Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bright and sunny movie post

Tyranist and I had to go far, far away to find a theatre showing NO COUNTRY FOR OLD men. It was playing in one location, a big, sprawling metroplex theatre, with all the amenities which we had gone to one time before (when we saw 30 DAYS OF NIGHT). Both visits, I sat down to see a pre-filmed promo where a smarmy local radio personality (I assume) was sticking a microphone into moviegoers' faces, asking them, "Do you think movies are getting better or worse?"

For the next three minutes, we get carefully-edits soundbites of smiling teens and twenty-somethings talking about how great movies are now, with better special effects, better action, better stories, and better acting. Granted, there are a couple of hausfraus that decry movies as getting worse, "'Cause of all the icky icky nudity," but they are just there so you don't realise that it has been cut so as not to disparage the medium you have all just paid to see. It's really an awful promo, despite the great sound and seating and ticket prices and old men commenting on the film and variety of movie choices at that theatre.

But in doing my laundry today, that promo jumped into my brain again, like the inner jaw of a Geiger alien, and I just shook my head. Dude, movies are not getting better. 2007 had to have been the bleakest year for quality movies I can remember (maybe 1987 was worse, but it's hard to recall). I praised it going in as being an awesome horror movie year, with so much stuff coming out theatrically, but in preparing for our (now overdue) Year In Review on the Horror Film Compendium, I have no idea what to cite as the best movie of the year, let alone listing my five favourites.

Okay, maybe a lot of Oscar bait came out at the end of '07 that was really good, but except for the above example, I didn't go out and see any of them.

I've been watching some older films lately, and often I'll notice a bad line of dialogue or bad edit or plotpoint or horrible processed driving scene, but I just let it go ("Give it a pass," as I often misuse the phrase), because films back then didn't know better, or simply weren't able to avoid gaffes like that.

Today's movies, though, haven't the same excuse. And I tend not to forgive bad line readings (or bad lines) or mediocre special effects (which pretty much include all computer-generated effects that look like computer-generated effects). Tyranist and I always talk about the opening weekend mentality the studios have, and the kind of shite it produces (though tyranist doesn't seem to get so furious about it as I do, which is definitely a character flaw . . . though you can decide whose it is), and I don't see any sign of that changing.

And for someone who goes to the movies as often as I do, it saddens me to realise that I've gotten a HELL of a lot more pleasure out of watching "Veronica Mars" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with my friend than, well, anything that comes to mind in the last six months. It's been within my lifetime that television has gone from being the lazy-eyed stepchild of filmed entertainment, to being on the same level as the movies. And some would say, much better. My friend Merrill, who used to vocally loathe television (possibly because he's spent the last seven years working for it) has even begun to go the other way.

I don't know if I could see that promo again and not dig out one of my eyes with my car keys (hopefully the old guy next to me could comment, "That sumbitch just digged out his eye next to me. That bastard's crazy."). No, Virginia, movies aren't getting better, not that I can see.

Oh, and what's with all the icky icky nudity?

Rish "Mr. Brightside" Outfield

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