Who the Hell is Going to See Drive Angry in 3D?

February 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sadly, the answer to my question/headline will almost certainly total more than 5 million people. Hollywood wouldn’t keep greenlighting expensive projects starring Nic Cage if he didn’t sell well. But my question is who, exactly, keeps Nic Cage in business as a lead man in Hollywood? The answer of which is directly related to this question: Who are the millions of assholes in America, and overseas, ruining Hollywood?

The answer to these questions cannot be boiled down to a single stereotype. Although if it could, it would almost certainly look like this guy. Instead, Cage, who is unequivocally the worst Oscar-winning actor of all time, has name-brand recognition, and name-brand recognition can get you pretty damn far in this country.* The trick is developing that name-brand recognition, which Cage has done mostly by making movies that appeal to the Lowest Common Denominator, known hereafter as the LCD.

*Which is why Yao Ming got voted to the All-Star game despite barely playing this year. Well, that, and he’s from a country with a billion people. Other examples of people who can get away with anything, including coke/stripper parties, God-awful projects (TV shows, books, movies, albums), serious felonies, etc., and keep landing lucrative deals because of their name and rep: Charlie Sheen, Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, (author of Da Vinci Code) Dan Brown, James Patterson, Radiohead, Jennifer Aniston and P. Diddy. I’m sure I left out hundreds, if not thousands, of other examples.

The U.S.’s LCD holds all the power, which explains why Hollywood continuously plays it safe with horseshit movies and sequels. (It also explains why Shit my Dad Says draws twice as many viewers as 30 Rock and why The Wire constantly got snubbed at the Emmys.) Instead of taking a chance on an intelligent, original script, Hollywood almost always settles on the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean or Clash of the Titans, which, with the late addition of 3D, was like smearing diarrhea, rather than lipstick, on a pig. When rare exceptions like Inception somehow make it through the moronic bureaucracy of a major movie studio, Hollywood big-wigs still make excuses about why it did well, instead of just embracing an excellent, original script that turned into a brilliant movie.

The future of movies and Hollywood seems almost as uncertain and bleak as that of publishers. In some ways, both industries are facing the same problem: how to compete in a saturated marketplace that’s being infiltrated by technology. Predictably and sadly, both industries are going about solving their problems the same way, by riding the “talents” of the name-brand stars (Patterson, Stephen King, Anne Rice, etc. for authors; Cage, Aniston, Sandler, DeNiro, etc. for actors) and market to as broad** an audience as the genre will allow. In other words, both industries are selling its souls in the hopes of staying afloat and relevant by appealing to the LCD, as opposed to taking a chance and embracing new authors/actors/screenwriters/directors with new and original ideas. The movie industry has recently added the extra-insulting 3D effect, which brings us full-circle back to Drive Angry in 3D.

**a.k.a. dumb and lazy. This is not to say people who liked Just Go With It, for example, are dumb and lazy people. It means they don’t like to think much when being entertained; they view movies as a relaxing, cathartic release, which makes a movie like Memento, for example, counterproductive to said release. Of course, they very well could actually be dumb and lazy, too.

Who the hell is going to see this movie? It’s a serious question. I honestly don’t know one person who is going to the theaters on Friday to see what is sure to be the most formulaic plot of the year. (Then again, if I did know someone, he/she probably wouldn’t say it in front of me because I would be a jackass and make of that person.) The LCD is out there somewhere though, and they’re helping to ruin the great art of American film. But honestly, the powers that be in Hollywood, especially the Jerry Bruckheimer types, should be ashamed of themselves for so clearly being in the movie business only for the money.

To conclude the article, I’ll end with a bit of good news. Cage’s exorbitant $160 million summer film, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, lost Disney and Bruckheimer at least $50 million. And with more people enrolling in college than ever before, our LCD has to eventually rise to the point where mind-numbingly horrible movies like Season the Witch would never get approved, right? Well, maybe we’re still a few years — and an entire shifted Hollywood mindset — away actually. Because Cage has already finished filming three more upcoming films and is currently filming, you guessed it — a sequel — to what might be his worst movie, Ghost Rider.

It’s called Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. You can’t make this shit up.

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