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Monday, March 03, 2014

Letting My Storm Rage On From Frozen NEO, But I'm All About Happy

The question I chose for today is timely because the Oscars were announced last night in what was probably the strangest telecast for them I ever remember seeing.  Am I remembering rightly that one acting award was given at the beginning, and then all the techie awards and sort of "secondary" awards (like animated short, documentary, makeup) were then bestowed before any other acting Oscar was awarded?  I felt like Ellen Degeneres was underutilized, but I was so bored at one point that I found even her to be annoying.

Anyway, I'm going to use today's question to celebrate a sort of Festivus Tradition* I have regarding the Oscars show and the category of Best Song once I've answered it. (*The Airing of Grievances)  Off we go.

Have you heard the song Let It Go from the movie Frozen, and if so, do you like it?

Let me say that I set aside all of my anti-Disney bias and listened to this song with an open mind.  I also tried to keep in mind what it was, a movie theme song for The General Public, which meant it would be somewhat narrative, have a theme or lesson within it, and at some point it would reach soaring heights like an eighties power ballad, and the singer would raise her fist or hit her chest or something intense like that because she feels the music.  It's like what the coaches on The Voice tell their team members.

Okay, so I listened to it, but it was just meh for me.  Even U2's song didn't move me.  And the little duet by the girl in the red dress with her strappy shoes parked picturesquely next to her and the amiable looking guy with the guitar was unremarkable and made me think of Once, except that Once was way better. The only song I truly enjoyed was the Happy one by Pharrell.  (I also thoroughly admired his outfit.)  As a matter of fact, here is a link to the song.  I like it that much.  The video is happy, and his style is wonderful.

For years I've been saying that having all of the Best Song nominees sung or played during the Oscar telecast is a real timesuck and a drag on the energy of the show.  Just play a snippet of each one as they are announced before the winner is read.  They do that with every single other award except Best Picture.  Aren't we putting an awful lot of weight behind a category that is, at best, a pretty extraneous one?  Most Best Song nominees are not even part of the movie; they're played at the end while the credits roll.  Can you even name last year's Best Song?  I have no idea.  Can you name 2012's Best Song?  How many Best Songs can you even name?  I can name a helluva lot of Best Actors, Best Pictures, Best Actresses.  I can maybe, maybe name three or four Best Songs, and that's only because my buddy Roger and I used to have a seriously cutthroat Oscar Pool for about fifteen years.  We picked everything, even the shorts and foreign language films.

When is the last time you went to a film and said, "I expected more from that film.  The song at the end was terrible"?  Or, after having heard the list of Oscar nominees, sent a text to a friend that said, "Let's go see Mandela. Just got a nod for Best Song!"  Never.  Come on.

The running gag for all awards shows, especially the Golden Globes and the Oscars, is that it inevitably runs long, sometimes way long.  When will they do The Smart Thing and cut the performances of Best Song? Who is going to raise a serious objection?  Will musicians riot in the streets?  Do you think all the Hollywood headliners and the seat-fillers, who are starving and wearing three layers of Spanx or corsets and have not eaten anything but iceberg lettuce and green smoothies laced with  Benefiber for the past week will care?  Ha. It is to laugh.

I am more than happy to be The Bad Guy here and make this decision for everyone.  Consider it one of the many things I can sanction under the purview of the Dept. of Nance.

*NOTE*  Blogger and Feedburner are not making nice for some reason.  My email subscribers are suffering the consequences. I apologize, and I am doing what I can on this end.

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13 comments:

  1. I have a four year old daughter, so it is safe to say that I have heard "Let it Go" approximately 3,625 times.

    My daughter will sing the lyrics and I will imitate all the body movements that Elsa does during the song. Works for us!

    It is actually a fabulous song, but I heard they made Idina Menzel cut the song short on the Oscar telecast, so I don't think it was built up in the proper way. Idina has a fantastic voice, but I think she just had an off night and the song arrangement could have been better.

    Try listening to the full version on YouTube.

    Anyway, since Idina was the original Elphaba, she can do no wrong in my eyes.

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  2. I watched the Oscars and enjoyed it so much. However, I was at a fun Oscar party and that may have had a great deal to do with it. Everyone, me included, really liked Ellen though. "Let it Go" is okay, but nothing great. I love "Happy" and think it definitely should have won. I play the video over and over in the background, because it, well makes me happy. The Oscars are so political, so that's probably why it didn't win.

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  3. Lisa--Watching anything with a group does improve the experience. It also would have helped if I had seen some films!

    Maybe "Happy" didn't win because it is very simplistic in its lyrics and structure. But that's the key to its charm for me. It's such a fun song, and it seems perfect for the little Minions' character (although I'm speaking completely superficially, having only seen them in ads and such).

    "Let It Go" is richer musically and lyrically, but as I said, seems formulaic. I looked at the lyrics, and in one or two places, it seems to contradict itself. But I'm far too nitpicky.

    As far as politics, I don't know. I remember one year, Best Song went to "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" from Hustle and Flow. I thought everyone lost their minds. The song, imo, was awful. But it was a weak year. Ditto the year Bruce Springsteen won. His song was flat and depressing.

    Gina--I actually did listen to several versions on YouTube because I got the meme questions over a week or two ago. Idina Menzel is very talented, and definitely got the most out of the song. I'm glad they cut the songs down at least.

    I love the idea of you performing as your daughter sings. What a good mom you are! We lose our dignity in childbirth anyway, don't we? So what's a little playacting and princessing later on? Let it go!

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  4. Oh, thank you for watching the Oscars and giving a precis.

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  5. Mary G--Do you want to hear about any dresses or anything? LOL.

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  6. I don't know, Nance. Take out the songs and there is even less entertainment value in the show. I would rather skip a few of the "secondary awards" in order to shorten the program. I liked U2's Ordinary Love the best, but I haven't seen the movie. Might not have even known about it if I had not watched the Academy Awards.

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  7. My daughter and I saw Frozen perhaps the day before the awards, and she LOVES the movie and the song. So I was glad it won. I think the singer is amazing, and she got the best out of the song that she could, but yes, it's formulaic. For a Disney song though, it was pretty empowering.

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  8. J.--Maya is part of The Disney Generation, the kids born in the 80s and beyond whose childhoods were informed by Disney characters and Disneyized versions of stories and historical events. The phenomenon of the whole thing is that so many of these kids have never heard of Mother Goose, a fairytale that hasn't been animated by Disney, and they continue to go to Disney kid movies even as teens and young adults. Disney is like a cult in this way. I learned this when teaching. Any time I mentioned an American history event that happened to be part of a Disney movie (Pocohantas), or said a phrase (circle of life), the kids automatically mentioned (or worse, SANG) something from Disney. I know plenty of twenty-somethings (mostly women) who wax poetic about Disney princesses, films, etc. and are nuts about Frozen and the song.

    I went to see Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King in the theater and was very impressed. The quality of story, the voices, etc. were excellent. And I know Disney can be trusted to be fam-friendly.

    But Disney is taking over childhoods. I think that's their mission. They are scary to me. And I'm only half-kidding.

    John of Late--Welcome to the Dept. and thanks for joining in! You definitely have a point there. I guess I find entertainment value elsewhere in the show, like the emcee, the acceptances (when they're not long boring name lists), and the stargazing. I do get a kick out of watching Bono these days. He's definitely different now that he's a humanitarian first and a musician second. I respect him a great deal for his humanitarian work, but I miss the days when he was a badass.

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  9. It was not one of the best shows. Ellen seemed overly nervous for a long while. I really like Ellen and I sympathize with that role of trying to deal with an audience that's a mixture of such characters who are not usually amused easily while also being tasked to entertain tv viewers--the public.

    I loved the Happy song and performance, too! I have not seen any of those movies though, so I don't feel I can really give a fair assessment. I think if they cut the songs back a bit, the acceptance speeches would end up being longer. I remember back in the day my sister would buy the soundtracks to movies and for about 3/4 of them I would always think, I don't even remember that song being in the movie!

    The best thing about the song "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp" winning was Jon Stewart's line, "I think things just got a little easier for a pimp." It cracked me up, which is ironic since I actually detest the word pimp and what it stands for and wince when people use that word in a light-hearted way. Of course, I'm that way about bitch, porn, and crack, too. In this regard, I'm a piece of work like you always say about yourself. I just thought it was a good example of how Jon Stewart thinks on his feet.

    Disney is definitely cultish. I had a friend who lived in their Celebration Village. "Living the dream," but more like Wisteria Lane in real life. I do agree that seeing The Lion King live was phenomenal though and Disney entertained Young Son for a lot of hours. Thankfully, he got a good dose of Mother Goose and classic children's lit from his grandfather and me.

    Shirley

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  10. Shirley--I remember Ann taking a group of us on a drive to and through Celebration. It gave me the creeps and made me think of Stepford. I kept saying, "And people actually live here for real? As in every day? This is where real people live, not a theme park?" It seemed like a movie set, or a Stephen King story. Ugh.

    Jon Stewart. I love him. My sister, the Rabid Democrat (she took over for me) is constantly sending me clips from the Daily Show to watch. Brilliant.

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  11. Yes, Nance, very Stepford-ish. I think my friend actually went to live there thinking it would make his life a fantasy. Instead he committed suicide there. I didn't plan to mention that originally, but it is a fact. He was a good person, but delusional in his search for happiness.

    The young people who watch Jon Stewart's Daily Show are getting better and more accurate information than they will ever get from any mainstream news. Obviously, I love him, too!

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  12. The Oscars so need to be edited down to something manageable. What about a medley of the best songs instead of dragging them out?

    Not a fan of Let it go. I can definitely let it go! It's all right when you listen to it with the animation from the movie, but I would not be tempted to download it and play it over and over again. Which is my litmus test for a really good song.

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  13. Ortizzle--I think they used to do a sort of medley before. And one year, they had interpretive dancers gyrating around to each song. That was...urk.

    I still listen to Happy, especially when I'm putting away dishes from the dishwasher. With my new kitchen floor, I can really scoot around and throw in a few twirls.

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