i have a confession and a cry for help, all rolled into one.
i have spoken with my colleague jett loe about this, and he has expressed his empathy. but i feel i must share this story with you, dear reader, in the hope that you might be able to assuage my fears.
yesterday i took advantage of a couple of hours away from my labours and bought a ticket at one of the local nashville multiplexes, for a film that looked to any reasonable viewer that it might pass the time, if not enjoyably, at least with a few moments of entertainment. failing that, some light dancing on a white screen has always served as a counter to the monotony of a tuesday afternoon.
after 45 minutes of the film had passed, i found myself gasping for a reason to stay. this film, which i do not wish to name, for it has already had enough publicity, was so derivative, so formulaic, so utterly without interest or merit that i had become bored enough, as mr loe once said to me, that i wanted to eat my own hair.
i attempted to steel myself for the possibility that something would eventually happen to pique – or resurrect – my interest. such as laurence fishburne turning in the kind of performance he used to. but then i realised something.
i was embarrassed.
even though i was alone in the cinema, and nobody else knew i was there, i was actually beginning to feel ashamed that i had spent six bucks fifty on this movie.
my inner monologue told me that i had enough self-respect left to choose life.
and so i left the cinema, and didn’t look back, lest i see the destruction facing the rest of the audience, and turn to a pillar of salt.
in the hope of purifying my spirit, i decided to step into the next screen and see what was playing there.
then i visited the next screen.
and the next.
‘tyler perry’s meet the browns’
‘10 000 bc’ (on which more in the next thefilmtalk episode)
and, sweet merciful lord
after my embarrassment had dissipated, i was faced with a terrible question, one that my colleague mr loe has been asking himself for far longer than i:
do notable exceptions ultimately do nothing so much as prove the rule:
that cinema is dead?