The conundrum of Indiana Jones...

Already the pundits and prognosticators are predicting potential audience problems with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

So what?

The reviewers are paid to write witty and snarky reviews by their respective media outlets. Designed to boost the media's audience and little else. And, in the final analysis, it is still one person's opinion of the movie. So what? Who cares?

Pre-release reviews are worthless...

I do not much care for the pre-release reviews and those who write them. It is such an insular little group of self-important, self-righteous people. In fact, the only people they scare and who actually takes them seriously are studio people -- whose idea of courage is berating employees and pushing around those who can't fight back. These are the same fawning, sycophantic studio bureaucrats that kiss major butt when they want or need something from a more powerful person.

The real test... "word of mouth!"

I would much rather listen to the impromptu review from a friend, acquaintance or  colleague than I would some effete "critic" who somehow manages to believe that I believe movies are an "art form" and that I am looking for some intellectual stimulation or personal gratification.

Why I watch movies...

The truth is that I regard movies as a pleasant diversion from the grind of daily activities. Or a pleasant joint activity with someone I care about. Other than that, "art" is what is hung on the walls of a museum. And modern art is often a piece of crap with a catchy title -- and some learned soul telling you what it all means in a jargon best reserved for fantasy-land. If there is any art in a film, it is telling a visual story well enough to be understood without the sound track.

About my apparent taste in films: a professional opinion...

The late Gary Essert, the founder and director of the Los Angeles International Film Festival (FILMEX) and the founder and chief executive officer of the American Cinematheque used to tell me that my "taste was in my butt," but couldn't refute my basic argument: "Butt it's what I like that counts."  (Pun intended)

His partner aka "the other Gary," Gary Abrahams, would almost always defend my position -- "shut up Gary, do you know what he could do to our computer system."  These two guys were both major film "experts" and even they often disagreed on the nuances. 

But the one thing I learned from the Garys was that you can appreciate a film on many levels -- none of which are absolutely right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate, tasteful or untasteful. And, most importantly,  that the words of a critic, learned as they may be, was just another opinion.

The phenomenon ...

It seems that those who follow the film industry are always demanding a "blockbuster." And when a good movie does not produce "record profits" it is viewed as a failure. What crap. To me, their opinion counts even less than those of the critics.

I am not a fanatic or a teenager that must see the same movie multiple times in a week. I am not susceptible to the 'tween market peer pressure and would not, under any normal circumstances, buy logo'ed or themed clothing or tschatkes unless it was a gift for a child.

I do not dress up as a overweight Captain Kirk or plan to speak Vulcan anytime soon. I'm sorry, I actually have other, more important, things to do.

Therefore, the best the movie can do is get my one or two tickets -- or rental fee. If I really like the movie, I will buy a copy and add it to my collection.

Memo to Lucas and Spielberg...

You did what you did. It will be accepted, liked, loved or hated. It will be talked about. You are all wealthy and insulated from the daily grind -- so accept what is and don't lose any sleep over it.

And for the Frog reviewers...

Get over your bad little selves and stick to reviewing wine and cheese. Perhaps you can save someone from ingesting vinegar or poisoning themselves. Other than that, you are relatively worthless in my world.

Bottom line: I know what I like. So people like you have very little effect on people like me.  The true test is whether or not I will get up, spend $100 and go see a movie in a theatre or simply wait for the $2.5o video rental. Either way, I see the movie and am relatively happy.

According to the London Times Online...

Indiana Jones’s toughest task – facing the Cannes snake-pit

Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

"He has survived rolling balls of rock and defeated armies of Nazis with little more than a bull whip and a wonky smile. Now he faces perhaps his greatest challenge."

"This weekend the latest adventures of Indiana Jones, one of Hollywood’s favourite creations, will be thrown into the temple of art-house cinema at Cannes, to face the judgment of a horde of fiercely cerebral critics."

"Stepping out of his hotel yesterday, Harrison Ford, who reprises the role of the adventurous archaeologist, looked lean and fit. His jaw was still firm despite his 65 years and he still appeared quite capable of clinging to a rotten rope bridge should it tumble into a ravine."

To me, Harrison Ford is some old guy wearing an earring and  going about his daily activities. The fact that he becomes Indiana Jones on the screen is the true test of his ability. And he has not failed me yet.

"Even as he strode into town, however, there were premonitions of danger. A review of the new film on the website Ain’t it Cool, said to have been written by an executive after a preview, compared it to the much-maligned Star Wars prequels and described it as 'the Indiana movie that you were dreading'. The writer added: “It’s definitely not a good ‘Indy’ movie.”

These are the insiders and fans who really dissect the movie, spot the obvious errors, and endlessly debate the nuances of the action, cinematography, the quality of the audio. Fine. It keeps them off the streets and busy within their own little world.

Like most studio executives, producers and actors, I do not know exactly what makes a movie a hit. I know the elements that are supposed to be present, the timing and all of the other technical folderol... but, at least for me, that is all suspended for about 120 minutes while I watch the movie as a diversion.

Good luck Indy...

No matter how it may turn out, I will still like the Indiana Jones movies, some more than others, but I don't think that any review would keep me from seeing for myself how Indy manages to, once again, escape harm -- all while displaying that wry sense of humor that the writers manage to impart in each adventure.

What can YOU do?

In the final analysis, only one opinion actually counts -- yours. Decide for yourself whether or not a movie is worthwhile.

If spending the money on a film bothers you, you should not be spending it! If it still bothers you, wait until the DVD release -- and see it at a friend's house (preferably on a large screen television).

Don't count other people's marbles unless you are in the game.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: "Opinions are like assholes -- everyone has one." -- anon.

A reminder from a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Indiana Jones’s toughest task – facing the Cannes snake-pit - Times Online

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS