They're Motion Pictures. Emphasis on Pictures

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Byline: LAURA CAPITANO

With all the extended pre-Oscar foreplay the Winter Olympics afforded us, the extra weeks of media hype surrounding the 82nd annual Academy Awards gave me a fever that clouded my good judgment.

I struggled with whether to write on the Oscar topic truly in my heart: my distaste for "Avatar." I kept thinking: "No, Cappy, you cannot say anything bad about 'Avatar.' Too controversial a move, one of anti-Tim Tebow or anti-Walmart proportions."

Then I was reminded of my new editor's first piece of advice: Seek out bold acts of defiance. So, floodgates be darned, my seeing "Avatar" was 162 minutes of wasted life. And, yes, I saw it in 3-D. Too bad the story and characters weren't as dimensional as the effects.

Take that, James Cameron. More aptly, take that, all you film and pop culture critics, all you entertainment news talking heads who jumped on the tall, blue, well-toned bandwagon of "Avatar" keister-kissing, all acting like one disparaging comment and Cameron himself would cast you out to the cold, dark sea on a scrap of his faux-Titantic.

Seriously, they're calling "Avatar's" plot-driving mineral unobtanium, and none of you are waving your "stupid" flags?

Of course, I approach movies from the most adverse possible perspective: that of a writer. My expectations regarding story quality and character development are rarely met by movies intended to dazzle audiences with special effects, films forced to be "epic." There seems to be a reverse correlation, even: the higher the special effects budget, the weaker the story.

I do try to just sit back and enjoy a fancy blockbuster spectacle, to care about 3-D effects, which are still surprisingly lame considering all the technological advancements since the '80s white cardboard glasses with one blue and one red lens. …