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Abraham Stinkin’

By Rich Shertenlieb of 98.5 The Sports Hub
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Lincoln movie poster. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Lincoln movie poster. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Why “Lincoln” is the worst movie of the year so far.

First of all, I have to admit that the title of this article rules.

So Steven Spielberg finally delivers “Lincoln”, the dream film he had been talking about making for years. After Liam Neeson ditched the project to make films such as “Taken” and “The Grey”, Daniel Day Lewis stepped in to play President Lincoln in his quest to unite a country engaged in civil war and pass the 13th amendment.

Liam Neeson apparently saw the script. Smart man.

Turns out that “Lincoln” is a big, steamy, pretentious pile of everything that is wrong with movies…the epitome of “Oscar Bait”.

First, let’s define “Oscar Bait”. Simply, it’s a film that is made with the express intention to win shiny awards first, entertain second. There are many easy ways to spot an Oscar Bait film, and boy does “Lincoln” hit a majority of the criteria.

OSCAR BAIT CHECK MARK #1:
The title is just the first or last name of a person.
Examples:
Capote
Ray
Pollack
Elizabeth
Milk
Ali
Nixon
Chaplin
Amadeus
That Amadeus one really pissed me off. Really? You used his middle name? Call the stupid movie “Mozart”.

OSCAR BAIT CHECK MARK #2:
It’s stars one of the groundhogs of Oscar season…
…which are actors that only stick their head out of a hole and make a movie between the months of November and January specifically to get an Oscar.
The 3 worst offenders:
Sean Penn
Dame Judy Dench
Daniel Day Lewis
Kiera Knightly
Colin Firth
Geoffrey Rush
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Nicole Kidman
Hellen Mirren
Cate Blanchett

OSCAR BAIT CHECK MARK #3:
It’s about racial, political or sexual injustice, so people feel guilty about giving a bad review to a movie whose message everyone agrees on.
Examples:
Crash
The Help
Invictus
Precious
The Reader
Brokeback Mountain

OSCAR BAIT CHECK MARK #4:
They’re releasing it only in art house cinemas the first week to try to fool you into thinking that this is some groundbreaking indie film made by a bunch of scrappers who care about the art, not the dollar.
That indie studio? 20th Century Fox, makers of Independence Day, Star Wars, and Avatar. Oh and that indie director is one of the wealthiest people in show biz and made a small indie film called Jurassic Park.

OSCAR BAIT CHECK MARK #5:
It’s unnecessarily long as hell.
“Lincoln” is two and half hours long. The history channel did a better job telling this story in one. Being able to tell a story effectively in brevity is a film making gift that should be rewarded, and unless the name of your movie is “Goodfellas”, “Godfather”, or has the word “Shawshank” in it, you’re pushing it and it better be golden or involve Tarantino or Batman.

OSCAR BAIT CHECK MARK #6:
One of the main characters has to die.
A texter actually got angry this morning that I said on the air that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. So SPOILER ALERT: Abraham Lincoln gets shot horribly and dies gruesomely. And the worst part was that the film had wrapped up quite nicely, and then it seemed at the last minute Spielberg realized he hadn’t hit his Oscar Bait Checklist quota yet, so they clumsily added a final scene where DDL earns more Oscar potential by showing how sickly he can look.
EXAMPLES:
Brokeback Mountain
Forrest Gump
Milk

There’s many more Oscar Bait moments, but quite frankly writing this is making me angry that I wasted almost three hours doing this when I could have been playing “Where’s The Water” on my phone instead.

Here’s the bottom line:

Steven Spielberg sucks now. For the last 20 years since arguably his last good movie (Shindler’s List), he’s made nothing but a series of forgettable, mediocre and some downright awful films (with the only exception being the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan).
Look at these films: Jurassic Park 2, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, War Of The Worlds, The Adventures of Tin Tin, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s essentially a list of “Oh, I forgot that movie was even made” movies. And how the hell do you screw up Indiana Jones? Well he did it. In fairness I never saw “War Horse”, but you can now understand my hesitancy.

Spielberg also has continued to use his stupid fuzzy camera lenses that he seems to be fascinated with since Minority Report. I dare you to find a lamp in this movie that doesn’t look like Dan Shaughnessy’s hair in a wind storm.

And man, is this script an overflowing tray of Tidy Cat. Every line in this movie seems forced in order to tell you who all of the people in this movie are. It’s like the guy who wrote the Geico caveman commercials wrote this thing but instead of “You are Brian Arakpo, all pro linebacker”, it’s “You are Thaddeus Stevens, guy who really opposes slavery”. They actually wrote a part that occurs in the film’s first five minutes where four soldiers are so awe-struck by the President, that they stand in front of him awkwardly and proudly recite to him the Gettysburg Address. The uncomfortably scale is off the charts- just imagine someone standing in front of Steven Tyler and singing “Dude, Looks Like A Lady”…in it’s entirety…three feet from his face.

And for a movie trailer that is 1/3 battle scenes, there’s approximately 90 seconds of fighting.

But this movie commits the ultimate movie sin…it’s boring beginning to end, and drags more than a Basset Hound’s wiener.

Movies like Lincoln help you appreciate films like Inception, District 9, Fargo, and Slumdog Millionaire so much more. These are films that are Oscar favorites without following the cheat sheet and by remembering to be entertaining first and foremost, and awards are just a fortunate byproduct.

This morning I mentioned that I’d rather watch the worst Fast & The Furious movie than sit through Lincoln again. Fast & The Furious knows it’s a stupid movie, knows it’s not to be taken seriously, gets it’s damn point across in an hour and a half and says “See you and your 11 bucks again in two years.” I’d rather see an honest film than a mediocre one masquerading as something important. On top of that, I already saw one movie about Lincoln this year, and I prefer my history with extra vampires, thank you.

1 out of 5.

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