162 “The Plot Thickens”


By Hetty Gray

# 162

“The Plot Thickens…”

September 24, 2013

Once upon a time, movies inspired us to be better people.  Movies extolled the — yes, I say it — “exceptionalism” of America.  Film exported the ideals that represent the inherent goodness of this country.  Oh, for the days when the movie moguls had come as immigrants, learned English, founded businesses, worked long hours, and made it an aim to tell America’s story in ways that anyone could understand.

Granted, many of the films rooted in American literature, but still others came from short stories.  Most poignant were those centered on the personal life stories of truly great Americans, whether in government “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) or sports “Pride of the Yankees” (1942).

Journalism surfaced in “Citizen Kane” (1941) a movie based on the life of William Randolph Hearst.  In 1962, Hollywood brought us “How The West Was Won” that vividly portrayed the epic struggles of men and women who pressed westward — true survivors.

You can find these films today and watch them with the younger set — that is, if you can pry them away from their handheld devices.  Ah, yes, some are in black and white, but like the works of Ansel Adams, it doesn’t take color to make a strong statement.

Just watching the trailers for upcoming movies makes you long for the days when strong male heroes influenced generations of young men to strive to be strong fathers, good workers, and patriotic citizens.  Church and faith often anchored a plot, and scenes within churches in those early movies were as common as street scenes in films today.

Gratuitous violence rules, much to the chagrin of the older set and the detriment of our children.  I watched a Ph.D. in psychology the other night — a black doctor by the way — who said that all that violence, be it in video games or movies, does rub off on kids.  Some act out harmlessly, but others absorb the action to a degree that erupts in crime.  As those tickets fly through the dispensers at theaters across the nation, one remembers the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”

There is little we older folks can do about this, but we do see the dangers in such empty entertainment.  As each movie fails to be “violent enough”, the sequels or new releases try to out do the earlier versions.

Desensitization is the process.  Crime and moral decay are the results.  Think about it.

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