A SIMPLIFIED WORLD?
As we hit our 11th annual milestone, editor Andrew L. Urban reflects on how
simple life is (or is made out to be) in today’s world of the movies; Kindness /
Crushed Head / Burmese Soldier / Sniper Rifle / Arm Ripped Off … two stars?
The list of plot keywords on the film’s page on imdb was instantly eye-catching:
Kindness / Crushed Head / Burmese Soldier / Sniper Rifle / Arm Ripped Off … I
imagine this was the same list of words that Sylvester Stallone wrote down on
the piece of foolscap sitting on the specially designed writing top on his
treadmill at his beachfront gym when he first began to formulate an idea to make
Rambo 4. (Opens this week: see Louise Keller’s killer REVIEW of the movie)
Sylvester Stallone knows his audience: it isn’t us critics. It isn’t
sophisticated film buffs or mature people with teenage kids. It’s those teenage
kids, especially the young men who play video games where they shoot electronic
gun-like tools in a vast variety of versions to digitally annihilate the enemy –
an enemy without identity. It’s a game, like the games we all played as
children; cowboys and Indians, sort of game.
Also opening this week, as I write, are films for totally different kinds of
audiences: The Bucket List, old men fulfilling a wish list of things to do
before they die; August Rush, young man looking for his parents who thought he
was dead; Bella, a guilt-ridden soccer player persuading a young single
mother-to-be not to abort; Talk to Me, a biopic about a 1960s petty crim turned
radio host in Washington who done good; Margot at the Wedding, about a nasty
young woman nobody likes … But none of them have that catchy list of plot
For example, August Rush has: Separated / Mistreatment / Loss Of Lover /
Music / Charles Dickens. See? Isn’t imdb wonderful? By reducing films to their
essential plot elements, we can sift through them and pick what appeals. What
about Talk to Me, perhaps? Sex / Picket Line / Racial Slur / New Job / Comedy
Club … mmmm, intriguing!
In the same way, most publications could dispense with their film critics
writing reviews; all those words! All ‘people’ want are the star ratings: ***
means get someone to take you; ** means go if you have a free ticket and nothing
to do; **** means pay for yourself; ***** means see it, take a guest and pay for
both of you. Simple. ‘In a world of simplification … at a time of reductions’
(say this in the voice of the guy who narrates the trailers).
Published: February 21, 2008
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