Thoughts on Hollywood and the Film Industry

 

The Big Film ReviewRecently I was interviewed on The Big Film Review, a show hosted by Sudip Bhaduri on the BBC Lincolnshire. I met him through a mutual friend of ours, the talented author and ever-gracious Lynette Creswell. Sudip is articulate and intelligent, and our conversation felt as if we were having it at the local pub over a pint of stout rather than in front of a radio audience an ocean away. Unfortunately, my fifteen minutes of fame went faster than I thought they would and things were left unsaid. In particular, Sudip and I had earlier discussed the current state of Hollywood and the movie industry, so I thought I’d take the opportunity now to work these thoughts into this month’s blog.

No doubt movies like Mission Impossible 5 are gong to make a lot of money. However, I find it typical of Hollywood’s current mindset in that they are trying to cater to two audiences: baby boomers who grew up watching the old TV show, and young people with its fast action and blow-‘em-ups. Furthermore, they continue to underestimate (insult) the moviegoer’s attention span through the overuse of gadgets and special effects as well as the barrage of movies based on comic books.

Hollywood may well be in danger of marginalizing itself if they continue to stick to this formula. For quite some time now they’ve been willing to sacrifice characterization and well-developed plots for action-adventure and computer generated magic. So far audiences have been willing go to the big screen to see this, but as the cost of home entertainment centers comes down, staying in will certainly become more popular. Why go out if you can get the same effect at home? Add to it that tickets aren’t cheap and revenue is down, movie houses may go the way of drive-in theaters, which have all but vanished, especially since films already have to compete with HBO, Showtime and AMC on cable.

If Hollywood insists on continually remaking the old—Mission Impossible and Mad Max are good examples—instead of trying to innovate, we may well be watching the Hollywood Network on cable in the future.   And I wouldn’t be surprised to see it competing with the Indie Movie channel or maybe some independent movie/coffee houses showing films such as The Doo Dah Man that have more than half an hour’s worth of dialogue.

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Do I think all is lost in Hollywood? No, but we need more films like Whiplash, Black Swan, Juno, and Nightcrawler. And I’m heartened to see that Colm Toibin’s novel Brooklyn has been made into a movie, due out in November.

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So Sudip, if you’re out there, here are some of my thoughts on Hollywood that you may have been looking for earlier. Best wishes from Texas and see you at the movies!

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The Ten Favorite Screen Character Blog

For this quick, fun blog hop, you just name your 10 favorite characters from movies or TV then tag up to 10 friends to do the same!

JMDReid tagged me for this fun blog; check out his site for his ten interesting picks.

To be perfectly honest this was a hard one for me. I have so many, but for the purposes of this hop, I’m posting the first 10 favorites that come to mind. I wish I could mention the dozens that have come to me since then!

But off the top of my head, here are my 10 favorite screen characters:

  1. Rooster Cogburn—John Wayne. I’ve been a Duke fan all my life and I live in Texas. Enough said.

RppsterRick Blaine—Humphrey Bogart. Gritty, romantic, and Bogart at his best in Casablanca, one of my all time favorite movies.

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  1. Holly Golightly—Audrey Hepburn. Okay, maybe I’m a bit of a romantic. Audrey Hepburn was one of the most elegant women in the world and her portrayal of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is priceless.

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  1. Luke Skywalker—Mark Hamill. When the original Star Wars came out I was a restless high school senior who wanted to learn the ways of the Force. Still trying.

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  1. Jeremiah Johnson—of all the roles Robert Redford played, this is my favorite. If I couldn’t learn the ways of the Force, I wanted to be a mountain man.

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  1. John Dunbar—Kevin Costner. I love the outdoors and often feel as if I was born in the wrong century. Movies like Dances with Wolves strongly influenced my own writing, even though my approach is much different.

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  1. Eleanor of Aquitaine—Katharine Hepburn. Instead of The Lion in Winter this movie should’ve been called The Lioness in Winter. I guess I have a thing for women named Hepburn and it’s a toss up as to which is my favorite actress of all time.

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  1. Jeff Lebowski—Jeff Bridges. He won the Oscar for Crazy Heart and more than held his own as Rooster Cogburn, but Dude, The Big Lebowski is big time fun.

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  1. Morpheus—Laurence Fishburne. I really love the first Matrix movie, and Fishburne stole the show.

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  1. Inigo Montoya—Mandy Patinkin, The Princess Bride. “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

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And on that note, I end my Ten Favorite Character Blog. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And here are the lucky friends I tag to continue with this fun hop:

J.V. Carr

Lee Monteford

Chess Desalls

J. S. Burke

J. D. Kaplan

E. M. Kaplan

L. A. Starkey

Markie Jordan-Madden

Ann Swann