By Sarah Jost
Et tu, Golden Globes? Has it really come to this? This past year, a movie about four white, upper middle class, straight men who do absolutely whatever they want with no consequences was nominated for a Golden Globe. Then, this film, which manages to degrade women, Asians, black people, the differently-abled, and gay people in the name of comedy, won a Golden Globe.
In December, despite my better judgment, I forced myself to watch The Hangover to see why it might have been nominated. I laughed once during the entire 100 painful minutes, and it was because I could not stop thinking of Ed Helms as Andy Bernard, his character from the actually-funny television show The Office. I will admit, the premise was interesting. Three friends get so wasted they lose another friend and have to find him in time for his wedding, even though they don’t remember anything from the night before. In the hands of capable writers, this could have been a hilarious movie. Instead, it was offensive and stupid.
Now, it is one thing for a film like this to receive commercial success. I have no idea why, but given the success of similarly humoured films, such as everything by the unspeakable Mr. Apatow, I expected it. But never did I expect it to receive award nominations. Were the pickings really that slim? Were they really that desperate to lure viewers? Did Crapatow really pay them that much money?
On Sunday the unthinkable happened: The Hangover won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. That means that enough HFPA voters sat down, watched this movie, and actually laughed. Can someone remind me what is funny about date rape drugs, calling someone a fag, cheating on your partner, and people being beaten? I understand that the nominees overall were weak this year, but at least the other nominated films had great performances (Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Dame Judi Dench, and Nicole Kidman – Nine) and creative visions ((500) Days Of Summer). The Hangover has been made a million times over, with the same forgettable cast and the same inane jokes. Perhaps the line between earnings and merit is becoming blurred. Maybe the voters couldn’t see beyond the film’s flashing dollar signs to its substanceless core. Any way you slice it (and I wish someone would), The Hangover did not deserve any accolades.
This was the final straw, Hollywood. I have been steaming over the success of such films for years, but never before has one been nominated, or worse, won, a major award. Hollywood is doing whatever they can to make a quick buck without regard for the quality of their work. And it’s working. The Hangover was the highest grossing R-Rated comedy ever. But if real, good comedies are made, people will see them. Writers of the world, our time must be now. If comedy continues down this path, it will soon be an unrecognisable form with no heart or brains. Comedy needs to be saved, and we need to save it. Writers, write right now!