Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why Hollywood has sh*t the bed ...

Avatar and Alice in Wonderland did big box office late last year and early this year, but the cupboard's running dry for Hollywood. Time.com is noting that May's box office take was 11 percent below a year ago and that is despite higher ticket prices.

It boils down to one thing: There's nothing good on the big screen today. There are only so many sequels that one man can take. I'm not too nostalgic for comic books and old-television shows. That's what TV-Land is for.

Time's critic, Richard Corliss, details some of the reasons why the box office take is lower and nails a lot of the right reasons. However, his reasons could be boiled down to one big one: A lack of good ideas.

But if you are a writer, would you want to write for a film studio?

There's plenty of crap on television. But with the number of channels available, there are outlets for good writing. Shakespeare would be writing for television if he were alive today.

"Breaking Bad", The Wire, Battlestar Galactica and The Sopranos allow long form story telling that is literary. The themes are complex; the characters are engaging and the plots grab you. How often do you see that on the big screen? Even "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Glee" offer more laughs in an episode than a typical film.

Okay, I realize that some nuggets of gold are bound to emerge from the landfill that is on cable and our broadcast networks, but I don't think the batting average is that much better for films. If you are running a movie studio and are committed to spending $50 million to $100 million to produce and promote a movie, wouldn't you demand something resembling quality?

Only three of the top ten grossing films last week had favorable critical appeal, according to Rotten Tomatoes.com, a compiler of movie reviews. Even among those three ("Get Him to the Greek," "Iron Man 2" and "Splice"), they were not resoundingly praised. As you can see from the films that got praise, movie critics are not as elitist as they used to be. They just want to be entertained to like the rest of us.

Is that too much to ask from movie studios? Anyway, what's playing at the cinema?

Nothing worth seeing ...

ADDENDUM 6-20-10

Toy Story 3 -- yep a sequel -- actually was very well done. It lives up to the standard of the other Pixar movies (Finding Nemo and the other Toy Story movies). Oddly enough, a computer-animated movie is more heart felt than 90 percent of what comes from real actors.