A report to my younger self
Regarding the 2010 Oscars
Yo, mid-’80s me! Where’s the beef? Greetings from the year 2010.
Don’t worry. I’m not writing to warn you about some relentless cyborg death drone coming back through time to wreak havoc on your world because the machines have taken over. It’s true that the machines have taken over, but we’re actually pretty cool with it.
No, arguably it’s the director of The Terminator who’s more out of control these days. I don’t even know how to describe to you what he’s up to now. To put it in language you’ll understand: The problem is, who really wants to have their mind blown by oversized Smurfs? Well, this guy, obviously. A major hoser. It’s been like this since he became the king of the world.
Anyway, the occasion of this year’s Oscars has put me in a reflective mood, and I’ve been thinking about how things have changed since the time when I—when you—were just starting to really get into movies.
I won’t lie to you. There’s been some hardship since then. I can’t go into too much detail because, as you know, no man should know too much about his own destiny. I don’t doubt that right now you’re feeling like you’ll be chubby and lonely and awkward forever. I can tell you that you definitely will be for at least another 25 years. Anyway, one thing that’s cool about your 30s is that you’ll be going to the movies all the time, for free.
Now, maybe you think being a dork who goes to the movies too much is no way to become an adult. And maybe you’re right. But then again, it sure worked pretty well for this one guy, now one of the most famous directors in the world, who’s got eight nominations this year for a film whose title he didn’t even bother to spell correctly.
What I’m saying is dream big, my self, because anything is possible. In fact, all the stuff you’re into right now—cartoons, Star Trek, Transformers, hovering motherships, good guys against Nazis, hellacious graphic violence, feel-good football—has become major award fodder in Hollywood by 2010.
You know it as “the year we make contact,” and I still like the sound of that, even if that movie got a few things wrong. For starters, as this one documentary makes clear, mankind has a much less pleasant relationship with dolphins than Roy Scheider did back in the 2010 movie. Oh, but at least that tough older babe who played the Russian space cadet is now playing another Russian space cadet, in a drama about Leo Tolstoy that I’m sure you wouldn’t like.
Yeah, some things haven’t changed. We still have lots of British people—eager schoolgirls, swooning poets, mad bureaucrats, reigning royals and at least one very sad professor—all decked out as usual with fancy clothes and fancy language.
And we still have musicals, long ethnic jokes and Meryl Streep. But dude, don’t worry. 2010 is way sci-fi. And cartoons nowadays are totally tubular. Like, literally. And if you’re starting to get sick of Vietnam War movies, cheer up. By now, we’ve got a whole new war!
What else? Well, Dirty Harry is an important director now, and he really wants us all to know he’s not a racist. Which reminds me. I don’t want to freak you out, but I feel obligated to tell you that some of what you’ve been learning from The Cosby Show about how black families live in New York City is not entirely accurate. Just try to understand that things are a lot different for the Huxtables in Brooklyn Heights than they are for the Joneses in Harlem.
I tell you, it’s been a pretty wild ride. Do you remember that guy George in The Facts of Life? No, of course you don’t. But he’s a huge movie star now. You probably don’t remember Lou Grant from Lou Grant, either. Well, now he’s a cartoon man who floats away in a balloon house. It’s so crazy.
And if somebody had told me when I was you that the guy who directed Ghostbusters would one day have a kid who made a movie with that The Facts of Life guy and got six nominations for it, well, I don’t know what I’d say. What are you saying right now?
But I mean, if the dude from Knots Landing can co-host the Academy Awards with Steve Martin, well then why shouldn’t Woody from Cheers be in the running for an Oscar? After all, he’s been nominated before. Yes, I am serious.
And the Starman from Starman? Him, too. Again. He’s been nominated a bunch of times by now. We think this might be his year.
OK, man. I gotta book.