By Natalie Sit
I have a theory that bad movies propagate like viruses. Here’s how.
One skin-baring, pop-diva-soundtrack-supporting, eye-gouging, stupid-fest known as a movie sneaks into a multiplex. It sits quietly, fed by people’s hard-earned dollars until it explodes and spews copycat films, just as bad as the parent movie, all over the world. Then they go and produce worse and worse films until we end up with a flick that only has one good point–the ending.
No doubt we’ve all been sucked into the marketing campaign at one time or another. Watching the same clip of the hero dropkicking a villain instils some sick desire to march zombie-like to those cavernous theatres and plunk down our loonies. And thus we’ve propagated yet another bad movie.
But it wasn’t always like this. Mainstream movie studios used to make films that grossed a lot of money and were high-quality. In fact, they’re still viewed today in film studies classes. It was actually possible to converse intelligently about Gone With the Wind. Could you do that with America’s Sweethearts before gossiping about Catherine Zeta-Jones’ creepy marriage to Michael Douglas? Do you think there will be a dissertation on Julia Roberts’ flowing hair and toothy smile? Hopefully not.
This isn’t to say that the major studios are the only guilty ones. Believe it or not, independent moviemakers are also to blame. We just never hear about it because they never reach the suburban theatres. But there’s a greater chance their movies are thoughtful pieces, with something new and exciting to say, and there’s a reason major studios didn’t accept them. These movies could be a wonderful dissertation on human nature but they won’t because, according to them, the public could revolt against intelligent fare.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. We must reject horrible movies. We must never pay for another teenage hormone flick or brutally unromantic comedy. We should save our dollars for something that won’t insult our intelligence–that treats us like people with some higher mental functions. We’ll stop going. We’ll boycott stupidity.
The studios will start to notice that big stars, explosions and a Burger King tie-in do not draw the masses like they used to. The quote, "No one in the world … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people" will no longer to apply to us. Stupidity will no longer reign over movies.
People will march into those overgrown theatres and toss the over-priced popcorn around. They’ll storm the projection rooms and steal the movie reels. They’ll roast marshmallows over the burning cellulite and remember times when a studio actually cared about the quality of their films.
But call me a dreamer because that will never happen. However, there are signs people realize stupid movies are not worth their time. Witness the quick consignment of Corky Romano to the cheapie theatres. Popular comedian Tom Green’s film Freddie Got Fingered also bit the dust pretty quickly. It’s a start, but everyone has to start somewhere.
So that brain-sucking monster that’s in the movie is real. It already grabbed your money, and your intelligence as a moviegoer is soon to follow–unless you resist.