July 30, 2006
The latest “Ask Slashdot” post on Slashdot asks the question of why movies have been so bad lately. The answer is simple, I think: it’s always been like this. Every year, there are a few great films that critics adore and a few films that garner wide popular acclaim–sometimes they even intersect!–but it is foolish to talk of the current situation as if it were a recent development. There were no “good old days” of film, just like there was no such period in American history (much as many conservatives would like us to believe otherwise).
While the divide between critical perception and popular reception has perhaps grown wider as of late, the fact remains that films are primarily a money-making enterprise. Certainly this is the case with the big summer movies, which must appeal to as wide an audience as possible or fail to make back even their bloated budgets. The results are quite often execrable. As Theodore Sturgeon said, “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” It was true then, and it is true now.
–D. S. W.