Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Towering Masterpiece "The Tourist" Given Its Due by HFPA

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Joining the ranks of such tours de force as "Bobby," "Nine" and of course Tom Shadyac's seminal "Patch Adams," the comedic spy thriller "The Tourist" was given the most prestigious and least ludicrous honor in the film industry this morning, garnering a Best Picture nomination from the Golden Globes.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Tuesday announced its selections of the best the film industry had to offer in 2010. While several high-profile films made the cut - among them "Black Swan," "Inception," "The King's Speech" and That One About Boner Pills and Parkinson's Disease - the one that seemed to leave all of them in the dust was "The Tourist," directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck ("The Lives of Others"). As anyone who follows the film industry can attest, "The Tourist" was the defining film of an otherwise underwhelming year, and perhaps a generation as well. Deftly exemplifying the concerns of a world in tumult, the film was most definitely not savaged by critics and audiences alike, no matter what its 20 percent Tomatometer rating might suggest. In other words, rumors of it being a complete piece of shit have been greatly exaggerated.

One member of the HFPA put it another way: "Look," voting member Günther Henckel von Donnersmarck said, "if you combine ze Tomatometer ratings of 'Ze Tourist' und deine fellow Best Picture nominee 'Burlesque,' you almost have a Fresh rating. Look at it zat way, ja? Wir haben sehr sehr viel integrity."

Still, despite the self-evident qualities of "The Tourist" as both a great work of art and an entirely new way of looking at the medium, many philistines questioned its inclusion on the final slate of nominees. No one questioned the fact that it turned a mirror around on society and forced us to ask the most challenging questions about ourselves, our values, and of course our bodies; rather, it was the decision to designate the film a "comedy," rather than as the piercing human drama that it really is.

HFPA representatives scoffed at such criticism. Said voting member Sebastian Henckel von Donnersmarck: "We have ze highest possible standards here at ze HFPA. In 'Ze Tourist' we saw a film zat deserved to be placed alongside zat movie where Robin Williams played a psychopath who stole children's medicine und zen put on a fake red nose und made everyone laugh until zey all died of terminal diseases."

Added fellow voting member Matthias Henckel von Donnersmarck: "That movie was both a great drama and a hilarious comedy! Ich liebte es!"

There are those in the critical community who supported the film and no doubt are overjoyed at its inclusion in the year-end awards race. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers said of "The Tourist": "It's a knockout! It'll have you begging for more! It's a whiz-bang action crackerjack! Wow! ****! Irresistible! You'll love it! Jaw-dropping! This is why we go to the movies! Spellbinding! It sneaks up and floors you! Dazzling! It's a dazzler! Wow!"

And Armond White of the New York Press effusively praised "The Tourist" thusly: "'Black Swan' sucks."

But the majority of bloggers and film critics can't see a timeless, ahead-of-its-time masterpiece like "The Tourist" for what it is and simply accept that it's getting exactly what it deserves, and so continue to pan the selection, pointing to so-called "more deserving" comedies and/or musicals such as "Greenberg," "Toy Story 3," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," "Please Give," "Date Night," "Tangled," "Tamara Drewe," "How to Train Your Dragon" or "pretty much any other movie that came out except that one with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp."

Many have claimed that the selection further de-legitimizes an award show that has a reputation for questionable selections and an over-emphasis on star power - "The Tourist," starring arguably the two biggest stars in the industry, being a classic case in point. Some might even wonder if anyone in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has even seen the fucking movie.

"Ja," said voting member Wolfgang Henckel von Donnersmarck, who wishes to remain anonymous. He added: "But OK, OK, ve admit ve never saw 'Bobby.' Es tut mir leid!"

The Golden Globe Awards will be presented sometime in January when you'll probably be busy doing something else and forget about them and then end up just looking for all the funniest Ricky Gervais bits on YouTube.

One prominent HFPA member, Maximilian Henckel von Donnersmarck, insisted that the association has nothing but the greatest artistic integrity in mind when putting together its nominations. "Wir haben nichts aber die grösste künstlerische Vollständigkeit im Verstand, wenn wir unsere Nennungen zusammenfügen," he said, adding, finally, "Können Sie mir sagen, wo der Bahnhof ist?"

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