Hollywood: Creatively Bankrupt? by James Jaeger
Bruce Campbell is basically right in what he says (in his article at http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1122303590064_117712790) but he hasn't cut to the core of the issue: WHY is Hollywood creatively bankrupt?
There are basically five reasons WHY Hollywood is failing and why it will eventually cease to be the movie capital of the world. These reasons, not necessarily in any order, are as follows:
A. Inexpensive access to DVD rentals through Netflix and BlockBuster
B. Cheaper 52-inch LCD screens and 6:1 sound
C. Interactive games on X-BOX and the Net
D. Audiences recognize political and cultural bias in the movies
E. Industry consolidation
F. Internet distribution of movies
A. Now that people can pay between $14 and $26 per month and rent all the Hollywood movies they want, they are able to almost exhaust the more recent MPAA inventory. As one watches even one or two MPAA movies every day or two, they soon will have watched between 300 and 600 movies over the course of 1 to 2 years. I have personally done this. In doing this -- if my experience is anything like I believe others' experience will be -- I have noted that I am getting exceedingly board with the Hollywood MPAA product. I notice that I can now almost ALWAYS guess how the movie will progress and wrap up. I can guess who will turn out to be the psycho killer, who will fall in love with who, who the bad guys are, how they will get caught, how the protagonist will get into trouble and get out of trouble, etc. Other than story and plot, I can painfully distinguish lines of dialog and actor jesters that were used in other MPAA movies, in full or in part. This especially applies to words and terms, but extends to attitudes and the overall socio-political bias of the pictures. In short, most everything looks like it came off an assembly line with basically the same workers screwing the SAME parts into different chassis made by the SAME people. There are exceptions, but increasingly fewer. Netflix and BlockBuster-type all-you-can-rent deals are helping display Hollywood's product as it is: formulaic, boring, hackneyed, violence-oriented -- in short, creatively bankrupt.
B. Given the facts of A above, and cheaper 52-inch LCD screens with 6:1 sound, why would anyone want to pay between $7 and $12 to see a movie in a theater, when the theatrical version isn't even as good? The prices are too high to justify seeing a formulaic, boring, hackneyed, violence-oriented movie that is creatively bankrupt.
C. Interactive games on X-BOX and the Net are preempting the movie dollar. This is particularly true with the younger crowd. As games migrate to the broadband Internet, offer the opportunity to use and win real Federal Reserve Notes and, as full immersion technology with haptics takes hold, you can kiss movies goodbye.
D. Because industry observers, such as John Cones, and incidents such as Mel Gibson's ordeal with THE PASSION have been demonstrating the political and cultural bias in movies, audiences are starting to curb their support for MPAA fare. Why shouldn't they, they also have reasons A - C above.
E. As I have posted many times, the product from Hollywood is being greenlit by an increasingly narrow demographic, both corporate and personal. Ted Turner and the authors of IT'S THE MEDIA, STUPID have extensively commented on how the studios are owned by fewer than 10 multi-national corporations whereas just 10 years ago they were owned by more than 50. John Cones has documented extensively that the top three positions of the MPAA studio/distributors are dominated by liberal, secular Jewish males of European heritage. This lack of diversity at the corporate and personal levels greatly contribute to the fact that so much of the MPAA Hollywood product looks and feels the same. See http://www.homevideo.net/FIRM/bginfo.htm
F. There will be over 200 million broadband cable users on the Internet worldwide by the end of 2005 and this doesn't even count DSL users. Movies delivered at a data rate of 360,000 bits per second (360K) look like NTSC TV and movies delivered at 700K look almost like DVDs. Thus, Hollywood's bread and butter function of distributing movies is being eroded. Soon, Hollywood, led by the MPAA studio/distributors, will have little or no purpose as well as less money to attract and pay talent. Few will want to endure a harsh and exploited life in an over-crowded city unless there is great promise of stardom and significant remuneration. Since this will not happen in Hollywood, or have similar probability of happening else where(s), there will be a mass exodus of talent from the MPAA-infested movie industry. Eventually, Hollywood will go back to a dry, uneventful desert with perhaps a porn shoot here and there where even the snakes no longer care about human activity.
These are the reasons Hollywood is creatively bankrupt.
Look to the independents who are able to make low-budget features that are unique and creative, such as FLYWHEEL, made for $15,000. But I bet you won't hear about THAT one from the studios' propaganda machines, such as an ACCESS HOLLYWOOD or an ET.
Bruce Campbell's article at: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1122303590064_117712790
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