Side Effects of Movies

Glass of Red wine
Merlot is just one of many red wines, photo from Wikipedia

The Effects of Movies

Recently, I have discovered screenwriting blogs and among this grouping, one particular site that I frequently visit is Screenwriting From Iowa. Just recently the site owner Scott W. Smith touched on a very timely subject, the effects of the movies on the American public. This seems to be a very apropos subject, especially considering recent events in Aurora, Colorado, where a mass shooter displayed a strong identity with the Batman character, “The Joker”, right after he unloaded several automatic weapons into a crowded movie theater. Strangely enough, the film was the new version of the Batman series, called The Dark Knight Rises. The article is definitely worth checking out…..maybe the movie is too. I did see The Dark Knight in the theaters and enjoyed the film very much, despite its long length.

Sideways, Red Wine and Wine Sales

“I’m not drinking any f___ing Merlot!” line from Sideways, spoken by Paul Giamatti.

On a more humorous note, Smith touches on the subject of the movie, Sideways, and the sale of red wine. I also saw Sideways, but did not remember the line about Merlot. Nonetheless, I find it fascinating that the resulting drop in Merlot wine sales may be related to those six words. Do movies really exert that much influence over our life? I hope not but the evidence appears to pointing in the opposite way. This article (also referenced in Smith’s post) indicates that wine sales were probably affected by the movie. And if only half of what was said in the InsideNapaValley story is true, then we have a lot to think about.

Are Our Movies Too Real

Maybe what we need is a return to the ethics of the old movies made in the 30s and 40s before war engulfed the whole world. Well, not an actual  remake, but maybe a change in direction might be beneficial. I’m not talking so much about how we make the movie or how much sex or violence we portray, but I am suggesting that maybe the way we tell the story makes a difference. In other words, a hard look at the messages from the directors of the black and white era might be beneficial to Hollywood.

The Dark Knight

When I originally saw The Dark Knight, I was very impressed with how the film explored the emotional and psychological complexities of both the antagonist and protagonist. At the time I thought that the story line and dialogue between Batman and the Joker were a positive development in moviemaking. Even in lieu of last week horrific events in California, my thoughts on the movie have not changed. Though I think it may be a while before I view the latest Batman offering.

coastline of California
The Big Sur Coast of California, from Wikipedia

2 thoughts on “Side Effects of Movies

  1. Having gone back and forth on this an insane number of times (and being currently of the opinion that art shouldn’t be constrained by what might happen once it is out in the world doing its’ thing) I think that it is worth remembering that some of the messages of those old films are hardly appropriate for the modern world… The extreme racism even in mainstream releases (and yes, in childrens’ cartoons, comics and pulp magazines as well), the sexism, homophobia, political chicanery (flat-out stating “the other guys are crooks”) and relentless obsession with black and white philosophy bordering on Objectivism – it is no wonder that Ayn Rand’s works found favor in a generation raised on the westerns and space operas which espoused an “us and them” mentality. Just a thought.

    I wish there was a casual link between entertainment and reactions to them, but after going through several long-term studies, and hearing experts proclaim that any correlation is (at best) shaky, I’m going to have to shrug off the thought that there’s any moral obligation in the creation of something of which the primary objective is of entertainment. That isn’t to say that some may be influenced, but if they find nothing to back up their world view in film or television, they will turn to computer games, or novels, or comics, or political manifestos. We can’t censor ourselves because a crazy person might use it as an excuse for what they do.

    1. I guess may main difference is that I don’t necessarily see the evolution of the storytelling art (regardless of format) as a progressive march forward. There are still lots of valid stories from the past that almost seem timeless, whether it be Shakespeare, the Bible or Victor Hugo. I didn’t mean to imply that anything from a certain historical era might be an improvement.



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