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Shock Films

January 04, 1987

When Goldstein asks, "Can it be that moviegoers don't like to be disturbed anymore?," I have to nod a disheartened yes. It's the nod of a film student who's been questioning his future lately, and just had his worst fears confirmed in print.

The best film makers of a decade ago-- my heroes, anyway--specialized in the disturbing. No two films ever examined paranoia and insanity with the piercing observation of Francis Coppola's "The Conversation" and Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver." Who'd have thought then that in 1986, these artists would give us a Capra rip-off ("Peggy Sue Got Married") and a "Rocky" clone ("The Color of Money")?

The people of Reagan's America have crawled back into their cozy ideals, refusing to look outside, and Hollywood has followed them right in, giving every film a hero whose morals are never questionable, and a big, happy smile of an ending.

The ability to unsettle the psyche is a rare one, and I'd like to see those who have it use it. There is hope. I've found new heroes in Terry Gilliam and Alex Cox, whose movies "Brazil" and "Sid and Nancy," while certainly not blockbusters, have successfully found their audiences.

With any luck, these guys will keep those audiences in the theaters into the '90s, leaving the doors open for my peers and me.

DARRIN NAVARRO

Los Angeles City College

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