I watched a good old movie last night with Amber: Sullivan's Travels. It is about a wealthy Hollywood director in the 40's who is tired of making funny movies and wants to make "serious" movies, or movies that more reflect the hardships of the time. He wants to make "Oh Brother Where Art Thou." (How funny that someday that movie would be made and it would be a comedy.) However, he has never experienced a hard day in his life and decides to become a hobo. To his amazement, in his travels he discovers that even though people experience tough times, it doesn't mean they want to wallow in films that reflect their tough times.
Recently, filmmakers have lost touch with this idea. They can't seem to wait to get their greedy hands on recent disasters or painful events. As soon as something horrible happens, they are licking their chops to exploit it. "W," though a decent movie, was made too soon. He's not even out of office for crying out loud. Soon after 9/11 we were swarmed with films about the event. Again, too soon. And they are still making them, or movies about terrorists, or some remake or retake of the Manchurian Candidate.
As for me, I could really use a good comedy. However, it seems that the art of comedy in film has gone bye bye. I can't remember the last time I saw a good, wholesome, (or halfway wholesome) funny film. I can't even remember the last smutty funny film. Yeah, there have been all the stupid slapstick films, which are fine I suppose, but where are the great comedies? The last great comic film I saw was Napoleon Dynamite. And although I do love that film dearly, it is sad that that film seems to be the last good original cinematic comedic offering we've had.
People need to laugh. People need to dream. That's why people make films and go to films. Besides the Harry Potter films, what film has given us a little faerie dust so we can fly away to Never Land, or to a galaxy far far away? Even Superhero movies are all going gross and vulgar thanks to Frank Miller. The last Batman movie, though excellently crafted, was just sorta depressing. I liked it when I saw it but I really don't have the urge to see it again. If it weren't for Ironman, I would be giving up on superhero movies altogether.
Even tried-and-true action genres are limping... I recently saw the latest installment of James Bond and I couldn't even muster the energy for a review. Well, here it is: It was a Bourne movie. For about five minutes, halfway through the movie, it was a Bond movie. Other than that it was a cacophony of endless close ups and tremendously noisy car chases. Not even a lick of heartless romance. And "Quantum Solace"? What kind of Bond title is that? What the heck does that even mean? Grade: C.
So because of the recent good film drought, Amber and I have decided to catch up on all the great films that we've wanted to see but haven't seen. Sullivan's Travels was our first and it did not disappoint. People don't make films like that anymore and that's just sad. Films are turning into big giant music videos with saturated colors with nary a still shot that lasts more than 3 seconds. Everything has to just move around, CONSTANTLY. God forbid they give an actor 10 seconds to manufacture a feeling, a sly look, a subtle change signifying an Epiphany, like say, when Cary Grant discovers that this rich old aunts have been poisoning the old geezers. What a great moment! Or what about those Catherine Hepburn eye gestures? Or what about that moment in A Love Affair to Remember when Cary sees the painting and realizes that he's been a poop-head? (Yes, I admit I love that flick.)
I'm sorry to cast such a downer on my favorite artistic genre, but film making these days seems to have creatively stagnated. Of course, this could be just me. You guys seen anything worth a darn lately? Any films that don't want to make you slice your wrists in nihilistic depression, or any films without some sort of political AGENDA? Filmmakers and actors need to quit thinking they are so darn important and get back to the business of making people dream, think, cry (good crying) and laughing. Tell us a dadgum story, for cryin' out loud.
You guys got any classic film suggestions? How bout favorite film moments? Acting performances?