Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Here's the thing - when was the last time you saw a GOOD movie?

No, I'm not talking about The Watchmen or The Dark Knight or anything else that was chalk-full of massive explosions and mind blowing special effects.

I am talking about a really good film...a film that when it was over, had you walking out of the theater or getting off your couch and feeling some emotion that was not there 100 minutes prior.

One of the best films I've ever watched is Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams. Maybe you have seen it, maybe you haven't. If you haven't, the next clip will not mean the slightest thing to you - but if you have seen it, this final scene is the type of ending that serves as a catalyst for emotion translating from screen to self:

The whole purpose of the film is to talk about seizing the day - Carpe Diem - and living for the things that matter. THAT is the premise of a good film.

Yet, these types of films rarely exist anymore. Or, the studios who have the opportunities to make them choose not to because you can't make an English teacher action figure as part of a Happy Meal at McDonalds.

Maybe part of the reason is that we, as the audience, have stopped asking for these types of films. We do not demand responsibility from the studios who feed us these films - so they are making exactly what we are asking for. Then why don't we ask for something better? Are we so detached, so digitized, so Facebook-ed that we need to have EVERYTHING spoon fed to us because we have become too lazy to think for ourselves and actually spend time watching something that may have an emotional impact on us?

Now, I'm not saying that entertainment does not have its value, but with our and Hollywood's overindulgence in bigger, faster, louder over the past 20 years...is it possible that we are just making ourselves slightly more detached? Sure, everyone loves to read a book or watch a movie to "escape" for a little bit - but when those escapes are over, reality inevitably is waiting outside the doors of the cinema.

So, why would we not crave a better connection between the two? Why would we not want to experience a film that does not get left on the screen after the final credit rolls? Should the cinematic medium serve more as a means for social responsibility than simply a fix of visually stimulative gluttony? I can't transform like Optimus Prime and I do not have a secret lair like Batman. But, I do live, laugh, love, hurt, work, learn and bleed like a real human being. Why have we become so scared of ourselves that we depend on these made-up realities as opposed to indulging in something that matters - and telling stories with lessons?

Maybe, just maybe, there are a few good films still out there - and we shall see them one day soon. And, hey, with a little luck, their message will not lost in the brightened lights and on the popcorn littered floors of the theater.