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Why all movies are shallow entertainment

Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 06:42:23 AM
I was reading an article, thought this was interesting:

Quote
Even if you know nothing about how movies get made, you know that there are very specialized tasks -- the sound guy is an expert in microphones and audio but probably couldn't be trusted to do stunts. And, you assume that when it comes to thinking up the ideas for what happens in the movie, somewhere it's all just some writer hunched over a keyboard -- a professional who is an expert in story, plot and character.

Not so.

In almost all cases, the initial ideas for movie plots don't come from screenwriters at all, but from producers (basically, the people in charge of the money side of the project). So most of the movies playing in your nearest theater didn't come from some writer thinking up a story he wanted to tell -- they came from some producer saying, "There hasn't been a ThunderCats movie yet, has there?"

At that point, the producer and whoever else is involved (other producers, maybe a famous actor if they're lucky) will then hammer out a rough idea for the movie that will appeal to at least two of the four market demographics (young males, young females, older males, older females). So if it's an action movie aimed completely at young males, you throw a romance in there for the ladies. It's only then that they will give a screenwriter a call. In other words, in most Hollywood films, the writer is basically there to fill in the dialogue holes and think of clever catchphrases for Ryan Reynolds to say every time he socks a guy in the jaw.

For Example ...

The Halloween franchise wasn't cooked up by a plucky man named John Carpenter who had a dream about a man in a creepy mask. Instead, two producers approached him after they decided it would be cool to have a movie about a psycho stalking babysitters.

So what about those screenplays that your friend working at the video store is constantly writing, in hopes they will some day get made and star a naked Natalie Portman? In reality, even the great ones are treated as spec scripts (basically, a literary audition). The script is proof to the people in charge that the writer is, for the most part, not illiterate. So if you submit a powerfully emotional piece that deftly explores the facets of love and loss, you might impress someone enough to get a job co-writing Transformers 4.

On the rare occasion that an original script does get picked up for production, it's likely to get swept up by one of the big franchises. I, Robot was initially an original script called Hardwired that no one would touch until a famous Asimov title was attached to it. Die Hard 2, 3 and 4, Ocean's Twelve and Starship Troopers were all original ideas that were snapped up and rebranded as franchises. So if you're working on a passion project, maybe it's time to let the dream die and just start focusing on a gritty reboot of She-Ra.

http://www.cracked.com/article_19012_5-hollywood-secrets-that-explain-why-so-many-movies-suck.html



Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 10:42:32 AM
That's the equivalent of saying that all Norse Black Metal is garbage because it was not written by musicians with formal training, and it was not written for musical elitists. ie. It's ignorant.

Did you know that the French cinema in the 50s and 60s defies everything that this article has said? How about King Hu? Kurosawa? Bergman for instance?

The key word here is auteur. Look it up.

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 04:39:04 PM
That's the equivalent of saying that all Norse Black Metal is garbage because it was not written by musicians with formal training, and it was not written for musical elitists. ie. It's ignorant.

Did you know that the French cinema in the 50s and 60s defies everything that this article has said? How about King Hu? Kurosawa? Bergman for instance?

The key word here is auteur. Look it up.

Because when someone says "movie" everybody immediately thinks about French cinema from the 50s and 60s...

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 05:26:10 PM
Both of you are right, so whence the need to quarrel?

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 05:37:09 PM
That's the equivalent of saying that all Norse Black Metal is garbage because it was not written by musicians with formal training, and it was not written for musical elitists. ie. It's ignorant.

Did you know that the French cinema in the 50s and 60s defies everything that this article has said? How about King Hu? Kurosawa? Bergman for instance?

The key word here is auteur. Look it up.

Because when someone says "movie" everybody immediately thinks about French cinema from the 50s and 60s...


"all movies"

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 05:43:16 PM
That's the equivalent of saying that all Norse Black Metal is garbage because it was not written by musicians with formal training, and it was not written for musical elitists. ie. It's ignorant.

Did you know that the French cinema in the 50s and 60s defies everything that this article has said? How about King Hu? Kurosawa? Bergman for instance?

The key word here is auteur. Look it up.

Because when someone says "movie" everybody immediately thinks about French cinema from the 50s and 60s...


"all movies"

Which in this context would most likely mean "all movies currently being made"

But I'll admit that I deliberately wrote "all movies" just to troll the "movie fans" here. I'm glad to see it worked.

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 05:44:26 PM
Yes, we learned something (and hopefully not only that Umbrage would make a good propaganda minister).

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 07:28:06 PM
What "movie fans"?  I wasn't aware that we had a dedicated cadre of film-watchers.

In general, I'd agree with what's being said here.  Movies are, almost without exception, shit.  A barrage of "here, this is what you should think", force-fed "imagination".  Books are far more worthwhile.  Even so, there are a number of films which stand head and shoulders above the rest.  Star Wars, anyone?

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 07:54:38 PM
What "movie fans"?  I wasn't aware that we had a dedicated cadre of film-watchers.

Some threads where they pop up:
Horror films
Cinema
Hessian culture : Severed Ways - The Norse Discovery of America
The eternal recurrence of turgid holywood films.
Movies give you AIDS
Movies replace reality

Generally the stance seems to be divided between those who don't consider movies art, those who insist that there are exceptions, and clueless people posting about random movies that are obviously just entertainment.

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 08:05:20 PM
I'd probably fall into the second category, then.  I know that a couple of films from that horror thread were pretty good.  I think horror is a genre which really benefits from the visual aspect of film, in a way that it couldn't from theatre, for example.  Even so, some Lovecraft or Poe is more intrinsically "horrific" than the majority of horror films, though (hah) there are some exceptions.

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 08:08:08 PM
So what are the good movies you have seen lately ?

I'm in the middle of a documentary about Pagan Metal and the last one I have seen is a thailandese fantasy film called Legend of Sudsakorn (a great one).

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 08:24:52 PM
I think movies by definition are not art. There are some movies that come close such as "Apocalypse Now" but to me those movies only incidentally get close to art, or perhaps only as far as the medium allows it. Its harder to translate a book into a movie then it is to translate a movie into a book so it seems obvious to me that books win. Even though I'm not a fan of fiction either. (Perhaps I'm becoming anti-art in general, would you consider me a hipster if I was? JK about that, I still love music, paintings and some selected poetry when it comes to art)

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 09:03:28 PM
Not a fan of fiction? At all?

Wasn't there a movies thread? I know a few popped up in the past.

As for worthy films I've seen recently: Southern Comfort

Give this film a try, Umbrage. It can be taken metaphorically as many things, among them an analogy for the Vietnam War, why multiculturalism doesn't really work, and how the pragmatic generally go unnoticed and unheard until it is too late.

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 23, 2011, 10:41:25 PM
I think movies by definition are not art. There are some movies that come close such as "Apocalypse Now" but to me those movies only incidentally get close to art, or perhaps only as far as the medium allows it. Its harder to translate a book into a movie then it is to translate a movie into a book so it seems obvious to me that books win. Even though I'm not a fan of fiction either. (Perhaps I'm becoming anti-art in general, would you consider me a hipster if I was? JK about that, I still love music, paintings and some selected poetry when it comes to art)
What specifically about the medium do you think disqualifies it from achieving a level of artistry?

Re: Why all movies are shallow entertainment
February 24, 2011, 12:10:41 AM
Not a fan of fiction? At all?

Wasn't there a movies thread? I know a few popped up in the past.

As for worthy films I've seen recently: Southern Comfort

Give this film a try, Umbrage. It can be taken metaphorically as many things, among them an analogy for the Vietnam War, why multiculturalism doesn't really work, and how the pragmatic generally go unnoticed and unheard until it is too late.

I've seen this film on TV when I was young, as far as I remember it takes the typical "innocents enter terrain they shouldn't have gone and encounter hostile inbred group of local rednecks" atmosphere of horror movies such as The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and puts a military sauce over it. Funny how the movie in ways does resemble First Blood which would be released a year later (although First Blood was based on a novel from '72)

I wasn't that impressed by the movie. I certainly wouldn't call it art.

Occassionally I'll download a movie but most of the time I'd rather not watch the movie twice (already regretting having watched it once and often deleting the movie after 20 minutes) It's not that I don't like movies at all it's just that I don't think highly of them. I've grown to consider it childish to get completely carried away by a movie and I've come to believe that it can have a very negative effect on people to constantly escape in a passive dreamworld. I suppose movies can be a good introduction to something like a historical person or a book or just an idea but that's about it. It's still just entertainment for the masses. I've seen my share of artistic movies too from Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising to Takeshi Kitano's Dolls and I still couldn't see it as more than entertainment. Just because a movie is weird doesn't make it art in my book.

A movie I recently saw and kinda liked because of its theme was Black Death. But I also think it's essentially just a silly fairytale with some very stereotypical characters and gross b-acting. But if you liked the atmosphere in The Name Of The Rose and The Wicker Man and don't mind seeing it drenched in greasy Hollywood mayonnaise you might find it worthy of taking 90 minutes from your life. There's even a scene that might remind you of The Deer Hunter. I thought it was "entertaining" but its still typical Hollywood crap. It certainly isn't as good as the three movies it subtly steals from but since you recommended a movie I thought it would be fair to recommend one back. But all the movies I just named are shallow entertainment, I'd only consider TNOTR above average. Too bad it doesn't escape it's "detective" format and remains no more than a medieval Sherlock Holmes. But at least TNOTR requires some intelligence to be understood.

For "fiction" I prefer reading biographies and history and random things Because truth is stranger than fiction.


I think movies by definition are not art. There are some movies that come close such as "Apocalypse Now" but to me those movies only incidentally get close to art, or perhaps only as far as the medium allows it. Its harder to translate a book into a movie then it is to translate a movie into a book so it seems obvious to me that books win. Even though I'm not a fan of fiction either. (Perhaps I'm becoming anti-art in general, would you consider me a hipster if I was? JK about that, I still love music, paintings and some selected poetry when it comes to art)
What specifically about the medium do you think disqualifies it from achieving a level of artistry?

When someone makes a painting they are putting their emotions into a work of art. They are creating something. When someone is making a movie they're just capturing pretty images (and later photoshopping the hell out of them). In theater when an actor is playing he has to give everything in one performance, in a movie when someone is acting they can redo the shoot 200 times if they want to. When an actor fucks up on stage he fucks up the whole performance. When an actor fucks up a shoot he just gets a scolding from the director. Other than that there's obviously the commercial aspect of big movies and the lack of funds for promising indie movies that fucks up film making in general. And like I wrote earlier just because a movie is weird doesn't make it art. I wouldn't consider weird music art either, just weird.