Dear Hollywood: “I Want to Feel Like a Kid Again.”
A rant; if you will allow.
I’ve been watching movies and TV with my 4-year-old nephew a lot lately. MAN……do I want that ‘wide eyed enjoyment,’ again.
Hollywood has made me very tired.
I feel as though… my movie going experience has turned me into an 87-year-old, and all the little Hollywood people are playing on my expensive lawn.
When I go to the flicker show, I want to feel the wonder of ignorance; I want an escape from reality, right? Why else would I pay $10?
*sigh* There are a few things that are causing this, some of which I can control, most of which I can’t. For example:
1. I’m tired of Post Modernism:
I’m tired of the breakdown, analyzation and destruction of what works in a story.
I’m tired of being forced to feel sorry for the bad guy. Sometimes, evil is just evil.
I remember hearing that, in 1977 when Star Wars was first released, Darth Vader came on the screen for the first time….. and JUST based on the bellcose music and the outfit, everyone in the audience started booing him because they KNEW he was the bad guy.
How (&%$*&^) awesome is that? Do you know how bad I want that feeling back? I want my bad guys TO BE BAD GUYS. I don’t need to know that Darth Vader was once a cute little boy. I don’t care that Michael Myers was abused. I don’t care that Ming the Merciless wasn’t hugged as a child.
I don’t need to know that the Grinch was once a kid.
In the cartoon, I didn’t give a crap about his back-story. As far as I was concerned he was born evil, and I loved it. It made it that much more exciting when he changed.
What did we know about Kevin Spacey’s character in Se7en? NOTHING. And that scares the hell out of me. You know what we know about Hannibal Lecter’s childhood? NOTHING. Heath Ledger’s Joker? NOTHING. Sometimes you just gotta let people be evil, so when they are vanquished you can sleep at night, not over analyze and excuse their actions as just being ‘tragic.’
On the same token, I don’t need my Good Guys to be on the “Razor’s edge.” I’m SOOO tired of it. I can name on one hand how many “heroes” we’ve been given in the last 10 years that aren’t drunks, murderers, thieves, full of themselves, players, or psychologically messed up.
The Watchmen was a PERFECT example for this. It was written as a ‘non-mainstream comic’ over 20 years ago, but the temperature is PERFECT for that movie now. It’s not shocking at all when the most heroic character of the bunch stabs a bad guy in the throat.
We have too much of the “Anti-Hero.” Saw is a good example of this. The dude is killing tons and tons of people in horrible ways, but “Hey, he’s teaching people a lesson.”
So is Dexter. Dexter happens to be a great show, BUT …that kind of show is ALL WE HAVE NOW! Anti-heroes work in sporadic stories, but if EVERYONE is an anti-hero… then you change what the definition of ‘hero’ is.
I hate it.
I know so many people who hate Superman because he’s “too much of a boy scout.” Well, I miss it. I want my good guys to be good guys.
2. I’m tired of Pastiche.
Movies referencing other movies is so 1994. Someone please tell Quentin Tarantino that. The breakdown of the ‘fourth wall’ in TV and Movies has been kind of the beginning ‘death knell’ to storytelling to me. Kevin Smith has made his entire career of referencing other movies in his movies. I’m tired of it. I want to be transported into a story. Not assume that this movie is happening at the wall outside the movie theater where the teenagers are smoking.
3. I’m tired of ‘Making of’ Documentaries:
It’s my fault. I kinda went nuts with this. I LOVE how they make movies and special effects, but I’m BURNT …OUT. There is literally NO MORE magic for me. I now know how they do all of it.
I have to heal my seeping imagination arteries before it’s too late.
I’m not sure what I’m asking. I’m either asking to not want to know how you did a certain special effect, or I’m asking to stop knowing EXACTLY how you did a special effect.
I recently watched the movie MOON, starring Sam Rockwell for the second time. That movie takes place ON THE MOON for Christ’s sake and I didn’t ONCE think about how they made it happen. It was just a solid friggin movie. I kinda watched it with the eyes of youth because I was so engrossed in his character that I didn’t care AT ALL how they made him be in two places at once, OR how they made the moon effects. It was what it was. The special effects were there to indicate location …and that was it.
4. I’m tired of hearing about “The Industry”
When I was a kid I thought the band Kiss were superheroes. They weren’t human. Gene was ACTUALLY a demon, Ace was ACTUALLY from space. Now Gene Simmons is a grumpy old father on “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” where we get to see him put deals together and be a father to teenagers. There is NO mystery anymore.
I’m tired of hearing about whether a movie will make enough money. I’m tired of hearing that independent films have made back 200% of their investment. I’m tired of seeing the actors of “the real horror film, Paranormal Activity” on Leno before the movie comes out.
Where is the separation between Hollywood and shlubs like me? Do you WANT to know that someone has to wash your dishes at Disney World? Where is the magic?
Is part of the problem that everyone with a video camera and a Mac thinks they can make a movie now? Is it because we think that there are no heroes left in the world?
In closing…here’s the problem;
If you were to look at list of all of my favorite “Entertainment Related” things, you would find The Matrix, Fight Club, LOST, Dexter, etc. ALL of which fit everything I said above.
The problem is, IT’S BEEN DONE! TIME TO MOVE ON.
It’s a very specific type of storytelling, and is only effective if it surrounded by “normal” type stories.
Sure, you could say “Well, the ‘good guys winning’ type story has been done before.” The problem with that is this; either the good guys win or the bad guys win. When you make your heroes into bad guys and your bad guys into good guys, what is the next paradigm shift? What is next? Where do we go from here?
You’ve turned a black and white tale into grey mush, so now what? What is the next logical step? How does that evolve? The only thing it does is make people not know who to root for.
What say you, people?
Doesn’t it even matter? Am I crazy? Am I just getting old?