What Is Cynema?
For those of you wanting to be filmmakers, screenwriters or even actors, this blog is a way to address a trend that’s been gaining cultural power in the entertainment world. It is not column about how much you “love” or “hate” a movie. This will look at certain films that fit criteria called “Cynema” while other films examined will be those deserving of a second chance and look.
Cynema: The cynical practice of contempt for an audience in the making of product that is devoid of creativity, passion, production value or respect while having the financial and creative means to do better.
Some films in the following list are Cynema while others deserve a second look: Jaws 3D, Jaws The Revenge (aka Jaws 4), King Kong 1976, King Kong Lives, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Popeye, 1941, Waterworld, Gojira (1954), Godzilla 1998, The 4th Dimension, Psycho III, Alien 3, They Live, are examples of “Cynema” while others, reviled by critics and audiences alike, didn’t deserve the ripping they got.
The purpose here is to examine the concept of “Cynema” and understand why society is accepting the mediocre level of quality from our entertainment.
You were once a kid. You might’ve played kickball. Sometimes the pitcher would roll a bad one but you kicked anyway and missed, kicking up a lot of dust but no ball. Despite some heckling, the kids around you were mostly friends and respected your frustrated call for a “do over!” Some called it a “Mulligan”, regardless you got another shot at fixing a screw up whether yours or someone else’s.
The Do Over
When dating you were granted a “do over” in relationships called “second chances.” Then marriage vow renewal–in essence “rebooting” marriages came about. By the mid-nineties new computer terms entered into the lexicon: “Download, Surfing, Browsing” and one that would reach out directly to the film world: “reboot.” If the computer didn’t perform you simply shut it down and restarted it–rebooting the hard drive and hopefully getting the desired effect. You also had to do a reboot to make the necessary changes in software updates that would take an already familiar program and improve upon it.
Hollywood caught onto “reboot“. Reboots can be the same thing as remakes or “reimaginings”. Usually reboot refers to jumpstarting a dead franchise of movies. Remakes have been around a long time, for as Shakespeare said, there is nothing new under the sun. This is not to debate the good or bad of remaking or “rebooting” a film or entertainment franchise; but rather a look as to why there was a sudden surge in remakes/reboots and a strong shift away from trying anything new in the film industry.
Which brings me to “Cynema.”
Pronounced “cinema”. The term was created after seeing what passed for criticism on Netflix film reviews. It takes great effort to make a truly bad movie. There is a difference between cheesy and inept and we are a society quickly becoming incapable of distinguishing between the two. A cheesy monster movie like 1979’s Prophecy (not the Christopher Walken series of demon flicks) is superior to the stuff of a certain cable channels’ original movie lineup. It is also superior to a mega budget film like 2012.
Why weren’t audiences more in tune with the fact that Titanic was an enjoyable but overrated “B” movie with an expensive budget? Why the record number of Oscars and awards and reign as the all time highest grossing film? Part of the answer is that Titanic is not much different than Armageddon or even the sappy Ali McGraw/Ryan O’Neal classic, Love Story. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is no different than “I’ll never let go, Jack” or any of the lyrics from Celine Dion’s sap-oozing Oscar winning song which in itself was no different than the sucrose laced “Wind Beneath My Wings” from the over rated Lifetime Channel movie, Beaches sung by Bette Midler. (Again, this has nothing to do with you “loving” or “hating” these films or in this case criticizing their prodcution quality or values).
This column is not about something being “bad” simply because of subjective taste. This is not a movie review blog because The Internet doesn’t need another one of those. “Cynema” is about the deliberate production of sub standard content and knowingly so with no intention to make anything good.
This is not just a Hollywood problem. Hollywood is simply giving us what we want. The problem rests solely with audiences and what they expect for their culture and exercising ownership of it.
This leads to something darker…our culture is rotting and has been for some time. The blog will not be a diatribe on how things were better “back in the day.” The hope is to look into a trend that can be validated by viewing website comments sections and video reviews. Part of it is a national narcissism that transcends nationalism and basic patriotism—it’s a shift in culture by a population that has become so self centered it has lost its ability to see what it is doing to itself by what it endorses and embraces and in even plainer terms: what it thinks is ‘good’.
The whole concept of Cynema is knowing just what defines a truly “bad” movie and what is being passed off as good to an audience that doesn’t know the difference.
And A Plug…
Listen to my Cynema podcast found on iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeart Radio.