America I beseech you. We are at a critical time of foregoing life as lived for life as planned. We cannot blame the Internet for this but we can certainly see its effects because of it.
Here’s my theory: we make up a generation of people no longer separated by generations. We no longer can wonder what the young are up to, we only need to consult Facebook for that. And while there will still exist divides as far as taste and touchstones are concerned we have invested in the means of our own cultural destruction by way of our inherent curiosity. We forget that curiosity is to be controlled and mandated by our rationality and that we have a choice in the matter. Our technologies allow us to forego any sense of choice or responsibility. We simply imbibe.
What prompted this excoriation of our decency? Simply the ability to do so. By means of the Internet we can finally find a more or less true consensus because we feed the machine willingly. Our egos prompted by a comment we disagree with we unleash our frustrations about life into the anonymous field, forgetting or being ignorant to the idea of energy and how it works. We cannot simply keep inflating something without expecting a reaction. The Internet is not a blackhole. What we are feeding into it is the easiest thing for human beings to unleash: judgment.
I am a fan of film criticism and there are critics whose work I truly love. From the head scratching interstitial narratives of Manny Farber to our kind and patient Uncle Ebert, we have the gift of men and women with great insight and love of a medium. This prompts others to throw in their two cents without giving consideration to the editorial process. There is no process in place anymore. And while this works wonders for Punk Rock it spells death for an informed dialogue.
The average person, the normal person who could care less about this, is a great example. If you’ve had a conversation recently with someone who is concerned mostly with their own well-being and not with recreations of movement on a screen you’ll notice a strange disconnect between their own cognative faculties and an eerie trust in, not an individual, but a collective critique cobbelled together from the InterTubes. We believe in consensus now more than we do a reasoned opinon. This may have been the case since the dawn of time but now it has power thanks to, and again not because of, the Internet. It seeps into our daily routienes and we think nothing of it, we’re simply passing the time. What we don’t realize is how much of ourselves, our attention, we hurl into the void and what we lose in the process is a familiarity with our own individual critical processes. We can defer to the consensus, we can consult Rotten Tomatoes which more and more represents to me a Fourth Reich with Marketing and Advertising being the new SS. In other words, we now review trailers.
So what’s the answer? Hollywood needs to take its power back. Usually Hollywood is mentioned in articles like this only to decry it. But there was once a time this author was not apart of where Hollywood truly did function as a dream factory. If you were alive in the 40’s and wanted to see Humphrey Bogart in a picture you could only go to one place where his immortal visage reached fifty feet into the air in unbelieveably gorgeous black and white. If you missed the picture you were out of luck. You had to wait for the next one or see something else. You’re expectations were shaped by the image and not the promise of the trailer. If you watch old trailers now they were as guilty of giving away the goose as are trailers nowadays, even more so. But it didn’t matter because you could actually be surprised by what happened in the movie because Old Hollywood told stories where things actually change from beginning to end.
This is a very broad and unfair generalization on my part but so what? I have no editor to make me 2nd guess myself nor any need to cite sources. It might help my case but we no longer need a reasoned argument to incite a response. We are emotion junkies and entitled brats. People who have nothing to do with the business of screenwriting nor want to will read the script of a film before it comes out. Then write a review of it. Are we so scared to have an honest interaction with a film that we must prep with endless behind the scenes news, photos, interviews, pre-reviews and the eventual two or three talking points that emerge from it to be discussed ad infinitum? Yes, obviously yes. But it’s not just the kids, its the adults who are also kids, who are fucking up the works.
America, we have been entertained enough. We have to pull back for a moment and appreciate. We must get down on our knees and practice gratitude for the wonders that we have. Failing that we will grow dead inside and be unable to engage with even the most exploitative of exploitation films that will be adapted from children’s novels or comics and remade five minutes later and endlessly discussed by people who do not know how to have a discussion so nothing moves forward.
In ten years trailers will be the new movies and we will be satisfied by them because we will have forgotten what a filling and nutritious meal even smells like.
Now watch this fucking movie I made right goddamn now. It’s two minutes and fifty-two seconds long. If you’ve seen it already, show it to someone else. Why? Because it’s free. Because it was made with love. Because you can’t give me a good fucking reason why not unless you are so brainwashed by Marketing you think that the only way a Movie can be a Movie is if it has millions of dollars and ads on the side of buses.
Stop being a fucking zombie for exactly two minutes and fifty two seconds. I accuse you of this because I am guilty of it as well.