Friday, December 28, 2007

'90s (Melo)Drama

My quest to catch up on a decade of missed movies is making me realize why I didn't watch those movies in the first place. Is it just me or does every drama movie made in the 1990s suck? Okay, I have not yet seen Unforgiven and I did like The Shawshank Redemption. Although, the latter had the typical '90s bent where everything horrible that can happen to a character will happen and then the ending will try to make us feel good about ourselves. Or something like that. At the same time, Shawshank was a lot deeper than most '90s dramas so I can't knock it. I can, however, knock every other '90s drama I have ever watched.

Movies are one of my hobbies. I admit I am a picky viewer. Before I rent or go to the theatre I spend hours reading reviews to decide if I will like the movie I'm thinking of watching. I frequently change my mind and don't bother spending the money. Basically, I need to enjoy a movie. If I can tell I'm going to hate it without going to the trouble of watching it then why watch it? Sometimes I ignore the reviewers, however, as in the case of The Alamo (2004). Sometimes ignoring reviews is a good thing. In fact, I would say ignoring the reviews I remember from certain movies made in the 1990s would have been a great idea.

But no. I had to watch Dances With Wolves, Legends of the Fall, Shakespeare in Love and The Cider House Rules. That's about as much sampling as I am willing to do at this point. Some movie maker should have done the world a favor and burned the scripts before producing such total crap. I can tell you right now that I am never going to watch Fight Club or Titanic. My motto for dramas made at that time is "zip, zero, zilch." No more. Nada. I'm not doing it to myself again. Let me explain my objections in more detail.

For starters, Dances ushered in the era of bad '90s epics. It was definitely the one that started the crappy movies. Now, I believe the federal government was pretty horrible to Native Americans. Don't get me wrong with what I say next. After watching Dances I just had to wonder, how can the viewer consider the Native Americans to be compassionate in this movie? They slaughtered this poor girl's family, but then they took her in and cared for her? Does this seem counter-intuitive to anyone besides me? I mean, logic, people. If they had not killed her family then her family could have cared for her and nobody would have been, well, dead. Moving on . . .

The next movie crime I have listed is a conundrum to me. Please tell me, does anyone even understand Legends of the Fall? It's the horrible story of a horrible character who lives a horrible life and sleeps with a lot of random people and everyone loves him because he's speshul, but the audience is never told why he is speshul. He just is. In reality there is nothing redeeming about him whatsoever except that he might, possibly be attractive to some woman somewhere when he himself does not look like a woman. And he fights a bear or something like that.

Shakespeare deserves little more than a footnote from me. Good job Colin Firth. As for the rest of it, the story was eaten by the message and the characters were ridiculous. Cider Houser Rules manages to have good characters, but the plot is pointless, meandering and completely overcome by it's cumbersome, hamfisted message. That message being, of course, the same pro-abortion argument that every "pro-choicer" ever makes: People can't control themselves. They're going to have abortions anyway so they might as well be clean and legal. Oh, and what about cases of rape and incest? Puhleeze. Those arguments don't even address the broader picture. We're talking about human life. Not to digress.

These examples prove one thing to me. '90s dramas were formulaic. The characters were mostly pathetic. The plots were long, winding and predictable. Emphasis was placed on the oddest, most meaningless moments in the whole movie. Wherein certain characters would suddenly act in ways they would not normally act. The message was the only strong part of the movie and it was shoved down your throat with a pitchfork. The music. Oh, the music. Make it stop, please make it stop. There's just nothing redeeming about these movies. I would say the only reason to watch them is so that you can hone your critical thinking skills.

My quest has ended. Henceforth, I shall only watch movies that seem good to me. The decade of 1990s movie making can sink back into its mire because I am done pursuing it. That is, except for the action movies and some of the family movies. Those were decent if not good.

No comments: