Could our hope in the future have anything to do with it? Hope springing eternally from the well of residuals, that is. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of getting paid for one’s labor is a grand one. And one that I subscribe to. Greed is good and all that. Ok, maybe that’s going too far, quoting Gordon Gecko, but, like his character pointed out after that great line, greed, competition are the pillars of improvement. And so profit is not inherently a bad thing. In fact it’s a pretty spiffy thing when it comes to things like movies. Think about it, if there was no profit to me made in making movies, they’re be no movies to be made. Sure, there’d be some non-profit documentaries chronicling how naive and bumbling past generations were and how we’re fixing all that now, or other non-profit documentaries described as being made with no money, when in fact gobs of it were funnelled into the venture in order to, you guessed it, club past generations over the head like baby seals. Yes, there would be those, and if we are to subscribe to Douglas Adams' theories, they’d even make it all the way to colonizing the next world. But still, without profit, there would be no popular cinema, no movies for everyone, for the average joe or bloke, for the common clay, you know, for us morons.
Yup, morons like you and me and everyone who loves movies, fun movies. No, I don’t mean love them like that idiotic pandering ad campaign American Movie Channel uses to explain why the once great cable channel stinks now. No, forget that. I’m talking about real people who love movies who aren’t obsessed with impressing others about the fact. Picture that scene in Annie Hall, the one on the movie line with the college professor. If you haven’t seen it, well, I won’t ruin it. If you have seen it, you know what I’m getting at. And if you have seen and still don’t know what I’m getting at it, well, American Movie Channel is waiting for you! But I don't think we have to be so drastic.
So why did so many depressing movies get made if the public loves fun movies? One has to go back to an earlier time in American cinema to Preston Sturges’s wonderfully iconic “Sullivan’s Travels” for a possible answer. In it, a movie director, a very successful movie director, tired of his success, sets out on a quest to find the true America, to pull back the covers on what makes America tick, to peel away the tin and get to the meat of the nation, the American theme, the serious nature of what it is America wants. Through much adventure and turmoil, heartache and anguish, as well as a bunch of laughs along the way, he figures out what America wants: yup. It’s simply just a bunch of laughs along the way. People want to be happy.