Heavy Times Call for Happy Movies

A few weeks ago our man Dre had some harsh words for the people of America about how we are shunning serious movies in lieu of fanciful ones. My retort? So what? Yeah, we're shunning serious movies. And while many of the ones Dre listed failed for reasons other than being serious (i.e., they were total crap), there is a definite upturn of the nose by audiences against solid, entertaining, serious fare. Like last weekend's Lions For Lambs. Why?

We're tired. We're sick to death. We just don't want to hear it anymore. Is there anyone left in this country who thinks war is a good thing? Is there anyone who is glad that we're at war? Is there anyone still itching to hear more about it? No. Not at all. There are very few people left still enamored with the President and even fewer satisfied with his opposition in Congress. And if there's a truly worthy person ready to take his job and inspire us all out of our slump on either side of the aisle, I sure haven't seen him or her yet. No matter what side of the fence you sit on, we can all agree on one thing: we're tired of all the yelling. We're sick of all the bickering. And when we go to the movies we don't want someone to give us something else to have to worry about.

We want fantasy. We want explosions. We want teen sex comedies with a heavy emphasis on the teen, the sex and especially the comedy. We want to watch a giant robot blow up a building and we want to see it from 13 different angles. We want to watch John Cusack fall in love with the girl next door that he hasn't seen in 20 years over and over and over again until he gets it right. We want Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn to break out in an unending string of jokes about their private parts and what they want to do with them. And we want all of that to come with a side of fries and a big old heaping helping of happy ending.

So what in the hell is wrong with that?

I want you to do me a favor. Next time you're wondering aloud why the box office is in a slump and why audiences are staying away from the cinema, ask yourself this: are the endings happy? Are the movies designed to entertain rather than preach? Are the audiences seeing the films walking out with smiles on their faces? These are not happy times. Heavy, thoughtful movies are great for happy times. These are heavy times. Give us something happy and don't begrudge us the need for a pick-me-up when we're laying down a ten spot at the box office. You don't tell a depressed person about Africa. You buy them a puppy. So what's really wrong with the cinematic version of that?

C. Robert Cargill - - - Email me


Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD five times a week.