Editorial #1: In Which Lost Movie Theaters are Mourned, and Bad Movies are Cursed: This last month’s lamentable closing of Hollywood Connection due to lack of revenue serves to illustrate a trend in the summer movie season; namely, the movies of these past three months have been without exception horrible. This summer has been the worst summer for movies in at least five years. What’s even more painful is that this horrid summer comes immediately after a six month period starting in June of 1999 and ending in December that has contained perhaps the best spate of movies for the last 10 years.
It is a shame that the theater industry has been in such a precarious position that a single summer of abysmal movies was able to drive three large cinema companies into bankruptcy. But what concerns me more is the awful string of movies themselves that continue to be made, despite all common sense that argues to the contrary. While this summer has had its share of gems such as "Gladiator" and "Chicken Run," the general state of movies over the past four months has been at best mediocre, and at worst abhorent. And there’s no end in sight until at least Thanksgiving.
Is it perhaps unfair to criticize the movie industry for a few bad months, especially after one of the best years in film history, when arguably four masterpieces were released in less than three months of each other ("American Beauty," "Fight Club," "Magnolia" and "Being John Malkovich," for those of you who were wondering)? Is it unfair to compare the best and brightest of the decade with the depressingly mediocre? Perhaps. But although it is unfair, it is never a crime to oppose the greatest of artistic sins: mediocrity.
Tolerance and acceptance--while unequivocably a good thing in the real world of society--is one of the worst actions we can do when it applies to artistic mediocrity. It breeds an atmosphere where truly horrible movies are released with hardly a protest, a world where "Battlefield: Earth" can be not only be proposed and scripted, but actually filmed with a sizable budget. "Battlefield: Earth" joins the elite club with "Batman and Robin," "Speed 2" and "Mission to Mars" of the worst movies ever made. The common theme running through the production of these films is that they are vanity projects aimed at the lowest common denominator, intent on making money and uncaring as to whose intelligences they insulted. Laughs of derision and silence at the box office is the most effective response to these movies. To prove this, there was actually a sequel planned for "Battlefield: Earth," which was dropped like a bad habit after audiences greated the original with disdainful laughs and horrible reviews. Although it doesn’t happen very often in Hollywood, occasionally, justice is done.
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