The Movie Scab Reviews: The Baby Boomer Generation & the Movies.
"The scab you're picking at is called execution."
--American film producer Scott Rudin.
Monkey Boy says, "Ack! Ack! Me want Blue Phillip's talk Baby Boomers and movies! Ack! Ack!"
In his GQ article titled "The Day the Movies Died," Mark Harris quotes American film producer Scott Rudin as saying, "The scab you're picking at is called execution."
That's the scab I'm picking at here. It's associated with movies, of course, but I'm also referring to our movie-going society, and thus, from time to time, when Monkey Boy doesn't pick a movie for me to review, I'll do a little social commentary. Like I'm going to do today.
Mark Harris argues that the current state of movie-making in Hollywood is so bad, the only conclusion one can come to is that the future of movies doesn't look very bright--certainly not bright (or cool) enough to wear shades (anymore).
He puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of Hollywood, where it belongs, of course. Big budget movies like Top Gun, marketing and PR companies that demand product and sales over quality execution and good storytelling, money, greed, and a fear to produce original stories over movies that guarantee success, i.e., sequels, remakes/reboots, and comic book characters (because of money and greed), and finally, us--we, the movie going audience--are guilty as hell, and he's right on all counts.
But I think there's a group of people that Harris neglected to focus upon in detail, and I believe they shoulder most of the guilt: The Baby Boomer Generation.
Thanks to them and their '60s mythos, most movies suck big green donkey dicks today. Now, I know that's a sweeping donkey genitalia generality, and probably unfair to donkeys and their dicks. Not every Baby Boomer is to blame, it's true--but a lot of them are, and it's time someone held their hypocritical feet to the fire.
By the 1990s, the core Baby Boomer beliefs, values, and attitudes were deeply imbedded in our society and, of course, in the movies, but back in the 1970s Hollywood hadn't been fully indoctrinated yet. The indoctrination had, in fact, only just begun.
Thus, I look at the 1970s as a sort of golden age for movies, due in part to what I think was an unintended stroke of luck: Buoyed by the populist movement of the '60s, movie-makers found a momentary freedom they hadn't quite experienced before. There was a rash of experimentation with language, sex, violence, and storytelling. I'm not suggesting it was all great. Clearly, there were plenty of crappy movies made in the 1970s, and Hollywood dealt with the problem of execution just as it deals with it today, but a freedom existed within the movie-making community that hardly exists in our time, and the reason for that, I believe, is because of the Baby Boomer Generation. It flamed-out by the late-1980s, the Baby Boomer indoctrination taking a firm hold within the Hollywood elite simply because they were... wait for it… wait for it… Baby Boomers. In other words, they were the people who now controlled Hollywood.
(A dangerous by-product of their takeover came right out of their groovy, tolerant hippie camp: Political correctness, the censorship board of our day, one of the other reasons movies are dying.)
To explore this in detail, I'll have to tell it from what I remember as a kid growing up in the 1970s.
This goes pretty long, so put your feet up, sip some coffee and bear with me. Or don't.
I have to admit that I bought into the whole ‘60s Generation mythos when I was a kid. I was led to believe that they were the Greatest Generation America ever produced, the only generation that mattered. Yep. I wanted to be a Baby Boomer 1960s Generation hippie Jesus Christ Superstar!
I grew up with lots of Baby Boomers. Most of them were my schoolteachers. Some had experienced Woodstock. They’d seen Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison, had long hippie hair, considerable facial hair, and some of the women even had the hairy hippie armpits. Some shot heroin, dropped acid, smoked pot, and read books by 1960s populist movement community organizers like, God bless him, nerd-eternal Saul Alinksky. And some just shot heroin, dropped acid, and smoked pot.
(I have to pause here and ask: What reasonable human being could take Saul Alinksky's work seriously? Right? Right. Saul Alinksy was and will always be a cartoon. I mean, come on. The guy dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to Satan. Every word that followed from that point was satire--unless, you know, you didn't get the joke. Then the joke's on you.)
In my earliest memories, I remember seeing lots of Baby Boomers with hopeful faces, young people making peace signs with their fingers, growling out the mainstream, marijuana-gorged, “Jesus loves you, man.” I remember hearing the word love a lot. Everyone used it in my childhood. Love, love, love.
If it feels good, do it was thrown around plenty on television and in the music and vernacular of the time, as well as the mantra of their generation: Question Authority! They even printed their mantra on my Iron On tee-shirts, next to the Rolling Stones' big red tongue logo, “save the whales” and the famous image of super cool revolutionary Che Guevara, an image that, as a child, I thought represented good times and fun, kind of like Mickey Mouse with a gun, cigar, and blood on his hands.
And for most of my childhood, I really felt like some kind of revolution was in the air, and that seemed like a good thing to me at the time. It pricked my body all over, golden fingers of electric guitar-high voltage that sang to my child’s heart and mind: “I believe them! There is so much promise in all of this! I want to be a part of it!”
In my later memories--well into my teenage years--I saw the same Baby Boomer faces, but they'd changed, at least, the ones that hadn't asphyxiated in their vomit, overdosed on heroin, or died of alleged heart failure. (Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison.) Some of the surviving faces resembled hammered tin that’s been burnt, scorched by fire, while others hid the truth beneath heavy 1980s makeup and perfectly coiffed hairdos, or behind the wheel of successful BMW Yuppie realtor attitude, or even by wearing Don Johnson’s Miami Vice white linen suit. Still, it was all right there, easy enough to see in their Wayfarer eyes: Irises made of the same stuff, hammered and burnt tin casting a cold reflection like the ruins of a broken mirror.
Their Real Thing smiles were not merely gone, they were long-gone, abandoned with the peace signs I grew up with. If it feels good, do it was done to death on TV and in the music and vernacular of the time, replaced with What’s love got to do with it? and It’s the economy, stupid. The mantra of their generation twisted into: Don’t Question Our Authority, the poor, forgotten whales taking a backseat to Reality Television and super cool revolutionary Che reduced to pop icon status, now merely a jukebox hero with a heart of gold and the best intentions, his hands rinsed clean like Pontius Pilate.
But what I remember more than anything else about them is a quiet, unspoken desperation, a soul-killing devastation no revolutionary wants to admit to, and far beneath that empty silence, buried below the suicidal rock legends of the Sixties and Seventies, a steady scrambling that sounded like a pack of frenzied rats digging for a revolution that failed.
Cool? Not so much. Smart? Probably not. Sad? You bet.
All the hope, peace, and love the Baby Boomers and their Radical Revolution raised me to believe in, none of it was even there when I finally reached adulthood. It had driven away in bigfatstupid SUVs and run for Congress and President, determined, it seemed, to take over and control the world. What had happened to all the happy young people on the soda pop hilltop with their arms wrapped around one another singing for peace and harmony, the generation that just wanted to buy the world a Coke and keep it company? They had vanished with The Mystic Tide.
Or perhaps they hadn't existed at all.
Whatever the case may be, their hypocrisy broke my heart. Their failure and deceit scorched a deep cynicism within me. And thus spoke Zarathustra: Generation X was born.
The conclusion: The Baby Boomers helped create Generation X. (The Millennials and their sense of entitlement are the pure babies or by-products of the Baby Boomer Generation, but Generation X wouldn't be what it became without the immense failure and hypocrisy that is the glorious legacy of the Baby Boomer Generation.)
And, more to the point, they created the Hollywood that killed the movies.
They succeeded in changing Hollywood. They remade it into their image with their ideological baggage and fanatical dedication to indoctrinating the nation to their way of thinking. They are the real culprits behind the death of the movies.
And, come on, seriously. Since they've been in control, what exactly have they given us?
1.) A country that's sliding into financial oblivion.
2.) A much less tolerant people whose behavior and language is policed by the politically correct elitists they created.
3.) And movies that, nine times out of ten, suck big green donkey dicks.
Like the nation itself, the Baby Boomer Generation has brought the movies to the brink of doom.
But don't take my word for it. I'm a Generation Xer, cynical as hell. Take it from one of their own: I was at a bar recently, drinking Irish whiskey with a hairy, graying Baby Boomer biker nicknamed Grog (don't make fun of his nickname, he wouldn't like that), and he growled, "When did my generation become so fucking puritanical? We've become everything we said we weren't going to be." He paused, reflecting on his comment, and then added, "No. That ain't right. The truth is, we were never what we said were in the first place. Man, we've fucked up everything!"
And that would include the movies.
My rating for the Baby Boomer Generation: 10 vodka martini Denials, shaken, not stirred, with a shot of cool heroin, a dose of alcohol poisoning mixed with a bout of alleged heart failure on top of a crispy bed of total and complete narcissism.
Check out the GQ article by Mark Harris at the link below:
- The Day the Movies Died: Movies + TV: GQ
No, Hollywood films aren't going to get better anytime soon. Mark Harris on the (potential) death of the great American art form