I love movies. And because I don’t like to be distracted by texting, phones ringing and people surfing on their phone, I watch my movies at the theater. That’s what six smartphones on the Keenan plan will get you. My current movie theater of choice is the Leawood Theater in Ranchmart. It’s a small business I like supporting. Plus I feel really young there. Forget texting — most of their patrons are still dialing phones attached to a wall. It’s my kind of crowd. The theater also doesn’t show 20 minutes of promotions before they start what you came to see. I like that.
I saw probably 15 movies last year, including five of the nine Academy Award Best Picture nominations and have some suggestions for a business that has had some rough sledding of late.
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The last two years brought us four of the biggest bombs in history — “The Lone Ranger,” “John Carter,” “RIPD,” “Jack the Giant Slayer.” A.O. Scott of The New York Times had this to say about the state of cinema: “Fast-hardening conventional wisdom has declared 2013 the year of the flop, as one box office catastrophe has followed another, and would-be juggernauts with big stars, huge budgets and endless merchandising potential have proven to be flightless turkeys.”
So here is my suggestion to Hollywood. Stop making movies with lead characters viewers loathe. And that’s before they start to do things like drugs, disrespect all living things and commit infidelity. Example: “Wolf of Wall Street.” Who can rate this movie five stars like so many critics did?Lie cheat, steal, swallow pills, then repeat 10 times. The only part I liked was the credits. I saw “Captain Phillips.” How long was that movie? Phillips was stuck in a boat the size of bathtub where everyone drips in sweat while pointing guns. Loud long and lousy. Other than that, it was great.
Stop making movies with special effects and plot lines that induce migraines, like “Pacific Rim” — I didn’t see but I don’t need to. No one else did. Avoid black and white movies about Nebraska. Ever since they left the Big 12 I’ve been boycotting them. I saw “August: Osage County.” I really wanted to like the movie since it was an attempt at entertainment without 3D, CGI or elaborate gotcha plot lines.
It involves Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in a plate-throwing contest.
Cate Blanchett will win Best Actress and her performance in “Blue Jasmine” is worth the price of admission. Plus how fun will it be to watch her give the acceptance speech and have the ‘exit music’ begin blaring when she mentions her director!
“American Hustle” suffered from PPS — protracted plot scenes that had me looking for the fast forward button. Someone compared it to “The Sting.” Not even close. “Gravity” was worth seeing, but less of a movie and more of a documentary of coping without gravity. Still to see — “Philomena” and “12 Years a Slave.”
So here is a suggestion for screenwriters. Make uplifting movies. If you didn’t see the movie “Mud,” you missed the best picture of the year. There is a scene in that movie that if you don’t choke up you have an undiagnosed medical condition. You’re dead. Hollywood needs more movies about dogs. “Marley and Me” is the best movie of all time, followed by “My Dog Skip.” There is a reason why the best Super Bowl ad featured a puppy.
More stuff from Disney. I loved “Saving Mr. Banks.” “Dallas Buyers Club” was a worthy investment of time and money. Any movie with underdogs overcoming long odds and changing their hearts while inspiring your own is a sure winner.
I love coming-of-age movies. Rent “The Way Way Back” — funny, well done flick. Rent “Sandlot,” “Almost Famous” and “Bad News Bears” — the old and new one. Other movies on my best of all-time list — “Jeremiah Johnson” (1972 classic starring Robert Redford), “Patton,” “Man for All Seasons,” “Twelve Angry Men.”
If we don’t support family-friendly movies, they will stop making them. And then everything will resemble our cable programming. To me, at least, that is a very bleak prospect.