Friday, June 4, 2010

What is Wrong with the Movies?

The Movies have changed in the past 40 years, and in my opinion not for the better.

Movies used to be made because someone cared about a story and they were able to assemble the right people to tell that story. Yes, some of them became iconic representations of what people felt at the time, but that was a result of the movie being made, not the reason for it.

I was watching a movie review program this week and they were recapping the movies from the first half of 2010. I hadn't seen any of them. I thought about the last time I went to see a movie in the movie theater.

I saw "Sherlock Holmes" with Robert Downey Jr. at Christmas. Everyone I went with said they liked it. To me it was 2 hours of video games. Every 3.2 seconds something or someone was flying through the air, clinging to life, or about to have their life ended.

That's why I don't go to the movies. Too many are made to be blockbusters, as Sherlock Holmes was. They go into production expecting to be the next big thing. They give the audience what they want so they can tally up the numbers and say "I told you this would be big". That is why we get the video game masquerading as a movie, because that's what the "audiences" want.

The story telling movies are relegated to the Indie festivals, most being seen by artsy-fartsy types (some of my best friends are artsy-fartsy types) and don't get into general release unless someone channels them into the mainstream movie market.

What happened to the making of movies like "Its a Wonderful Life", "Twelve Angry Men" and "The Great Escape". These movies were made because someone cared about the story and had the ability to tell it.

There are a few crafts men and women who are doing this now. Rob Reiner and the Coen Brothers are a few. Look at "The Princess Bride" and O Brother Where Art Thou?". Neither of these were accepted by the general public until they were in release for a while. Many of these artist's films are still unknown to much of the public.

Back to the movie review show. I don't want to see a movie in its first run because I don't believe the hype. The studios promote the heck out of a film because they have so much at stake with each film. They can always find someone to say "this is the film of the year" and I don't want to spend countless hours and dollars seeing everything that comes out and weeding through the dross to find the good stuff.

An example is the movie "the Hangover". I think this is a really funny movie. I have rented it several times and I still get a kick out of it. The thing is that there are so many ensemble guy movies out there, most of them really bad (the latest that comes to mind is "Get Him to the Greek" and anything with Seth Rogen) and all claiming to be the next big thing, that I don't know where to spend my time and money until the movie has passed me by.

These movie review shows give me enough of a glimpse beyond the hype that I can whittle the field down to a few I want to see. I just wish I could get this information when the movie is first out. Oh well, I guess I will put my copy of "A Few Good Men" into the DVD player and wait for the next round of "the BEST Movie of the Year" to come out.

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