Pondering Movies: The Loss Of The Zeitgeist


The passing of time makes me look fondly at older movies, movies that I saw when I was younger. It is simply getting more and more difficult to find enjoyment in mainstream Hollywood movies. A decade or so ago, films like Cast Away or Vanilla Sky were huge movies that made money yet they were also highly enjoyable. They were star driven movies in a time before CGI ruled, when audiences went to see actors and stories before mindless CGI spectacles and constant visual kinetics.

The climate has changed. Most of the money made in movies comes from teenagers. They want action, action which competes with computer games and with the million other forms of entertainment that vie for their attention. They’re not interested in dialogue: they want explosions and action. They don’t want character development: they want thrills and excitement.

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas recently spoke of a cinematic ‘implosion’. I can feel it. Cinema as we know it is dying. The narrative thrust of moments and dialogue will soon all be gone. We live in the last days of Krypton. Good stories are now migrating to television. This is now the future, our last hope. Television like Mad Men, Hatfields And McCoys and Behind The Candelabra (to name a few) show that there is talent out there, that great script writing exists,that powerful moments can still be created when people sit in a room and talk.

Now consider how Candelabra and Hatfields were both developed as films but that a ‘lack of audience’ saw them make their debuts on television. Films like Pulp Fiction, The Graduate, The Sixth Sense, Jaws, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Ghostbusters, Psycho, seeped into modern culture, they captured the zeitgeist and permeated our hearts, our souls and our minds. This no longer happens. When was the last time you heard a piece of dialogue quoted at you such as “I see dead people” from The Sixth Sense, or heard music as iconic as Jaws? A time when everyone knew what it meant. It doesn’t happen anymore.

It’s sad. That moment of wonder, just before the curtain rises is a dying art. I still hope for a life changing moment, that I’ll get to see something that influences my life and thinking in lots. However, I know that window of opportunity is closing. It is time for a new generation to experience that magic though I think when I experienced it, it was some of the best.