Guest Editorial: The Paris Hilton Effect
by Ken Evans
April 16, 2007
Today we present a guest editorial written by friend and fellow movie aficionado Ken Evans. We hope you enjoy and we look forward to more contributions from Ken coming soon!
We are now, more then ever, surrounded by mediocrity. The average or simple is rewarded and celebrated. It seems we can't go or look anywhere without being overcome by surface-level rubbish. People just want to shut off their minds and be entertained by that which is flashy and has little depth. From CNN, where you can get 24-hour coverage of who is going to take custody of Anna Nicole Smith's baby, to MTV where you can watch some fifteen-year old girl cry about her father getting her a BMW instead of the Porsche she wanted on her Sweet Sixteen. People watch what is presented to them and when all that is presented to them is crap, then guess what they start to like? That's right, crap. They start to watch so much of it that they can't even tell the difference between crap and quality anymore. News without substance, story without depth, existence without purpose. This is what I call the Paris Hilton Effect.
What does all of this have to do with movies and the film industry you might ask? I attended a screening of Ghost Rider a couple of months ago. On the way out, I heard multiple people say things like "That was amazing, let's go see it again tomorrow," or "That will definitely be the best movie of the year" and my personal favorite, "That was the best movie I have ever seen". Now if the only movies these people had ever seen were Uwe Boll's movies, then I would agree with him. But by no means is Ghost Rider a quality film. It has weak character development, marginal acting, a repetitive plot (step 1: find demons; step 2: wrap chain around demon to kill him; step 3: repeat steps 1 and 2) and mediocre special effects. Now if you still enjoy the movie I think that's great. But don't translate personal enjoyment of a movie into thinking that that makes it a high quality movie.
For example, if you were to ask me what my favorite movie is I would respond Jurassic Park. It is my personal favorite for a number of reasons, which we won't get into. Do I think however that Jurassic Park is the highest quality movie ever made? Not by a long shot. Hollywood pumps out flashy average movies like Ghost Rider, Stomp the Yard and Step Up because they know the general public doesn't care about substance. Unfortunately, they are correct in their assumption. Just those three movies, Ghost Rider, Stomp the Yard, and Step Up, made $241,222,121 million combined. While award winning films such as Babel, Children of Men, Little Miss Sunshine, and Pan's Labyrinth made a combined $166,231,637 million. How long are we going to promote Paris Hilton and her surface-level, no-depth existence? How can we stop these kinds of no substance films?
If we want to stop the Paris Hilton Effect, not going to see these crap movies is not enough. We need to promote the opposite. Rekindle the movie going experience at your local theater by making a movie night with some friends. Take them to see Babel or Children of Men and talk about it afterward. Educate them on why they were great films. It's up to us, the few who crave fresh ideas, great acting, amazing effects, character struggles, and well written stories to educate our spheres of influence. We can't let Paris Hilton get away with this farce any longer.