January 12, 2009

Golden Globes

Okay. So this means that Slumdog is a shoo-in, right?

The Golden Globes, a party thrown by the old biddies of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, has come and gone and bestowed upon one of the most appalling films of the year its stamp of approval. And so it goes. . . Me? I'm still high from the Oscars getting it right last year with No Country for Old Men.

So - comments on the nods last night - or the show? I didn't watch it.

And predictions for Oscar noms in a few days?


Bill C said...

I realized something today: as much as I dread a SLUMDOG victory at the Oscars, it wouldn't piss me off all that much. We're coming off a one-two punch of THE DEPARTED and NO COUNTRY, after all--as far as I'm concerned, that's fucking miraculous, and it would make me feel like a glutton to ask for another wish from the genie. Unless DARK KNIGHT gets a nod, I think it's gonna be a pretty sorry crop of nominees anyway.

Vikram said...

I'm a Canadian of Indian background and by coincidence I'm in India for work and I saw Slumdog just before I came out here and I have to say that the perception of Indians in India, vs immigrants of Indian origin in NA, vs non-Indians everywhere, of the film is very, very interesting.

In India, Slumdog is big news by virtue of its success in North America (Golden Globes etc...) and its Indian setting, but no one in India really discusses the flick in terms of the merits of the film at all. It will succeed out here almost entirely because of the British and North American success. In fact, I think that if it had been released out here (India) first, it would be any other British film set in India and not many people here would have cared about it.

I can understand the commercial appeal in a general sense in that it is a well produced film, it's "pretty", an underdog makes good story, a boy gets girl story etc... but I am completely astonished by the level of critical success in the western press in that it seems like a very straightforward crowd-pleaser to me. There's nothing particularly unique about the flick except its "exotic" setting.

I guess that being Indian and having spent as much time out here as I do, there's nothing exotic to me about the film, so I don't pay attention to that part of it as a positive factor, but I suspect that's what's at work in the US.

It is undoubtedly a phenomenon though. For a relatively low budget flick to do what its doing given the local, the language and the unknown by western standards cast, it is definitely filling some void that people want filled.

It is fascinating to view Slumdog phenomenon as a cultural artifact in that it is a very different movie for different people.

schnofel said...

I really can't understand what's so appalling about Slumdog. There was one moment when the kid's mother gets killed where I thought 'Hold on, for something that proposes itself as uplifting entertainment, this is getting out of hand', but the film accounts for it one moment later when Jamal says 'There isn't a day when I wish I didn't know that answer.' For me, that sets the moral universe straight. We just can't get a Dark Knight-like nihilistic confusion out of everything.

Also, I would guess the only real argument you guys have, is the City Of God argument, the liberal guilt one, that it's OUTRAGEOUS to present these poor people for white (American, European) uplift. But my assumption is, that the very people that are supposed to be condescended to are going to like the film, and for the same reason everyone else does - because it's a nice fairytale, and a community experience. (That's also why it's so briliant to set it on this game show, because like it or not, this one of the ways we experience community nowadays)

Jamal doesn't care about the millions, only wants his love, so it's not about money, but about transcending its corruption. There's this bit about destiny that I don't agree with, and the self-sacrifice of the bad boy is a little wack, but in the end there is a truly Indian dance number, so everyone's happy, and here are my 10 bucks.

Vikram said...

I didn't find the film appalling as Walter did, but what I find odd is the ecstatic level of critical love for the film.

Its sort of like seeing The Karate Kid become a favorite for the Oscar. I mean really? Really?

O'JohnLandis said...

Um, predictably, I was pretty happy that Anna Paquin won.

I had an opportunity to see Slumdog for free and I didn't go. Like Walter, I was very pleased by the No Country for Old Men win last year and I guess the Academy can have one Forrest Gump to burn off before I start getting angry again.

That said, a Best Picture nomination for WALL-E (the year's best picture) or Dark Knight would give the evening some suspense for me.

I haven't seen Synecdoche, New York.

Ian Pugh said...

(Spoilers ahead, for the sake of argument.)

Frankly, I think we've at last found the perfect realization of John Sullivan's hypothetical O Brother, Where Art Thou? in Slumdog Millionaire: intense tragedy reduced to a series of weightless vignettes for your tongue-clucking enjoyment. I mean, sure, the money doesn't matter. But could you imagine what would have happened if he had gotten the girl but lost the game? The whole premise would unravel. "Gee, it's too bad that he didn't suffer some humiliating personal catastrophe to help him remember who the third musketeer was."

Dave Gibson said...

RE: Oscar Predictions

As these things go, I thought the Globes was actually kind of fun. Gervais and Morgan killed—Rourke terrified, Laura Dern is super terrific awesome and Spielberg is now officially that boring old guy that everyone has to listen to before dessert comes out. My predictions are pretty safe—agree that it’s a pretty dubious field—including The Dark Knight—but, I know that crow don’t caw round these parts. Still, I gotta concede that it’s still the best of the five I’m guessing at… how depressing. Wal-E for animated only.


Slumdog Millionaire
The Dark Knight
Gran Torino
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


Boyle, Nolan, Eastwood, Fincher, Howard


Winslet, Streep, Hawkins, Blanchett, Hathaway


Penn, Downey Jr. , Rourke, Langella, Eastwood

Sup. Actor

Hoffman, Brolin, Franco, Ledger, Downey Jr.

Sup Actress

Adams, Davis, Tomei, Swinton, Cruz

Screens (these picks may not be rigourously correct re: Orig/Adapted—but, who cares)

Gran Torino, Vicky Cristina, Happy Go-Lucky, Rachel, Button, Frost/Nixon
Wall-E, Doubt, Wrestler, Milk

DaveA said...

Seems like Sweden didn't offer up Let the right one in for Best Foreign Language Film. Now that's a bummer.

I recently saw it, and while I'm not totally sold on it, I can't imagine it wasn't the best Swedish movie in 2008.

Kyle said...

picture is benjamin button (ugh), the dark knight (yay), frost/nixon (yay), milk (yay), slumdog (ugh). slumdog wins. we go on with our lives. not even the three films i champion here (of which milk is my favorite; frost/nixon i give a slight pass to for being a non-condescending film by ron howard, and dark knight only recently snuck up on me) come close to the one-two punch of no country and there will be blood being nominated last year.

Zero Summer said...

I am of Indian heritage an I found it yes... appallingly paternalistic and racist. Despite how I may feel about it personally, I think its not that good a film actually, to be kind. It is grossly inaccurate as far as the specifics are concerned but not that it cares because its target audience is the American tourist couple that get robbed at the slum tour, hand out a wad of notes and say "This is the real America, son" when told that "This is the real India". How fucking insulting is that, really? I was cringing. Maybe just as much as the idea of a patronizing British filmmaker depicting a Hindu-Muslim riots in the slums. History is a bitch, isn't it? Of course the Indian News Networks are going bonkers, finally we have our Crouching Tiger. Every time I go back (just went a month ago), I sense the colonial after-taste even more so than before.

To anyone who wants to see the real India and the class struggle, or hell has love for Scorsese, watch a little known movie from 2008 called Oye Lucky Lucky Oye! If you can find it, that is. Released in India on the Friday that Mumbai shootings happened and killed the film right away. I was there in Mumbai that day and streets were empty as the shootings had just ended the day before, so we went to see it, quick commute. I can't take a guarantee of the subtitles though. It is bloody brilliant. Probably the best since Omkara, if anyone saw that. Omakara was a movie from few years ago, an adaptation of Othello and if you like it, check out Maqbool from the same guy, an adaptation Macbeth and according to some a better film. I prefer Omkara But Oye Lucky is probably the best Indian film in the last decade. For some who wanna see a metaphysical Fincher type film watch No Smoking and look out for Dev D. if it comes around your parts next month. I'm looking forward to it. But exciting times in Indian Cinema, I see beginning of a new wave, the plethora of multiplexes that have mushroomed over last 5 years (there were like 3 in the entire country 8 years ago when I came here and when I went back to my 2nd tier home city this year, there already were 10-15) have made it economically feasible to play smaller movies as was not possible with single-screens that have now changed over to multiplexes. Big studious are also backing smaller films so exciting times.

Zero Summer said...

Sadly I think this will be another "Crash" year at the Oscars. Even if SM wins it still won't beat the low of Crash. If anyone wants to know what a Bollywood film is like, this movie is ditto Bollywood formula from beginning to end for western audience.

Zero Summer said...

Also, I would guess the only real argument you guys have, is the City Of God argument, the liberal guilt one, that it's OUTRAGEOUS to present these poor people for white (American, European) uplift.

I would agree, only if it had a fucking clue about India, its people or life of an Indian "slundog", or if it had an Indian director. In that case, at least I couldn't have blamed it for being inaccurate. As it is, it is repositioning of the idea of India from elephants, snake charmers, Swamis, Maharajas and that Ghandi feller' to slums, call centers, White Tigers and stolen reality television. Add nausea according to taste.

jacksommersby said...

Concerning the best-actor race, perhaps there's a chance of Penn and Rourke cancelling each other out and Eastwood finally nabbing an acting Oscar?

Rick said...

Alex, when is a top 10 going up on Viddied?

Jefferson said...

Patrick McGoohan, who first frightened/thrilled me as Disney's Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, becomes another one for the Oscar "People Who Died" montage. I'm sad.

Ian Pugh said...

...And R.I.P. Ricardo Montalban. Damn. Was never a fan of "Star Trek," but I won't soon forget his own silly, loving parody of Khan, Armondo Guitierrez.

Jefferson said...

Is there Sundance coverage in the offing, Alex and Bill?

Bill C said...


Bill C said...

Which reminds me: no theatrical reviews this weekend. Hope the wealth of new DVD/BD content sates appetites.

Berandor said...

My father gave me The Prisoner for Christmas 07. I had never heard of the show before - and loved it. Of course, the extensive material on the show was not a small part of it, with McGoohan refusing to drink or kiss a woman on screen, and no guns! Then there's the weather baloon of DOOM, the changing No.2, the great finale with first a tour de force and then a big fuck you, and so many small things (No. 2: "I will give you ten lashes if you don't tell me who it was." / No. 6: "Twenty!").

Oh, and the intro, the wonderful, one-episode-in-three-minutes intro (which is even longer in the pilot).

Walter_Chaw said...

I love the "Prisoner" series - fucking love it. Sad day. Bye McGoohan.

Thanks, by the way, to Zero for the list of movies I gotta go hunt down. Great comment.

Zero Summer said...


Dev D has this great poster:


The film itself is a modern take on Devdas, probably the most famous Indian novella first printed in 1917, which has had like ten filmic adaptations starting from 1928 to the last one in 2002. What makes this one exciting is the filmmaker Anurag Kashyap is probably one of the most exciting guys on the scene over there. He's been struggling to get anything made for last 10 years or so. Two of his films were banned by the censor board, one eventually got released and the other still hasn't seen the light of day because it had "no positive content". Now he has two coming out just this year. The trailer of Dev D. is also pretty cool, it may seem pretty generic here but it is fucking out there over there:


Releases next month.

Dave Gibson said...

Roland Emmerich's Foundation--

Sweet merciful crap that's depressing

Anonymous said...

There is an article in the New Yorker on movie marketing worth checking out.

Berandor said...

We had Roland Emmerich bidding against Alex Proyas, who probably would have made "Will Smith's Foundation" or something. Just read the books.

Berandor said...

Have you seen The Curious Case of Forrest Gump