Sometime soon, I’m actually going to finally watch Always. Chatting with Mr. Beaks last night, he also encouraged me to finally see The Color Purple. Since I saw neither at the time, and since my interest in both was marginal at best, I skipped them. But I’ve been told that Always is not the worst film Spielberg ever directed, and may miss out on top three worst feature films (Oh, The Terminal, Crystal Skull and possibly Hook). I’ll find out shortly, I guess.
STOP IT WITH THE FUCKING REMAKES, SERIOUSLY
Another thing I did last night was watch A Nightmare on Elm Street in its 2010 incarnation (other things done last night: danced, watched some Mad Men Season 3). To say it’s a bad movie is not entirely fair. I don’t know if I’d qualify it as a movie. Drew McWeeny called it Karaoke cinema. To that point, Karaoke exists in the grays of what is music, so does ANOES exist in the grays of what is cinema. I say this because movies tend to have narratives that move from one scene to the next in an organic way – or that is to say whatever’s happening on screen dictates what comes next. Here there is no natural progression, it’s simply a rehashing of what came in the first movie with the worst sort of peppering of new ideas that contradict some of what’s onscreen. And that’s one of the biggest problems with the film, the narrative is driven by the events of the movie done before, so this plays as cliff notes. But now it feels like a bad Karaoke singer, who tries to cram syllables in at the end when they lose their place, and so the song is no longer the song any more, but an echo of something that could once be called good.
It is not so much that it’s a bad movie – that sin is forgivable – it’s that on no level did anyone try to do anything with this property but make money. Sure, it may have seemed like a shit was given when Jackie Earle Haley was cast, but that’s about it. Remakes in general are bad enough, not because of the sense of recycling, but the reason why films are remade now is not because someone thought it was a good idea, or because they had a new spin, but because of the cultural cache of a title. Like McWeeny, I see this as a dead end, because when you get a film as miserable as the Elm Street remake, you’re poisoning the well. This film is definitely empty of purpose other than to have an opening weekend. And there’s nothing wrong with making a whore movie, if you’re doing something like Friday the 13th, but to make a film that may be worse than The Dream Child is unforgivable.
This also ties into the other biggest problem with Hollywood right now, and it can be laid at the feet of George Lucas. Patton Oswalt nailed this in one, when he talked about the prequels. Honestly, back story is shit I don’t care about unless you add information that is critical to one’s appreciation. At the end of the prequel trilogy, did I get anything out of it that adds to my enjoyment of the original films? My answer is no (mileage may vary). Walter Hill was right about it when he said action defines character (and sometimes inaction as well). I don’t need the back story on Freddy Krueger, I don’t need to know where the Joker came from, and it’s sometimes more terrifying and interesting if you don’t. Of course that’s not a hard and fast rule, but when it comes to sequel/prequel/requel/whatever it’s the most artistically lazy route possible. Sadly, some times it works and works well, especially if you are introducing a new audience to said material (J.J.’s Star Trek) but it also suggests franchise, and often denies the audience closure. The more movies I see like this, the less I feel like studios have any interest in the art side of narrative cinema, and I don’t think this is the process of getting older, but an industry that has been acting foolish in the wake of a bad economy.
It’s altogether too easy to feel like the moment you’re living through is more important than it actually is, because it gives lives meaning and purpose to feel special. There are always good years and bad years in cinema, and where the 80’s seemed like a cultural wasteland, you also saw independent cinema rise from it, and now we can look back and see both the good and bad. It’s also easy to look back at what’s come before and suggest there is always a degrading of quality, etc. That somehow because it was made a long time ago, That somehow 1942’s The Mummy’s Tomb is better or more artistically interesting than 1988’s Halloween 4. Still, I don’t like the direction of this terrible garbage. The problem with a film like ANOES is that they know it’s shit on top of it being artistically bankrupt and they expect audiences to eat it anyway. They expect they can do $30 Million with a film without honor or humanity or a soul or purpose. They think they can do this because an audience will respond to the brand name. Fuck them.
WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT PEACE, LOVE AND PREDICTIONS?
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street – $32.5 Million
2. How to Train Your Dragon - $12 Million
3. Date Night – $7.5 Million
4. The Back-Up Plan - $7.1 Million
5. Furry Vengeance - $6.3 Million
And then on Sunday I will try not to berate Pavlovian audience responses, or try not to crow that a film still made a shit-ton of money for bad but at least didn’t make $30 Million.
Seriously, fuck them.