Ali and I decided to use some coupons from Christmas to see Sherlock Holmes at Regal Henrietta Stadium 18 (525 Marketplace Dr., formerly Regal Henrietta) I wasn't all that excited about going to the cineplex — especially since we could also have gone to The Little (240 East Ave.) — but we had the passes, and we hadn't been to a movie on Christmas before in decades. I was expecting a lot of splashy advertising before the film, but nothing as horrifying as I saw.
The pre-screening advertising blitz was structured like a cable-TV entertainment show. As such, there were ads for some dreadfully bad TV shows, like one about some kids in high school who have to deal with having a baby — as pretty as they are, young actors should never be allowed to cheerfully talk about how realistic this sensitive subject is portrayed. Then the Walmart ad threw in its hat. It wasn't at all about Walmart and how they drive down prices by busting unions and keeping their workers' weekly hours low enough to exempt them from any health insurance laws. Oh no. It was about how Walmart can help you feel good. But the most depressing of all was the ad for the National Guard, encouraging young people to get a real education and structure in their lives by pushing buttons to kill people — all in vibrant, Patriotic® tones.
These are all the kinds of things that feed my suicidal demons. After having just seen a screening of It's A Wonderful Life at the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) days prior, I realize that the reason it a movie with that much heart can't be made anymore is because America's heart is blackened and dying. Nobody cares about a home-cooked meal — it's the Wii and big-screen TV that broadcasts its message loud enough to drown out such a subtle voice. What's the point of going on, really? Our entire function as citizens is to buy more stuff to drive the economy that funds the wars that make the war profiteers rich enough to make the ads to sell the war to sell the products to distract the populace. There's no Clarence to save you, George Bailey: you're life ain't worth squat.
But as for the movie, it's a tale of a mystical society that runs the government, keeping the populace tricked and fearful. Pretty much just like we have now, only set in the 19th century. The only exception is that in that world, there is a man who fearlessly divines the logic of how it all works — and he does this with the aid of at least some authorities. December 2009 … not so much.