Friday Movie Blogging 10-24-08: The Fall of Camp

I’m bothered by how much audiences don’t seem to appreciate cheesy camp in movies anymore. Everything needs to be dark, gritty, realistic, or contain Will Ferrell’s penis. This was shown earlier this year when “Speed Racer” bombed, and a couple years back when the highly-anticipated “Snakes on a Plane” bombed as well (*shakes fist in anger!*) Even critically-acclaimed campy movies like “Team America: World Police” and “Hot Fuzz” brought in about $30M each which is $70M less than what every movie aims for. And when “Indiana Jones” made a comeback this year, it changed nothing about it’s fun campy style and critics beat the crap out of it for that (“Nuking a fridge?! Yee-gawds! How unrealistic!” say the people who grew up watching Indy run from inexplicable giant boulders and use rubber rafts as parachutes.)

I’m willing to bet all of these movies would’ve been huge in the 80’s. Back in the 80’s, the world thrived on campy weirdness. They had no problem accepting strange unrealistic situations like the ones we saw in “Ghostbusters,” “Short Circuit,” “Teen Wolf,” “Goonies,” “Gremlins,” and “Weird Science.” If these movies had been released today, would they have been just as popular, or would they have taken a backseat to “Hancock?” <-- (which had to disguise it's cheesiness in form of a dramatic character piece.) I'd like to imagine an age of movies where we can all go back to appreciating guilty pleasures together. It seems like too many people are afraid to admit they like flawed movies anymore and often fall back on the "safe movie" net just to be cool. SATURDAY MORNING AFTERTHOUGHT:
Looking through a history of movies, corniness is one of Hollywood’s longest standing traditions, dating all the way back to the 1920’s. It was common to see it resurge through the years on television and film and has always had a marketable demographic up until the late 90’s when people started demanding more serious film-making. Now you can only seem to find it in animation and family movies. Outside those realms, no one wants to suspend their disbelief anymore. So what’s happened in the last 10-15 years that’s made society stop wanting to believe in magic and completely ground themselves in reality – especially after 70 years of popular camp? All physics have to be perfect. All superheroes need to have scientific superpowers. All sitcoms are without laugh-tracks. Even Harry Potter movies were on their way to losing bank before they started killing off Harry’s family.

Something keeps telling me to blame it on the internet.

Anyway – movie I saw this week (because my computer’s in the shop and I only had time to watch one beforehand):

Tropic Thunder
Rating: B-

As you can guess from the trailer, Tropic Thunder is about three actors filming a war movie in the jungle, and they have no idea they’re under attack from very real enemy forces. It also stars Robert Downey Jr. as a black man, and you can sell the whole movie on that premise alone. As I expected, there were many entertaining parts throughout and it bordered on a type of ridiculous you mostly get from Will Ferrell movies. My main beef with it was how unevenly paced the whole thing seemed to be, and how most of the scenes served as vehicles to showcase each character’s wacky quirks. Almost like director Ben Stiller never heard of an editing room and decided to leave every second of ad-libbed schtick in the movie. It gets to the point where a lot of the conversations become incoherent, like you just walked in on an in-joke that Hollywood’s been throwing around. Other times, it just takes itself too seriously. Still, there’s several funny and over-the-top moments scattered around, and even Tom Cruise manages to sneak into the movie with one of his most bizarre roles ever. The movie’s a mess, but an entertaining mess.

New movies out this weekend:

-Saw 5 (a sequel to the torture porn franchise about psychos doing sick things to sick people)
-High School Musical 3: Senior Year (same as above)
-Pride and Glory (Edward Norton/Colin Farrell police movie)
-Synecdoche, New York (New Charlie Kaufman movie!)
-Let the Right One In (Like Twilight, but with genders reversed)

My movie video picks this week are Batman related again. Only they’re foreign this time:

The Turkish Batman:

The Italian Batman (0:55 is my favorite part):

Bathman Dal Pianeta Eros – Klito Bell
Uploaded by nanar-junkie

Courtesy of Cracked

October 24 2008 11:55 am | Movies, Videos

4 Responses to “Friday Movie Blogging 10-24-08: The Fall of Camp”

  1. Pstonie on 24 Oct 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    I think audiences know a lot better what flies and what doesn’t. Sometimes you have to suspend your disbelief so far that the whole construction snaps and comes down on your head.

    With Speed Racer in specific, I think the subject matter didn’t fit live action at all. It was a cartoon and probably should’ve stayed one. Isn’t that what Pixar is for, afterall?

  2. Triffid on 25 Oct 2008 at 10:55 am #

    Bahaha, I love your characterization of High School Musical 3. Not least because I said almost exactly the same thing to my teenage neighbors (who went to see both) yesterday…

  3. Chris on 25 Oct 2008 at 11:26 am #

    My problem is that no one wants to suspend their disbelief any more. We shouldn’t have to depend on animation and family movies for this stuff and they haven’t for almost 70 years. Something’s changed in society during the last decade that’s really bringing out the anger in people.

  4. Pstonie on 26 Oct 2008 at 5:51 am #

    Well, the millennium came and went without God showing up. People are probably starting to realise that we’re responsible for everything that happens down here, and nobody’s gonna come riding in on a cloud to sort out all our problems or supply rewards for everyone who’s been living according to the rules of their chosen religious faction.

    I’m guessing people aren’t interested in fairytale cartoon worlds anymore because it lacks relevance. If you indulge the movie for the length it takes to run you can maybe forget about your problems for that time. But something that shows the world a little closer to the truth might teach you something about that world that will help you understand it better.

    “Fuck damnation, man! Fuck redemption! We are God’s unwanted children? So be it!”
    -Fight Club, 1999

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