I’ve always been a big fan of civil disobedience. There’s something very primal about people acting out to cause change or make a statement. I’ve also been fascinated with people who attack art (like those guys who stole one of Keith Haring’s paintings sort of as a prank because he was being a dick). What if these two things were combined to fight bad movies?
Imagine this: A theatre is showing “Exorcist: The Beginning.” There are lines of people outside. Suddenly some people bolt out of line and scream, “Free the cinema from pabulum!” They tear the posters for the movie off the walls and storm the projection room.
If it all sounds a little too “Cecil B. DeMented,” you are right. I want to see it in real life, though.
I want people trashing posters and stealing prints of bad movies. I want them heckling and tossing tomatoes at the stars and directors responsible for such garbage. I want them defacing DVDs in the stores and burning “Howard the Duck” novelizations.
(Well, I can’t really tell people to do that because it would be illegal, but I do think it would be really funny. If you do this sort of thing, you are doing it of your own free will, and I take no responsibility for your actions or your criminal charges.)
Bad box office returns aren’t a good enough punishment for terrible films. Let’s be honest here. “Wild Wild West” should have ended careers. Instead, it’s shrugged off as a mistake. And then there are boring films, which are even worse than bad films. People just sort of forget about these, only remembering once they see the director’s next flop. No more! It’s time to make these fuckers really pay.
When Matthew Broderick strode down the red carpet to promote “Godzilla,” he should have been booed and covered in rotten eggs. When the DVD for the last “Tomb Raider” film came out, people should have been stomping on it in their local Wal-Mart. If this kind of stuff would have happened when “Ishtar” came out, the world may not have had to suffer “The Transporter.”
I realize all of this is some sick, violent pipe dream with absolutely no chance of ever coming true. I know people are too lazy to destroy copies of “Jury Duty.” I know there are people who like these dumb-ass films. I know that studios would still crank out crap even if people burned down theatres that showed “From Justin to Kelly.” (But maybe the theatres owners, fearing the destruction of their livelihood, would stop showing such films.) And I know it’s wrong and fascistic to do these sorts of things, but damn if it doesn’t sound good.
There is no excuse for bad, boring, or paint-by-the-numbers art. There is no reason anyone should make it, and nobody should view it. You may say that they are “only” bad movies. “They won’t give you cancer. Why do you care?” I care because I may accidentally watch one, and unlike cancer, which can be recovered from in many cases, I can never get my time back.
I know there are a few of you out there who agree with me, though you think I may be taking things too far. If that’s you, try the following example. It’s not illegal, and it can be pretty fun.
You’re sitting in a theatre watching something like “Without a Paddle.” You realize the movie sucks. It sucks so bad that it makes “Dharma and Greg” look like a work of Dostoevsky. Take a deep breath and then shout, “This movie sucks! I demand my money back! Who’s with me? I want my money back!” Start chanting, “I want my money back!” Maybe you can have some plants in the audience. They can start chanting, too. Stand up (along with your plants, if you thought ahead) and march out of the dark theatre to the box office, chanting the entire time. See if you can get a whole crowd of people to follow you out, all of you demanding your money be returned. Besides being damn funny, it may turn off people waiting to see that movie. Can you imagine the chaos this would cause? I can, and I love it.
Bad films deserve protest. They get trashed by critics, and audiences sometimes avoid them (though not often enough), but they need something beyond a horrible review and poor receipts. They need a good beating, and the people responsible for them need to fear the public’s scorn.
Viva la Revolucion!
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Posted on November 11, 2004 in Features by Doug Brunell
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