‘The Cove’ represents a real opportunity for AMPAS

Posted by · 12:44 pm · August 3rd, 2009

The CoveAfter week after week of missed opportunities to see Louie Psihoyos’s harrowing documentary “The Cove,” I finally got around to it last night at the Arclight (one of only two theaters currently showing the film in Los Angeles). I was absolutely floored. Devastated, rocked, affected — it’s the reason films are made.

I won’t get into a proper review now since the film is in release and plenty of opinion pieces have already landed, but I haven’t felt so galvanized by a cinematic experience in a long time. And as opposed to last year’s “Dear Zachary,” which was equally effective but left the viewer with an inevitable feeling of helplessness, “The Cove” has me wanting to empty my wallet, quit my petty job, detach myself from all amenities and actually DO something.

It got me thinking, too. This month’s Oscar update obviously places a bet on Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” to benefit from the expanded Best Picture category. But I think the Academy has a real opportunity to move the needle on a serious issue by shining its spotlight on Psihoyos’s film.

Many argue that populist cinema will finally get its Oscar day in the sun with five extra nominees. Others, myself included, anticipate more of the same AMPAS wheelhouse films to slide it. But what if the 10-nominee paradigm gives more credence to agenda-driven voting practices? And really, given that the Academy isn’t exactly concerned with “best” these days, who can argue with an opportunity to actually say something with the Best Picture slate?

Of course “The Cove” has a steep climb ahead of it on that front, but I’ll be here banging the drum regardless. This film needs to be seen by as many people as possible. And the Academy is in the unique position of ensuring that in some way.

Which reminds me, I don’t know what the behind-the-scenes story is on how Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions attained the distribution rights to the film, and Lord knows, they are doing God’s work by connecting “The Cove” to the world. But it’s nevertheless a shame that a major film distributor isn’t behind the release. The market should be saturated with Psihoyos, Ric O’Barry and their mission.

See it.

Here is the display in the Arclight lobby showcasing a couple of the hidden cameras Psihoyos and his pals at Industrial Light & Magic put together to capture the gut-wrenching slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan:

The Cove display at the Arclight in Hollywood

And the trailer:

Learn more about the world depicted in “The Cove” at Take Part.  Additionally, I’ll probably feature this widget on the main page throughout the season, but once you see the film, come back and sign the petition/group letter to key leaders. If you’re so compelled, that is. I certainly was:

→ 14 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

14 responses so far

  • 1 8-03-2009 at 1:00 pm

    Brian said...

    I really want to see this, but every time I see Hayden P is involved, I back away a little.

  • 2 8-03-2009 at 1:02 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    She’s in it for maybe, oh, 2 seconds? Seriously. Just as part of an anecdote a fellow surfer tells in the context of the story. No biggie.

  • 3 8-03-2009 at 1:04 pm

    Brian said...

    Consider me sold!

  • 4 8-03-2009 at 1:45 pm

    j said...

    Interestingly, none of Moore’s movies reach 75 on MC (their B), though already five docs this year have gotten a B+ (83) inc this one. But since he made the only 100 mil grossing doc ever, he probs has the advantage w/the Academy. At least there are a # of acclaimed docs the Academy can choose to choose from.

    No documentary gets an A- (91) on MC; Capturing the Friedmans & My Voyage to Italy are a point away.

  • 5 8-03-2009 at 2:55 pm

    Alex said...

    I’m planning on watching it this week. Just a technicality but it’s also playing at my favorite theater – the Landmark here in LA.

  • 6 8-03-2009 at 3:11 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Moore isn’t that original and great anymore. It will be more same old again for him and that won’t score well. I believe that this might be a great alternative.

  • 7 8-03-2009 at 4:26 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Weird, according to this it was only playing the Arclight. Anyway, by all means, SEE IT!

  • 8 8-03-2009 at 5:35 pm

    Goodvibe61 said...

    Hi Kris.

    I’m glad to hear you had the exact same reaction to the film that I did. I saw the film this weekend at Arclight and I was just floored by it. When I got home I posted my reactions over at the hollywood stock exchange, and I was surprised to see a couple people’s reaction was that they found the movie “manipulative”. My reaction: Some of the footage in this film simply speaks for itself, and it certainly outweighs any kind of “propaganda” you might feel being thrown your way with this film.

    And if you’re not moved or affected in some primal way from this film, then I don’t know what to say.

    I also enjoyed the film on a few different levels. It was a great idea to have the “can we do this” element at the forefront of the picture. It make the climax even more effective. The led character is a fascinating portrait of a man that tries to make the world a better place from what he’s learned during his own personal journey.

    Perhaps the best film I’ve seen in 2009 so far.

  • 9 8-03-2009 at 10:10 pm

    Ash said...

    I haven’t seen this yet, and I doubt it will show anywhere near me before it comes out on DVD, but I’m just trying to really hard to imagine Hayden Panettiere in an Oscar-nominated film. And I’m failing.

  • 10 8-03-2009 at 10:12 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Once again, 2 seconds, and she doesn’t even speak. She’s basically mentioned and then there’s a shot of her.

  • 11 8-03-2009 at 10:22 pm

    Glenn said...

    It’s not like we’re talking about “I Love You, Beth Cooper” here. Sheesh.

  • 12 8-04-2009 at 6:57 am

    Ben M. said...

    I saw it opening night in NYC, and it is very powerful stuff, but I don’t think it will have the commercial success a doc needs to get into the BP category, even the 8pm show I went to was fairly empty.

    Still, while documentary can be a weird category were presumed frontrunners don’t even get nominated, I feel has a good shot to win there.

  • 13 8-07-2009 at 9:15 am

    j said...

    MC doubling the # of reviews throws Star Trek back into the top 10 of the year. Not in RT T10 either; only released films in both top 10’s are Up/Locker.