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MindFood: What Happened To Giving Movies A Chance?

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Nov 16, 2010 | 9:13am EST

SkylineLast Friday Skyline, the Strause Brothers' low budget aliens-invade-LA flick staring Donald Faison and Eric Balfour, hit theaters and was met with a fairly unanimous wall of derision. As well it should have, because Skyline is a pretty dreadful movie on nearly every front: the actors lacked the power to resuscitate the lifeless script, while the directorial duo behind it lacked the cinematic wherewithal to generate anything meaningful throughout the entire run time. Sure, you can argue that it's a film that's so-bad-it's-good, and I get that because I'm all for enjoying a film for all the wrong choices it makes, but anyone is going to have a hard time defending it as a legitimately good film.

So, yes, Skyline is by all measure a bad film. But, in the aftermath of its release I noticed something even more alarming than how terrible of a film it was. Hordes of people online, almost all of whom hadn't actually seen the film, took up a very bitter, very determined attitude of, "You're surprised Skyline sucks? I knew it was going to be the Worst. Movie. Ever. just from the trailers!" And it got me wondering... what happened to giving movies a chance?

Exactly what was so wrong with the Skyline trailers that turned everyone on the Internet into an instant curmudgeon? People getting sucked up into the sky by the thousands isn't exciting enough for you? Giant monsters ripping helicopters out of the sky with their tentacle-like tongues is too dull? I'm sorry, but I thought we were geeks. Aren't those precisely the kinds of things we're supposed to be all about?

But even if the trailers didn't pique your interest whatsoever, be it because you were born with an Eric Balfour allergy or you're tired of alien invasions, the story of the production should have warranted your interest. Yes, the Strause Brothers were responsible for the abysmal, can't-even-see-what's-happening AVPR, but they also are two fellow geeks who decided to man up and make a movie outside of the Hollywood system. They wanted to make the biggest low-budget sci-fi blockbuster they could, so they got together with their friends, cast actors they could afford and made it entirely on their own. Am I the only one that thinks that is admirable?

Being an underdog doesn't make Skyline a better movie, of course, but it at least makes it an interesting one. But that's not good enough for the vitriolic Internet crowds, I guess. It's much easier to expertly crap blindly on a film - or anything, really - than it is to approach it with an open mind. Why bother entertaining the notion that a movie might surprise you when you can take a cursory glance at it and then pretend like you know everything about it? Giving films a chance is for the birds, apparently.

I realize this may sound like me saying, "Don't believe me that Skyline is a bad film, go see it for yourself!" because, believe me, Skyline is a baaaaad film. The difference here is that so many people had taken up the notion that there was absolutely no way it could be anything but a steaming pile of poorly rendered special effects before the film had been seen by anyone -- and that is a truly cancerous way of looking at things. How can you expect Hollywood to take risks on backing smaller, original films if all people are willing to do is shit on them from the get go?

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