Today is the day we celebrate Capitalism. There’s a big football game going on too. And that used to be the reason this Sunday was special. But along the way, with all the hype and commercials and overblown halftime shows, Capitalism took over.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Capitalism as much as the next guy -- maybe more. It’s an economic system designed to give everybody the freedom to make a few bucks.
But like all economic systems, somebody always comes along and perverts it to serve their own selfish ends by using it to use and abuse other people.
And seldom do you see that as clearly as you do on Super bowl Sunday.
This week, the worst of what passes for Capitalism has been running wild on the streets of New York. There have been a record number of arrests for human trafficking as well as the bust of a massive multi-million dollar operation selling fake NFL merchandise.
Even the just as rich and famous brother of a quarterback on one of the teams playing has been implicated in a scheme to defraud fans by selling “game used” paraphernalia that may not be.
These are the kind of guys who give Capitalism a bad name. And they far, far outnumber the entrepreneurs legitimately trying to sell worthwhile goods and services that make our lives better.
And those of us who work in The Show Biz have no right to feel at all smug or self-righteous about how the wolves and jackals of Wall Street have overwhelmed the lions. Because we’ve allowed and even actively assisted that happening in our own industry.
Movies are of their time, sometimes the best record we have of the mores and morals of those times, how people thought and what they valued.
But we’ve let the hucksters and crooked accountants take over. The guys who only get to have sex with women given no choice.
The wannabees who want to look the part but won’t pay the price of a real jersey.
The people who get your kids warm and fuzzy about some low quality beer because the puppy in the commercial is cute.
Those bereft of creativity and vision have cornered a big portion of our way of making money, churning out remakes designed not to entertain or forward the culture but simply to cash in on what was relevant in another era.
They take the best of our past and ruin it, never realizing that somebody burned by the execrable remakes of “Total Recall”, “Carrie” and “Footloose” is thinking twice about forking out any more money to get into the multiplex.
Thus the road for original films gets harder while remakes remain the only safe bet for a studio exec.
This week a trailer appeared online to stir up interest in remaking another great film of its time, “The Warriors”.
Now, “The Warriors” was no watershed moment in cinema. It was just a well made movie capturing a sliver of the 70’s Zeitgeist.
Based on Sol Yurick’s novel, it was co-written and directed by Walter Hill, who’d made his name with “Hard Times” and “The Driver” and would go on to produce the “Alien” and “48 Hr.” franchises.
Hill and his creative team struggled against a studio that didn’t believe in the project and released it without spending a dollar on marketing. But “The Warriors” was unrepentantly of its time and fired the imaginations of those living in it.
It became an overnight sensation and a cult classic.
Meaning, of course, to those who only see the results and not how the sausage is made, that remaking it will reap similar rewards.
But in watching the faux trailer designed to draw in the studio suits, I felt not excitement but dread. Yes, it’s stylish and “very cool” in places. All the touchstones of the original film are there.
But the times are different. Street gangs are different now. Nothing like the Sharks and Jets of “West Side Story” or Yurick’s novel. Far meaner than even Hill’s “Furies” and “Riffs”.
I could see the darker moments of the trailer being replicated nationwide. Perhaps less often by real gangs than those having more in common with the Capitalist wannabees, never considering the consequences of their own need to be somebody.
The trailer for the original film and its proposed remake run below.
Take the decision not to make your own money by supporting the work of those who only know how to use and abuse.
And –- Enjoy Your Sunday.