‘Frost/Nixon’ is un-sexy/unworthy of Oscar

Of all of this year’s Best Picture nominees, Ron Howards’s “Frost/Nixon” is the least sexy. Even Holocaust-themed “The Reader” features full-frontal male nudity and Kate Winslet’s bare breasts. Come to think of it, “Frost/Nixon” probably deserves the award for Un-sexiest Film of the Year, and not merely because it lacks R-rated content — though, perplexingly, it is an R-rated film. “Frost/Nixon” is about un-sexy topics like television journalism, the late 1970s, Richard Nixon and even un-sexiness itself. In spite of all this, the film succeeds at holding the audience’s attention through dramatic foreplay — repeatedly building up and delaying that famous moment when Nixon says he “let the American people down.” Nevertheless, “Frost/Nixon” leaves its audience feeling a little cheated.

Adapted by Peter Morgan from his play of the same name, “Frost/Nixon” dramatizes the story surrounding a series of interviews between sensationalist British talk show host David Frost and Richard Nixon three long years after the former-president’s resignation. The banality of the title is a hint that “Frost/Nixon” wants — if not expects — everyone to remember how the days-long interview was a phenomenal moment in the history of television, journalism, politics, the United States and so on.

The one challenge that “Frost/Nixon” hardly overcomes is the question of necessity. Why see this film when you can just watch — and may have already seen — the actual 1977 interviews, easily available on DVD? The back story of Frost’s personal investment in the project is more a fun-filled fact than grounds for a thorough re-imagination, while the portrait of Nixon is so fascinating that a film simply called “Nixon” would’ve provided more satisfaction … oh, wait.

But “Frost/Nixon” deserves little disgrace. Frank Langella’s formidable performance as the infinitely complex Tricky Dick is reason alone to see the film, which, to its credit, avoids any proselytizing: It neither flatters nor altogether demonizes unpopular, Republican, allegedly corrupt former-presidents. However, the amount of acclaim “Frost/Nixon” has earned — in particular, its Best Picture nomination — remains questionable. “Doubt,” “Rachel Getting Married” and “The Dark Knight” are superior to it in conception and execution alike.

Comments

  • alalusim

    “American Muslims are often asked why they fear increased police surveillance when they have nothing to hide. Besides bearing an implicit accusation of guilt, that question entirely misses the point. The Fourth Amendment protects the right of Americans to live securely without fear of unreasonable searches or seizures — not out of empathy for criminals, but out of concern for those unfairly targeted by law enforcement. The question is not what Muslims have to hide, but what reason police have to search. Muslims’ right to peaceful assembly and free exercise of their religion means that merely belonging to a Muslim student group can never justify police surveillance.”

    Thank you Jess. That is one of the clearest statements of what is wrong with this whole situation that I have seen.