This past week I traveled to England, Spain, Romania, India, Iceland, Denmark, Greece, and stopped for a few minutes in Turkey. While in these countries I met three teachers, a mathematician, scores of quirky horse owners, a disgraced detective, a rookie cop and three con artists. If my stamina — and backside– hold up I plan to visit a few more countries in coming days. All this because I’ve gotten hooked on the Seattle International Film Festival.
Two thousand thirteen was a dismal year for movies and this year is following in its footsteps. It’s true that I missed a few of the best ones last year, the two or three with compelling stories, great acting and messages worth hearing. Thankfully, I also missed the worst — the vampires, endless car chases, the comic book superheroes, and the invasion fantasies, in which explosions everywhere turn cities into rubble.
So why do the Hollywood studios cheat adult movie lovers out of, say, a dozen or even more good films a year? One suggestion comes from the blog “Time Goes By.” Writer Ronni Bennett asks, “Do you think it is an accident – or a reflection of reality – that about half the movies released these days are about catastrophic disasters?” Interesting question. This reminds me of a popular local psychologist, who years ago named “E.T.” as a precursor of a new era in which a kinder society treated everyone — including those who looked a little different — as important and valuable. E.T., we’re still waiting. You went home too soon.
Maybe we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions about society from the movies. The main conclusion I draw is that Hollywood is risk averse, likes fifteen year old boys, who probably buy tons of popcorn, sodas and candy, and believes that one successful movie deserves another in the same vein. And another. And another.
Of the seven movies I’ve seen in the last ten days, on a five-point scale, I gave five stars to two, four stars to four, and two stars to one. Were they really that great? No. They were just more interesting than most of the popcorn movies released this year. And not one had a car chase scene.