When I was younger I really liked movies. I would go out to movies when they opened. When my friends and I hung out, we would usually watch movies. But lately, as I dangle over the precipice of 30, my attitude has shifted. I think it’s safe to say that for the last couple of years my feelings toward movies has been an overwhelming ambivalence.
It’s not that I think that movies are complete crap now, although that’s certainly the case sometimes. But there have always been crappy movies. And there are certain “classics” that I’ll still watch. It’s just that as of late I don’t have any interest or enthusiasm for films anymore. Case in point: a friend of mine just sent me an email about how 2015 is going to be “the greatest year in movies.” We have the next Avengers movie, a James Bond movie, a Jurassic Park movie, the continuation of Star Wars. There were more on the list, but at the end of it all I could do is shrug and say, “meh.” Again, that’s not to say that these movies are going to be bad necessarily. I simply just can’t care about any of them, save for the next installment of the Avengers.
And the reason why that one movie holds my interest is because I think the MCU is probably the closest thing to a new approach to cinema that we’ve had in awhile. Not to mention that the novelty of seeing so many superheroes share one screen still hasn’t worn off, at least not for me. But overall, I find the whole project that marvel has going sweeping in both scope and ambition, and I think that warrants my attention.
But the rest of the movies? I could take ’em or leave ’em. Take the next Jurassic Park. I think a lot of the actors in the film are top notch. But I just don’t give a shit about Jurassic Park anymore. Sorry. The first movie was groundbreaking. But how many more freaking times can we rehash the same plot of “let’s recreate dinosaurs–what’s the worst that could happen?” Seems like you might be able to get away with that maaaaybe twice. But more than that and I can’t really suspend my disbelief anymore.
The same could be said with James Bond. 24 movies, really? We need 24? I loved James Bond as a kid, but even I’ll acknowledge that there’s nothing new or fresh about the character or the franchise anymore. And I think it’s pretty evident that this has been the case for decades. They’ve been recycling or redressing plots since at least the late 70’s: The Spy Who Loved Me is pretty much the same movie as You Only Live Twice, and the whole “rich megalomaniac wants to destroy the world and recreate it in his own image” idea was played out again in Moonraker, which was the movie that came directly after The Spy Who Loved Me. Die Another Die recycled the whole satellite weapon plot that GoldenEye used. Hell, Sean Connery made the exact same Bond movie twice–Thunderball and Never Say Never Again are literally the same movie. The list goes on and on. We get it: James Bond is cool and sexes up tons of hot babes while swilling martinis. How is that enough substance to drive twenty four goddamn movies? The short answer is that it isn’t. And that’s why I simply don’t care anymore.
There’s an old saying that in movies and literature there are really only two possible plots: someone goes on a journey or someone new comes to town. After a certain point, I think you just see everything played out. You realize that you’re just watching the same story retold over and over and over again. And it’s all a waste of time.
Escapism is a fine dalliance every once in awhile, but now that I’m older I’m more interested in having actual conversations with my friends, interacting with them, not just staring at a screen and then discussing things that ultimately don’t matter. I’d rather be outside enjoying nature or doing something instead of glued to the TV all weekend or sitting in a dark movie theater behind someone with a totally annoying laugh. There are so many places to go, things to see, to try, to learn and discover–to spend any time watching some woman named Anita Boner swoon over James Bond or Transformers 8: The Robots Transform Directly Into Explosions This Time almost seems like a crime, like I’m robbing myself of something.