Certain films contribute to dumbing down of society


Courtesy photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Columnist Sean Flack fears a future similar to that presented in Mike Juge’s 2006 fill “Idiocracy,” in which extremely low-quality movies and shows have become the norm.

Sean Flack

There’s a scene in Mike Judge’s 2006 film, “Idiocracy,” where the character Frito is watching the most popular show in the nation: a show called “Ow, My Balls.” You see, the premise of the film is that 500 years into the future, society has become so stupid that shows like “Ow, My Balls” — which just consists of a guy getting hit in the nuts with various items — become insanely popular with the general public.

The idea might sound silly, but take a look around at our culture. I think all of us are slowly slipping into an idiocracy of our own.

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are the black plague of cinema. You might know them from their films “Date Movie,” “Epic Movie,” “Meet the Spartans,” “Disaster Movie” and “Vampires Suck.” There is no talent at all in their directing, and their writing and humor feels like something a monkey banged out on a typewriter.

So what kind of money do these films make? With the exception of “Disaster Movie,” all of their films have made between $84 and $86 million dollars in the box office. Those aren’t just little teenager numbers. Those are college student and adult numbers as well.

And before you take me to task for judging them unfairly, I actually have seen three of the five films, so I know what their jokes and everything are about.

Really the films follow this simple formula: painfully obvious pop culture reference + someone getting hit with something = movie. And I know the parody genre has never been the most refined, but Friedberg and Seltzer are producing complete piles of trash.

But you know, maybe I shouldn’t blame them. Maybe I should blame all the people who constantly buy tickets to their films. Have we become that dense of a society that we find a random cow falling on Iron Man funny? Have we become that shallow that seeing a bunch of girls in bikinis is just cause to spend $7 or more on a film?

Even when I take off my movie snob hat and look at it from a purely objective viewpoint, these films are simply not funny. But so many people think they are, and that’s partly why I think we’re slowly becoming dumber as a society.

Also worth noting is “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” a film that made $836 million in the box office. It’s also a film that consists of explosions, destruction and Megan Fox. That’s pretty much it. I know that these films have a certain niche audience, but if intellectually devoid films become popular, then they become the norm. And if they become the norm, then a lot of the general public are going to get their idea of entertainment from Michael Bay.

In my opinion, what you’re entertained by says volumes about your character. If a person is brought up on “Transformers” and Miley Cyrus jokes, then do you think they’re going to want to sit down and read a book, one that isn’t “Twilight”? Highly unlikely. I’ve never heard a person say they enjoy George Orwell and “What Happens in Vegas.”

It’s just unfortunate to me that we live in a society that doesn’t really value a good film. Yeah I know Oscar-winning films can become popular and such, but there is a whole world of amazing films out there that can invoke such strong emotions. Instead we’re subjected to seven sequels of “Saw” and countless formulaic romantic comedies in our movie theaters.

Well, on the bright side, at least I’ll be dead before “Ow, My Balls” becomes a regular TV staple.