As Ash Wednesday approaches, Catholics and a select few Protestants prepare for Lent, a time of sacrifice and spiritual betterment that prepares us for Easter. Not everyone gives up something for the Lenten Season, but I think there are a few things Hollywood and pop culture could take a 40-day break from. Here’s just a few suggestions for what the industry needs to let go:
Franchises involving cars
Maybe it’s just my utter indifference to motorized vehicles, but movie franchises that revolve around cars are not only tired, but boring. Fast & Furious is just one example, how can eight movies revolving around car chases and fiery stunts keep America’s attention for over 15 years? I don’t know, maybe I’m overestimating the American people’s appreciation for dialogue and a sensible plot. Don’t even get me started on Michael Bay and his detestable Transformers movies. Maybe after studios spend their Lenten season in reflection about the need (or lack thereof) for car-focal franchises in Hollywood, their minds will clear and we won’t have to suffer through another “summer blockbuster” that revolves around Hummers and Vin Diesel. (Except the Cars movies—those are a delight.)
Brooding alpha males
Broody men with smoldering gazes had their heyday (hello Edward Cullen and everyone on the CW), but the stereotype needs a break. The whole “masculinity is a prison” idea really shows itself in the quiet yet strong characters that can only show their feelings in a moment of weakness. Why doesn’t Hollywood try for some quirkier male leads that can cry at a cute puppy commercial? The superhero films that are over-saturating the big screens are a gold mine for the troubled but heroic, silent but strong men that wear tights but not their emotions. Maybe it’s too out there, but I’d rather see more Chandler Bings and Starlords than Christian Greys on the big screen.
Country songs about trucks and back roads
I have a love/hate relationship with country music. I love Miranda Lambert and Sturgill Simpson, but the superficial, cheesy songs from Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton make me cringe. Shelton’s song “She’s Got A Way With Words” should be banned, not only for the 40-day Lenten season, but forever—it’s that bad. Hearing an overly done southern accent sing about back roads, their honey in Daisy Dukes and drinking a cold one isn’t music, it’s a Bud Light commercial. To be honest, I’d rather hear Nickleback sing their “greatest” hits than Luke Bryan’s “Huntin’ Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day”. Let’s give the more innovative and original artists a chance, Nashville.
Shows over 10 seasons
Honestly, I’m being generous here. Television shows that go over six seasons usually jump the shark and venture into outlandish territory. Look at shows like “Lost” and “One Tree Hill,” both great shows that turned into a confusing jumble of soap opera storylines. Maybe we should all take breaks from the current over-extended shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Supernatural”, which are well past their prime. When shows are reduced to only two or three of the original cast because writers can’t think of anything other than killing fan favorites off, you know it’s time for a break. I know, I know, it’s hard to let some things go, but it’s time and Lent is a time for letting things go. Although, I will mention the exception to this rule: “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, in its twelfth season, has never been better or funnier.