The Fourth of July is more than an American holiday. Traditionally, it also coincides with the release of Hollywood’s big-budget blockbusters, the studios’ tent-pole movies. Sadly, this year the Hollywood studios seem to be pitching their tents for the sole benefit of 15-year-olds. [Editor's note: It's just like in Jaws, with Hollywood in the place of the town of Amity. Hollywood is a summer town, they need summer dollars. But, they would never act out of foolhardy desperation in attempt to make more money. Surely, they learned the lesson about the price of greed espoused in the original summer blockbuster...]
Now, most people don’t go to the movies regularly. The average American only sees five movies a year; that’s less than one movie every other month. That’s also considering that some people buy fifty-two tickets a year and some people buy only one. It’s that second group that’s important, the one-ticket-a-year crowd, because the weekend those people go to the movies is bound to be a big fucking deal, and it tends to be Fourth of July weekend.
This explains a lot about July 4th, as far as movie going options, this is why we tend to get gigantic explosion-fueled spectacles, this is why we get movies like Independence Day on Independence Day, big dumb movies with a little (and I mean little) something for everyone. Because, if you can make a movie for everyone and release it the weekend everyone goes to the movies, then you tend to make lots and lots of money.
This is also why I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Fourth of July. These movies are terrible and dumb and you leave feeling like you just hooked up with the drunk, ugly chick at a party. What’s worse is, you don’t find a ticket stub from a drunk, ugly chick three days later when you do your laundry. But I still go, every Fourth of July. Somewhere down deep inside these movies is a little part that’s made just for me, and it gets me every fucking year.
But not this year.
This Fourth of July is special, and by “special” I mean retarded. There are two flagship holiday movies out this weekend, and they are both made solely for an audience born after 1995. Twilight: Eclipse, the third chapter of Stephanie Meyer’s abstinence saga, and The Last Airbender, a live-action version of watered-down American manga. Both come from source material marketed solely to children, and neither has the nostalgic twinge that seems to be the foundation of most movies this summer.
Eclipse does have a built-in audience. It will make a gaggle of money, but I doubt that Joe Schmoe, who didn’t give a flying fuck about the last two movies or any of the books, is suddenly going to be drawn to Eclipse. The people going to Eclipse this year are the same people who went to New Moon last year, and that isn’t what the 4th is about. Eclipse would make the same amount of money if they released it in February. A Fourth of July movie is special (read: retarded) because its core power comes from the fact it’s a Fourth of July movie.
So, we must assume that there’s a still a very large group of people who want to see a movie this weekend, but not a pre-teen love story that feels like a live action Tiger Beat magazine, people like me. And if you remember, I’m the empirical baseline for movie going. My voice echoes a vast group who are just looking for a reason to slap down ten bucks and pour visual Drano on their brains. And that movie is. . .
A $200 million dollar movie based on a Nickelodeon cartoon. And here’s the question, who’s fucking heard of it? Who watches this show? What is the Airbender’s fucking name? Does anyone know? Did they seriously make a gigantic movie based on source material so unrecognizable that I don’t know the lead characters name?
The Last Airbender doesn’t even register in my social consciousness. I don’t see kids with Airbender shirts. Target doesn’t sell Airbender toys. There is yet to be a Newsweek cover that reads “The Airbender Phenomenon.” I don’t see the demand for this movie? If there is a demand, it’s so minute that it surely doesn’t warrant the most coveted release date of the year.
Twilight deserved a movie because it was everywhere, filling every last nook and cranny of popular culture. Harry Potter was the same way, even more so. After Johnny Depp played Captain Jack you couldn’t walk down the street without bumping into a pirate, so of course they made two sequels! You could feel the demand for these movies. Airbender is just the next misstep in trying to create demand, just like The Golden Compass, Percy Jackson, Watchmen, Eragon, City of Ember, Kick-Ass, Prince Caspian, and Prince of Persia. The people who like the source material saw these movies, there just aren’t that many fucking people.
So, you now have two movies opening on the Fourth of July, neither of which appeal to me in any way, shape, or form. How are you going to get me and every other male over the age of fifteen to go see a movie? The answer will infuriate you.
M. Night Shyamalan.
Who thought they could still sell a movie with that fucking name? I want to choke that persons children to death with my Empire Strikes Back shirt while they watch. Selling a movie I don’t care about with that fucking name is like trying to pay a hooker in rubles. The only person who thinks M. Night Shyamalan stands for anything other than the greatest cinematic upset of the last decade is M. Night Shyamalan. Kids don’t know who the fuck he is because he’s only made adult-oriented movies. So, this means that his name is supposed to get my juices flowing. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? The guy was supposed to be a blend of Spielberg and Jesus, but his last movie got moved to September, a month synonymous with summer afterbirth. To call Shyamalan a one trick pony is a slap in the face to people who like to fuck ponies!
How did they forget about me? Is my money no good? It doesn’t take much; I’m like a movie slut! I saw Transformers 2 for Christ’s sake! It’s like if Burger King got so wrapped up in making kids meals and chicken fries that they forgot to make Whoppers, then sit around wondering why nobody is going to Burger King?
This weekend I’m going to see a screening of Independence Day. It’s a big long stupid movie, but when it came out my Mom saw it, my Dad saw it, my fucking teachers saw it, because it’s a Fourth of July movie and it’s meant for EVERYONE.