I didn't see a new
movie this week. I couldn't. It was my sister's anniversary,
and every year I volunteer to babysit her kid for a night while
she and my brother-in-law go to the Texas Roadhouse and stuff
themselves with onion rings until they get anal leakage. It's
all very romantic. I don't know why the Mrs. doesn't take me
out like that.
My sister's anniversary
is about the only time I am allowed to spend unsupervised time
with my nephew Jackie. It's my chance to keep in touch with
youth culture. He's either seven or twelve years old. I just
know the kid is too underage to go drinking and too young-looking
for a reasonable fake ID. Also, that the Attitude Lounge won't
let a kid in, even if you promise to make him sit in the corner
and keep his mouth shut. In previous years, after my sister
dropped him off, he and I would watch soft-core porn and eat
pigs in blanket and chocolate chip cookie dough until we fell
asleep. It was a pretty fucking good time.
Jackie told my sister
about our routine, though. Now she and my brother-in-law are
pissed off, like I did a terrible thing. Let me make clear:
I did not let my underage nephew watch hardcore porn. We only
watched Skinemax. You know, the stuff with plots, no penetration
and music playing where the grunting and moaning should be.
The only reason they make that shit is so it's safe for kids.
I mean, if it were meant for adults they wouldn't make it so
Apparently my offense
was enough to make me promise not to watch "Soul Intent" starring
Shannon Tweed, but not so bad as to force the cancellation of
my sister's annual pigout. This year, I took Jackie to see Planet
51 at the Elvis. The Elvis is Arvada's cinematic equivalent
of a Goodwill. Second-hand, scratchy prints of movies that are
about to come out on video play for $2.50, and the concessions
are about half the price of the ass-pillaging you get at the
fancy AMC or Regal theaters.
sucks. It's a kid movie, made with slick computer animation
that looks good but lacks the really pretty details. In it,
Dwayne "The Suck" Johnson plays an astronaut who lands on a
distant planet, only to discover it's populated with a race
of green aliens who are very much like 1950s Americans. They
speak English, breathe air, watch bad monster movies and the
girls wear bobby socks. Here, the American astronaut is the
feared and dreaded alien. That part's sort of a cute set up,
and for the first ten minutes of the movie I though, "well,
shit, this ain't bad." Then The Suck opens his big, fucking
annoying mouth while the plot devolves into an uninspired pile
of dull shit. Planet 51 doesn't exploit its premise.
It doesn't have anything to say. It just piles on cliche, lame
joke, overused character stereotypes, lousy butt jokes, and
tired-ass boy-tries-to-impress-girl plotting. It's a waste of
time and energy, and looks like something made by people with
nothing new or original to say.
isn't what I really want to talk about, though. I want to talk
about cheap-ass, second-run theaters and the people who go to
them. When I go on Friday night to see a new movie, I am usually
surrounded by assholes. They spend $50 for two people to see
a movie and get a tub of popcorn and tanker-sized sodas. They
often don't know what they are going to see until they walk
up to the box office. They aren't there so much to be entertained
as not to be bored, and they can afford to do that. At the bargain
theater, it's a different story. These are people who really
want something out of the theater experience. There are families
of six paying $15 for that rare night where they can get out
of the house and enjoy a little luxury. There was a couple in
front of me at the concession stand paying for popcorn and soda
with their change. They'd count out two dollars in pennies and
nickels for a Coke, and then seeing they still had more, order
something else until all that change was gone. Yes, it sucked
being behind them, but I guarantee they enjoyed the fuck out
of their snacks.
The people at the
Elvis Cinemas put their faith and their entire entertainment
budget in the hands of Hollywood. Going is not just something
to do, it's a genuine treat, a real escape from the shittiness
of life. Many of them are paying Hollywood all they can afford
to forget that life can suck ass a lot of the time, that unemployment
is high and low-income workers are paid less than ever before.
The problem is Hollywood's
grassfuckers long ago stopped thinking their job was to entertain.
They are way more focused on the pricks in tight jeans with
a lot of disposable income for which going to the movies is
no big deal. They've turned moviemaking into bean counting and
sucked the imagination, creativity and risk-taking right out
of it. They don't think of that family blowing a month's entertainment
budget at the Elvis when they make a movie. They've marginalized
the ones who need them most.
is a perfect example of how movies are leached of magic, joy
or surprise by the factory approach. Moviemakers are rewarded
more for efficiency and playing it safe than for entertaining.
Planet 51 is a passable movie, I suppose, but that's
all it is. Worse, that's all it was ever intended to be. In
almost every frame you can see that the director, writer and
producers settled for merely adequate, how they refused to take
risks or be original. For God's sake, they hired Dwayne Johnson
and Justin Long. Those guys are the definition of settling for
less. They are men who have name recognition but are nobody's
favorite actor, or even a liked one. They just are.
Hollywood owes the
public more when they're fucking with the working man's weekend.
They need to go beyond making "successful" movies and make movies
that won't make us hate ourselves, and that won't make a poor
family spending its entire entertainment budget feel like it
is being raped in the ass with a rusty crowbar . I'm all for
Hollywood making money, as long as they try to make shit good
first. But they are intent on making cash the easiest way they
can. Every individual in Hollywood must stop and assess why
he or she is making movies. If you're a writer and you have
nothing to say, then stop fucking writing movies! There are
plenty of other jobs you can do that don't stick it to the folks
at the Elvis. For example, working the concession stand. If
you're a director, have the balls to turn down bad shit and
to refuse to turn good scripts in to generic turds just to please
some executive whose idea of clever is imitating whatever's
popular. It's okay to make less money. It's okay to be proud
and moderately wealthy instead of a fabulously rich heartless
bstard. For actors, well, never mind. Most of you are dumbasses.
For producers, have the courage to take advice from people with
new ideas and the balls to say no to the same old shit. Go past
the most obvious ideas. Look beyond your insular little world
of the same old writers and directors. Take chances. Stand up
for the good ideas. And if you can't, get the fuck out.
if Hollywood really put in the effort, there would still be
shitty movies. That's because not everything works no matter
how hard you try. But at least they could be proud, and the
overall quality would go up. There would be fewer movies with
Dwayne Johnson, less farting in kids' movies and zero "reimaginings"
of bad TV sitcoms.
To Hollwood:, think
of that middle-aged couple at the Elvis breaking their piggy
bank to go to the movies. Do you really want to give them less
than your best? Do you really want accountants to decide what
they see? If the answer is yes, go find another job, asshole.
to tell Filthy Something?