Welcome to the Thunderdome – ACTION MOVIE MAY Returns
That was ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC to help get you warmed up for my favorite month of blogging that kicks off my favorite month of movie going:
ACTION MOVIE MAY.
Fuck it, we’re playing another song.
Yes. Now we are appropriately jacked up to do some damage.
For those of you not familiar with the “Matt Loman Experience,” here’s how I do: every year during the month of May all of my posts are even more obnoxious, egotistical, and catering to the lowest common denominator than usual because they are all in glorious service to the summer movie selection: ACTION MOVIES. There will be action movie classic reviews, several Michael Bay appearances, essays on the unsung heroes of the genre, and short stories starring me that are at this point an oft horrifying, consistently creepy insight into what goes on behind my beady little eyes.
May is when we kick off summer. Sure, according to a bunch of filthy tree-worshippers it’s the equinox or the solstice or whatever that officially starts it, around June 20th, 21st or the 22nd, but fuck those guys. Summer starts in May. Ask college kids, ask high school kids still trapped in class as every atom of their being cries for freedom, and ask the movie studios.
Oscar-bait stuff usually comes out in the fall, or around Christmas because that way the Academy will remember all the touchy-feely stuff that’s ‘daring.’ The first of the year, until about the middle February is where studios dump the movies that they know are crap in a weird little dance to try and make some of the money back but also so not a lot of people see it. This way the studio’s stock, both actual and perceived, doesn’t go too far down.
Everyone knows what you’re doing when you drop a movie there, but everyone acts like they don’t. Again, it’s weird.
March and April are the summer lite stuff, PG-13 comedies from unproven teams and action movies with budgets south of 80 million dollars.
Oh, but the summer. The summer is when Action Disciples’ faith is rewarded. It’s when raunchy hard R-comedies come out. Truly, the summer was designed for Matt.
However a lot of people, jackasses, really, always ask me “why action, Matt? Why is that your favorite genre of movie?”
Let’s break it down:
1.) I’m Incredibly Dumb. Explosions, car chases, the bare minimum of motivation, characters whose personalities are more like bullet points (pun intended) than actual people, that is exactly up my alley. You know what the beauty of an action movies is? You can just drop in. Showed up at 1:50 to your friend’s house? Are they hanging out with a movie on in the background? No worries. They can catch you up in five seconds.
Everyone in action movies know exactly what they want. They all have a cause they believe in so very much that they will murder other human beings and blow up buildings by driving cars into them to benefit that cause. They will accomplish their goals via machine gun. There is no future. No escalation. No collateral damage. No moral implications to be ruminated upon when using violence to solve problems. If something blows up, it is morally flawed. If it was righteous, it wouldn’t have exploded. Awesome.
2.) Escapism. Now, I don’t mean I have a deep-seeded desire to go on a killing spree, nor do I secretly want to be a Navy SEAL swimming into dockyards and setting explosives. I like action movies because people actually get stuff done.They do things. They have a stated goal and they meet it.
Do you have any idea how many things don’t actually happen? Look at our government. Look at how long it takes them to do anything, to take any action one way or the other. Oil companies and giant corporations have more sway in our government than we ever will. Any kind of reform is years away from even being discussed as a plan, let alone guaranteed to go through.
However in action movies, things happen all the time. Things get done. Changes are made. The villain dies, and his entire organization goes with him. We blow up the evil corporation freeing everyone from their controls. It all happens instantly with clear lines of progression.
One could argue that if I desire change perhaps I should get involved with various organizations that are trying to stop mass polluters or the World Trade Organization.
Except those people are also accomplishing nothing. Because they’re staffed by filthy hippies, and like it or not, no one in any position of power or wealth is going to take advice from someone named “Moon Sprite.” These are facts.
I’m not saying they should stop. Someone should be around to take notice and try to inform the populace, even if these entities are so rich that public opinion means nothing to them. If for no other reason than should we make contact with alien races, we can point out that some portions of humanity aren’t irredeemable pieces of shit. In terms of actual accomplishments, all these hippies are doing is proving that humans can develop immunity to tear gas.
At the end of the day, I just want to see someone win. I like happy endings. Why is liking happy endings considered a mark of ignorance and outs you as someone who doesn’t watch “real movies” or “good movies?” Why are we letting the sad, boring bastards dictate our tastes in anything? They’re sad and bastards.
3.) I’m Educated. A contradiction to Number 1? Perhaps.
I have taken a lot of writing classes. A lot. Please don’t let my entries rife with misspellings and grammar errors fool you. I’ve done my time in the classroom, exploring my feelings and reflecting on how past moments shaped my future blah, blah, blah.
Couple that with all the media I’ve ingested, not just TV or movies, but books and comics. I was blessed with being a natural speed reader and I pored through genre classics as a kid, soaking up as much as I could as fast as I could. As such it’s very hard to surprise me in any story. More often than not I can see what’s coming. A lot of that has to do with being dialed in to how movies are structured, and if you have a feel for where you are in terms of a character arc, or even the acts and their various breaks you’ll have a lot of insight into what’s coming next.
The last movie to truly throw me was the Black Swan. That movie gave me a panic attack. Twice. I had no idea what was going to come next and that scared the shit out of me more than any horror movie ever could. Prior to those movie-going experience, I can’t honestly remember the last time a movie made me do that.
At this point, when it comes to movies, my approach is: it’s the journey, not the destination. I know you’re going to get to Point A to Point B to Point C. Chances are, I’m going to know what we’ll find at A, B, and C, so what I want from a movie is to get me to A,B, and C in the most entertaining way possible. Suburban ennui and the struggles of living in the first world are not something I want to watch in a movie, because I can live that. I have no problem finding those things, because that’s my life. What I can’t actually go out and experience in my everyday life is how awesome it’d be to ramp a stolen police car into a helicopter.
Someone once said that there are really only four or five stories you can tell. Man vs. man, man vs nature, man vs. technology, man vs. fate, etc. Those aren’t the actual categories, but you get the idea. There’s nothing new under the sun. In fact, if we step further back, every movie is a fifty-fifty shot. The protagonist accomplishes his/her goal, or he/she doesn’t. This applies to every genre. In the Hangover they were going to find their friend and get back to the wedding, or they weren’t. In Forrest Gump, Forrest and Jenny’s lives would either lead them across America and back to each other, or they wouldn’t. In Scream, Sydney lives or she doesn’t. Even movies rich in theme and symbolism can be stripped of their layers. Take Blade Runner, Deckard either stops Batty or he doesn’t. The questions it asks about what it is to be alive, human, or sentient, or the look at how society evolves in a world with a slave force and corporations running rampant is great, but that’s all potatoes, not meat.
For me, personally, 95% of the movies I watch aren’t going to be about the story you’re telling, but how you tell it.
4.) I’m a Contrarian. I’m in my late 20’s and I still will do something or like something because I’m not supposed to.
I went to a big state school, but with a liberal arts bent, and every time I had a writing class where someone decried big budget movies or I was at a restaurant where someone would start a pretentious conversation on the nature of art, my gut reaction would be to talk about how much I loved the Rock. Whenever I hear someone talk about how boring and rote the action genre is, all I want to do is get the logo from the Cryo Prison in Demolition Man tattooed on my face.
This is compounded by the fact that I have surrounded myself with some very intelligent, well-read, and self-aware people. I respect their intelligence quite a bit, and often ask their advice on nearly every subject. But straight up, my interest in a movie skyrockets if they say it looks stupid.
It’s not healthy. It’s unbelievably childish, and I really, truly enjoy action movies on every possible level, not just irony, but a little part of me does love watching them because someone I know will hate it.
There it is, a welcome to ACTION MOVIE MAY and a few thousand words to get across that I am not celebrating the kick-off to the summer movie season ironically.
See you guys Monday with…something. Probably a Michael Bay. Maybe a short story where I kill ninjas.
PS – Haven’t heard from my buddy Neil in a while. Let’s see if we can draw him out:
Posted on May 3, 2011, in Matt Loman, Movies, Pop Culture and tagged action, ACTION MOVIE MAY, don't call it a comeback, explosions, here comes the boom, hot christmas, Matt Loman, movie, movies, the 31 day guitar solo, the best time of the year, yes yes and we don't stop. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.