,008,385) and Coco ($206,323,103).
The other Best Picture nominees earned the following and have a corresponding box-office ranking among all 2017 films:
The Post ($73 million, 45th most popular); Darkest Hour ($51 million, 51st place); The Shape of Water ($50 million, 54th most popular); Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ($45 million, 58th place), Lady Bird ($45 million, 59th most popular), Phantom Thread ($16 million, 113th place) and Call Me By Your Name ($13,937,405, 116th place).
It is Hollywood Elsewhere’s opinion that Call Me By Your Name is the finest film of 2017. There are many out there who feel the same way. It’s not some small, dark, weirdo movie, but a smart, discreet and inviting film about warm weather, northern Italy, glasses of water, fresh fruit, dancing, falling in love, antiquities, parental understanding and sensual appetites. It’s a classic of its kind and probably the finest and most fully-felt gay film ever made, certainly within the 21st Century. And made for straight people (no splooge shots)!
And yet American audiences decided that 115 films released in 2017 were more deserving of their box-office dollars. Think about that for 30 or 40 seconds. We are indeed surrounded by steers.