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The ‘death of excess’ and the movie Cloverfield

Posted by Adrian on October 1, 2008

With all the turmoil in the markets; you sit back at times and try and digest the issues of the world, be it economic or social. To formulate an opinion, and observation that may or may not reflect the current global turmoil. Recently I was discussing the problems the economy faces with a friend of mine on the weekend. We both come from different points but both reach the same conclusion, the world is going to face some huge problems, not only economic, but also social and environmental changes. My friend and I are not alarmists, I am certainty not. I also believed in adaptation and change, I believe when the human race is faced with adverse events it can react and change for the better. But, innovation, change and adaptation hasn’t occurred in the last 10 years of this global economic boom that we have had. Yes, it’s coming too an end and a dramatic one at that; but I look back and think about our society. I remember when it all boomed, the industry that I worked in, almost over night started to rev up, everything did. Money was pouring into the system; actually when I was discussing this ‘boom’ timing with my friend recently, we both laughed and agreed that when we were growing up (Generation X’ers) it was buying clothes from the opportunity shops (poor students late 80’s early 90’s, ala ‘grunge’); then later in life it was credit cards and Christian Dior sunnies (ok sans the Christian Dior’s, I am privy to Guess Sunnies – they fit well on the face). The point is excess was too sudden, credit expansion was overwhelming. The money was easy, as discussed in The death of Captain America and apathetic Generation X., we (metaphorically speaking) all became yuppies. Actually I remember in 1991 in a class discussion discussing Brett Easton Ellis’s American psycho, it was earnest 18 and 19 year old student’s analyzing the excess of Wall Street and an extreme by product of that excess; in the case of Ellis’s novel the main character Patrick Bateman.

The point is there was a time in the early 90’s where differentiation of excess and consumption was clear, simply put;money was tight for the masses. Therefore defining excess as far as consumption was relatively easy, some had it, most didn’t (cash that is). If there was a delevarging of debt from consumers, it was the yuppies (80’s and 90’s) selling off their Porches. The rest of us were just spectators.

What has this got to do with the movie Cloverfield? Well just the first 30mins you get to see cashed up 20+ somethings in an insulated indulgent world, are then faced with an unprecedented dramatic event. Which, they seem completely unprepared for (as you would), but as this crisis unfolds are unable to adapt and survive, hence pretty much end up…well you gotta see the movie.

Are the writers trying to tell us something? Maybe. Cloverfield reminds me of teen slasher films from the 1980’s, say Friday The 13th mixed with 1970’s disaster flick Possiden Adventure. So naivety meets survival instinct, but naivety wins in the Cloverfield ‘adventure’.

So whether certain aspects of popular culture, movies or otherwise will start to document the ‘death of excess’ in the 21st century, and how society will cope with these dramatic changes in social and economic environments, remains to be seen. Regardless, check out Cloverfield, if you haven’t already. Clever movie, with some subtle but poignant undertones, especially first 30mins.

PS happy bday JG!

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2 Responses to “The ‘death of excess’ and the movie Cloverfield”

  1. […] a comment » With the over-saturation of sex (media based) in an in a excessive consumption based society (which is kinda on it’s last legs, metaphorically speaking…, it is a no brainier that a lot of it (porn) loses any real validity as far as sexual statement or […]

  2. […] Except for smart producers film makers like JJ Abrams, as I still feel that Cloverfield was one of the best releases of 2008. Somewhat of a review found here. […]

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