Deja Vidiot: Tuned in for the Na'vi, stayed for the dolphin show

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As Boise Weekly’s Vidiot, I feel compelled to offer a confession: I don’t really care much about the Academy Awards. Occasionally, I’ll tune in to catch a reaction, to see if the summer blockbuster really cleans up, or to root for an under-appreciated masterpiece maker (as when Martin Scorsese finally collected a Best Director statue for 2006’s The Departed). But in general, I don’t really care who wins or loses. I know which films were my favorites of the year, and I frequently disagree with the Academy. A lot of the time, I haven’t even seen many of the nominees. (I’m mostly a DVD and TV kind of guy.) And when it comes to categories like Best Sound Mixing, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a job well done and a complete mess.

But for whatever reason, I did tune in to this year's Awards show. I sort of wanted to see if Avatar would do as well as I’d hoped (I shelled out hard-earned dollars to see it twice in the theater), but, alas, it was the military drama The Hurt Locker that cleaned up. (I haven’t seen it yet; expect my two cents on that film at a later date.)
One winner I had seen, however, was the film that collected the Best Documentary Feature award.

The Cove is about dolphins. The man (Ric O’Barry) who originally trained the dolphins that played Flipper in the 1960s TV show—and who essentially claims responsibility for the modern popularity of SeaWorld and other “dolphinariums”—now sees the error of his ways and has devoted his life to protecting the rights of the intelligent sea mammals.

Toto, I have a feeling were not in SeaWorld anymore.
  • "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in SeaWorld anymore."
While the film chronicles a bit of his journey, the story focuses on a small beach in rural Japan where a group of fisherman catch and kill tens of thousands of dolphins every year—and the work O’Barry’s friends and colleagues have undertaken to make them stop. As interesting as it is heartbreaking, The Cove is definitely one of the better movies I’ve seen in a while.

I don’t normally make time for the Oscars. This year my love for the blue giants of Pandora may have enticed my viewership, but watching a handful of activists’—whose cause is an absolute no brainer—walk away with a golden statue was what made my Academy Awards viewing party of one a worthwhile experience.

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