10 in Their 20s – Art or entertainment?

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(Host) Currently VPR is featuring a Monday morning series of commentaries from “10 in Their 20s,” in which members of Vermont’s 20-something generation share their perspectives on issues that matter the most to them – from the local to the global. This week Luke Mindell reflects on the difference between art and entertainment.

(Mindell) Film is my favorite art form and I see it cheapened and watered down every day. I’ve been a clerk in a video store for five years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how bad most movies are. I’m even more amazed at how popular these awful movies are with the public. Sometimes I’ll see a great film like; well recently there was, Lost In Translation. A customer asked me to recommend a movie. I asked if he had seen Lost in translation and he said, No, what’s it about? I began to explain; It’s sort of about the isolation of being in a culture that is totally alien to your own No reaction. Finally, he came back at me with is Dickie Roberts any good? I like David Spade.

Lots of people have no room for art in their lives. Who knows maybe they never have. At least in my lifetime, people’s need for art seems to be declining rapidly. People openly admit that to me at the video store every day. They say, I don’t want anything where I have to think

Now I’m not saying that I know what art is any better than the next guy, but I know that if you don’t have to think about it at all it’s not art. Art is the honest depiction of human interaction, pain, or love. Art is great thought put into stone, or onto paper or celluloid. Art is music that makes me close my eyes, scrunch my upper lip and drum on my knees, looking like a fool, and enjoying every minute of it. Art inspires discussion. Great art inspires arguments.

Art could be everywhere, instead it’s virtually nowhere. Take T.V. for example, South Park is far more artistic than 90% of what’s on TV, yeah South Park. It’s not only much funnier than shows like Friends, but it also comments on our society more accurately, and with more insight than anything on ABC, NBC, or CBS.

And let me tell you a little something about Friends. It’s just like those shows in 50’s that painted a totally inaccurate portrait of the modern family, a false take on reality where the only adversity that the characters face is none. These shows have nothing to say and inspire no thought. Maybe that’s why they’re so popular. And like TV, the worst films seem to be the biggest hits.

To me, film is the ultimate art form. It combines literature, acting, visual composition and music. And none of these things are used to their potential in most modern films. I’m sick of looking in the paper for a movie to see and only finding the latest shoot-em-up explosion fest or Disney regurgitation. I’m sick of movies that work at the lowest level of thought to attract the highest number of ticket sales.

Most of all, I’m sick of people asking me to recommend a film, and telling me they don’t want to think.

I’m Luke Mindell from Jericho.

Luke Mindell is 21. He writes a local column about film.

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