Movie Rant

As you can see from my prior post, I really like movies. I like talking about them, quoting them, and critiquing them. Hollywood, however, hasn’t made it very easy to be a movie lover anymore.

Now, I recognize that blaming “Hollywood” for ills is not a new thing; it’s a game that gets played for a lot of different reasons, a lot of different ways. Further, moviemaking has become a lot more diverse than just what’s made in that Los Angeles suburb. So, when I say ‘Hollywood”, I’m not just talking about the movie manufacturers there, I’m talking about the whole industry. Broad brush. Maybe that’s not fair, but the issue of the way movies are given the green light, made, sold and distributed is killing me.

First off, the experience of going to a theater is a ridiculously expensive grind. $9-$10 to get in. $10 for popcorn and a soda. Noisy people. Dirty theaters. Many times (I’ll admit not always) uncomfortable seating. Inadequately lit screens. Most of all, God help us, commercials. Result: Jeri and I rarely go anymore. It just isn’t worth the better viewing experience of the big screen and good sound; indeed, the only reason to go is something that is very good that we know will play best on a big screen with good sound. Our recently purchased plasma TV even kills some of that, though.

Second: Can we occasionally make something other than a sequel, please? Look, there are sequels I enjoy; there’s even one on my movie favorites list. But Hollywood is sucking the life out of stories and characters. Example: Shrek I, cute. Shrek II, still cute, but only because new characters were added and it still felt a little worn. Shrek III, pretty stale. Shrek IV: coming in 2010, whether you want it or not. Another example: Pirates of the Caribbean. Same sort of pattern, though in my opinion, both the second and the third movies were waaaaaaay over long. Apparently that franchise isn’t done either; next up, I understand, is Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of Johnny Depp Discovering Making Money is OK. Mind you, there’s a difference between a sequel and a series: Harry Potter is series, based on a book series. James Bond renews itself with new Bonds, and is also based (albeit very loosely) on a book series.

Third: Take your useless, grotesque, pornographic horror movies and dispose of them in the proper receptacle…the one that flushes. Why are those entertainment? What’s the draw to seeing someone tortured to death? I suppose they sell, but (and this is a big question that someone probably has or should write a book on) doesn’t an artist have some moral responsibility to create art that isn’t just, well, sicko?

Finally, I think that if you are selective, TV is doing better stuff. We’ve gotten a ton more enjoyment out of Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, and Big Love, than movies. Others I know were very into The Sopranos, and 24. They are more complex and better written. They have more time to tell their stories, true, but that doesn’t excuse that TV may be outmaneuvering traditional Hollywood.

So Hollywood, get off your duffs and do a better job!

2 Responses to “Movie Rant”

  1. Bill Says:

    It seems they’ve yet to figure out they are in the entertainment business, not the movie business. There is lots of entertainment options to choose from. If they don’t give us good products delivered in a way (and style) that we like them, then we’ll go someplace else. We only go to 2 or 3 movies a year because they only make that many that we want to see.

    I guess we’re too old to be in the key demographic any more.

  2. Beast Mom Says:

    Preach it, man. I totally agree.

    The movie industry isn’t doing well financially for logical reasons. On top of everything you’ve listed, I’d add: they’ve become a totally fear driven business. “Let’s make another sequel even if it’s mediocre because that’s safer than risking our necks on something new!”

    I’d also add that trying to break into script writing for an untested writer/storyteller is nearly hopeless anymore. Where there used to be risk taking and really edgy discoveries of great new storytellers, all those risks are now left to indy filmmakers on teeny budgets and using Final Cut Pro off their home computer. Only the indy film industry is taking risks. The mainstream studios are not. Many studio execs have become totally narrow and self-oriented, unable to see beyond their own job security. “I can’t buy your script. It’s too much risk. You have no name and can’t guarantee me a $XXX millions in profit. But we still believe in story! Send us good stories! The good ones always rise to the top!” Whatever.

    It also doesn’t help that in the past decade, the number of mainstream studios got cut in half. Everyone is owned in huge conglomerates now which leads to less diversity and more budget stinginess since the investments tend to be bigger, not braver, and not necessarily better. I heard a bigtime studio exec speak about a year ago saying her venerable studio was being bought by an ever bigger house soon. This cuts down the opp’s for writers to submit new and exciting work. The number of decision makers just got cut in half. As w/ any creative industry, it’s not better to eliminate the little people or the diversity of collaboration. We now have the equivalent of blah/boring/bland suburbia in the movie industry, rather than a variety of diverse citizens.

    My 2 cents…

    -bm