“To avoid fainting, keep repeating: It’s only a movie… only a movie… only a movie… only a movie.”
What happened to brilliant ad campaigns like this? And what the hell happened to the films that used to induce this sort of madness?
In the late ’60s throughout the ’70s, filmmakers used to express their anguish, anxieties, concerns and distrust associated with the government, societal progression, and the American dream. It was fiction, but nevertheless it reflected harsh realities and a darker side of humanity. And more importantly, it upset the status quo.
I feel like the political climate we’re in now is a perfect time for brave and daring artists to do something innovative and subversive with their freedom of expression.
But with regard to filmmaking, most of what I see now are films that pay homage to a former era or tip their hat to other directors. Which is perfectly fine. I’m guilty of it myself. With anything I’ve ever written, there were always characters and scenes derived from some of my favorite stories and influences. Every artist borrows from one another. But never mind original ideas. Individual expression is what it should be about.
With the exception of certain films on the underground circuit, I feel like most genre pictures these days pander to fanboys and popcorn audiences. Which, that’s fine also. The world needs films like this as well to balance out the macrosystem.
I grew up in a time though where the framework of genre films revolved not just around the idea, but the expression of the idea. Times like today, a vast amount of people are either too politically correct, opinionated, or easily offended to watch a film objectively and not just judge it solely on its content.
Quite simply, films used to be way more bold. The market wasn’t always saturated with remakes, reboots, reimaginings, prequels, sequels, spinoffs, ripoffs, fanfilms, tributes, and throwbacks. And the filmmakers were never afraid to be labeled sexist, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, perverted, or demented. Why? Because it hardly ever happened! And if it did, it wasn’t blasted all over the media like it is nowadays.
Art films and genre films should show the world for what it is. Sometimes it’s beautiful, and sometimes it’s ugly. But a filmmaker should never censor him or herself. And even though we all know films are commercial products, they should always be about the intellectual resonance, and not just about the profit motive.
I’d love to return to a time where brave filmmaking wasn’t judged because of the personal sentiments and sensibilities of the audience. I remain optimistic on this stance. Because after all, movies are nothing more than a subjective depiction. And above all, they are fiction.
So if audiences continue to be offended by blood, guts, cussing, boobs, dicks, rape, murder, mutilation and masturbation… They must remember all the warnings and disclaimers from the bygone era. And keep repeating…
“It’s only a movie… only a movie… only a movie… only a movie.”
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