Why We Do It

“Great films are not happening because some mid-level schluphead wants to hold onto his expense account. He doesn’t want to risk it on a decision, or on somebody who hasn’t already made 10 hits.”
– Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles, The Iron Giant

I don’t think movies should be tailored for audiences. They should be created, made, filmed and then whatever audience it appeals to, then so be it, and that should make for a movie’s success. Movie’s are treated as a product by companies and studios. While they do have potential many times for franchises and money making opportunities, they aren’t a product, nor should they be subjected to scrutiny by audiences who decide something is good or bad in the story, or the characters.

Movies are works of art, moving works of art, thus they should be on display for onlookers to observe as works from artists. Should we still call movies works of art if they were immensely tailored for audiences? Trim the climax, keep the storytelling to a minimum, change this character to fit a better profile. It’s all basic bullshit. Davinci never went around his village asking people which shade of black they’d prefer on the Mona Lisa, and Stephen King never asked people which ending they’d like better in “Carrie”, so why should movies be subjected to such ridiculous routines such as testing audiences?

The best movies, in my opinion, are those with flawed characters, slow pacing, and unique stories, movies can’t even be called film these days, because all studios care about is making money, they don’t want art to unfold for the audience, they don’t want us to wait for the big boom, they give it to us immediately and choose for us. Films like “Taxi Driver” or “Godfather” are films that give us time to explore the characters while telling a story, and sometimes vice versa. We get to learn about these characters, we get to love these characters, and we rightfully mourn them when they die.

Sure, the golden age of movies are over, the seventies in particular which was a decade of landmark films is long over, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve good movies. I want movies that make me think, and movies that entertain me without insulting my intelligence. We can have escapist movies with intelligence like “Star Wars” and we can have masterpieces, only if the studios would stop thinking about money first and moviemaking second, but if they made movies first and then think about money later, maybe then they’d have a success. It’s all about risks, and from risks, come good films, films we remember and talk about with our children or best friends.

Will people remember “Alex & Emma” or “xXx” ten years from now? Of course not, because these are mass produced films that, while put into a lot of work, aren’t memorable, nor will they be held to high standards. Then people continue using the excuse “We haven’t found a good director yet”, but that’s more copping out. We’ve found good directors, they’re there, it’s just the mainstream media refuses to acknowledge them.

Richard Linklater, Sam Mendes, Christopher Nolan, Richard Kelly, Sofia Coppola, (Insert name of your choice here), they’re there fumbling for funding for their films, being pushed to the side, being featured in the back of entertainment magazines, directors whom should be held in the highest regard, but the mainstream won’t acknowledge them, and they still remain unknown artists. These people can be the next Spielberg, Hitchcock, or Lucas.

Go to your local video store, look through the catalogues, go to the mom and pop video rental places and look for films from these people, and you may discover what moviemaking is all about, I ask, I plead, I beg, I order you to look, and look hard because you might find a film that will make you tingle every time you watch it, no not porn, other films can make you tingle, I know, because I’ve found them. “Donnie Darko”, “Lost in Translation”, or “Cherish”. Never heard of these movies? Get your ass up and start looking for these titles, or discover some titles for yourself, open yourself up to new possibilities.

As a young movie-goer, I’m still waiting for my generation’s “Godfather”, “Taxi Driver”, or “Dawn of the Dead” and as I get older, I’m sure it may never come, but I’m still putting hope up, which is why I review movies, which is why I put them under a allegorical microscope, which is why I tear them apart, because I’m looking for my generation’s masterpiece, but until then, the old films are still my favorites, but I’ll be here waiting, and tearing movies apart while my passion for movies never fades. Call me a geek, call me a nerd, call me what you want, but I’ll still be here, and I’ll still love movies.