To forgive is divine
We confess, the Indentured Servants tuned the Stately Manor’s 12-inch, b&w Philco to the 90th Academy Awards show Sunday night. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, my Deplorable friends. Consonant with today’s victim-as-hero mentality, we blame our parents.
[UPDATE: Apparently, most of you held fast and boycotted the telecast. A record low 26.5 million people watched, almost 20% fewer than last year. Four years ago, 43.7 million watched.]
Sunday night at Oscar’s was identity politics heaven. Frances McDormand its avenging angel of fire and fury. She’s comin’ at you, white man. You will burn for your sins and the sins of your fathers. Can reparations be far behind? With the many Hollywood actors, agents, and producers outed to the gulag, we half expected to see a section of empty seats at the theater. Call them the Hollywood Disappeared.
But at least the ceremony’s politically incorrect voodoo doll took the form of Harvey Weinstein instead of Donald Trump, although best director Guillermo del Toro and others made points about artificial lines in the sand. Which may describe some of the border with Mexico, come to think of it.
Hollywood made partial amends for its insular virtue signaling when host Jimmy Kimmel, in a stunt reminiscent of Ellen Degeneres’ group selfie, led a gaggle of celebrities to the multiplex across the street to thank the movie-going public in person. Oh, for a glimpse of just one MAGA cap!
It was women’s night out. Bonus points for color, foreign nationality, other-sexuality, and physical handicap.
- The low point was when Kimmel, the most political of the late-night TV Jimmies, celebrated Oscar’s lack of a penis. (See where this is going?)
- Runner-up was an applause line; the best director award nominees were presented as “four men and Greta Gerwig.” Sexual reparations, anyone?
Blaska’s Bottom Line #1 in the first reel: Women are saying they’re done being victims. Does Hollywood comprehend how bottom line conservative that really is? Are they finally beyond Hillary?
Blaska’s Bottom Line #2: Best actress McDormand finished her peroration with “two words: ‘inclusion rider’.” That’s Hollywood contract lingo for mandatory diversity of hiring. At least this is private enterprise, not government mandate, although not sure how one makes movies like Saving Private Ryan with an equal number of women. Maybe write in a few homosexuals.
Two different approaches to taking care of business
The Manor’s servants, irredeemable though they be, loved Ms. Gerwig’s autobiographical movie about a mother-daughter relationship, Lady Bird. We’ve always been partial to its Laurie Metcalf, dating from her role as Roseanne’s sister on the sitcom, now revived. A noted Broadway actress, we remember her delicious comic turn in a small role opposite John Candy in Uncle Buck. Saoirise Ronan as the daughter could well be the next Meryl Streep.
Not much of anything happens in Lady Bird. No one dies. No one is thrown out a window. Nothing is fire bombed. No super powers. A strong-willed daughter confronts her strong-willed mother in Sacramento, California. They argue but (or, perhaps, because) they love each other.
Financially strapped mother is certain teenage daughter does not appreciate their sacrifice in sending their daughter to a Catholic girls high school. Not exactly the stuff dreams are made of.
What is truly remarkable — and a hopeful sign from Hollywood — is that Lady Bird portrays Catholic priests and nuns portrayed as good humored, caring people. When was the last time? Bells of St. Mary’s?
A nun suggests the Saorise Ronan character might enjoy getting involved in theater. The acting coach, a priest, draws on a deep, inner sadness to lead the class in summoning real tears. The football coach fills in for the theater adviser. This priest can’t help but diagram stage movements as if he were Vince Lombardi diagramming the sweep. The girls attach a placard to the back of a superannuated nun’s automobile (they drive?). It reads: “Just Married / To Jesus.” The nun laughs. Not just married, she corrects. She’s been married to Jesus for many years.
Ms. Ronan and her girl friend are munching on communion wafers as if they were Cheetos; a third girl objects to the sacrilege. But they’re not consecrated, the first two observe, revealing their honest faith, however innocently.
Contrast that with the cruel load of vitriol Frances McDormand unleashes on the well meaning priest in Three Billboards. We understand her character is coming from a place of anger but Lady Bird’s change of tone, its positive affirmation, is welcome.
A new Hollywood super power: Christian love!
Lady Bird is not Going My Way. (Not that it needs to be and it is a much “smaller” movie.) Nor is it EWTN — not with teenage sex, academic cheating, homosexuality, drug use, and profanity! “But Catholics still love it,” writes a columnist for the Sacramento Bee newspaper.
… Hollywood has tended to portray priests as predatory creeps and nuns as mean-spirited caricatures. By contrast, Lady Bird features everyday nuns and priests working tirelessly to better the lives of young people. At the end of Lady Bird, after the protagonist has moved to New York, stayed out too late, drank too much and felt lonely, she retreats to a place that makes her feel safe — a church.
The ornate surroundings, the music, the distance from Sacramento inspires her to call home. In a moving tribute to her mom, left on her voicemail, Lady Bird reaches an epiphany of self-discovery by speaking two simple words: thank you.
Bless you, Hollywood. Even Frances McDormand found redemption. Can the Hollywood Disappeared?