Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar for her performance in Butterfield 8. Most folks agreed it wasn't her best work or a very good movie, but she had a life-threatening disease and got the sympathy vote. What does this have to do with this year's Best Supporting Actor award? Oh, nothing.
I can't seem to stop running in nerd circles so I've gotten an earful recently about how wonderful the latest Batman movie is and how it got robbed at the Oscars. I'm ambivalent about the flick: I saw it because Laurie wanted to (how's that for a role-reversal: my girlfriend drags me to superhero movies!) and was prepared to hate it, since the trailers made it look like a gloomy slog. It was smarter than the average shoot-em-up and deserves credit for that. On the other hand there's something rancid about making a Batman movie that you can't take children to. This film is like a fat grownup stealing a Batman toy from a child and shouting "Mine, not yours!" as millions cheer. And let's face it; just as we'd never have heard of Elvis if he'd been black, we'd never have heard all this gush about how wonderful that Joker performance was if the guy were still alive. Dadgummit.
And now the nerds are carrying on about the Watchmen movie. Snore. And I love the Watchmen comic, as much as any nerd out there, I do. But adaptation is only interesting if it creates its own identity, an identity that stands on its own, like Miles Davis' Porgy and Bess. Who needs a "faithful" adaptation? When was the last time you enjoyed something because it was "faithful" to something else? Movies should be faithful to themselves alone. The Watchmen movie looks like Beatlemania.
Obviously I wouldn't get so worked up about this stuff if I weren't a nerd myself. As Evan Dorkin points out, the me of a decade ago would be aghast that I wouldn't go see a Watchmen film.