November 11, 2010

Today's Films: Business vs. Art

Funny done wrong. We're supposed to laugh with... not at.

I love my Visual Language and Culture class. Today's topic was the evolution of film from the Golden Age of the 1950s to its counter-culture era in the 1960s. Of course, it made us think what the films of today are saying about us.

All I can say is... it doesn't look good.

In my completely biased, humble and honest opinion I believe we live in an era of cynical passivity. What is that you say? I don't know, I kind of made it up.

I think it's safe to say that Hollywood's creative juices have stopped flowing and have instead been replaced by the wimpy kid that'll do the bully's homework to escape a couple of bruises. Why are we pummeled by a string of remakes, reboots and "based on..." re-fabrications?

I think we're in an age where filmmaking has donned a permanent business suit and is no longer viewed as a beautiful art form. What happened to the loud statements of the 1960s or the comedy of the 80s? We got scared. Hollywood doesn't want a repeat of what happened when television came on the scene and hit the film industry hard.

So they repackage and resell what they know "works" instead of risking a gut punch in the pocket in the name of art and humanity. Especially now, with the entire globe in a recession, the stakes are higher and one wrong move could end up affecting more than just the producers' finances. Understandable but not ok.

Not only have we dived into remakes of classic iconic films (or even b-rated movies) but once the best-selling novels and "based on a real stories" weren't enough bang for their buck, Hollywood discovered the world of comics and graphic novels. Suddenly, there was an entire world of endless story-lines and plots that hadn't been made into movies. Best of all, they already had a fanbase. So getting people to come and watch these films wasn't as big of a problem.

What we have now is a huge wave of comic/graphic-novel based movies, the majority of which aren't even done well. Even if and when Hollywood manages to ruin the characters or plots of beloved comics, loyal fans will still go and see the movies because... well, they're loyal fans. Hollywood knows this and so why bother making a decent five course meal when the dessert will bring them to the table? Now, Hollywood is doing what it does best. Which is overwhelm and suffocate the public with wave after wave of the same.

We, as the public, can protest and rant all we want but in the end we still go and buy those overpriced movie tickets because, let's face it: Times are bad and we need distractions and entertainment no matter how shallow they may be.

This, of course, is a huge generalization of Hollywood in the 21st Century. Of course there have been gems in the past few years, of course we've had a couple of winners in the ring. Some comic book adaptations have come out great. What I'm saying is, why aren't our voices louder? How come there are spastic bursts of roars that only fade away to Hollywood's garbled jargon?

Notice how a lot of the public has slowly gained interest in Indie films where it is more acceptable to take risks or how foreign films have gotten much more recognition in the past few years. Not all Indie film are amazing, not all foreign films make a connection but people are in search of something with edge, something with meaning and with something to say.
Criminally underrated masterpiece that stayed under the radar.

Integrity-wise Hollywood is on a steep decline and financially on a slow decline. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon, the world will turn its back on what Hollywood has become if it continues this path. People like us, the future filmmakers must pick up where legends like Spielberg, Scorsese, Dennis Hopper, and Hitchcock have or will leave off. Because, let's face it, they won't be around forever and then where will we be?

Time to make that little flicker of a flame that is our artistic expression into a raging fire.

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