Cheap laughs cost us human capital

Who decides the kinds of films that are
available to watch? Is it us, the audience, or do we allow this to be done by
movie producers themselves? It seems to me that too often young people watch
the rubbish that is available, hence keeping up demand for movies that insult
our intelligence and ethics, instead of waiting for and so fuelling the creation
of more positive films.

Hangover II, which opened late last week, earned
a crazy $137 million in its first five days. It’ll make the list of biggest comedy
debuts, and has already taken best opening weekend for an R-rated film. Umm,
really?

Now I must admit here – I haven’t seen it or it’s prequel. But I’ve seen their
trailers, read a whole heap of news and reviews and can safely say that I’m not
all that interested. It’s about a bunch of blokes who wake up after a buck’s
night, having gained a tattoo and a monkey but having lost any recollection of
the previous night as well as the bride-to-be’s younger brother. It could be my
personal taste, but it seems a guy’s movie through and through. In fact, as
noted in one of the reviews I read, there are hardly any female characters
apart from the protagonists’ partners (rarely seen) and a few too many ladyboy
strippers.

Like too many films these days, it seems to
glamorise the kinds of events that, in real life, would land you in jail or at
least with some hefty fines. It equates a good night to one that you don’t
remember the next morning, and excuses this behaviour for men in their thirties
and forties (please, grow up!).  Are
these the kinds of subconscious messages that we want young people to take
away?

I’m sure I’d come away from this film
having had a laugh or two, but also with this question: when did we become the
kind of society that requires all the baggage of an R-rated film for a bit of
comedic relief? We need to take the time to remember what really constitutes a
good movie, and so encourage real talent instead of just the cheap laughs. Let’s demand them.

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