B-movies have gotten better over the years. It’s hardly surprising. Technology is cheaper and gives good value for the money, people are getting more and more familiar with necessary software, various tutorials can be freely found all over the internet and so on. The new age is dawning for the film industry, just like it already dawned for the literature, music video-gaming, comics and every other type of “entertainment” that has thrived once before as a profitable industry. With just enough time, some resources and a bit of passion, almost everyone can produce a movie similar to this one. The rest is “just” distribution, social networking and viral marketing. Still, while possibilities of truly independent production are vast and ultimately interesting they cause certain problems for “passive” consumers like us. Democratic moviemaking essentially shows what democracy already showed us. People are unimaginative idiots and majority of them shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
I’ll get back to that. Don’t be mistaken, Bad Country is a B-movie. Despite nice photography, despite lack of any kind of over-the-topness, despite sensible soundtrack and despite sensibly structured script. I tried to think of one but I couldn’t find a single “original” frame, thought or idea here. Picture a movie with cops and “robbers”. Try to think of a cliché, any kind of cliché, which would fit into that framework. I can assure you, it’s there. From “it’s a Wild West out there” to bad guys gone sentimental, from a blonde cannon fodder to a tough cop that just has that soft spot for white supremacists that try to do the right thing, from a corrupt lobbyists to corrupt lawyers and wealthy businessmen pulling the strings from their estates buried deep within the swampland. Add in a pinch of “witness protection” program gone wrong, a dash of pissing contest between different law enforcement agencies and their jurisdictions, tie it all together with a psychopathic bad guy which is more psychopathic and generally more evil than your main bad guy and you have a movie. This one. What you have as well is sort of a general overview of every “cops and robbers” movie that has been made in past fifty years or so. Many of them actually had Willem Dafoe on a payroll.
Hell, I even like B-movies. Many times they happen to be more imaginative, more creative and in a way more important than their mainstream counterparts which tend to play too safe for many different reasons. B-industry compensated lack of resources with a more liberal approach to an artistic vision. Problem with this set-up becomes evident when there’s no artistic vision at all. Bad Country is a mess. As uninspiring and forgettable as it can get. This leads me back to the concept of democratic art (defined here as an art produced, owned, and distributed by an author himself or by a legal representative in his control) and the correlating disappearance of an editor (borrowed here from the newspaper/magazine/literature definition of the word). Democratic art relies solely on a concept of a free market where the audience itself, by a rational choice, legitimizes one practice over the other. Rational choice is the key here. Democratic body consists of bunch of idiots which are so detached from any concept of rationality that it’s painful to watch (You can see evidence of it any day, jus tune in to your elections).
In the old world, editors served as a rational barrier between artists and the audience. This usually meant that a “piece of Art” had to pass some sort of quality control (there are all sorts of grey in this relation, but I won’t go into problems of power play and pressures of various kinds just now) which meant that, depending on the studio, you could expect the movie to be made by decent craftsmen (if not artist, those are generally hard to find) at the least. Now, artist didn’t like this too much, being selfish, flamboyant pricks who usually think of themselves as the smartest people on Earth, so they went indie. Or underground. For the rest of the story check out your nearest movie history book. The point of all of this is that liberation of the means of production brings liberation of aesthetic as well. Thing is, we have learned to conceptualize movies as an art form. To put it simply, we want to see what those self-centered, overly sensitive people we call artists have to say about the world we live in by using the medium we like the best. This provides us with a valuable different point of view and so on. Where are not really interested what “common men” have to say. They are saying it all the time, never shutting up, and the incoherent noise became too painful to endure. Liberation of the movies provides just another channel to be occupied by idiots. Which then go on and make something like Bad Country. World won’t stop turning because of that, that much is true though things can only go downhill from this point on. We’ll talk about it again. There’ll be plenty of opportunities I’m sure.
P.S. I’m well aware of the irony of the position I’m in. This text, or the entire blog, couldn’t exist without the liberation of the field. No editor of the old regime would accept texts like these. This essentially makes me a part of the idiot-crowd. Still, takes one to know one.
|Directed by||Chris Brinker|
|Produced by||Chris Brinker
|Written by||Jonathan Hirschbein|
|Studio||Chris Brinker Productions|