The Problem With Passable Movies

The Problem With Passable Movies

Is your reaction yours, or are you reacting the way you do because you’re mimicking something you saw over and over in movies and on TV?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself for over 15 years now, right after I witnessed a friend reacting to his own life the way Dawson from Dawson’s Creek had the Sunday before. (Before judging, please remember that back then, we only had four channels on TV in France and little content specifically geared toward teenagers.)

And I’m sure you’ve gone through that too: is this reaction authentic or is it a mash-up of hundreds of hours of stories digested in my subconscious and resurfacing as my emotions? Mind-boggling.

That is the most interesting point in The Nerdwriter‘s video essay ‘Epidemic of Passable Movies‘. The obvious point he first make is that there are more and more passable movies, which is true and exhausting. There is just enough in passable movies to sustain their heads out of the water, but they are mp3s of an original. After each compression there’s a loss you can’t name but you feel deep down.

The less obvious argument, and the one that really got my attention, is that passable movies tend to repeat each other shortcuts, and that has become a problem in real life. Everybody reacts the same in X situation, geeks write brilliant equations on windows, love declarations are always better with rain (how can you really think that in real life it’s better?), and to have a blast at a party, you should be raising a red plastic cup on a hip-hop tune.

What the Nerdwriter points out is that those shortcuts, by spreading through passable movies watched by millions are effectively becoming the new norm of reactions, and what started as an ok idea to show something on screen in one movie has become the way we think it should be. Levelling down our reality through passable movies and reduced imagination. Disturbing.

I don’t know what’s the solution (besides watching less films but better ones, and read more). I’m sure that it has now become impossible to take ownership of our full range of emotions and reactions. We are constantly influenced, life has become a giant editing room, and we got accustomed to associate music and images with Y or Z emotions.

Smells are all that are left to us. And the rise of meditation and yoga to counterbalance this wave is no surprise.

This is pure food for thoughts.

Watch the video and see for yourself: