What We Watch

I’m sure many of you have heard folks talk about how every idea has now been used, and that books, music, movies, and TV shows are simply re-hashing old ideas and giving them a shiny new cover to make them appear new. You need only pick up the TV remote and start clicking to get an idea of what I am talking about. What you get is channel after channel of “reality” shows set in pawn shops, storage units, desolates islands, and the living rooms of wealthy housewives whose only real talent is still being able to make any type of facial expression with so much Botox jammed into their skin.
The movie theatres aren’t any better. You can tell exactly what makes money for the studios by taking a look at the trailers. You get generic action flicks and PG-13 rated “horror” movies featuring vampires that are lovely to look at. You are force fed buddy comedies and tepid dramas that are made to sound important by the insertion that someone within the crew may have won an Academy Award at one time or another. Look at the coming releases for this summer as an example. There is not one, but two, White House under attack films that are just “Air Force One” re-written in a different setting. Then there is “Pacific Rim,” with giant robots fighting otherworldly monsters in what should have been titled “Transformers and Godzilla Get It On.”
Art is not dead, though, it’s all just a matter of knowing where to look in order to discover originality. Hit the premium channels on your TV and you will find shows that push the envelope like no other. Shows like Boardwalk Empire, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad are examples of what great television should be. Each episode is like a miniature movie, with no laugh track or overblown applause added to tell you how to react. Breaking Bad is the perfect example of what can be done on TV. It’s the story of a science teacher diagnosed with cancer who turns to making crystal meth to pay the bills. Desperation soon turns to megalomania as we get to watch his character develop, It’s the kind of artistic genius that makes you want to round up the producers, directors, actors, and writers and give each of them a huge kiss on the mouth. Yes, it’s just that good.
If you live in or close to a major city, you are sure to have an art house style theater there somewhere. Skip the multi-movie megaplex and go check out what’s playing there. It’s not all black and white, subtitled movies featuring sad clowns that are on display. It’s homegrown, independent movie making at its very best. If you read, forget about the new Grisham, King, Clancy, or whichever author you always turn to. Hit sites like Lulu and Smashwords where you will find self-published writers creating great work. I still love Stephen King, and probably always will, but take a moment to read “Horror Shorts” by Drew Brown or “Not Quite Hate” by Ray Weeks and you will see that these are writers who self-publish, not because they can’t write, but because publishing houses can’t pigeon-hole them with a writer that sells. In short, quit complaining that there is nothing original out there if you haven’t taken the time to go and find it.
Written by John Watson of theinkedwriter.com

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