Really?

June 2, 2009

There are an amazing amount of terrible movies doing nothing but wasting people’s precious time. There is an amazing amount of money being spent on said terrible movies. (This can be said for books and music as well, but for my purposes I’m only discussing movies. To delve into all areas of terrible-ness would just be too depressing at two in the morning.)

Terrible comes in many brands. Sometimes a certain aspect is terrible…like the music or the script. I can handle when only a single (or maybe two) aspects are bad. For example, in the movie The Outsiders (whooo, Matt Dillon!), the music is reminiscent of a bloody Italian drama. Yet I watch, and enjoy, it anyway because the good outweighs the bad.

There is also when things are just so gosh danged horrible you can’t look away. I remember my friends and I had a ‘cheesy movie fest’ where the headliner was some old Japanese superman-esque film where the actor gained 20 pounds (of wires and pulleys and harnesses) when he ‘flew.’ His ‘hero’ outfit consisted of something that looked like long johns with a hood and some high (very high) rise tighty-whiteys. These train wrecks where the viewer is left wondering…”Did they do that on purpose?” are actually pretty enjoyable, with the right company. My friends and I belly laughed through that entire film.

The brand of terrible I am least likely to tolerate, though, is the million times seen before deadbeat plot with actors that may as well be faceless, a script and score that no one remembers, and a pathetic attempt at “quirkiness” or “individuality” that only serves to remind the viewer what a marginalized and unimaginative view on the world Hollywood movie makershave. You know what I’m talking about – every movie has to have the “unique character,” and the thing is – movie makers think it’s groundbreaking. Every. Single. Time.

Also, what the heck is with this plot:

Person A lied to a scad of people because s/he was snobby/cowardly/angry/stubborn/[insert other negative adjectives] but then has a change of heart because of various kind things people do for him/her even though s/he has been heartless and undeserving. Then *gasp* right as s/he is about to make right his/her evil deeds – his/her nearest and dearest friend finds some sort of incriminating evidence and *shocking* gets angry at poor, misunderstood Person A who can’t say anything of substance whatsoever to explain or apologise. Apparently, apologies only happen in the movies when it rains.

Then, (oh, the plot thickens) Love Interest finds out that s/he has been lied to all this while by Person A (whom Love Interest usually hasn’t known more than a month, tops) and gets real huffy. Again, no apology unless it’s raining. Well, Person A just can’t deal with the fact that no one understands what s/he has not attempted to explain, so s/he vanishes abruptly, leaving a gaping hole in whatever community has grown to love him/her. Possibly s/he leaves a note.

But wait, there’s more.

Right when all hope was almost lost (because by this point there is some sort of calamity that is stressful beyond reason)…you hear a tapping of shoes
…a glimpse of a face
*angels trumpet*
…and there Person A is – to save the day – and, as s/he is surveying the relieved looks on the faces of the crowd that has inevitably gathered…we see Love Interest, looking at the returning hero with a half smile on his/her face, while shaking his/her head at the utter surprise and happy occurrence of the situation.

Next, for the finale, is a delightful banter between Person A and Love Interest interspersed with knowing smiles among the crowd. Person A and Love Interest walk towards each other, each being sure to show the proper reserve. [Note: apologies often happen here, as it is often raining. People turn their faces to the sky and close their eyes. Possibly hold their arms/hands out, maybe spin or sway.] Now Person A and Love Interest stand very close, a witty/sentimental comment from one of them…and they kiss…the other one pulls back and gives an equally witty/sentimental retort…they kiss again. Ahh, then the clapping and the cheerfulness is just intoxicating. *sighs*

Really? That is worth repeating?

None, zero, zilch, nada – NOTHINGin these formula movies are real! Ah, but Devin, you say, movies are not about the real reality – they’re about an escape from the real reality. Which is very true…and I like my escapes from reality…but I like them to be interesting at least, possibly unique…and if I’m really stretching it – imaginative. My guess is that movie-makers have figured out that the mass population will keep lining up at the movie feeding trough no matter what brand of stale nothingness is served up. So why bother making something worthwhile if people settle for boring, bland, repetitive, cookie-cutter movies?

Where is the drive to make something beautiful, something to be proud of? Is it being extinguished in back offices when fresh faced movie makers learn that formula movies are what make the big bucks?

Another thing I hate is the movie makersthat claim to be the forerunners of ‘artistic break through’ when all they do is take something that in olden [Christian] times was taboo and make it mainstream and accepted in a movie. Then the liberal media gives it a glorified acceptance, and everyone bows and scrapes – going on and on about its ‘cutting edge issues’ and how it ‘breaks boundaries’ – because if anyone dare say something against it then they’re ‘narrow-minded’ and boring. Then all the secularists, wanting to be one of the cool cats, get caught up talking about how ‘new’ this is and how ‘brave’ the movie makers are for putting their [undermined by Christians] beliefs and lifestyles out for the whole world to see. Ahh, it makes me sick.

Really? This is it? In the near future on a Saturday night will a couple decide on a movie based on which one is less terrible? Ah, you might say, Devin this is a matter of taste…well, no it isn’t! There are objective standards for something to make it terrible – I can say that. This is not little league – not all movies need to play first base to feel all happy inside. Terrible movies get relinquished to dusty racks in the back of the store (ie. right field.)

I know that I am talking about extremes in this post – there are good movies being produced now…but the chaff to wheat ratio really seems to be racing up the charts….and as the acceptance of terrible movies continues to grow I don’t expect to see change in this pattern anytime soon.

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2 Responses to “Really?”

  1. ais Says:

    i hear ya, honey…

  2. maggie o Says:

    devin, you will never believe this, but we finally have internet. i know it may take forever to read this but who cares. this whole essay reminded me of why lord of the rings is so amazing and why everyone loves it so much. it is so true that movie makers have lost the drive to make beautiful profound movies that actully have a meaning. i think i will go comment on everything else now…..:)


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