I’ve been watching a lot of British telly lately. I’ve given up on U.S. networks and programming. I miss closeups of faces in movies that have intelligent dialogue! Special effects don’t cut it for me, I’m tired of seeing people murdered and maimed, I’m tired of silly reality games, I’m tired of young women with their boobs out to there and dresses that end half way up their thigh. I’m tired of being SOLD all the time.
I think the reason I love to read is that I get more dialogue that way. So many movies spend all their energy in action and have nothing to offer your brain. At least with a book your mind has to keep working even if the dialogue isn’t terrific; you get to imagine what’s going on instead of being force fed a never ending stream of images.
As for faces, well, you can tell so much about a person, or a character from their face. And faces don’t lie. They may put on masks, but ultimately they give themselves away. If you doubt me, the pay attention to the face of young actors and actresses as they inexpertly turn for a better camera angle — ever aware of the importance of image.
Quite understandably I grew up on “old movies.” When I was young they weren’t “old” movies. They were reasonably current, having been made in my time, or maybe since my parents were married. That included a lot of material; there were a lot of movies made from the beginning of WWII until our family had a television or my parents would roll out the station wagon for a trip to the drive in movie. But two things in common with many of the movies of that era were lots of face shots and lots of incredible dialogue. That and the fact that “stars” tended to be a little older and more mature than they are today.
I’m tired of programs where women seem to have nothing in their wardrobe but cleavage and leg. There was a time when women seemed quite happy to dress with a little modesty; when everyone didn’t have to be sexy; when it was OK just to be a person.
I know that I’m outside the target demographic for today’s movies but I have to say that I find a lot of the characters in today’s entertainment (including TV) to be unbelievable. So many actors (meaning male and female) are playing roles that they would never inhabit in the real world. People don’t rise quickly to positions of power in average kinds of jobs. There might be one or two, but certainly an entire police department isn’t going to be under 40. And as young as Navy pilots might be, they aren’t Luke Skywalker young. I accept that there is a certain amount of “suspension of disbelief” involved in entertainment but it seems that the industry has pushed well beyond my limits of disbelief.
I miss faces with lines. Plastic surgery and the never ending pursuit of youth has robbed actors and actresses of personality. Too many women look the same today. I long for a little individuality. With the ability to cut and paste faces until they achieve some sort of presumed perfection comes also the reality that it no longer matters as much what the actor/actress looks like because they aren’t all that different from the herd of potential players. As long as they are young and attractive and can speak a line — that’s all that matters. And the industry can go through as many young bodies as it wants. There will always be another young man or woman willing to do whatever for the chance at a career.
I miss dialogue that makes we think. I miss dialogue that inspires my vocabulary. I miss the carefully crafted turn of phrase. I secretly think that part of the reason certain movies keep getting re-made is that they contain elements like dialogue, like quiet moments of reflection, like insights into humanity that are hard to find in today’s fiction. Rather than find someone with skill to create something really new and worthwhile it’s easier to cherry pick out of the orchard of previous works in the hope of a big reward. After all, that way you don’t have to PAY for the process of creation and you have your “project” already defined without risk.
We’ve been playing around with our Cable subscription and our Amazon Prime Video subscription. We don’t seem to land on many conventional channels any more. In pursuit of something more challenging we find ourselves watching more programs and movies that are created/produced in other countries. Even if some qualities of the program/film suffer at least we get a.) new scenery, b.) insights into other cultures (albeit skewed for entertainment), c.) ideas about how other people react to the same human situation we find ourselves in.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not upset. I’m not even complaining. I’m merely stating the facts of how I feel. I don’t mind that I find myself missing certain things. I’m not the targe audience. That’s OK. Besides, feelings of longing give rise to a desire to pursue something better. The more the current trends turn me off the more likely I am to find better ways of spending my time. Win/Win!
I have to wonder, however. Given the fact that so many Baby Boomers are retiring and have more time to spend with their TV it sure seems like the industry is screwing itself by producing baby food when there has to be a market for programming with meat and intelligence.