Friday, August 26, 2005

At the movies...

Summer Fading, Hollywood Sees Fizzle

I saw "Sky High" last week, and it was kinda fun. It was cute, and pleasant, and completely unmemorable in every way. Actually I'm wondering why it wasnt a Disney straight to video release.

The movies mentioned in the article above, Stealth, and Bewitched? Well I was actually looking forward to seeing them (Bewitched because I like looking at Nicole Kidman, and Will Ferrel is due for a movie that doesnt suck), but I never even noticed they were there. Apparently the theatrical run for the two of them was like two weeks. The dukes of hazard movie has been out three weeks or so, and I want to see it, but it's already being pulled from theaters. Hell, the dukes of Hazzard was considered a fairly big hit... for about three days after which everyone forgot about it.

The movie business has been complaining for years about declining audiences, declining revenues... (even though they made record money each year of the last five; mostly from DVD sales) everything but the declining quality of their output. They leave that last one to their audiences.

Yep, movies pretty much suck these days. Oh sure, they arent horrible, but they arent pulling people out of their houses to go see them either.

I used to be a two movie a week man. Even if the movies weren't "great I'm dying to see that", it was a part of my "entertainment lifestyle" if you will.
"Even Robert Shaye, the studio leader behind "The Wedding Crashers," one of the summer's runaway hits, shares the worry about the industry's ability to connect with audiences. "I believe it's a cumulative thing, a seismic evolution of people's habits," said Mr. Shaye, chairman of New Line Cinema.

In previous years, he said, "you could still count on enough people to come whether you failed at entertaining them or not, out of habit, or boredom, or a desire to get out of the house. You had a little bit of backstop."
Ayup, that was me. Notice I said WAS? Actually the amazing arrogance of that final paragraph could stand all on it's own as a testament to the "why" of hollywoods failure.

I think I've been to about ten movies this year total, probably 15 last year; and other than the hardcore geek movies (Sin City, Revenge of the George Lucas money making machine, Batman, F4 - horrible mistake that - etc...) I'm not sure I can even remember any of them clearly. I think there was something with Adam Sandler... ummmm.... oh and the Angelina Jolie thing... Yeah.. ummmmm....

The only movie I can say that I'm looking forward to this year is Serenity, and that's because I'm a HUGE firefly fan. Joss Whedon is my master now. I WAS looking forward to "V for Vendetta", but that was pushed off til next march for some reason.

We are constantly inundated with advertisements for movies, but are any of them catching our attention? Hell, are the movies themselves? I can't think of anything coming out this week, or next week, or...

At the recent theater industry annual convention the president of the assoc. said "Well, the first thing is, the movies arent very good" (or something like that. I read the exact quote last week and can't find it now). Yeah, we noticed. Or rather, we didnt notice, and didnt really care; we jsut didnt go to the movies.

Of course compressing the time from theatrical release to DVD release down to six weeks doesn't help either. Now they are saying that "Consumers want the option to see movies on DVD at the same time as they are in theatrical release". No, not really, we jsut dont feel like going out to see the crap you are producing, but we'll happily watch it at home for less money, and we don't feel like waiting two months to do it.

I mean why would I go and pay $30 to see a movie in the theater with my girlfriend, when two months later I can watch it on my home theater with better picture and sound, and more comfortable seats, for less money? I don't mind paying $9 a seat for a good movie, but (again other than the hardcore fanboy movies) how many of those have been out lately? It doesnt even have to be a GREAT mvoie (though one of those every once in a while would be appreciated), just a good one every now and then please?

Can't think of any offhand? Good me neither. I know I reviewed several movies as good on my blog recently, but I'll be damned if I can remember what they were.

The movies just arent good enough to bother with.

Oh and then theres the 30 minutes of advertisements before the movie. No, not the previews/trailers (those I kind of dig) I'm talking about 10-30 (I measured 26 minutes once) of actual straight up advertising before the TRAILERS started, then 5-20 minutes of trailers.

If my movie "starts" at 2pm and it's not actually playing by 2:10 I start to get irritated. By 2:25 I'm ready to leave.

Remember, all of this is coming from the guy with the 8 movie subscription at netflix, and who basically has a TV for watching movies. I'm the guy who's xbox doesnt even have controllers plugged in (I use it as my second DVD player for the bedroom TV). I'm a certified movie nut.

But not this year, or last year.. or really the year before that either.

In the last five years the only movies that stand out in my memory are the fanboy movies (which I tend to love even if they arent that great, because I know the material so well). I'm sure there were good movies in that time, but GREAT ones? Memorable ones? Ones that are worth plunking the cash down for? Few and far between.

HT: Eric Raymond, in one of his far too rare entries