View From Lodi, CA Pittsburgh, PA: Politically Correct 2009 Hollywood Versus The 1950 Golden Era

As usual, I didn`t watch the

Academy Awards
because, also

as usual
, I didn`t see any of the nominated movies


Nevertheless, I predicted the Oscar winners with 100
percent accuracy. All I had to do was figure out which
were the most

politically correct choices
. And the winner is—Heath
, the dead guy;

Sean Penn
, the actor who played the gay

Harvey Milk
role; Slumdog Millionaire, the
multicultural flick and
Penélope Cruz,
the foreign-born actress who speaks broken English.

My basic problem with the Academy Awards is that I don`t
understand the most fundamental things.


I can`t keep their plots straight
without more of an effort than I should have to make.
The former is a harsh look at a Roman Catholic priest`s
possible pedophilia during the 1960s and the latter, an
effort to explain the Holocaust to a disbelieving

Those are dreary story lines and far from my idea of how
to spend two hours. If I want to be depressed, I`ll
telephone my real estate agent to inquire about what
progress she`s making in

selling my house
. At least the call won`t cost me

Because I

grew up in Hollywood
during its “Golden Era,”
(Watch a tribute to it

.) I`m a harsh critic of modern day films and
the actors who star in them.

I can`t get excited about Penn. Give me Clark Gable any
day. (See him as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind


Angelina Jolie and
Brad Pitt
don`t do it for me. I`ll take

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
as my ideal
glamour couple.

Penn, Jolie and Pitt use their fame to promote their

radical left political agenda
. That, by comparison,
makes the chain-smoking, whiskey guzzling Bogart and
Bacall immensely attractive.

Even the gossipmongers can`t match up. No one will ever
confuse the E!
Channel`s Lisa Rinna, her face

by plastic surgery, with the incomparable

Hedda Hopper

I miss those Hollywood days of yesteryear when our
favorite family pastime was the Sunday afternoon drive

Sunset Boulevard
, two words still synonymous with
Hollywood glitz and glimmer, looking at

stars` mansions
. Of course, that was during the days
before bumper-to-bumper traffic, when a vehicle could
proceed at a speed greater than 15 miles per hour

Sunset runs along a 22-mile stretch from the Pacific
Ocean through Beverly Hills, past its famous

Beverly Hills Hotel
, along the outside edge

Holmby Hills
, Bel-Air and

UCLA`s Westwood campus

Up until a few years ago, Sunset extended further east
beyond downtown Los Angeles. But, in accordance with my
aforementioned reference to political correctness, that
portion of Sunset was renamed

César E. Chávez

Coincidentally, in the hours leading up to the Academy
Awards, the
Turner Classic Movie Channel
ran some great oldies

the 1950s Oscar-nominated classic film noir starring
and Gloria Swanson.

The plot is just the way I like them—nice and simple.
Holden plays the down and out screenwriter Joe Gillis.
Financial desperation forces him to move in with Norma
Desmond, a former and very crazy silent movie star. In
the meantime, Gillis falls head over heels with young
ingénue Betty Schaefer. But before Gillis can escape the
mad lady`s clutches to pursue his true love, Desmond
shoots him dead. Fade to black.

You can read my “those were the days” column two
ways. One, you can interpret it as the ranting of a
semi-fossilized journalist irretrievably stuck in a time

Or you can conclude that it represents an amateur film
historian`s analysis as he

reports from the scene

I`ll let you decide. Here`s some of the

1950 Oscar nominated candidates
: Holden, Swanson,

George Sanders

Spencer Tracy
(in Father of the Bride,
opposite 18-year-old

Elizabeth Taylor

Jimmy Stewart

Judy Holliday.

From 2009
: Penn, Pitt, Jolie, Richard Jenkins,

Mickey Rourke
, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and
Melissa Leo.

Now that you have the facts laid out in front of you,
I`m sure you`ll see it my way.

Joe Guzzardi


is a California native who recently fled the state
because of over-immigration, over-population and a
rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to
Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth
rate stable.

A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the

Lodi News-Sentinel