Regular readers of this blog already know (or should already know) that I am jaded and finicky about movies today.
I delve into the reasons why I feel this way in the post at the link below, however, the thoughts I convey in that post are more or less my personal viewpoint that I let stand as just my opinion vs explaining or elucidating much further than that.
In today’s post, I wish to elaborate further as to why I think Hollywood is churning out garbage disguised as art and why movie studios are doing this quite intentionally.
Here are my five reasons Hollywood no longer makes quality movies…
1. The mass media giants that own the movie studios are more interested in turning a quick buck than making iconic films.
The last few times I watched a movie in a movie theater, it not only cost me upwards of $60 to do so (concessions included), but my wife and I only decided to go because we were curious about the hubbub about the film on social media.
The first such movie we were curious about was Black Panther. I left the theater entertained, but unlike blockbuster movies I watched in the theater in the past, I wouldn’t lose any sleep if I never saw Black Panther again.
The latest movie I was curious about was the titular film about slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, Harriet.
Again, I left the theater entertained, but if I never saw the film again, it wouldn’t disturb a nanosecond of my beauty sleep worrying about it.
The reason why I feel this way is because I walked away from those films feeling a bit underwhelmed. Neither film lived up to the hype of their studio marketing. They felt empty and unsatisfying upon consumption, like a #7 meal from McDonald’s. It satiated my hunger, but it didn’t make me want to go back for seconds. This is why movie studios today measure the success of a movie on how much it makes on its opening weekend and its quality on how much it grosses overall.
2. In order to facilitate making a quick buck, the mass media regurgitates and repackages old ideas, tropes, and stories.
Because the metric of success for the movie studios is how much money a film makes, especially on its opening weekend, the movie studios turn to what worked in the past rather than being original.
There is a reason that we now have 10 Star Wars films and 6 Terminator films, Charlie‘s Angels got rebooted (again), and Ghostbusters got rebooted, not to mention the plethora of other old movies and movie franchises slated to either be rebooted or get a sequel or a prequel…
It is Hollywood’s way of implementing risk management by lazily selling the public the comfort of the familiar. If you saw these old movies and television shows in the past, you’d at least be curious to see the old movies and television shows in an updated, modern time or with a fresh perspective with different, often younger, actors.
Gone are the days where Hollywood proffers an original movie or television show covering ideas, themes, and tropes never seen before. In its place is a healthy dose of risk aversion.
3. The real target audience for movies today are the 16-30 year old age group.
Ever wonder why the older you get, the more you enjoy the movies and television shows you saw when you were younger?
It is not an accident that the media isn’t working very hard to market the bulk of its shows to the over 40 crowd. Sure, they use old tropes and reboot and remake old movies, but that is designed to rope in the younger generation by appealing to the older generation.
I used to love reading comic books as a kid, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that by the time I hit age 40, there would be more comic book superhero movies made in the last ten years than in the previous 30.
Of course, comic books offer readymade source material to create pedantic movies that are easily marketable to millennials and the younger generation.
4. Movies and television shows are pushing agendas rather than trying to entertain.
That #getwokegobroke is a thing should both be welcomed relief and disturbing.
So-called “woke” movies are movies that appear to be more concerned with highlighting a social or political agenda than in actually trying to entertain its audience.
The aforementioned Charlie‘s Angels reboot of a reboot movie (which was itself a reboot of a 70s television show) is currently the biggest box office flop of 2019, having already been pulled from theaters because it only made $8 million. Many cite the obvious feminist, misandrist agenda of the film for its failure.
I won’t rehash how Disney Star Wars is pushing the same kind of agenda thanks to Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, but making a film with the intent to proffer a political or ideological agenda is not going to endear most people to want to see such a movie even once, much less multiple times.
5. Movie studios do all of the above because it tends to work for short term, quick profit.
The music industry figured out how well familiarity sells decades ago. It’s why many songs, and the artists who perform them, seem so alike.
Google “millennial whoop” and you will see what I mean.
Recording companies, and now the movie studios, are too risk averse to invest in originality, and therein lies the problem.
Originality requires risk…
We got The Beatles, Prince, and Michael Jackson because they were groundbreaking original acts.
We got classic movies like the original Star Wars trilogy and the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns because artistic expression and entertainment were the priority in moviemaking back then, making a profit was secondary. If you make a great film, the profit takes care of itself.
Hollywood should go back to its roots and be original, not go back to its roots to resurrect an old successful movie to reboot or remake.
-The Rational Ram