It's Only a Movie
Have you ever watched a movie and been enraged? Have you ever told others how angry this movie makes you? If you have I'm sure you've heard the line "it's only a movie"! Which if your anything like me that makes me both angrier and abit sheepish as it is only a stupid movie after all. But over the years I've realised it isn't "just a movie", in fact it is one of around 500 made every year just in the United States. It's not just a movie but a constant stream of someone else's thoughts and ideas that we pay money to see.
I remember as a teenager wondering why certain conventions were used. Why did the bully always get his comeuppance? Why did the nerd always get the girl? Why was the rebel always right? In real life the bully only sometimes got their comeuppance, the nerd rarely got the girl and the rebel was often times just an attention seeker. But in movies non of that was true. I recently read an article that told me the answer to why the nerd always wins the girl, because the scriptwriters were often the nerds and here was their revenge. Well at least that makes sense, it might even explain the bullies.
As I got older I noticed other conventions, sex is desirable and it doesn't have consequences, drugs are cool, families can be manufacture and that money equals success. Sex is desirable but it absolutely does have consequences, but think about how often characters have sex, often without even a word said between them. I do not think I have seen a movie made in the last 40 years in which extramarital sex isn't supported. If your married and unhappy, have sex with a stranger and don't you dare feel bad about it, particularly if you have real lust for them, even though we will always refer to it as love not lust. This goes back much further than 40 years, but crime should not be glamorous, but somehow always is. I think in particular of "Blow" made in 2001 staring Johnny Depp, about George Jung a man who helped start mass importation of cocaine into the United States. The thing is the drug trade not only made him rich but it destroyed his life. Now the movie shows all the glamour, drugs are cool, beautiful people use drugs, beautiful people have sex without consequences, beautiful people have sex without consequences with drug runners, drugs make you rich, drugs aren't respectable but money can make you respectable. Then right at the end of the movie, with about 10-20% still to go, it all turns sour, but the problem is it is so out of touch with the tone of the rest of the movie it doesn't seem to be part of the same movie. The Director might argue that he put in how drugs destroyed his life and technically he's correct, but that doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of the movie glamourizes his life and his bad and criminal behavour. It is not a morality tale, which it should be as, I not have mentioned this, but drugs destroyed his life. He was released from prison on the 2nd of June 2014, that's 11 days ago after serving 20 years. Blow isn't even the worst offender, it is so common in movies dealing with crime that it often goes unmentioned. Criminals are cool, even when they are evil, because evil is cool.
The manufactured family is one that often passes under the radar because it used to obscure it's real function. Many military and specialized jobs have an espirit de corp, a brotherhood that forms, that is quite natural. But what it's not is family and most people understand that, my job, no matter how important or dangerous is my job and my family is my family. But here they seek to blur the line between the two, in recent times to even reject family over the job, a character will say something like "I have 16 siblings, all my parents and grandparents are still alive, I'm married with 36 children, but you guys in the Aquatic Surveillance Squad are my real family". Ok, no one has 16 siblings and 36 children, but if you pay attention you will hear someone say "but your my real family". It's insidious, but it fits right into the Liberal idea that you are your job. That there is no higher meaning in life than to be a paid professional. Remember that those who make movies live this life they don't just preach it.
And this fits into money equals success, I have often been surprised by how affluent people are in American movies. Not that rich people exist but that America seems to consist of the upper middle class and ghetto's, rarely do you see real working class Americans or even actual middle class life. Sure there are alot of movies and I'm sure you can give me a list of movies that prove me wrong. The problem is I can provide my own list of movies where what I've said is true. Not every movie shows this, but it is remarkable how distorted the view of America is in movies. The struggle to become rich seems a mania in the movies, at times it seems it's all about the money. Of course we all need money to live thats not the issue, the issue is that when you worship money, what you are really worshiping is greed. Greed is a vice not a virtue.
I'm not going to stop watching movies and I doubt you will either, but I would like you to think about what we are being sold. We are being sold a view of life that often, we don't live and that we do not endorse. It's not just a movie.
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