Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Frost/Nixon: The Oscars and something about ice cream

There are some things that happened before I was born, and I know very little about most of them. So it's nice when a film can teach you something. Frost/Nixon, for example, teaches me that Richard Nixon really did have a strange voice, and that David Frost wasn't always old. These interviews are the sort of the thing that pop up on mundane 'Best of All Television' compilations, but it seems they're actually more interesting than that. The fact that I know next to nothing about seventies American politics and still enjoyed the film is important. It can just be about the drama of two men sitting in chairs talking about important things. At least, it is eventually, because Frost has to be propped up to ask the good questions. He doesn't do any work for the first few recordings, so it doesn't go very well. He wakes up eventually and handily stumbles across a vital piece of evidence that everyone else had missed. Then he's won. He leans forward and says all the right things to make Nixon crumble. Frost/Nixon is the sort of the film that's good in a very boring way. The script is expertly structured. The performances are excellent. The direction is polished. It's a very good film when you think about it, but not worth getting exciting about. It was nominated for five Oscars but didn't win any of them, losing to films that were just a bit more exciting. An analogy could come in handy here, but I can't think of any. Imagine you're eating ice cream. It's very nice ice cream and technically excellent. But then there's other ice cream that comes with strawberry sauce and colourful sprinkles, and has an emotional third act. You enjoyed all the ice cream but would probably only ask for the second one again.

What was I writing about? The Oscars, yes. On that subject, it is very rude to play the music over Aaron Sorkin. He can talk for as long as he wants to. It is also very rude to call The King's Speech the 'best picture', when it clearly isn't. The King's Speech is the first sort of ice cream. There were other films with all the toppings. Ah well, I'm sure everyone had a nice time.


  1. Note that Christian Bale talked at least as long as Sorkin, but no music was played. I think they were afraid if they did he'd come beat them up

  2. I suppose it would help if a potential viewer knew something of Nixon and the era. I've read alot of Nixon and Watergate found this film engrossing. Langella is excellent as Nixon.
    I think it dind't win any Oscars because Nixon is still somewhat a boogey man and Idoubt the judges wanted to avoid political ramificationsby even acknowledging Nixon even existed.
    Horses for courses. Some will like ( me! ) and some will find it dull.