Inspired by 50 Cent
Last summer, 50 Cent invited EW’s music department to hear an early version of his new CD, Curtis. This work, the rapper informed us, would reveal the real, thoughtful, sensitive Fiddy. All of which little prepared us for an opus that began with an endless parade of songs about guns and also featured a number in which Fiddy compared his penis to a twisting roller coaster with such conviction one was tempted to suggest he see a vascular specialist. But the really odd thing occurred when Fiddy — who is quite thoughtful in person — embarked on an impromptu tangent about the future of the film business. The theatrical movie experience, he argued, will soon be as dead as the dodo. Future blockbusters will bypass the multiplex and beam themselves directly onto home entertainment systems. Technological advances are already making this possible, Fiddy explained, and financial considerations — including the prevention of bootlegging — will make it inevitable.
Fiddy is a man whose opinions are not easily dismissed. The rapper has demonstrated his business acumen in various occupations from drug dealing to the rather less bullet-strewn job of selling his Vitamin Water. True, Hollywood has had a comparatively decent year: 2007’s summer movies grossed more than $4 billion for the first time, but this fall was less encouraging. Movie theaters continue to face conceivably fatal problems, not the least of which is consumers’ growing habit of viewing product on screens of nearly subatomic size. This year a film officially debuted on iTunes — Edward Burns’ Purple Violets. Apple’s marketplace also played host to Wes Anderson’s short film Hotel Chevalier, which many preferred to the film it was partly supposed to promote, The Darjeeling Limited.
As a result, this year I resolved to take every opportunity to see movies at the cinema — just in case. An afternoon screening of No Country for Old Men? Count me in. A midnight showing of Resident Evil: Extinction? I was there. (For the record, this horror threequel is more fun than the first two — but so was the time an ophthalmologist removed a layer of my left eyeball with a small drill.) However, it was going to see Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s exploitation homage Grindhouse on opening night in New York’s Union Square that reaffirmed my belief that there are few things better than seeing movies at the movies. Grindhouse is a mediocre film, but the capacity crowd — who applauded the opening credits and damn near everything that followed — were so jazzed by the experience that it was impossible not to get excited by their excitement. The idea that such communal cinematic events may be consigned to the dustbin of history alongside the eight-track player, the video recorder, and Burt Reynolds is a singularly depressing one. But hey, that’s just my 50 cents.