Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Treasured Trash

The Internet is filled with disturbing trends. It is the Internet, after all; when you get all these different people together and give them ability to say and make anything they want, some disturbing things inevitably pop up. Some disturbing trends are far more hidden, however, and may have leaked into the outside world, where it causes even more damage.

To get to know this trend, we must look at it's roots. These roots go back even farther, but the thing that really started almost twenty years. It's name? Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

MST3K is a classic cult Television show. It took the ancient art of talking during a movie, combined it with great writing and lovable characters, and put them over films that really, honestly deserved to be mocked relentlessly. I would think it would be incredibly hard to dislike it.

The show had a large, large following. People who idolized it and it's ways. And what happens when you idolize someone? You try to emulate them.

And so they did. Soon, fans were looking out for the lamest films they can see filling space of the nearest Blockbuster. They wanted to find something 'so-bad-its-good', or more accurately, a movie they can mock just like their robot heroes.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, it is fun just to make fun of a bad movie. The problem is that one should be making fun of a bad movie as a defense mechanism, not as a goal, more often than not. It's basically making the best of a situation where you lost money on something far from entertaining. This was the point of MST3K that many people missed.

But even those intentionally seeking out bad movies are really not that disturbing a phenomena, on their own. Like I said, there really isn't anything wrong with it every once in a while. It's when it ISN'T just every once in a while. It's all the time. It's when people grow to enjoy these movie over all others, and thus lose all the irony that you started with.

There seems to be a mentality among Internerds who aren't that hardcore into cinema, but still look at movies in a more 'objective' way than most people. Like most geeks, they consider their taste to be superior to those of the mainstream, who give money to moronic comedies. But then these very same people will go bonkers over something like Snakes on a Plane.

Now, let's get one thing straight: I didn't see Snakes. I had never had any intention to. I, like many, laughed at the concept, at the fact that they decided to keep the so-simple-its-hilarious title, and that they got Samuel Jackson to play the same character he's played in almost every single movie he's ever been in. But I had no interest in actually seeing the movie - all the elements I mentioned above, while funny, were not conductive to a worthwhile time at the movies at all.

But somewhere along the ways, the people who laughed at the concept lost all their irony, and honestly thought the movie looked GOOD. If my friends (who belonged to this group) were any indication, most of these people were fans of Pulp Fiction who just thought SLJ saying 'muthafuckin' is the greatest thing ever. So there was a mania that swept the Internet, where people honestly wanted to see an obviously bad movie without any sense of irony, and that, to me, just seems parallel to the mainstream audiences who give the newest Eddie Murphy disaster money. Are the tastes of these geeks really superior, then?

It can be, even if you did give money to Snakes on a Plane. It would seem odd, but I think liking SoaP as well as, say, The Wild Bunch or Rashamon would be good enough for me (I will confess, though, that I haven't seen either of those movies either. I'm baaaad at this.) This at the very least balanced. The problem is that most people haven't seen the true classics. They are just more interested in trash than treasure. And then they complain that there are no good movies coming out anymore. Hey, why don't you just look for something different.

This fall has an great line-up of films made by some of the most talented people in the business. Cronenberg has a new movie, but this one doesn't have the benefit of being a stylistic, violent thriller, so I'm not sure how many people will be talking about like they did A History of Violence. I hope I will be able to see it, because I really want to expand my horizons, plus I'll have access to it via the university theatre.

Additionally, there are many films that some would consider 'trashy' that don't fall under the kind I was talking about before. Don't feel guilty about liking Evil Dead, it's actually a good movie, unlike...say...Puppet Master III. Still, a balance is still needed.



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