If you have ever heard an episode of My Take Radio then you have probably heard me flipping out about how terrible movies are these days. On episode 49 I went somewhat into detail on what is wrong with the film industry. Please allow me to elaborate. This is a two-sided problem that lays fault on both Hollywood and the “average” moviegoer. I am going to go into details on both and then see if I cannot formulate a solution to the issue.
The obvious direction to point the finger of blame would be the source. I can go on for days about the steaming pile of awful movies that have come out in just the past six months but just dumping on the movies themselves ignores three major questions: Who thinks up this crap? Who in their right minds allows it to be made? Finally, why do people pay good money to see it? I am on Hollywood itself right now, so I will save the third question for later. Hollywood has gone soft, plain and simple. On the show I used a much more graphic terminology, but it is harder to keep an editorial away from children so I try to keep it clean here. I am all about rewarding creativity and Hollywood seems tapped out by the look of things. This sea of remakes and film adaptations of comics, cartoons and games (whether they be of the board or video variety) are literally inundating the market. I will not say this is all bad because remakes like the Incredible Hulk were great. There are adaptations like Spider-Man, Sin City and the more recent Kick-Ass that were great comic to film translations. While I cannot think of a good cartoon-based movie right now, I have to acknowledge that Clue was a fun albeit silly adaptation of a board game. Notice how everything I mention (except Kick-Ass) is at least a couple of years old? In 2010, the formula seems to be:
- Dumb it down as much as possible because viewers have zero attention span
- Make sure it has a character(s) you can market as a toy
- Throw in a hot guy or girl to draw the teen audience even if said character is completely without value to the story
Viola! You just created an instant “movie.” I’m comparing movies to coffee now. We want that rich, satisfying real flavor of the freshly brewed movie, but because we as Americans have no patience, we settle for the instant crap. Oh yeah, America, I told you there was a third issue and I am looking at you.
Hollywood is mostly to blame because it is the source of the crap we see, but if said crap made no money, it would not continue to hit movie theaters like the proverbial fan. It is because of our sheepishness that movies like ‘Avatar’ get nominated for Best Film when it was a 3D remake of ‘Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.’ We are the ones that run out to see Alpaca-faced werewolves even though we know the movie is nowhere near as good as the book. Why is a movie like ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ NOT rated R? Why are great movies like Watchmen and Kick-Ass overlooked just because they are R-rated? The answer is both a good thing and a bad thing. In the 80s and 90s, going to the movies was a date thing or a thing you did with a bunch of friends and the group of friends loved the R-rated flick; the boyfriend wanted to take the girlfriend to the horror movie or the raunchy flick because he wanted to get in her pants. In 2010, it is all about the family experience, which in theory is a beautiful thing. It’s great to see families together at movies (unless I have to sit next to that whining brat) and I am truthfully all for that. The problem is that parents still want to let outside influences raise their children instead of doing their own damned jobs. This is what kills me. You will buy Grand Theft Auto IV (mind you, the title alone is a felony) for your 8 year old, you will let them watch Family Guy and South Park, all of this is unsupervised, but you will not take the child to see an R-rated movie. Seems to me that the nuclear family is suffering from brain damage from all of that fallout. Here’s an idea: Don’t let your children play those M-rated games just to get you out of their hair; don’t let them watch that show just because little Jimmy’s mom lets him and instead, do your job. The truth of the matter is that we live in violent times, probably more so than ever before. Take any form of media and you will find that it has never truly been appropriate subject matter for children. Bugs Bunny used to walk around in blackface and Looney Tunes characters were known for committing suicide. Since most parents are going to continue to buy their underage children the M-rated game and let them watch the MA-rated TV show, maybe play the game with them and watch the show with them like my mom used to so you can explain what is wrong with what is going on and our children can have a sense of value. If your child is bugging you to go see the ‘The Losers,’ ‘Splice’ or whatever-R-rated-movie-of-the-day, take them to see it and talk with your child about it. Children know all about the internet and they are going to see the movie anyway. If you do all this and your child still shoots up a school then you as a parent can truly say “I tried my best, I don’t know what happened.”
Let’s summarize things here. Hollywood needs to let its balls drop again and put out more quality movies without worrying about anything below an NC-17 rating. Parents need to continue the trend of family viewing and take children to see the ‘Despicable Me’-type of family movies but also be ready to watch the violent ‘Kick-Ass’-type flicks so they can do damage control on their children. Everyone needs to stop supporting the endless remakes unless they are warranted. And let Hollywood keep making movies like ‘The Killers’ and ‘Marmaduke.’ Let those movies sit in theaters with no one watching them and eventually, the quality of films will improve because as always, Hollywood goes with what sells.