There was yet another article in the newspaper this morning about the woes besetting the Hollywood film industry, specifically a drop in attendance (and subsequent loss of revenue). Although secondary sources of income, namely DVDs, offset this, it seems the Powers That Be in Tinseltown are blaming a whole host of reasons for this.
Basically, they need to call ME, average filmgoer of a certain age who likes to spend some of her disposable income by going to the movies. I could have saved them tons of time, effort and expense if they'd asked my opinion about upcoming movies and why I was NOT going to see them. And among those that I did see, it's not so hard to figure out why they weren't blockbusters.
In no particular order:
Kingdom of Heaven -- We went opening day, because my daughter likes Orlando Bloom, and the idea of Liam Neeson wielding a broadsword was sufficient for me. But alas! The characters were weak, especially in terms of motive, and especially Orlando Bloom's. The romance was "huh?" (I can't even remember who the woman was, so that tells you something). Nor do I have any interest in purchasing the DVD.
Cinderella Man -- we finally saw this, but I was in no rush because I felt we'd seen pretty much the whole movie in the trailer. No dramatic suspense there. And during the movie, no conflict. We were supposed to care about Jim Braddock, but we knew he'd win in the end. I was surprised to see the Star of David on Max Baer's boxing trunks. That sent me googling. I had no idea MB was Jewish, and from a German family. A German Jew boxing in the 30's in America -- and one whose real life story was every bit as interesting to me as Jim Braddock's might have been. Perhaps if they'd shown that both men had a lot of lose in that final fight, I would have cared more. And maybe if Renee Zellweger hadn't looked like she was sucking lemons the whole time, that would have made me care about her character. Also, Jim Braddock might have been called Cinderella Man, but they should never have used that for the title. It sounds really strange for a movie about a boxer.
War of the Worlds: For a movie like that to work, I really have to care about the fate of the folks in peril. Tom Cruise's selfish character sure didn't fit that bill. Dakota Fanning bugs -- she's like a mature woman trapped in a kid's body. And what was with those gloves minus the fingers? When a movie isn't working, these are the things I notice. And, remake.
Batman Begins -- Batman goes to Tibet and learns kung fu. Not a fan of the comics, so who cares? Not even Liam Neeson could get me to this one.
Bewitched -- Are you kidding me? The TV show was the sort of thing I watched if I was home sick from school. And without Mrs. Kravitz (who belongs on Wisteria Lane), forget it.
Bad News Bears -- Didn't I see this already? Wasn't it called Bad Santa? Billy Bob Thorton drunk and swearing is nothing new, or entertaining. Also, remake.
The Island -- They're clones! Who don't know they're clones! But we do from the trailers, so...why bother? If this isn't a remake, it sure feels like one.
Stealth -- AI goes bad. Been there, seen that. Yawn.
Wedding Crashers -- So let me get this straight. Apparently there are going to be women who find these overgrown frat boys attractive? Yeah, right.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin -- So, this guy is forty and hasn't had sex. Hardy har har. Sounds like a one-joke film all the way. I give them points for the poster, though.
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory -- I've never seen the original, but Johnny Depp looks totally creepy. Pass. Also, another remake. Where are the original ideas, or original takes on classic plots?
And don't get me started on what Hollywood thinks makes a good romantic comedy...but I will say I have no desire to see a movie where the "heroine" is so desperate and needy, I want to give her a good shake and tell her to grow up. And much of the time, this is clear even to her children, who are way more mature.
March of the Penquins -- We saw this and it was interesting, but gave the penquins too much human emotion. Who can say how a penquin feels? I think it goes to the lack of other good movies that this is doing so well.
We did see one EXCELLENT movie this summer: Crash, which was technically a 2004 film. Interesting characters, interesting stories, lots of surprises. Somebody, give Don Cheadle the Oscar, and then give him good characters to play. This man can do more silently walking down a hall than many another actor could with Shakespeare.
I also enjoyed Fantastic Four. I went for Ioan Gruffudd, and had low expectations. They were exceeded because it was funnier than I thought. It was a cute popcorn movie, and wisely marketed as such.
I realize I'm not in the target demographic anymore (18 - 34). Nor am I a male. But I am willing to spend my money to see a good movie. And I will go to a movie a week if there are movies I care to see. So, Hollywood Powers That Be, when you wake up and realize there are plenty of other people like me you should be thinking about, give me a call.