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NickAndNora34

Hollywood Running Out of Ideas?

89 posts in this topic

16 hours ago, drednm said:

Plus I think we're losing actors who can carry traditional drama and comedy. As the old-time directors like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and even Spielberg, the Coens, and Eastwood, directors who like to tell stories about people, start to dwindle and slow down, we're losing films about reality. The younger directors seem to have grown up on comic books and endless fantasy foolishness. Other than indie films, there's not a lot of real stories coming out of Hollywood. For every THREE BILLBOARDS or BOOK CLUB, there are dozens of CGI fantasy crap movies.

The one real respite for real stories every year in Hollywood is the time between September and December, Oscar season. It's not to say that a few good films will sneak out quietly before that time, but its a general rule of thumb. Its sad really because by releasing them so close together, they cut into each other's audiences and ticket sales. And so many are written off as fiscal disappointments.

it is true that the older directors have a better grasp on story and character, an appreciation for substance over flash and shock value, in an era where its usually the other way around. And also its not just directors, I also think that veteran actors and actresses, ones who have been around for decades, are the best ones in the business. They never get as many large roles as they deserve, but its a great pleasure when they receive their due (such as Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay in the searing drama 45 Years)

18 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I agree with that. I also think teens interest in apocalypse/zombie/afterlife fantasy movies is because the way the planet is going, they don't see a future for themselves (rightly so)

I'm reminded of the opening classroom scenes in PLEASANTVILLE (1998)

When I used to get tickets for pre-release "audience reaction" movies in the 90's, I saw a lot of smaller romantic comedies. I'd leave the theater with a good feeling, having enjoyed a cute modern version of all those old B&W screwball romance comedies with Joan Blondell, Claudette Colbert & the like. You know, those old movies WE like with thin storylines but fun writing & acting.

Those "cute" movies rarely became hits, and quickly disappeared. I remember people leaving the theater saying, "Well that was dumb". Either audiences are "too sophisticated" or the writing isn't particularly snappy. One of the biggest laughs came when Mr Wrong was at the door and an audience member shouted out, "NO! Don't answer it!" (at least someone got into it)

Your comments in bold reminded me of something stated by the late film critic Pauline Kael in an interview done in 2000, a year before she died. Pauline was always known to be very picky about films, but she always had a soft spot for comedies. In the interview, she lamented the box-office failure of a 1999 film she liked called Mumford, a quirky comedy-drama about a small-town psychiatrist who helps solve everyone's problems. Right after she mentioned it, she said something to the effect of it was hard getting audiences interested in an affable small-town comedy because they were wanting films with more "weight", films that Pauline often felt were too heavy handed (especially American Beauty, which she detested)

As for the romantic comedies of the 90s, so many of them were lovely, charming films. They had wit and appeal and a sweet air to them that was very infectious. Maybe the plots were thin, but that didn't matter, they were just so much fun to watch. If there is three things Hollywood needs more this days its more modest films, more thoughtful films, and, getting back to the topic at hand,  more charming, sweet films. There are too few of them these days.

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Here's a comment from the TCM message boards in March 2002:

" You made some good points about "sentiment," Ud Pert. I was talking to some young film students last week here in NYC and I was astounded at what they didn't know about movies. They sneered at "old movies" because they were so "corny and gushy and tear-jerking." They hated "Gone With the Wind" although they'd never seen it. They gushed over "Citizen Kane" although they never saw it. They think "Pulp Fiction" is the greatest movie ever made. They had heard vaguely the names of Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. They have seen none of their movies. They had never heard of Greta Garbo or great directors like Raoul Walsh and D.W. Griffith. And don't even think of discussing "silent" movies with them. These l2 students all said "Yucck!" God help American movies with these mental retardates waiting to fill the shoes of our present hacks. "

So, if you can believe this poster from nearly 17 years ago, these film students - the successful among them - are making films now, probably around age 40.

P.S. This is one thing message boards have over Facebook, Instagram, etc. - history. You can go back to the year 2001 and see what the people on the TCM message boards were talking about.

 

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1 hour ago, calvinnme said:

Here's a comment from the TCM message boards in March 2002:

" You made some good points about "sentiment," Ud Pert. I was talking to some young film students last week here in NYC and I was astounded at what they didn't know about movies. They sneered at "old movies" because they were so "corny and gushy and tear-jerking." They hated "Gone With the Wind" although they'd never seen it. They gushed over "Citizen Kane" although they never saw it. They think "Pulp Fiction" is the greatest movie ever made. They had heard vaguely the names of Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. They have seen none of their movies. They had never heard of Greta Garbo or great directors like Raoul Walsh and D.W. Griffith. And don't even think of discussing "silent" movies with them. These l2 students all said "Yucck!" God help American movies with these mental retardates waiting to fill the shoes of our present hacks. 

So, if you can believe this poster from nearly 17 years ago, these film students - the successful among them - are making films now, probably around age 40.

P.S. This is one thing message boards have over Facebook, Instagram, etc. - history. You can go back to the year 2001 and see what the people on the TCM message boards were talking about.

 

Wow.  This comment was written when I was a senior in high school! While I don't know any film students personally, from reading message boards online, I find that many people who want to present themselves as film buffs or amateur filmmakers, tend to regurgitate the same statements about film so that they seem knowledgeable.  Citizen Kane is highly regarded as one of the best films of all-time.  I've read many comments from people stating that they don't understand the film.  An online film buff, wanting to seem like they "get it" and thus are a more sophisticated film viewer than others, will spew a bunch of fancy-sounding verbiage about the film (probably stuff that they've heard).  These film students probably heard about the controversial content in Gone With the Wind, so thus they hate it.  They've heard that Citizen Kane was the best film of all time, so they love it.  Pulp Fiction was a big film in 1995.  I've seen it, I didn't like it.  I've seen Citizen Kane and I liked it, though *I* wouldn't consider it the greatest film of all time.  I haven't seen Gone with the Wind from beginning to end, though I know all the famous scenes and lines--I just haven't found 3.5 hours to dedicate to watching this film. 

While silent films aren't my favorite, though I like Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, I don't know how you could want to be a film student and completely shun the beginnings of film history.  

I don't like the OP's use of "mental retardates" to describe these uninformed film students, but I do agree with the sentiment he's expressing.  While you could probably go out and make a film, I would imagine that if you want to study film, you should study film.  Not just study the film that you're familiar with.  I really like reading interviews from film people, like Martin Scorsese, for example, who regularly discuss their favorite old films and how they influenced their career.  

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7 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

Wow.  This comment was written when I was a senior in high school! While I don't know any film students personally, from reading message boards online, I find that many people who want to present themselves as film buffs or amateur filmmakers, tend to regurgitate the same statements about film so that they seem knowledgeable.  Citizen Kane is highly regarded as one of the best films of all-time.  I've read many comments from people stating that they don't understand the film.  An online film buff, wanting to seem like they "get it" and thus are a more sophisticated film viewer than others, will spew a bunch of fancy-sounding verbiage about the film (probably stuff that they've heard).  These film students probably heard about the controversial content in Gone With the Wind, so thus they hate it.  They've heard that Citizen Kane was the best film of all time, so they love it.  Pulp Fiction was a big film in 1995.  I've seen it, I didn't like it.  I've seen Citizen Kane and I liked it, though *I* wouldn't consider it the greatest film of all time.  I haven't seen Gone with the Wind from beginning to end, though I know all the famous scenes and lines--I just haven't found 3.5 hours to dedicate to watching this film.  

While silent films aren't my favorite, though I like Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, I don't know how you could want to be a film student and completely shun the beginnings of film history.   

I don't like the OP's use of "mental retardates" to describe these uninformed film students, but I do agree with the sentiment he's expressing.  While you could probably go out and make a film, I would imagine that if you want to study film, you should study film.  Not just study the film that you're familiar with.  I really like reading interviews from film people, like Martin Scorsese, for example, who regularly discuss their favorite old films and how they influenced their career.  

I didn't like the "mental retardate" comment either. I just posted it because this person says they had a conversation with a group of film students almost 17 years ago and what they were saying was surprising. I was assuming the film students were in college and were college age, and even that young I would expect some independent thought, not knee jerk reactions, as you say. I'd hate to think we have a bunch of people today making films that both hate and love older films that they have never seen!

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3 hours ago, calvinnme said:

Here's a comment from the TCM message boards in March 2002:

" You made some good points about "sentiment," Ud Pert. I was talking to some young film students last week here in NYC and I was astounded at what they didn't know about movies. They sneered at "old movies" because they were so "corny and gushy and tear-jerking." They hated "Gone With the Wind" although they'd never seen it. They gushed over "Citizen Kane" although they never saw it. They think "Pulp Fiction" is the greatest movie ever made. They had heard vaguely the names of Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. They have seen none of their movies. They had never heard of Greta Garbo or great directors like Raoul Walsh and D.W. Griffith. And don't even think of discussing "silent" movies with them. These l2 students all said "Yucck!" God help American movies with these mental retardates waiting to fill the shoes of our present hacks. "

So, if you can believe this poster from nearly 17 years ago, these film students - the successful among them - are making films now, probably around age 40.

P.S. This is one thing message boards have over Facebook, Instagram, etc. - history. You can go back to the year 2001 and see what the people on the TCM message boards were talking about.

 

Informative find.  Yup, that about summarizes it.  The poster gets the message out in 2002, to us in 2018, and without mincing words.  I think I can deal with that.

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It's interesting that I started this thread back in 2017 during a moment of passion, forgot all about it, and it's now resurfacing haha 

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6 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

 

Of course, Seth Myers has always been an insufferably snotty SOB even when he was still on the show, but it does nail the basic problem of why we CAN'T find a solution to our current movie problems:  :D

On one hand, we have neurotic studios "under siege" from the audience, trying to cannibalize the last emergency storehouses of their old franchises without actual new screenplays--and the complaints from the public are getting loud--and on the other, we have obnoxious poseurs whining about the 3D, CGI and remakes, and trying to "strike back" with "new indie cinema" that nobody ever wants to watch, even on streaming.   Is there a middle ground?--Yes.  We had it back in the 80's and 90's, in the form of screenwriters who just wanted to sell a decent script, and producers who made it marketable and attached a star to it.  Now, all the independent screenwriters know that the studio script market has become extinct, get together to film their script ideas themselves, set out to become Bold Independent Filmmakers, and end up sounding like this guy.  

No one even remembers how "old" movies were made anymore.  Even book authors have stopped hoping for a movie sale, and "Based on the NYT Bestseller" that used to guarantee a rousing popcorn movie in the 60's and 70's is more likely to be attached to a Nicholas Parks romance or a dystopian YA wannabe.

But if there is one thing to take away from the sketch, then, yeah:  The "Hollywood's run out of ideas, it's all superheroes and CGI now!" stuff is gettin' OLD.

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11 hours ago, calvinnme said:

Here's a comment from the TCM message boards in March 2002:

" You made some good points about "sentiment," Ud Pert. I was talking to some young film students last week here in NYC and I was astounded at what they didn't know about movies. They sneered at "old movies" because they were so "corny and gushy and tear-jerking." They hated "Gone With the Wind" although they'd never seen it. They gushed over "Citizen Kane" although they never saw it. They think "Pulp Fiction" is the greatest movie ever made. They had heard vaguely the names of Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. They have seen none of their movies. They had never heard of Greta Garbo or great directors like Raoul Walsh and D.W. Griffith. And don't even think of discussing "silent" movies with them. These l2 students all said "Yucck!" God help American movies with these mental retardates waiting to fill the shoes of our present hacks. "

So, if you can believe this poster from nearly 17 years ago, these film students - the successful among them - are making films now, probably around age 40.

P.S. This is one thing message boards have over Facebook, Instagram, etc. - history. You can go back to the year 2001 and see what the people on the TCM message boards were talking about.

 

OK, full confession here, as a younger person, I knew that Raoul Walsh was a director, but I had to look up in a book what films he did, and was embarrassed when I found out that he had done some wonderful films  such as High Sierra, White Heat, and Gentleman Jim, and directed Ida Lupino to that stunning performance in They Drive by Night. I did remember that he lost an eye while making In Old Arizona.

As for the rest though, involving film students of 2001/2002, its depressing, but not very surprising. It seems as though many just only want to see what others are talking about, the hip, trendy things. Its foolhardy really. The then current films in 2002 say are now the same age as films from 1986 were back then. All films age. What was once talked about might now seem like a distant memory. Hype eventually ends for almost all films. It just happens so quickly anymore. 

Speaking personally for a second, breaking free from present films and delving into classics, or to more contemporary works from the 70s-90s is liberating. The passage of time helps to make things stand out more, the craft of the acting, the nuance of the script, just the general care overall. And it doesn't only go for established films like Gone with the Wind. It can be even in something like a lightweight WB comedy programmer from the 30s that still maintains its sweet, spunky charm that it had when it was first release. That such films still register as hilarious to this day only shows how well they were made

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2 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

It can be even in something like a lightweight WB comedy programmer from the 30s that still maintains its sweet, spunky charm that it had when it was first release. That such films still register as hilarious to this day only shows how well they were made

I just want to point out that so many of the really old movies-like from the 30's & 40's, the humor or plot points are wrapped up in old moralities, or the society of the day. Kids today would never understand the scandal of DESIGN FOR LIVING so they'd totally miss the humor.

This point hit home for me with GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. Younger people don't understand just what a mixed race couple would face from "society" in work, housing, schools and the like. Thankfully for those kids, that kind of racism is against the law.

But so many "old" films reflect the mores of their time, so similarly the humor may not connect.

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I just want to point out that so many of the really old movies-like from the 30's & 40's, the humor or plot points are wrapped up in old moralities, or the society of the day. Kids today would never understand the scandal of DESIGN FOR LIVING so they'd totally miss the humor.

This point hit home for me with GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. Younger people don't understand just what a mixed race couple would face from "society" in work, housing, schools and the like. Thankfully for those kids, that kind of racism is against the law.

But so many "old" films reflect the mores of their time, so similarly the humor may not connect.

I think a willingness to learn about the social mores of these times also goes hand in hand with understanding the humor in these films.  From watching old films, if you're interested enough to not only just take what is presented to you at face value, but to also glean some insight from the film and learn about the era, you can pick up on what was considered unacceptable behavior.  Design For Living's scandal may not be obvious, but if you know something about attitudes re: sex back then, then it comes together.  While I was watching Make Way For Tomorrow, Beulah Bondi's character turns down a cocktail multiple times, saying "oh no, I just can't."  But you could tell she's turning it down not because she doesn't want one, but because she thinks that she can't.  Knowing what I do about social attitudes during that era and most likely the attitudes that would have been around during the 19th century when Bondi's character would have been coming of age, I knew it was because "women don't drink in public."  That's one of the reasons the Flappers were so scandalous. Later Bondi says as much in the hotel scene.

Many people in audiences today are so used to having the movies spoon-feed everything to them, that there is no need for any critical thinking.  While I understand that not everyone wants to have to analyze a movie and just wants some passive entertainment, sometimes you have to put in some effort to understand what the filmmaker is trying to say.  This effort, I imagine, is one of the reasons why some people are so reluctant to watch old films.  You have to work a little to understand them.  A lot of people these days also seem to lack any curiosity about things that are unfamiliar to them, which I think is a shame.

 

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11 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

 That's one of the reasons the Flappers were so scandalous. 

 

Added reason for flappers being scandalous. Prohibition. (1918-1933) Every single cocktail they drank as a felony. 

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20 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Many people in audiences today are so used to having the movies spoon-feed everything to them, that there is no need for any critical thinking.  While I understand that not everyone wants to have to analyze a movie and just wants some passive entertainment, sometimes you have to put in some effort to understand what the filmmaker is trying to say.  This effort, I imagine, is one of the reasons why some people are so reluctant to watch old films.  You have to work a little to understand them.  A lot of people these days also seem to lack any curiosity about things that are unfamiliar to them, which I think is a shame.

 

What caught my attention up there was the word "analyze". I feel too many people do this thinking they HAVE to, without considering that maybe the film makes ISN'T trying to "say" anything, just trying to tell a story.  And speaking of which( and fitting this diatribe)

Singer/songwriter BOB DYLAN often gets his songs "analyzed" by people who insist that every song he writes (and has written) always has some deep subtext or profound message hidden in it.  In one of his biographies he mentions once being approached by someone who claims to have discovered the "spescial meaning" in some particular song( he never mentions which one it's supposed to be).  The man was reportedly crestfallen when Bob informed him he was just having fun with "word play" when he wrote it, and it had NO special significance or "hidden meaning" behind it.  

IMHO:  A film maker more succeeds in his efforts if some "special meaning" or message he's trying to "say" in some movie smacks the viewer in the face and doesn't require any(or a lot) of "analyzing" for the "message" to be realized. 

And some people don't like to watch old movies simply because they ARE old.  But I too agree it is indeed sad that many lack any curiosity about how things used to be, or about how what they DO know came to be.  I've always(it seemed) had that kind of curiosity.  I'd see some old building, or recognize somehow that it's architecture goes back close to, or is more than a century old, and suddenly my thoughts are filled with wonder about what the function of the building was when it was built, and possibly what the surrounding neighborhood USED to look like.  Another example....

My wife used to get her hair done in a shop that occupied the first floor of an old house on Springwells Ave. in Southwest Detroit.  It's obvious that the building used to be the residence of a family, probably back in the very early 20th century( based on it's structure and design).  While she'd be getting her hair done, I'd sit there trying to imagine when children ran up and down it's staircases, or the family would be sitting around a table in what I would imagine was once the dining room of the place.  :)   Or, when I first met my wife and we visited her older sister on Lewerenz street in Southwest Detroit.  I knew the house she lived in( and still does) was old, but HOW old didn't register with me until, when having us follow her upstairs for her to show us something she wanted us to see, I noticed in the tiny room just at the top of the stairs( she used the room as a "catch all") had an old fixture for a GASLIGHT still affixed to the wall!  :o  That was more than 30 years ago, and it's STILL THERE! And I seem to be the ONLY person that ever noticed it!  

Sepiatone

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Haha cute old house observations, Sepia. How many people imagine their house's life before theirs? As an antique restorer, I imagine every item's "life" as I work on it.

Changing  "social mores" was most evident to me in the movie THE WOMEN. It was all about society & personal dignity and for some reason as a young person I "got" it. When they recently remade the movie I assumed it would bomb because NO ONE would understand the insult, pride or unscrupulous behaviour the entire story is based on.

Nowadays, the first emotion of discovering infidelity is fear of disease from an unknown, extra partner, moreso than pride. 

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