Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moving Pictures

On the way into the theater, I made a quick trip to the bathroom, where I was treated to the sight of a young guy texting with his left hand while he aimed his willie at the porcelain in front of him. The dexterity he displayed was nearly worth the price of admission.

Expecting the Boy Wizard to be cheered on by a large crowd, we'd arrived at the cinema early. This was only the second film I'd seen since coming back to the States last year. Before going to Japan, I used to go to the movies two or three times a week, back in the days when the afternoon show was a buck fifty. These days, I'm more interested in smaller, more talky films, for which a DVD will suffice. Anything worth seeing on the big screen would have to be action-packed, yet these inevitably have a dumb-as-nails, connect-the-dots storyline, which I'd just as soon miss anyway. The Boy Wizard franchise was a nice compromise--good visuals plus intelligent script.

Anyway, in arriving early, I was surprised to see that Enormoplexes these days are now showing previews before the previews. These usually consist of these little "making of" features that serve as low budget advertising. They aren't advertising just films, but television as well, plus a few of the usual auxiliaries which the tendrils of bloated mega-corporations now grope. The weird thing is how little they show of the actual product. The products always look like they're not yet out of the oven. What was even more bizarre is how I at first couldn't tell if what was being presented was parody or not. As we get deeper and deeper into our virtual worlds, the line between reality and parody is getting very very fine. As these ads stalled to something of a conclusion, they were wrapped up by an onscreen announcement that said, "You've just watched, blah blah blah..." I thought, wait a minute, we saw nothing, only saw pieces of this and that, with no substance to speak of. Does this shallowness actually pass for the real nowadays?

The pre-previews then begat actual previews. I usually hate these, the way they bludgeon the adrenals with their ADD editing and soundtrack pumped up to eleven. As they went on (and on and on) I began to get really offended by the quality of what the studios were pushing. Do the suits think we're really that stupid? Or have we actually become that stupid? I was amazed at how many 3D pics are on the way. Gimmicks like 3D, or 25th anniversary big screen re-releases of classics, are always a sign of a film industry in slump. And based on what I'd experienced over the last half hour, film today looks mortally wounded. Ironically, these Buddy Holly glasses we all now wore brought even less clarity, further blurring that line between real and fake.

Then, the curtains rose (metaphorically), the Boy Wizard took the stage, and entering the illusion, I began to hope that he might actually save us.

On the turntable: Ella Fiztgerald and Louie Armstrong, "For Lovers"
On the nighttable: "Larry McMurtry, "The Last Picture Show" (Kinda ironic, ain't it?)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this, Ted. It's much less shrill and polemical than those by a certain anti-3D crusader I could name.


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