I recently said my Academy vote for Best Picture would have gone to Up In The Air, because it offered "the most adult pleasures" of the nominees I'd seen -- a summary begging to be taken wildly out of context. What I meant was, out of the films nominated Up In The Air far and away generated the most dinnertime conversation among the adults in my social circle. I've not yet seen An Education, which I suspect was Up In The Air's closest rival (by my reckoning). Precious certainly elicited shudders. And the Coen Brothers and Tarantino have the sort of personality that generates controversy, if not always the sort of movie that sticks to your ribs.
But Up? District 9? The Hurt Locker? Even if you luuuuuuuuurved those movies, what was there to say about them afterwards? These movies asked the questions on behalf of the audience, and then they marched on and answered them, too. As for Avatar, what is there to discuss about a pale imitation of Princess Mononoke -- minus the depth of character, the moral ambiguities, the persuasively recognizable "otherness" of the mythic setting?
Quite a bit, apparently. There's the Ayahuasca connection, for wide-eyed anthro-types. Then there's this, by James Bowman.
Time to re-set the dinner table.