My name is Jethro Wells, and the movies you love are terrible. I know you think they’re good, and you’ve probably gone on Rotten Tomatoes to make sure that the critics agree with you. But those hacks are just pandering to the studios and trying to get their quotes put on movies posters. The movies you love are terrible. But you know, it’s not really your fault that you love terrible movies. Your opinions are almost certainly based off years of reading reviews, watching trailers, sifting through forum bullshit, and watching the dreck that bubbles up to the top of your Netflix queue like the bloated, unidentifiable corpse that it is. Your opinion is wrong.
But Jethro, you say, my opinion can’t be wrong. It’s an opinion. By definition, it cannot be right or wrong.
That’s adorable. Now, why don’t you grab yourself a juice box and read something that has a few more pictures in it.
I was going to start with one of the classics. Maybe talk about why the Godfather is awful or why Casablanca is just a movie for people who aren’t smart enough to watch their movies in color. But it’s summer and you’re probably too preoccupied with which blockbusters and rom-coms you’re gonna take your best guy or gal to. Or maybe some unfaithful hellspawn ripped out your heart and moved to Portland with your best friend Jason and now you don’t have anyone to go to the movies with. I don’t know, maybe that’s your situation? Well, even if you have to go alone, don’t worry, because every movie you will see this summer will also be terrible.
But, Jethro, the movies haven’t come out yet! Isn’t it a bit presumptuous —
Hush. Just wrap yourself in your comfort blanket, take a deep breath, and stop interrupting.
Blockbusters will be terrible and it’s your fault.
I know! I know! I said it wasn’t your fault that you like terrible movies. That’s true. But, it is your fault that terrible movies keep getting made.
Hollywood makes movies for one reason: to make money. It’s the film industry. Once you wrap your brain around that fact, you can begin to appreciate how much of their bullshit is your fault. Paramount isn’t making Transformers 4 because they thought the franchise’s emotional well was so vast that it merited another go. Paramount is making Transformers 4 because the first three movies made over 2.6 billion dollars. That’s 2.6 billion dollars worth of tickets purchased by you, with your money. Your filthy, dirty, CGI-loving money.
The logic of supply and demand suggests that if we all stopped going to see these movies, Hollywood would stop supplying them. Maybe then they would stop constructing movies out of cliché and bits of twine. Of course, this will never happen, because you will never stop seeing them. The formula is too comforting. You all know the movies are bad. You just don’t give a shit. Blockbusters are the Velveeta cheese of entertainment, and you just keep wolfing it down.
But what about X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jethro? That was a movie that managed to feature great action while paying homage to earlier franchise films and paving the way for future films.
Oh really? Paying homage? Is that what you call retconning the first three films and essentially making them completely irrelevant? And how are we better off at the end of the movie? Sure, the X-Men got to avoid mutant extinction, but now all I have to look forward to is more Jean Grey – Wolverine bullshit. Because we were all pulling so hard for that romance the first time around.
Let’s tally what DOFP really accomplished. Bring back characters that no one missed when they died the first time: check. Tease a villain that everyone had to google when they left the movie: check. Or maybe you knew it was Apocalypse because you read a bunch of comic books to fill the void in your life after you found out that a particular she-witch has a filthy garbage disposal where her heart should be. Either way, a satisfying teaser it did not make.
Indie Movies Are Soulless Audition Tapes
There is a myth that great artists make art solely for the art of it. This myth is so persistent because the idea of William Shakespeare writing to quell his angsty, artsy soul is a whole lot sexier than a Shakespeare who wrote to make mad bank. At worst, Shakespeare was a money loving asshole who wrote plays to pad his poofy shirts with cash. At best, he was a money loving asshole who wrote to quell his angsty, artsy soul. Today’s indie filmmakers are no different.
Independent films aren’t passion projects. They’re resumes. Most of them are resumes that any self-respecting employer would shred. Indie films are the large and expensive way filmmakers tell the studios, “I’m ready for you to give me money.” Just look at Marc Webb’s indie darling 500 Days of Summer. If you don’t remember that movie, it’s the one where you watch a girl named Summer be dysfunctional as balls 90 minutes just so Marc Webb can have the main character meet a girl named Autumn in the last 30 seconds. The entire movie is a long setup to an unfunny joke. Ugh. Yet that somehow qualified him to make two unnecessary Spider-Man movies (and counting). This summer’s new breakout is Gareth Edwards, who made Monsters to the tune of $500,000 before scoring the $160 million blockbuster Godzilla. But hey, $160 million is pretty low budget on the blockbuster scale so I guess the studio is showing a little restraint. You know, the kind of restraint your girlfriend might use while on a bachelorette party in Vegas. The one where she told you nothing happened. That one.
Making movies is a business at every level. It’s not just the Hollywood sellouts whoring themselves out for money, it’s everyone. If you’re still convinced that starving artists are solely interested in making art, please direct your attention to a little website called Kickstarter. Punch in the site address in bask in the glorious moral, artistic, and economic bankruptcy that is crowdfunding. It’s a place filled with money-hungry charlatans gesticulating for your hard-earned cash, so they can realize their passion project and throw their two cents into the mythical cinematic fountain. The truth is that the fountain is a sewer and it is populated by rats, slapping together demo reels for Hollywood execs.
You and Your Internet Have Ruined The Movies
Here is the true reason why every movie you see this summer is going to be terrible. In fact, here is the reason why every movie you see, period, is going to be terrible. You are going to screw it up. How? By being you, that’s how.
This is not your fault. Being raised on a steady diet of unyielding information, one becomes accustomed to having access to all one could possibly want to know about virtually everything. We are consuming information at a rate hitherto unimaginable. But we’re not consuming useful information, like how to fix your toilet, or how to resole a shoe, or tie a tie properly so you don’t have to wear a clip-on to job interviews. We’re far too busy googling Star Wars rumors and keeping tabs on whether or not they really are making that Grumpy Cat movie. And if you aren’t googling this shit, chances are someone’s Twitter is shoving it down your throat without you even asking for it.
Let me whittle this whole thing down to one question. When was the last time you watched a movie you knew nothing about? Chances are it’s been a long-ass time. We watch all the trailers and the behind the scenes clips and then read interviews and reviews and by the time you actually watch the damn movie, your brain is so full of useless bile, you can’t possibly enjoy it. There are too many voices in your head telling you how great or terrible the script was and how much fun the actors had making it, and aren’t they dating now… Again, this isn’t your fault. The studios are completely convinced that you and your fragile little mind can’t possibly be able walk into a theatre without being thoroughly prepped. You might hurt yourself. Which I guess makes sense; they are producing some pretty powerful stuff. I mean, did you see A Million Ways to Die in the West?
The movies you are going to see this summer will be terrible. But again, it’s not that you’re making the wrong choices, it’s just that all the movies coming out this summer will be terrible. You might not realize it at first, but they will be.
The movies you love are terrible. We just keep going to them because real life is a little bit more terrible. And because movies won’t betray you. Movies won’t jump out of the passenger seat of your Ford Festiva and into a Range Rover with the vanity plate DAB0MB, or tell lies about you on Facebook, or borrow your Firefly box set and just bring back the DVDs because they didn’t think the case was important.
Anyway. I’ll see you all next time. Maybe I will ruin The Godfather. That movie is a giant heap of trash, just like certain people I could name.