Is it me, or are the majority of movies these days just kind of blah? The highest grossing film this holiday season was a film called Marley & Me—a movie which essentially blends the plots of Old Yeller and the original Beethoven. According to Wikipedia, Marley & Me “set a record for the largest Christmas Day box office ever, with $14.75 million in ticket sales.” I’m not dogging dog flicks, but over the many years that I’ve enjoyed my movie addiction, I’ve come to expect the holidays were a time to view “must-see” films. The only one that looked even remotely interesting was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button—a movie based on a Fitzgerald short story written more than 80 years ago.
Indeed, most of this past year has felt this way, with exceptions noted in the superhero genre—Dark Knight, Hellboy II, and Ironman, to name the more intriguing of the features. Some may blame the writer’s strike, which began in late 2007 and ended somewhere in the late spring, early summer of 2008, for this lackluster year. But I don’t think that’s the answer, since there are still plenty of exhibitions of star power in totally forgettable productions. If you don’t believe me, please see the advertisement for Bride Wars and be amazed that such a production ever got funding, much less showcased with such notable stars.
Others may argue the reason for this wasteland of film is we’re running out of original ideas—that we’ve exhausted the muse. My answer to that is, “nonsense.” We’ve had literary ideas come down through the ages since the time of the Greeks—people who were around as early as 3,000 years before Christ. Are you gonna tell me that all creativity over the last 5,000 years came to a halt in the last ten? Don’t be ridiculous.
I was in my Browning & Tennyson Graduate course on Monday, and my professor, the brilliant Dr. Merlin Chaney, suggested the biggest problem we face today is people do not want to work to find the answers for the more interesting and intellectually tough questions—they want the answers given to them. He said the few of us that are continuing to fight and search for the ultimate truths, are looking into the local McDonald’s window and despairing when they realize that most of the people standing in line really are “Lovin’ It.”