Playing to Your Audience

This past weekend, The Wife and I watched Friends with Benefits, Horrible Bosses and Batman Year One.  Three good movies, each in their own right. One was a dark comedy, of sorts, the other a romantic comedy and another an animated film for more adult fans of the DC Universe.  All three movies delivered entertainment to their specific genre, and as I said, each one was great, in my humble opinion.  With that said, I have noticed a trend in movies the past year or two.

I guess it really started with Bad Teacher.  Scream 4 was just as bad and last night, Friends with Benefits and Horrible Bosses just lent more proof to what I have a problem with in movies these days. I’m no Bible thumping prude, but the language in movies lately is horrendous. Cursing is one thing – I won’t say it adds depth to a movie or television show, but I can see where inserting a vulgar piece of language here or there might prove a point or bring a better understanding of where the character is coming from.  But to just pepper it in because you are trying to spice up your movie/show is a bit ridiculous – again, in my opinion.  In most of the cases I’m thinking of, the extreme language is what actually kept me from liking the movie more. It was uncomfortable for me to watch even in the presence of other adults. I mean, come on, every third word out of a persons mouth doesn’t have to be the F word or some other slang.

Friends with Benefits was a predictable, cheesy romantic comedy and would have been just as good as a PG or PG-13 movie. But because the writers felt the need to pepper it with explicit sexual talk and strong language – I guess to make it more “hip and realistic,” it lowered the entertainment value to me.  I know, I know, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Stick to the Hallmark Channel, right? Well, no. And it isn’t just strong language in films, it’s the torture porn of movies such as Cabin Fever, the Saw series, remakes of classics like Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting older and more set in my ways. Or maybe writers, directors and actors think that to attract the younger crowd, they have to mix in a certain amount of filth into a film to make it acceptable. I guess one could even argue that it’s the internet’s fault, what with having free and easy accessibility to uncensored content, live footage of violent acts, pornography, etc. Hollywood has to compete by giving them something almost as bad, but just short of crossing the line.

And, you know what? They may be right. The next generation of leaders are working their way through high school and just look at them. They try to dress and act as if they are in their 40’s while trying to express themselves by claiming intellectual, spiritual and sexual independence when in reality they aren’t even ready to cross the street without an adult holding their hand. They want to claim their own individual stance on these levels yet they are perhaps the most emotionally immature generation I’ve yet to see. They crack under pressure and stress and can’t cope if something doesn’t fit into their set guidelines of how the world works.

I blame it on Dawson’s Creek. No, seriously. Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, The O.C. These shows glamorize the teenage lifestyle (or at least the 30 and 40 year old actors playing most of the leads do) and tell teens how they should be acting, how they should handle their friendships, careers, school and family. No wonder this new generation is screwed up. They’ve grown up thinking they have to speak like their lines were written by Kevin Williamson or Joss Whedon.

Bah, what do I know. I’m just some dude who writes on an online diary – er, I mean blog – and reads comic books and plays video games. Don’t mind me, I’m just a crazy old guy spouting off on the open forums of the internet like every other crazy bastard out there. Carry on, young folk, carry on.

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