By By Noah Redfield, Staff Writer
Just so you know, you're probably an idiot. Because you probably saw "Transformers 2" over the summer and added more money to Michael Bay's wallet, which is akin to sacrificing a puppy to Satan. Nice work, average Chronicle reader. You are responsible for the dumbing down of America.
Now that's obviously a deeply arrogant assessment so you can be forgiven for throwing the paper down in disgust and indignantly folding your arms. But is there any truth in the increasingly popular notion that the lowest-common denominator is reigning supreme?
This phenomena was first reported by critics Roger Ebert and A.O. Scott as they respectively lamented the fact that "G.I. Joe" had just taken the top spot at the box-office while Kathryn Bigelow's superb Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" had failed to find the mainstream audience it deserved. Apparently this proved conclusively that the lunatics have indeed taken over the asylum, and henceforth a heated debate ignited in the blogosphere for days, which mainly consisted of irritating young people scoffing, "Ease up old man" whilst irate old people growled back, "Get off my lawn."
Except it really isn't that simple. While I can't imagine why anyone would want to sit through three more hours of Megan Fox gyrating whilst robots hit each other in the background, it's worth noting that "Transformers 2" has made even more money overseas. I don't want the Americans baring the brunt of the blame. Where are the French in all this? They're supposed to care about cinema more than anyone else; give those snooty frog-eaters a slap.
Or could it be that "The Hurt Locker" underperformed because nobody could find it? Last spring, I urged you to go see the scabrous satire "In the Loop" in two separate articles and appeared to give the film more publicity than IFC Films' pathetic excuse for marketing. It wouldn't be fair to blame the entire student body for missing two wonderful films that weren't playing in any theatres remotely near them.
This all changed when "District 9," a South African science-fiction epic, debuted at number one. The cynics breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of a film driven by ideas that seemed to capture the imagination of the general public. Finally the solution to this unfortunate movie-going trend was crystal clear: if you sell it, they will come. After all, if Miramax could turn an obscure Scottish film about heroin addicts called "Trainspotting" into a hit, then you have no excuse if your film flops because you relied too much on word-of-mouth. But try telling that to the snobs.
Are we all turning into idiots? Of course not. But we're all incredibly lazy, and most of us can't be bothered to look for the better films unless we see the posters on the side of buses. Sadly "District 9" is likely an aberration. In this time of economic uncertainty, one can only imagine Hollywood's fear of trying to make the swans of world cinema look like ugly ducklings.