I’m not really certain why I decided to take an extended break such as I ended up doing; what’s more, I didn’t want it to reflect poorly on whatever film I eventually ended up coming back with, as if I had been avoiding the film in question. But, to be honest, the film I had lined up next didn’t seem all that interesting, and I figured it’d be a bit of a chore to get through; that film being State Fair, a film about… a state fair. I know, riveting premise and whatnot. Now that I’ve gotten through it, though, I think my initial respects toward the film and not wanting it to be poorly received because of my hiatus were well and good, but State Fair isn’t exactly an unmitigated masterpiece either way you look at it.
The Frake family are a hard-working, stern-valued farming family who each plan on getting something out of their upcoming visit to the state fair; Abel, the patriarch, plans to enter his prize hog into competition, as does matriarch Melissa with her cooking, and the two grown kids, Wayne and Margy, make plans of their own involving their romantic lives. Of course, as this is a film and thus requires conflict, plans are wont to be thrown asunder and otherwise have some hiccups, but from a film simply titled State Fair, it’s to be expected that these conflicts will be simple in nature as well. That seems to be the name of the game for State Fair: simple, but modestly effective. Everyone plays their roles to expectations, the script gets the job done and leaves it at that, and the direction consisted largely of putting the elements of the screen together and little more. Of course, given that the Hays code would be in effect the following year, there’s some definite pre-Code shenanigans that occur, but you can see pre-Code shenanigans in almost any of the nominees in this era. So, what’s there to really watch State Fair for? Not much; not much at all. Really, aside from getting through a list of Oscar or Best Picture nominees, there’s no real reason to watch State Fair; it is content to merely get by, and somehow wrangled a Best Picture nom because of it.
I really do wish I had more to say about this, especially considering how long I ended up being away, but I don’t; you’re free to make of that what you will. State Fair is just as superfluous a watch as Arrowsmith ended up being for me, but it wasn’t as hideously boring; it was close, but not as much. That probably more than anything is why it’s getting the rating I’m giving it. I guess the Academy really needed to fill out the once-again expanded category, but all it does is make me wonder if the category’s expansion was really necessary. Once again, all I’m left to say is: oh well. Gotta keep truckin’ along, I guess.
Arbitrary Rating: 6/10