Hollywood movies starting to decline
Timeless indusry starting to show its age
David Humphreys, Collegian Columnist
Winter break makes one realize a few things. First, not having a job is awesome. Second, sitting at home and doing nothing can get boring. Third, Hollywood is in its death throes and nobody's around to read its last rites. It seems movies these days, for the most part, have been sub par. While there are some exceptions (this year, most notably The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine, Casino Royale, Borat, as well as a few others) nothing has really happened in recent years to help Hollywood out of the grave, to help it back up to where it once was.
What happened to the raw acting ability? Where are the Bogarts and Bergmans and Brandos of today? The answer, in one simple word, is editing. With today's editing processes, an actor no longer has to act well - they only have to look good. Check out The Lord of the Rings trilogy. While Peter Jackson did a great job directing the movie, the cast leaves the films with something to be desired. Special effects mask the acting and make it a visual monument, but what can be worse than Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, and Sean Bean all on the screen together? Not to mention Liv Tyler, who lowers the bar even more. Maybe the studio should have thought about putting another any other female lead instead of her (with the exception of J. Lo and Mariah Carey, of course).
The real problem may be money. As soon as actors, directors and producers start using their talent and influence solely for monetary gain, movies start to dive into the dirt. Good example: Gus Van Sant. In 1997, Van Sant directed one of the best dramas of all time, Good Will Hunting. The hit film won two Oscars (Best Actor in a Supporting Role to Robin Williams and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) and was nominated for seven others (including a Best Director for Van Sant. He lost to James Cameron for Titanic). Following Van Sant's enormous success in the movie business, he made what was quite possibly one of the most ill-conceived plans for any movie remake, ever. Its name was Psycho.
Having a remake of Psycho would be like having Steven Spielberg remake The Godfather. Although Spielberg is a phenomenal director, one of the best of all time, he could never make The Godfather comparable to that of Francis Ford Coppola's. That being said, Gus Van Sant is not one of the best directors of all time. Granted, he's no amateur, but he doesn't compare to the truly great directors of the movie business. In remaking Psycho, Van Sant tries to conquer Alfred "The Master of Suspense" Hitchcock. In so trying, Van Sant created a remake so despicable and utterly revolting that the only thing the DVD is good for is a drink coaster. Don't think it starts and ends with Van Sant. Hundreds of other directors are milking the industry of its money and credibility each day with no end in sight.
There is still a last glimmer of hope for the movie industry - Indie films. Yes, the very same films that rarely appear at any corporate cinema. They give a hope for a new entertainment industry by bringing life to where it once was. Indies show Hollywood that those multi-million dollar movies about meaningless romance and absurd action are complete trash. They prove that actors can still act and real cinematography isn't dead. Indies are more real, more down to earth, more about making a movie for its artistic value rather than its shock value.
Take away the gratuitous sex and violence from any given high-budget movie and roughly 95 percent of that movie is scrapped. Now take away the gratuitous sex and violence from any given Indie and the movie is totally unaffected. (Most) Indies, as with all great films, are based on the fact that there is no extra scene or bit of dialogue which can be deleted without taking away from the overall meaning and idea behind the film itself.
Now there is still a chance for Hollywood, and it's up to everyone who ever has been or will go to a movie theater. We, the people, are Hollywood's No. 1 consumer and all I ask is to just pause a minute before selecting your movie of choice. If you really want to see the newest Halloween or the crappy remake of a classic movie then by all means, go and see it. Just be warned, if you go and support it, Hollywood will make another one. It will take those precious budgeting dollars away from a better, thought out, more poignant movie for a campy, idiotic "thriller" or pointlessly dull comedy.
Ultimately, it is up to the spender to allocate Hollywood dollars and revive or destroy the entertainment industry. You decide what Hollywood produces, so start using a little thought before you throw down that $10 at the movie theater; spend your money wisely.
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