On my recent flight back to New York from San Francisco, I had the displeasure of viewing an episode of The Blacklist on NBC Universal. When flying American Airlines on transcontinental flights, first there’s a movie, then clips from NBC talk shows, and then an episode or two of a current sitcom or drama. The Blacklist was that show. I viewed the first episode of The Big Bang Theory on an American Airlines flight. For the record, I didn’t think the show would make it past the first season based on episode one. However, I loved Cheers from the first episode despite the poor initial ratings and that turned out pretty well.
So there I am, at 35,000 feet watching a little girl be kidnapped despite being protected by the military, which is silly to begin with. The kidnappers escape by boat, which is waiting by the bridge over which the convoy is driving. The little girl is the daughter of a general and was being guarded by a new, inexperienced agent. But who cares if people buy that nonsense. Later, when the police discover that the girl is left at the zoo, it appears to be a happy ending. But then, this same new detective, who feels responsible for the little girl’s kidnapping, unzips her jacket, revealing a bomb. Never mind the fact that we’re on an airplane, the writer who came up with the idea to strap a bomb to a little girl, obviously ran out of ideas. Another bad guy or good guy, removes the bomb vest just prior to her being blown to bits. Nice. It’s sick and demented. What’s happened is, Hollywood has become like the drug addict who continually needs new and stronger drugs to achieve the same high. With fewer and fewer original and creative ideas, apparently the only way keep an audience interested is to find new ways to shock. A bomb strapped to a five-year-old achieves that desired result I suppose. I for one am sick of it
Gratuitous violence is simply unacceptable. As a Martial Artist, I have seen violence. I have fought hundreds of times and suffered injuries and inflicted injuries, even breaking the leg of another competitor which caused me to reconsider competitive fighting. But Martial Artists need to fight each other in order to perfect their techniques. It allows you to learn what you do well and what needs to be improved. It’s real, not acting. It’s two men or two women facing off against each other and may the best person win. Each one understands and accepts what’s about to take place and the potential results and possible consequences. But Hollywood violence isn’t creative or real which is another reason why it’s so easy to get carried away. Today’s violence in movies isn’t about a shark staking a claim to a beach, and chewing people up in the surf. It’s simply violence for violence sake. While the world loved the Dark Knight, I despised it. There was no goal to the violence. What did the Joker want? We never really know other than the fact he gets a thrill from it and that’s not a good premise for a movie. It’s the very definition of terrorism (indiscriminate violence) and despite the actors performances, I could not get past the senselessness.
Hollywood financiers, executives and actors need to support other creative endeavors that don’t center around such meaningless violence meant to stir the emotions of movie-goers. Hollywood often criticizes the NRA for fighting for the right to own the firearms of their choice. The firearms are the same weapons and in most instances, less deadly firearms than Hollywood uses, under the guise that it’s only make believe. In other words, if guns, and bloodshed results in a profit, it’s ok. Will Smith once said that his grandma told him that if he was really musically talented, he wouldn’t need to curse constantly. He never cursed again. Hollywood should take the same advice as it relates to violence and run with it.