Thoughts On “Reboots”

I have a few thoughts today on the subject of reboots. In the last five years, the movie industry has gone crazy for the reboot, largely because of the ease of recycling characters and stories and adapting them for contemporary audiences.

It’s a trend that has grown in prominence, and has become a part of pop culture. Basically, if anyone thinks that they can create an adequate take on a movie, they can buy the rights and go nuts.

Now, it’s one thing to do movies that celebrate older classics, like The Italian Job or Ocean’s 11 or other memorable movies. They’ve been out of the public consciousness for decades, and the stories are fun to return to. It is the recent trend of rebooting movies that are barely a few years old that is truly irritating.

An easy way to determine the usefulness of reboots is to look at the superhero spectrum. Batman shines as an example of a great reboot that challenged audiences and pushed the envelope. Looking at Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk… not so much. Spiderman had the recent movies that started off amazingly strong, then turned to decent mediocrity. Is a possibly awful reboot necessary five years later? No.

How was this necessary???

Likewise, the Incredible Hulk has been through two mediocre reboots and will be rebooted for a third time in the new Avengers movie. …Yay? Not really.

To give an example of a planned reboot that simply seems stupid no matter what, look no further than Charlies Angels. The TV show was adapted for the big screen in the early 2000’s, and was moderately successfully, despite having little quality or substance. Essentially, they were throwaway movie that were completely forgettable. However, producers refuse to let the concept die, and have ordered that Charlies Angels be rebooted again for TV. I don’t even need to know details, because I know that it’s gonna be mediocre- just like the last reboot was.

To sum this whole things up? Reboots are a good idea in some cases. Franchises that have since turned dormant, stale, or outdated may need to be rebooted if they have an audience of fans who will appreciate it.

However, rebooting just for the sake of rebooting because a cash cow didn’t perform well enough is pointless and stupid. Essentially, it walks a very thin line between filling a useful role and being generally pointless and irritating.

The most defining feature of a reboot lies with the effort and love that is poured into it. Audiences can immediately tell whether or not its a cash grab or not, and the box office results often speak for themselves. One thing is for sure- Hollywood is so very out of ideas right now that it’s getting kind of sad.

Arthur Review

I went into Arthur expecting to laugh and have a good time, but I did not realize going in how much I would be rewarded by the movie. It was undoubtedly one of my favorites in the last few years, and will be infinitely quoted far after it stops being funny to do so.

Arthur is the story of a completely spoiled man-child who lives his life completely irresponsibly, squandering his corporate inheritance in joyous fashion. His good times are interrupted by his mother, who insists that he marry a woman who he doesn’t love, so that she can run the company instead of him. His distaste for this proposal is amplified by his meeting with a quirky woman who makes him feel like bettering himself for the first time. As a result, Arthur needs to choose between being cut off from his money because of his new love, or marrying and retaining his lifestyle.

This movie was simply hilarious. Arthur’s ridiculous escapades are a joy to tag along with, as they mount in absurdity and excess. Almost every single line elicited a laugh from me, because of the animated performances of the actors and the absurdity of their adventures.

There is a nice balance of visual humor and wordplay that exists in this movie that keeps things fresh and engaging. My personal favorite aspect with the movie was Arthur’s fascination with buying completely stupid things and deliberately paying too much money for them, just because he could. I’ve got a good blueprint for how to live an eccentric life now.

And you know what? I almost cried at the end as Arthur searches for purpose and happiness. And I don’t hardly ever do that. Most of the time.

Russell Brand really surprised me. I knew he had some charisma, after he played a completely likable jerk in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But I was blown away by the emotional depth that he displayed, and the ability to get a good laugh out of people in a fairly clean way (for him). His performance was a dizzying combination of Jack Sparrow and Michael Jackson (run with it), and he managed to perfectly walk the line between eccentricity and childishness.

The other truly bright note was Helen Mirren. I have been amazed by her comedy ability after seeing this and Red. Who would have thought that a woman with such dignity and gravitas could get so many laughs from an audience with every quip? One thing is for sure- she is an awesome actress. She was perfect as Arthur’s long suffering nanny/ mother surrogate.

Put simply, Arthur is delightful. It’s been a long time that I laughed  consistently through the movie, and felt so good afterward. Underneath the ridiculousness, there is a warm story about changing your heart and finding meaning in life.

Finding Enjoyment In Procedural Shows

One of the constants that one can find on TV at any given time are the procedural shows. These are the programs that you feel like you’ve already seen, even if they are brand new. And in a way, the feeling is a well deserved one, since some of these TV staples have been in existence for as long as anyone can remember.

These procedural shows are a comfortably familiar affair for most people. These include, but are not limited to, gritty cop drama, medical drama, family sitcoms, legal drama, and science fiction mainstays. Every person who watches TV has viewed one of these procedural shows, and most people have a specific favorite that they particularly enjoy.

We picjk out things that suit our entertainment tastes, and we gravitate to them because they are fun to watch. It it familiar and derivative? Of course. But it’s in the familiarity that the fun can be had. For example, I like to watch NCIS and CSI because I can usually guess who the bad guy is in the first 10 minutes of the show, and I like to play detective.

Others like family sitcoms (like The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother) because they are comforting and have a fun outlook on life. Others enjoy science fiction shows because they usually are campy and ridiculous (like Eureka). We all find enjoyment in TV because of the fun we can have while watching.

So, what is it that makes these shows enjoyable? It’s not the uniqueness of the concept or the way that the show is striking new ground. No, it’s because the show is familiar and instantly identifiable. It’s being able to exclaim “He’s dead!” when watching cop shows, or yell out “THEY DID IT” during legal shows. It’s having fun with the fact that the good guys win, and the bad guys lose.

So, here’s to the procedural show! Everyone has one that they watch (if not 6), so everyone can relate. Having a favorite and watching it religiously is part of the fun of the experience.

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