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Everyone’s Gone to the Movies (Now, We’re Alone at Last)

Mark Harris writes about the disappointing start to the summer blockbuster season in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly:

As TV has surged, the risk-averse souls atop the movie studios have stopped pretending that their job is anything other than to find and greenlight renewable, easily marketed franchises for undemanding audiences on big weekends. Making movies because you belive in the script, the director, the idea, the creative possibilities? That’s 1970’s nostalgia, if not rank sentimentality–leave it to the indies.

…The rest of this summer will certainly provide some big hits, because that’s what summers do. And–who knows?–maybe we’ll even see some really good mainstream films; perhaps some combination of Pixar, Christopher Nolan, vampires, Julia Roberts, 3-D, and Michael Cera will save the season. But a few clean wins aren’t likely to change the fact that in 2010, the Hollywood studios and those who run them are behaving like irresponsible custodians of the great tradition of mainstream moviemaking. Their choices are lazy and defensive; their creative ambitions are hidden even from themselves; they look to marketers rather than filmmakers for inspiration; and their product just isn’t very good. When the grosses go back up, all this will doubtless be airbrushed away like a starlet’s worry line. But what if they stay bad? The result will be, at last, a crisis. Perhaps exactly the crisis Hollywood needs.

Well put from a guy who is the only reason to ever glance at EW.

[Photo Credit: Jakarta Daily Photo]

Tags:  ew  mark harris  summer movies

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1 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 11, 2010 11:14 am

yeah I was about to say, "EW?! If this is a Lisa Schwarzbaum article I'm gonna riot"

but yeah it has been a crappy start to the summer movie season so far. I think part of that was blowing the Iron Man 2 load too early. I mean thats probably the biggest "blockbuster" type movie of the year and its out by the first week of May? whatever happened to waiting for at least Memorial Day??

the Christopher Nolan movie looks interesting, but that to me has more of the feel of something that would come out October/November. We'll see though. I'm excited for Toy Story though...seriously.

2 bp1   ~  Jun 11, 2010 11:14 am

Stephen King also writes the occasional column for EW, another reason to take a glance. He's reached the stage of his life and career where he can say what he wants and not worry too much about what anyone things, and he comes out with some refreshing stuff - calling a clunker a clunker and talking up some not so well known authors, books, and movies.

(big time SK fan here)

3 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 11, 2010 11:15 am

oh I also wanna see "Knight and Day" only because I now watch every Tom Cruise movie trying to figure out if I can notice him getting crazier by the second.

the answer is yes, yes I can.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 11, 2010 11:27 am

3) Yeah, just get that feeling that things are not going to end well for Mr. Cruise.

5 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 11, 2010 11:32 am


Hat tip for the Steely Dan lyric ref for the title.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 11, 2010 11:34 am

Thanks, Dee. Doesn't that empty theater just look dreamy? Imagine if we could have a Banter private screening in such a place?

7 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 11, 2010 11:38 am


But trying to get the Banterites to come together on just WHICH movie to view ... THAT would be tough.

BTW, I should be getting "Sweet Smell of Success" from Netflix in the next day or so ... looking forward to it.

8 Raf   ~  Jun 11, 2010 11:46 am

[1] They're trying to cash in, and I don't blame them

9 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 11, 2010 12:11 pm

7) What I remember most from Sweet Smell is some really boss NYC street scenes--Curtis going into a kind of automat/greasy spoon late at night. Also, just how detestable some of those characters are...

10 rbj   ~  Jun 11, 2010 12:15 pm

The last movie I went to see was, IIRC, The Dark Knight. Nothing really interests me. It seems like there is too much of a reliance on CGI. Saw a promo for The A-Team, with a guy manning the machine gun which is being parachuted to the ground. Now I don't mind escapist fantasy, but somethings are way over the top, and occur too much. A couple of hair-raising scenes (with some real stunt work) are fine, but when the whole thing is just some artificial computer generated cartoon, well give me Bugs Bunny any day.

11 Raf   ~  Jun 11, 2010 12:42 pm

Last flick I saw was the Nightmare on Elm St remake... Couldn't get past Kelly Leak as Freddy Krueger, but then again I'm not a fan of that genre of movie.

12 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 11, 2010 3:12 pm

I'm finding it hard to endorse many of the indie films that are being shot nowadays, too. The big studios have gotten very canny by creating LLCs to produce films they consider good, but risky to their productivity and then distributing the films themselves.

The problem is, what they consider good versus what is good are often mutually exclusive, owing to who run the big studios (mainly accounting/marketing execs). You can come from anywhere to work in films, but there's no substitute for talent, training and passion for the actual craft.

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