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When Did We Become So Cynical?

November 21, 2010

Remember when people could go to a movie and enjoy it? Remember when everyone wasn’t super-critical of everything that came out? I sure do. I kind of long for those days.  Are we as movie-goers so jaded that we can’t truly enjoy anything anymore?

If you’ve read past the first paragraph, you’re probably wondering what I’m ranting about. Last week I went with some friends to watch Skyline. The trailers for this film looked alright. I certainly didn’t expect it to be the next major blockbuster, and in that sense I was correct. But I did expect it to be enjoyable. Again, in my opnion, I was correct. There’s potentially a few spoilers below, so if you haven’t seen the movie and plan to eventually, you have been warned.

Let’s take a moment to list a few complaints I heard from people I know.

1) It didn’t have a happy ending.

Who cares? Life isn’t happy. I was kind of glad to see a movie where the good guys didn’t win for once. The whole time I watched it I was expecting the humans to find a way to repel the alien invaders and all would be happy again. Why? Because that’s what always happens. It was nice to have the opposite happen for once. And this brings me to number two.

2) I come to movies to escape reality.

Ah, yes, mindless entertainment for the masses. You are the reason reality shows exist.

3) I liked this movie better when it was Transformers.

I’m sorry, what? Maybe I need to watch this again, but I didn’t see any giant robots in this movie. No similarities whatsoever. Was more of a mash-up of Independence Day, the first Matrix, and War of the Worlds, if you want to compare it to anything.

4) It had no resolution.

Let’s have a word with Mr. Webster: “The point in a literary work in which a complication is worked out.”

Well, alright. Fair enough. But war isn’t one-sided, folks. There are two sides, each with a different goal. The aliens won. That’s resolution. Just because it wasn’t the resolution you expected, doesn’t mean it wasn’t resolution at all.

5) I don’t like movies that I have to think/draw my own conclusions about.

See point #2.

6) There weren’t any well-known actors in it.

There weren’t any well-known actors in the original Star Wars Trilogy either, and look at how those turned out. Point: well-known actors do not make a movie great.

And then there’s other people who just keep saying that it was bad without giving a reason. When asked why they thought it was bad, I received responses such as “Think about how bad it was…” or “It was so bad it was good.” Thanks for answering the question.

But this attitude toward movies is something I seem to notice more and more these days. Why is this? Does it have to do with the economy and people expecting more for the price of a movie ticket? Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal if say, I dunno, we didn’t spend so much on a gallon of soda and popcorn? Try it sometime, your kidneys will thank you. Or is it that we’ve all become critics in the age of the internet and social networking?

If you can’t tell already, I enjoyed Skyline, although this wasn’t a review per se, but rather something that was on my mind after hearing some comments about the movie.

I would love to hear your opinions on this subject. Fire away, folks.

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One comment

  1. 1. Boo-hoo. Happy doesn’t sell anymore.

    2. Who doesn’t watch movies to escape reality? You’re preaching to the choir. But if you ignore reality too often, the movies become a LOT less believable.

    3. It’s an old statement, sure, but nothing is original anymore. Everything you watch, read, or listen to, has been done a hundred times before. Unfortunately for the film industry, their jobs depend on their ability to show you something you’ve NEVER seen before. There will always be similarities to other works– just take it as a nod to some form of inspiration and deal with it.

    4. No resolution usually is a signifier that the story isn’t over yet. From a writer’s perspective, it’s easier to leave things off with a major cliffhanger and then come back with a sequel, than it is to provide closure to everything, wrap everything up perfectly, and then make a sequel that looks like crap. The problem is that we live in a society where damn near every movie demands a sequel.

    5. This is my biggest pet peeve. It’s like The Blair Witch Project, if you dare to think about it at all. 95% of the people I know hated it, because they didn’t want to keep up with it. I enjoyed it, because it used a new tool to scare the audience: their imaginations. It’s true that if you don’t practice using certain muscles, you lose all ability to use them. Imagination and reasoning fit into this theory.

    6. Producers/Directors have reached a point where they deliberately choose actors/actresses that nobody has heard of– because the audience tends to assume too much when we hear about big names. “Oh, Nicholas Cage is in this? Then he’s going to be playing some mildly action-oriented part, with a lot of angst involved. Alright.” You pretty much HAVE to choose people that nobody knows, if you want to break away from audience presumption.



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