Latest Oscar winners too depressing to see

March 25, 1994|By MIKE ROYKO

The Academy Awards are over, and once again, I am left out of most movie conversations because I haven't seen any of the movies that won. Nor do I intend to.

Many of my friends say to me: "You've got to see 'Schindler's List.' "

No, I don't. I know what it is about. It is a depressing subject about one of the most terrible events in history. And I have a rule against spending $7 to sit for two hours or more in order to be depressed.

If I want to be depressed, I can turn on public radio in the morning and hear the latest reports on mutilation of females in Africa, air pollution in Slovakia, and the plight of the homeless, foodless, sightless and toothless in Third World nations.

Or I can just stare in the mirror while shaving.

And I'm not going to see "The Piano," either, because I read a review and I can tell it, too, is depressing.

Besides, the actress in "The Piano" won an Oscar for playing someone who can't talk. That doesn't make sense to me. How do I know she is such a great actress if she doesn't talk? After all, if George Bush didn't have to talk, he'd still be president of the United States.

And Harpo Marx didn't talk in a lot more movies than this actress didn't talk in. But they didn't give Harpo an Oscar. Of course not. They don't give an Oscar for comedy, even though it is much harder to make people laugh than to make them depressed. Just read or watch the day's news.

I won't see "Philadelphia," either, even though Tom Hanks won an Oscar as best actor for playing a man dying of AIDS. For one thing, it is still another depressing movie.

But I also thought that Hanks' acceptance speech -- hailed by movie critics and others as eloquent and moving -- was one of the worst public displays of incoherent, weepy blubbering that I have ever seen and heard.

When Anthony Hopkins won the Oscar for playing a loony who killed and ate people, he didn't stand there weeping and blubbering about victims of serial killers or any murder victims at all. Don't the many innocent people who get murdered deserve Hollywood's sympathy? Isn't getting murdered a serious social and health problem?

Over the years, there have been awards to actors who were in movies about all sorts of death. But not one of them got as weepy and blubbery as did Hanks.

When "The Godfather" won a slew of awards, the recipients didn't shed tears for the many widows and orphans of those bumped off by Mafia mugs.

All Hanks had to do was go up there, thank the usual suspects, and, if he wanted to convey a message, say something like: "I hope I have contributed to the understanding of some of the social issues that are related to one of this nation's many health problems." Simple enough.

And had he really wanted to give us something original, he might have said: "We should call on the government to shut down the gay bathhouses in San Francisco and all over, where irresponsible individuals pass the disease around. I mean, if we can browbeat smokers with taxes and social condemnation, what about self-absorbed people who bring health problems on themselves, then blame society for it?"

But if he said that, his agent would have had a stroke and the audience would have hissed and thrown lapel ribbons at him, so the weepy, blubbery approach was probably a better show-biz touch.

So how can I go see a movie that is so depressing that it makes the star turn into a sobbing wreck many months after he finished shooting the last scene?

No, I'm not going to see any of these movies. Even "The Fugitive," which is the least depressing, made my skip list. That's because a friend who saw it told me that when Richard Kimball's stunningly beautiful wife is murdered by the one-armed man, it is really gory. Her head is bashed and blood is splattered all over the place.

I don't go to movies that show stunningly beautiful women getting their heads bashed. If they made a movie in which somebody cuffs Whoopi Goldberg's ears, I might rent the video, but that's my limit.

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