I’ve been very disappointed with movies as of late. I know that I am partly to blame, having watched such garbage as The Devil Wears Prada and John Tucker Must Die (didn’t finish) on the airplane, but seriously – how do these educated and trained professionals allow themselves to become a part of such worthless productions? No, that’s a silly and naive question, but I sometimes wonder – why and how do crappy films get made? At what point does a movie cross the line from potential meaningful/well-made movie to banal/cliche-ridden/slick-commercial-gloss product? In the screenwriter’s head? The director’s editing room? Or maybe the studio executive’s bathroom while he takes a dump and thinks about the movies he’ll finance this year?
I was disappointed with Borat. For all the hype and good press, I found it somewhat entertaining but not really that funny. I’m the type that loves offensive jokes and enjoys people being mean on screen for laughs but only if there are elements of cleverness and, even better, hints of irony. Borat, for all the hailed intelligence of creator Sacha Baron Cohen, seemed to abandon irony and quickly degenerated into a Johnny Knoxville-type of Jackass humor. Funny here and there, but things get old pretty quickly. I’ve heard and read about people praising Borat for its boldness in exposing Middle America’s bigotry and ignorance, but maybe somewhere between watching Michael Moore documentaries and the Tonight Show, the novelty of catching Americans saying stupid things sort of wore off for me. I sort of yearn for another Napolean Dynamite or even another Zoolander – cultural commentaries slash comedies without such blatant attempts at shock value.
But I hate being too preachy about movies. After all, people watch movies for all kinds of reasons, whether it’s to put their minds in cruise control or to satisfy some sort of cult obsession or, in my case, an almost always unrealistic hope that the movie will entertain, inspire, touch, and challenge my way of thinking. So when I say I’ve been disappointed by movies these days, I should fault myself for allowing myself to watch what I know will be bad movies in the first place.
Holiday season. Moviegoing should increase for me starting this week. I’m thinking Little Children, Casino Royale, Volver, and Fast Food Nation. Any good foreign recommendations (besides Volver)?