Photo by Matt OttoThink of the Masked Movie Snobs as the film-reviewing, blog-spewing equivalent of the Three Amigos. Except there's more of them, including Sombrero Grande (“The Big Hat”), Mil Peliculas (“A Thousand Movies”), Bolsa de Queso (“Cheesebag”) and El Bicho (“The Bug”). The Snobs are Southern California entertainment-industry grunts armed with lots of free time and an undying devotion to eviscerating Hollywood's latest offerings. To protect their identities, they wear Mexican lucha libre outfits on their website, www.maskedmoviesnobs.com.
OC Weekly recently sat down with Sombrero Grande, Mil Peliculas and El Bicho to get their views on the Oscars.
OC Weekly:So how did Masked Movie Snobs come into being?
Sombrero Grande:We were all working for the same post-production company in Newport Beach. And Mil Peliculas and I were on the night shift. Over dinner at work, we got the idea of reviewing movies anonymously. Just in case any of us ever get a real job in Hollywood, we wouldn't want the fact that we hated Clint Eastwood in Blood Work to keep us from getting hired. The anonymity allows us to be honest.
Sohas anyone from Hollywood ever contacted you guys about your film reviews?
Mil Peliculas: Oh, yeah. I get a lot of spam from them. And ads for penis-enlargement pills. But I don't answer those.
Let'stalk about the Oscars. What movie should have been nominated for Best Picture that didn't get any recognition.
Mil Peliculas: That's easy. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind should have been nominated for Best Picture. It brings up a beef of mine about the Oscars: the film came out too early in the year. The MTV generation has such a short attention span, but what's the average age of the Academy voters? What's their excuse?
El Bicho:Well, like most people, they put off everything until the last minute. When I saw the movie, there were a lot of people who showed up 10 minutes late. There's no way they could have understood anything in that film.
Sombrero Grande:It's so frustrating. All of a sudden, these movies come out of nowhere and get nominated for everything, like Million Dollar Baby. It seems lazy. Same thing with The Aviator. Those movies came out right before the nominations.
El Bicho: A lot of the nominations make no sense at all. Like Ray getting a nod for costume design. Those outfits were no big deal. I mean, Ray could have picked out those costumes. Anybody could have gone into some costume shop and picked out those clothes.
Doyou think Clint Eastwood is getting a free ride because he's old?
El Bicho: That might be part of it. But Million Dollar Baby is his best acting job. All his other characters have been one-dimensional. I thought he did a good job in this movie.
Sombrero Grande: That's saying a lot because El Bicho hated his past few movies.
El Bicho: I wasn't that impressed with Mystic River, Space Cowboy or Blood Work. Especially Blood Work.
Whatabout DiCaprio inThe Aviator? Is this guy ready for a Best Actor award?
El Bicho:I can see him getting it because he's playing somebody with an affliction and the Academy loves that. Anybody who plays a retard, like Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump or Dustin Hoffman in Rainman—or somebody with a speech impediment, like Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot—they love that shit.
Sombrero Grande: But My Left Footwas the benchmark; Daniel Day-Lewis deserves credit for starting that whole thing about retards. But I don't know if DiCaprio will win because there's Jamie Foxx, who plays a blind guy.
El Bicho:Yeah, everybody feels bad for Ray Charles, just like they feel bad for retards. But then they feel good about feeling bad for the retard because that shows they care. It was the same thing with Kevin Costner and Dances With Wolves. People loved that movie because it made them feel good about feeling bad for how badly we treated the Indians.
Sowe got DiCaprio playing a nutball going up against Foxx playing a blind dude.
Mil Peliculas: Not just a blind dude: a blind drug addict who died this year. That's major trump cards right there for Jamie Foxx.
Sombrero Grande: It would be so funny to see a guy who started in acting by playing an ugly girl on television win such a prestigious award.
ShouldHilary Swank get an award for playing a woman?
Mil Peliculas:She wasn't all that convincing to me.
El Bicho: Even though she was good, there were times I was distracted by her new breasts and large teeth.
Mil Peliculas: I had the same problem with Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland. I liked him, but he sounded like that leprechaun from the Lucky Charms commercial or Scotty from Star Trek. Still, I cried like a baby with leaky diapers through that whole movie.
Werethere any other major oversights by the Academy this year? What aboutFahrenheit 9/11 andThe Passion of the Christ?
El Bicho: I thought The Passionwas okay. They find Jesus, beat the hell out of him. They find a couple of other guys, beat the crap out them, too. Then they bring Jesus up to the cross and beat him some more. If you don't know the back story, it's kind of hard to get into it. It doesn't surprise me that neither film was nominated. But it would be hysterical if the Academy had Michael Moore and Mel Gibson present an award together.
Sombrero Grande: That would be great! I can just imagine it. “Well, Mike, we both pursued our passions this year, didn't we?” Ha, ha, ha. “Yes, Mel, and things got pretty hot—at the box office.” That would be Oscar-worthy entertainment.
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is Editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).