Branch picks entertaining pix over messages
MEMO TO: SOUND MIXERSI’ve only met a few of you during my various tours of duty in the movie business, but I’ve always found you a very good-spirited bunch of people. In fact, I wish you’d put me on your screening list. Mixing a film takes patience, if not forbearance. Now and then, when a scene just lays there, you are called upon to hype up the noise to cover up bad performances. I’ve never heard any of you say, “Boy, why are we wasting time on this?” I only mention all this because, in surveying the Oscar nominations, the members of your tight fraternity seem to be the only ones who still enjoy going to the movies. While other branches of the Academy are taking themselves very seriously — only “important” movies deserve a nomination — you guys actually endorsed some (excuse the expression) entertainments. Your nominees were “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “King Kong,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Walk the Line” and “War of the Worlds.” These entertainments (ugh, that word again) were snubbed in the more estimable categories. Indeed, if you exclude “Munich,” the average cost of a best picture nominee was roughly $8.6 million and the average mind set can only be described as dour. But you mixers are a wild and crazy bunch. You actually gave the nod to some fun flix. I can already hear those other “serious” branches putting you down. “They don’t watch, they just listen” will be the refrain. That may be true, but please invite me next year to your screenings.