Cinema Psycho

"You know what? You have a losing personality." – Manhattan

Kid, You’re an Old Man Now

Posted by CinemaPsycho on March 25, 2012

Have you ever had a moment when you realize you’re getting older and not as in tune with pop culture as you thought you were? I’m having that moment right now as The Hunger Games is devouring the boxoffice. For the record, I’m 42 years old, but I’m apparently 112 when it comes to the zeitgeist. I’ve always prided myself on being relatively hip for my age, but now I realize that I have no clue what “the kids” are into these days. And that’s a bit of a shock.

In all honesty, the first time I had ever heard of The Hunger Games was when Lionsgate announced they were making a movie of The Hunger Games. Before that, it had never even hit my radar screen. I quickly learned that it was based on a “tween” book, and my reaction was mostly to shrug. I had no idea that every 13-year-old in America has apparently read this fucking thing. The whole phenomenon surrounding this completely passed me by, much like “mumblecore” and “dubstep”. Yes, I’ve reached the point where I’m apparently the last person on Earth to hear about the latest trends. When film bloggers predicted that The Hunger Games was going to be as huge as Harry Potter or Twilight, I admit that I scoffed. “No one over 15 has even heard of that.” I guess that doesn’t really matter any more, does it? Yep, I’m fucking old.

Now, I’m not passing judgment on The Hunger Games. I haven’t seen the film, nor have I read the book. I’m always glad when today’s kids are motivated to go to the movies, and at least it’s not a fucking remake or a toy commercial. I just don’t have any particular interest in seeing it myself. Which surprises me, because there’s nothing about the film itself that should inherently turn me off to it. I like director Gary Ross (whose Pleasantville is one of the most underappreciated films of the 90’s), and the cast is full of actors whose work I enjoy. The reviews I’ve read have been uniformly positive. I just don’t feel like this is my thing. I’m not motivated to go sit in an audience full of tweens and watch this like a creepy old man. Even in my thirties, that’s not something that would have bothered me. I would have just gone to see it. Now I would feel weird about it. I’m sure there are some adults who are seeing it, just as many adults without kids went to see the Harry Potter films. But I don’t feel like it’s a film for me. I will probably see it at some point, either on DVD or Netflix streaming or something like that. But the idea of actually going to a theater and paying to see this just doesn’t appeal to me, any more than seeing Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 would appeal to me. And yes, that makes me feel very old.

HG2.jpgI’m guessing that probably a lot of film fans in my age group feel like this right now. Remember when we used to know about stuff that was going on? Yeah, that’s over now. Looking over the schedule of upcoming films, I feel a certain familiarity with most of what is being released this year. I know who The Avengers are. I know what The Hobbit is. I know Prometheus is a prequel to Alien (or is it?) and Total Recall is a remake of Paul Verhoeven’s film. I know about Batman and Spider-Man and Dark Shadows and James Bond. Even Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is based on a book that I’ve heard of. Nothing really jumps out at me as being outside my comfort zone. There are so many new films that I’m dying to see, like Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. I feel like I still keep up pretty well. But for some reason, when it comes to something like Hunger Games, I guess I just have a blind spot. Maybe this marks a turning point – maybe in the future I won’t have a clue about what’s going on in the film world or why they’re making the movies they make. I’m already baffled by movies like Transformers and GI Joe. I don’t really get why people go to see that stuff. Maybe that’s just how it’s going to be from now on – “those young whippersnappers and their crazy CGI robot movies! In my day, we had to watch real actors, and we liked it!” But I sincerely hope not.

I will say that when I read the description of The Hunger Games, it reminded me quite a bit of Battle Royale. I know that’s an easy comparison to make, and I’m hardly the first person to make it. Both movies are about a big competition in which teenagers are forced to kill each other to try to survive (not that Lionsgate’s trailers and TV ads actually emphasize the whole “kids killing kids” aspect). But where Kinji Fukasaku’s 2001 Japanese film couldn’t even score a limited theatrical release in post-Columbine America, somehow a major Hollywood film with the same basic idea is a huge phenomenon. Doesn’t that give anyone pause? I’m amazed there hasn’t been any outrage from the hysterical parents’ groups over this. Wasn’t there a school shooting like a month ago? Hellooooo, McFly? You mean nobody’s going to suggest that impressionable teenagers might be influenced by this film to commit horrible acts of murder? No one’s going to be irrational about this, like they have for so many other films involving teenagers? Really? No one?

Wow… I guess the world really did change when I wasn’t looking. Awesome.

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One Response to “Kid, You’re an Old Man Now”

  1. Deanna said

    I am glad you made this comment! When I first viewed the movie….I thought: “what is the great attraction?” Kids killing kids so they particular sect/group could keep eating/living…..that time is coming soon enough!

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