We’re Stuck on Planet Hollywood: There’s a Whole Galaxy to Explore (2014)

Juliette Binoche in Three Colors: Blue (1993)

Recently I have found myself more often then not deciding what film to watch and somewhat randomly choosing to watch a foreign language film. However, if I actually think about it, maybe this inclination is not so random at all.

In the year 2014 we waited the first 6 months for the summer blockbusters to come out (aka X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy) and now we are waiting for the award caliber, Oscar fair. I only recently began keeping up on the latest trends and releases (since 2012), but already I’m beginning to see the obvious patterns. I am not one of those people who is anti-Hollywood or anti-Blockbuster. I like a good Marvel movie almost as much as the next guy. I too am excited to know the big winners during the award season, because I want to see the next best picture like all the other movie lovers out there.

Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Sometimes, however, I want a change of pace and I want something different. The reality is blockbusters, Oscar noms and even indie films can get repetitive at one time or another. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing after all. It seems like your average moviegoer does not care a whole lot and is fine just taking in the same films they always did.

But I will assume that not all people are like that. For those people who want a different feel get off of Planet Hollywood. Change your perspective and take a journey into a different genre or to a director off the beaten path.

I am being vague for good reason, because each person can discover whatever they want it just takes a bit of curiosity and a little looking. For me I went the foreign route. I dug into The Three Colors Trilogy, The Dardenne Brothers and Cinema Paradiso. Really I ended up all over the place but the important thing I was no longer stuck in the Hollywood bubble. Kieslowski gave me films to really make me think about suffering and love. The Kid with a Bike tugged at my heartstrings because of its humanity and Cinema Paradiso caused me to get sentimental all of the sudden. They mirror life more closely and better than a superhero movie ever could. Sometimes there is immense power in that since it gives us a new lens to see ourselves. At least I certainly think so. And pound for pound it seems like they could hold their own against any Hollywood flick as far as quality goes. However, it would still be a David vs. Goliath struggle, because the box office says otherwise and it is a cruel dictator. Someone like Kieslowski will undoubtedly never get as much time in the limelight as a Michael Bay or Adam Sandler. That is a rather odd comparison but it is also very painful. I digress.

Without getting too much into the makeup of the foreign film or “art house cinema,” it is often a refreshing detour from our typical popcorn fare. I would love to see these foreign films, with an often negative connotation, not just being the subject of stuffy film critics and scholars, but the general public as well. The avenues of expression, as well as discussion, would be blown wide open because more people would be interested in exploring the greater film world.

My challenge to anyone listening is to get unstuck from Planet Hollywood whatever that means for you. It would probably do everyone some good and we might just find ourselves more appreciative of film as entertainment, art and a personal reflection of our humanity. Lets all things shake things up a bit. I need to take my own advice too. Let’s do it together. One film at a time.

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