Are we becoming more and more shallow as a species? It’s a question that’s been bugging me this week, after I saw the list of Hollywood’s highest paid actors for the year.
I would never have imagined I would ever see Dwayne Johnson’s name on this list, never mind at number one. Yes people, the former WWE wrestler known as The Rock, is now the highest paid actor in the world. And all because he starred in movies like San Andreas and The Fast and the Furious - the very name makes me want to avoid it.
I was arguing with a colleague about this. She says the cinema is a place to unwind with mindless entertainment that isn’t overly emotionally or intellectually draining.
I reckon if I’m going to spend R100 on a movie and popcorn, then I want to feel like I got something out of it. I want to be thinking about it for weeks afterwards and feel enriched.
And if it grows on me, then it was money well spent.
I don’t get to watch movies very often, so when I do, I tend prefer thought-provoking movies.
There are actors I can depend on for having excellent roles. Ryan Gosling, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Sean Penn, Phillip Seymour-Hoffman, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Helen Mirren and Daniel-Day Lewis, to mention a few.
Why are they not on the list? Because not enough people appreciate the genius of the art they give the world.
Instead, Vin Diesel is number seven on the list. So people will rather watch Vin Diesel’s stupid aangesitte voice than be mesmerised by Daniel Day-Lewis practically transforming into character.
It’s like people prefer watching paint dry on a bathroom wall, instead of adoring the Mona Lisa or being allowed to lie on your back to marvel at the roof of the Sistine Chapel.
Appreciating beautiful music, enjoying amazing art and getting lost in colourful characters that can move you to tears, is some of life’s inexplicable joys.
These gifts artists share with us to expand our hearts and minds.
I don’t understand how the Fast and the Furious can make us better people. I’m just glad Matt Damon and Tom Cruise at least made it onto the list.
Maybe that proves my friend wrong as people want to see action, explosions and impossible sci-fi, not good acting.
Another example of this is any of the Star Trek movies. Lots of skiet, skop en donner, but with an excellent message humanity can learn from. And yet none of the Star Trek actors are on the list either.
I told my friend that I wish more people would learn to appreciate movies that explore the human condition.
Her response was: “What makes you think Fast and Furious isn’t about the human condition? People love fast cars. That’s a human condition.”
She has a point. And maybe I’m just being a bit too intellectually critical.