Cry me a badly-acted river

arts and entertainment

So the movie studios have turned up the PR and are trying to persuade Joe Filetrader that downloading movies is wrong and really hurts the ‘little guy.’

The first trailer features David Goldstein, a set painter who says that piracy hurts him more than film industry executives. Each ad ends with the tag line, “Movies. They’re worth it.”

MPAA Tries Goodfellas Approach in Wired Online

Somehow I’m not able to muster up much sympathy.

If poor David isn’t making enough, maybe he should cast a suspicious eye to the Goliaths of the movie industry, who are making $10, $20, even $30 million per oft-stinkerish films. Does anyone really merit that kind of money? Does anyone really NEED that kind of money?

Or maybe the movie industry should examine why it’s costing a family of four well over $30 to see a typical flick at the cinema.

Lastly, here’s a really radical idea: If it’s getting prohibitively expensive to make bigger and yet bigger explosions or look-at-the-hyper-realistic-hair on animated creatures, maybe it’s time to consider a return to that long-overlooked ideal: a good storyline.

I’m betting the studios could buy a very high quality script for considerably less than $30 million. Might even find some decent actors to offer their services for a piddling six figure sum. Imagine that!

3 comments… add one
  • Matt Hendrickson Jul 23, 2003

    Well, as usual, you’re right on target on this. When was the last time anyone was really “moved” going to a blockbuster? And I mean REALLY moved to think, question and react, and not some silly teeny-bopper sobbing because Leo froze to death in the ocean.

    I’ll be honest, the last blockbuster that REALLY moved me was “Saving Private Ryan.” Especially the scene at the end where it disolves into the American Flag. I thought of my Grandpa Driscoll, who served in Europe during World War II, and I came close to bawling my eyes out.

    And most movies since? Well, most of them leaves you with a general feeling of numbness in the mind, like you zoned off and watched two straight hours of infomercials.

    And the trend seems to go towards having a big opening weekend, with lots of glitz and hype. Then make the money on DVD and VHS sales. But the thing is, after that big weekend, there’s hardly any return business. Basically, the people have basically seen another “McMovie.”

    I’ve heard of people back in the 1970s’ who saw “Star Wars” hundreds of times. The president of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” Fan Club has claimed to see the movie well over a thousand times. How many people could make the same claim for “Maid in Manhattan,” “Rush Hour 2,” “Pearl Harbor,” or hundreds of other forgettable modern “Blockbusters?”

  • Elizabeth Aug 18, 2003

    In response to the above comment, screw you, I liked “Titanic”!

    But besides that, I think what we have to remember here is that studios are businesses. They invest in whichever projects seem profitable, or at least with enough return to cover expenses. Hence all the sequel movies we’re getting this summer, a logical and conservative reaction to an economic recession. Artistic quality is not the studio’s first concern; rather, it is the taste of the masses, especially the American masses. Yes, the same American masses who vote Bush, eat fatty foods, drive their lazy asses in SUV’s, and then wonder why they’re all broke, fat, and the enviornment’s going to hell.

    If you watch old movies, old POPULAR movies, you’ll see that cheap sentimentality and low artistic quality have always been a trademark of mainstream cinema.

    The world does not share your idea of good taste; get over it.

  • Matt Hendrickson Aug 18, 2003

    Wow… I do think I offended someone!

    No matter.

    Forgive me if I don’t automatically kowtow to the latest “it” person, whether it be Leo, Ashton, or any person who is the flavor of the day simply because he (or she) looks good on the silver screen. And forgive me if I don’t do backflips over tired, rehashed plots from movies that can be considered interchangeable.

    Whatever happened to creativity? To originality? Obviously every studio needs to make a profit (otherwise it seems pretty silly to make all those pictures), but is it absolutly necessary to spend $100-million on the same overhyped, oversexed, unoriginal DRECK?

    Look at “The Blair Witch Project.” Basically shot with no special effects, no big stars and a fairly original premise (lost footage from film students who mysteriously vanish). Shot basically on a shoestring budget and guess what? It made over 100 million dollars! And it was scary as HELL!

    It seems to me that the movie studios are becoming increasingly lazy when it comes to offering new, original pictures. And I’m sorry to see people like my friend above get suckered in by increasingly bland pablum.

    Be challenged! Be moved! THINK!

What do you think?