It always happens. You’re enjoying a film, getting into its specific artistic grooves and rhythms, relishing the differing connections its clicking off inside you when - WHAM! Here it comes. The irritation. The aggravation. The annoyance. It could be a song, a setting, or a scene itself, but more times than not, it’s a character (or as part of said possibility, the actor playing same). We all have our own aesthetic kryptonite. Yours truly, for instance, can’t stand Jennifer Aniston, dislikes Mary Louise Parker probably as much, and is about to add Rachel McAdams to that talentless coffee klatch as soon as he can double check said status (which would require stomaching another one of her performances). As for men, Robin Williams works an already raw nerve while Billy Crystal has gone from great to grating over the span of his career.
Latest Blog Posts
We go to the movies for lots of reasons: to experience emotions we don’t normally face on a day to day basis; to interact, if indirectly, with characters who are usually outside or just barely within our frame of personal reference; to laugh; to cry; to be frightened; to be pushed to the edge of our seat. But one of the main reasons we park our behinds in the often uncomfortable confines of the local Cineplex is to see something we’d never see in real life: zombies amassing against the last holdouts of humanity; boy wizards working out their destiny among the magic they are supposed to master; the end of the world as envisioned via earthquake, flood, alien invasion, or any combination of natural and unnatural disasters; and, of course, monsters. Those mythical, made up creatures that only the skilled hand of a talented F/X artist can bring to the fore without much effort (but via a boatload of imagination and innovation).
Call them potboilers, page turners, or sanctioned Summer/Vacation reads, but a good mystery makes the heart soar… and, typically, the head hurt. Unless you’re someone who grabs the latest celebrated tome and rushes to the final sentences to see “whodunit”, the fun of any detective story is deducing along with the lead. Sometimes, we are smarter than our goofy guide through the clues. In other instances, we can’t possibly be as erudite and intelligent as the person parsing through the suspects. It’s all about the reveal, the coming together of hints and hidden connections that lead to the moment when fingers are pointed and—typically—butlers are blamed. There’s also a fascination with the figures dishing out the denouements, individuals with perception and drive that put mere mortals to shame.
There was a time when Disney “got it”. They preserved their legacy via carefully protecting their animated classics, making each seven-year stretch between releases an event. Audiences of all ages would line up to revisit beloved characters and cartooning excellence, and when a movie didn’t make the grade, it was relegated to the vault and the myth of many an oldster’s tale. Then home video came along and the House of Mouse saw a way to profit from their past. Again, they initially went about it right. They offered up their most choice titles, and when a film didn’t live up to said label, it wouldn’t be captured on magnetic tape for all eternity. Then someone got the bright idea to craft direct to VHS sequels, spinoffs of the best made for one reason and one reason only: to bank a bit of extra cash with trading on a parent’s sense of security with any of Walt’s works.
It happens to all of us. It’s as certain as taxes and the tacky antics of reality television ‘stars.’ We will all die one day, lest a scientist discover the secret to eternal youth and we all become pawns in a freak-show future shock where the immortal population is controlled via something called “Carrousel,” a voluntary suicide clinic, or some brutal Hunger Games. Aging is not the end of life, it’s the most mysterious part of it. Don’t think so? Take a moment and evaluate who you are today. Now flashback as far as you can…five years, a decade, two or more (or in yours truly’s case, 40-plus) and see how much has changed. Do you like the same music? Do you favor the same political bent? Are you with someone you love, or have you lost/limited your ability to simply feel said emotion. Time takes its toll, and in the end, what we don’t learn from its passage predicts our inability to deal with what’s ahead.