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Friday, December 28, 2007

Hollywood, You Suck

What's up with Hollywood these days that they disrespect their viewers as much as they disrespect their magic makers, so much that movies are becoming less of an event than they used to be? Is technology so grand that Hollywood takes for granted the relative ease (compared to old school methods) of computer-assisted filmmaking that they feel obliged to cram as many "mega" movies as they can all at the same time? Do they think people today are so ready to peel off their dispoable dollars each and every weekend when a movie ticket now costs $9.00 a pop? Do they think this society is so instant-gratification-dependent that it must dazzle and tantalize us all with The Golden Compass, I Am Legend, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Sweeney Todd, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, The Water Horse, Enchanted, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story all in one fell swoop? Throw in your mandatory chick bribes like P.S. I Love You, and Juno and the award-courting sophisticates The Great Debaters and Charlie Wilson's War, and all it does is prompt this question: Just who the hell do you think you are, Hollywood?

Say what you will about any of these films; this rant isn't about a question of taste. It's about Hollywood's lack of integrity and lack of regard for its audience, which has traditionally been viewed as a cash cattle chute they want to jack a deathkill spike into people's skulls before separating them of their duckets. When you consider Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, you have to take a couple things into consideration. The first Aliens vs. Predator was a flop despite being a vehicle comic book addicts had been salivating acid for. Wasn't Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection enough of a bomb themselves? What in the world prompted a second AVP film, especially released on Christmas day? Granted, those who don't observe the holiday need catering to some extent, but honestly, what marketing genius decided we needed to go see alien species tear the shit out of each other on Christmas? You can stay home and watch that on the DVD your loved one gave you if you're so inclined to reject A Christmas Story or Miracle On 34th Street. That's your prerogative.

Ditto for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. What are these clueless movie execs thinking? Are they trying to put a stake into the heart of this film without giving it a proper chance to fly? I'm personally very excited to see this movie after watching the brilliant Broadway revival in New York last year. But not when I want to see The Golden Compass first, regardless of some bible thumpers who would rather I take into their consideration that this fantasy epic is a spit on the toes of God. I'm even interested in seeing I Am Legend, though this is no more a festive venture than Black Christmas and even though it's already been done twice in the past as The Omega Man with Chuck Heston and The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price. Sure, I'm a sucker to see how Will Smith carries this one, particularly with the aid of better tech to make Richard Matheson's bleak vision of apocalypse come to light. Still, why all of this dark shit during the most peaceful season of the year? Why did Fred Claus come out in October? The same reason Rob Zombie's Halloween came out in August; Hollywood is a greedy bunch of pricks who are in cahoots with Corporate America in a cheap ploy to jumpstart holiday seasons ahead of their time. Shame on all of it...

The point, however, is that Hollywood is no longer content to put a sincere effort into making a film any kind of big deal beyond a month of promotion and maybe some earlybird teaser trailers in advance. Surely I'm looking forward to the new 10,000 BC in March, but when it finally gets here, I expect it to hang around for maybe three weeks before disappearing in the light of the next big CGI fiesta that Hollywood has slammed together to lure us back to the theaters. I'm not stupid; I studied marketing throughout college and essentially what I do with my music journalism is marketing (regardless of whether it's good or bad), so it appalls me to see Hollywood's crass demeanor in how much product it rams down our throats like cheap tequila. Like musicians and stages, actors and movies are twice what they were 20 years ago, and in a finicky, spoiled brat Rome such as we live in now, the choice to snobbily accept or deny a piece of art--be it a painting, an album or a film--has turned it into a commodity. Is it any wonder why Beowulf was the talk of the town for a couple weeks and now it's already vanished as quickly as it was hyped? Already the DVDs are being pressed, so be on the lookout for it at your local Wal Mart as early as next week, given the immediate recycling Hollywood gorges itself upon.

Remember when a Star Wars movie was an event? Remember when Alien and Aliens was an event? Rocky? Indiana Jones? Friday the 13th? Purple Rain? Vacation? Even Gandhi? These were movies many looked forward to and wow, the films actually spent a considerable amount of time lurking in the theaters, giving people a chance to catch them before they got yanked ahead of a proper cycle life. Nowadays, you can either make a stab at catching them before the next flux of eye-popping sail-setters barge their way onto your wish list, or you can just blow it all off and wait for them to appear on video or cable. Sadly, this is the collective option of Lazy America and in some ways you can't blame them. When Hollywood wastes so much of its resources churning out puke in a weak attempt towards hedging demographics, then people should rebel. When half the movies coming out today are goddamned remakes or recycled plots, it's a sad telling of where we're at in the entertainment field.

Of course, people today don't expect that much since they're willing to embrace cheaply made dreck by bobbing camera hacks featuring average joes stabbing each other in the backs in elimination style. Reality t.v. is a curse, as are crime shows with lead characters as lifeless and icy as the corpses they prod from week-to-week. Minus the hilarious (and soon to be axed) Scrubs, why the hell do we need more medical shows? Wake up, people! This is why Hollywood exploits you!

What's the purpose of this, you ask? Most likely out of motivation that I'm just as broke as most people but I still love going to the movies. I'm old school; I don't want CDs to vanish and I want my movie theaters there when I can get to them. Hell, I support a local drive-in just because I'm that much of a purist. I don't need to be huckstered by an ever-changing marquee that differs from week-to-week as much as the rosters of contemporary sports teams. Perhaps what it all boils down to is that everyone is so motivated to succeed that they push, slam and cram until they make a score. Sure, there's something admirable in doing your best and receiving your proper due. However, when you sacrifice the awe, the intrigue, the splendor and the principles of your foundation in order to generate a quick hit, then that's just selling out.

Hollywood, you suck.


DPTH International said...

What a fine rant! I wait 2 weeks to try and miss the movie rush and most movies are gone or limited playing times.

I just don't go to the movies much anymore. I just don't care to.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

thanks, bro...that's exactly the syndrome I'm grumbling about; the fact that so many movies are just ushered in and out like commodity pieces that have less life expectance than unsigned bands

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail right on the freakn' head!!! I'm 36 years old and I remember when movies had to earn the title of being blockbusters. People seem to forget that movies, even as big as "Star Wars," weren't playing everywhere. You had to go to one or two major two screen theaters in your area:-0 That's why people got all dressed up in line and even got married. You really did have to camp out back then because you would wait for months and months before the lines would start to diminish (I remember the movie "Airplane playing for about a year at one theater). Even in 1989 when I worked as an usher at United Artists 7 Theatres (when "Batman" came out), you could get a refund even if you saw the whole movie and decided it was crap ("UHF" starring Weird Al). Nowadays, you have about 20min, which gives you about 5 mins of movie time to decide whether the movie sucks enough to get a refund. Also, every crappy movie is cycled through every theater and some movies are hyped up as blockbusters before they are even shown. How do they make $100 million on one movie in one weekend. Simple, saturate the market by showing it on 5 screens at every theater, charge $11- $13 a ticket, discourage refunds and hype it up while regurgitating the same old shit with no real plot. Even "Risky Business" had a better plot than a lot of these blockbusters. The only movies that I have seen lately with any kind of plot came from the likes of Clint Eastwood. Lastly, why does Hollywood keep churning out this shit? Because people are still buying tickets!!! I'm boycotting Hollywood and I'm not purchasing any more DVD's except for some rare finds. F@#! Hollywood and all that they stand for. What they need is some real competition by creating another movie industry close by. I will laugh my ass off when that happens. Actors make too much and ticket prices keep rising despite the bad economy. F@#! all those self-absorbed drug addicts!!! May they rot in hell!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice rant, 100% how I feel to. Re-make, re-use, re-do, re-create, re-shit coming out of everyone's Hollywood's asses! RE-LOAD god dammit.

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