The Big Think

June 23, 2007

Movie Time

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 11:55 pm

Got a chance to see a movie tonight I’ve been wondering about for a while. It came out several years ago and I saw some writeups in industry rags about the effects and cinematography that gave it high marks. I was really surprised at how much I liked the craftsmanship of the movie, even though I considered the script to be heavy-handed and clunky at times. I wanted to like the movie, I really did. I actually managed to enjoy the acting (6/10) and the cinematography (8/10), and the FX (7/10), and the lighting (9/10). What I didn’t like was the over the top script (ick).

What really bugged me was the overt and distracting “we’re-the-filmmakers-and-you’re-lucky-to-have-our-voices-still-in-this-cesspool-culture -we-live-in” attitude. It seemed that at every turn the writers and directors were assuring us that our country was in really, really, seriously dire straits, man, and you’re just blind if you don’t see it, or willfully stupid. Or you’re part of Them. I’m super serious (and no, it wasn’t that film!). I half expected one of the characters to actually launch into the old saw about “first they came for the [fill in the blank of the downtrodden societal group of your choice], and I said nothing”. Looking up the reviews online, I saw the expected 10/10 ratings with glowing reviews for the Incredible Importance of this Film, with it’s Timely and Relevant Message For Our Current Times, followed by the 1/10 ratings that just ranted about how off-target the political message was. It may just be social cynicism, but that kind of argument grew tiresome several years ago. I really don’t listen much to it anymore.

Obligatory semi-relevant anecdotal sidenote: about a decade ago I wrote a Sing act that ended up being controversial (not that it was ever intended as such). One of the judges got all huffy and gave the backdrop a 0 out of 10 points. And the choreography. And the theme development. Etc. This person was so offended by the perceived slight that she gave the group a grand total score of zero out of 100 points. Huh?

Anyway, back to it. Can we please, please, please have a movie that doesn’t stop every thousand frames to beat the Grand Theme into our heads with over the top imagery or schlocky storytelling? You may feel all sanctimonious in your Correct View Of The World and all, but some of us just want to watch a good flick without feeling like we’re going to brainwashing camp. Heck, I like subtle movies that I don’t agree with. I can appreciate the subtlety of a good storyteller even when they’re coming from a viewpoint I don’t share. What I don’t like is someone telling me, in the very movie itself, that if I don’t agree I’m just like the bad guy who is going to get his come-uppance in the third act. When did it start to be good storytelling to insult and alienate your audience?

This also pertains tangentially to a conversation about Art I had last night with a friend, but that’s another post altogether.

That is all.

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