An Appeal Against Cinema Excess

An Appeal Against Cinema Excess

Grace Johnson-DeBaufre, Op-Ed Editor

Recently, I have been quite discomfited by the state of the movies that are being released in theaters. It seems that every movie that comes out approaches three hours in length, and that many directional decisions are made in order to pander to the audience. Why has there been such gluttony in the cinema? I am inclined to be critical of movies in general, but I do in fact enjoy most films on some level and I do understand the appeal of simple entertainment. However, I find that, these days, simple basics of good filmmaking are set aside for, what I believe is, an excess of “entertainment value.”

The most obvious and prevalent crime of this excess is the fact that movies have steadily been approaching epic length. These days, going to the movies is a serious time commitment. With commercials, seeing a movie can take three whole hours. I miss the days when I could go and see a movie without having to sacrifice all of my free time. Now, I understand the need for length in order to sufficiently tell the story, however, it seems to me that there are a lot of unnecessary scenes that have somehow slipped by the editors. Are directors so attached to certain scenes that they cannot see that they are extraneous? Do they no longer see the appeal of a tight, concise storyline that doesn’t drag on and on? I, for one, would like to see a movie without having to shave the beard that I grew during it afterward.

Also, at the risk of sounding like a crotchety old woman, why are movies so loud? Trailers for films are almost unbearably loud and fast and flashy. I see trailers and I have no idea what the movies they are advertising are even about. Trailers don’t actually try to entice you to see the film for its plot. They lure you in with cheap promises of car chases, action sequences, attractive men, and/or beautiful women. I have a particular bone to pick with the upcoming movie The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby is, perhaps, one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, the movie has inflated the story into something that I don’t even recognize. The crew obviously wants to show off, to show they can be as grandiose as the 1920s, but I fear without the panache of Fitzgerald’s original work. I just wish that movies focused more on the plot and the characters without feeling the need to be overly flashy and loud.

Maybe I’ve simply gotten old and forgotten that Hollywood values money (as evidenced by the cheap practice of re-releasing movies in 3D) and people value their fix of entertainment. But is it too much to ask though that there is a little bit more thought put into the movies that are produced? Not every film has to be intellectual and philosophical (since apparently thinking offends some people), but I do think that even purely “fun” movies made to draw in crowds should be afforded the same basic rules of good filmmaking. Don’t we all owe it to ourselves to not pay for garbage?