A-list stars making B-list films

This was not a great weekend to go to the theater for a movie. “Immortals,” “J. Edgar” and “Jack and Jill” all opened to terrible reviews from critics. They are large budget cinematic adventures with huge stars and massive marketing campaigns, and yet they will all most likely last only a few weeks on the silver screen before their inevitable fall from mediocrity to obscurity on the shelves of movie rental stores and Netflix queues. Even a caveman could realize that “Jack and Jill,” a film in which Adam Sandler has male and female lead roles, was never going to be successful in theaters. For those of you who have not suffered through the preview, I would encourage you to watch it in order to understand my frustration, but then again, I do not think anyone should experience the two minutes of misery that is the “Jack and Jill” trailer. Every year without fail, movies that are filled with superstars and bursting with hype seem to flood theaters and promptly fall into obscurity. This is not some great revelation or new trend in cinema, but with the increasing ease of accessibility to media, these movies, or at least their God-awful trailers, have become easier to find. Actors who once had promising careers, like Nicholas Cage, are now starring in movies that make a movie critic want to run headfirst into a film projector. Cage, who starred in films like “Raising Arizona” and “The Rock,” now tries to wow audiences with what could best be described as filth, including “Season of the Witch” and “Drive Angry.” Cage is not alone in his fall from stardom. Robert De Niro, an actor who starred in some of the greatest movies ever made, has recently been in films that include “Little Fockers” and “Killer Elite.” Need I say more? De Niro’s downfall and Cage’s apparent acceptance of his role as a mediocre actor are not unique. Mediocrity is a plague that seems to rest in Hollywood with no desire for departure. Directors make movies that only a fool would believe will be successful, and writers write scripts that a kindergartener would find simple. Just because people will see the film does not mean it needs to be made. Winston Churchill once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” This same logic can be applied to Hollywood. The average moviegoer may not see every “Jack and Jill” type film that premieres, but they will see some. Like voters who need a great candidate to get fired up about voting, moviegoers need stimulating films in order to feel entertained. It is insulting to moviegoers to think that we as an audience have a strong desire to suffer through ninety minutes of stupidity and mindless chatter. I do not believe there is a simple solution to ending the monstrosities that appear in theaters most weekends, but when the best movie release for a week is the latest Harry Potter film on DVD, it is time for change.

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