…at the movies.
Using the phrase, “My God…” to inject gravitas into your flaccid plot. Often uttered by actors who were likely staring at a tennis ball on a stick and backdropped by a giant green screen to instill the belief they’re staring at the world exploding or a horde of giant alien dogs invading Earth or a mammoth tidal wave coming to wash away a metropolis, the phrase has become so ubiquitous that it no longer merits any serious consideration as a meaningful exclamation of awe. Let’s go the other direction, please. I’d love to see Will Ferrell utter, “My God…” into the camera, which then pans around to reveal two raccoons eating Cheetos out of a garbage can. My God, that would be awesome.
Movies where someone utters the line, “a storm is coming.” I’ll get my weather reports from the 11 o’clock news, thank you. I don’t need some old, bearded guy with a lantern spouting that line while backed with dense fog and eerie, foreboding music again. It’s been done a thousand times. The metaphor’s been over-used in describing everything from the prospect of imminent war to political shifts in national policies. ENOUGH, I say! If you want to tell us there’s conflict on the horizon, then just say it! “O my! There be conflict on the ‘morrow!”
Trailers where the narrator begins by saying, “In a world…” Yeah, a world “where everything changes;” “where the future is set in stone” or “where terror reigns” or “where cats and dogs live together.” Everyone lives in the same world, pal. Don’t tell me different. And lay off the cigarettes. Your gravelly intonation scares children and makes you sound more like a creepy old guy one might see on Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” instead of an omniscient, wizened narrator guiding the audience ever-inexorably toward its’ fate.
Parents who can’t control their kids–and bring them to R-rated movies. They inevitably freak out and start shrieking for their mommy to get them away from the bogeyman while the parents just sit there pretending nothing’s wrong. It takes twenty people giving them dirty looks and perhaps throwing various food items their way before they catch our drift and remove the kid creating the cacophony. (Hooray for “cacophonies.”) I realize you want to be able to go out with the hubby whilst simultaneously entertaining your children–but don’t do it while at thrill-fests like Alien vs. Predator and I’m an Axe Murderer Who Likes to Hide in the Bedroom Closets of Little Kids. (Did I just call Alien vs. Predator a “thrillfest?”)
Crappy sound systems. It’s 2007* and you charge 15 bucks for your tickets. The least you could do is learn how to use your digital sound equipment so the theater experience at least approaches what most Americans now have in their homes. Straining to hear what’s going on from the left front speaker that happens to be functioning doesn’t do wonders for my movie-going pleasure. Let’s try to get someone other than the 15-year old working for $4.50 an hour set up and maintain your speakers and soundboards.
Movie titles that contain the words, “Rise of.” Think of something original, you bums! Rise of the Silver Surfer, Rise of the Lycans, Rise of the Machines, Rise of the Yeast–NO MORE, I say! I’d like to see The Rise of Sanford & Son come to the screen, realized as an action techno-thriller from “acclaimed” director Michael Bay.
*Author’s note: the majority of this post was written on December 19th, 2007. I’m slowly cleaning out the closet of drafts in the bedroom that is my blog. My God, that was a great analogy.