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The New Republic: Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies?

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Don't agree with much of what he's saying, but the spatial integrity thing is spot on. Fight scenes lately have little to no tension in them because I rarely know where anyone is or whats in the environment. Tight camera angles and quick cuts make for boring fights.

I really enjoyed Haywire for pulling the camera back and letting you appreciate the great fight choreography.
 

Kinyou

Member
Hollywood seems fond of reboots, I think they need one themselves.
 
I've been reading this same shit for 20 years. People never change.

Pretty much. Hollywood does its thing. If someone doesn't like it they have other options. People can bitch all they want about Hollywood (myself included), but it's not like all movies come from there. Besides, there'll always be great movies/directors here and there, just like there'll always be crappy ones.
 
He writes this as if it's a new phenomenon of the last decade. This argument has been made since the 80’s.

Everyone knows that the big studios don't make movies for the sake of selling the movie. They are building licensed properties. Blame Lucas, or Spielberg, or Micheal Cimino, or Coppola, it doesn't matter.

The golden age of the auteur has been dead for 40 years.

... That's a silly thing to say. Since the theory is like 40ish years old itself.
 

Derrick01

Banned
Casualization has been choking the life and creativity out of every part of entertainment for the past decade so I'm not sure why this would be new to anyone.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
He writes this as if it's a new phenomenon of the last decade. This argument has been made since the 80’s.

Everyone knows that the big studios don't make movies for the sake of selling the movie. They are building licensed properties. Blame Lucas, or Spielberg, or Micheal Cimino, or Coppola, it doesn't matter.

The golden age of the auteur has been dead for 40 years.

But it's been getting worse, and TV has been getting better.

Roger Ebert didn't say movies were creatively bankrupt and TV the place with the best acting performances in the 80s, he said it last year

There may have been blockbusters in the 80s, but you couldn't in good faith describe the 80s as:
Let's look ahead to what's on the menu for this year: four adaptations of comic books. One prequel to an adaptation of a comic book. One sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a toy. One sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on an amusement-park ride. One prequel to a remake. Two sequels to cartoons. One sequel to a comedy. An adaptation of a children's book. An adaptation of a Saturday-morning cartoon. One sequel with a 4 in the title. Two sequels with a 5 in the title. One sequel that, if it were inclined to use numbers, would have to have a 7 1/2 in the title...

Here's what's on tap two summers from now: an adaptation of a comic book. A reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a sequel to an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a TV show. A sequel to a sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a young-adult novel. And soon after: Stretch Armstrong. You remember Stretch Armstrong, right? That rubberized doll you could stretch and then stretch again, at least until the sludge inside the doll would dry up and he would become Osteoporosis Armstrong? A toy that offered less narrative interest than bingo?

... Yes, it is technically possible that some years hence, a magazine article will begin with the sentence, "Stretch Armstrong's surprising journey to a Best Picture nomination began when..." But for now, let's just admit it: Hollywood has become an institution that is more interested in launching the next rubberized action figure than in making the next interesting movie.
 
Obviously, I'm not saying everything needs to be a popcorn flick, but The Avengers was childhood fantasy come to life for people like me who fell in love with these characters as a kid in the 70s and 80s. Using it as the example of what's wrong with Hollywood is silly.

People have responded to and built a relationship with these characters for decades, and they actually pulled them into a movie with surprisingly good results. There's no shock that it did well at the box office. The comics have been very successful, who would expect the movie not to be?
 

LosDaddie

Banned
*yawn*

Only thing worse then a movie snob is a gaming snob. In a time when more content is being made then any other time in history, if you can't find something you like. Then it's your own damn fault.

Fixed, especially for GAF. :)

Movie snobs have been whining like this for as along as I can remember. I find it extremely amusing how the masses enjoying a "blockbuster" film really chaps their ass. (Same goes for the annual whining on the GAming side for CoD sales). I don't need every movie to make me want to sit down and have a serious convo about life to enjoy it. The whole concept of escapism seems to be lost on movie snobs.

But what's really killing The Movies is not Hollywood, it's the actual theater experience, and the rise/maturation of home theaters. Ticket prices, snack & drink prices, people on cellphones, teenagers going apeshit during a movie....it's horrible. Taking my wife to a movie is a min. of $40. Want to take the daughter + a friend (or 2)? I'm looking at $70 minimum. Unless a movie is an absolute must-see for me, I'm happy to wait for the blu-ray and watch it on my 55" w/surround sound.



My friends convinced me to see The Avengers and after half an hour I moved to the back of the theater and messed around on my phone. .

How cool are you?
so cool
 

luso

Member
Basically the adults now in USA (maybe "1st world" countries would better wording) up to 40 years are just grown-up kids. So why give them well written stories and coherent storytelling when you can give them CGI, dialogues not more than grunts, explosions et al? Current blockbusters are now just an extension of the gaming world, which now has a considerable amount people in their 20s/30s still playing.
 

Tobor

Member

Fair enough. I guess I'm desensitized to the overall argument at this point. The war is over, and that age of cinema is so long dead, that it feels like arguing over a corpse at this point. The corpse is long since buried, and there are big gaudy flowers growing over the bubble of dirt.

As to the comic movie bashing, I do enjoy the Marvel Studios movies. They are at least honest and sincere in motive. I can see how this conversation is very different based on your opinion of comic book characters in general.
 

XiaNaphryz

LATIN, MATRIPEDICABUS, DO YOU SPEAK IT
His point about Pearl Harbour is interesting though. If you have to change your shot becuase it will be unconvincing otherwise, the technology you are using is probably not ready.

Those shots could probably be held longer with today's tech. Pearl Harbor was over a decade ago. Digital doubles have improved quite a bit.

 
Don't agree with much of what he's saying, but the spatial integrity thing is spot on. Fight scenes lately have little to no tension in them because I rarely know where anyone is or whats in the environment. Tight camera angles and quick cuts make for boring fights.

I really enjoyed Haywire for pulling the camera back and letting you appreciate the great fight choreography.

I agree about rapid editing and shaky camera, but Supremacy and Ultimatum's fight scenes were nothing but tension. They were great.
 
*yawn*



Fixed, especially for GAF. :)

Movie snobs have been whining like this for as along as I can remember. I find it extremely amusing how the masses enjoying a "blockbuster" film really chaps their ass. (Same goes for the annual whining on the GAming side for CoD sales). I don't need every movie to make me want to sit down and have a serious convo about life to enjoy it. The whole concept of escapism seems to be lost on movie snobs.

But what's really killing The Movies is not Hollywood, it's the actual theater experience, and the rise/maturation of home theaters. Ticket prices, snack & drink prices, people on cellphones, teenagers going apeshit during a movie....it's horrible. Taking my wife to a movie is a min. of $40. Want to take the daughter + a friend (or 2)? I'm looking at $70 minimum. Unless a movie is an absolute must-see for me, I'm happy to wait for the blu-ray and watch it on my 55" w/surround sound.





How cool are you?
so cool

Well said.

Also, that dude is so cool. I'm jealous.
 

Kevtones

Member
I should send this guy a copy of the Barbarella reboot - that would destroy him.


Also, he's misguided and fairly ignorant of the people actually working in Hollywood.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
It sucks that well made, well shot, well written and more "deep" films don't do so well but I've never been a fan of the dichotomy set up by many that it's because of the success of popcorn flicks. A basic film history buff should know that the first films were lauded by rich pretentious types as cheap shit for poor people, so when they act like the cinema is some grand affair that's now bogged down in shit it's like fuck off with your revisionist history.

That criticism actually predates film and it's as true now as it was then; mass produced commercialized commoditized art for the masses degrades human intellect and expressive potential the same way organized camping sites is a pale simulacra of the actual wilderness experience. I'd say Adorno is the seminal writer critiquing mass culture.

Think of all the rubes you know who go to an art gallery and make a 5-second judgment on a work of splendid art from time immemorial. Think of the context required to appreciate good jazz or good wine or good beer or good anything--how only by deep-diving the whole spectrum of possibility do you learn an appreciation for nuance in what the outsider would see as a continuous whole. Think of all the people for whom Mona Lisa is just a woman on a piece of canvas, or for whom Dali is essentially something to say "trippy" to in between bong hits. Not that there's anything wrong with those people, but it's an absolute symptom of how the level on which people engage with art or culture changes as the distribution of art or culture becomes commoditized.

But just because great films have been made and you feel the criticism of olden-times looks like old men yelling at clouds, doesn't mean the claim made in the OP is any less true: "Ow, my balls" represents a shrinking of thought compared with Roots or Serpico or Koyaanisqatsi. It certainly does. And the less we expect of ourselves, the less we are able to get out of ourselves. People who read nothing by YA literature lose the conceptual ability to read and digest books. As people acclimatize to broad, laugh-track humour they lose the gift for parsing more complicated wit or satire. And since what we're exposed to is, in many ways, connected to what businesses choose to expose us to, the commercial triumph of daftness poses a problem for people who want to be able to think, because it's likely they'll have any outlets through which to do so. This is what academics call hegemony. That The Godfather or Hell in the Pacific were themselves a shrinking of thought versus some other medium is pretty much irrelevant.

It's not a binary 0/1 of course, there are still substantial works of film being made, but there are some key problems still. One is that as the industry polarizes into high-budget nonsense action films and low-budget independent thinkers, it becomes impossible to get an action film that has any cleverness at all.

Obviously, I'm not saying everything needs to be a popcorn flick, but The Avengers was childhood fantasy come to life for people like me who fell in love with these characters as a kid in the 70s and 80s. Using it as the example of what's wrong with Hollywood is silly.

People have responded to and built a relationship with these characters for decades, and they actually pulled them into a movie with surprisingly good results. There's no shock that it did well at the box office. The comics have been very successful, who would expect the movie not to be?

Both can be true; the Avengers can be a symptom of the ways in which Hollywood changed for the worse although it's also a triumph in respect to what it set out to achieve.

Fan service and sequels in general are a symptom of this. People connect with the characters and the stories and want more, but in giving them more of what they want also undercuts the fact that the original thing that captivated people was not driven by the public, it was driven by some creative mind who has now been subsumed into serving the audience. The difference between giving the audience something they didn't even know they want, versus serving them exactly what they want until they realize they don't want it. This is true for all creative works.
 

megamerican

Member
He's spot on about spatial integrity. However, I thought the Avengers handled itself a lot better in this regard better than it had any right to.
 
Both can be true; the Avengers can be a symptom of the ways in which Hollywood changed for the worse although it's also a triumph in respect to what it set out to achieve.

I guess I don't really see a difference between The Avengers in 2012 and Superman The Movie in 1978, other than how far special effects have come. Both set out to bring beloved characters from comic pages onto the big screen, and both did an admirable job that resonated with audiences. However, I don't see anyone dissing the older Donner film.

Is The Avengers part of the current "Hollywood problem" because of bigger explosions and spectacle? I'm sure Superman was also a huge budget for it's time and used all of the technology available to the filmmaker.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
I guess I don't really see a difference between The Avengers in 2012 and Superman The Movie in 1978, other than how far special effects have come. Both set out to bring beloved characters from comic pages onto the big screen, and both did an admirable job that resonated with audiences. However, I don't see anyone dissing the older Donner film.

Is the whole "symptom of how Hollywood's worse" the bigger explosions and spectacle? I'm sure Superman was also a huge budget for it's time and used all of the technology available to the filmmaker.

I think the two differences are:
1) The technological argument that many people make about modern CG, virtual sets, and digital body-doubles versus animatronics, mattes, and other "real-world" effects; also, the argument the author makes about how commercial and music video directing has influenced blockbuster films.

2) The proportion of films that fit into the category. You identify 1978.

In 1978, these were the top films: Grease, Superman, Animal House, Every Which Way But Loose, Heaven Can Wait, Hooper, Jaws 2, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, The Deer Hunter. I see two sequels and two adaptations, but 6 originals--and I see films targeted towards families, teenagers, and adults. I see comedies, action films, dramas, films with strong adventure elements, horror...

In 2012, these have been the top films: Avengers (teen targeted adaptation action-superhero-adventure), Dark Knight Rises (teen targeted sequel/adaptation action-superhero-adventure), The Hunger Games (teen targeted adaptation action-adventure), Amazing Spiderman (teen targeted sequel/adaptation action-superhero-adventure), Brave (family targeted animated adventure), Ted (teen-young adult targeted raunch comedy), Madagascar 3 (family targeted sequel animated adventure), The Lorax (family targeted adaptation animated adventure), MIB3 (family targeted sequel sci-fi-adventure), Ice Age 4 (family targeted sequel animated adventure)--would you agree that the top 10 certainly has more franchises, less variety in movie type (only Ted is really in a non-adventure genre), budgets, target audiences, etc?
 
I think the two differences are:
1) The technological argument that many people make about modern CG, virtual sets, and digital body-doubles versus animatronics, mattes, and other "real-world" effects; also, the argument the author makes about how commercial and music video directing has influenced blockbuster films.

2) The proportion of films that fit into the category. You identify 1978.

In 1978, these were the top films: Grease, Superman, Animal House, Every Which Way But Loose, Heaven Can Wait, Hooper, Jaws 2, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, The Deer Hunter. I see two sequels and two adaptations, but 6 originals--and I see films targeted towards families, teenagers, and adults. I see comedies, action films, dramas, films with strong adventure elements, horror...

In 2012, these have been the top films: Avengers (teen targeted adaptation action-superhero-adventure), Dark Knight Rises (teen targeted sequel/adaptation action-superhero-adventure), The Hunger Games (teen targeted adaptation action-adventure), Amazing Spiderman (teen targeted sequel/adaptation action-superhero-adventure), Brave (family targeted animated adventure), Ted (teen-young adult targeted raunch comedy), Madagascar 3 (family targeted sequel animated adventure), The Lorax (family targeted adaptation animated adventure), MIB3 (family targeted sequel sci-fi-adventure), Ice Age 4 (family targeted sequel animated adventure)--would you agree that the top 10 certainly has more franchises, less variety in movie type (only Ted is really in a non-adventure genre), budgets, target audiences, etc?

I definitely see what you're saying about the lack of variety at the modern box office, and I see why people take issue with it.

I'm just not going to agree with the author in attacking The Avengers in particular because it achieved what it was trying to do, and it was aimed at the correct audience for the source material. So, yes, there are too many movies that fall into a similar bucket, but that's not Marvel's fault. There are so many lousy movies and quick cash-ins, and I personally don't put the Marvel Studios films into this category - mainly because (so far, anyway) they have treated the source material, as well as the audience, with a good amount of respect.

Mainly, I get a true sense that the people involved actually care about the properties, as opposed to something like Fantastic Four which had all of the flash and sizzle, but I never got the impression anyone who made the movie had any true love of the characters they were working with.

Also, it's easy to pick on movies for overusing CGI, but there are times that it's the best tool to tell the story. You could have painted someone green like the old Hulk TV series, but that's even less believable than the digital character in that particular case. As always, effects should serve the story and not the other way around, but they do have their place.
 

Brera

Banned
Hollywood blockbusters have always been 98% crap, but this recent trend towards endless remakes and sequels and comic book superhero nonsense is really driving me crazy.
My friends convinced me to see The Avengers and after half an hour I moved to the back of the theater and messed around on my phone. Meanwhile the vast majority of people I have movie conversations with have never seen The Fountain or Jesse James or A Serious Man... and that's just recent films, they don't even know of Andrei Rublev or Rififi or Picnic at Hanging Rock. There should be a required humanities course in public high schools that covers art, literature, film, etc.

I've seen The Fountain and Jesse James. They're great films but The Avengers is a great film as well. It's entertaining.

Film buffs need to grow the fuck up and stop being snobs.
 

Hari Seldon

Gold Member
In 2012, these have been the top films: Avengers (teen targeted adaptation action-superhero-adventure), Dark Knight Rises (teen targeted sequel/adaptation action-superhero-adventure), The Hunger Games (teen targeted adaptation action-adventure), Amazing Spiderman (teen targeted sequel/adaptation action-superhero-adventure), Brave (family targeted animated adventure), Ted (teen-young adult targeted raunch comedy), Madagascar 3 (family targeted sequel animated adventure), The Lorax (family targeted adaptation animated adventure), MIB3 (family targeted sequel sci-fi-adventure), Ice Age 4 (family targeted sequel animated adventure)--would you agree that the top 10 certainly has more franchises, less variety in movie type (only Ted is really in a non-adventure genre), budgets, target audiences, etc?

Wow that is really sad when you put it that way. There doesn't seem to be any decent R rated movies anymore. This is the same problem I have with video games, too much targeting at the teen audience.
 

KimiNewt

Scored 3/100 on an Exam
It's awful and all, but we used to have to wait years to get another good comicbook adaptation on screen -- now we get it multiple times a year. Couldn't be a better time to be a nerd.
 

Dude Abides

Banned
I've seen The Fountain and Jesse James. They're great films but The Avengers is a great film as well. It's entertaining.

Film buffs need to grow the fuck up and stop being snobs.

Perhaps it's because they're grown up that they don't enjoy mindless by-the-numbers nonsense such as The Avengers.
 

verbum

Member
I understand why many in this thread think it's BS (they're the comic book loving target audience), but I completely agree with the article. It's clearly nothing new, true. Movies were "dying" in the 70's and Star Wars came along and the blockbuster genre "saved" it. The problem is the blockbusters from that period still had their foundation on story. The typical blockbuster of today has had story completely ripped out. At best, you'll get a little story in the original movie (of a planned series) to set things up. And after that, it's just retarded physics, tons of fighting, and super fast edits. In the last couple years, I've pretty much given up even trying to care anymore. It's futile.

The only real emotion I can even muster on the subject is critics who blame this on video games. Hollywood was always been in the driver's seat on this. And they're the ones who've influenced video games negatively. So don't wrongly assign blame, Mr. Critic.

The best thing for Hollywood is to get decentralized. Too much group think in a corporate Hollywood. They've been cycling like this for decades, good decades then bad decades.
The access to Netflix et al is showing people good and some not so good original films so maybe market pressure will force Hollywood to reach out and tap into some of that talent. Hollywood has done this in the past. They brought in independent filmakers in the 1960's and 70's when young people quit going to their big budget cookie cutter films.
 

MjFrancis

Member
In 2012, these have been the top films: Avengers (teen targeted adaptation action-superhero-adventure), Dark Knight Rises (teen targeted sequel/adaptation action-superhero-adventure), The Hunger Games (teen targeted adaptation action-adventure), Amazing Spiderman (teen targeted sequel/adaptation action-superhero-adventure), Brave (family targeted animated adventure), Ted (teen-young adult targeted raunch comedy), Madagascar 3 (family targeted sequel animated adventure), The Lorax (family targeted adaptation animated adventure), MIB3 (family targeted sequel sci-fi-adventure), Ice Age 4 (family targeted sequel animated adventure)--would you agree that the top 10 certainly has more franchises, less variety in movie type (only Ted is really in a non-adventure genre), budgets, target audiences, etc?
What demographics are most willing to pay today's movie ticket prices?

Stumpokapow has answered this question for us.
 

qindarka

Banned
Perhaps it's because they're grown up that they don't enjoy mindless by-the-numbers nonsense such as The Avengers.

They aren't more grown up than anyone else and anyone who thinks that their preference of movies makes them more mature is actually being more childish. It's just movies , not something substantial where you could really pass judgment about maturity.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
What demographics are most willing to pay today's movie ticket prices?

Stumpokapow has answered this question for us.

I absolutely concede that this is a problem in both directions and that consumer behaviour and content production drive each other. That's one of the major reasons why I view this trend as especially problematic; it's likely to continue because it's self-perpetuating.

But ultimately the "blame" is pretty irrelevant, because no one who has identified the "problem" here is posing a solution. I don't pretend it's as simple as studios making smarter movies. My personal solution has been switching almost exclusively to TV--a solution that Ebert suggests in the piece I linked above, although he laments that having given his life to movies he's not able to adjust at his age. TV also has some pretty seriously gross pressures on content right now and there's no shortage of high profile garbage on the air, but it has the pressure release valve of cable economics.

An alternative and more optimistic look at film would be to say that it's easier now than ever to explore classic film title, and there's a very deep bench of transcendent film from over the years.

Either way, I don't have a solution to offer that involves theatrical new releases in 2012.

They aren't more grown up than anyone else and anyone who thinks that their preference of movies makes them more mature is actually being more childish. It's just movies , not something substantial where you could really pass judgment about maturity.

I don't deny that CS Lewis is correct when he points out:
Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

However this is not a refutation of loss of creative diversity or mining a narrower vein ever deeper... it's simply an argument that we can't dismiss things simply because they are childish or pretend we're above it all. The problem being identified isn't that childish things exist at all, it's that they're increasingly all that exist. And the term here isn't being used as "childish", it's family-oriented. Family-oriented stuff is great, and there's some very smart family-oriented films. Even blockbusters, no one here is taking away from E.T or Toy Story. But the convergence that's occurring goes way further.
 

demon

I don't mean to alarm you but you have dogs on your face
The bar for what qualifed as a good "blockbuster" really has been lowered over the past couple decades or so. I'm really growing weary of the CGI-laden shitfests, and I do not subscribe to the notion that blockbusters were always this bad. Studios are relying too much on the big budgets and the big names and the big licenses and the big effects and churning out truly lowest common denominator, brainless turds that feel like the product of focus groups more than that of even mildly creative people with inspired ideas. But it's making them money, so what do they care. I'm not even sure I care that much. I've grown kind of tired of action movies, the realm of comedy has been taken over by television, and there are always good drama movies if you look for them. I just wish there were more blockbuster/action movies that don't treat me like a 12 year old boy.

They aren't more grown up than anyone else and anyone who thinks that their preference of movies makes them more mature is actually being more childish. It's just movies , not something substantial where you could really pass judgment about maturity.
Eh. When a grown man lists his favorite recent movies and they're all FillInTheBlank-Man movie adaptations, I make judgements.
 
I still haven't seen The Avengers because it looks like crap. The only upcoming movie I'll see this month is Argo, and that's probably it. Maybe Looper, too.
 

qindarka

Banned
I don't deny that CS Lewis is correct when he points out:


However this is not a refutation of loss of creative diversity or mining a narrower vein ever deeper... it's simply an argument that we can't dismiss things simply because they are childish or pretend we're above it all. The problem being identified isn't that childish things exist at all, it's that they're increasingly all that exist. And the term here isn't being used as "childish", it's family-oriented. Family-oriented stuff is great, and there's some very smart family-oriented films. Even blockbusters, no one here is taking away from E.T or Toy Story. But the convergence that's occurring goes way further.

Heh, I was thinking of Lewis myself. I don't actually have a problem with people not liking the quality or prevalence of certain types of movies nowadays. As someone who enjoyed Avengers overall, I did wish that it would have been more substantial. What I do take issue with is people using their 'superior' tastes to present themselves as being smarter or more mature than the masses.
 

richiek

steals Justin Bieber DVDs
News flash: The vast majority of what Hollywood churns out is crap. It's always been this way since they started making movies.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
But why do you care what someone else's favorite movies are? Not being facetious, just curious.

I can't think of a context where it's appropriate to share your taste but not appropriate to react to someone else's taste. Obviously going over-the-top aggro on a person or being binary "RIGHT TASTE" "WRONG TASTE" is embarrassing, but I think if someone lists their top ten movies and they're all screwball comedies, it's worth engaging them on why that is, whether or not they have a broader awareness of film, what it is that they find tough to digest about dramatic performances, if there are examples of more dry or black humour they like, is there a nuance to the genre I'm missing, etc. And if at the end of it, their taste boils down to "I don't think about it very much, I don't think about anything very much" that's cool too, but it also limits the experiences I can share with that person :p

Actually I just met my neighbours a few days ago. The woman said her favourite movie was Mary Poppins--which I can easily see because it's a pretty singular movie--there's not much else like it--in the way it juxtaposes the harsh realism of war with the fantasy of colourful cheer, it's a very visually interesting movie, and it manages to cartoonize the subject without robbing it of its depth. The dude said "I spent most of my college years getting stoned so probably Half Baked". Half Baked is a great choice too, also another singular movie. So it's not about hating on films that aren't titanic intellectual achievements. But it is about being a well-rounded person and being able to be interested in and appreciate a wide variety of material and understand how different works touch different touchstones, right?

News flash: The vast majority of what Hollywood churns out is crap. It's always been this way since they started making movies.

1) Is the point of the article "The vast majority of what Hollywood churns out is crap", or is that an inaccurate summary? I'd argue it's an inaccurate summary. I'd argue the point is that "The vast majority of what Hollywood churns out is increasingly focused on a smaller number of themes, target audiences, visual and cinematographic styles, and increasingly about capitalizing on known brands rather than producing creative works." He's not saying the Avengers is crap, he's saying it's an example of a product that exists because of the current climate, and we lose out because of that. He does identify some specific problems, of course, but this isn't meant to mean that those films have no merit. Again, it's a problem case because it represents the industry as a whole, not because it exists at all.

2) "90% of everything is crap" may or may not be true, but it's not a useful statement. The percentage of crap being produced is not constant. Some years are crappier than others. And sometimes stuff gets crappy because of trends, bandwagons, or limitations that prevent non-crap from happening. And sometimes stuff isn't really crappy, but it becomes crappy because of the stuff around it--see also problem #1. So, do you think the volume of crap versus high quality content has been exactly constant for the last 70 years, or does it vary? If it varies, do you think today is worse or better than average? Regardless of which you choose, why?
 
I can't think of a context where it's appropriate to share your taste but not appropriate to react to someone else's taste. Obviously going over-the-top aggro on a person or being binary "RIGHT TASTE" "WRONG TASTE" is embarrassing, but I think if someone lists their top ten movies and they're all screwball comedies, it's worth engaging them on why that is, whether or not they have a broader awareness of film, what it is that they find tough to digest about dramatic performances, if there are examples of more dry or black humour they like, is there a nuance to the genre I'm missing, etc. And if at the end of it, their taste boils down to "I don't think about it very much, I don't think about anything very much" that's cool too, but it also limits the experiences I can share with that person :p

Actually I just met my neighbours a few days ago. The woman said her favourite movie was Mary Poppins--which I can easily see because it's a pretty singular movie--there's not much else like it--in the way it juxtaposes the harsh realism of war with the fantasy of colourful cheer, it's a very visually interesting movie, and it manages to cartoonize the subject without robbing it of its depth. The dude said "I spent most of my college years getting stoned so probably Half Baked". Half Baked is a great choice too, also another singular movie. So it's not about hating on films that aren't titanic intellectual achievements. But it is about being a well-rounded person and being able to be interested in and appreciate a wide variety of material and understand how different works touch different touchstones, right?

Well stated, I can definitely see that. As I said, I was just curious, but that's a valid argument. I suppose I do that with music, so I'm certainly not above it or anything, but to me it's more whether someone has truly chosen something as their favorite or if they've just accepted what's been put in front of them.

So, if someone has seen a lot of movies and just happens to truly love something that I think is crap, that's different than just liking whatever's popular without giving any thought or feeling to it. If that makes any sense.
 

mattiewheels

And then the LORD David Bowie saith to his Son, Jonny Depp: 'Go, and spread my image amongst the cosmos. For every living thing is in anguish and only the LIGHT shall give them reprieve.'
I agree with the concern about progressively dwindling budgets for anything that isn't swinging for the bleachers.

Here's a good example of this: Alexander Payne, one of those guys that you'd assume would have his studio behind him 100%, seeing as he's on the short list of best filmmakers today, wants to make a black and white movie without huge names. If this were a different era, his studio wouldn't even blink at giving him their equivalent of $20mil; he's one of the best, our studio can use another classic, yadda yadda. Now, they demand he cut the budget in half and get a big name or else. Denby is correct in that its only going to escalate from here, too.
 

Tobor

Member
I agree with the concern about progressively dwindling budgets for anything that isn't swinging for the bleachers.

Here's a good example of this: Alexander Payne, one of those guys that you'd assume would have his studio behind him 100%, seeing as he's on the short list of best filmmakers today, wants to make a black and white movie without huge names. If this were a different era, his studio wouldn't even blink at giving him their equivalent of $20mil; he's one of the best, our studio can use another classic, yadda yadda. Now, they demand he cut the budget in half and get a big name or else. Denby is correct in that its only going to escalate from here, too.

I could see crowd sourcing being the answer for financing projects like this in the future.
 

Brera

Banned
Perhaps it's because they're grown up that they don't enjoy mindless by-the-numbers nonsense such as The Avengers.

I think it's the other way round. When I was younger, I used to be all anti Micheal Bay and full of elitist bullshit.

Then I grew up and started to be more open to all sorts of movies...and yes, The Rock is fucking awesome.

The Avengers makes sure smaller films still get made. If they ain't then "film" buffs" need to stop downloading and start going to the cinema and triple dipping on Blue Ray releases just like the people supporting The Avengers and Dark Knight Rises.

You get the films you deserve.
 

Brera

Banned
The bar for what qualifed as a good "blockbuster" really has been lowered over the past couple decades or so. I'm really growing weary of the CGI-laden shitfests, and I do not subscribe to the notion that blockbusters were always this bad. Studios are relying too much on the big budgets and the big names and the big licenses and the big effects and churning out truly lowest common denominator, brainless turds that feel like the product of focus groups more than that of even mildly creative people with inspired ideas. But it's making them money, so what do they care. I'm not even sure I care that much. I've grown kind of tired of action movies, the realm of comedy has been taken over by television, and there are always good drama movies if you look for them. I just wish there were more blockbuster/action movies that don't treat me like a 12 year old boy.


Eh. When a grown man lists his favorite recent movies and they're all FillInTheBlank-Man movie adaptations, I make judgements.

I pity the fool that doesn't think Dark Knight Rises is one of the best movies of the year.
 

Dude Abides

Banned
I think it's the other way round. When I was younger, I used to be all anti Micheal Bay and full of elitist bullshit.

Then I grew up and started to be more open to all sorts of movies...and yes, The Rock is fucking awesome.

The Avengers makes sure smaller films still get made. If they ain't then "film" buffs" need to stop downloading and start going to the cinema and triple dipping on Blue Ray releases just like the people supporting The Avengers and Dark Knight Rises.

You get the films you deserve.

The fact that Avengers makes a lot of money and theoretically allows other films to be made does not make Avengers a good film, which is what this discussion is about. Nobody denies that many bad movies make money. You don't have to be a film buff to find lines like "you planning to step on us?" cringeworthy and endless pointless CGI fight sequences dull.
 

Owzers

Member
i don't know what the argument is...are we just yelling at the clouds?

I liked Avengers and Transformers despite their flaws, whereas i couldn't find much enjoyment in Thor, Iron Man 2, or Transformers 2 and 3. Do i wish they were all better movies? Sure. But they weren't. That Hollywood stopped remaking everything? Sure. I don't watch most of the remakes, and sometimes they are decent like Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Sometimes they are a Nightmare on Elm Street remake and i don't even watch them on hbo let alone dvd/theatre.

I grew up on 80s movies, i'd like more Predator and less Aliens vs Predator. Original trilogy vs new trilogy. Instead of Aliens, we get Avatar in 3D. I don't go to theaters anymore either, redbox + netflix streaming, so Hollywood studios probably don't care what i like anyways.
 

Tobor

Member
The fact that Avengers makes a lot of money and theoretically allows other films to be made does not make Avengers a good film, which is what this discussion is about. Nobody denies that many bad movies make money. You don't have to be a film buff to find lines like "you planning to step on us?" cringeworthy and endless pointless CGI fight sequences dull.

Your choice of criticism is bizarre. There is nothing wrong with that line, in particular. Cringeworthy?

I am a film buff. I've seen countless classics, and more bad movies than I ever care to remember. I've enjoyed and hated a wide varierty of movies. If you want to get down in the slop, let's talk about Michael Bay, or Emmerich, or any of the other examples of actual bad blockbuster filmmaking. The Avengers shouldn't be in that conversation. It's the exception that proves the rule.
 
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