Henry Louis Mencken once remarked “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” That thought came to mind this past week.
After the big O speech on Thursday night, I took a few deep breaths and settled back into my easy chair with a cold beer and some popcorn to watch the first, and what might well be the best game of this NFL season.
At one point, a commercial came on advertising a movie called “Real Steel” which by all appearances is a motion picture about giant robots that box. According to the movie’s website, the release date is not until October 7th, but for some reason I could not shake the eerie feeling that I had seen the trailer somewhere before. And then it hit me: the terrarium dwellers in Hollywood have apparently managed to make an entire film based on Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.
Oh. Dear. God.
What’s next? “Pong: The Motion Picture in 3-D”?
Anyone over the age of 42 remembers the original Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, a game released by Marx in 1964, in which two players used thumb-activated controls to make red and blue robots fight one another until one of their spring loaded heads popped off. Apparently, subsequent versions have been released over the years.
If your childhood was anything like mine, you played with the game until one or both of the robot’s heads no longer stayed put, at which time your mom sold it in a garage sale for a nickel. (Oh the toys we demolished! Collectors are paying top dollar for all that stuff now. I probably destroyed the equivalent of six mortgage payments worth of GI Joes)
Obviously I haven’t seen the flick. And I really should leave the movie critiquing to Michael Medved. That having been said for all I know “Real Steel” may well be a rollicking outing. The special effects certainly look impressive.
But Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots? I know not every movie can be The Seven Samurai, But Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots???? Do the great minds of tinsel town expect to roll out something that appeared under countless Christmas Trees in the 60’s and 70’s and call it a movie? Do they really think you are that dense?
Why yes, as a matter fact they do.
From my view from the cheap seats I can see two things here: One is the concept of Bread and Circuses.
In the waning days of the Roman Empire, the Caesars figured out that if they gave the citizens enough to eat, and kept them occupied with mindless entertainment such as gladiatorial contests, slaughtering wild animals, and the torture and creative execution of Christians the populace would be easy to manage since they would be satiated physically, mentally and emotionally. They essentially pandered to the notion of a full belly and the lowest common entertainment denominator The 21st Century American equivalents would be management of certain entitlement and funding programs and television shows in which people get kicked off islands and movies in which robots apparently get kicked in the nuts and bolts.
The second thing I see happening here, (once again from the cheap seats) is that the intelligentsia of the Left Coast seems to think you are stupid enough to keep throwing your dwindling dollars at them. These are the same folks who grease their egos by decrying traditional energy resources, think you are bitterly clinging to your guns and religion, call you teab****s and generally look down their noses at you, your values and your IQ’s. And then they have the gall to turn around and say “See my movie! Watch my fall premiere! And be sure to buy all of the cheap tie-in merchandise at your local fast food outlets and convenience stores”
And people do.
This is the same group of folks who think that the latest Stimulus rehash known as the Jobs Bill will have greater success than the first version. These are the same people screaming for the same green energy economy that hit Spain below the waterline. These are the same people who have made their pile of cash, and now that they finally get to sit at the cool kid’s table they get to disparage you, your goals and your dreams. These are the same millionaires calling for higher taxes on everyone else. These are the same people that build permanent ski resorts and fight against temporary gas wells. These are the new Marie Antoinettes telling you to have a bite of cake.
Maybe in a tough economy it is time to tell Hollywood to live without conservative dollars for a while.
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