movies: out of ideas?

GQ article: The Day the Movies Died

…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 7½ in the title.†

Interesting article by Mark Harris at GQ this month, The Day the Movies Died. It starts off talking about the industry-unexpected success of Inception* and goes on to discuss the same lament so many people–myself included–have about movies these days… there’s nothing new anymore.

I don’t go out to see movies very much anymore, the last one I saw was The Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy** as a midnight movie last weekend. Before that… I can’t even recall. Maybe District 9? I just don’t go out to movies anymore, content to wait for some of them to hit the home market simply because they’re just not that enjoyable outside the confines of the theater. I used to go see movies and talk about them for days, telling my friends about them, occasionally going back to see them a second time. Lately, a rental from Netflix is about as active as I get.

It’s an interesting read and it does call out people like me, who don’t go out to see movies anymore but it also ends with a terrifying fact that I’m not sure how I missed… “It took twenty-four years to get here, but it’s finally happening: Top Gun 2.”***

Wow. 🙄

For a video series that touches on some of these points in a different way, check out “Everything is a Remix“. It dwells a little too heavily on Tarantino, but is still an enjoyable watch.

† Captain America, Cowboys & Aliens, Green Lantern, and Thor; X-Men: First Class; Transformers 3; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Rise of the Apes; Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2; The Hangover Part II; Winnie the Pooh; The Smurfs in 3D; Spy Kids 4; Fast Five and Final Destination 5; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

* Which I have yet to see…

** Don’t ask.

*** My father loved to watch “Top Gun.” Primarily because we’d just gotten surround sound and he liked the sensation of jets going across the living room. Otherwise, I don’t think he enjoyed the movie all that much.

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4 Responses

  1. The problem is that movie studio executives are morons. They have this formula that they use to figure out if a movie will make money or not and they refuse to deviate from the formula. The problem with that is, the formula only works half the time. If the formula worked every time, no movie would ever lose money.

    Now that I work at a theater that shows less main stream movies, I am beginning to see how much people really want to see movies that fall outside the Hollywood formula. Black Swan is still selling out shows two months after it started showing. People want to see good movies but they settle for what Hollywood gives them.

    If Hollywood executives would look at the numbers for movies like Inception and Black Swan and not try to make excuses for why they did so well, they just might learn something. They refuse to see anything outside their formula though. It is just easier to stick with the success rate you know than it is to risk that success rating changing because changing could mean dropping.

    Ok, I am done ranting now. You should see Inception. It is a well done action/heist movie.

    • dcmoviegirl says:

      This. EXACTLY this.

      Profitability is the paramount concern and in this media-filled world, being lazy a.k.a. recycling ideas is what producers believe is the quickest route to that.

  2. Brando says:

    The thing is that the studios have gotten so big and profitable–and ultimately have to answer to investors who understandably care more about the return on investment than the artistic quality of what’s being put out–that they have to stick with very rigid formulas for what they produce. So they’ll have to consider “brand awareness” and “whether this can play in the profitable overseas market”–which means easy to understand action flicks and well known stars and connection to something already popular (a game, comic book, previous hit film) will be their safest bets for making money. They really can’t do it any other way.

    The bright side is that with technologies that make film making much cheaper and therefore more accessible (digital cameras, computer programs enabling editing, etc.) and wider distribution systems (internet based), there’s a lot more room for artistic and risky films to be produced and accessed. We’re now seeing a dual cinema industry, with big budget, high production value films that may entertain in a guilty way and smaller, cheaper but more daring films produced by independents.

  1. March 22, 2011

    […] I’m looking at you, Hollywood. Either get some new ideas or release cleaned-up remastered films.† Stop copying off of the […]

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