I searched high and low this week, scanning all the coming attractions and theater schedules and trailers that are out there hoping to find even one movie that might have some sort of local angle for New Yorkers to enjoy. You know what? There aren’t any! There’s absolutely no movie this week that was shot here, or takes place here, or has any sort of relevance or commentary on any of the five boroughs or the people who live here.
Nope. Not one!
Oh … unless maybe … you want to count one.
It’s possible that folks who live in New York may have heard something about an old TV show being turned into a full-length movie, but that’s only film nerds and the kind of people who read obscure regionally-specific blogs. I pretty sure it didn’t get much press, but something called “Sex In The City” hit theaters this week. I haven’t really heard much about it, but I believe it’s a little indie film about a post-apocalyptic Gotham-like hellscape where women roam the streets in packs, wearing gigantic wedding dresses and murdering each other with expensive designer shoes.
I wonder if it has any relation to that delightful little sitcom that used to air on the cable TV a few years back? That was actually about one specific gang of women who lived in a city that was not unlike New York and the four of them just hung out in coffee shops and went on dates with annoying men and then made fun of them. That was pretty entertaining from time to time, and because it was on cable they could swear and show and nudity, and even though it didn’t really resemble a New York that I or anyone reading this blog has ever lived in, it was a witty, occasionally funny diversion.
Here’s the thing though, and this is important … it was just a TV show. It wasn’t a Earth-shattering work of pop art that defined our very epoch. It didn’t encapsulate some larger meaning about the state of feminism or and the current health of our cultural well-being and neither you nor any of your friends are a “Samantha.” It was a half-hour show, with attractive people in fancy clothes that was not a horrible way to entertain yourself on a Sunday night. If you try to assign any more weight to it than that–like say, pay $19,000 to fly half away around the globe for a chance to watch a movie about it–you’re just going to end up disappointed.
Kind of like anyone who goes to see “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” You see, the four movies in that series follow a loose, but very particular formula. Explain a legend about a mysterious object, add a love interest, a truck chase, a boring villain with a bad accent, faceless dudes in olive drab uniforms, a fist fight between the hero and a thug twice his size who meets a gruesome death, then some mystical and unexplainable special effect melts the faces off all the bad guys. The end. It’s simple, but it works. The problem is, by the fourth time you taste this formula, it’s pretty bland and flavorless. It took 19 years to make this film, because the producers and star were waiting for the proverbial “right script.” They should have kept waiting.
But what about the 95th time you see a formula? Can it possibly be worth seeing again? Can any conflict befall these people that won’t seem contrived or silly? Can any half-hour TV show be turned into a two-hour movie and not feel 90 minutes too long? Because “Sex and the City” always worked better as a drama, than a comedy, it has a better chance than most. Just don’t buy any plane tickets, okay?