No reason to take this too seriously, sometimes I rant when I run out of bourbon.
I was originally going to call this article Tentpoles & Assholes but I thought, “Hmm… that isn’t fair.” Besides, I’d have to include myself as an asshole and really, I’m just a lovely person. That’s what my therapist says, anyway, after I hand her three hundred bucks. She refuses to talk to me, otherwise.
But seriously, what is wrong with you people?
The reason I ask this of you (and myself, really), is because we are constantly bombarded with shit movies. Someone keeps paying to go see all of this crap. Therefore, Hollywood keeps making all this crap. Yes, I am guilty of it but probably on a smaller scale than most people. I, at least, don’t rush out to every big tentpole movie. However, I am sometimes lured in by franchises that once had great films or that are based off of things I have liked in the past – mainly awesome shit from my childhood.
I don’t think we realize how good we had it. Well, people from my generation and the ones before it. Most of you millennials, and this isn’t a diss to your group, don’t really know what it was like to grow up with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Spielberg movies when the guy was making absolute magic throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Sure, you have probably seen those films and love them, but you didn’t truly grow up with them. At least not at the time when they were new and when they were in the theater and taking over pop culture. And sure, you had your Star Wars prequels and that fourth Indiana Jones movie but let’s be honest, they don’t even compare to the original runs of those franchises.
In the 1990s, there was Jurassic Park, a mostly decent film, and Independence Day, an awful movie when you break it down but it still wowed the balls off of people because of the scale of the visuals. Compared to the films today, neither of them are really that big of a deal when it comes to scale or special effects. Sorry to shit on them but they weren’t as magical as the blockbusters before them, they were just decent placeholders while filmgoers were waiting for that next Star Wars experience that never came.
Then you had all those even shittier films: The Mummy, Men In Black, Twister, Armageddon, Titanic, the Batman sequels, Mission: Impossible, Face/Off, Volcano, Anaconda, Deep Impact, the American Godzilla, all those other Nic Cage movies, the 90s Bond movies, the later Lethal Weapon sequels, Beverly Hills Cop III, Speed, Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Mask, Wild Wild West – all shit.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things I find amusing in several of those movies but ultimately, they aren’t good.
In fact, the only really good stuff to come out of that decade was independent films. The stuff by Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Kevin Smith before he totally sucked and a slew of others that clawed through the mess of mediocrity and rose to be unique and different. There was also Terminator 2: Judgment Day and the first Matrix movie, which are impossibly hard to try and knock.
The other good films were the movies that weren’t trying to be tentpole films. The likes of Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting, The Green Mile and The Silence of the Lambs immediately come to mind.
Americans, and the rest of the world now, just want bigger and louder. CGI has created a way to make that happen much easier than in the past. The entire film industry is now so reliant on it that filmmakers don’t even need to worry about the scale of something, they just do it. They are now locked in this competition to outdo each other. Each new movie gets bigger, louder and cares less about overall plot or even trying to make a lick of sense.
The destruction levels in films these days are incredibly ridiculous. Between the destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel and a spaceship the size of the Atlantic Ocean in the sequel to Independence Day, filmmakers have become Dr. Frankenstein. They are stitching together monsters and playing God. To paraphrase the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park, they were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.
On one hand, we the people keep paying to see these films. There is just something about seeing this stuff on the big screen. It surprises me though, that fatigue has not set in. As the movies get bigger and louder, they also seem to get dumber and less believable. They’ve become really poorly written cartoons. But maybe people are getting dumber and this is truly what they want. I mean, television has a larger variety of stuff to watch than the movie theater but the most watched shows are the ones that are usually complete dog shit.
On the other hand, maybe we have submitted to the will of our Hollywood masters. Maybe the filmmakers really just don’t care. Hollywood has figured out that they can pump out shit and if all that they pump out is shit, all people can choose from when buying a ticket is shit. Do you want to see robot shit, alien shit, zombie shit, superhero shit or Sparkles the Vamp Boy?
But at least the shit is available in 8D and on screens the size of a large inner city hospital in Ubertechtronic Psychic Surround Sound. What better way to witness the squish of a massive turd by an alien ship crashing into it following its destruction by giant robots that can transform into common household items covered in Pepsi and Verizon logos?
Sure, good films are still made. The problem, is that they aren’t marketed like the shit ones are. Well, unless they get nominated for something but the awards show nomination game is another dragon I’ll have to try and slay at a later date.
But ultimately, if I have to sit through a hundred Suicide Squads or Fantastic Fours to get to one Mad Max: Fury Road or The Dark Knight, the game is still worth playing. I’d just like to live in a world where people care about movies again. But how much do people really care if they are content watching a film in three minute increments from an iPhone screen in the line at Subway?