Now Is the Season for Prestige Picture Fatigue

Fans of quality movies should love the winter since it's when the important prestige pictures—the movies vying for Oscars—litter the cineplex. But who wants to see one depressing movie after the next? It's way too much.

Just this morning my colleague Richard Lawson admitted he can't bring himself to go see The King's Speech, which will doubtlessly be nominated for countless Oscars and will probably win a few. This weekend, I went to the movies twice, but I couldn't bring myself to see Blue Valentine, the sad tale of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams' fictional marriage falling apart. Actually, I don't think I'm going to see it at all. And the same goes for Mike Leigh's sure to be delightful but slow as molasses Another Year. Yes, both will get awards attention, but neither will get my money.

Every year there are few Oscar movies that I just can't bring myself to see and this year, I believe these are going to be the winners. After all, I already suffered through Nicole Kidman's forehead moving with grief over a dead child in Rabbit Hole, I needed a Xanax after watching Natalie Portman go absolutely in-fucking-sane in Black Swan, I tried to conceal the fact that I was an adult crying at a cartoon during Toy Story 3, I squirmed uncomfortably watching Christian Bale smoke crack in The Fighter, and I almost vomited when James Franco cut his own arm off in 127 Hours. And now you want me to sit through two hours about a doomed relationship? Oh, hell no!

But these slights happen annually. I'm one of those people who likes to go see every movie that is nominated for an Oscar, and I'll even go see movies because they're likely to be nominated for an Oscar. This means, come December, it's time for a "serious movie" marathon as all the big contenders are released in one quivering emotional clump. That means every year there are a couple of movies that I just can't drag my pretentious ass to go see. Last year it was Inglorious Bastards (sorry, Tarantino, the statute of limitations on your funky spelling has expired), the treacly Kleenex fest The Blind Side, and color-me-not-interested Crazy Heart. The year before it was The Wrestler and The Reader, because the last thing I need in the dead of winter is to watch some mangled has-been stuff himself into spandex or another Holocaust movie.

And this year, it is Blue Valentine and Another Year. Sorry guys, I just can't bring myself to do it. I am tired of seeing all these important movies with complex characters and sad stories. My brain is tired, my heart is hardened, and my tear ducts are empty. This weekend, when I inevitably get bored and want to go the movies, I'm not going to cave and decide to cross one more prestige picture off my list. No, I'm going to see Tangled. It's time for a break.