Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are There Better Options?

According to Washington Post columnist, David Ignatius, there are better options to the movies currently being offered by Hollywood. You know things have gotten bad when a political columnist starts to notice the decline that’s taking place in the type of films Hollywood produces. He states, “This summer’s celluloid epics have mostly been as limp and flavorless as wet popcorn. Here are 2011’s summer blockbusters thus far. Scream 4, Thor, Bride’s Maids, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hangover Part 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, Fast Five, Green Lantern, Cars 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hollows Part 2, Captain America, and Cowboys and Aliens.

“That’s a pretty depressing list, if you ask me: 8 sequels, 3 comic book heroes, 2 lame cartoons, 1 film inspired by a ride at a theme park, another inspired by a toy. This is what Hollywood presented this summer as its peak cinematic offerings.”

Ignatius went on to say that other than the Harry Potter final, it was a sorry array. The only place where he found better options was in the quality of foreign films. I would have to agree with his assessment. Foreign filmmakers are doing what Hollywood used to do—making movies that are about something. Most of the stuff Hollywood makes nowadays is fairly forgettable.

There was a time when we cared about characters. Movies expressed emotion that gripped us—that gave us something to think about that would linger days, weeks and months. I recently watched The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This is storytelling at its best. I had forgotten just how good these films are. They express big themes while at the same time offering plenty of action, adventure and amazing special effects.

Unfortunately, in Hollywood the art of storytelling seems to be a fading memory. In today’s multiplex America, the only game in town is selling popcorn and sodas to teenagers. But if you’re a serious movie buff, David Ignatius suggests taking a look at foreign films as an alternative. I would add that we still have a vibrant Indy industry right here in America. Last year’s Winter’s Bone and Get Low proved that.

There are alternatives. It just requires you to dig a little deeper. You may not be able to find it on the big screen, but thanks to Netflix and other online services, there are quality smaller films to be found.

One thing’s for certain, Hollywood is not going to change its current course. The industry has made a decision to embrace franchise types of films such as Scream, Transformers, etc. Serious movie fans need not bother looking at the current content being offered from the big studios.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a good trend for Hollywood because it adds legitimacy to independent filmmakers and furthers the gap between shallow films and those of substance. As an aspiring screenwriter and filmmaker the independent route is much more attractive at this point. Now, let's hope that there is at least a living to be made from this alternative.