This Sunday night will be the 86th edition of the Academy Awards, the oldest annual entertainment awards’ ceremony in the world. 9 films have been nominated for BEST PICTURE. They are: “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Once again, this year, I didn’t see the majority of the nominated films. I did see GRAVITY and CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. I don’t remember some of these even being in theaters.
I’ve missed lots of movies over the years, I wish I would’ve seen. Seen some I wish I hadn’t. Walked out of more than my fair share, and there are more than I can remember I should’ve walked out of, but didn’t. You’ve probably had that experience. Keep thinking it will get better; but it never does.
When it comes to this year’s movies nominated for BEST PICTURE, there were two interesting omissions. For example, “SAVING MR. BANKS” (which I did see) wasn’t. “FROZEN” (which I missed) got the cold shoulder although the song, “LET IT GO,“ was nominated (ironic title since the movie was overlooked) for BEST ORIGINAL SONG.
Three of the films nominated for BEST PICTURE caught my attention (I’ll tell you why in a moment) and reflect what Hollywood values, honors and rewards. They are: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, AMERICAN HUSTLE and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.
Here’s a brief synopsis of each movie from IMDB and Pluggedin Video Reviews:
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
“In 1985, Dallas electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.”1
Pluggedin Video Reviews said: “Ron Woodruff wasn’t someone who would let a little cough slow him down. It didn’t keep him from his job as an electrician. From downing drinks with the guys at the bar. From snorting cocaine. From cavorting with women at a rodeo … two at a time. It was just a nasty, nagging cold, he thought.”2
There is strong sexual content, nudity and violence. “The f-word is used over 100 times. Almost 40 s-words. God’s name is tangled up with the d-word 20 times, while Jesus’ name is misused half a dozen.”3 IMDB says many people snort cocaine and people are shown to be doing heroin.
“A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.”4
Pluggedin Video Reviews said: “A con, swaddled in a swindle, shrouded in deception, surrounded by another con. That might be the best way to describe the onion-like layers of director David O. Russell’s latest farcically dark dramedy, a fictionalized imagining of what might have gone on behind the scenes in the real-life Abscam scandal that resulted in seven U.S. congressmen being convicted of bribery in 1981.”5
Like Dallas Buyers Club there’s plenty of sex, nudity and violence. Though not as much. There are “north of 110 f-words … about 35 s-words. God’s name is misused 20 or so times, five times with ‘d–n.’ Jesus’ name is taken in vain five or six times.”6
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
“Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.”7
Pluggedin Video Reviews said: “Belfort’s appetite for riches knows no bounds. Soon, he and his right-hand man, Danny Azoff, as well as a cadre of swagger-filled, conscience-free young turks are literally rolling in cash – not to mention having sex on piles of it and snorting cocaine through it.”8
Pluggedin Video Reviews continues: “By my count there are 22 sex scenes in this movie …” It’s safe to say there is considerably more than the previous two movies. There’s violence and “scene after scene after scene show Belfort and his buds popping Quaaludes (about which we get a lengthy history lesson) and snorting lines of cocaine. Alcohol of all kinds is equally ubiquitous.”9
“All told, well more than 700 profanities, vulgarities and obscenities crowd every square inch of The Wolf of Wall Street. And a handful more than 525 are f-words … It’s the most f-words Plugged In has ever counted in a movie … Add to that 70-plus s-words, 35 to 40 misuses of God’s name (10 or so paired with ‘d–n’)”10 and more vulgarities and slurs too vile to print.
Here’s why those three movies caught my attention. This year’s 86th edition of the Academy Awards will be missing someone who would’ve been there and probably should’ve been there: Philip Seymour Hoffman. However, the 46-year-old actor won’t be there. He was found earlier this month, dead in a bathroom from an apparent drug overdose with a syringe still in his arm. Authorities found 70 packets of heroin in his apartment in Greenwich Village in Manhattan.
Ironically, he was acting out in real life what Hollywood values, honors and rewards. And it killed him.
Sunday night at the Oscars they’ll commemorate his life. Then celebrate the very things that took it.
© 2014 Barry L. Cameron
1 Dallas Buyers Club, 27 Feb. 2014 <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790636/?ref_=nv_sr_1>.
2 Dallas Buyers Club, Movie Reviews, 27 Feb. 2014 <http://www.pluggedin.com/videos/2014/q1/dallas-buyers-club.aspx>.
4 American Hustle, 27 Feb. 2014 <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1800241/>.
5 American Hustle, Movie Reviews, 27 Feb. 2014 <http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/american-hustle.aspx>.
7 The Wolf of Wall Street, 27 Feb. 2014 <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0993846/?ref_=nv_sr_1>.
8 The Wolf of Wall Street, Movie Reviews, 27 Feb. 2014 <http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/wolf-of-wall-street.aspx>.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.