Monday, December 11, 2006

This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your hearts and souls. (Barf.)

When watching The History Boys it's impossible not to (at least passingly) think of Peter Weir's oppressive Dead Poet's Society. While far from perfect, The History Boys is a far better film; it at least is smart and charming and has actually says something about how poetry and art and education intersect with one's life.

Anyway. That's not the point of this post.
No, I just wanted to remind you of the fact that motherfucking DPS won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1990. I know, I know... the Oscars mean nothing, they don't actually award actual talent, Kane was ignored, etc.
But just look--LOOK!--at its competition that year. (And just ignore the Ephron nom. It's fine and all, but it totally weakens my argument.)

* Tom Schulman for Dead Poets Society - Winner
* Woody Allen for Crimes and Misdemeanors - Nominated
* Spike Lee for Do the Right Thing - Nominated
* Steven Soderbergh for Sex, Lies, and Videotape - Nominated
* Nora Ephron for When Harry Met Sally... - Nominated

And just as a cherry on top: Schulman didn't have a great writing career after the majesty that is DPS. He went on to write Medicine Man, Holy Man, and Welcome to Mooseport. Karma's a bitch, huh?


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

On the matter of "The History Boys" did you by chance catch David Greenberg's attack on the play in Slate? It was republished when the film came out, but I don't know how much the film changed from the play (very little I suspect, considering they didn't even bother to find new actors.) Still, I love this criticism of Alan Bennett's pompous view of history:

"Utterly cynical, he encourages one student to 'surprise' his examiners with his outlandish comments about the Holocaust because, 'You're Jewish. You can get away with a lot more than the other candidates.'

Irwin's efforts lead to an angry letter from the boy's father, intimating that the teacher had questioned the Holocaust's actual existence. But he didn't, and it's this crippling fear that any effort to think about the Holocaust historically will lead inexorably to denial that represents the real obstacle to understanding the past—not Irwin's pleas for 'perspective,' however shallow or daft they may be.

Contrarian impulses, counterintuitive thinking, dissent from established interpretations—in the wrong hands, these propensities can be offensively slick, but in the right hands they're the stuff of scholarship. Historians, after all, don't toil in the archives to adduce more evidence confirming everything we always knew."

[except, of course, David McCullough and Stephen Ambrose.]

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Don't get me wrong, I hate DPS, but I can't completely discount a man who gives Sean Connery the following line:

I found a cure for the plague of the 20th century, and now I've lost it!

Take some time out of your day and bellow this line with your best Connery by way of SNL impression.

It will bring you nothing but joy.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger maurinsky said...

I just saw DPS for the first time over the weekend. I cried, because I am easily manipulated, but upon even cursory reflection, it melts away as if it were nothing, and I think the problem was in the script.

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