Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Why are most movies and plays and novels so bad these days?

For example, I just tried to watch "Paranormal Activity," the first one.   

I had mixed feelings, from boredom to terror and back to boredom. Yes, it did freak me out, but I don't enjoy that kind of fear. I thought it was well done. Yes, it did seem like a home movie. But I got bored and fast-forwarded through a lot of it and never saw the end.

It was not at all entertaining, to me. I had to force myself to keep watching, because I didn't find any reason to care about the characters or their situation. The acting, BTW, was superb. But the premise -- a quiet suburban life interrupted by demons -- who cares?

I needed some other reason to care about the couple. Maybe if she was pregnant and he was getting turned off by the way she was changing, so their love was threatened and she was feeling insecure. Maybe that brings on the demon. and that would have hooked me. Some real emotional issue would have held my interest. But their life was too boring to care about.

The demon scared me, but I didn't care. That kind of setup is so lackluster. I don't care about boring middle-class people living a boring life in the boring suburbs. You almost want some demons to stir things up.

That is my main issue with movies these days. I don't usually care about the characters or their situation. The list of movies I have hated and turned off recently is endless: "Knocked Up," "The 40-Year Old Virgin," "Shutter Island," "The Town," "The Next Three Days," "Mind Prey," and "Paranormal Activity," 1 and 2.

To me, as a writer, reader, and a sometime movie lover, the hardest thing to find is a story where I care about the main character and the dilemma.

I guess what I want is real drama, "Hamlet" or "Oedipus Rex" or "The Great Gatsby" or "Moby Dick" or James Joyce's "Ulysses" or Tolstoi's "Anna Karenina."

Good new drama is hard to find, and it seems to be getting more and more scarce in today's world. I don't know why. But it is frustrating.

-- Roger

© Copyright 2011, Roger R. Angle


No comments: