Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Free Bird

The night I got back from my descent into Hell The Devil's Rejects was playing on cable. Anyone who knows me knows my love of this Rob Zombie film. It's one of the few films in life that I think is actually perfect. Near my bed I have one of the rare movie posters (the one with the arm). It's a film that restores my faith in American cinema and exploitation culture (which is just about dead in any meaningful way). It's a hell of a movie, and I think anyone who appreciates film would have to agree it is very well-made and effective.

I know the film isn't everyone's cup of tea. I try not to judge people on what kind of films, books and music they like, but let's face it: Your artistic and entertainment choices are a reflection of you in one way or another. When someone tells me their favorite movie is the new War of the Worlds, well, I have to question their character. If they tell me Zombie's film is too much for them to take, I can sort of understand that, but also have to think, "It's a movie."

I don't like easy films, films that require little in the way of thought or emotion. I like films that challenge me, bring up emotions, get a reaction. Films that aren't "safe." This film is what I needed to see upon my return. It made me feel whole again. There is something about it that just feels right.

While on vacation I was subjected to some piece of garbage called Secondhand Lions. I didn't watch the whole thing and barely paid attention to it in an effort to save my sanity. What I do know about it, though, is that it was considered a film for the entire family, a feel-good piece of cinema that got some decent praise. The premise? A young teen boy is abandoned by his mother and has to live with two uncles he doesn't know and they don't really seem to like him at first. Yeah, that's a great movie for the kids. Isn't every kid afraid of getting left behind by his parents? Why would this film be considered fine for the entire family? Because everything works out in the end? (That's an assumption.) Because no throats are slit or breasts bared? Because it sugarcoats issues like lying, trust and familial discontent? I'm not saying the film is harmful, but I am saying that what is often put across as family friendly is often just as scary to a kid as something like Zombie's masterpiece. Perhaps it got all kinds of praise because there was no murderous clown. I don't know...

I'm not going to dwell too much longer on the strange state of Hollywood. I think anyone who matters can tell what kind of a joke it is now, and doesn't need me pointing out how ridiculous it is at every step. Just the fact that there is a sequel to Transformers pretty much sums that up as neatly as anything I could write. I will say this, though. I look forward to the day when films as gripping as The Devil's Rejects are as commonplace as things like the latest teen comedy or television show re-imagining. I don't think that day will ever come, but if Hollywood is the land of dreams turned reality, I hope my dream's turn is about due.

1 comment:

  1. I think you have to understand that there are several reasons why people choose the movies that they choose. Sometimes mindless escape is needed. Sometimes a person can be going through so much crap in their lives that they need 90 minutes of pure sap completed by a happy ending in which everything works out.

    Even if a person chooses nothing but mindless escape movies, without knowing what kind of books they read or what they do in the rest of their lives, it's hard to judge them. Most of what I watch these days is pure escapist entertainment, because that is what I need right now in my life. I prefer my "deep thought" media in the form of books, and my "mental junk food" in the form of TV and movies.

    War of the Worlds did suck. But Transformers was actually pretty good.