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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

January 26, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Speeches, cigarettes, and “All That Jazz”

Strange morning, this: I write this as a guy on a ladder is perched almost directly above my head. He’s part of a team changing the light fixtures in the large room at the Times in which I sit, and they’re equipped with drills and hammers and all kinds of things that make noise. But they’re an amiable group (finding out that they didn’t have the right number of fixtures, they concluded “Counting is overrated”), and we’ll just try to work side-by-side here. Quiet is overrated, right?
Anyhow, a few odds and ends on my mind this morning:
— The Hollywood Reporter this morning ranks the acceptance speeches of the award-season front-runners: Christoph Waltz (dull), Mo’Nique (a little rehearsed, but heartfelt), Jeff Bridges (easygoing and genuine), Sandra Bullock (charming). I’d agree with that. By the way, anybody hear Betty White accepting her lifetime achievement award at SAG the other night? Now THAT was an acceptance speech. (As was George Clooney’s response to it. You had to be there.)
— A. O. Scott, in the New York Times, writes about the Smoke Free Movies movement, which has roundly criticized “Avatar” for featuring a character who smokes, and which seeks to give all movies featuring smoking an automatic “R” rating. Interesting debate. Though I think it’s a fine thing that Disney has recently decided to make all its family films smoke-free, I’m alarmed by the censorship that smoking-equals-R would dictate — and agree with Scott that pushing smoking into the adult-movies-only ghetto would only serve to glamorize it further. Movies reflect the real world, and that world is full of behaviors that children shouldn’t necessarily emulate; scrubbing those behaviors from movies (except those which, such as Disney’s, are clean-scrubbed anyway) just leads to confusion and, as Scott points out, more questions. What about guns? Beer? Bicycle riding without helmets? Slow-motion martial arts? It’s a slippery slope.
— Nice piece here on the dance auditions for the Oscar telecast. This year’s show producer, Adam Shankman, is also its choreographer, and it’s fun to read the details as he puts the hundreds of wanna-bes through their steps. Makes me think of the great opening sequence of Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” — and here it is, in all its splendor. Love those arms, stretching up like flowers to the sun. Have a great day.

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