On A Lighter Note: The Movie Industry

Taking a 180 degree turn from the more serious content that I blog about, today I am going to take some time to talk about movies. I am a huge movie fan. When I was in graduate school, I could not afford cable or satellite so I rented movies very frequently from a small mom and pop video rental store (I’ve been boycotting Blockbuster for a very long time now, but that is a subject for a different posting). It was wonderful until the clerk started commenting on how many movies I watch a month. Not cool. I know I am obsessed, but please don’t point it out. When you study psychology, you learn that everyone has little personality quirks and the only thing that separates the personality quirk from a full-blown disorder is whether the quirk negatively impacts your day-to-day life. My obsessive movie watching and book reading are such examples of my quirks, along with my little OCD ritual I do when I exit my car (making sure lights are off, radio off, vents off, keys in hand, and then exit). Apparently this is very amusing for my passengers to watch and especially if they interrupt me because I have to start from the beginning again. J

But I digress, I was talking about movies. I have been very disappointed in the movie releases in the past few years. I don’t understand why there are so many remakes. It is one thing to remake a movie originally filmed 50 or more years ago, and even then, depending on the film, I may not be pleased that a remake is taking place. In my opinion, there is never a reason to remake an Alfred Hitchcock movie. However, remaking movies from the 1990s is just plain nuts. Some remakes are completed with an even shorter time span in between releases, i.e. “Death at a Funeral” (2007, 2010). Are there really no new ideas in Hollywood? And what is it with several studios releasing similar movies at similar times, for example “No Strings Attached” and “Friends With Benefits.” Was I the only one who thought this odd? It seems that if Hollywood is not sending out a remake, it is adding another sequel or even breaking down a story into several separate films (i.e. “The Hobbit.”). There are so many amazing stories out there that would translate well to screen but alas, they are not translated into film. There are amazing writers out there that could produce an original screenplay but yet do not have the access or clout to be heard and get the funding to make the movie. As a movie watcher, this is very disappointing.

Now there are some films that I would call iconic and thus not really appropriate for a remake, however, my lack of a degree in film studies shows here because Hollywood clearly disagrees. Let me start with “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” Why mess with such a great original? How could it possibly get updated and still be funny?

I would like to see a remake of “Gone With The Wind,” but only if the screenplay is written so that the film more closely represents the message and story of the original book. If those changes are not made, why mess with the chemistry of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh?

So Hollywood, can’t you open your mind and try for some new ideas? Maybe you should step away from your usual contingent of writers and open your doors to some of the lesser known writers. And don’t insult our intelligence and only go with obvious story lines with no depth, but challenge the movie watcher to engage in the film and enjoy a lasting discussion and dialogue to follow. I guess this is why I’ve been watching so many documentaries lately. It’s nice not to be treated like I am a non-thinking consumer, but rather a critical thinker capable of considering a vast array of ideologies and possibilities.