Film: It’s important

Published 10:07 am Friday, June 2, 2017

Greetings Winchester!

Hopefully, my first column finds you happy, healthy and hungry — for film.

The goal of my writing is to provide you with an opportunity to better appreciate through analysis in gaining a new understanding of this medium as a whole.

I will strive to educate all interested readers in the art of film, its overall importance to history, pop culture and your everyday life.

I plan to share, teach and even enlighten (if you allow me) on this fascinating topic through its direct correlation to topical events, cinematic techniques and processes and “gee whiz” fun facts that a majority of ticket-paying cinemagoers are unaware of.

I hope this little column will have a big impact on you and your future viewing experiences.

Film, in essence, is a mirror of society revealing where it has been, its present state and possibly our future.

Film is an expression which should be revered in high regard like we do music, literature and other art forms.

Unfortunately, for the past 40 years, it seems for every Hollywood mainstream release, the art is not discussed — in our town or anyone else’s — due to the necessity to focus on its receipts at the box office.

Film is a profitable business. You know this already because anytime we take our families out to the cinema, the cash we relinquish from our hardworking hands is equivalent to a car payment as we are robbed at the ticket booth and concessions. The price is a high one to pay especially since a majority of new releases lack depth and fail to provide a true cinematic emotional response leaving us dissatisfied with our overall silver screen experience.

Films have always been a big business focused on filling the seats for the sake of profit, not art.

At least in the good old days, distributors and producers specialized in selling the sizzle, not the steak, and had fun and unique marketing gimmicks which entertained their marks while lifting the greenbacks out of their wallets.

Nowadays, the studios rely on cookie-cutter formulas, huge amounts of computer generated images (CGI), and are always looking for the next potential franchise.

It doesn’t help that the younger generation really has no clue about how special the communal experience of going to the movies was when we were growing up.

Easy access to streaming services to fulfill their constant need for instant gratification through cellphones, laptops and tablets has ruined their appreciation to the medium. Film has been taken for granted.

The current state of contemporary film is dismal. I’m not even 40 yet, and by my exposure to older films, they were and are more superior in regards to quality than our current “classics.”

My latter statement is directed more towards the weekly top mainstream films released by Hollywood, which are more worthy of being labeled as lacklusters than blockbusters.

Independent, foreign and documentary films have always maintained high marks for their originality, vision and innovation by necessity because they lack the $200 million dollar budget the A-listers have.

Well, kids, my prediction is the current state of American films will grow worse as time marches on.

I hope I am wrong, and that my writing is attributed to my well-deserved cantankerous nature as I creep towards middle age.

I would love to be wrong on this matter, I really would.

See you next time as we venture through the good, the bad, and the ugly world of film.

Have a Filmtastic day!

Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society (facebook.com/WCCfilmsociety). Find more from Rick on Facebook at facebook.com/ricksrhetoric/ and online at theintestinalfortitude.com/category/reviews-editorials/ricks-rhetoric. He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79 and can be reached by email at rickbaldwiniii@hotmail.com.