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Filmism.net Dispatch April 13, 2014

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If you loved movies in the 1970s, you'd have felt a far different air of acceptance around you in the cultural mood than you do if you love movies now.

It used to be partly that you loved a certain kind of movie. You might have sought out all the yellowing copies of The Last House on the Left, Zombie Flesh Eaters and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , getting older brothers or cousins to rent them for you and feeling all cool while the conservative press wrung its hands hysterically about your moral corruption (I know I did).

Maybe you loved the straight-to-video action genre that made names like Chuck Norris, Brian Bosworth, Mark Dacascos or Lorenzo Lamas household names to a very select few.

If you're a Generation Xer your parents probably loved the movies that won all the awards and played on Sunday night TV. They were the ones Hollywood loved while the films you liked were an embarrassment to industry types, a dirty secret like porn on the Internet or the romance genre in book publishing (ie it props the economics of the whole system up even though wants to acknowledge it).

Today, if you're even obliquely employed or interested in the movie industry, there's only the love of movies. Sitting in a huge dark room with strangers to share the experience of being told a story is what we love. We love the institution, so we love everything it brings us and everything related to it.

What changed? Was it the Internet, bringing like-minded people together for mutual support in sharing what they loved? Maybe people with esoteric or niche tastes spreading their appreciation as wide as possible causes a kind of upwards pressure on acceptance. After all, we all thought certain forms and ideas were looked down once when when the only cultural voice we heard was that of the established media.

Anyway, before I disappear up my own analysis...

Today you can go and watch Cannibal Ferox in a dingy, low-fi cinema at midnight and see the same people at a mainstream superhero movie later in the week, then the latest Sundance indie drama that weekend. We might still have our favourite kinds of movies, and our niche used to be like a badge of honour. 'On Golden Pond?' we'd sneer while we pushed Maniac into the Betamax. Or 'Those disgusting blood and guts films are destroying our youth,' we'd tut-tut while settling down with a glass of Riesling to watch Kramer vs Kramer.

Today you'll find plenty of people who love On Golden Pond as much as Maniac, simply because there's a common denominator they love - they're both movies. And everyone's in on the act. The video nasty scares of the 70s are far behind us, and loving everything cinematic (including blood and guts movies) is now not only accepted, it's mainstream.

Maybe it's because politicians and the media want to attract productions to their jurisdictions because of the gains to be made in employment and media coverage. Maybe movies have been popular global entertainments for long enough in the post-TV age for people to accept them as legitimate forms of storytelling like books. It's a renaissance video games are still struggling to achieve, no matter how much money they make.

But the proof is in the pudding. Movies - all movies - are suddenly cool.

Now, to what I've seen recently. The good thing about Captain America: The Winter Soldier was that it was a great example of a Marvel superhero movie. The downside was that it was just another Marvel superhero movie. If you've seen any other recent superhero movie reviews of mine, you might have read how bored I was of them back when Daredevil came out a decade ago. If we all close our eyes and pray really hard, it might finally stop... in 2019.

Afflicted was a flawed but very cool take on an ancient movie idea. Yes, you'll roll your eyes and think 'another bloody found footage movie?', but give it time to reveal itself.

But I promise you'll kick yourself if you love science fiction and don't see The Machine, a singularly brilliant little flick that's as beautiful as it is smart.

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