|All of this is true. Especially the last line: pop culture is filth. I’ve been trying to explain this to people for years. Nobody listens. Broussard understands!
There’s an interesting book called “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” that is hundred of pages about Hollywood’s “Golden Age” which was the 1970’s, when great movies were made: The Godfather, Harold & Maude, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, etc. I won’t go into why exactly so many fantastic movies were allowed to be made and funded by the studios, but so many were. What was largely absent from the slew of flicks at that time? Disaster films, kids films, teenie films, the films we have today that are directed at teenage audiences. If you look at the movie listings in your newspaper you’ll see that the seven or eight movies showing at the local 16-screen multiplex are movies for the 12 to 25 year-old crowd. And these movies are crap. And remakes or sequels. Charlie & the Chocolat Factory, Longest Yard, Batman Begins, Star Wars, War of the Worlds. All of them remakes or a sequels.
Titanic made over a billion dollars because teenagers (especially the lasses) went to see it repeatedly. That movie, they say, is what turned the studio heads’ heads to that demographic. How do you bring these kids into the theaters? By making thought-provoking serious movies? No, by making Shark Boy & Lava Girl.
The studios have always been run by business-oriented people. But you might say there is a difference between executives today and the executives of yesterday. Today’s exec’s are Ivy League MBA’s who read the Wall Street Journal, grew up on golf courses and fancy restaurants. Read some Hollywood history books and you’ll find that a lot of the guys who were in charge back in the day (prior to the 70’s) were people who grew up early in the century, when lifestyles were considerably different. Some of these guys literally started in the mailroom and eventually went on to run a studio. Their thinking may have become outdated as time went on, but because these guys knew what made the pictures good–a good story–they were a little more sensitive to originality and innovation. Plus people were not selling movies to just the kiddies. The big demographic was the post-25 adult sector.
As I’ve moved from early twenties through the mid-20’s, my loyalty has shifted to the indies and foreign films. Meeting other film buffs all over the place, I see that I’m not the only one my age who seldom goes to the multiplex. There is a large indie market. I open up the paper and find stuff all the time. Since many of these movies don’t get the advertising campaigns that the studios push for the idiotic movies, the finer films are almost dead on arrival. Nobody hears about them. They hope for word-of-mouth advertising, but that far too infrequently helps films. The point though is that they are out there. It may take some searching, but you can find some. Be willing to drive an hour to another city. At least you’ll have something to talk about on the way home, even if the movies is bad. The studio films you forget about as soon as the credits roll. Don’t go and see the Hollywood trash and, if others follow suit, the movies won’t make money, the studios will stop making them, and perhaps we’ll see better movies at the multiplexes. Until then, go to the arthouses.