Saturday, December 5, 2009

Disney Deals Drugs, Slays Miramax

A special HOOT Award ((Horrendous Outrageous O Terrible!) goes to Disney for its role in dumbing down American cinema. Miramax Films, with a decades-long legacy of intelligent drama from independent creative thinkers, has just released its very last movie ever, ironically titled “Everybody’s Fine.”

Why? Melena Ryzik, reporting on the story, doesn’t hold any punches:

“[Miramax], started by the Weinstein brothers and a key player in the history of independent film in this country, has been progressively disemboweled by its parent, the Walt Disney Company.”

(“A Bittersweet Night for a Not-So-Fine Miramax,” Dec 4, New York Times)

Finally some muckraking journalism that isn’t afraid to tell it like it is: “PROGRESSIVELY DISEMBOWELED.” Brava, Ryzik!

In the photograph accompanying the article, you can see the sorrow in Robert DeNiro’s face as he witnesses this gross tragedy.

Why has Disney done this? The same reason that other corporate overlords are killing off or strangling down their indie theater cells: profit. The flicks that make lurid amounts of money are not the ones that induce reflection on the nature of life.

Along with Disney, these IQ killing leviathans include Viacom, Time Warner and Paramount.

The Director of “Everybody’s Fine” comments:

“It seems to me that people at the top are saying we don’t want to do adult drama, there’s nobody that wants to be reminded of the real world, they want escapist cinema,” he said. “I love watching sci-fi movies and romantic comedies and teenage movies as much as anyone else, but I think it’s about balance, and you have to have adult drama because that’s often one of the few categories that makes people leave the cinema thinking about their own lives and reflecting on who they are and how they are in the world.”

(“A Bittersweet Night for a Not-So-Fine Miramax,” Dec 4, New York Times)

There you have it. People want “escapist cinema,” so Disney is willing to supply them with their mind-numbing drug: the movie equivalent of video games. Hey, why not. Let’s pander to a low urge to hide from reality. Let’s foster a nation of shallow thrill seekers, who goo-goo on the edge of their seats, waiting for the latest techno effect, and the largest flashiest amounts of catastrophe and blood.

The dumber people are, the easier to control. The more addicted. And the addicted can be financially pumped by the one who controls the desideratum.

What we witness, in the death of Miramax, is not just the end of a great production company, one that allowed us a window into our souls. We witness a critical and heartbreaking moment in the plummeting history of film.

The philosopher Socrates distilled his learning down to one all-important statement: Know Thyself. So vast in wisdom was this motto that it was inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

What Disney has done, in the name of Mammon and to the detriment of Miramax, is chisel away this phrase. It has ripped “Know Thyself” out of the very essence of movie-making. To the extent that cinema could have been a source of moral and psychological leadership, Disney has disemboweled not only Miramax but hope itself.

A grim truth rears: the quest for knowledge lies dead in the boardrooms of movie moguls, they who bow down before Transformers, pyrotechnics, and toons. They would have celluloid become the equivalent of Soma, that happy pill of the populace in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Hold onto your seats, and clutch your popcorn tight. We are embarking on a horror-movie trip, into the bowels of cineplex hedonism.

Welcome to the Dark Age of Virtual Titillation.

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