Sunday, July 8, 2012

American Movies Today: Throw out the Words!

During the current unbearable heat wave in Washington, capital of a declining but at times benign empire, I find myself all-too-willingly reduced to watching television/DVDs, finding an excuse for such a waste of time as a "relief," given how intellectually/physically demanding it is to do any serious work in such climatic conditions.

I won't say "at my age." (I am a happy survivor of the sixties, when I went to college: "Remember the sixties? You weren't there" -- Robin Williams, if my memory serves me right).

So, the other day, eager for "entertainment," given torrid conditions en plein air, I obtained (my excuse for doing nothing) from my local Giant supermarket film distributing machine the recent cinematic opus (I won't say magnum) named Man on a Ledge:
As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion... (that’s it for the summary of the plot).
While visually stimulating, I hardly understood (heard?) any word uttered in the film. So I "thought to myself" (as they say nowadays) that it was time, in my case, as a person of a certain age, to go see an ear doctor.

Then today (Sunday July 8), reluctantly obliged to keep up with blah-blah-blah nonsense of news shows, for professional reasons (I am interested in US public diplomacy), I stumbled upon, on public television, the 1950's flick Dial M for Murder:
Tony Wendice is an ex-professional tennis player who lives in a London flat with his wealthy wife Margot. Tony retired after Margot complained about his busy schedule, and she began an affair with American crime-fiction writer Mark Halliday, which Tony secretly discovered. Motivated by resentment, jealousy, and greed, Tony devised a plan to have Margot murdered.
Guess what? I heard nearly every word, so clearly pronounced, that was said, although the plot is rather convoluted.

Which means that I don't have to see an ear-doctor after all!

My conspiracy-theory about movies today: No one in the 21st-century movie-producing business is willing/capable of producing words and a plot. It's all images and noise.

Hey, the moguls would say (with some justification) haven't movies been, all along, moving "pictures" (not words) for the entertainment of the masses! Look at Charlie --  he didn't need words!

So the "deciders" in this given-'em-what-they-want business have no "issues" that the meaning /plot of their productions, as expressed through words, is meaningless/incomprehensible.

Also, the less "verbal" movies are, the more they can be generic, i.e., appeal to global audiences, what Hollywood is really into these days.

Silence has become the universal language. Or should I say non-language?

Am I blaming these businesspersons? Not really ...

Still, there is some irony in all this. At a time of so-called "global communications" via the social media, people the world over, in part thanks to Hollywood, are losing the ability to express themselves through the genius and beauty of the spoken word.

Is this the end of the world/word? Let the young generation decide.

Via CC on Facebook

Or, as is often heard in public spaces with zombie-like youth looking at their cell-phones and screeching/muttering without bothering to look at the person they are with, "like, whatever, you know what I mean."

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