Forget ‘Inception’; please bring back Roy RogersWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
Guest column by Thomas G. Kress
As I approach my 80th birthday I am more and more filled with a yearning for the “good old days.” One of the fondest memories of my youth was spending a Saturday afternoon at the movies. For the 14-cent admission price, I enjoyed a feature movie (usually very old), an exciting cowboy movie (usually starring Roy Rogers), a cartoon (often featuring Porky Pig), an exciting chapter of a serial (my favorite was Flash Gordon) and a newsreel. I must admit that I usually went to the lobby during the newsreel to invest in a nickel box of popcorn (freshly popped).
In today’s world, I fork over roughly 100 times the admission price of the “good old days” for the dubious privilege of being bombarded with special visual effects, deafening sound and interminable use of the f-word. Even if I was a masochist, I would rather choose my punishment by opting to go to a rock concert. My unhappiness with the experience is further exacerbated by the criminal cost of a box of popcorn (not freshly popped).
Back in the “good old days,” movies provided relaxation, entertainment and even enjoyment. By combining the above-described overkill of sight and sound with inane plots that defy all logic, most of today’s movies seem bent on producing a state of physical and mental exhaustion in their audiences.
A recent example of an inane plot inflicting cruel and inhuman punishment on its audience is the movie “Inception.” A better title would be “Deception.” Delving into the world of dreams, subconscious and unconscious is not my idea of entertainment. Sitting through “Inception” was, for me, like spending more than two hours in a dentist’s chair. I do not enjoy watching a scene while trying to discern whether the action is really happening, whether it is a figment of one of the character’s imagination or whether it is taking place in some third world drummed up by the director.
Perhaps it is just the mental sloth of old age, but I go to a movie to be entertained, not to play three-dimensional chess in a dream world. It may be my conservative accounting background which causes me to expect one and one to add up to two most, if not all, of the time. Further, I do not like leaving the theater in such a state of confusion that I cannot find my car in the parking lot.
My wife and I often go to the movies as part of a “date day.” This usually involves seeing a movie followed by a restaurant meal accompanied by a glass of wine. While we dine, we discuss the movie. After viewing “Inception,” we were so confused we could barely cope with the menu, much less carry on a meaningful discussion.
I am not really advocating a return to Roy Rogers films. However, I must admit I could better relate to Roy’s horse, Trigger, than I can to a computer-generated creature with one eye, four arms, a bad case of psoriasis and an ear-piercing roar.
I respect and encourage the right of directors to produce movies that make us think as they entertain us. However, I may be just an old curmudgeon, but when I shell out big money, I expect the experience to be at least modestly enjoyable.
Thomas G. Kress lives in Rossford.