Monday Morning Critic – 2.27.2011 – 10 Thoughts on The 2012 Academy Awards, Billy Crystal & Running Scared

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

I had absolutely nothing to write this weekend and as such, with the Oscars being the only big story all week worth mentioning, and as such I’m going the easy route for this week’s column. With a terrific UFC card I had two big pieces for that, which you can click for right here and here. The former was featured on Fox Sports, actually.

With my live coverage of the Oscars sapping my usual Sunday night writing time, it’s easier to throw out some generic thoughts and reactions to the Oscars when there’s nothing but Oscar thoughts going on. A full list of winners can be found by clicking here.

Time for 10 thoughts On The Oscars!

10. The most useless thing in all of entertainment is the Red Carpet Awards. Instead of Sacha Baron Cohen crashing it he ought to have interviewed people. Would’ve been way more entertaining.

9. Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez were easily the worst dressed out there. It’s one thing to try and dress in tight dresses, it’s another to go two sizes two small and try to act as if nothing’s wrong.

8. Man, it was like a competition to see how poor of a montage they could put together en masse? Because this was a poor, poor year for them.

7. During Best Supporting Actor, Nick Nolte looked like the only one who had a serious case of the munchies. I’m not sure if he knew where he was, honestly; it looked like he was fascinated that Santa Clause visited him in Middle Earth during a rain storm.

6. “Man or Muppet”from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie winning for Best Song I think got the most positive response from everyone en masse of any award.

5. Angelina Jolie looked ridiculous in that dress. That’s the only way I can describe it.

4. A bunch of dick jokes from the cast of Bridesmaids and no reference to Michael Fassbender from Shame. If they’re good enough for George Clooney and Brad Pitt, they ought to be good enough for actresses who made about three minutes of worth of them.

3. Do they have a dead guy montage at the Adult Video Network awards? I can only imagine the montage of dead fluffers.

2. Jean Dujardin from The Artist had such a great, emotional speech. Pure, raw, genuine moment.

1. Meryl Streep with a third win was perhaps the biggest, most genuine surprise of the evening. The Academy rarely goes for a third, especially with an actress who’s been nominated as often as she has. Well done. I’m surprised they did but maybe now they won’t nominate her for every single film role she does from now on.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – Running Scared

Before the Paul Walker adrenaline rush of a film came a wacky comedy with Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal. Ahh the ‘80s … when all you needed was a couple of actors with good chemistry and you had a wacky buddy comedy. Before studios worried about making a film like this into a PG-13 film for the better profit margin, you could make this into an R and still make a profit if it was good. And oddly enough this film, released in 1986, would end up making more than the Paul Walker film of the same name did over 20 years later. And not adjusted for inflation, either. This Running Scared cleared over four times the box office receipts that the Walker version did.

In the vein of 48 Hours, Running Scared follows a pair of Chicago cops (Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal) trying to bring down a drug (Jimmy Smits). They’re wacky in way that ‘80s cops can be wacky; Smits wants to become the Spanish Godfather of the city and the two cops want to bring him down if it’s the last thing they do as police officers.

I remember watching this as a child because my father didn’t have a problem with R-rated films for me and my brother for the most part. As long as we didn’t giggle at the profanity and treated the material with as much respect as we could at that age. I really think he just wanted to watch an R-rated film with profanity and didn’t want us repeating it with the same gusto we did Eddie Murphy: Raw. That and it was shot in Chicago; sometimes local bias does come into play when it comes to cinematic habits.

It’s a fairly innocuous film that kind of symbolizes all the excesses of the buddy cop genre in the ‘80s. It’s paint by numbers but Hines and Crystal have enough chemistry with one another that it’s kind of shocking they never did another film together or a sequel to this film especially considering that it was profitable. In today’s Hollywood we’d have Still Running Scared and Way Running Scared afterward but back then you’d need everyone aboard. It’s like how Aliens 2 only got made when they found a good way to continue that film’s initial storyline into something new. With the way the film ends it’s open for more wacky adventures but doesn’t require them; I can see why they didn’t back then because none of the parties probably felt there were no more stories to tell and no franchise to be found.

Running Scared is a good representation of the buddy cop era of ‘80s action cinema but nowhere near the best film in that narrow genre. If you want the best film in that era of this particular type you ought to go for 48 Hours or Lethal Weapon, both of which essentially established the formula, but if you want a solid alternative you can do a lot worse than this.


What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax – An adaptation of the successful children’s book.

See It – Family films are tough to find and I like the pedigree behind this.

Project X – A found footage style film about the greatest house party ever, apparently, that goes completely and totally off the rails.

Skip It – As a rule the “found footage” type of films have gotten old. Generally it’s just the usual clichéd story but done from a personal perspective to make it feel fresh. I don’t expect this to be anything less.

Being Flynn – A father (Robert De Niro) and son (Paul Dano) reconnect. In Limited Release

See It – De Niro and Dano are usually good for a good film when they do indie fare, which is what this film is, and it has a quirky but engaging vibe so far.

Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie – Based off a show on Adult Swim, I think. Not sure about anything else though. In Limited Release

Skip It – Adult Swim doesn’t have a good track record of making solid films and it’ll probably be appealing to just fans of the show and nothing else. It was the same with the Aqua Teen Hunger Force film as well.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @MMCritic_Kubryk.

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