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The DUMBING DOWN of Cinema


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"They don't make 'em like that anymore." I hear that phrase a lot. Because it's true. Let's take a look at the dumbing down of American cinema.


"Adult" Humor:


In classic movies, comedy usually relied on wit and rhythm. Modern "jokes" are usually crude, vulgar, random, unfunny, and totally gratuitous. Random pop culture references are also popular "jokes". These "jokes" are usually included in children's films, to attract an adult audience. Also, "shock humor" is a popular type of "humor" that deliberately tries to offend the audience. This is comedy? If you think that someone rolling over a dead squirrel and vomiting on the camera is "funny", then modern comedy films are for you.


3 Hours or More: Box Office Poison?:


These days, the longest Hollywood movies are not much more than 2? hours, once cut and edited. Apparently, the modern viewer will lose interest if a movie drags on for too long. Yep, another example of the dumbing down of cinema.


Short Films: Too Short?:


These days, short films are NEVER produced by major Hollywood studios, and they are never shown in mainstream theaters. They are only shown at arthouse theaters and film festivals. Why? Modern Hollywood only accepts feature-length films... and some films don't NEED to be feature-length.


Art Films: Not in Hollywood:


Modern Hollywood hates "art films" and "experimental films". These movies are never produced by major Hollywood studios, they are never picked up by major Hollywood studios, and they are never given wide release. I guess they're too "cerebral".


Modern Horror Films: Not Scary, Just Disgusting:


Could a ?civilized? society could ever accept snuff films in the open? It?s worth asking, because we are inching ever closer to it. What qualifies as "horror" in the eyes of today?s Hollywood studios is altogether different from anything Alfred Hitchcock considered to be art. Modern "horror" movies usually involve innocent victims being raped, tortured, and killed for 2 hours (Grindhouse was 3 hours). The current tide of blood-splattered "torture porn" causes viewers to feel disgust, not hair-raising fear. The characters are never developed enough to make the audience feel any emotion about them. They?re simply straw men and women, there to be sliced and diced. Filmmakers are trying to help audiences enjoy a smackdown of pain and death. Even horror movie producers acknowledge that there?s virtually nothing you can do to a human being onscreen that is taboo any more. The audiences have become de-sensitized, numb, and bored. Perhaps the horror movie manufacturers will decide that not even ?torture porn? is enough. What then?


MPAA Ratings: A Total Failure:


The MPAA is completely unfair and totally inaccurate. They are infantilizing the movie industry. They are messing with art. They are being unfair towards independent and foreign films. They are being totally inaccurate with their ratings. They are being hypocritical, greedy, violent, malevolent, vengeful, cowardly, deadly, mendacious, meretricious, loathsome, despicable, belligerent, opportunistic, barratrous, contemptible, criminal, fascistic, bigoted, racist, sexist, avaricious, tasteless, idiotic, brain-damaged, imbecilic, insane, arrogant, deceitful, demented, lame, self-righteous, byzantine, conspiratorial, satanic, fraudulent, libelous, bilious, splenetic, ****, ignorant, clueless, illegitimate, harmful, destructive, dumb, evasive, double-talking, devious, revisionist, narrow, manipulative, paternalistic, fundamentalist, dogmatic, idolatrous, unethical, cultic, diseased, suppressive, controlling, restrictive, malignant, deceptive, dim, crazy, weird, dystopic, stifling, uncaring, plantigrade, grim, unsympathetic, jargon-spouting, censorious, secretive, aggressive, mind-numbing, arassive, poisonous, flagrant, self-destructive, abusive, socially-****, puerile, clueless, and generally not good. Enough said.


Remakes, Remakes, Remakes:


Hollywood is completely out of ideas. Almost EVERY movie is a remake or adaptation. Over 100 remakes are planned for the future. These remakes and adaptations are usually terrible and completely dumbed-down. I think that remakes would be held in a more positive light if they focused more on films that WEREN'T very good, instead of trying to remake legendary classics.




Message was edited by: Metropolisforever


Message was edited by: Metropolisforever

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Some of the points you make remind me of the book, Movie Wars: How Hollywood and the Media Limit What Movies We Can See by Jonathan Rosenbaum.


Rosenbaum says that the film industry and the media control what we see in an effort to keep audiences from acquiring discerning tastes. A more diversified market breeds a more diversified audience with unpredicatable tastes ... and the harder it becomes to figure out what will sell.


I'm no expert on the subject, and I'm not sure if I buy into everything Rosenbaum says, but in this age of focus groups and market-driven filmmaking, I can see where the industry might prefer selling widgets over art.

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You do realize that each generation has said the same thing about the next generation. My parents said it about my generation, their parents said it about theirs, and back and back and back.


Each generation carps about how dumb, how naive, how disengaged, how dumbed down stuff must be to attract the attention of the generation that follows them.


As we get older the more we continue to sound like our parents and our grandparents before them.


As Pogo used to say, 'we have met the enemy and he is us'.

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When I was 12, 13, 14, and 15 years old, I didn't like the dumbed down movies of my era. I liked the classics that I saw on TV and occasionally in independent theaters, such as "The Divorcee", "Birth of a Nation", "San Francisco", "The General", and many other classics that were on TV back in the 1950s.


I purposely went to see "Riso amaro" ("Bitter Rice", 1949), with English subtitles, in a theater in 1952 when I was 10 years old. That was my first Italian neo-realism film.


Have you seen "Riso amaro"?




I make no apologies for hating most modern films and liking old and classic films.


TCM should NOT show so many new, poor quality, and non-classic films.

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I make no apologies for hating most modern films and liking old and classic films. >>




We are never going to agree about this subject. We both love film there is no doubt of that. By your own admission, you hate modern films, though you liked "Apocalypse Now" enough that you started a thread about it.


I like films from all decades and believe that there are good movies that have been made since the 1960s. I believe that there are good movies being made today that will be considered classics in the years ahead,


Can we just agree to disagree and stop this arguing?

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It takes two to argue; how about, in future, when Fred or I or one of our ilk protests against this trend, you not jump in with that tired "Oscar Month" excuse or some other equally unbelievalble "argument" for the other side? Even Fred can't argue with himself, and I certainly can't argue with Fred, since I wholeheartedly agree with his views. TClassicM...


Too bad Ted Turner didn't keep it; he wouldn't be hawking DVD sets every five minutes because he already has more money than he knows what to do with... A pure mission.

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>By your own admission, you hate modern films, though you liked "Apocalypse Now"


I said "most modern films". I didn't say "all". Of course I love the classics... but not the throw-away or disposable films. Not the ones that are so bad the DVD self-distructs after you watch it one time.



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Once upon a time there was a breed of studio director who might have not been a genius but knew the basics of cinematic storytelling. The dumbing down of film has a lot to do with the emphasis on fx or mindless violence-this might the result of a generation raised on video games. I don't agree that all modern films are bad- there was plenty of crap done in the old days.

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"...or some other equally unbelievalble "argument" for the other side?"


Speaking for the "other ilk", I have always debated this subject with facts, numbers and verifiable observations.


Where others see a "trend", some of us know this is "nothing new".


What others interpret as "the beginning of the end", some of us call "innovative and fresh".


When the answer is "It's just like AMC", the question should be "Why would TCM want to be like a former competitor?"


And what someone else calls "unbelieveable", is simple reality to a lot of us.


Some of the TCM Faithful fear what they believe is true while others have a faith in what they know is true...and that there is nothing to be afraid of.


Kyle In Hollywood

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