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BBC Asks: Is nostalgia killing cinema?


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Ghostbusters Afterlife: Is nostalgia killing cinema?
(Image credit: Alamy)
 

(Credit: Alamy)

By Jack King18th November 2021
 
The new Ghostbusters film exemplifies Hollywood's current obsession with sending audiences down memory lane. Is this as detrimental to cinema as some would have it, asks Jack King.
 

That Hollywood is becoming lazier, and artistry ever-more sacrificed for maximum profitability, is an often-heard refrain. In 2019, all of the top 10 highest grossing films at the US box office were based on existing intellectual properties; just two decades ago, it was five. And in a lot of cases, these big-grossers – be they remakes of, spin-offs from, or long-awaited sequels to classics – play on one emotion in particular: nostalgia. They offer audiences the pleasure of past cinematic experiences, and the comfort of ensconcing themselves in something familiar.

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But if such cinema is inherently designed to be reassuring, it is also divisive. The polarised reaction to the latest film in the Ghostbusters franchise, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, released in cinemas in the UK and US today, exemplifies the debate that the servicing – or, or as some would have it, exploitation – of audiences' nostalgia can inspire. On the one hand, Empire Magazine's Olly Richards praised the film, above all, for capturing the essence of the original: "It's not quite the same as the Ghostbusters we know, but it entirely feels like Ghostbusters". And on the other, the Guardian's Charles Bramesco offered a particularly damning appraisal of it as a work that is content to trade off the original, and assume "that the automatic delight of knowing what things are will supersede the need for the humour or smart-**** charm that initially made Ghostbusters worth watching".

 
 

The new Ghostbusters film follows the daughter and grandkids of one of the original quartet – and is constantly referring back to its predecessors (Credit: Alamy)

The new Ghostbusters film follows the daughter and grandkids of one of the original quartet – and is constantly referring back to its predecessors (Credit: Alamy)

The film follows the daughter and grandkids of original Ghostbuster Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis), as they relocate to his remote farmhouse, on the outskirts of golden-lit, cornfed Americana, after being evicted from their New York home. It just so happens to be located on top of a hotbed of supernatural activity, disturbed by quakes thought to be caused by fault lines – but of course, something altogether more sinister is at play. Directed by Jason Reitman, the son of original Ghostbusters (1984) director Ivan, it mostly feels well-meaning: there are myriad shots homaged, some quite cleverly, from his father's film, and it brims with recognisable Easter eggs for franchise fans: foreboding, baritone references to a baddie called "Zuul", for example. The Ghostbusters' iconic vehicle Ecto-1 shrieks with its quintessential siren, their ghost-busting proton packs cross streams, and even the cutely villainous Stay Puft marshmallow man makes a return, albeit in a much smaller form. And of course, there's the much speculated-upon and yet hardly surprising return of some familiar faces – including one, more surprisingly, who returns as a silent CGI ghost in a move that raises many ethical concerns around reanimating dead performers for the capital gains of studios. "This is a Frankenstein business where we really need to take a step back and think about where this technology goes," Bramesco tells BBC Culture. "This is so clearly an ethical violation of the rights of dead people – it starts off with corporate cheerleading, but where does it go from there?"

There are some movies – regardless of what it is, how good it is – that people will go and see because it is based on something they remember – Charles Bramesco

The queasiness of that appearance aside, the film arguably doesn't have much to offer in and of itself, separate from its references to its predecessors. That's because it doesn't have any tangible reality of its own: its backwards-looking stance extends beyond the details to encompass the film's whole mood. Despite it notionally being set in the present day, Summerville, the film's remote rural town, is itself a time capsule, a neon-lit drive-in diner being its central attraction. As Alison Willmore wrote in her review for Vulture, "Afterlife is assiduously apolitical in its content, yet it also instinctively understands the pop-culture nostalgia it's peddling is of a kind with that desire to restore some fabled idyllic period that haunts national discourse". It also instinctively understands that nostalgia is popular culture's most valuable commodity right now – which might explain its decision to ape the market leader, in this respect, Netflix series Stranger Things. Among other things, Afterlife refocuses the story on a group of adolescents in an imagined slice of cornfed Americana, and casts Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard. Stranger Things is a show in thrall to 80s film references, the original Ghostbusters movies among them. The fact that the new Ghostbusters then feels the need to evoke it in turn, the copy of a copy, makes its nostalgia feel that much more contrived, not to mention convoluted.

Nostalgia and the 'content wars'

Those who are dispirited by these trips down memory lanes aren't going to find solace anytime soon. One recent development is that studios and conglomerates are making it their modus operandi to build up their content libraries with shows and films based on classic titles that inspire nostalgic consumer recognition: Paramount's streaming platform Paramount Plus has series based on Love Story, The Parallax View, The Italian Job, Fatal Attraction, and Grease in the works, for example. Meanwhile Disney Plus has been remaking and rebooting everything from Mighty Ducks to Turner and Hooch, and, latterly, Home Alone. Released last week to a host of terrible reviews, Home Sweet Home Alone showed how pandering to nostalgia can end up serving no one very well, neither new audiences nor old ones. "It all comes back to the question of why the film was made in the first place," as Radio Times' Patrick Cremona puts it. "It's certainly not for kids, who I can't imagine enjoying much about this. No, it's pretty clear that the target audience for this is adults who retain a nostalgic fondness for the original Home Alone – which explains why there are several clumsy references to the film throughout, including a cameo from Devin Ratray as Buzz McCallister. But regrettably, I imagine even the most hardcore fans of that film will struggle to find much to enjoy in this turkey."

 

Home Sweet Home Alone has been criticised for its shameless attempt at exploiting audience nostalgia (Credit: Alamy)

Home Sweet Home Alone has been criticised for its shameless attempt at exploiting audience nostalgia (Credit: Alamy)

This kind of cultural reproduction is nothing new. In a 2016 article for The Atlantic, film academics Amanda Ann Klein and R Barton Palmer argued that "cinema has always been rooted in the idea of multiplicities – that is, in texts that consciously repeat and exploit images, narratives, or characters found in previous texts". But if this retrospective inclination has always been present within the film industry, some would argue that it has turned pathological. "The complaint that Hollywood is making too many sequels, too many remakes – drawing from a dry creative well – that is not a particularly recent development. The history of Hollywood is the history of studios repeating their successes," Bramesco says. "But I think [that nostalgia-driven cinema] kicked into high-gear, into this inescapable weekly thing, with the beginning of the Disney remake Renaissance." The Renaissance in question refers to the studio's mining of its extensive animated back catalogue for a second box-office hit, by rendering them into a series of live-action remakes with appeal for both children, potentially coming to them fresh, and their parents, who grew up on the originals and can enjoy a reminder of their own childhoods.

Bramesco cites Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) as the real beginning of this so-called Renaissance. It wasn't actually the first live-action remake of a canonised Disney cartoon – lest we forget Stephen Sommers' 1994 adaptation of The Jungle Book and the subsequent 101 Dalmatians live-action films (1996 & 2000). But, Bramesco believes, its billion-dollar global box office conclusively asserted "that there are some movies – regardless of what it is, how good it is – people will go and see [because it is based on] something they remember". Subsequently, Disney’s production of these live-action remakes and spin-offs has sky-rocketed: Robert Stromberg's Maleficent came in 2014, with one or two additional titles per year, until 2019 brought with it four. It has been a largely winning formula for Disney, with one of the aforementioned 2019 titles, The Lion King – albeit not live-action but rather photorealistic animation sold as real – raking in $1.65 billion (£1.23 billion) at the global box office.

Where the situation is leading

And there's the rub: if it's easy to criticise the studios' appeal to nostalgia as cynical, then it's clear, from the box-office results, that it's hitting the spot – and really is there anything ignoble about fans' desire to be reminded of the things they love? The problem is, however: where does the nostalgia obsession end? Reitman, for example, has suggested that he would like to see Afterlife as the first in an expanded Ghostbusters "Universe". A post-credit scene in the film certainly signposts this intent, as did the formation of the Ghostbusters-specific production company Ghost Corps prior to the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot (which was dogged by misogynistic criticism of its all-women lead quartet, and has been casually stricken from the canon in Afterlife).

I don’t care how many times they remake Batman, I will go and see every version of it. We never let go of our childhood loves – Darren Scott

From Marvel to Star Wars, shared-story universes are of course very much in vogue. But until recently, the Ghostbusters "universe" was compromised of two fun comedies in the 80s with a lewd ensemble of SNL alumnus; arguably, it doesn't seem the most natural material for some grand interconnected saga. Equally, some have faith it could work. "Part of me thinks, why has it taken so long?" says editor of sci-fi magazine SFX and Ghostbusters fan Darren Scott. "There's a new series based on the Child's Play films called Chucky, which just hits the mark. It's fantastically queer, it's horrific. It's so cleverly done – you don't get the sense they're being cynical about it, that they're out to get a quick buck. They're actually pouring love into it. And if Jason Reitman is going to pour love into Ghostbusters, and do huge spin-offs and TV shows, then brilliant."

 

The astronomical box-office success of Disney's The Lion King remake confirmed just how lucrative nostalgia can be (Credit: Alamy)

The astronomical box-office success of Disney's The Lion King remake confirmed just how lucrative nostalgia can be (Credit: Alamy)

But aside from assessing the quality of the franchise titles at hand, it feels as though there is a greater, more existential point for Hollywood cinema to contend with. The desire to appeal to nostalgic instincts is part of a bigger issue, that studios are seemingly becoming less and less likely to take a risk on films without existing brand recognition; indeed, there is a real irony in the fact that much of this nostalgia-driven content is capitalising on once-original titles that simply wouldn't be made today. This summer's Free Guy (2021), acquired by Disney with their controversial takeover of Fox, was the studio's first live-action release not based on an existing intellectual property in three years. Asked whether he thought a studio would bank on an original idea like Free Guy again – which, relatedly, has been lined up for a sequel – director Shawn Levy said: "I'm going through a mental Rolodex of the studios – Sony, Warners, Paramount, Disney, Lionsgate – the truth is those studios are predominantly if not exclusively betting the big money on franchise titles [...] Someone referred to Free Guy as the last chopper out of Saigon, and I do think about that. I hope it's not the case." And even then, Free Guy itself is not free of nostalgic impulses: it's notionally based on video games like Grand Theft Auto, and its third act chucks out  $40-billion worth of recognisable props from the Disney stable, a benefit of said takeover, from lightsabers to Captain America's shield – recognition, again, seemingly being offered up as a great cinematic pleasure in itself.

It is this debatable idea – that the overwhelming drive of mainstream Hollywood cinema is now to offer the dopamine hit of familiarity – that leaves some critics so deflated."It's hard not to talk about this in apocalyptic, end of history type language," Bramesco says. "Not to get existential, but this makes me feel alienated from people, just realising that my value systems as art goes are not only removed from other people's, but almost diametrically opposed." For while some might view the current nostalgia-fuelled entertainment model as apocalyptic, others welcome it with open arms."I don't care how many times they remake Batman, I will go and see every version of it," Scott says. "That's a good thing about the sort of market that SFX speaks to – we love a thing, and we'll go and see it. If we don't like the new version, that's fine. We'll go to the next one, too. We never let go of our childhood loves."

Indeed, for most people, formative cinematic experiences – whatever their artistic merit – are hard to shake from the soul. And whether or not you find the glut of nostalgic product agreeable, it manifestly speaks to a deeply held impulse towards the familiar. When we only have time to go to the movies a handful of times a year, after all, we'll likely spend our money on experiences we think we can trust. The nostalgia mill – even if it cannot maintain the momentum with which it current spins – is unlikely to lose its grip any time soon. But that might just be what audiences want.

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Basically, Sony, Warner and Paramount are reaping the wages of 10's Cinema:
They spent an entire decade trying to create their own "Marvel Universes" out of their own house properties, and in the process,

A) brought new original screenplays to a standstill, while they hired work-for-hire hacks to create their "franchise strategies" on demand (which dropped like flies at the theaters), and

B ) only succeeded in reminding the Blu-ray audience about why movies were better in the mainstream commercial 70's, 80's and 90's, when you only made one movie at a time and worked your heart out trying to sell it to everyone.

Now Sony--who's trying to apologize for their LAST attempt to tie Ghostbusters into the "Men in Black/Jumanji/Goosebumps crossover universe"--is trying to sell a movie about all the references fans remember from the '84 movie, about descendants meeting the ancient survivors of the '84 movie, and a dad who remembers the '84 movie.

The last time this happened, I blogged about comparing this practice to that Star Trek episode, where Kirk and Spock arrive on a planet about to explode, and find a "library" of past time-portals where the population has already escaped destruction by evacuating into the planet's past history:

tos-allouryesterdays1.jpg?w=584

Studios don't want to admit that they may have bricked up the light at the end of the tunnel, that even before Covid there may not actually have BEEN a future for movies only a few years from now--And with the cross-audience mainstream popularity of Harry Potter, LOTR, MCU and Pixar behind us, unless they wake up, do something different, and realize why movies were a lot more popular before Universes and Five-Year Date Announcements existed, the only popular movies will be the ones we've already memorized, the kids who haven't seen them yet, and aging high-school reunions for the surviving actors that were in them.  😔

Until that happens, look, we've got the Stay-Puft men, the Ecto-1, and the Demon Dog!  They look just like they did in the original!  Remember when you first saw that as a kid?

Quote

Asked whether he thought a studio would bank on an original idea like Free Guy again – which, relatedly, has been lined up for a sequel – director Shawn Levy said: "I'm going through a mental Rolodex of the studios – Sony, Warners, Paramount, Disney, Lionsgate – the truth is those studios are predominantly if not exclusively betting the big money on franchise titles [...] Someone referred to Free Guy as the last chopper out of Saigon, and I do think about that. I hope it's not the case." And even then, Free Guy itself is not free of nostalgic impulses: it's notionally based on video games like Grand Theft Auto,

It's a perfect storm that the Death of the Original Screenplay (caused partly by the Bidding War of the early 90's, helped along by the Already-Written book gold-rush of Harry Potter and LOTR in '01, and finished off by the Writer's Strike of '08) also happened in connection with the Death of Humor in the 00's, when our resentful hunkering-down during the GWBush era killed our sense of humor, and fractured mainstream comedy into the insular niches of Guy-Bro comedy, Chik-Flik comedy, Urban-Black comedy, Stoner comedy, and other niches that don't really understand each other's jokes.  And comedies, like suspense thrillers, romantic comedies, live-action family films, etc., were a core of the "Mid-tier" movies we got every week BETWEEN the Godzillas, the Dunes and the Space Jam 2's that were supposed to fuel studios' "Record-breaking opening weekends" that replaced a good month-long hit that used to exist before an oversaturation of 15-20 screen cineplexes reduced a movie's lifespan to two weeks.

Free Guy isn't so much "nostalgia", as a reflection of what Ryan Reynolds thinks a generation of males thinks is comedy fodder for the 00's-10's:  Well, there's beer, and there's your bros...and there's....Fortnite...

"The last chopper out of Saigon" unfortunately nails the long-range problem too accurately.  Now, if they could just identify who VC Charlie is that's doing it to them, we might be able to win some hearts and minds back to peacetime theaters again.

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Hear, hear! I've been saying this for decades. Instead of anyone recognizing the trend toward hackdom, Hollywood has just doubled down, so to speak. The practice of success creating copycats is true of every industry, and that's understandable, and probably good business, for that matter. If you see what's working well, you try to replicate it, so you'll also have success. Industries of the arts should naturally oppose such urges, though, wouldn't you think? The producers of art should be continually striving to create original art in a perfect world. After all, isn't that what art is ---- creating, not stenciling, but with subtle changes in the colors? Some new stuff still gets though every year, but they get more drowned out more with each passing one. It seems as though respect for original works is at an all-time low, with a promise that it'll get lower. An analogy I've made before about remakes/sequels is that nobody is clamoring for an updated, modern version of Mona Lisa, complete with sassy new "do" and some "dope" new threads.

What's worse is the current "franchise" mentality is designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and what's still worse is that it actually works! Witness the "reality" show popularity. Ugh. The quote of Darren Scott that he'd continue to go see every new Batman movie as long as they keep making them, indefititely, is and attitude I find disgusting, and have no respect for. It's childish enough (and shows no taste) on the face of it, but it shows no thought or regard whatsoever to the lack of creativity of such productions or the longterm effect is has on real creativity being produced, by contributing to the studios' sellout attitude toward it.

Lastly, I'm not against such movies. I can, and do, enjoy watching movies that are strictly entertaining, with no thought required. Repeating superhero characters, horror villains, fantasy settings, etc, ad nauseum, do give many of us a "been there, seen that" yawn, and possibly a slight annoyance at the 48th installment of each. When EXCITING ADRENALINE FLOW is studios' first thought, then maybe sqeeze out some good stuff as an afterthought seems backward and degenerative. Surely, there's enough talent and great ideas out there for studios to show confidence in executing and promoting moneymakers. Unfortunately, they don't sell much merch, I guess.

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4 minutes ago, David Proulx said:

 The producers of art should be continually striving to create original art in a perfect world. After all, isn't that what art is ---- creating, not stenciling, but with subtle changes in the colors?

Those in charge say they are making "content", not "art". It's product, not expression. They still may pay lip service to the artform, especially during award season, but Hollywood is just another commerce-driven endeavor, like McDonald's or Kraft or Nabisco or Coca-Cola. And Disney rules the roost now, which is fitting for this era of homogenized pabulum and market-researched calculation. 

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15 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Those in charge say they are making "content", not "art". It's product, not expression. They still may pay lip service to the artform, especially during award season, but Hollywood is just another commerce-driven endeavor, like McDonald's or Kraft or Nabisco or Coca-Cola. And Disney rules the roost now, which is fitting for this era of homogenized pabulum and market-researched calculation. 

I'm sure they're saying that, because it's clearly true, regardless of the fact that movie are, in fact an art form. I'm as big a supporter of capitalism &  sound business practices as the next guy.

I find this analogy appropriate: Colleges used to say (and still do with a wink) that football programs were there to help financially support education (buy books, computers, improve facilities, etc). Anybody whose been on a college campus will tell you that the money being made by football program goes back into that program or other sports programs, and that very little trickles into academics. They became seduced by the money, and all pretense of it supporting academics went out the window. It's the same w/ the movie industry. Blockbusters doing the heavy lifting of revenue go back into financing more of them, where it's quite the assembly line now.

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1 hour ago, David Proulx said:

I'm sure they're saying that, because it's clearly true, regardless of the fact that movie are, in fact an art form. I'm as big a supporter of capitalism &  sound business practices as the next guy.

I find this analogy appropriate: Colleges used to say (and still do with a wink) that football programs were there to help financially support education (buy books, computers, improve facilities, etc). Anybody whose been on a college campus will tell you that the money being made by football program goes back into that program or other sports programs, and that very little trickles into academics. They became seduced by the money, and all pretense of it supporting academics went out the window. It's the same w/ the movie industry. Blockbusters doing the heavy lifting of revenue go back into financing more of them, where it's quite the assembly line now.

Hence the reason that college tuition and fees have been into the stratosphere for quite some time ! 

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Those in charge say they are making "content", not "art". It's product, not expression. They still may pay lip service to the artform, especially during award season, but Hollywood is just another commerce-driven endeavor, like McDonald's or Kraft or Nabisco or Coca-Cola. And Disney rules the roost now, which is fitting for this era of homogenized pabulum and market-researched calculation. 

You say this like it's something new.

Hollywood's always been dismissive of the idea that anything they do is "art".  They've always been about cranking out product with a few accidental flashes of brilliance along the way.

Remakes and reboots?  How many times did they do The Maltese Falcon before we got the one we know and love?

Like any trend, it will be milked until people get tired of it, and then the filmmakers will go on to something new until they find something that clicks.

 

Not to mention the irony of us, of all people wringing our hands over too much nostalgia.

 

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47 minutes ago, rjbartrop said:

You say this like it's something new.

Hollywood's always been dismissive of the idea that anything they do is "art".  They've always been about cranking out product with a few accidental flashes of brilliance along the way.

Remakes and reboots?  How many times did they do The Maltese Falcon before we got the one we know and love?

Like any trend, it will be milked until people get tired of it, and then the filmmakers will go on to something new until they find something that clicks.

 

Not to mention the irony of us, of all people wringing our hands over too much nostalgia.

 

Or, as in the case of Ben Hur, Magnificent 7, West Side Story, and Nightmare Alley - wait 40,50,60, or 70 years and bring it back, just like fashions !

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6 hours ago, jameselliot said:

The movies cited in the article are aimed at kids, especially Ghostbusters  Afterlife that has a Goonies, Monster Squad and Explorers vibe. Jack King is overreacting.

My reaction to the trailer was, "The movie made by somebody who thought the Ghostbusters were who the Stranger Things kids dressed up as for Halloween."

(Btw, my generation HATED The Goonies and The Monster Squad for being irritatingly shrill and stupid, but our nostalgic wish for the 80's days when kids could go by themselves to the local downtown or mall theater and see a mainstream movie pitched toward them has created the nostalgic idea that all 80's movies were "Kids On Bikes", just like Elliot and his friends.  And yeah, we weren't crazy about "Explorers", either...Joe, dude, seriously, that's our third act??)

4 hours ago, David Proulx said:

The quote of Darren Scott that he'd continue to go see every new Batman movie as long as they keep making them, indefititely, is and attitude I find disgusting, and have no respect for. It's childish enough (and shows no taste) on the face of it, but it shows no thought or regard whatsoever to the lack of creativity of such productions or the longterm effect is has on real creativity being produced, by contributing to the studios' sellout attitude toward it.

It's the same thing that made me beat my head against walls when the Simpsons Movie and the aggressively troll-moronic '02 Scooby-Doo movies came out:
They were clearly awful (or Simpsons at least looked Assembly-Line Generic), but all--ALL--you heard from the audiences going to see them was:  "I grew up with it!  It's been such a part of our culture for years!  I HAVE to go see it on opening weekend!"

That same wishful obliviousness toward the actual movie, just to relive the Symbolic Importance of it in public, seems to be all I'm hearing from fans drooling to see GB: Afterlife.  No discussion about why on this green earth anyone would give an ex-Bill Murray comedy to the downbeat director of George Clooney dramedies, apart from interviews that Jason Reitman wanted to "come to terms with his father's legacy"....Ohh, lord. 🤦‍♂️  Nope, just "I'm so totally there!  'Doo-do-do, do, who ya gonna call?'"

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HOLLYWOOD has always been remaking movies, but for some reason "back then" it didn't seem like Hollywood was running out of ideas.  So you have THE MALTESE FALCON (1931), SATAN MET A LADY (1936) and then THE MALTESE FALCON (1941).   Ok, no big deal.  Fast forward 80 years and it seems like Hollywood IS running out of good ideas for movies -OR- maybe 'New Hollywood' is too afraid to make movies with good stories because of Non-PC content.  Fear of losing money is a powerful motivator in the movie biz. 

(P.S.  If you watch the 59-minute Western HAUNTED GOLD (1934) with John Wayne and Sheila Terry you will see a 'Maltese Falcon' on the piano Ms. Terry is playing. → I guess the prop department thought a Maltese Falcon would look good atop the heroine's piano!   So it's there.  :) 

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2 hours ago, rjbartrop said:

Remakes...How many times did they do The Maltese Falcon

...DRINK!!  🍻

14 minutes ago, Mr. Gorman said:

SATAN MET A LADY (1936)

One sip!  🍺

(And two sips for the next guy, who mentions the silent 20's Wizard Of Oz...Full chug for Maltese Falcon and Oz in the same sentence!)

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1 hour ago, Mr. Gorman said:

HOLLYWOOD has always been remaking movies, but for some reason "back then" it didn't seem like Hollywood was running out of ideas.  So you have THE MALTESE FALCON (1931), SATAN MET A LADY (1936) and then THE MALTESE FALCON (1941).   Ok, no big deal.  Fast forward 80 years and it seems like Hollywood IS running out of good idea for movies -OR- maybe 'New Hollywood' is too afraid to make movies with good stories because of Non-PC content.  Fear of losing money is a powerful motivator in the movie biz.

 

You mean worrying about content like they did under the Hays Code?  The funny thing, in trying to work around those restrictions, Hollywood came up with some of the best movies they ever made.   And do you really think they weren't worried about losing money back then?  The most infamous example was how most of them kept quiet about the Nazis because they were worried about hurting the German box office.   

I would also say that if people took a break from crying in their beers over the good old days and actually took a look are what was going on, it's pretty obvious at on top of nostalgia fests like Ghostbusters, new stuff is being made, and some of it is pretty good,  but then those same people gripe because it''s not like the old stuff.    A lot of it is fluff, but so were most of the films from the golden age of Hollywood.   They've just acquired a sweet frosting of nostalgia over the years.

You want stories? The small screen has been full of them for years now.  

Good films are still being made, if you actually bother to look.

 

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6 hours ago, cinecrazydc said:

Or, as in the case of Ben Hur, Magnificent 7, West Side Story

Of course, if you're doing remakes, it doesn't hoit that Ben-Hur and Magnificent Seven were out-of-copyright MGM/UA/Orion films, and free for the exploiting.

And that so were Robocop, Total Recall, Red Dawn, Child's Play, Clash of the Titans, Carrie, Thomas Crown Affair, Rollerball, The Longest Yard, The Amityville Horror, Overboard, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Back to School, and the Addams Family TV series.

(Btw, whatever happened to Jeff Bezos' plan to buy MGM, so he could embarrass Trump with the cut scenes from The Apprentice?)

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11 hours ago, Mr. Gorman said:

I don't see any hope in the future for less 'homogenized' movie product.  Just the way it is these days.

 

Not if they continue to fail. As long as the throngs of nonthinking bubbas slap dollars down to see this pap, movies will remain stunted. We used to be able to vote with our dollars, giving them some sort of direction of what we'd like to see. We've allowed companies to dictate, not the consumers.

The aspect of this that astounds me is the originals were horrible in the first place: Ghostbusters was awful, Scooby Doo was an awful, inane TV show, as was Brady Bunch & Beverly Hillbillies. An audience may feel "nostalgia" rewatching the shows themselves, but with new actors imitating original actors (not the charactor) is just dull & offensive.

Many movies used popular books as inspiration, like GWTW, Rebecca & WizOfOz (all 1939!) Maybe the ailing book industry is part of the reason there's less inspiring source material? (50 Shades/ew) Does anyone read anymore? As a teacher I'd always ask class who likes to read & see only one or two hands go up. 

There seems to be many, many more documentaries made in the past 2 decades, maybe because as a society we've now found truth stranger than fiction?

I don't care much for anything Disney has put out since Walt's death, but do love the golden age Disney classics, based on traditional, old Fairy Tales. I've seen all the newer ones (from the library) & they're OK, but not nearly the caliber of what Disney made when Walt was alive.

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11 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

Not if they continue to fail. As long as the throngs of nonthinking bubbas slap dollars down to see this pap, movies will remain stunted. “We used to be able to vote with our dollars, giving them some sort of direction of what we’d like to see. We’ve allowed companies to dictate, not the consumers.”

The aspect of this that astounds me is the originals were horrible in the first place: Ghostbusters was awful, Scooby Doo was an awful, inane TV show, as was Brady Bunch & Beverly Hillbillies. An audience may feel "nostalgia" rewatching the shows themselves, but with new actors imitating original actors (not the charactor) is just dull & offensive.

Many movies used popular books as inspiration, like GWTW, Rebecca & WizOfOz (all 1939!) Maybe the ailing book industry is part of the reason there's less inspiring source material? (50 Shades/ew) Does anyone read anymore? As a teacher I'd always ask class who likes to read & see only one or two hands go up. 

There seems to be many, many more documentaries made in the past 2 decades, maybe because as a society we've now found truth stranger than fiction?

I don't care much for anything Disney has put out since Walt's death, but do love the golden age Disney classics, based on traditional, old Fairy Tales. I've seen all the newer ones (from the library) & they're OK, but not nearly the caliber of what Disney made when Walt was alive.

“We used to be able to vote with our dollars, giving them some sort of direction of what we’d like to see. We’ve allowed companies to dictate, not the consumers.”

What's the truism now ?  "You are the product !"    

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13 hours ago, EricJ said:

 

...DRINK!!  🍻

One sip!  🍺

(And two sips for the next guy, who mentions the silent 20's Wizard Of Oz...Full chug for Maltese Falcon and Oz in the same sentence!)

How about the 1933 animated short that used the same technique of showing reality in black and white, and Oz in colour that was used in the 1939 version?

4 hours ago, cinecrazydc said:

“We used to be able to vote with our dollars, giving them some sort of direction of what we’d like to see. We’ve allowed companies to dictate, not the consumers.”

What's the truism now ?  "You are the product !"    

That's been a truism since the days of network radio.  The social media companies have just refined the process

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On 11/22/2021 at 8:26 AM, cinecrazydc said:

“We used to be able to vote with our dollars, giving them some sort of direction of what we’d like to see. We’ve allowed companies to dictate, not the consumers.”

What's the truism now ?  "You are the product !"

I knew there would be a catchphrase that sums up the shift.

We  just screened this cartoon last night-LOL customer is always right.

 

 

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There is more to this article than meets the eye. The PC crowd is upset that the entirely unnecessary all-female version of the Ghostbusters movie bombed at the box office, so now they want the franchise to die.

If they were truly concerned about the future of cinema, what  they would be doing is refraining from re-making films solely to fill these remakes with women. Nobody cares about this PC nonsense, and the box office figures show this, but they can't accept the reality, so we get these insipid remakes. If a movie comes along in a franchise after one of these all-female bombs, and does well at the box office, that's when we get articles like this propaganda piece from the BBC.

It's a joke that people who care about movies only to the extent film can spread their PC propaganda, behave as if they are friends of cinema. Film is nothing more than a  propaganda tool to them, that's all.

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4 hours ago, unwatchable said:

There is more to this article than meets the eye. The PC crowd is upset that the entirely unnecessary all-female version of the Ghostbusters movie bombed at the box office, so now they want the franchise to die.

If they were truly concerned about the future of cinema, what  they would be doing is refraining from re-making films solely to fill these remakes with women.

Well, that's just it--Sony tried for twenty years to make Ghostbusters 3, and considered it officially dead (or in a coma) until Men in Black 3 came along in 3D, and made long-buried 80's "triquels" look popular again.  (Warner was reportedly looking at rebooting Gremlins, which ultimately ended up with an HBOMax cartoon instead.) Oh, and that’s MIB3 with Josh Brolin, not “MIB International”, with the female agent and the foreign-export appeal, that Sony hoped to sell house “franchise universes” with.

And around that same time, there was a big wouldn't-it-be-neato fan push on social media for trying to get Lionsgate to do one more representation-fantasy Expendables, only with all-female action stars...The Expenda-Belles, with Ming-Na, Gal Godot and Angelina Jolie, etc.!

You can guess how the telephone-game and Magic Mutating Melting-Pot processed the rumors into Sony ideas from there.

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5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I knew there would be a catchphrase that sums up the shift.

We  just screened this cartoon last night-LOL customer is always right.

 

 

The customer is still right.  It's just that with all the media we think is "free"  (Social media, Network television), people don't realize who the customer actually is.

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This isn't anew trend.  Hollywood seems to focus on remakes/reboots, sequels or superheroes.  About 10 years ago there really wasn't many creative new stories being told.  Now with NetFlix doing mostly original content and Amazon and Hulu, there's more original stuff0 but i'm still looking for a studio to finance my scripts!!!!

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