A Profanity-Filled Video Rant About Awful Summer Movies
WARNING: The following essay is rated R. Reader discretion is strongly advised.
I was lucky as a kid.
My parents took me to movies that mattered. We attended and watched some really cool films, many of them with meaningful messages that often made us think. Sure, we went to movies sometimes purely for laughs and entertainment. But when decision time came as to which movie to go and see, my parents pretty much treated me like an adult for as long as I can remember.
I saw Easy Rider at the age of 7. I watched Patton at age 8. I viewed The French Connection at age 9. And, I saw The Godfather at 10.
At 11, I saw Serpico. At 12, I went to The Godfather Part II. At 13, I watched All the President’s Men. At 14, I saw Annie Hall. Whenever Lenny came out, a controversial film about drug abuse and raunchy humor, I saw that, too. I must have been about 10.
Sorry for saying this people, but my movies (and the ones released long before that) were much better than your movies — assuming you’re under 30. This isn’t a “get off my lawn” opinion. It’s a fact.
I suspect that my intense interest in, and passion for, things like American politics, world history, international affairs, and my deep sense of civic responsibility stems largely from the important lessons I learned while still young. Among the most meaningful influences I was exposed to were the artistic expression of filmmaking. My parents refused to hide things away from me. I watched the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite along with most of my friends and saw the daily body counts coming out of Vietnam. I watched Firing Line on PBS. And I saw Midnight Cowboy, which was rated X when released because of the graphic subject matter, considered so racy at the time (now, it would be considered mainstream). Media images helped to shape my opinions early and led me to contemplate a world view outside my own.
Today, I don’t see nearly as much of this. Sure, families don’t go out to the movies nearly as much as they used to. But when they do, kids and teens are dragged to what amounts to oversized video games projected on a giant screen (in 3-D). Wherever you go across America, there’s a line forming at the box office filled mostly with youngsters — aged from 8-16 — and virtually all of them are digesting what amounts to the cinematic version of a microwaved Big Mac. It’s utter garbage — mindless cinematic regurgitation. The movies intended for the 16-30 crowd are usually even worse.
Next time you go to a movie intended “for mature audiences,” count the number of kids sitting in the audience. There probably aren’t any. Of course, “for mature audiences” basically means there’s a few “fucks” in the film, and perhaps even some nudity (gasp!). Meanwhile, most of this summer’s blockbuster hits are filled with non-stop violence, mass murder, and mayhem. Somehow, showing a woman’s breasts triggers an automatic “R” rating, which means no one under the age of 17 can get in without a parent or guardian. But a movie can show the annihilation of an entire city, and that’s viewed as acceptable PG-rated entertainment.
Now that I’ve been nice and civil, today’s essay is about to take a turn for the furious. So, be warned.
A while back, Marieta asked me to be on the lookout for a new movie about the life of the late film critic Roger Ebert. I discovered the documentary is called Life Itself. Weeks have since passed. No such movie has yet come to Las Vegas.
I now see that the movie was released more than six weeks ago, supposedly nationwide. In the meantime, movies about spaceships, monkeys, transformers, sex tapes, and who knows what else have made it to the local movie chains. But so far, Life Itself hasn’t appeared yet. Not on ONE fucking screen!
Well, this set me off into a rage. I’m sick of shitty summer movies and I blame parents and zombie-ass kids of polluting the movie theaters with mindless mediocrity. That’s today’s introduction to my latest video rant, which runs about 20-minutes long.
If you want to watch a shorter version, note that the fireworks start at about the 5-minute mark.