I used to think that some movies were terrible because the makers of the films had lost touch with reality, did not care about people, or wanted to inflict pain.
I no longer think this is the case.
Movies are hard to make. 10-minute short films made during school with school equipment with predictable dates and a built-in crew are hard to make. By extension, I would think, making movies in high pressure situations with money and careers at stake are backbreakingly difficult to sell, then make. And no one really seems to know what they’re doing. Even if they think they know, even if it seems like a good idea, and things are clicking, it may not click because of something else that’s going on. So it’s hard.
Basically, people in Hollywood want to make money. If they knew exactly what people wanted to watch, they’d make it, and they’d make it exactly how people wanted. Assuming they can control how hard people work and how good performances are and scripts are and control the weather and all of that. Because – because then they’d get paid and get to keep their jobs and buy more islands or whatever they do with all that cash. They are not out to get America with terrible movies – they are out to get your cash and research/marketing data has told them to do whatever they’re doing. When you ask yourself – why are they making a movie of Battleship (as in, “You sank my battleship”. Yep really.)? Because that’s how we behave as consumers, partly.
This article, which got some traction when it came out in March, brought up part of the problem. We’re voting with our feet, and our feet are idiots. If you see a movie that looks terrible, that you don’t want to encourage, like a good parent, you should ignore the behavior until it goes away. When you pay $7.50 to see how bad it really is opening weekend, you’ve put yourself in the situation of encouraging bad behavior. Wait until something good comes out! Go back and watch something from the last 20 years that you’ve missed. Here are some lists: AFI’s best 100 movies, best 100 comedies, best 100 thrills (horror and thriller).
As I alluded to before, another part of the problem is that ideas get cannibalized and committee-ized until they’re the four-headed beast that appeals to all quadrants but lies down and keeps drooling on itself because it doesn’t have any brains or legs. That we can’t control. Breathe out, repeat that again. That we can’t control.
What we can control is voting with our feet. Does it look bad? Trite? Lame? Offensive? Let it be. Let it die, let it be a lesson. Does it look like a sham, like a cheap gimmick? Does it promote ideas you don’t like? Does it insult your intelligence? Let it die. Vote with your feet.
Some good examples, to end on a positive note – Inception was #6 overall in 2010. It made $292 million. A movie about dreams within dreams, alternate reality, obsession, based on a couple of brother’s brains. So it can be done. Right after that, Despicable Me – also original – almost everything else was a franchise, book, game, comic, or remake. Honestly some were pretty good. The point is more – if you walk out of a theater saying to yourself, it’s the same old thing, why don’t they do anything original…support originality. Right? Otherwise we’ll end up with movies based on household furniture and cleaning products: “Light Switch: The Movie!” “Grease-Remover 2: Getting Clean Boogaloo.”
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