Good Movies Didn't Go Away

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 7 Apr 2022


I just watched a part of a video called "Why 99% of movies today are garbage," and was amazed to listen to the middle-aged guy with grey hair talk about how "dropping the ball" with some comic book or Star Wars franchise is an act of "malpractice."  Not because I disagree.  In fact I think "malpractice" is an interesting and amusing way of putting it.  What amazed me was that it seemed like this guy thought that the job of the "entertainment industry" is to actually entertain people.  I'm not a big commenter, but I couldn't resist, and wrote this comment:

Do people still believe the job of the "entertainment industry" is to actually entertain people?  Has the social conditioning been so effective that people really believe the low quality of mainstream entertainment is a "failure" of some kind?  Do they think people with hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal are actually dropping the ball, as opposed to laughing at them?  Does the faith in the goodness of mankind run so deep that it is incapable of seeing evil?  Do people actually get excited about comic book and superhero stories after they graduate from high school?

I don't see any reason to be disappointed in a Spiderman movie.  Even if you were really looking forward to it for whatever reason (to take your kid to it, hopefully), how could you be?  What were you expecting in 2022, when everything is about social conditioning and pushing an agenda?  Entertainment?

They killed James Bond, forced Luke Skywalker to drink green milk from a prosthetic tit while grimacing with pure loathing at the crew behind the camera, and turned the Ghostbusters into annoying lesbians.  Great!  James Bond has been a cultural icon since before I was born, I grew up on the first 3 Star Wars movies, and the first Ghostbusters is a great piece of imaginative storytelling and filmmaking. 

When I say "great," I mean, "So what?"

I mean it in a good way:  So what?

Star Wars' zeitgeist peaked 40 years ago.  Daniel Craig is probably my favorite James Bond, but A View To A Kill is my favorite Bond film.  And Ghostbusters is Ghostbusters

Well, it's all garbage now.  99% of it, at least.

Or is it?

I don't think so.  Good movies didn't go away.  Bad movies just got worse.

I'm not going to waste any time explaining the obvious, pointing out the garbage that's so obvious it's hard to believe.  Anyone and everyone can see that.

What is less obvious is the fact that there have been many great films over the last 20 years.  The reason they don't stand out, paradoxically, is that they're surrounded by unbelievable garbage.  In theory, the mere fact of finding a gem in a swirling morass of unwatchable, charisma-free diversity hires doing backflips on CGI backgrounds and cracking lesbian jokes while leveling armies of hitmen twice their size should make the gem that much more obvious.  But because the garbage is so bad, it actually takes people's attention away from the good movies.  Nobody can believe their eyes, and like driving past a car wreck, it's almost impossible not to look.  The car wreck might take place in a setting of unparalleled beauty, but what the observer will remember is the MORBID SCENE OF DESTRUCTION, not the beauty all around him.

Some examples of good movies over the last twenty years include Only Lovers Left Alive, Julia, There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, The Counselor, The Departed, Tetro, most Clint Eastwood-directed movies (especially Gran Torino and Richard Jewell), Wind River, Hell or High Water, Children of Men, Pawn Sacrifice, The Wrestler, Runt, Match Point and other late-period Woody Allen films, In The Electric Mist, and the Sicario movies.  In direct opposition to the mainstream narrative that pretends to be popular today, the films with prominent female characters (Wind River, Sicario) are full of circumstances in which the character's pride and arrogance get her nowhere, and in fact she either has to be saved by a man (Wind River), or ends up being completely defeated (Sicario).  In Wind River, Elizabeth Olsen is in tears while thanking Jeremy Renner for saving her life.  She is clearly traumatized and doesn't feel "strong" in the slightest.  Ah, the refreshing taste of realism in a world plagued by fantastical nonsense.  And the sanctimonious nagging by Emily Blunt's character in Sicario gets her to exactly one place:  Sign this piece of paper or the hitman will blow your brains out.  She does make one last effort at self-possession at the very end, when she walks out on the porch and points her gun at Alejandro.  Alejandro simply turns around and faces her, completely indifferent to whether or not she pulls the trigger.  She can see that he was right, and that she has no place in this world of people with nothing to lose, and lowers her gun.  Not in defeat, exactly, but in resignation.  She's not going to kill Alejandro, or threaten him with anything.  She can't.  He's been dead for a long, long time.

While I'm on the topic, it's worth mentioning one example of how worthless and garbage-like culture has become:  The mainstream reviews of the Sicario franchise, including any speculation on whether or not a 3rd film will be made.  The mainstream, cut-and-paste line in all of them is some variation of:  "Fans of Emily Blunt hope she has a place in any new Sicario project," or "Emily Blunt is what makes Sicario great and fans can't get enough of her," when literally NOBODY who likes the Sicario films likes them for Emily Blunt or her diversity-hire black FBI agent friend, who are both obviously cast as a way to mock the diversity quotas in film (and both of whom are used for legal (read: social) reasons, not invited to join the operation because they're actually going to bring anything to it).  They are 2 of the worst, most perfectly-placed characters in film.  And I actually like Emily Blunt as an actress.  But nobody who likes the Sicario films likes them because of the nagging Karen she plays.  Anybody who says so is a fake critic, and a great example of how low culture has fallen.

Anyway, the list could be a lot longer, but I think the Coen brothers' remake of True Grit deserves a mention, as well as We Own The Night by James Gray, and maybe a couple movies by that Mangold guy.  There are a lot of great movies over the last 20 or so years.  They're just overwhelmed and outnumbered, as good work always has been.  The thing overwhelming it is simply more pernicious, evil, and obnoxious than anything that would have passed for "bad" in the 90s.

So they smothered a bunch of classics from decades past.  Yeah it sucks, but so what?  Notice:

They haven't replaced them with anything.  They haven't produced anything of their own to outshine the classics; they have to destroy the work and vision of other people.  They have no art, no heart, no soul.  They are Emily Blunt pointing the gun at Alejandro at the end of SicarioIneffectual, powerless, defeated.  Not because they're bad FBI agents, but because they've allowed themselves to be used, and are out of their league.  They can't do anything useful; all they do is nag the people who get things done. 

Which, of course, is our job.

Bad movies may have gotten worse, but good movies didn't go away.

Don't let them nag you into believing otherwise.

They don't have enough faith to believe in anything themselves; all they can do is take shots at your faith.

Consider the position of power that puts you in, how weak it exposes them to be,

and stop watching their hackneyed, factory-produced monkey product,

staring at it with sorrow like a fatal car wreck,

and get back to work.

I'm talking to myself, y'know.

Thanks for listening.

 

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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket. http://www.pablosmoglives.com


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