Sound and Fury - Column for 7/11

It's all your fault. Not totally, but certainly some of the blame needs to fall upon the viewing public. They are the ones that make bad movies popular and ensures that bad movies continue to be made.

Most people, intelligent or not, seem to think that current mainstream Hollywood movies suck. Mediocre at best. I am very interested in motion pictures. I talk about them a lot (natch). Often, in my travels, I ask people what they have seen recently. Frequently, they mention a movie that I have not seen (since I miss most Hollywood movies on purpose). I ask what they thought about the movie. The most frequent response is "It's OK." The next response is more interesting: "You should go see it." What? I thought you just said it was "OK." Why should I pay $8 + to see something that' s "just OK"? Why encourage Hollywood to make "just OK" movies? Why should I support mediocrity?

I also hear a lot about the special effects, the computer graphics, in the film. This drives me nuts. If you want to see special effects, ask for Digital Domain or ILM's demo reel and jack off to that every night. If you're going to be paying more than the minimum hourly wage for a film, you should demand, at the very least, a story and some character. Effects are secondary, unless you are thinking about hiring the effects house (or houses, since rarely is it just one place) for your next project.

I also don't understand how people can choose to watch the movies that they KNOW are bad. Some people are masochistic, I understand. Guilty pleasures (Tron is mine) are excused as well. But why would anyone shell out good money on a Friday night to see an interminable three hours of bullshit CGI and intolerable plot cloaked under the cliché "Hollywood blockbuster" (a la, PEARL HARBOR).

When people go see this crap, it jacks up the box office count, and producers point to the numbers and say "See! People are idiots, and they want to see idiot movies! Let's make more idiot movies! Green light that "Dukes of Hazzard" movie NOW!!!"

Really, I wanna know: are you watching these movies because you have no taste, you have nothing better to do, or you're embarrassed to go to a cocktail soiree without being able to converse about the latest flick? As bad actors say, "What's the motivation?"

Maybe it's because good movies are so few and far between, people have lowered expectations and are hoping to find the next great before anyone else. Or maybe we're just cattle addicted to worshipping the movie gods in whatever form they appear (Brando in anything since 1980, Harrison Ford in anything past "Raiders"). Whatever it is, I don’t like it.

So here's a solution everyone can do: don't watch movies you know are going to suck. Planet of the Apes? Suck. Jurassic Park III? Suck (big time). Or, at the very least, hold off watching the movie on the opening weekend, and let your friends go to the slaughter first (even though it might make you seem like an idiot around the drink machine because you didn't see the movie everyone else did over the weekend). If they come back with a "it's OK, go see it," don't. It will make you smarter in the end.

Here's my poll on movie watching:

Next week: destroy your TV.