Last night I was in the Mission district talking with some clients about an upcoming project. Somehow the subject of racism surfaced. One woman named Michelle said she was exploring all the variations of racism within the hispanic community. Being one of the few gringos there, I kept quiet at first. But then I found and angle that allowed me to join the discussion: I asked if she had seen the movie Crash, a film about alienation, prejudice and racism in modern day Los Angeles.
Michelle said Crash was "a very good commercial film." I think she called it commercial because it starred Sandra Bullock, an actress Michelle doesn't like. A few others had seen Crash, and talked about how many different ethnicities carry prejudices. Then Juan, the leader of last night's group, expressed interest and said he was going to try and see the film. I advised Juan to try to see Crash in a theatre if he could, because there will likely be multiple ethnicities in the audience watching the picture with you. That adds a dimension to this film that you will not get at home.
Then someone said Crash is no longer in the theaters. Already out on DVD. THIS is the reason people are not going out to see movies anymore. The hype you see and hear about upcoming movies is all manufactured and people have caught on to that B.S. So they wait for word-of-mouth recommendations from people they trust. Unfortunately, Mick LaSalle, the Chronicle's main movie critic, is a good writer but his recommendations are anything but consistent.
Word-of-mouth recommendations take time. My friend and I saw Sideways
pretty early on, when expectations were still in moderation, before it
was nominated for an Oscar. But we went based on a tip-off from my
parents. It was great. Big studios have control over DVD sales, so they
do whatever they can to rush movies through the theatres.
A final example. Earlier in the year I met one of my neighbors whose name is Ellie. She's about 85 years old. Rumor has it she used to be a stage actress. She told me she'd just seen Ray at the theatre down the street. She raved and swore if Jaime Foxx didn't get an Oscar for it you could be sure there'd be 85-year-old lady hell to pay. So that night I walked down the street and sure enough, Ray was no longer playing. Later I saw it on tv. I didn't see what all the fuss was about. Maybe because my tv is only 15 inches. I prefer the theater. But I'll only go for movies I know are good.