10 Reasons Hollywood Doesn’t Suck
Here is a list of movies that came out in 2011: Harry Potter 7 Pt.2, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Pt.1, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides, Fast Five, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, Cars 2, and Sherlock Holmes 2. What do all these movies have in common? That’s right; they’re the top grossing movies of 2011. Oh yeah, they also happen to be sequels. How can this be, you wonder. After all, that was the year we also got critically acclaimed non-sequels like Hugo, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never. We tend to watch a movie to see what happens to the characters we love so much. It’s the same reason hundreds wait at midnight for Harry Potter 7. We all wanted to see what the wacky Hangover gang would get themselves into this time. Sure, we didn’t bargain on it being the same exact thing as the last movie – but if we truly didn’t like it we wouldn’t have made Hangover 2 the fourth highest grossing movie. No matter how much we complain, it seems like loving sequels is almost a part of human nature. Just wait until Hangover 3 and check yourself.
In today’s age, it seems like movies are just 90 minutes of explosions. Hell, we have a whole genre called “Summer Blockbusters” that embodies that very idea. Wouldn’t it be nice to go see a movie where the action is controlled, or at least balanced with amazing acting? No, it wouldn’t. We would all hate that immensely. Let’s go back to our movies list of 2011. Of the 50 highest grossing movies, around 9 are action packed blockbusters. And of these, only 5 did well. That means only 1 in 10 “summer blockbusters” did well- not exactly the ubiquity you were thinking of. OK fine, you say. But that’s still much more than the past. Well, one thing you need to take into account is the technology. Today, it is much easier to make an explosion than in 1971 -when we needed an actual explosion. Still, let’s look at some cinematic legends over the years: Pulp fiction, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings, Fight Club. Star Wars singlehandedly created the Summer Blockbuster genre. And that’s not us pulling movies out of our ass to prove a point. Those are the some of the top rated movies of all time. According to a study by the University of Westminster, watching horror movies causes a spike in adrenaline, and the same holds true for action movies. Adrenaline spikes make us excited and create a sort of high that we tend to enjoy. Basically, we as a society are addicted to high octane movies.
When was the last time you laughed consistently at a movie and left feeling good? A major complaint against Hollywood is that there are no good comedies anymore. What happened to the good old days when we could watch a movie that starred Eddie Murphy as a donkey or Chris Tucker as a zebra and just laugh the whole time? Today, every comedy puts its best jokes in the trailer. Just look at The Watch, that movie starred an alien and three other very talented comedians. And yet the actual result stank worse than the underwear of a homeless man. In reality, comedy movies are like every other movie in the sense that we can’t expect every movie to be balls-out hilarious. These movies would actually do well – if they hadn’t put the jokes in the trailer. At least then we would have had a few genuine laughs at the theater. But it’s a Catch-22, because without their best jokes in the trailer, there’s no reason for anyone to watch the movie. Which brings me to my main point: the comedy aspect of comedy movies is its only redeeming factor. What actually is lacking in comedies today isn’t the jokes – after all, we saw some pretty good ones in the trailer – it’s the story and acting. Don’t get me wrong, every once in a while we do get a nice comedy like Madagascar or Hangover. 2013 has Movie 43 coming out, which basically stars every comedian you know and more in what seems to be 90 minutes of awesomeness. And if it does poorly, we at least know for sure it wasn’t for its comedy.
Ever since Spy Kids 3D, every single movie has been released in 3D. They’re even re-releasing old movies to be in 3D. Very rarely does the 3D work well to compliment the visuals; it usually just ends up in some multi-colored mess. We’re going to agree with you on this one, there are admittedly way more 3D movies than we need. But then, how much exactly do we need? The truth of the matter is that 3D is the new “colored” film, or if you’re from the 30’s, the new “talkie”. It’s no longer an add-on to a movie; it’s now a feature of the movie. How well the 3D works these days matters just as much as the acting or the writing. That’s why good movies like Avatar have good 3D. And terrible movies have bad 3D. When was the last time you watched a movie and said, “Man, I would love this movie if they just didn’t put it in 3D. Everything else is amazing!”? Or on the other hand, when was the last time you watched a movie and said, “Man, the movie was awesome and the 3D made the effects so surreal”? Okay fine, you say. But that doesn’t mean that they need to go back and convert old movies to 3D a la Finding Nemo or Star Wars I. Except did you read the reviews of those conversions? Finding Nemo 3D was hailed for its 3D effects while Star Wars I 3D was booed for its post-conversion. Which one of those did well the first time it came out? Seeing a pattern?
Every great 80s and 90s action movie is being remade today, whether it be A-Team, Total Recall, Dredd, or Red Dawn. The problem with these remakes is that they all suck – and it almost ruins our memories of childhood. The thing with remakes is that it would actually be nice if we could see a new take with modern visuals and actors. But a lot of us go into the theater with a bad mindset to begin with. We assume that the movie will suck only because we don’t want something to be better than a classic. Don’t get us wrong – some of the remakes do suck. But have you ever heard of a remake doing well, period? Dredd is currently being ripped apart despite being a great movie. The same goes with A-Team. Sure these movies may not be the classics that were made decades ago, but they’re also not the steaming piles of turd we think they are. Next time you see a remake, try watching it with an open mind – you may see a difference.
Hollywood is often the butt of criticism when it comes to the idea that society favors a skinny girl over an overweight one. We only see skinny girls take the leads in movies and the same discrimination applies to guys who aren’t ripped. However, it is unfair to blame Hollywood for its portrayal of girls when all it’s doing is showing us a reflection of the society we live in. It is a terrible thing that today’s society says that only skinny girls are attractive – few would disagree. But Hollywood didn’t start the trend. Remember, this idea has been around since the Victorian Age (hence those gut-crushing corsets). It didn’t magically appear with the arrival of Hollywood. But didn’t Hollywood at least contribute to this idea? Maybe, but you can hardly blame them. It isn’t like if Hollywood wasn’t around the stereotype would disappear. It’d show up in some other medium, like print or fashion. Blaming Hollywood for a stereotype is like blaming children for having their parent’s opinions.
There are so, so many movies that are stuck in this thing called “development hell” which is basically when studios block their production, distribution, or just plain set fire to the sets to stop them from being made. Many movies are sucked into this void if the studio doesn’t think its worthy enough, or if they have another project they’d like to feature instead. As a result, movies that could’ve been great are never made. On one hand, the dickery of the studios is hard to ignore. However, it actually results in better movies for us in the long run. X Men First Class for example, was almost thrust into development hell, but was rescued at the last second by Bryan Singer. Now we have a rushed version of what could’ve been amazing. Except, we totally get to see that movie – in the version of its sequel. Other movies like the Total Recall remake were also in development hell, and tanked when they came out. However in their case, these were movies doomed to fail anyway, if anything because no one likes a reboot. A number of these movies are thought to have great potential only because they’re in development hell. Look at Peter Jackson’s almost-Halo movie. That sounds amazing on paper, but then look at his other big project non-Lord of the Rings movie King Kong, and you’ll see the potential this has to fail. Movies in development hell are incomplete, we can’t tell if they’re good or bad – it’s too early. If the movie survives development hell and is good, we’ll see a proper sequel.
When Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney and we were told that Star Wars 7 would be out in 2015, people started complaining. They assumed the movie would be botched because, well, look at Tron Legacy. Also look at X-Men 3, which could’ve been amazing. I like to call this the “Dark Knight Rises Effect”, because that’s where it’s most prevalent. The hype going into that movie was so great. It was supposed to be better than the Dark Knight, which some called the perfect movie. When the movie came out and there were plot holes, people started to complain. They blamed Nolan, they blamed WB, they even blamed fans of Batman. DKR was a decent film if you look at it. But after the movie came out, there was too much “This Movie Rox” and “Oh God That Movie Was Crap” for any reasonable opinion to be made. The movie couldn’t live up to the hype it created. That’s what happens when you have to follow up on an amazing movie with something even better. There’s this mindset that the movie must be amazing because I wanted it to be. And when it isn’t at the level you imagined, you feel betrayed.
Hollywood would like us to believe that guns can fire for ages without reloading; that archeologists get their artifacts by punching Nazis; and that scientific breakthroughs can happen overnight. Why can’t movies be realistic? Because in reality, the material is boring – often painfully so. It takes years to get a scientific breakthrough. Machine guns last a few seconds before they need reloading, and archeologists usually hire cheap labor to do their digging. But when we go to a movie, we don’t want to see 90 minutes of poor Egyptians digging for gold while a white man stands over them. We want to see Harrison Ford take the gold from a temple while running away from a boulder. We don’t want the truth, we want the fiction. This complaint goes especially to historical movies. Whether it be 10,000 BC or Troy, most movies that take place centuries ago are off the mark by a lot. But that’s the problem; movies that are used to exemplify the problem are often bad for other reasons. Let’s look at some historically accurate movies: there’s Saving Private Ryan, which is lauded for being accurate. It’s also chock-full of great actors and a great story. We as an audience don’t care for historical accuracy over acting or a story – so neither does Hollywood.
Remember that list of sequels I mentioned earlier? Did you notice how almost all of them weren’t based on original ideas? There isn’t any creativity left in Hollywood, every movie you see is either based on a book, an already-existing movie, or some poor soul’s life story. Why is it that nowadays, we can’t we get any original yet thoroughly enjoyable movies? Put simply, it’s because we don’t care for them. How many people do you know that actually took their kids to see “Hugo” over “Alvin and the Chipmunks 3”? (Three?!) How many of your own friends do you know who went and saw The King’s Speech? When we get news that there’s a movie adaptation of a book or a comic or a videogame that we loved as kids, we’re more excited to see them on the big screen with CGI and A-list actors than we are for “original” movies. But okay – I’ll admit that it’s your right to ask for at least one “original” movie that breaks the Hollywood norm and wows us all with an enjoyable and compelling story. We totally get at least one of those movies each year. In 2009 it was Hangover, in 2010 it was Inception, in 2011 it was Bridesmaids etc., etc. This year, we have Cloud Atlas, which set out to do exactly what we want from a movie. Here’s a movie that breaks every Hollywood norm, is chock full of amazing actors and has stunning visuals. Instead we get complaints about “yellow face” and Wreck-it-Ralph takes the number 1 position at the Box office. What should you take away from all this? Hollywood doesn’t suck, Hollywood is Hollywood – just making movies and having fun. Haters suck. And movies suck because of them.