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August 18, 2003

Scary Movies

I went to see a movie this past weekend for the first time in over 3 years. I have rented plenty during that time, but have not made it to a theater in so long, I almost forgot how to do it. I never thought I would experience such a movie drought, but I am beginning to understand how much having kids affects your social life. We lived far away from grandparents for most of that time and are just now beginning to take full advantage of free babysitting.

We went to see Seabiscuit, my wife's choice, which was (admittedly) much better than I was expecting. Even though my choices would have been American Wedding or S.W.A.T., I did enjoy the flick, although I enjoyed just getting away for a few hours as much as I did the movie itself. Still, one development over the weekend frightens me. I heard this morning that Freddy vs. Jason was the top movie at the box office. Dear God, what has happened to us? I was expecting this movie to be little more than a blip on the radar, fully expecting it to experience a similar fate as Gigli. Apparently I have lost all feeling for what a good movie is. My opinion has always been that the first installment of each of those franchises was okay, but the other 20 were no more enjoyable than plucking out my eyebrows with a spoon. When the movie is nominated for an Oscar I will know that my goal of becoming a film critic is dead.

Posted by Woundwort at August 18, 2003 07:58 AM | TrackBack
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Woundwort, I don't think you have lost your ability to tell good movies from bad ones. The general public has, perhaps.

The presence of Jason meets Freddie at the top of the box office charts doesn't mean it's a good movie. It only means it's popular. Per our discussion earlier about good beer v. mass market swill, popularity doesn't always correlate with quality. Otherwise, Budweiser would be considered the best beer in the world, since it's the most widely swilled, er, sold.

Also, during a time period with many lackluster movies, a new movie with a good ad campaign will often shoot to the top of the charts, then drop to 4th or 5th the next week. If you want to find the good movies based on attendance, look for the ones that start at 10th, and work their way upward without a big splash. This means that as the word of mouth gets out, more and more people want to see it, rather than fewer and fewer.

And one other thing. I remember reading a year or two ago that teenage girls have more disposable income for entertainment than any other single class of moviegoers or music buyers. If you are depressed by the movies that are doing well... don't worry about it. Just remember, the chart toppers are aimed at 14 year old girls (or boys). You aren't supposed to think they are good.

Finally, check out John Wayne in "The Searchers" if you haven't seen it before. It's running this month on TCM. 50 years after the fact, it's still a great movie. After you watch it, ponder about how our grandchildren will probably watch the movie in 50 years, while Freddie meets High Concept will be long forgotten. And smile.

Posted by: Blackavar at August 18, 2003 10:47 AM
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