“When our food and clothing and housing all are born in the complication of mass production, mass method is bound to get into our thinking and to eliminate all other thinking.” – John Steinbeck
The regurgitated garbage that passes for film these days (or even entertaining blockbusters) is appalling; Robocop remakes? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remakes? Saw XXI? Is anyone’s intelligence insulted? The lack of original thought in our arts and culture would make anyone think the western world is truly in decline. The movie industry no longer invests in such frivolous things as plot, script, and original ideas.
Why is this? Because it’s fucking hard to write a good movie! It is way too labor intensive and requires something called “talent,” which is on par with “intelligence” and “skills”; which apparently everyone magically possesses now by simply trying in the world of equality (think Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”). The creation of movies (along with literature, music, etc.) at one time was the pinnacle of a talented individual’s thoughts and ideas. To slightly modify George Orwell’s great quote:
(Film) as we know it is an individual thing, demanding mental honesty and a minimum of censorship. Almost certainly we are moving into an age of totalitarian dictatorships- an age in which freedom of thought will be at first a deadly sin and later on a meaningless abstraction. The autonomous individual is going to be stamped out of existence. But this means that (film), in the form in which we know it, must suffer at least a temporary death.
The state of movies today
Today’s major blockbuster films are definitely on their deathbed, if not already six feet under. Modern movies reek of cronyism, group thought, and investment in profitable ideas rather than original ones. The movies are created to garner the most income with the least amount of investment, targeting the unthinking masses to maximize profits. Popularity trumps quality.
In this dichotomy, political leanings often play a role. In Western Civilization, Harold Bloom’s School of Resentment (written some 40 years ago) becomes more and more apparent among modern movies. Not stepping on toes, no offensive material, no hurting feelings, and political correctness has touched every aspect of mainstream films and, most obviously, all arts in general. It is water downed, weak garbage without a spark of individual thought.
Films are the largest and one of the most easily accessible of the arts. Why take the grueling time to write a story when you have another plot you can build on from 30+ years ago? With modern movies, all the “talent” goes into marketing; this is the new art form. The commercials, the target audience, the distribution are all far more the focus than the actual content of the film, all in the name of profit. Forget everything else; cut-paste plot, lower the bar of casting, use cheapened special effects, computer generated garbage, etc. BOOM! Shit-A-la-carte!
There was a time not only plot, script, etc. was an art, but other more subtle things like make-up, set design, movie poster painting (quite an admirable art form), casting, etc. were actual art forms as well that were not simply mass-produced. They were considered a craft perfected by a craftsman. Ask anyone over 30 and it’s likely that their favorite films did not originate in the 21st century. What does this say about our cheapened modern culture? It truly has “gotten into our thinking,” as Steinbeck observed so many years ago.
Another point to bring up is acting. Does anyone remember the amazing acting of Jack Nicholson in “One who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or “Five Easy Pieces”? The whiny, emasculated, ironic, indifferent, flapping vaginas that pass as “actors” today are disheartening. Have you seen any modern movie that doesn’t star an actor that could easily be an emotionless emaciated androgynous lesbian that has the acting skills of a retarded infant? Where is the goddamn passion?
All the focus is now on the cheap advertisements with an equally trite, cheap, weak, watered-down movie experience vacant of any artistic merit. Think of quality directors’ names such Kubrick, Bergman, Welles, and Scorsese, to name a few. Can anyone even name the director of a movie churned out of Hollywood these days? Watching one of these modern flicks is like getting stabbed in the eyes while someone is poking you in the balls at the same time.
Hope for the future of film
I must say, though, there is a glowing beacon of light emanating from the small movie screens around the corner. Some of these small movie theaters are located sporadically around the country. And no, I am not speaking of Porn Theaters. They are commonly referred to as “independent theaters.” These venues are a sanctuary from the literal shitshow of the large mass-produced movies, and offer an intimate environment usually populated by only a few mature adults in the theater. I don’t have to stare at the mouth-breathers or the asshole who keeps farting while simultaneously stuffing popcorn in his face while his fatass girlfriend and kids are literally wedged in the seat next to me.
More than likely you can purchase booze on site, or you can easily sneak in a flask of booze. The indie and foreign films that play at these theaters can be a hit or miss, but the risk is worth it. The acting is usually done well by some up—and—coming actors who are looking to get established. This is in contrast with mediocre Hollywood actors of today who just sit back and collect the money.
Unlike the movies of the west with all their saturated stinky little orthodoxies out for your soul, many less-known films and foreign films don’t dabble in cultural Marxist propaganda as much. In fact, they focus more on the craft of film making rather than politics, and this is apparent within five minutes of watching one of these quality films. You will rarely see a remake.
The most important thing to me is, even if the indie movie is crappy, the ideas are almost always original in thought, which is all one can hope for in this clusterfuck of modern art. At these independent theaters, some days they will also play classics such as “A Fistful of Dollars” or other great films of the past. Other days they will feature a great TV series on the big screen. The variety is endless. In addition, it is a great place to bring a date. If you are feeling risqué, you can easily have theater sex if the movie is a total bomb and the theater is dead, ironically turning the theater into your very own “porn theater.”
Independent movies and theaters have shown me not all the world is a decadent mess of soulless mass-produced garbage regurgitated from the same mass-produced garbage from yesteryear. Only 90% of the world is (I am looking at you, ironic mustache urbanite with aviator sunglasses and shitty tattoos). As for the other 10%, you might be pleasantly surprised to find it at an independent movie theater.