Saturday, June 13, 2009

Escapism? what? we don't do that around here...

I was reading a great column by Nicole Sperling, in the EW site where she describes how the thinking goes about the process of sorting thru hundreds of movie ideas and how it can make you, or break you bad.

"In the wake of high-profile dramas flopping at the box office -- including "Frost/Nixon," "Australia," "Revolutionary Road," and "State of Play" -- studios are increasingly gun-shy about making movies that don't offer pure escapism. Even the frothy, adult-oriented caper "Duplicity" struggled to find a wide audience.

I love the idea that a Hollywood type will have a migraine, racking his or her brains wondering if this is the right moment to stick their neck out and green-light a riky project. More so if they drive something large and german, or have a manse overlooking the Pacific.

""With the economy being what it is, no one wants to get blamed for a failure," says one agent. "If you greenlight something that's [totally mainstream] and it fails, it's not your fault. If you greenlight an adult drama and it tanks, you lose your job."

Who's to blame for the sorry state of the adult drama?

Filmmakers fault studio marketers for not effectively selling serious fare. Producers blame the studios for making poor choices and spending too much money, setting dramas up for failure. Meanwhile, some executives say the films themselves simply aren't compelling enough."

While it's true, media executives do wade through knee-deep garbage trying to find gems here and there, scripts piled high on desks and such, people still cling to the notion that too much reality is not a good thing. We the audience like to think ourselves open minded, ready to be told a story with the complicated stuff that life's made of. But the numbers tell a different story.
For every Saving Private Ryan, there's ten movies about space this or pirate that.
You would have to do serious drilling in Wikipedia to find any semblance of a movie that could possibly be termed realist, or close to it.
There IS a market for movies that appeal to our sense of humanity. Gran Torino, Crash, Hustle & Flow and others are part of that group. They are modestly successful and form part of a niche. But a niche is not a trend. And to any moviegoer, it should be obvious that the movies isn't the place to see anything close to reality...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Amendment rights, indeed...

From time to time there's stuff that just makes me wince, and I wonder what is the possible rationale for law enforcement to want to treat the press as if they existed in separate worlds. Think about it, they share every area of work, and the press has a vested interest in the work of the police. The police should not conduct business in a hostile posture with us journalists. Which reminds me of another incident in El Paso that appeared recently, along the same vein but with the extra kicker that there's video of the incident. But the list grows, as there are many such incidents around our free land, and reporters have to pay fines to the courts, even be branded as felons in order to carry out their duties.
I guess that the possibility of arrest comes with the territory, and that the profession should have a footprint notation made in the press credentials stating: "Valid in most places, but don't think it will save you from being tossed around like a rag and shut up about the First Amendment unless you want the arresting officer to just club or tase you for the reminder".