Blockbuster Fatigue

I was trying to find something to watch the other night—you know, a movie. I scrolled through all the new On Demand options and everything that was "hot" on Netflix . . . And it was all sci-fi and action-adventure and big-scale crap. And I wasn't in the mood for that.

Seriously, my eyes started to glaze over. Every option looked alike. Even the posters, all blues and blacks and silvers . . . Every now and then a brownish one that made me think of pollution . . .


I tried to narrow down my choices. I looked for a comedy, but they were all older and stuff I'd seen, or else the raunchy stuff I don't find funny.

Clearly the studios are mostly targeting men. And China, which has a huge, insatiable appetite for the epic blockbusters. Every now and then a little indie film comes along, but you never hear about those so much as stumble upon them accidentally, assuming they're lucky enough to get distribution of some kind. But those middle movies? The rom-coms, for example? Nobody will make them any more because there is this prevailing notion that movies like that won't sell. And the idea isn't entirely unfounded; look at how poorly Blended did.

But then also look at how well 22 Jump Street did this weekend. And yes, women went to see it. (I want to see it; I thought the first one was great.) But that movie wasn't targeted at women; that women want to see Channing Tatum is just a happy side effect for the studio.

I don't know where I'm going with this except to say I'm tired of having to go re-watch Dodgeball or whatever to find something that suits my mood. I'm tired of my only current options being big science fiction and action movies. I'm tired of not being able to find what I want to watch because studios don't make those movies any more.

What did I end up watching? Well, I had the disc for The Young Victoria in from Netflix, so I popped that in. It was okay. Not great but kind of a nice, quiet break from all the pounding action films. And I do like Emily Blunt. (Who, coincidentally, stars in Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise . . . another big sci-fi flick. Because roles for women have been shunted into "sexy sidekick/love interest" territory.)

Dramas now go to television to be born . . . Though we're in danger of losing comedies on the small screen now, and the dramas themselves are skewing ever darker, ever closer to the same sci-fi thrillers of the film trade. Hmm. While I think some of the best work—writing, acting, etc.—is being done for television now, I do worry it will all start to look and sound alike, too.

Honestly, it's like going into the produce section of a store, and all they have is a bunch of different kinds of apple. There are some differences in flavor and color, but they're all apples and the texture is pretty much the same. And I think, What if I don't want an apple? What if I want an orange or a banana or something like a mango? But good luck finding it.

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