Why we shouldn’t let Hollywood win us back

The folks over at Big Hollywood are worried that Tinsel Town is losing/has lost its audience. Well, since most of the “conservatives” who write for that site are working in and for said industry, or if they aren’t they apparently want to, I can see why they are concerned. However, I am not. The opening sentence states:

Hollywood is like a child, a spoiled child you can’t help loving but desperately want to see do and be better.

Nope. Not me. One of the advantages of never having had a child is my mind has never been clouded by whatever it is turns the brains of parents to mush, thus I have no trouble whatsoever not loving, or caring about the welfare of, someone else’s spoiled child. Get the brat out of my sight and shut it up.

Anyway, this is a list, so I’m going to do my favorite thing and take it apart item by item. To begin:

1. Hollywood Needs Movie Stars, Not Brands

No. No we don’t. We certainly do not need a stable of airbrushed, groomed and polished McPersons leading “lives” of fake glamour while the country slides further and further into recession. We don’t need “stars” to adulate and glom onto and obsess over. For God’s sake, this isn’t the Forties. Stop trying to recreate a time period that you actually only know about from… the movies. As for “brands,” I have no idea what the author is going on about. What did he think the Garbo and the Bette Davis and the Monroe were? If he’s saying we need good, charismatic and talented actors, we have plenty of those. We just don’t have them preoccupying a large part of the national consciousness any more, because we’ve got other things to do. And that’s as it should be.

2. Stars Must Stop Insulting the Customers

Well I agree with this but I thought he just claimed above that we don’t have any movie stars… oh never mind, Jake. It’s Hollywood. Anyway, this is also another reason we don’t need any more friggin’ stars. The result of becoming a “star” is apparently you get a huge, overweening ego, and start to think your primitive, uneducated ideas about subjects that have nothing to do with following the marks on a stage floor are worth sharing, and you spout insulting shit.

3. Liberal Films Are Fine, Partisan Films Must Stop

Um… if a film is “liberal,” then it is partisan. As in, it’s promoting a certain way of seeing things as opposed to another.

4. Keep Politics Out of Children’s Movies

Can’t argue with this one.

5. Stop Marketing Exclusively to Teens

I can’t argue with this either, but for some reason this item goes off into a tangent about The Help, a movie that (from what I’ve read of it) is all about well-off White People Of The Fifties and how they were edumacated about tolerance and stuff by their staff of Magical Negro Maids. I’m not sure what this movie has to do with the plethora of movies like American Pie I — LXII, but then I don’t work in Hollywood or write for an entertainment website.

6. Go Back To Storytelling Basics, Crack the Code of the Classics

You know, I like classic old movies too, but this is just nonsense. Here’s what he says the “classics” had:

1. Stars.

2. Universal themes.

Okay. What does that even mean? I can’t repeat this enough: this isn’t the 1940s, you can’t recreate the attitudes from back then by fiat. I’ve already confronted the problem with the idea of “stars,” now here is my problem with “universal themes”: they still use them in movies, they just don’t use them imaginatively. Instead, we get rom-com after rom-com where the two girl best friends, one totally glamorous (that is, conventionally teen-mag pretty) and the other Hollywood Unattractive (which means usually, she wears glasses that she doesn’t need to see or is a brunette), are both attracted to one hot guy, who eventually ends up with the Hollywood Unattractive girl after she takes off her glasses or gets a dye job. As for drama, they’re either about infidelity or explosions, and if you can get both in the same movie you’ve got box office gold. Love, fidelity, violence — these are “universal themes,” but they’re mostly presented in a formulaic, uncreative way. After a while the moviegoer becomes the moviegone.

7. Learn From the NFL

Um, okay, no. Hollywood is already a giant money-sucking corporate conglomerate that promotes a fake front (liberal tolerance of all views as opposed to the NFL’s supposed “family/patriotism” shtick). The only thing to learn from the NFL is that money and power corrupt everywhere. Also, football fans still watch it and pay good money to see it live because the game itself hasn’t been fucked with. If they decided to change the rules of football to something like “everyone is going to now use badminton racquets and no touching each others asses anymore!” then you bet that the NFL would be worrying about their bottom line all of a sudden.

I mean, fuck football. Can you lay off the sports metaphors for one goddamn second? Jesus, American men. Even the soccer-mad Brits don’t compare everything that happens in life to a penalty kick, or whatever it is they do in soccer.

8. Learn How to Market Fresh Ideas

Well no duh, why didn’t you say that in the first place. Though I’d dispute the “marketing” thing. People will line up in droves to see a movie whose story they are interested in seeing. Word of mouth works better than commercials. The first Star Wars wasn’t especially advertised at first, if I recall correctly. But word of it spread like wildfire, and that was way before there was an internet. But what do I know, I’m no marketing expert. Hollywood knows how to market movies — they also know how to not market them, which is what I am sure happens to movies that are “marketed badly.” There’s no “badly” about it. I don’t know why they would want some movies to succeed and others not to succeed, but I’ll bet you it’s either to do with politics or business shenanigans, or even both. What this item really should say is “get the corruption out of Hollywood movie marketing,” but you might as well wish for the classic movie-making of the Forties to return… oh, wait.

9. Stop Making Excuses for a Failing Home Video Market

This kind of repeats the whole “movies suck now that’s why no one rents them out” but actually, Hollywood is kind of right that Netflix et al are “to blame” — in that it’s easier to rent a movie and download it online than it is to get in the car and go to the video store.

10. The Lousy Theatre Experience

He goes on to talk about those legendary theaters of old (the Forties again! because I don’t remember these from my childhood) that were like temples and everyone entered them with a reverent hush. Huh. As long as I can recall, movie theaters were dark, uncomfortable places with sticky floors and seats that left me feeling like a cripple even when I was a kid, and the snacks were always expensive. And by the way, those expensive snacks? I stopped eating them years ago — long before I quit actually going to movies in theaters. Drinking a soda just made me need to pee (somehow, always during an exciting scene; never during the intermission), and the popcorn was never that great. Anyway, the rest of what he complains about isn’t Hollywood’s fault — they aren’t the ones making people yack during dialogue, turn on their cell phones, step on your feet in the dark, etc.

So that’s it for this list. Personally, I hope the film industry goes belly-up, and that the government is somehow (perhaps we can hold them all hostage) prevented from giving them any tax money to bail them out. We don’t need Hollywood, we really don’t. The human race survived without giant expensive blockbuster formula films from a town in Southern California for thousands of years, and it will continue to survive once no more films are made there.


5 thoughts on “Why we shouldn’t let Hollywood win us back

  1. aelfheld

    Universal themes? Feasting, fighting, and f—ing. Everything else is embellishment.

    Which is what makes those bits of life that happen between the above pleasurable.

    Idiots. It’s not ‘universal themes’ that make movies classic – it’s particular stories that resonate. What the Hell is the ‘universal theme’ in, say, The African Queen?

    The only thing worse than Hollywood insiders is Hollywood outsiders slavering on the window panes.

    1. Andrea Harris Post author

      Exactly. I mean it’s such a vague thing to say. He might as well have said: “You know what those old classic movies had? 1) Actors. 2) Sets.”

      It’s not the material, it’s what you do with it.

  2. Annoying Old Guy

    I think “partisan” vs. “liberal” is the contrast between snarky cheap shots at specific politicians and issues vs. presenting an indirect indeological argument. That is, party politics vs. ideology.

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