For some reason, it seems that I have extra time on my hands in the evenings all of the sudden. And while I could just shuffle about the house after the kids go bed, mumbling to myself about the voices, how The Man is watching me in the kitchen, or why Syfy kills everything I love, I’ve been trying to find more constructive things to do in my few hours of Puddin time at night. This period of inactivity is going to be short, after all, just a quick cooling-off before edits begin. So, brief bits of relaxy time need to be taken advantage of whenever possible. I’ve caught up a little on my reading, tried to give some extra thought to my turns in Words with Friends (in the scant hopes of producing words not found in a second grader’s vocabulary list), and decided to watch a weeknight movie here and there.
As I was trying to choose last night between the current Netflix DVD at home, streaming something from Apple, or digging up something ancient buried on my DVR just waiting for excavation, it occurred to me that I haven’t seen a good comedy in a long time. I think I sat through “Date Night” at some point in the not-too-distant past and tried to watch “Dinner for Schmucks”, but I eventually turned that one off. Let me say that again: I turned It. Off. I hardly ever give up on something halfway through. Hell, I read all of Crime and Punishment once, and watched two whole seasons of America’s Next Top Model. I’m not a quitter.
Date Night wasn’t awful, but really wasn’t funny either. It was convoluted and heavy. You can have a comedy, even with dramatic themes, and still be lighthearted. And Dinner was just, ugh. None of the characters were likeable and the whole thing was uncomfortable and hard to watch. I have better uses for my time—see above: shuffling and mumbling.
I’m sure there’s some general clamoring right about now for things like “The Hangover”, parts I and II, although, really, it’s the Exact. Same. Movie in two different settings. That’s just cheating, if you ask me. And while I will allow that there were moments of limited amusement in the first one, there were no knee-slapping, snot-flinging, I-can’t-breathe outbursts, or really even moderate giggles. Oh, and “Vampires Suck”? That steaming pile of stupidity wasn’t even as funny as the “Twilight” movies it attempted to parody. Granted, the Twilight “saga” is usually only unintentionally funny, but hey, sparkly vampires are chuckle-inducing.
The real question, though, is whether this is lack of amusing, light, even entertaining comedies is Hollywood’s fault, or mine. I think back to the funny movies of my youth, “Caddyshack”, “Real Genius”, “Summer School”, and even the raft of John Cusack films like “Better Off Dead” and “One Crazy Summer” and can’t possibly count the number of times I’ve seen them. I’ll still stop and watch those first two when and if I happen across them on the vast expanse of the satellite TV guide.
So, is it something about the characters in the older comedies that draws me? Or are today’s comedic characters truly the generally flat, lifeless caricature cutouts they seem to be? Admittedly, I have a tendency to shake my cane at everything the kids enjoy these days while bellowing a hearty, “Get off my lawn!” Some place, deep down, though, I want to believe it’s not just me, it’s them.
So what is it, curmudgeonliness or crummy creativity? You tell me. And while you’re at, I could use some suggestions too. Anyone see anything funny lately?
Well, besides my face?