Americans have never embraced the concept that more can be LESS.
Thus, while Europe had nice little family-run circuses (circi?) with a single ring and perhaps a dozen performers – with everybody doubling roles – America had The Greatest Show On Earth – Ringling Bros And Barnham & Bailey Circus – a MONSTER circus, with THREE rings.
And therein lies the problem.
The intimacy of the small circus, where the audience watches the acts right in front of them – ONE AT A TIME – was DESTROYED by the three-ring format. How could anyone concentrate on three acts at a time? Even Marty Feldman could only have concentrated on TWO.
The apparent thinking was that with the main act in Centre Ring, the other two would “enhance” it. But no, they did not – they were just a DISTRACTION. Dumb.
And the idea that the scale was impressive belied the fact that said scale would also DWARF the PERFORMERS – the very people we had come to SEE.
It was the same with Saturday-morning TV fare. In Europe, this consisted of a series of items – a cartoon montage, a magazine-type show, an episode of an adventure series and usually, a children’s movie.
But cartoons were always the most popular item, so American Saturday-morning TV would feature nothing else – thus producing a generation of kids whose whole life experience was a series of zany DRAWINGS.
And thus it is today, with movies. In the Good Old Days, movies told STORIES – with, sometimes, a little visual artistry thrown in.
But once TV took over that role, movies became “EVENTS” – all movies had to be bigger, more expensive and state-of-the-art-effects-laden. Stories? Who cared?
And so these days, The Movies are just like that three-ring-circus – TOO DAMN MUCH. The senses are overloaded with noise, “MTV-edited” action and computer-generated imagery. Movies today are nothing more than gigantic VIDEO-GAMES.
America has KILLED The Movies.