It isn’t easy for me to make this next confession. After all, we’re talking about a medium that has kept me excited, enthused and alive for damn near my entire life. But if the point of this blog is to chronicle the truth, then I have very little choice in the matter.
Anyhow, the confession is this: I have very little desire to go to the movies anymore.
It’s not the obnoxious people. I can handle their cell phones and their terrible cellophane wrappers and their talking through a movie. Years of constant moviegoing has inured me to the rudeness of the American public.
It’s not the prices. Ten bucks isn’t really all that much more than eight bucks. And besides, even at that price, you can at least get a theatrical experience that deafens your eardrums.
What it is, I think, is the fact that the people who produce these movies probably don’t know who John Cassavetes or Federico Fellini were. I get the strong sense that they do not read, let alone live. I get the sense that they no longer have the ability to reduce me to some silent and lifeless hunk of flesh, completely in awe of what has just transpired. Because what it is all about these days is pure profit. It’s about taking something that might have been special to me once (e.g., The Fantastic Four) and reducing the magic to utter idiocy.
I have no desire to patronize their crapola. The last film I paid for was Land of the Dead, and that was only because I inherently trust George Romero.
I am probably the only human being in the world who has not seen The War of the Worlds. Probably because I liked the H.G. Wells novel just fine and I don’t want my fun memories of George Pal’s version to be sullied.
Every time I go to the movies, I see trailers that mean absolutely nothing to me. They fail to delight, to suggest, or to play with my imagination. I presume that this is because I don’t fall within their demographic anymore. And I am forced to conclude that I am either too old or too demanding of my fantasies. Either that or I’d like to think that something is terribly wrong with Hollywood.
But whatever the case, aside from the new Terry Gilliam film, there is not a single film coming out in the next few months that silently demands, “See me.” There is not an upcoming release that I believe will sufficiently take the wind out of my lungs and transport me so completely into its world. Instead, I have had to rely upon DVDs of older films made by people who know and intuitively feel that this is what the cinematic medium is about.
And for this, I am very sad. Because I know the power of the medium. I know that it is a place that can produce something that matters. I know that it is a realm that can demand an intense vicariousness. And it is my hope against all possible hopes that one day, it will do so again.