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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2008 vs Battlefield Earth

The inauguration is come, Barack Obama is our new president and hope and understanding are selling out at unprecedented rates. I don’t want to quell the festivities just yet, America, but we have some very serious matters to talk about.

You know, there were some very good movies made this past year. In fact, there were some great movies and even a couple masterpieces (I’m looking at you Wall-E). But for all those fantastic movies, there was a fairer share of trash compiling. Let’s riffle through that heap right now, if you don’t mind, America.

First off, what in the name of I Am Legend were you thinking with Hancock? Will Smith can’t save you forever, Hollywood. You may not realize this, but the audience is starving for good stories and good characters. The Hancock star vehicle lacked both of these essential elements in compelling amounts. Is it even really a film? Who wrote the script, twelve high teenagers who never once consulted each other?

Speaking of teenagers, I saw Twilight. Yes, and I feel ashamed. Not only was there a mass cooing of tweenage girls who populated the theater in embarrassing amounts when actor/mannequin Robert Pattinson first entered the screen, but there was also this volcanic eruption when writer/Mormon Stephanie Meyer appeared in a pandering cameo. In both situations, I could feel a little piece of my spirit dissolve. See the film, I dare you! Then you’ll know how it truly feels to be obsolescent in the age of unimagination.

Miracle at St. Anna is proof that Spike Lee needs to shut up and realize that not all honkys are racist.

Cloverfield is proof that J.J. Abrams needs to shut up and realize that not all yuppies are culturally devoid, narcissistic, petulant, morally lax, solipsistic, sex-crazed, mentally boring human beans. Then again, I’ve been wrong before. Well, someone just tell Abrams to produce better films. Yuppies are terrible protagonists anyway.

Speaking of Cloverfield, director Matt Reeves is poised to helm the American remake of the recent Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In – the most brilliant fantasy picture since Pan’s Labyrinth. The camera work alone was enough to warrant multiple viewings, and the story was heartwarming enough to have it ranked in my list of best films of 2008. It’s a movie that has played through my mind every day since I first saw it in mid-November, and it’s one that I’ll surely remember vividly years from now. Hopefully America will soon learn to stop being so xenophobic and give foreign films a chance without butchering the fantastic original films (Pulse! look at me when I’m talking to you!).

Then there was Choke, The Strangers, Body of Lies and many others. Heck, I didn’t even see all those really bad year end films like Max Payne and The Spirit. And thank my Sixth Sense that I skipped out on The Happening (whose deteriorating director will be taking the reins of the film adaptation of my favorite television show Avatar: The Last Airbender, and who will also subsequently break my heart). But there’s one thing that unites all of these terrible films: each one is worse than Battlefield Earth.

I saw Battlefield Earth for the first time a few days ago. Practically for as long as Bush had been in office I’ve heard nothing but disgusting remarks to characterize that Scientologistic film. “John Travolta is so terrible,” “aren’t movies supposed to have plots?” “it’s so bad it’s funny!” and “it’s so terrible it’s unbearable.” Either my better senses have been sawed down by the egregious excuses for movies of recent years, or America’s standards have just been shot (I guess it’s a communal relationship), but I found nothing noticeably awful about that movie. Travolta was just as bad as Will Smith in Hancock (or I Am Legend or I,Robot for that matter) – it’s plot was more reasonable and compelling than Hancock, Hellboy II, or Twilight – it’s special effects were more artistically capable than Hancock or Twilight – and Battlefield Earth actually had a likable protagonist, which you don’t really see much anymore. In fact, I’ve come to believe that this film has simply come under such legendary scrutiny simply because the masses propagate the “Battlefield Earth is bad” myth inordinately, similar to how the masses still think that Michael Bay is still relevant.

Basically what I’m trying to say is, America, culture up! That ragtag elitist Obama is now in office, so I think it’s okay if we let the inner “elitist” in us out and go see a decent foreign or indie film every once in a while. Yanno, not necessarily artsy-fartsy, but something without absurd amounts of special effects.

Oh well, at least we had The Dark Knight.