Tag Archives: Holocaust

Notes on the Oscars that I didn’t watch

Cate Blanchett holds her Oscar for Best Actress for the film "Blue Jasmine" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California

Cate Blanchett is not just a pretty face, but a talented actress whose work should have been recognized with a Best Actress award more than a decade ago. Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto, on the other hand, unfortunately is just a pretty face…

Jared Leto, holds his Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California

Reuters photos

I don’t have cable television and don’t desire ever to have cable TV, and so I didn’t watch the Oscars last night (this year, for the first time ever, ABC made live streaming available — but only to those in certain markets who already have cable!), but I still have plenty of opinions about this year’s.

First off, it was about time that Cate Blanchett won a Best-Actress Oscar. She was robbed in 1998, when she was nominated for the award for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in “Elizabeth” but lost to Gwyneth Paltrow. I don’t hate Paltrow as so many others apparently do, but she didn’t turn in the best performance that year.

Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress again in 2007 for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” but the academy passed on her again, so last night was the third time and the charm for Blanchett, and she deserved it, as she turned in the best performance of the year, hands down.*

Indeed, Blanchett’s performance is what saves “Blue Jasmine,” which is not one of Woody Allen’s best scripts, even though it earned him yet another nomination for Best Original Screenplay (he did not win, and deservedly so, since the screenplay is a fairly trite rehash).

I’m glad that the members of the academy didn’t snub Blanchett again, this time because they didn’t want to appear to be supporters of child molestation, because to the hysterical members of the pro-Mia-Farrow camp, you see, anyone remotely associated with Woody Allen is for child molestation. (Under this “logic,” not only does Blanchett support child molestation for having worked with Allen, but if you even cast your Oscar ballot for Blanchett, then you, too, support child molestation, by extension.)

“12 Years a Slave” is a worthy Best Picture winner, but I would have been OK with either “Philomena” or “Nebraska” having won (of those two, “Philomena” probably is my favorite).

I saw all of the nominees for Best Picture except for “Her,” “Captain Phillips” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I would like to catch “Her,” and probably will, but the subject matter of neither “Captain Phillips” nor “The Wolf of Wall Street” appeals to me, and I’m a bit overdosed on Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio as it is (one word: overexposure). (Seriously, though, it wasn’t long ago enough that I saw DiCaprio as the Great Gatsby. I’m good for a while.)

“American Hustle” is an OK film — good, but not great — and “Gravity” and “Dallas Buyers Club” both have been over-hyped. None of those three nominees deserved to be named Best Picture.

“Gravity” is watchable (I saw it at IMAX), but, in my book, fatally flawed by its incredible — literally incredible, as in unbelievable — plot.

“Dallas Buyers Club” also is watchable enough, but come on, it’s like “Philadelphia” meets “Transamerica.” This gay man is as sick of movies about gay and/or transgender people being about AIDS as black folks are sick of movies being about slavery.

That said, yes, obviously the academy is filled with (mostly white) liberal guilt, and so if you make a movie about slavery, AIDS or the Holocaust, yes, your chances of winning an Oscar go up astronomically.

Again, “12 Years a Slave” is a worthy film, as I noted when it came out, but I do believe that (white) liberal guilt boosted it, just as it boosted “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Speaking further of which, I have enjoyed the return of Matthew McConaughey, whose performances in “Bernie,” “Killer Joe” and “Mud” all were good, but it seems to me that the main reason that he won Best Actor for “Dallas Buyers Club” is that he lost so much weight to play the role, which is not quite the same as great acting, but also because he played a man with AIDS, which also sure was good for Tom Hanks (who won Best Actor for the unworthy film “Philadelphia”).

I’d have given Best Actor to Chiwetel Ejiofor** for his performance in “12 Years a Slave” — not out of white liberal guilt, but because I think that he gave the best performance of the year.

At least the enthralling Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t robbed of the Best Supporting Actress award for her great performance in “12 Years a Slave.” Again, no white liberal guilt there — she earned that award, turning in a performance that probably is the heart and soul of the film. (I love Jennifer Lawrence, who did a good job in “American Hustle,” but this award wasn’t hers.)

And Jared Leto — don’t even get me started on him.

OK, so just as McConaughey won Best Actor for having lost a lot of weight and played a guy with AIDS, Leto won Best Supporting Actor for having lost a significant amount of weight and played a transgender individual with AIDS.

This was the result of full-blown liberal guilt. I don’t see that Leto’s performance was better than was Bradley Cooper’s in “American Hustle” or Michael Fassbender’s in “12 Years a Slave.” It was the transgender person with AIDS angle that did it.

I fully support equality for transgender individuals — I am a gay man myself — but isn’t coddling a historically oppressed minority group in a saccharin, maudlin manner just the flipside of oppressing that group?

Also, just as “Gravity’s” fatal flaw, in my book, is that its protagonist’s fantastic feats are just not believable, in my book “Dallas Buyers Club’s” fatal flaw is its portrayal of the protagonist, Ron Woodroof, as a homophobic heterosexual man with AIDS when, in fact, very apparently those who knew the real-life Woodroof — including his ex-wife — have said that he actually was at least bisexual, but possibly, if not even probably, gay. (Indeed, the photos of him that I’ve seen of him make my gaydar smoke.) Oh, and those who knew Woodroof dispute that he ever displayed homophobia (which, admittedly, a closeted gay man might do, especially in a homophobic state like Texas and in that day and time, to “prove” that he’s “heterosexual”).

Why the apparent change of such an important detail (the protagonist’s sexual orientation)?

Would Woodroof’s story have been less interesting if it had been that of just another faggot who had died of AIDS?

Can you pretend to be respectful of the gay “community” when you change a central character in a “real-life” story from non-heterosexual to heterosexual?

And in Jared Leto’s acceptance speech, he gave an unfortunate (but fortunately brief) shout-out to the “dreamers” of Venezuela and Ukraine. Wow.

On the surface, the “causes” of Venezuela and Ukraine appear to be great bandwagons for a good guilty white liberal to jump upon, but when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find that those so-called-by-Jared-Leto “dreamers” are, in Venezuela, plutocratic and pro-plutocratic wingnuts who are just bitter that the socialist president there won the last presidential election — not by much, but he still won. They’re bitter that they lost the election and so they’re trying to force a do-over election (this was done in my state of California in 2003, with the gubernatorial recall election, which was, for all intents and purposes, just a do-over of the previous close gubernatorial election).

I fully expect wingnuts to support the Venezuelan “cause” of toppling a democratically elected socialist president because he is not a right-wing, pro-plutocratic president, but Leto, who presumably fashions himself to be a good liberal, should know better.

And the “dreamers” in Ukraine are largely far-right-wing nationalists, some of them even actual neo-Nazis.

Sure, they have a “dream.” Hitler had a dream, too.

These dreams might be great for them, but others of us, these dreams are nightmares.

Jared Leto, if he wants to be remembered as having been more than just pretty, really, really, really should do his homework before he endorses a “cause” in front of a massive, worldwide audience.

*OK, to be fair and thorough, I  saw all of the performances that were nominated for Best Actress except for Meryl Streep’s in “August: Osage County,” since the film’s previews suggest that it’s a mediocre, sappy film, worthy of perhaps catching on DVD. Still, I can’t imagine that Streep’s performance in that surpassed Blanchett’s in “Blue Jasmine.” My second choice for best actress would have been Judi Dench for “Philomena.”

**To be fair and thorough, I saw all of the performances that were nominated for Best Actor except for Leonardo DiCaprio’s in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” (Hey, if I got paid to see [and write about] movies that I wouldn’t ordinarily see, that would be different!)

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Relations with Russia should be put on ice until the Russians’ cold hearts thaw

Nein Olympics for you!

I have mixed feelings, but mostly negative feelings, about Russia.

Vladimir Putin strikes me as a thuggish, retrograde fucktard, replete with his shirtless photo-ops to “prove” how “manly” he is, but at the same time, I am pleased that Russia has given asylum to the brave patriot Edward Snowden.

That said, I hope that Snowden leaves Russia as soon as he can. Russia’s homophobia is unpardonable.

Russians have the right to be homophobic, the mantra goes. It’s their nation, and they can do as they please!

Really? Did Nazi Germany have the “right” to be anti-Semitic?

Seriously — how many would argue, with a straight face, in polite company, that the Germans had the right, since it was their own nation, to round up and exterminate the Jews (as well as non-heterosexuals and other relatively powerless minority groups) who were on German soil?

Did the Jews not have universal human rights that no nation on Earth had the right to violate? Do all human beings not have certain universal human rights that no nation on Earth has the right to violate?

Does a nation own the human beings who are on its soil? Are those human beings chattel, with whom the nations’ governments may do whatsoever they please?

Comparison of Russia’s rampant homophobia to the oppression of the Jews by the Nazis is ridiculously over the top, many if not most would argue, but let’s remind ourselves that Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews began with “little” things.

The Nazi Germans blamed Jews for the nation’s problems post-World War I — as the Putin regime blames non-heterosexuals for Russia’s problems post-Cold War — and the Hitler regime began with such official government policies as banning certain forms of speech and by removing Jews from civil-service jobs, university jobs, court jobs and other public jobs, and by banning Jews from public facilities, such as public schools and theaters. Eventually, of course, the Nazis then stole the Jews’ wealth and rounded the Jews up into concentration camps, and you know the rest of the story; in a nutshell, once the Nazis realized that they could get away with those “little” things, step by step, those “little” things grew into the Holocaust, in which about two-thirds of Europe’s Jews (about six million of them) were murdered by the Nazi regime.

Banning pro-homosexual speech, as Russia has done — and the ban is broad (even simply displaying the rainbow flag, even as a pin, is verboten in Putin’s Russia) — is the first salvo in the increased, systematic oppression of an already oppressed group of people.

One wonders what, exactly, we are waiting for in Russia — another Holocaust?

Then could we compare Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Adolf Hitler’s Germany?

Should we wait for it to progress to that point?

I support a full boycott of Everything Russian, including, of course, the 2014 winter Olympics.

The Olympics should not be held in Russia while Russia — like Nazi Germany did — deems it not only acceptable, but necessary, to persecute, by law, any minority group that is singled out for such special, official persecution.

Nor should the Olympic games be held in any nation that violates the universal rights of human beings. China, whose government does not allow its citizens free speech, should not have been allowed to host of the 2008 summer games. As a non-heterosexual, it’s not only the persecution of non-heterosexuals that I reject.

To support Russia in the 2014 winter Olympics is to give tacit approval of the Russian government’s official persecution of non-heterosexuals.

As others have, I will point out that the winter and summer 1936 Olympics were held in Adolf Hitler’s Germany. (Hitler ruled from 1933 to his death in 1945. His official policies against Jews began in 1933, so the 1936 Olympics were held in Germany after the Hitler regime’s persecution of the Jews already had begun, including the stripping of Jews of German citizenship and banning marriages between Jews and non-Jews in Germany.)

Then, the 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled because of World War II.

Yeah, it was a great idea to give Germany the 1936 Olympics, and it’s a great idea to give Russia the winter 2014 Olympics.

This can only end well!

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GREAT: MORE Jewish ‘victimization’!

Updated below

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC ...

AFP photo

Oy vey: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., photographed above in 2003, was shot up today by some crazy old hater.

Saturday evening I remarked over a friend’s birthday dinner that they make too damned many movies about Nazis these days. Because they do: “Valkyrie.” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” “Defiance.” “The Reader.” Etc. Etc.

I didn’t say that they make too many Holocaust movies. I said too many Nazi movies. I hate Nazis and there are too damned many movies featuring them; and because of their extremeness, it’s just too easy to make Nazis your film’s villains. And is there no other topic to make movies about? And do they not make Nazi movies primarily with Oscars in mind?

But the fact that I said “Nazi movies” didn’t stop the Jewish baby boomer across the table from me from going apoplectic over my remark, as though (1) I were attacking Jews and/or minimizing (or perhaps even — gasp! — denying!) the Holocaust and (2) as though he had experienced the Holocaust himself.

I’m so fucking sick and tired of the Jewish mentality of victimhood. Too many Jews like to hit others over the head with what I call the “‘H’ club” (“H” for “Holocaust”).

You (the non-Jew) are supposed to feel immediately horrible about yourself in the presence of someone who is the descendant of someone else who suffered horribly some 65 to 75 years ago.

And hell, you don’t even have to have had an ancestor who suffered in the Holocaust to be able to claim victimhood by proxy. You just have to be Jewish.

And hell, I don’t think that you even have to have been born Jewish; I think that you even can be just a convert to Judaism and still be able to walk around hitting unwitting others over the head with your “H” club for fun and profit.

So anyway, this is my sentiment, and then today’s news is that some old white supremacist and anti-Semite opened fire at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. today, shooting and wounding a guard.

Hell. Open a museum dedicated to victimhood, and yes, you’re likely to attract a crazy hater now and then, and one crazy hater shooting up a place that enshrines hatred is not indicative of systemic victimhood.

You know, as a gay man whose equal human and civil rights were shot down by a slim majority of voters in November, I’m no stranger to oppression.

Gay men were persecuted by the Nazis in the Holocaust, too, but I don’t go around clubbing people with my “H” club.

And it’s hard to buy that the Jews still are such victims when the Israel-first lobby runs U.S. foreign policy, for fuck’s sake, and when the Israelis still are decimating the Palestinians, whom they treat as the Nazis used to treat the Jews: like animals it’s OK to slaughter.

All of that said, if I could do it over again, I might not have made the remark about the fact that they are making too damned many movies about Nazis these days in front of the Jewish baby boomer who wears a tacky holographic Star of David pendant around his neck for the whole world to see what a poor fucking “victim” he is. (I guess that I need to go out and get my tacky holographic pink triangle and wear it around my neck in order to be able to emotionally and socially manipulate others, too.)

But the Jewish victimhood thing needs to stop. Firstly, possessing a perpetual victimhood mentality doesn’t help any historically oppressed minority group; it only keeps that group down. Secondly, using the Holocaust for personal, political or social gain today spits in the faces of those who actually did suffer in the Holocaust, and it degrades and cheapens their involuntary sacrifices at the hands of the Nazis (about whom they really need to stop making any more movies). And thirdly, as I stated, it’s hard for me to look at how much power the Jews, as a relatively tiny group of people, disproportionately wield in the world, and still be able to call them victims, like I’m supposed to do like a good little goy or risk being labeled a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite.

You know, it seems to me that if you hate the Jews and really want to bring them down, you should treat them as nicely as humanly possible — thus eroding their bullshit claims of perpetual victimhood, which they use, rather effectively, to get what they want.

Ironically, the old coot who shot up the Holocaust Memorial Museum today only helped to bolster the image of the Jews as the perpetual victims, and in so doing he only shot his “cause” in the foot…

Update: The media are reporting now that, unfortunately, the security guard who apparently was shot by the 88-year-old white supremacist and anti-Semite James Von Brunn has died. The security guard is being identified as Stephen T. Johns, whose age I haven’t seen given yet.

Von Brunn was shot but survives, which is too bad; the wrong guy died in the shootout.

Update (June 11, 2009): So otherwise fairly intelligent people are asserting, or at least implying (such as here and here), that the Department of Homeland Security’s fairly recent report on the threat of homegrown right-wing terrorists has been validated by yesterday’s shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C.

Wow.

You wouldn’t call just one illness or even a handful of illnesses a “pandemic” and probably not even an “epidemic.”

Yet one shooting by one old crackpot hater who apparently acted alone validates the Department of Homeland Security’s report on the threat of homegrown right-wing terrorists?

The security guard who was killed yesterday by the white supremacist and anti-Semitic geezer at the Holocaust Memorial Museum was black, the media are reporting. I’m guessing that the guard wasn’t Jewish, but the shooting, because of its location, is further bolstering the Israel-first lobby’s victimhood status nonetheless. 

Aren’t there hate crimes, including murders, against gay men, lesbians and other non-heterosexuals every fucking day in the United States? Why isn’t that talked about as a widespread problem, but the shooting death of one person is?

Because the right wing is anti-non-heterosexual, don’t hate crimes against non-heterosexuals count as homegrown right-wing terrorism?

Not that historically oppressed minority groups need to engage in battles as to which group is more oppressed — I’ll never forget that many blacks, such as Jesse Jackson, have asserted that rights for non-heterosexuals are not civil rights, for instance — but please.

When you look at historically oppressed minority groups in the United States, Jews overall are doing pretty well, I think, and thus I see no need for their continued assertions of systemic victimhood (except, of course, that such bullshit assertions continue to get them even more).

All of that said, I want to make it clear that I oppose anti-Semitism if we define anti-Semitism as the hatred of an individual solely because he or she is Jewish.

I judge individuals based upon their words, deeds and political ideology (in which I include their moral beliefs and values), not their religious affiliation, even though I am not crazy about Christianity, Islam or Judaism or pretty much any organized religion.

Both of my state’s U.S. senators, for instance, are Jewish.

(So 100 percent of my state’s U.S. senators are Jewish, while only about 3 percent of my fellow Californians are Jewish.  A total of 14 U.S. senators, or 14 percent of the U.S. Senate, are Jewish; there will be 15 Jewish U.S. senators once Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race is finally decided, as both Democrat Al Franken and Repugnican Norm Coleman are Jewish. Jews comprise no more than 2 percent to 2.5 percent of the American population, yet they are wildly overrepresented in high political office. Two of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, almost a quarter of them, are Jewish. But nooo, American Jews are such powerless victims!)

Anyway, as I was saying, I love Sen. Barbara Boxer. While I haven’t agreed with her 100 percent of the time, I think that because of her consistently progressive views and votes, she truly can be called a Democrat.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, however, whom I unfondly think of as Mrs. Joseph Benedict Arnold Lieberman, I cannot stand; she is a DINO (Democrat in name only). Her husband, Richard Blum, profited from the Vietraq War that Feinstein voted for, for starters. (Boxer, on the other hand, wisely voted against the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War in October 2002.)

Boxer also was the only U.S. senator with the cajones to speak out against the fixed presidential election in the pivotal state of Ohio in 2004.

I’d much rather have Boxer as president than the waffling, slick, trying-to-please-all-people, I-regret-that-I-voted-for-him Barack Obama, hands down.

And the list of Jews I find hot (JILFs, I call them) includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jon Stewart and “Saturday Night Live’s” Andy Samberg. And, as I just alluded to, I love Jewish liberals; some of the finest liberal minds are Jewish.

It’s the right-wing Jews I can’t stand, those Jews who scream “Jewish victimization!” but who have no problem with the war crimes and the crimes against humanity committed in the Middle East by Israel and who supported the plunging of the United States into the illegal, immoral, unprovoked, unjust and wholly unnecessary Vietraq War, which resulted not only in the unnecessary deaths of thousands upon thousands of people, civilians and soldiers, but also depleted the U.S. treasury and stretched the U.S. military thinly, as well as making the United States and Americans even more hated around the world than they were before Sept. 11, 2001. 

The members of the Israel-first lobby in the United States are, by definition, traitors, for they put outside interests above the interests of their own nation.

P.S. To be fair, many also are pointing to the recent assassination of abortionist George Tiller in Kansas as further proof that Homeland Security’s report about the threat of homegrown right-wing terrorism was right on target.

I’m just not so convinced that these incidents of homegrown right-wing terrorism, as wrong as they are, are more than the number of them that we could expect anyway, statistically speaking. Again, a few events don’t make for an epidemic or pandemic, in my book.

And I still have a problem with the fact that hate crimes against non-heterosexuals don’t garner nearly as much outrage as do hate crimes against other historically oppressed minority groups.

I mean, from what I can tell, not a single Jew was killed yesterday at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, but the Jews are getting tea and sympathy over the tragedy nonetheless.

P.P.S. How could I have forgotten the iconic Harvey Milk in my list of Jews I love? I love the man, and, as I have written, I want to see a Harvey Milk Day in California.

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Sick Israeli T-shirt ‘jokes’ about killing pregnant Palestinians and their unborn

In this photo taken March 16, 2009, an Israeli model poses with ...

Associated Press photo

Israeli soldiers have worn this T-shirt depicting a pregnant, presumably Palestinian woman and her unborn in the cross-hairs of a rifle. (According to The Associated Press, the Hebrew on the T-shirt reads “Sniper platoon.”) Because the Israelis are so morally superior, you know.

I’ve noted before that the Zionists are so quick to remind all of us of the Holocaust at every opportunity yet think that it’s perfectly OK to regard Palestinians and other Arabs as animals — just as the Nazis regarded the Jews during the Holocaust.

But this takes the cake (from The Associated Press today):

Jerusalem – Israel’s military condemned soldiers for wearing T-shirts of a pregnant woman in a rifle’s cross-hairs with the slogan “1 Shot 2 Kills,” and another of a gun-toting child with the words, “The smaller they are, the harder it is.”

The T-shirts were worn by some Israeli Defense Force soldiers to mark the end of basic training and other military courses, the newspaper Haaretz said.

The appearance of the T-shirts followed allegations of misconduct by Israeli troops during the three-week Gaza war. Palestinian officials say about 1,400 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians. Thirteen Israelis died, three of them civilians.

The army said it would not tolerate the T-shirts and would take disciplinary action against the soldiers involved, although it was not clear how many wore the shirts or how widely they were distributed.

The military sought to portray the T-shirts as “tasteless” humor and condemned the soldiers involved, saying in a statement that the shirts “are not in accordance with IDF values.”

They were not manufactured or sanctioned by the military.

The shirts’ existence was first reported Friday by Haaretz and later on broadcasts by Israeli radio and television.

Haaretz showed pictures of five shirts and said they were made at the unit level — indicating that they were made for small numbers of troops, perhaps several dozen at a time. It said they were worn by an unknown number of enlisted men in different units. The Tel Aviv factory that made many of the shirts, Adiv, refused to comment.

Few in the Palestinian territories appeared to be aware of the T-shirts. In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said it “reflects the brutal mentality among the Zionist soldiers and the Zionist society.”

Hamas-controlled media consistently glorify attacks on Israelis, and cartoons in Palestinian newspapers frequently use anti-Semitic images of Jews as hook-nosed, black-hatted characters.

Hamas also mocked Israeli suffering, staging a play about its capture of an Israeli soldier in which it makes fun of the serviceman crying for his mother and father.

Israel’s military has come under increasing scrutiny after soldiers alleged that some troops opened fire hastily and killed Palestinian civilians during the Gaza war, including children, possibly because they believed they would not be held accountable under relaxed open-fire regulations. The military has ordered a criminal inquiry into soldiers’ accounts published in a military institute’s newsletter….

The Gaza offensive, launched to end years of rocket fire at Israeli towns, ended Jan. 18.

Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups fire rockets from heavily populated areas, and Israel says Hamas is to blame for the civilian deaths because it leaves the military no choice but to attack them there.

United Nations human rights experts said [today] that Israeli soldiers used an 11-year-old Palestinian as a human shield during the Gaza offensive. The military ordered the boy on Jan. 15 to walk in front of soldiers being fired on in a Gaza neighborhood and enter buildings before them, said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN secretary-general’s envoy for protecting children in armed conflict.

Israeli army spokesman Capt. Elie Isaacson denied the military used human shields, saying “morals and high ethical standards are paramount” in the army.

Uzi Dayan, a former Israeli deputy chief of staff, said he was “shocked but not surprised” by the T-shirts.

“I spent many years in the army and I know that if you don’t pay attention all the time, these things can happen. These are very young people in a combat situation, so you need to have a finger on the pulse,” he said.

You can’t make the “few bad apples” argument on this one. The Israeli soldiers don’t exist in a vacuum but are the product of their environment.

Americans should know what is being done by Israel, since Middle Easterners equate Israel with the United States, which keeps Israel afloat.

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Kate rocks; ‘The Reader,’ not so much…

Actress Kate Winslet arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party ...

Associated Press photo

Kate Winslet holds her statue for Best Actress for her performance in “The Reader” last month.

I love Kate Winslet — she was great in “Little Children” and “Revolutionary Road” — but today I saw “The Reader,” for which she won Best Actress (because she won Best Actress for it), and she should have won for her much better performance in “Revolutionary Road.”

“The Reader” starts out promisingly with the tale of a love affair between a 15-year-old boy (played masterfully by David Kross) and a much older German woman named Hanna Schmitz (Winslet), but then the film gradually devolves to the point where it becomes a preachy lecture (rather literally) on how horrible the Holocaust (in which Hanna later becomes embroiled) was.

And “The Reader” doesn’t delve much into Hanna’s psyche as to why she did what she did when she worked for the Nazis, and we are left with the feeling that this isn’t because the filmmakers left it to us to figure it out for ourselves, but because the filmmakers didn’t know how to develop Hanna’s character on film. Indeed, about the only change that the character of Hannah goes through in “The Reader” is increasingly bad makeup jobs on Winslet as her character ages.

Ralph Fiennes adds little to “The Reader” as Michael Berg, Hanna’s teen lover all grown up — the grown-up Michael’s involvement with the even older Hannah lacks passion, heart and even rhyme or reason (why doesn’t he respond to her letters from prison when he is sending her recorded audiotapes there, and why doesn’t he visit her in prison?) — but hey, if Ralph Fiennes is in your movie and your movie is about the Holocaust, you’re sure to win an Oscar, right?

“The Reader” director Stephen Daldry, who also directed “Billy Elliot,” seems to do better with younger actors, such as with Kross, whose performance in “The Reader” rivals Winslet’s (if it doesn’t exceed it), and with Jamie Bell, whose kick-ass performance as the title character in “Billy Elliot” unfortunately didn’t launch the career for Bell that it should have. Daldry with “The Reader” seemed unable to elicit much from Fiennes and not enough from Winslet; directing youth might be more his forte. 

All of this aside, did we really need another Holocaust movie?

The Nazis executed about six million Jews in the Holocaust, one of history’s most horrific events.

We get it.

Straight-on Holocaust movies like “Schindler’s List” are been there, done that, so the majority of the crop of more recent Holocaust-themed films seem to be more tangential, such as “The Pianist,” “The Counterfeiters” and “The Reader.”

Still, the genre of the Holocaust/Nazi movie has been exhausted, and the plethora of Holocaust/Nazi films now are serving only to make the historical event more trivial rather than to make it more poignant.

While I know that Holocaust/Nazi movies have “Academy Award nomination” written all over them, I beg Hollywood: Please stop…

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