It has been interesting to me, to see the condition of television programs rapidly deteriorate in this country over my short life. Within hundreds of channels, I have found only one television show worth watching regularly for the past five years (Breaking Bad). This absence of quality is a product of modern culture’s changing interests and movement rapidly towards the mind-numbing and ridiculous, as The Learning Channel and The History Channel have become the go-to channels for so many.
The names of these channels are misleading, to say the least. Because of my proximity to other people (unfortunate), I have had to see some of the programs these channels have to offer. TLC has several shows about wedding cakes, wedding dresses (including for exclusively oversized clientele), underage beauty pageants, and just about any other manner of horrifying reality show you can think of. The only thing we learn from that channel is why the average person seems so stupid these days.
The History Channel teaches no history, but rather just a more male-oriented assortment of reality television shows. As a student getting a Masters with an emphasis on history, I haven’t the slightest idea how they get away with this. Reality television used to just be for teens watching MTV. Now, it seems, the kids in this country have become adults, but their preferences in garbage have not matured. The state of music is rather similar; the good stuff up to today came from the prog-rock movement of the 60’s and 70’s, where music advocating for social change and political alterations stood in stark contrast to the brainless disco movement. Now, most kids are back to listening to the modern equivalent of disco; songs about having a good time, repetitive, obnoxious lines that stick in the brain but encourage no higher level of thinking.
I used to be a Thomas Jefferson man through and through–the populace needs to be well educated in order to work democratically to preserve their own freedoms, but now I find myself falling more into the realm of Plato–the vast majority of people are just too damn stupid to do anything other than want to feed themselves. How are we to progress in a country that does not want to think but would prefer to simply endlessly seek immediate gratification? As Roger Waters would say; “This species has amused itself to death.”
Where am I going with this, you might wonder? Because of the sad state of modern television, the movie theatre is the one place left where a decent entertainment product is available. When you see a really good new film, it should restore a little bit of your faith in humanity. The big boost in popularity of comic book hero movies is indicative of the modern rise of the nerd, but that’s not a particular interest or focus of mine. Rather, releases such as No Country for Old Men, The Departed, and The Truman Show indicate that the average moviegoer is still interested in seeing a decent product with at least some social relevance. For this reason, starting next week I will be diving into a top 25 list of films with an important social or political message. Films that make you think, if you allow yourself to.
Because some of the ones I wanted to do have already been reviewed, I’ll leave some out, although I can’t promise to avoid some that were touched on in a multi-film review. It should be a good next 6 months, and I hope you’ll stick with me as I work though it.