Sunday, May 1, 2011
We are a society of choice. In fact we have so much choice we actually have the choice of which awards shows to cast our choices towards. There's People's Choice Awards, Teen's Choice Awards, Kid's Choice Awards, and of course MTV Movie Awards For Those Who Also Voted In All The Other Ones But Want to Be Sure People Get The Point.... I think it's safe to say we are a society of saturation. These days when you hear something, you don't just hear it once. You hear it at work, on TV, in the newspaper, on your phone, across your twitter feed, tumble, and facebook. People ask you questions on formspring, text you for your input, all before you blog about it and send out emails to all the people who have just gone the same thing just in case anyone might have missed it. And for the most part, I would say dealing with any one of these various components on its own right is perfectly fine. But as a collective, they're beyond overkill.
And like every other segment of entertainment, movies have bought into the same saturated pie. Tell me, how long can you watch television without seeing at least three trailers for the next 'big' films - or so they label themselves - that will in short time be coming to a multiplex near you? I'd wager twenty minutes if you're on the right channel. Add into that the mass number of trailers for the same movie that will be played intermittently throughout your wait for the other films' trailers to arrive. This past week I saw a trailer for Fast Five followed by another trailer for Fast Five. And it occurred to me: back the hell off already.
Seriously, I know the point of trailers is to play up hype and push out the knowledge that your film is being released this weekend. More specifically - the fact that you've invested an insane - yes, insane - amount of money in this and need this to bank or you'll have to settle for only buying three sports cars this year instead of seven. Such is the way of the hard knock life for your average billionaire studio. But even still, it's the sheer egotistical nature of it all that annoys me.
This week three films received wide releases. Next week three films will receive wide releases. After that, only two - can't be big winners every time. But across the platform there is one consistency: Money. Oh yes, every week a new movie which cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make - though they shouldn't have - will make its way into the multiplex near you. And your job to support them. Otherwise, no more movies for you!
Or so the trailers would lead you to believe. According to most of them every week you'd be missing the event of your generation, event of a lifetime, once in a lifetime film, jaw dropping event, or the thing everybody will be talking about is coming your way. All they ask is that you obediently toss out $8 every week - ideally a few times for safe measure - for roughly 40 weeks out of the year. I don't know about you, but I always keep $320+ on hand just to make sure I do their bidding.
The worst part of it all: each weekend there is a movie released targeting the same demographic as the week before - let alone the same weekend. No movie can breath. Blockbuster events like Avatar exist because simply put nothing else anyone cared for was opening within eight weeks of it. I'm not saying Hollywood should adhere to that. But would it kill you to not try and cram all your biggest sellers into one weekend after another? This July alone we'll be seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Cowboys and Aliens - each strong contender for mega box office success - appearing in theaters in successive weeks.
It's a fast food world and movies are riding the drive through lane. Get in, get out, munch, and return as quick as humanly possible. But I don't want that. I want to sit and reflect on the movies I've seen. Take a while to weight their pros and cons. Maybe wait a week or two and go with a friend who is out of town. But this day and age - no. If you're not a hit out of the gate, you're a bomb by midweek and out of the theaters in four. In that time frame a handful of other films vaguely similar to you has been thrust into the limelight and are begging and calling for attention just the same. No rest for the weary, and even less so for those prone to patience.
Be sure to remember my dear readers, you always have a choice. Well, you do so long as you make the one that the studios want. If you don't, no worries, society has already come up with a fine label for you which will allow them to perfectly ignore you and go on making their perceived choices with pleasure. Now, go out there and think for yourself... just so long as you only think the same as me.