Hipster spring break is finally over. Brightly colored lens-less glasses from the night before—a riotous combination of the culminating night of South by Southwest and the city of Austin’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day—have been traded out for oversized shades as everybody in the Austin airport sulks behind laptop screens and tall cups of coffee, disappointed that the party is over. Like kids waiting to be picked up by their parents at the end of summer camp.
I still vividly remember going to see “Super Bad” back in my senior year of high school with my friends who were kind enough to chauffeur me to an opening-night screening in the wake of my wisdom-teeth removal. For weeks leading up to the release, I must have watched the unrated “redband” trailer on YouTube over a dozen times and was bombarded with the abbreviated television-ad even more frequently. When I finally got to see the flick, I obviously laughed my ass off (the pain killers from my surgery the day before made sure of that). However, I couldn’t help but feel like I would have enjoyed the movie significantly more if I had gone into it without seeing its best jokes excerpted and played out of context, over and over. I knew what to expect. I was perpetually waiting for the punch lines and the memorable plot points I knew were coming, trying to place them into the narrative still unfolding.
By mid afternoon on the day of Oscar nomination announcements last week, my Facebook wall was already being covered with bitter and exasperated commentary on the Academy's nominee choices for the 2012 Academy Awards. One commenter summed up his displeasure with the concise statement, "This was a terrible year in film."
I remember the old posters that used to hang in movie theater lobbies explaining the Motion Picture Association of America ratings system to patrons-a vertical ladder of movie ratings G through NC-17 accompanied by cartoon renditions of the appropriate audiences for each.