Tuesday, October 11, 2005

No longer young?

And all this time, I thought I was fooling everyone. My baby face still gets me carded at liquor stores and bars. I still generally dress like a college student. Hell, I just finished going back to college for two years. And I blended in quite well (except for the occasions when I'd speak with a little too much authority about the original Star Wars trilogy or 80's music like Duran Duran). Many people think I'm younger than I really am a few people think I'm the younger sibling in my family.

My apparent maturity level might have something to do with that. For instance, if you come over to my place, you might see comic books next to the books and magazines on my desk or coffee table. And if I didn't spend so much time blogging and surfing the internet, I'd probably be playing video games. (Here's a funny piece on that topic from Slate.)

But now, it appears that one of my favorite pastimes may be giving away my true age. According to this New York Times article by Sharon Waxman, a recent study of 2,000 moviegoers found that men under 25 years of age are going to fewer movies. 24% fewer movies this past summer than they did two years ago, to be exact.

I understand why the under-25 demographic might be making Hollywood raise its eyebrows. Most of the choices at the multiplex these days are geared toward younger people, especially during the summer. The adults generally get their choices in the fall and winter, and at the indie art film theaters. But most weekends, after looking at the movie listings, you're probably wondering what you can pick up from Blockbuster or Netflix instead.

But I think it's a mistake to only point at the younger demographic and see the problem. Sure, Hollywood can cry, "Oh, the kids are playing video games and surfing the internet!" and spend resources trying to pull them away from those pursuits and shuffle them into movie theaters. They misguidedly make terrible movies based on those video games. Even worse, they try to make movies based on internet culture. (Neither teens nor adults want to see those.)

The big problem is that Hollywood just isn't making very good movies right now. As much as I'd love to, I can't speak for the younger demographic, but I think even they can see that. See, I like going to movies. A lot. But this past summer, I didn't go to very many. I just wasn't as interested. When I did go, I was subjected to swill like Fantastic Four and Bewitched. My friend Matt and I had a conversation about this a couple of months ago, and he said the same thing. I might be working with short-term memory here, but up until August, I think the only movies I enjoyed at the theater were Batman Begins (see above about my maturity level) and March of the Penguins.

(Okay, there are plenty of other problems like people talking in the theaters, commercials playing before the shows, and inflated ticket and concession prices. But that's probably for another blog entry.)

But it's getting better again, as the weather cools down. The Constant Gardener was very good. And I loved A History of Violence (and that'll probably be a blog entry later in the week). Did the under-25 crowd go to those movies? Probably not, but I don't want to generalize. But I'm going back. There are several films I want to see right now. And plenty more I want to see when they're released here. (And they all have official web sites! Don't we love the internet?) I can't stay away. I clearly must be older than 25.