A movie formula that never seems to work for me is the chirpy, innovative American kid marooned in an historical location in order to solve bygone conundrums with the application of a little enthusiastic Yankee know-how.

The cliché is tired to the point of prostrate drooling, and I blame Bing Crosby. From the 1949 Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (a travesty of an adaptation of Mark Twain's classic work, but a movie I love in its own right if I conveniently overlook the snubbing of its literary underpinning), Bing and his team fashioned a frothy zip of a film that plumbed little of Twain's depth, deciding instead to endorse the honeyed stylings of Bing's always amenable vocal chords and the smooth quips of forties jazzland.

A more recent dip into this stagnant pond is Jack Black's Gulliver's Travels, which similarly ignored its considerable allegorically belletristic roots and chose instead to focus on inconsequential comic buffoonery to clumsily decorate a contrived moral message that bears little relation to any in the source material.

Why do they fucking do this? To take a respected synopsis of the human condition and dilute it to a point where it lacks any potency not only smacks of desperation, it begs the ire of the audience. A sure way to hurt a movie's box office is to dismiss the punters as gormless, vacant, dollar-dropping dupes. I say the same thing occasionally to my more contrary editors when they question my use of a “too clever” word or phrase. As a reader, I relish being introduced to words and expressions I don't know: I think other people do too. Such idioms bolster vocabularies and make us feel smarter. It's a win-win. I don't have much time for anyone that didactically dumbs down language because they consider the majority of the population to be illiterate web-fingered rubes. It's the ultimate in transparent arrogance.

So now they've decided to release Your Highness, set in a fantasy-medieval setting wherein the characters affect modern American sensibilities for entertainment purposes (I didn't like A Knight's Tale either, motherfuckers): another great idea for a movie ruined by producers pandering to "the kids" that's just plain fucking insulting to watch. And guess what? The "kids" don't like it either.

People know when they're been talked down to, no matter what their age. How come Hollywood hasn't figured this out, yet? Didn’t you watch Gladiator or LOTR?

THAT’S how you make a fucking movie, boys. I think there’s some extremely stupid people in Hollywood. Really stupid people with lots of money. No wonder they go broke so often.

On an indicative note....

I had a girlfriend once look up from her Cosmo and loudly exclaim, “oh I love him!” when Professor Stephen Hawking popped up on the TV. She was one of the stupidest people I've ever met (I’m somewhat ashamed, I have to admit, to have dated her purely because of looks) so my eyes darted wildly in her direction while I remained outwardly placid, simulating the reading of my newspaper. My initial knee-jerk was she was some alien doppelganger planted while I wasn't paying attention. The world slowed into bullet time as I autonomically began noting nearby potential weaponry and planning my parkour escape.

Poised for fight or flight, every muscle and sinew tautly vibrating, synapses firing like a bank of chain guns, my voice nervously wobbled as I lightly enquired, “have you read A Brief History of Time?”

I maintained a slight glimmer of hope amid my trembling, agog that this gorgeous creature might actually be interesting after all. I mean, she looked magnificent on the end of my cock, but that was about as deep as our relationship went:

"No, but I saw the movie."

I greeted this neutrally despite my inner deflation.

The smeared world sped back up, the universal jukebox drawled drunkenly back to life and I returned to the football scores. The movie, you see, was the inspiring biography of an unfortunate man's struggle against motor neurone disease, whereas the book is actually an enlightening overview of theoretical physics.

Now there’s an allegory. Maybe Hollywood has an audience after all.




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