Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Front Row Joe

I am a movie buff! Although my tastes are drastically campy and sometimes just downright embarrassing, I love movies. I have an extensive movie collection (once again, embarrassing) and trips to the movies are always a joy. There is nothing like being lost for an hour or two in the fictional lives of attractive and dramatic personas on the silver screen. Being that this is a multi-billion dollar industry, I am not the only person who enjoys the talkies.

However, the more and more movies I see and the more trailers for those ‘coming to a theater near you’ I preview, the more I realize a shift. One that causes me to ponder as to where the entertainment industry and the tastes of the American public are headed, and why? Anyone who knows me, can attest to the fact that I am no prude. However, there is a sense of common decency that should be upheld and a moral hard-line that need not be crossed. I’m not saying every movie that is released must be a PG rated, full-family good time, but I feel the level of morality in the Cineplex is dwindling at best.

It seems that movies these days throw in gore, harsh language, and/or sex just to be in there. Once again, not being Prudence McPrude, I understand that a good love story (The Notebook) may have a love scene, a police or mob movie (The Departed) may drop the F-Bomb occasionally, or a war movie (Braveheart) may show a person losing a few extra arms or legs. These movies do not require these elements, however, when they are included in the reel, they are not out of place by any means. They are meant to heighten the drama and create an experience. Which is exactly why we go to these movies. I draw the line at movies that include this explicit vulgarity just to put it in there. Tons of movies these days revolve around sex and/or violence and have absolutely no artistic or even entertaining qualities.

Another surprising movement in American pop culture is the quiet acceptance of these cinematic atrocities. Within my own lifetime, I have witnessed the bar being lowered and lowered. We are shocked, accept it, and are thus desensitized from it. Therefore, the movie industry must come up with more twistedly dramatic movies to shock us once again. When I was a kid (as in 2 weeks ago), horror movies like Scream were by no means children’s fare. They did contain violence and other distasteful elements that were quite entertaining. However, as one fast-forwards a decade, simple slasher movies just aren’t shocking enough. The fact that 3 (going on 4) Saw movies have been made is a gross reality as to what Americans require in their ‘entertainment.’ Who is going to see these? I thought I had bad taste in movies!

Once again, I’m not saying to dumb down or remove any or all adult aspects of entertainment, but if it is in the movie, make it serve a purpose. Make it advance the plot or heighten the dramatic quality of the movie. Don’t just put it in there to shock audiences or push the envelope. It’s been pushed enough! Stop making crap movies and invest your time to make the next Gone With The Wind or Godfather. Can anyone really think of any movie made in the last calendar year that will be watched 50 years from now? Cause I sure can’t.

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