I know I’m not the only one, because I’ve talked to, written or e-mailed to my friends and relatives, and we all agree that movies are not as good as they used to be. News reports confirms it too, reporting that movie ticket sales are down. Of course, they don’t mention the reason for that, but stupid, boring and cringe-worthy fare, in my humble opinion, is the reason.
One thing they got right was knowing who was actually watching what the movie studios have produced recently: teenagers. So most films released in recent years have been aimed at them. On Friday evening, when school is out and homework can be put off until Sunday night, teens flock to the cineplex to see action and adventure movies, heavy with murder, mayhem and special effects. And because those same young people fill the seats, and sometimes watch the same film more than once, studios give them what they want and thereby drive certain films to record highs for attendance.
Sounds like I’ve contradicted myself, doesn’t it? What I’m saying is that, by producing films teenagers like, they’re killing the market for thoughtful, even beautiful, films that would appeal to a more mature audience. So we adults stay home, try to find something on television or watch Netflix movies, preferably those made two or three decades earlier.
Yes, WOMAN IN GOLD was a good film that anyone twenty-one years or older, could appreciate. But it was the only one worth watching in the last three months. Ever since he played Darcy in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, like most women, I’ve been a fan of Colin Firth. I even rent his movies on Netflix. However, except for THE KING’S SPEECH (for which he won the Academy Award), there are no good Colin Firth films. And that is really surprising when you learn, as I did recently, that, although the man is only 54 years old, he’s made 42 films. One could argue that some percentage of the total are bound to be stinkers, but why so many? Is he just really bad at picking out scripts? Is he desperate for money and will accept acting roles in anything they shove at him?
Although I’m tempted to, at least to spare my readers, I’m not going to list the clunkers. I must also admit that many of the actors we could once count on to do a good job in A-list-type movies are too old to be todays’ heroes, or dead. Paul Newman, James Garner, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Steve McQueen, Burt Lancaster, William Holden, or Glenn Ford.
Of course, I’m showing my age here, but most of the movies starring those actors were worth watching. Today’s male stars should be taking their place, but I haven’t seen any of them in a major film this year. Which leads me to the obvious conclusion that Hollywood isn’t making those kinds of movies anymore. Why? Are screen writers not writing good stories? Darn. I didn’t want the reason to be the fault of writers because I’m a writer. However, I don’t write for films and don’t want to. From what I’ve read, writers in Hollywood are the least respected part of the industry. There’s even a joke that the “starlet was so stupid she was sleeping with the writer.”
There are always others who are ranked higher and are free to rewrite anything, leaving the original writer with a plot he doesn’t even recognize or with no final credit for his hours or weeks of work. On the other hand, I’m told they’re very well paid. I guess some find that a seven-figure salary is worth the aggravation. Oh, never mind.