As I’m settling in to watch the Oscars, I’m finding it funny just how many news articles over the past few days have been writing about the wave of 4 ‘historical’ oscar-nominated films: Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, and Django Unchained.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Quentin Tarantino and Ben Affleck, but I’m not exactly expecting them to give me a history lesson.
I think it has something to do with this sentence that’s posted on a lot of movie posters: “Based on true events”. This sentence is purposefully camouflaged – it misleads the audience into thinking the film-maker is striving for historical accuracy, when it really means that the movie is fiction.
Jess Coleman summed it up for Huffington Post today very well:
“Watching a movie used to be a way to detach oneself from reality, to enjoy the world through a lens that we otherwise never get to see. Sadly, going to a movie today means exploring an odd extension of reality — we need to be skeptical and critical as if we were watching the news.”
And even more brilliantly:
“Movies are not documentaries. They are intended to entertain and artfully tell a story. No filmmaker is trying to answer all of histories questions, or settle any hotbed political debates. If, in thirty years, our nation’s policy on torture is being dictated by a work of Hollywood, then, well, we have much bigger problems than we thought.”
Mr. Coleman’s bio says he’s an 18-year old student at Bingham University. Give this man his degree already.