Yesterday was Festivus, a holiday for the rest of us, popularized by “The Strike” episode of Seinfeld. The holiday was concocted by Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe’s father. On the show, it was executed by Frank Costanza. It featured an aluminum Festivus pole (instead of a tree), the Feats of Strengths, and most importantly, the Airing of Grievances. Here are my grievances with several facets of the film industry. To quote Frank Costanza, “I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it!”
Theater Patrons: Is it so hard to ask you to show up on time, not talk during the movie, and shut your mouth when you chew? Nobody paid $10 to watch you traipse in after the film has started, or listen to you eat and describe plot points to your date. And if I so much as smell a cell phone in use during the movie, I’m going to launch it against the wall at maximum speed.
P.T. Anderson: It’s excruciating to wait five years between your films. You have serious talent, and we’d all appreciate it if you shared it with the world more often. Now that The Master is done, hopefully we can all see something new from you in 2014 or 2015 instead of 2017.
Theaters: This list is long. For starters, most movie theaters that I encounter should be darker. There’s a bit too much ambient light. The sound volume varies from film to film and theater to theater. At least one theater I regularly attend doesn’t close the door, so everyone in the theater will invariably hear whatever’s playing on the screen next door, which is also playing in a theater that has an open door. These are easy things to change. Make it happen.
Fanboys: For crying out loud, get a hold of yourself. The death threats to Dark Knight Rises critics went well beyond any reasonable sense of decorum. When you blindly defend films you haven’t even seen, you turn yourself into a laughingstock. The next time you want to comment angrily because something on the internet annoys you, take a valium, cool off, and think about the absurdity of your actions.
Studios: Enough with the remakes and adaptations already. I understand that there’s financial safety in repackaging a known commodity, and I also understand that these remakes may still be good films. But you can not possibly tell me that there aren’t loads of genuinely good original screenplays out there waiting to be made. You’re choking the industry. And along these lines…
Superhero Movies: Look, plenty of these have been good. Some have even been great popcorn movies. But we’re way beyond saturation. By this time next year, both Spider-Man and Superman will have been rebooted within seven years of closure of the last re-boot. Whatever the quality of the actual films, the whole process is unnecessary. For the money it takes to make these films, imagine how many more smaller, original films could have been made. It boggles the mind.
IMDb: I appreciate how much your site offers. However, there’s one item that it no longer offers, and loads of movie fans still miss it. Please consider reinstating the Hit List. It was a daily visit for so many people, and it was the perfect way for word-of-mouth (internet mouth, I guess) to spread about great entertainment-related videos and articles.
Movie Marketers: You’re getting sloppy. Trailers have become completely, eye-rollingly predictable. Worse, you show too much throughout the marketing process. By the time audiences see your films, they’ve had an opportunity to check out anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes of your movie, often featuring the most memorable lines and scenes. It all leads to overhype, which sets unrealistic expectations amongst audiences. Your methodology is so scattershot, and you don’t seem to care so long as something- ANYTHING- hits a target audience. I know you can fix this.
What about you? Do you need to air any grievances?