Saturday, February 05, 2005

Condescension can save the environment!

So I want to make a big Hollywood blockbuster. Let's see if I have everything I need:

  • Either a big name star and/or star of indie movies hoping to break into the mainstream --- Check!
  • Computer generated special effects that will never top those found in The Lord of the Rings --- Check!
  • A tacked-on romantic sub-plot (or several squishy sub-sub-plots that involve dying children, lost animals, or soon-to-be-reconciled divorcees) that's really unnecessary but is included to tug at the heart strings of any women trapped in the audience by their men --- Check!
  • Questionable science and plots that have holes in them so big you can drive a truck through them --- Check!
  • A healthy level of condescension for mainstream America, including the belief that I know better than everyone else ....

Uh oh. I might be in trouble there.

My wife and I watched The Day After Tomorrow the other night. It was a good Hollywood blockbuster (by which, I was entertained by the special effects. The story, which has long been acknowledged as being completely unscientific, is another story), but at the end, I was a bit miffed at Roland Emmerich.

Why? Well, Mr. Emmerich seems to think that everyone who watched the movie he produced, directed, and wrote is some kind of idiot. See, The Day After Tomorrow has a moral to its story:


No kidding. I kind of knew that already. But Mr. Emmerich felt the best way to pass this information along to us was by making this movie. Fair enough. He did an adequate job of setting up his premise at the environmental summit set in New Dehli. When our hero Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) explains things to the good people at NOAA, Mr. Emmerich was pushing the boundary. But then, when the Vice President delivers his little speech at the end of the movie, I wanted to scream, "I get it! I'm not stupid! Global warming is bad!"

Apparently Mr. Emmerich thought that the majority of the people watching his flick would be so brain dead, we wouldn't catch that moral within the first half-hour. So he had to pull out the "moral stick" and beat us over the head with it at the end of the film.

Here's an idea, Mr. Emmerich: give your audience a little credit. While we may be sucked into your shoddy storytelling by all the eye-candy and killer frost, we can pick up on what message you're trying to send us without your condescending help.

It's a problem that seems to afflict Hollywood and those in charge of producing entertainment. Those of us who are "out there" (read, people who don't get their names in TV or movie credits for some reason or another) are stupid and need to be talked down to at every moment.

The same thing happens in TV. TV execs keep shoveling the same tired stereotypes and hackneyed storylines at us, and then they're shocked when an innovative show like Desperate Housewives or Lost captures our attention.

Here's a message for any Hollywood type who may have stumbled into the Least Read Blog: Give us some credit. Maybe we'll take you more seriously then.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

You know, I'm sure that your family has the link to this little blog of yours, and yet not a single one of them has bothered to post a single comment to any of your entries. Shame on them.

Well, apparently no Otte is going to break the this blog/journal's proverbial hymen, so I figure it might just as well be a dirty Irish Mick like me.

So far I have found your rants and thoughts and ramblings quite entertaining! I have my own journal online as well at, but I tend to be a little shall I say, linguistically free?...than you do, what with you being a pastor and all. Thus, I'm not entirely sure that you would want to read it. Still, my point is that I do enjoy them, and I am trying to encourage you to keep this one up because of that. Good on ya!