Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Suspended Disbelief

I love movies! I love movies because they aren't real life! At the very least they aren't MY life! My wife can't watch depressing movies because they make HER depressed. I can watch a depressing story that gives an insight into another way of life or another persons depressing story because I can be on the outside looking in. Movies allow us to experience other worlds. If the movie provides a reality we can believe in, we can be taken anywhere by the story. We can watch X-Men and believe that mutants exist! We can watch Superman and believe a man can fly, sorry couldn't help stealing the tagline! We can watch horror movies and believe that people are stupid enough to go outside because they heard a noise, even though there is a serial killer on the loose! We need to suspend our disbelief to appreciate the movie.

Even within the "reality" of a movie, some movies just push things a little too far. Sometimes that expect us to believe a little too much.

Are we really supposed to believe that we can survive a nuclear explosion in a refrigerator? Are we really supposed to believe that shooting ourselves in the head can get rid of our other personality but somehow not kill us? Are we really supposed to believe that a man can jump from the top of a building through a glass ceiling and land on an airbag as part of a game to help him get through his midlife crisis, without the possibility of jumping a little too far or maybe missing the airbag, ending up a big red stain on the concrete below? Are we really supposed to believe that the force can give you strength, but it can't help you to figure out that that hot chick is really your sister! Are we really supposed to believe that an alien race who has been leaving crop circles for years on our planet that turn out to be navigational aids for an invasion, didn't realize that that blue looking wet stuff could hurt them?

Don't get me wrong, I love movies that are way over the top. I love how in John Woo movies they never seem to run out of bullets. I love how the good guys in any movie can hit anything with any gun at any time, but the bad guys can't hit anything. I love how Indiana Jones never losses his hat. I love how good guys can get shot 20 times and still survive to kill all the bad guys. Hell, I even want to see Crank 2! But if Jason Statham suddenly sprouts wings and starts flying, even with the first movie's unrealistic reality, that would just be too unbelievable!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

80s Horror

Have you ever had a fond memory of a horror movie from the 80s, only to see it now and see that it is not quite as good as you remember it? Memories created while sitting around with your friends drinking beer and maybe even sharing someone's glaucoma medication? Movies that seemed like the coolest thing ever at the time, only to now seem more than a little silly? Movies that are now seen filtered through all of your life experiences? Have you ever had the experience of watching these movies again with their new special edition, anamorphic, high definition transfers and thought, what was I thinking in the 80s? Me Neither!

80s horror will always hold a special place in my heart. I still have not seen any DVD release of an 80s horror movie that has disappointed me. I do my best to recreate the experience of watching them like I did over 20 years ago, although the beer is now imported and I no longer need glaucoma medication or can't find a pharmacist. I am older and wiser now, at least I'd like to think so, but I still enjoy the cheesiest low budget crap that we used to go to the video store every week to rent. With all of the new DVD releases, I even found some movies that it seems everyone else has seen but me! You would think that since these movies hold no nostalgic value for me, I could see through their inherent cheesiness and see them for the cliched, predictable, unoriginal and exploitative movies that they are. I do see them for the cliched, predictable, unoriginal and exploitative movies that they are, that is why I like them!

I don't think we will ever see a time for horror movies like the 80s. For all of us back then, it was our own little world that others just didn't get. VHS gave us new movies every week with great eye catching boxes that sometimes had nothing at all to do with the actual movie. Straight to video movies that looked like we made them with our own giant video cameras that required two hands to hold up. We rented all of it. Sometimes the worse the movie was, the better it was.