Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bad Movie Trends

Everyone is thoroughly, wrist-slittingly sick of year-end and decade-end lists by now, so another can't possibly make things worse. I cast this list of Regrettable Movie Trends of the 2000's before the reader's world-weary attentions, and -- get this! -- I've done so because I agree with almost all of it! Neat. That list, excerpted and [helpfully annotated by me]:

  • 1. Torture Porn ... [Sure, I guess so. I, for one, wish to thank this list for signaling a handful of the emerging torture porn classics I've missed over the past decade. I can't hate them properly unless and until I've watched them several times.]
  • 2. The Desecration Of The Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker Legacy [Indeed. These people, who carry the brutally-killed souls of the makers of Kentucky Fried Movie and Airplane! inside their wretched, still medically-alive bodies, are lately responsible for that unspeakable thing that so ineptly skewered Michael Moore. I like Michael Moore much more than not, but if you can't make a parody of Michael Moore work, it's time to get out of the creative business and go somewhere more befitting your decline -- say, to an opinion-slinging sinecure for one of Rupert Murdoch's media holdings where you can huddle over the final ashes and embers of your inner life. Good luck!]
  • 4. Actors Playing Unlikable People In Unwatchable Indie Oscar Bait ... [OK, but why stop there? How about we begin actively regretting the broader trend of calling movies "indie," as if they're independent of something, let alone in a way that should inspire anyone to notice. The makers and producers of movies try to attract large audiences, make money, do something interesting, make an artistic splash, turn obscure people into famous people, etc. This is true of alleged "indie" studios such as Miramax, and it is just as true of whichever petrochemical concern / international weapons dealer / financial services parasite / manufacturer of erection cures / antisemitic media conglomerate happens to own Miramax this month. In short, let us decry "indie" as a term unless it is followed immediately by a clear statement of the nature and relevance of the independence.]
  • 6. The Continued Descents Of Robert De Niro And Al Pacino ... [Sigh. Either of these names on the marquee has come to indicate a film not worth watching, and as reliably as the name Nicholas Cage. Sad but true.
  • 8. The Return Of The Musical -- Damn you, "Chicago." Damn you to Hell ... [I watched Chicago and kept waiting for the part that was supposed to elevate it above the usual level of execrably unwatchable where all other musicals reside. I have long since pressed stop and yanked the disc out of the player, but the wait endures. Am I the odd duck for finding Richard Gere even less interesting and Catherine Zeta Jones no more lovely while lip-synching? Musicals are for people who like musicals, and that is by far the kindest thing I will ever say of them.]
  • 9. George Lucas Putting The Finishing Touches On Ruining My Childhood By Explaining That Darth Vader Got That Way Because He Didn't Get A Promotion ... [I'm not sure that's a trend, but fair enough -- the development from Anakin the Toe-Headed to Darth the Throat-Crusher was, despite the roomy expanse of three feature-length films in which to unfold, not quite gracefully executed. But in the grand scheme of George Lucas's grand schemes, it was not the worst of the batch. Anakin was not only denied a promotion, but also raked and rattled by the Jedi's faux-Buddhist demand to abandon attachments -- attachments as non-trivial as his slave mom left back on the home planet, and, by the end, his secret hot senator wife. Because of the stupid Jedi code, he never even got the chance to parade her around and make his friends jealous! Certainly no Force-enhanced bachelor's party! Any of us might compensate for deprivations of this magnitude with some extra showy light saber acrobatics, even if it did mean lopping off the heads of dozens of budding Jedi children. And we'd certainly start wearing all black.]
All of these trends will soon be forgotten, but only because they'll be replaced with worse. See you at the theaters!

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