Sunday, January 27, 2008

No More Movies for You, America

If the writers' strike continues for a few more months, a world without new movies could become a reality. Based on the fact that Meet the Spartans was the highest-grossing movie in the country last weekend, that is a reality that this country richly deserves.

SIMPLY ACKNOWLEDGING THE EXISTENCE OF A POP CULTURE FACET DOES NOT QUALIFY AS A PARODY, SPOOF OR SATIRE OF SAID FACET. Simply ticking off a list of pop culture facets does not qualify as a movie of any kind. An individual who pays good money to witness said list be presented and accepts it as "comedy" does not qualify as a human being, but rather as a sheep dressed like a monkey.*

The argument that a person "just wanted some mindless laughs" is not a defense for having seen Meet the Spartans (or Epic Movie, Date Movie, or any film from the "here's-something-out-of-context-that-you- recognize-isn't-that-hilarious?" genre--which was essentially invented by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who modestly only consider themselves screenwriters and directors, ignoring their much grander collective title of The Two Unfunniest People On The Face Of The Earth). Beyond the fact that there are no laughs in Meet the Spartans, "mindless" and "laughs" are not mutually inclusive terms, even in the realm of spoof. Anyone who spent 90 minutes of their weekend staring at that complete and total waste of all applicable resources could have used that time to watch Airplane! or The Naked Gun or any of Mel Brooks' early films and emerged a better person for it.

You know what movie I saw over the weekend? Rambo. While I am certainly not going to try to tell you that the film is an artistically meritorious piece of cinema (or even, on the whole, a particularly good movie)...I can hold my head up high for having contributed my $14 (damn your above-average-cost quality, ArcLight) to the country's second-highest grosser of the weekend. My conscience is clear not just because Sylvester Stallone is an old man who will need all the money he can amass for nursing care, legal fees and human growth hormone in his rapidly-advancing years, but because choosing Rambo was the American thing to do, god dammit. If more of my countrymen had made the same choice, it would have sent a message to the makers of dreck like Meet the Spartans that when it comes to movies, Americans will swallow a lot of crap (for example, Rambo)...but not that much.

Alas, Americans have announced loudly and clearly that they will swallow that much crap--and then some--with grateful smiles on their gap-toothed faces. Now that the financial success of Meet the Spartans has validated its creators' extremely low opinion of the filmgoing audience, thus emboldening them to puke up less of the same, we can all look forward to Ass: The Movie [link NSFW]...which, at this rate, should be in theaters by around 2015.

[*Not only was that joke more original than anything in Meet the Spartans, it didn't cost you $11.]


Scott Ellington said...

Your title for this post is a superb slogan for a boycott of ALL studio product that nobody's proposed, except me...repeatedly, anywhere writers gather; DHD, UH and HuffPost.
I'm just saying that, as one of millions of American consumers sympathetic to the concept of an equitable contract, that I've voluntarily foresworn the purchase of new DVDs, visiting iTunes, NetFlix, network websites and most every place where my transactions assist transnational congomerates to do business as usual since last November when the strike sensitized me to rebel.
Also nobody has answered my persistent question, which essentializes to Why has there been no call for a boycott? which (seemingly) would send ripples of desperate terror through the AMPTP side of these negotiations after every disastrous weekend's boxoffice was tallied.

Scott Ellington said...

I presume the answer to these questions is provided for somewhere in the Guild Constitution; a document that doesn't appear to be available to those of us who are not members.
Forced/voluntary compliance with the Taft-Hartley and Sherman Anti-Trust Acts is the only reason I've deduced for WGA leadership (along with the rank and file) to leave the international population guessing how it might most effectively support a swifter conclusion of this strike.
Also, congratulations on achieving a deal that doesn't totally suck, although I hope that greater creative autonomy for content creators will eventually find its way into future negotiations...before I croak.