Add “zeitgeist” to the list.
I’ve been at my wits end trying to avoid resorting to it as I
write my annual Oscar Nomination prediction story/folly. But nobody said
kicking the habit would be easy. Maybe I need a cliché patch. At least there’s
still “weltschmerz” and “schadenfreude.”
Speaking of the “z” word, I never knew the National Society of
Film Critics (of which I am a member) to tap into it with their annual choice
of Best Picture. They usually vote their conscience and come up with such off
the wall but brilliant films like “Yi-Yi” which only they will ever see.
But not this year. Their winner “Their Will Be Blood” seems to be
on a bit of a roll, though it will not overtake the juggernaut — at least in
critics circles — of “No Country For Old Men.” But the main reason for the
film’s compulsive watchability, Daniel Day-Lewis as the unapologetically
nihilist oil baron Daniel Plainview, should win him an Oscar this year (should he
not be satisfied with the Best Actor honor granted him by the NSFC).
You’d have to go back at least to Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko
in “Wall Street” for a villain as exuberantly venal and evil and without qualms
or rationalizations. Future generations of Republicans and neocons will look up
to Plainview and try to imitate his voice and gestures, maybe even his clothes, and certainly his ruthlessness, just as a previous generation put on suspenders and slicked back their hair and
parasitically destroyed the lives of millions as they made their fortunes. Yes,
“I drink your milkshake!” is the “Greed is good” of the new millennium.
Ugh. “New millenium.” Another one for the list.