Thursday, January 05, 2006

Alas, poor Hollywood....

I see the folks in Hollywood are wringing their hands over only taking in $8.9 billion this year, down from $9.4 billion last year. Oh, woe is me! What is wrong?

Well, how 'bout making some movies I, a "boomer" with some disposable income who enjoys going to movies, would like to see, and that are interesting and/or funny (not gross or slapstick funny), adult (the kids are past the kiddie flick stage) with a good story and characters I can care about and that aren't remakes (having seen the originals, they only make me feel old -- not something boomers are noted for finding appealing)?

Here's the films they thought would be blockbusters and weren't:

XXX: State of the Union -- Saw the first one. Not bad. Don't need to see another. Big explosions aren't enough to get me to the theater.

The Island -- send in the clones. Again. Snore.

Stealth -- I didn't even know when this one opened. I might have gone to see it, but it was gone in what seemed the blink of an eye.

Cinderella Man -- I saw this. Not impressed. Don't tell me it's a great human interest story in a quote at the beginning as if I'm a dope who can't be expected to appreciate a great human interest story unless I'm told. It's your job to show me, not tell me. I came away wanting to know about the supposed "villain", Max Baer.

Dark Water -- Horror movies? No thanks. Which reminds me -- last night, I saw an ad for the new Quentin Tarantino movie. I will so NOT be seeing that! The ad alone was extremely disturbing. Will Quentin care? I doubt it...but studio heads might. (See above re disposable income and wanting to go to the movies.)

Kingdom of Heaven -- went on opening day while on a trip to New York. Was I supposed to care about Orlando Bloom's character? Did he even have one? Broadswords and seiges and good-looking men are not enough, my friends.

Movie execs want to blame DVD sales, but that argument is lost on me. I'll go to a movie if I want to see it, and I'll go opening day if I can, before I hear too much about it. I lined up for hours to see every one of the Lord of the Rings movies on their opening days. If I like a movie, I'll buy the DVD, too. How can the moguls not think that's good -- I pay to see the film, then pay more to buy the DVD. They're making money off me twice. It's not like the book business, where somebody can buy a book and sell it to a used book store, which then sells it again -- and for that second sale, the publishers and authors get nothing. Not a cent.

So, you Hollywood types, instead of blaming something that actually makes you money (!!), how about looking at the types of movies you're making? How 'bout making something for adults, and not adolescent males? How about making comedies that are clever, not gross? How about writing about characters we can care about? And how about taking a page from the British filmmakers book and casting poeple who look like regular people and not, well, movie stars?

There's one other thing the folks who make movies should do, and that's take a look at what's on TV. I'd pit the new version of Battlestar Galactica against any recent sci fi movie in terms of characters, story and "look." Television seems to be getting more sophisticated, and the movies seem to be getting dumber, as if one clever idea or some boffo special effects a story makes.

If that were so, I could save a lot of time and effort by writing a really great blurb and calling it a day.

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