Every summer, a new slew of movies comes out looking to draw huge crowds to become the next big summer blockbuster. But more often than not, these movies are far from “new.” Rather, they are sequels, prequels and recycled story lines that we’ve all seen from summers past.
This summer alone, we had “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the fifth installment in the “Step Up” series, “Step Up: All In,” and “The Expendables 3,” just to name a few.
Other hits of the summer included book-to-movie adaptations such as “The Giver” and the popular “The Fault in Our Stars,” the latter of which made over $280 million in the box office.
It seems as though directors and production companies live by the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to giving the green light to developing movies. Why put in the extra effort to market an original idea when you know your “seen 100 times before” idea will sell at the box office?
Even the movies that are seemingly original often feature the same recurring themes.
How many movies can you name that has the plot of “Outcast teenager gets the cooler, popular girl of his dreams,” or perhaps, “Sports team overcomes hardship to win championship?” How about, “Unlikely guy and girl discover that they actually do make the perfect couple?”
These are themes we’ve seen before and we will continue to see again (and again, and again…) because we keep buying into them. While these plot lines may seem “cheesy,” going to the cinema is a form of escapism, and what better way to escape reality than to let a corny plot line about a “six” who lands a “10” give you hope?
The same could be said for music. People use music as well as movies to escape everyday life. Music critics often denounce the saccharine ooze of today’s “Top 40” hits, but it is called pop music for a reason.
Nearly everyone can relate to Katy Perry’s “I’m stronger than my situation” anthem – “Roar” – and there’s a reason why the “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate” part of Taylor Swift’s newest earworm, “Shake It Off,” is so catchy — who doesn’t want to embody Swift’s confidence?
Pop music and predictable movies can be great – they’re mindless in the way that you know exactly what to expect from them. They’re entertainment’s comfort zone, and that’s why Hollywood produces an abundance of them.
Before originality becomes a dying art, I suggest we all push the envelope in our entertainment choices. Flex the hipster muscles and listen to some music that’s not as “mainstream” or watch an indie film. You never know, you might like it. The Seth Rogen buddy comedies will always be there, anyway.
Kelly Brody is a sophomore majoring in journalism.