Popular movies disappoint viewers, lack originality

Column by Amanda Wallace. E-mail [email protected].

By now you know the formula that movies use; there will be explosions. And most likely, an implausible, destined to fail romance between an Everyman character and Megan Fox. The special effects will be expensive and distracting. Plot, dialogue and realism are all readily sacrificed to create saccharine, bombastic nonsense that will undoubtedly make their respective studios a ton of money.

I’m not naive enough to believe that the “Golden Age” of film was perfect. There wasn’t a time when every movie churned out by the studios was Oscar gold. I don’t believe that the latest Saw movie was in any way inspiring beyond my desire to not see it. What I do know is that once upon a time, movies that were decent sometimes actually made money, and today the exact opposite seems to be the case.

Even if you don’t know their names, you are familiar with the work of Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay, two directors whose one love is so great that they are inextricably tied; a deep love of explosions. Roland Emmerich is the director of such classics as 10,000 B.C. and 2012. Bay is responsible for unleashing a jive talking robot upon the world in Transformers 1 and 2. These four movies have grossed over $2.5 billion worldwide.

Movie producers aren’t interested in making art. They’re interested in making money, tons of money. Like 2 tons of hundred dollar bills, as Avatar did in the first five days. Avatar, which is essentially a multimillion dollar remake of Fern Gully.

In contrast, Rotten Tomatoes’ No. 1 most highly rated movie of 2009, a small Chinese documentary called Last Train Home, made $0.2 million in its theatrical run.

Good movies are still being made, and it’s not always bad to see explosions or nudity, as long as they don’t detract from the overall substance of the film.

You want explosions? Why not see the Hurt Locker, a fantastic war film from last year.

Do you want to see beautiful people being sad? Never Let Me Go, which recently played in Lexington, has Keira Knightley (of Pirates of the Caribbean fame) naked and occasionally sad.

Big budget movies also aren’t all bombastic catastrophes — take the simultaneously comedic and dramatic film The Social Network.

All of these movies are “good” and they’re all out there, ready to be seen. On that end, The Kentucky Theatre is the last vestige of sanity in the world of Lexington cinema, and the only place I know of where you can have a pumpkin cookie while you watch your movie.

So go ahead. Spend an hour’s worth of pay to see explosions and breasts and a movie that you’ll forget in a week. Go and see Saw 20, even if they stopped being remotely shocking after the first trailer. I’ll be at the Kentucky Theatre crying about the fall of modern cinema. Enjoy your explosions.