By John H. Foote
Every so often a film comes about that is wildly acclaimed, and I am on the outside looking in, not comprehending the acclaim. It happened with The Artist (2011), fun film, built on a gimmick, but Best Picture? Please! I felt the same gnawing annoyance about Slumdog Millionaire (2008), which I liked, but did not love. Hailed as wildly original, I saw at its core a romantic comedy, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back forever. Set against the background of brutal poverty in India and a popular game show, I suppose it had some originality but eight Academy Awards!
The one that staggers me most was The English Patient (1996) which I, in a word, hated. Yes I know the desert vistas are endlessly beautiful, the design makes the film look incredibly expensive when it was not. I did not care a hoot about the characters, except the Nurse, Hanna, played with luminous raw beauty and honesty by Juliette Binoche. The rest, I loathed. During the great emotional, romantic scene in the cave, all I was thinking was “die, for God sakes DIE!! put us out of our misery!” I did not believe the romance between Ralph Fiennes and Kristen Scott Thomas at all, I did believe anyone could love her and he was so muted, I wondered how she even knew he wanted her. Hated it, even more, the second time, and then it wins nine Academy Awards!
I do not believe I am wrong with these films, I stand by what I wrote.
Parasite, from South Korea, is the most OVERRATED, OVER PRAISED film of the year.
Yep, I went there. Shoot me.
What is all the fuss about?
The film is impossible to believe, to begin with. Are we expected to believe a wealthy, very intelligent family would not smell a rat with the family they hire? Rich people are rarely stupid people. The end comes out of nowhere and I did not buy it. Forced, unimaginative, not for a second did I buy it. Yet it is hailed a masterpiece and a legitimate threat to win the Academy Award as Best Picture! It seems to have already claimed Best International Feature, but France’s Les Miserables (not the musical, not the novel) is a far better film and should win this award.
But no, it seems Parasite will latch on to the Academy.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.