In the beginning of the Tony-Award-winning Red, a fictionalized version of expressionist painter Mark Rothko explains that the purpose of art is to destroy the cool stuff that existed before you. "We destroyed cubism," Rothko says, "We stomped it to death. Nobody can paint a cubist picture today ... the child must banish the father. Respect him, but kill him." At the end of the play, when Rothko is a tired old artist and complaining about how younger artists don't respect his work, his assistant throws those words back in his face. That is ultimately the point of the play: When you're creating a new style of art, you have to wreck what came before it.
And these movies are pretty good at wrecking stuff.
Think about it. When Die Hard came out, with a hero who could actually bleed and made mistakes, all of the '80s indestructible heroes who wandered through hailstorms of bullets without blinking seemed ridiculous. It's suddenly impossible to relate to Commando, because Arnold approaches a firefight the way you approach a hungover Sunday morning supermarket trip. Or look at movies like Happy Gilmore and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Those were raunchy, edgy comedies when they came out, but they've been replaced by raunchier, edgier ones -- not because comedians have gotten edgier, but because the edge has moved. Adam Sandler's schtick has been ruined by crap like Jack & Jill, and as we just pointed out, jokes at the expense of transgender people have moved from "taboo and exciting" to "stupid and offensive."