I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but comedy is dying. People, for the most part, are bored with high explosives and fast action. It’s all been done before, more or less.
So what do people crave? What do people long for? I have a theory. I think people are in dire search of something moving.
Butch Walker sings:
You loved the preview but hate the movie. You scream at the screen, "Something move me!" before you start to fade away.
When we read about the monstrously enormous success of Pixar’s Inside Out, the biggest compliments are that it’s extremely moving and quite possibly the saddest Disney/Pixar movie ever. (Could it really be sadder than Toy Story 3?!?!?) And people love that.
Heck, I watched it just the other night because I needed a good cry.
John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is hugely popular in teen reading circles because it is quite possibly the saddest teen book ever written. (I’m attempting to out-do him in an upcoming teen book I’m working on. He’ll be eating his heart out.)
Why is this so? Why are the most emotionally-destructive books and movies so immensely popular with people? Why do we turn on songs like Ed Sheeran’s “All of the Stars” or Michael John Montgomery’s “The Girl” just to cry? (That latter example was the highest rated radio song at the time it was released.)
What’s wrong with us?
Well, my theory goes like this. We’re all zombies. For most of us, life is mundane. We get up, brush our teeth, go to a job where we spend most of the time pretending we weren’t at, go home, maybe watch a rerun of Friends on Netflix, and go to sleep.
Life is dull. We don’t go to enough funerals. So our souls kind of harden a little because we’re just swimming in this wet cement that’s holding us captive to a whole lot of nothing. To go biblical on you, Ecclesiastes even says it’s better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting (or a party).
And so we go see The Good Dinosaur to be stirred in a neglected place in our heart. And apparently the new Star Wars movie has quite a heartbeat to it that’s inclined to rejuvenate a lot of people. Even The Hunger Games has an incredibly bittersweet ending that even Sarabeth has a hard time accepting – yet she still rereads those books on a regular basis.
So go and be moved. Don’t be ashamed of your need to open up the waterworks every once in a while. I think those are gates we (especially us men) feel like we need to keep bared. Watch something sad and have a good cry. The feeling afterward is quite refreshing.
Check out my post on what I think are the saddest movies of all time (it’s updated!!).