Sunday, November 20, 2011

OSCARS SWITCH AND FALLOUT: THOUGHTS ON MURPHY, RATNER, GRAZER, AND CRYSTAL, AND THE 6-LETTER F-WORD.

In September, I posted a blog where I discussed Brett Ratner's choice of Eddie Murphy to host this year's Oscars, and discussed how the real problem with the Academy Awards's icreasingly deteriorating audience was the audience themselves not being bothered enough to watch the movies that the people who make movies for a living believe they should honor. The link to that blog is below:

http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2011/09/eddie-murphy-oscar-host-congrats-but.html

It was written back when the problem with the Oscars was the poor performance from last year's hosts, and the continuously drop in their ratings over the years. Suddenly, the only part of that blog that isn't completely moot is the fact that the audience is still at fault for not watching the Oscars (and good movies). As I'm sure most everybody has heard, Oscar-producer Brett Ratner resigned as producer after making a derogatory remark on a radio show (He said "f-----"). The next day, Eddie Murphy, who apparently took the hosting gig because of Ratner's involvement, also backed out of the Oscars. The first question that everybody seemed to ponder was whether he should've resigned for what he said. My thought is that I doubt that he meant it as a derogatory slang. I say that meaning that, until now, Brett Ratner didn't realize that the six-letter f-word is infact a slang so vulgar that uttering it should cost anyone immature enough to use it in this society their job. I don't think he meant harm, but it's startingly questionable behavior from Ratner. Actually, if I'm totally honest, part of me kinda predicted that something like this could happen. Although not with Ratner, although considering how I've rarely liked any of his films, and how he thinks Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan together are funny, I probably could've foreseen that too. (I did like "Red Dragon," though; second best Hannibal Lecter movie after "The Silence of the Lambs".) I actually was more concerned that Eddie Murphy might say something of questionable taste like that. He's funny as hell, and I hope that this setback doesn't perclude him from considering to host the Oscars in the future, but he's rarely done any kind of hosting or stand-up in twenty years or so. If anybody's watched some of his old stand-up routines, and there's a tendency for some of his material to be homophobic. For some of you that might not remember, take a look at this old clip of Eddie from "Raw".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQBLzotAn3M


Now, admittedly this joke is funny, and the way Murphy delivers it show exactly how talented he is, but he is stereotyping homosexuals for humor, (and using the f-word). But, it was the eighties, or early '90s at the latest. Whatever year it was, it was a lifetime ago, and actually, that joke was rather tame compared to some of Sam Kinison's old routines about homosexual behavior, but Kinison didn't live to see Magic Johnson retire and then survive this long. (The twenty year anniversary of his announcement just passed) I like to think he would've changed and abandoned some of his material had he lived. I like to think Murphy would've abandoned some of that material by now, but there's been some homophobic jokes in some of his films since. Not funny ones. They can't be funny anymore, but it's questonable that even in his recent films he hasn't completely abandoned this line of material, or at least reshaped the observatory nature of it. I don't quite know what connection is to be made here, in me saying that it's interesting that Ratner resigned for using the f-word, when one of my concerns was that Murphy might say a word or tell a joke that could get him in that kind of trouble. Like I said, I don't think either man is prejudice against homosexuals, and I don't think Ratner used the word intending as a derogatory remark. Even in that old clip of Eddie Murphy, and some of his stand-up, I don't think he ever did either. I think more or less, the major concern is that times have just changed, and they, Ratner and Murphy, are learning that the hard way. Well, lesson learned. Now, hopefully they know better, and they'll both be back doing what they do best in no time.

Anyway, all of these thoughts are completely irrelevant now. The Academy quickly hired Oscar & Emmy-Winning produce Brian Grazer to replace Ratner, and he quickly lined up Billy Crystal to host, which completely screwed up my game of "Who would make a good host," 'cause I was trying to think of people who might be good hypothetically, and not, you know, the greatest Oscar host ever! (Sorry Bob Hope, but he is.) Crystal guarantees a great show, and great ratings, and frankly the only thing left to worry about is his song at the beginning and how he might have to do anywhere from 5-9 movies. (Stupid Academy and their new Best Picture standard.) Other than that, Grazer has basically guaranteed a Great Oscars show by getting Crystal to host for the first time in about eight years. In that earlier blog, I said good luck to Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy on the Oscars. Now, I say the same thing to Grazer and Crystal, and I hope I don't have to write another blog about the Oscars, that's not about me bitching about the nominees or praising or, well probably bitching about them I imagine. For instance, the recent announcement of the eligible documentaries that didn't include, names like Steve Avery, Wim Wenders, Morgan Spurlock, and Werner Herzog, for instance, bitching about that already. I digress though. Let's just hope nothing else like this happens from now and Oscar night.
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