Monday, July 28, 2008

Saturday night

I went to a Blockbuster for the first time in a while this weekend. I don't think it has ever been as clear to me the number of films that come out nowadays. I see about 100 films a year, and there's still a huge number of films on the shelf that I have no clue about.

I've been thinking about it lately, and I'm not sure the number of entertainment options that we have nowadays is a good thing culturally. In the old days, with three networks, and movies that everyone saw on Fridays, you at least had a common cultural language. Between the number of films that get made, the number of shows that you can watch on television, and the ability to seek out and find information on the Internet that are so specifically geared to your narrow interest, I'm not sure that exists anymore. The Internet was sold as something that would bring us together. You could bond with people in Katmandu. But in doing so, it is diffusing our interests and killing off our common cutural experience.

The other thing about the Blockbuster - even located on a high-traffic intersection, it was near empty at 10 p.m. Saturday night. I used to work at a Blockbuster for awhile when I was young. That was unthinkable. The Netflix age.


Daniel G. said...

Great thoughts here, and so true. What's especially disappointing is that so many of these offerings are terrible, so it's a waste of everyone's time, including the people who created the content.

Seriously, when was the last time (aside from TDK) that the whole sat down and watched an epic movie on TV, like back in the old days. Even TV finales are screwed up with online episodes and Tivo, etc. We're all watching our own things on our own schedules.

K. Bowen said...

Paralyzing thought, Daniel G.

You might (or might not) remember when miniseries garnered huge ratings and were a constant source of conversation. Now they don't exist.

Craig Kennedy said...

It's a counterintuitive argument that more choice is a bad thing, but I agree and I've made it myself (to general disagreement).

One of the problems facing the independent film sector right now is the glut of movies. Did I read somewhere there were something like 500-600 movies released last year?

This leads to shorter times spent in theaters which only magnifies the amount of air sucked out of the room by big blockbusters who hog cineplexes on multiple screens and crowd the advertising landscape.

How is a lovely little film like The Grocer's Son or In Search of a Midnight Kiss supposed to break through the noise in that environment? And as Daniel notes, so many of the choices are wretched.

I miss the days where everyone was talking about the same thing. It's a feeling I'm trying to recapture online, but only with modest success so far.