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Boring content – is the film industry TOO sane?


Andrew Reid
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Was thinking about the exact same thing today after watching some of Herzog's very first films from the 70s.

Dude was really "out there".

Sadly, we're not even on the experimenting level of cinema of the 80s-90s right now, let alone the 60s and 70s.

I swear the ratio of crappy-to-respectable movies and series on Amazon and Netflix is about 9 to 1.

But hey...that's what the masses want 😶

 

 

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Really spot-on observations Andrew, great article. “The Golden Hour” interview/podcast was just as enjoyable BTW. 

Considering the topic of this piece, I firmly believe that ideology is polluting the movie industry. I’m puzzled by the amount of resources wasted on today’s content that always seems to be pushing some strange agenda, that in the end, doesn’t influence or change opinions. A good and entertaining story is often overlooked.... except for Ford/Ferrari (that was a kick-ass film 😆✌️)
 

I noticed last week, my son and I watched Braveheart and his first comment at the end...“you know, they really don’t make movies like that anymore”. 

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Welcome to the world of woke cancel culture.  You can't take risks anymore.  Can't offend people.  Can't say un-PC things. It already destroyed comedy, especially stand-up acts.  Used to be college campuses were where this thrived.  Now it's shunned.  Maybe we'll be able to laugh at ourselves again in another 50 years.

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Great points Andrew.  I think it'll be very interesting to see what the newly-enriched professional class produces on their own for less-lucrative ends after making more mainstream non-controversial works.

In the USA Disney/Marvel financed Black Panther, which was respectful of Africans (so rare in Hollywood) but otherwise just a competently-made superhero movie no more daring than any of the other Avengers.  However, because it made a billion dollars studios started financing other Black-empowerment vehicles, such as the HBO Watchmen series (the best show of all time), Black KKKlansman and the just-released Judas and the Black Messiah (a movie whose view of the police would never have been presented before).  Without Black Panther's success none of those other daring works could have happened.

So I hope other cultures and people can be empowered to risk their new success making original fare, even if only for their own creative vanity.

Also even if you're not a fan of history or tragedy you should watch Judas and the Black Messiah just for the beauty of it's rehoused Arri DNA lenses.  The film looks dreamy and aged despite having just been made.

Judas and the Black Messiah BTS.jpg

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One of the other issues not mentioned in the article I think is that writers don’t have the time to properly marinate their screenplays anymore. Quantity above quality. 
 

A past example is The Matrix trilogy. The first one had very smart written dialogue and references and fantastic action, the other two movies which had to be created under the weight of the success of the first movie, tried to cover up ‘smart’ with ‘deep’ philosophic nonsense and pointless chase scenes. No single scene in Matrix 1 was unnecessary. 
I feel a lot of what’s being created today falls into that last bucket, writing wise (which trickles down to direction, time for actors to get in character and editing).

Luckily there’s still a lot of true quality out there, but even that starts to feel unimaginative.

I compare it with jazz or a complex wine that requires an open mind and acquired taste, versus sterile smooth jazz or a coke. 
There’s even the problem of what I call “fake creative authenticity” for a lack of better words. Take the show “The Boys” which deliberately delivers a quirky, weird and violent show, but you can just feel it has been choreographed by marketeers.
It’s incredibly well produced, slick, but for once I would like to see some raw edged, unpolished parts and a director and writer who truly don’t give a fuck. They’ll have an incredibly hard time realizing to a larger market. 
 

The best way forward in this industry is to take something people are comfortable with and mix it up or add something to it - but that’s marketing choreography 😞

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4 hours ago, timapple said:

Welcome to the world of woke cancel culture.  You can't take risks anymore.  Can't offend people.  Can't say un-PC things. It already destroyed comedy, especially stand-up acts.  Used to be college campuses were where this thrived.  Now it's shunned.  Maybe we'll be able to laugh at ourselves again in another 50 years.

 

You seem a little upset that other people are upset.

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6 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

Theres always been a big ratio between good and bad movies. 

Spot-on! Just with stay-at-home scenario we consume more streaming content and pay more attention to what's been offered, at some point realising, that it's not so easy to find what we really like. It enhances perception that there is a lot of crap out there.

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One aspect that is driving so many of us nuts these days in cinema (both for theater and streaming serials) is the excess of political correctness. It seems film studios have a Rule Book which requires every new series or movie to have a quota of actors which represent white people, black people, hispanic people, oriental-looking people, a woman, someone in the LGBT+ community, someone with some physical handicap, etc.

This is simply ridiculous, the real world does not function like this and it drives me (and it seems, most of my friends and family) mad.

And the worst is that if someone complains that James Bond should be played by a British White Male (as it was conceived by its author) instead of an American Black Female, we're called racists. This is getting ridiculously out of hand...

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There are still great directors and actors still out there though. I guess we can blame the production studios for all the shit movies (woke movement etc). And as a viewer we do have power over the production companies, but everybody keeps running to the next wonder woman or avengers 19 film, so what can we expect really. 

This guy has a point: https://9gag.com/gag/amP2gBV

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I got to the end of Season II and wondered whether a 3rd was coming:

https://deadline.com/2019/07/counterpart-starz-cancellation-1202655113/

“Counterpart was a great show, we had great partners in MRC and Justin is a great writer, but it was a very complicated show, a very male show. We had picked that show up and made a two season commitment before we’d honed in on this premium female strategy,” he said.

“When you look at bringing shows back, it really has to serve that core premium female audience and if it doesn’t we have to find something else,” Hirsch added. “If it doesn’t serve our core strategy, we’re just not going to do it.”

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I resent the idea that insanity is heralded as a virtue. When creating from such a place it is simply inflicting one’s own trauma on the rest of the world. That’s not to say art cannot or should not engage with brutal realities and trauma, but to say somehow mental illness is inherently virtuous is just flat out wrong. It’s an injustice because we’ve been thrown into a broken world and pain has been inflicted upon us to make us insane. I think having a conversation about authenticity is a worthy endeavor and, as artists, ought to be had every morning before our feet hit the floor. And I agree that it’s quite depressing to see corporate homogeneous nonsense win out in many cases over art. It’s painful, really. But, coming from a place of having experienced not seeing myself represented in film except as a punch line or an antagonist, I’m not against giving my people more opportunities. Because if you heard some of the stories my people have, the things we’ve seen, what we’ve been through, you’d be amazed that we’re even alive. So perhaps in reality you’re wanting to hear our stories and just don’t know it yet. 

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It's Inevitable, given the expense of filmmaking, and the realities of distribution today (it costs a fortune).  Herzog and Fassbinder were state subsidized; in Fassbinder's case, the more movies he made, the more he could finance. So he was making 2-3 features a year, for years running.  Few actually made money.  That era is long dead.

When "Marty" and "Francis" were young, there were producers like Roger Corman who would finance movies by unproven filmmakers, because the films didn't have to be blockbusters, to turn a profit.

The American indie scene is unique in that the U.S. is the only major country without an art-house tradition; Robert Redford and a few New Yorkers murdered it.  One of them currently helps run Amazon Studios.  Today, what you see at Sundance is Hollywood movies with the commercial value removed.  They love it Park City, but nowhere else.

Face it, guys:  moviemaking is for people who lack the talent to succeed at pre-industrial art-forms.  That doesn't mean art is impossible, but it takes a major miracle, and congenial conditions.

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14 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

Think it’s any different now than, say, 1961?

Theres always been a big ratio between good and bad movies. 

Yes, but the thing is most audiences have become accustomed to these clinical/sanitized products and consider it the new "normal".

They will gobble it up just because it's been released on Nflx or Amazon Prime and has a high level of techical polish but little depth. They think it's cool because it's new and since it's new it must be cool, right? 

As many have said, with most new shows and movies the agenda is so obvious it hurts.

Yet after watching high-quality material (cine or TV) I like to reflect and ponder about the ideas inside the narrative, not become partisan to X o Y cause.

Isn't that what cinema is all about?

 

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As we all get older... the excitement of things - because we have experienced it already.... wears down and wears thin. So we seek for those original thoughts, pieces, discoveries, explorations to reignite that excitement. 

But, we also like to share that excitement, we show & share the same things that excites us with friends and family - we like to see that face and/or reaction on the uninitiated. Thereby reliving the moment that you first discovered it! I guess thats why those "reaction" videos do well on Youtube.  

I love those moments when I show stuff from my childhood back to my kids and/or wife.

Anyway, anyone try MUBI? It delivers curated films - carefully selected arthouse films... something like 20 movies a month. I'm paraphrasing.... I've never used it before thats why I'm asking.

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Sure there is more crap than ever being produced these days, but I think there is relatively more good stuff also.

It’s choice really and I choose to block out the dross whenever and wherever I can whether it be Netflix, Prime or ‘big screen’ releases.

But then that is not always so easy when you have a teen who has different interests and tastes so I also get exposed to some right old shit 😶

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