Hello friends, and welcome back to your work day. I assume that’s why you’re here – trying to escape the drudgery of your boring-ass job by reading some of my brilliant and clever insights to pass the time. I find it entertaining to come up with new and exciting material for your enjoyment day after day; I think it’s my responsibility as a blog writer to be at least somewhat entertaining.
Too bad Hollywood doesn’t share the same work ethic.
I know better writers than me have waxed philosophic on the topic of Hollywood’s creative dearth, and I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I’ve talked about remakes before and the news just keeps getting worse.
This morning one of my correspondents sent me the link to the new Nightmare on Elm Street trailer. Watch it for yourself.
Yep, my original thoughts still stand. “From Michael Bay”…oh boy. Expect a car chase with Fake Freddy at the wheel (sorry Jackie, Robert Englund left some big shoes to fill) and presumably some kind of subplot that involves a lot of propane stacked on top of flammables.
But it doesn’t stop there my friends, oh no. As it stands right now, I’ve heard rumours (some corroborated, some not) of an astronomical number of film remakes coming down the pipe in the next three years. Among them are a live-action (doubtless Americanized) version of Katsuhiro Otomo’s anime masterpiece “Akira”, a re-envisioning of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” that apparently has nothing to do with the Kristy Swanson original nor the Joss Whedon franchise (who asked for this?), 80s classics “Highlander” and “Escape from New York” (neither of which require a reboot), fucking “Footloose” (hopefully not starring Kevin Bacon), and even John Carpenter’s cult classic “They Live”.
There are literally dozens of these remakes slated between now and 2012 – maybe that year really does signify the end of the world.
Now, I’m not a hack, nor do I have aspirations towards stand-up comedy, so I’m not going to make the obvious points about Hollywood being out of ideas, or the movie-going public having the average IQ of a guppy. Realistically we already know this stuff. What bothers me more about this trend is what it says about our ability to be creative in this day and age.
I was reading an article the other day (sorry, no link this time – it was on my old computer and all my bookmarks vanished into the ether when I switched over to Windows 7) that dealt with the potential repercussions of internet culture on brain development. The points the article made were all valid and easily illustrated just by looking around. For example – I was having a conversation with my sister the other day, and we got into an argument about some kind of pop culture minutiae (one of those “who directed what” or “what was so-and-so’s first movie” questions). My brain was just revving up in preparation for a long debate by winding up the old Rolodex of useless knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years, when my sister deftly plunged her hand into her pocket, produced her iPhone, and pulled up a half-dozen websites dealing directly with our question. Turns out I was right (or at least that’s how I choose to remember it), but I was a little disappointed that our argument was cut short by – quite literally – deus ex machina, or for those of us lacking a Classical education, “god out of the machine”.
The article postulated that access to unlimited information, and the ability to tap into that source from literally anywhere on the planet, negatively affects the portions of our brains dedicated to memory. You see it all the time – when was the last time you had to remember someone’s phone number? If you’ve got a cell phone, which 90% of the population does, you don’t have to bother keeping a list in your head of pertinent numbers: you can just look up the contact in your phone. Same thing goes for all kinds of information: why bother remembering anything when you can just pull it up online?
My question is this: what if the effects of the internet are farther-reaching than just memory? What if it’s affecting our ability to be creative?
Bear with me here, folks, because I’m about to get a little bit tinfoil-hat.
I’m a writer by trade: the Fixer employs me to write this blog to keep the masses entertained. But if you’re a long-time reader, you’ll notice that all my writing is reactionary: I’m not technically creating anything here; I’m just voicing my opinion on this or that subject through my admittedly magnificent prose. But if the internet didn’t exist…lord, I don’t like to think about how difficult my job would become if I didn’t have the ability to open up my computer and have the world at my fingertips. I’d be reduced to the level of journalistic hacks from yesteryear – jetting all over the world chasing “leads” and “tips” and whatnot, writing my notes in shorthand – by hand – and sending them via fax machine back to my editor at the home office. At that rate I’d be lucky to pump out one article a month let alone per day.
The reality is the internet has changed the world. In some respects, it’s done so for the better – I can report and comment on issues that, geographically, are nowhere near me as a result of the Associated Press or whoever going cyber. However, I also find myself in something of a holding pattern as a result – I don’t really write an awful lot of “creative” material because there’s so much fodder for reactionary work. Even when I go home at night, I’m more inclined to dick around reading articles on Cracked or work by my favourite bloggers than I am to sit down and write a song or a story. It’s just too easy to poke fun at Kirk Cameron or Billy Corgan – why would I tax my brain trying to come up with something original?
I feel like Hollywood is in the same holding pattern. Why come up with an exciting, challenging new spin on a story when you can just rehash the same tired old cliches over and over again? It’s not just remakes – witness the success of the “Movie” franchise (“Scary Movie”, “Epic Movie”, “Date Movie”, et cetera, ad nauseum) that’s basically just taking existing films and parodying them (badly).
The point is, certain franchises deserve a reboot. “Star Trek” was one of the best of these I’ve seen recently; same thing with Chris Nolan’s “Batman” revisitation. But nobody’s asking for “Get Smart 2” or another poorly-done remake of a horror classic like Rob Zombie’s terrible “Halloween” series. And yet that’s all we seem to see. And frankly, I’m tired of it. It’s bad enough I have to pay through the nose to go see a film in a crowded theater full of screaming children, faux-ghetto douchebag teens and mouth-breathing adults. Now I’m going to pay that kind of money and put up with that kind of shit to see a movie I’ve already seen that was typically better the first time around? I don’t fucking think so.
Let’s boycott this shit until Hollywood murders all the Michael Bays on their payroll and starts producing films people want to see again. And, for any Hollywoodites reading this blog, before you start up with the lame retorts of “I’d like to see you write a better screenplay” I have two words for you.